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Email: hr@wju.edu
Phone: 1-304-243-8152

HR Compensation: Philosophy

Date approved:
April 2012
Approved by:
Date to be reviewed:
March 2013
Reviewed by:
University Executive Administration
Date revised:
Revision number:
Compliance Committee:
As Scheduled


To help employees understand how the compensation portion of Wheeling Jesuit University's total rewards package is calculated and the procedures guiding the determination of compensation. The compensation portion of the University's total rewards package is built upon the foundations previously established by consultants in 2002.


2.1 Philosophical Statement

The University compensation philosophy is predicated on the idea that employees receive a "total rewards" package, inclusive of compensation, for the duties and responsibilities that they are currently performing for the University in alignment with their qualifications and the position's requirements and in support of the University's overall strategic plan, competitive outlook and human capital needs. The guidelines, principles and procedures of compensation philosophy apply to both Administration and Staff employees; the principles of the compensation philosophy also apply to academic compensation; however, the guidelines, process and procedure outlined in the Faculty Handbook governs academic compensation.

2.2 Total Rewards

The University promotes the philosophy of "total rewards" with both full-time and benefits eligible part-time employees.  The University's total rewards package includes compensation both in the form of pay and benefits. University provided benefits, for which the University contributes a significant amount on behalf of the employee, is in full compliance with the University's mission and belief system while providing a level of security for employees in the areas of health, dental and vision care, short and long term disability, life insurance and defined contribution retirement plans. In addition, the University provides a schedule of paid holidays, vacation, sick and personal leaves and offers generous tuition remission programs for employees and their families. These benefits constitute a considerable amount of the total rewards package and are in addition to competitive pay.

2.3 Competitive Pay

As a practice, the University strives to compensate fully qualified and satisfactorily performing employees at 90% of the competitive market rate for their comparable position. Depending upon the position, the market comparisons may be based upon regional or national trends. The University will exercise financial responsibility in all instances and compensation increases, when available, will be provided in compliance with that objective. 

2.4 Pay Grades

The compensation program is subdivided into two (2) sets of pay schedules: exempt (administration) and non-exempt (staff). The determination as to whether a position is exempt or non-exempt is based entirely upon government-mandated guidelines that are not arbitrary or at the discretion of the University. The individual pay schedules are built upon the information presented in 2.3 above; the determination as to the appropriate step within the pay schedule is based upon the various policies within this compensation program.

2.5 Pay Adjustments

Pay adjustments may be given as follows:

    1. Promotion: an employee applies for and is extended an offer of employment in a higher classification. The employee will receive additional compensation for the position in line with that position's pay grade and the practices delineated within this program.
    2. Demotion: an employee is demoted either due to performance or discipline. The employee will receive less compensation for the position in line with that position's pay grade and the practices delineated within this program.
    3. Reduction in Force: an employee is involuntarily reduced to a lower classified position in a lower pay grade or terminated from employment due to economic conditions (loss of funding, reduced budget, etc).
    4. Re-Structure: an employee is involuntarily placed into a new or alternative position in a revised organization structure designed to more effectively accomplish University programs / objectives or terminated from employment. If a new or alternative position if offered, it may be of the same or lesser responsibilities in the same or lower pay grade. 
    5. Significant Change in Responsibilities: an employee has experienced a significant change in either the essential functions or responsibilities of his / her job (an addition to or removal of significant duties and responsibilities) necessitating a reclassification of the position.
    6. Equity Adjustment: an employee is compensated incorrectly in relation to the other employees in comparable positions.
    7. Stipend: a temporary adjustment / add-on due to assignment / acceptance of temporary additional duties. May be lump sum or added to the regular rate of pay for the duration of the assignment.
    8. Geographic Adjustment: an adjustment due to regional pay inequities. Pay grades are based on the local (Wheeling / Western Pennsylvania) regional market. Positions in other regional markets are compared to the local market suggesting possible increases or reductions depending upon the specific region. Employees who move between regions will have their pay adjusted to the regional market in which they are assigned.
    9. Performance: employees will be evaluated, at minimum, on an annual fiscal cycle. Merit increases, if offered,  will be subsequently determined by the individual's performance and based upon:
      • The availability of merit increases campus-wide as determined by the executive committee of the University during the annual budgeting process.  Increases in pay, if the University determines that it can support them, will be subsequently approved by the president prior to the evaluation process. The president does not participate in the program; the president is evaluated and compensated per the Board's guidelines.
      • The merit increase which each department may distribute will be allocated on a percentage basis based upon each department's share of the total, current, University compensation. This amount will constitute that department's "pool."
      • Schedules and matrices will be issued as guidelines to managers directing them on how to allocate their merit pool. Increases will be by managerial prerogative based solely upon documented performance criteria per the performance management process. Once the pay pool is determined, managers may allocate all or part of the merit pool they are allotted but may not exceed that amount. All increases will be determined by the manager accountable for the performance of the department. All increases issued by a manager must be approved by that manager's supervisor who will insure that the total of the increases given does not exceed the amount allocated.
      • An individual may be entitled to a base increase (increase to the individual's base pay) or a lump sum (a one – time dispersal of funds that does not become a part of the individual's base pay).
    10. The compensation philosophy is to be used as a guideline and is subject to change at the discretion of University executive administration. Final interpretation resides with Human Resources and University executive administration.

2.6 Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The Human Resource Department is responsible for coordinating the job evaluation process, developing the job description, completing benchmark surveys on jobs and pay grades, maintaining all related documentation, policies, procedures and relevant information.
  2. The Evaluation Committee reviews the job evaluation and job description and makes recommendations to help maintain consistency between positions and pay grades across the University.
  3. The University's Executive Administration is responsible for ensuring that the philosophy is applied consistently, that the policies are current and adhered to, and that the compensation program is administered equitably across the University.

2.7 Appeal

An employee who feels that a position has been misclassified should appeal through his / her immediate supervisor to Human Resources and outline what he / she feels is different from the job description or the assigned pay grade.

2.8 Approval

  1. The following personnel must review the documentation associated with, and subsequently approve by  their signature, the above pay adjustments:
    • Executive / Chief Administrator responsible for the affected position or department, the Director of Human  Resources and the Chief Financial Officer or Controller on all actions noted in 2.5 above.
    • A Demotion, an Equity Adjustment, a Reduction in Force, a Restructuring or a Geographic Adjustment, also noted in 2.5 above, must also include the signature of the President or his designee. 
    • Subsequent to the approvals noted, Human  Resources will initiate changes through Payroll.
  2. Changes in title must be approved per the policy on "Employee Status."


The Director of Human Resources has the authority to change, modify or approve exceptions to this policy subsequent to review by the Chief Financial Officer and the University's Executive Administration team with the approval of the University President.


Job Evaluation
FLSA/EEO Designation Procedure
Position Title Procedure
Pay Grades and Placement in Grade Procedure
Pay Adjustment: Pay for Performance Procedure
Pay Adjustment: Promotion or Demotion Procedure
Pay Adjustment: Responsibility/Transfer/Equity  

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