When students come back to school at Eastern Washington University later this month, they may be taught by a very happy professor who just got a big raise.

The regional university isn't celebrating a financial windfall. The new money comes from a creative new faculty contract that focuses on bringing everyone up to the national salary averages in their fields instead of giving across-the-board raises.

That means a few EWU professors will get raises as big as $18,000 a year over the next three years. And seven, who are paid well above market rates, will get nothing.

The unusual contract was embraced both by the faculty union and school administrators.