I am currently negotiating for a new position at a public R2 in the mid-Atlantic/south. The position offer is generally very good, save for the lack of clarity in teaching load. The chair/dean keep referring me to the Faculty Handbook for the description of faculty hours per semester requirements. The description of course is vague, saying that each program's chair determined how the annual 24 hour credit load should be divided between teaching, research and service. During my actual in person interview, the teaching load was represented to me by chair and other faculty as a 2/2, which is much better than my current position. Now, the Dean is saying it can vary from a 2/2 to 3/2, etc. I have asked for more precision in my offer letter/start-up, with no response. Penny for your thoughts/wisdom on this issue…
Date: 04 Jul 2015 21:41
Number of posts: 4
RSS: New posts
Have you browsed the course schedule for this past spring and fall semesters? This should be revealing by showing how many courses, independent studies, etc., current faculty there are teaching. This may provide some insight. It's otherwise hard to read into this. I know that at many institutions, communications slow drastically during the summer. If the Dean's office draws up the letter, then the lack of information may reflect the Dean not trampling on the department's authority over this. Have you contacted the department chair or asked for details about how the teaching loads are calculated?
Your situation offers deep insight for any on the job market. Don't settle for an answer about "faculty handbook" or "oh, we're a 2/2 load" alone. Ask for the specifics about how the number of credits are calculated. One final thought - if everyone is giving you vague answers, this could be a bad sign. The course schedules may be revealing here. If the department is really stiffing faculty such that the 24 hour load is mostly actual classroom teaching, you should clearly see tenure-track faculty there hauling beyond the 2/2 courses. Hope this helps!
Aside from the dean, what about the dept chair or the area head within the dept? They would likely be able to give you more specific info. Find out who does the course scheduling in the department and ask them. Especially if this is an arts & sciences dean, that person may be dealing with some departments teaching 1-1 and some teaching 4-4 and trying to be political when talking to you.
You should expect clarity within your offer letter and contract regarding how many courses per year you will teach, period. Checking course schedules can give you a sense of what has typically happened in the past, but that has limited value because things change. The contract you sign now is the only protection you will have if, five or ten years from now, the dean or administration inform you that you now have to teach 3/3. Finding the relevant language in the faculty handbook would be better than past schedules, but be aware the handbook can also change.