University of Wyoming faculty are split between two groups — those with nine-month appointments and those with 12-month appointments — and they can change how a professor works during the year. Now, it could be a way for the university to save money.
Most faculty are on a nine-month contract.
In the 2014-2015 school year, 665 full-time instructional faculty members had nine-month appointments while only 82 had year-long contracts. This does not include the 175 full-time research faculty members, although they normally work on 12-month contracts.
“They’ll usually continue their research during the summer,” Aneesa McDonald, information specialist in the Academic Affairs.
Some post-graduate students with an emphasis on research also receive the year-long contract, McDonald said.
Department heads are normally granted the 12-month appointments to allow for the normal summer administrative duties, and the Financial Crisis Planning Committee guidelines mentions the appointments.
“In general, administrative positions should be kept at an absolute minimum, and whenever possible, administrative positions should be nine-month appointments.”
Steve Bieber, director of the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center and chair of the committee, said these are only guiding principles and possible options.
“We haven’t talked about implementing it ourselves,” he said.
“It is only a guideline to those making proposals to us.”
However, a 12-month appointment doesn’t necessarily make for a greater salary than nine-month appointments, says Tami Benham-Deal, interim associate vice president for undergraduate education, via email.
“Salaries vary across the disciplines,” she says.
Michael Pishko, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, is in the same boat as the other colleges, despite the large amount of research.
“Besides the dean, top administrators and department heads, everyone is on a nine-month contract,” he said.
Regardless of appointments, many faculty members work through the summer on research projects. This is where grants and other funding can come into play, Tami Benham-Deal says.
“By university regulations, (faculty members) may earn up to 33 percent of their nine-month salary in supplemental pay — typically, this occurs for faculty who have research grants and/or faculty who teach summer school classes,” she says.
So, a nine-month appointment could potentially earn the salary of a 12-month faculty member if their grant funding is large enough, McDonald explained.
“(Faculty) can still do research and go out into the field,” she said. “They can use the grant as a supplemental, external salary.”
Benham-Deal said most of the non-administrative faculty with 12-month appointments work in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources for extension duties. Many faculty members in the college work in the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory, which continues to operate all year long.