University instructors determine summer class availability

Students aren’t the only ones making decisions when it comes to what summer classes to take -— instructors also have to decide if the extra money is worth teaching the class.

Students may decide to take courses in the summer, which helps lighten their course load or fast-forward their road to graduation, but instructors also have a say in the decision process.

John Fischer, associate dean administrator and associate professor of the college of Education and Human Development, said there are options instructors can choose from when they need to decide how they will get paid throughout the year.

“Most instructors have an annual salary for the entire year that is spread over 9 months or 12 months, usually by their choice,” Fischer said.

Instructors who choose not to teach any courses in the summer have the opportunity to divide their salary into 12 months allowing the teacher to get paid every month or every two weeks over the course of the academic year.

Senior Tim Love didn’t think instructors had many options when it came to how they would get paid.

“I don’t think I ever really considered all the decisions that instructors had to make in the summer,” Love said. “You usually think about the students who need certain classes offered in the summer to graduate.”

Other than considering how to split up their income over the academic year, instructors also have to consider certain regulations that the University has put in place regarding the number of students in a summer class.

“[They] are paid for the number of classes they are teaching in the summer and those classes have to be full with enrollment,” Fischer said. “If they’re not full then that faculty member’s salary is prorated, meaning they only get a portion [of their pay].”

Senior Dominic Flewellyn is currently taking an accounting class in order to graduate on time.

“I always wondered how teachers would get paid if the class they were assigned to teach didn’t have that many students,” Flewellyn said. “But I’m glad to know that the University has something in place that allows them to get paid, because they deserve it.”

However, receiving extra pay in the summer isn’t the only reason why instructors choose to teach a course.

“I think for some people they view the summer as a way to have slightly smaller classes that are a little more engaged because of the size of the class,” Fischer said. “Also, there’s a chance in the summer for some workshops for special topic classes that typically wouldn’t fit in the normal year, [like] classes involving travel.”

Flewellyn agreed that the smaller classes in the summer allow him to be more engaged.

“There’s only eight people in my class, so I have no choice [but] to pay attention,” Flewellyn said. “You never know when you can get called on to answer a question.”

There are different requirements the University considers to determine which faculty member in each college is the most qualified to teach a course of their choice.

“In the college of Education and Human Development, [there is] a list of classes we think we’re going to offer,” Fischer said. “We see who’s interested and the vast majority of people who want to teach a class gets a chance to teach one.”

Like students who are involved in summer courses, instructors may be on a similar boat.

“For many faculty members the summer is a time when they are working on their writing and research as well,” Fischer said. “There are people who don’t want to teach in the summer.”

Love said he believes some instructors should try to rest during the summer if they have the opportunity.

“Some of the lecture classes have 150 students,” Love said. “I can completely understand if they just don’t want to teach for a few months.”

Regardless of a break for both students and instructors, Fischer said summer courses are a great opportunity for both.

“Giving students [the opportunity to take summer courses] to catch up is really important,” he said. “Students who are trying to get through their degree program faster than four years also [have this] great opportunity. It’s not required, but it’s certainly a good option for people.”