- How will the number of courses or units that faculty members teach on a semester system be determined? (Revised)
- How will semesters affect the Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion (RTP) calendar and process?
- What will be the impact on faculty sabbatical leaves? (Revised)
- How will semesters affect faculty summer teaching and research opportunities?
- Will externally funded grants/contracts be affected by the conversion?
- What will be the impact on temporary and/or part-time faculty? (Revised)
- What will be the effect on FERP faculty?
- How will faculty be paid during the summer 2017, when there are only two months between terms?
1. How will the number of courses or units that faculty members teach on a semester system be determined?
Under both calendars, all full-time faculty are responsible for 15 WTU (weighted teaching units) per term. With 3 WTU for service and related duties, this leaves 12 WTU for instruction. How these 12 WTU are translated into course load is determined by the number of units per course.
Under the existing quarter calendar, for example, faculty typically meet this 12 WTU requirement by teaching three 4-unit courses per quarter. There are of course many exceptions to this due to courses with varying number of units, assigned time, etc. In a semester system, most courses are 3 units and those 12 WTU translate into four 3-unit courses. The number of teaching hours per week over an academic year remains the same.
The heavy teaching in both quarter and semester calendars has long been a challenge and the university will continue to develop approaches to ensure that faculty have time to pursue the teacher-scholar vision.
No major change to the RTP process is envisioned when changing to semesters but the RTP calendar will be affected. The deadlines for submission of RTP documents, which are usually in early October after the quarter begins, could be moved earlier, providing more time for evaluation. The RTP process, which involves collection of student and peer evaluations and keeping track of contributions to scholarship and service, will not be affected, and no change to RTP criteria will be necessitated by the conversion to semesters.
Semesters allow faculty sabbaticals with full pay to take place over a semester, typically 16 weeks, rather than an 11-week quarter. Faculty at semester campuses can take 2 semesters at 1/2 full salary. On quarter campuses, faculty can take a 3 quarter sabbatical at 1/2 pay or 2 quarters at 3/4 pay. Converting from quarters to semesters will not necessitate a change in the process of applying for or granting of sabbaticals and they will continue to be awarded as indicated by the campus implementation of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
As well as the longer fully-funded sabbatical, converting to semesters has other benefits for faculty who plan to spend their sabbatical at a semester university:
- Faculty who wish to match their sabbatical with another university’s spring semester will no longer need to ask for a two quarter sabbatical (winter and spring). This will be a saving for the faculty member, who will receive full pay for the semester, as opposed to ¾ pay, and for the university.
- Our summer quarter overlaps with the fall term at semester campuses, creating a conflict for faculty who teach in the summer and plan a fall sabbatical at a semester campus. This conflict will be eliminated with a semester conversion.
Typically there are a number of summer teaching and research opportunities available for faculty members in other institutions. As approximately 90% of colleges and universities in the United States are on semester calendars, off-campus opportunities are most frequently coordinated with a semester calendar. Research opportunities at most institutions can be flexible on starting date, but teaching time frames are not typically negotiable. Being on a quarter-based calendar can create scheduling issues for faculty wanting to teach summer courses at a semester based campus. Therefore, a semester calendar may improve or facilitate summer research and teaching opportunities for faculty.
The only potential impact will be on some projects with small amounts of assigned time. For example, a project that has only enough funds to pay for 4 or 8 WTU of assigned time on a quarter system will be able to pay for amounts of assigned time that will be difficult to award on a semester system (2.67 & 5.33). The impact on grants with more assigned time will be less complicated (one course/term for a year = 12 quarterly WTU = 8 semester WTU).
We do not foresee any relative impact to entitlement WTU or base pay for temporary faculty. For example, temporary faculty with 3-year entitlements for 36 quarter WTU (36/45 WTU or .80 timebase) - after adjusting to semesters - will continue to have 3-year entitlements but for 24 semester WTU (24/30 WTU or .80 timebase). (Quarter units are divided by approximately 1.5 to adjust to semester units.) A favorable impact of conversion is that in order to become eligible for an initial 3-year entitlement, temporary faculty need only be appointed to at least one semester – versus at least two quarters – during each of at least six consecutive years of service on a single campus in a single department.
Currently, eligible lecturers and coaches in academic year classifications must be appointed for at least 6 WTU (e.g., .40 timebase) over at least two or more quarters to receive health benefits. Another favorable impact of conversion is that this eligibility period will be reduced from at least two or more quarters to at least one semester.
Additionally, semesters allow more notification time for course assignments for lecturers and more prep time once they receive their assignments. The semester system also allows for easier and more productive evaluation and feedback for lecturers. Lecturers who also teach at other semester campuses may find it easier to coordinate their work on multiple campuses.
Semesters create a more advantageous situation for FERP faculty on a half timebase (0.5 FERP). Such faculty can complete their FERP responsibilities in one semester rather than having to spread it over two quarters.
For the 2017-18 academic year on the quarter system, the faculty will be paid from September 2017 through August 2018 with July based on spring quarter and August based on winter quarter as usual. At the transition, there will be no interruption in pay and no change in the monthly gross for full-time faculty, who receive the same amount in each of 12 months without regard to the number of work days in that month. Pay for the 2018-19 academic year will be from September 2018 through August 2019, even if the first fall semester starts in August or the spring semester ends in May. Pay for each year thereafter will also run from September through August, with July and August based on work performed during the prior academic year.