Summary and Recommendations for Changes to Summer School Policies

Personnel and Benefits Committee of the Faculty Assembly

 

March 1, 2007

 

The Personnel and Benefits Committee was asked to examine summer school salaries.  A number of faculty have expressed a concern that salaries for teaching in the summer have deteriorated over time.  Years ago, full-time faculty were paid a percentage of their nine-month salary for teaching in the summer.  Over time, the method of compensation for summer school has moved from a percent of nine-month salary to a flat dollar amount in each of the colleges.  Moreover, the annual summer salaries paid rarely increase annually meaning real wages for teaching in the summer have declined over time.  The incentive to teach in the summer declines when real wages decline.  This can result in a reduction in quality in the summer program if the best faculty decide not to teach.

 

To address this issue more thoroughly, the Personnel and Benefits Committee (P&B) invited David Moon, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs to attend a meeting to provide background on summer school funding.  The purpose was to determine the feasibility of adopting a policy to pay faculty a percentage of nine month salary as opposed to the current policy of paying a flat dollar amount to full-time tenure/non-tenure track faculty.  David presented a historic review of summer school and provided the committee with some thoughts, ideas and direction for summer school and summer school salaries for full-time faculty.  The narrative that follows provides some history which leads to recommendations for a proposal for a policy on summer school.

 

Historic Review:

 

Until eight or nine years ago, no formal management or allocation of summer school funding existed.  Funding for summer school was, in large part, carved out of regular college budgets.  Colleges attempted to align any additional funding for summer school with their annual budgets.  A number of colleges spent more on summer school than the level of funding received from the University.  The deficits created by summer schools were covered by regular annual budgets.

 

The method of ad hoc funding was changed approximately eight years ago when the University began to directly allocate funds to each college to fund summer school.  The policy ever since is to give each college a set amount of funding for summer school.  Each college determines the appropriate course offerings and pay for faculty.  Most colleges spend up to the amount of the direct summer school allocation.  Separate accounts are maintained for full-time faculty and for honorarium.  The colleges have discretion to set summer salaries for full-time faculty.  Universally, all colleges set summer salaries for full-time faculty at a flat rate.  The fixed amount for full-time faculty differs by college.  The rate can differ between full-time tenure track and non-tenure track faculty.  There are models that pay more to full professors and less to associates and assistants. Other models pay a higher fixed rate to PhD qualified faculty compared to full-time faculty without the doctorate.  The payment procedure has remained at the discretion of the colleges.  However, as stated, the salaries for all full-time faculty is flat rate and not based on a percent of nine-month salary.

 

At one time LAS had a tiered system of summer pay for professors, associate professors and assistant professors.  Today the LAS allocation is based on tenure track and non-tenure track.  Tenure track faculty receive a larger fixed salary than non-tenure track.  The College of Business pays a flat salary to PhD qualified and a lower rate to non-PhD qualified.  As stated, each college determines the payment scheme for teaching in the summer.

 

Colleges that grow their summer school student credit hour (SCH) production are allocated more funds in the ensuing summer school.  SCH growth is encouraged and rewarded.  The funds allocated for growth are made after overhead and other allocations are made.  The allocation is ad hoc in that no formal allocation model exists.  Most colleges receive a fixed amount each year unless SCH grows significantly.  Colleges who experience a drop in SCH production, for the most part, are not penalized with a drop in funding in the following year.

 

Sometimes colleges add summer school sections or courses and SCH production does not grow.  Funding does not increase if SCH does not increase.  Sometimes colleges realize year-to-year growth without adding sections and this growth in SCH is rewarded with additional funding.  Sometimes the number of sections decrease but SCH increases and this growth is often rewarded with increases in funding since productivity increases.

 

Scheduling is critical in this model.  Each college must determine the courses to offer and the appropriate times to offer courses in order to maximize enrollment.

 

Over the last several years, SCH generation during the summer has been relatively flat.  Therefore, most colleges have not seen much of an increase in summer school funding.  A reallocation occurred several years ago when summer funding for LAS and Education was increased to bring them in line with other colleges.  The College of Business received a modest reallocation at the time.  At the same time, revenue from tuition has increased while revenue from the state has declined.  The net effect is that total summer school revenue to the campus has increased.  So while summer school SCH has remained relatively flat, revenue has actually increased.

 

Much of the data needed to more thoroughly analyze summer school is not easy to assemble because of differential tuition rates in the colleges.  For example, a business student who takes an LAS course in the summer is credited to LAS for SCH purposes, but to business for tuition purposes, while a LAS student taking a business course is credited to business for SCH, but to LAS for tuition.  Since these students pay a different tuition rate it is difficult to allocate dollars given our current information systems. 

 

In conjunction with the summer school salary discussion, the Personnel and Benefits committee considered whether the University should move towards a three semester system where faculty could teach their contracted courses over fall, spring and summer.  Currently, there is no policy against going to a three semester system.  Thus, a faculty member teaching six courses per year could conceivably teach three courses in the spring and three in the summer and nothing in the fall.  One consideration with a three semester system is the feeling that a significant portion of UCCS students would not be interested in the system.  Many undergraduate students need the summer to earn money to cover the fall and spring and are not interested in summer courses.  However, a three semester system may be appropriate for some programs (i.e. the MBA or other graduate programs).

 

Any change in policy regarding summer pay for faculty must be accompanied by a full review of the entire funding model and approach to summer school.  A complete examination of all policies and procedures regarding summer school is necessary to avoid unintended consequences.

 

For example, suppose college X decides to pay its full-time faculty a percentage of nine-month salary and the college does not consider any other implications.  Suppose the increased summer salaries result in a decrease in the number of summer courses and SCH declines.  This college can expect to see its summer funding cut in the following year.  If the college continues to pay faculty based on a percent of nine-month salary it may have to reduce course offerings/sections further.  This may lead to a further drop in SCH production and lead to a further drop in summer funding the following year.  The result could be a continual downward spiral in course offerings and funding. 

 

Recommendations:

 

1. The personnel and benefits (P&B) committee recommends that each college establish goals and objectives for its summer program(s).  For example, define tangible goals and objectives for course offerings, split between graduate and undergraduate courses, student goals for completing a program, SCH goals, class size, times, pay for full-time tenure track and non-tenure track faculty, etc.

 

2. The P&B committee recommends that the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs develop a summer school model to allocate total summer school revenue.  The model should incorporate the following features:

 

3.  The P&B committee recommends that the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in conjunction with the colleges investigate whether a three semester system (year around program) would be beneficial for certain programs.  This investigation should be conducted at the college level.  Consideration should be given to differences in the undergraduate and graduate student bodies, their goals and objectives, socio-economic demographics and desire to complete a program in a timely manner.