I'm not quite familiar with the US system, but given that in the US salary is for 9 months, what are ways to get boost salary in the summer and how much can one expect? I know teaching and grants are options, but how much can one reasonably expect from these sources to boost annual salary? I currently have an offer but the amount is slightly less than I'd hoped and I would like the option of earning extra over summer. Also, excuse me if this is ignorant, but if you aren't paid in the summer, are you not expected to do anything all summer?
Date: 11 Dec 2014 17:09
Number of posts: 8
RSS: New posts
it is probably open to negotiation. many schools have internal mechanisms for research support (e.g., a stipend), or grants or teaching as you mentioned. I would get more information about what the options at the institution are, and then negotiate that at least one summer be included as part of the deal. They should have specific institutional policies on what is provided (e.g., specific amount per class taught, specific stipend for summer research, and specific amount you can write into grants such as a full 3 months or 2.5 months).
also, just FYI, you can also ask to have the contract amount spread between 12 paychecks regardless of if you get additional funding, just to be able to budget better.
You may ask for summer teaching, which is usually by percentage of your annual salary. it could be around 8 to 10% of your annual salary. The budget is quite tight in most US (state) colleges, and summer teaching is less available now compared to years ago. So don't give your hope high.
I echo what others have said. There are four primary way to earn additional income during the summer:
1. Get an external research grant, where you can fund up to 3 months of your salary.
2. Get an internal research grant from your institution.
3. Teach a summer course (usually a % of your salary, as noted above).
4. Do some consulting work (e.g., stats, workshops, etc.).
The default at most places is to spread your 9-month salary across 12 months. Thus, if you earn more, you'll see it in the summers only (i.e., much larger checks).
Finally, you are absolutely expected to work over the summer: you should be working on your research. You don't have to go to the office or do administrative work, but this is usually high time for research across the board.
I work at a nice SLAC in the midwest. We don't have summer classes, so summer teaching is not an option. We have one internal grant that provides summer salary for a research project, but it's open campus wide (i.e., we compete with people in the humanities, who don't have other funding sources usually). We have a summer research program for students which gets us a small (<2% of annual salary) pay bump if we agree to spend 8-10 weeks mentoring a student. In terms of what we do in the summer, it is very much up to us. Of course, summer is the time to move research forward, but as far as the institution is concerned, there is no expectation that I'll be here in the summer.
If your offer is at an R1, I know at least 2 people who successfully included two years of summer salary in their startup negotiation.
Others have shared great information already, but I'll add to this from a SLAC perspective.
At SLACs this varies tremendously. Research heavy SLACs will more typically have potential summer salary options. That said, many institutions that use a 9 month salary system actually spread the compensation over a full 12 months so that you still do get paid during the summer. For SLACs where summary salary is atypical, then there are some avenues by which you might collect pay. First, many SLACs that do not offer internally funded summer salary may allow "overload pay" if one teaches a summer course. Whether this is an option will again vary. Also, many SLACs that value research may have internal funding for summer research programs - especially research involving students. This, too varies.
Your best bet is to ask your search committee contact or department chair about summer salary, summer research, and summer teaching - as well as whether internal funding is available for any (or all) of these.
As for whether U.S. faculty are expected to work during summers despite a 9 month contract - it varies. I have some colleagues at my SLAC who don't work much during the summer. There are others, like me, who view summer as a great time to get ahead on research. So, we volunteer to "work" but only on our own projects. It's worthwhile, as if we land a grant or solid publication later in the year, we just look great to the administration which can lead to all sorts of benefits (e.g. raises or priority funding for conference travel).
Hope this helps from a SLAC angle!
OP here- thanks for all of your perspectives on this question! This is very helpful and I will not be able to have a more productive discussion with the search chair about summer salary options without looking like an idiot.