Guidelines for Compensation for Unexpected Course Coverage

August 19, 2020

The Equity COVID Response Working Group made the following recommendations regarding compensation for unexpected course coverage during fall 2020, and the Dean’s Office agreed to these guidelines.

  • Compensation should be prorated based on the length of time a faculty member provides coverage as the primary instructor for a course, at a rate of $76.27 per credit hour per week. This calculation is based on the standard rate of pay for adjunct faculty: $1,144 per credit hour per course (which translates to $3,432 per three credit course). We imagine that in most cases, if course coverage is needed, that the faculty member who steps into the role will have a variety of responsibilities that effectively make them the primary instructor, even if temporarily.
  • In the case that the originally assigned faculty member is able to complete much of their tasks, or that the remaining work for the new faculty member does not amount to much more than administrative tasks, communication with students and/or auto-graded assignments, the new faculty member can be designated as a secondary instructor and their rate of pay can be adjusted as appropriate (for example, by treating their responsibilities as coverage for only one credit hour rather than the typical three) — it must be up to the faculty member and their chair to determine whether the additional work they take on constitutes the responsibilities of a primary instructor or secondary instructor. This work might be particularly well-suited for graduate students.

The Equity COVID Response Working Group supports these guidelines on the following basis:

  • A flat rate (used to calculate prorated compensation) is more equitable across positions (term/research) and rank (instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, full professor) and allows the Dean’s Office to estimate a more predictable expense.
  • A flat rate (used to calculate prorated compensation) is not only a most efficient process, but it also acknowledges the reality that there is no consensus and no universally accepted means for determining which sorts of classes involve more/less work by the faculty — as we don’t regularly make distinctions in pay based on things like introductory vs. upper-level courses, student population, assessment types, etc., we shouldn’t attempt to make those distinctions for these purposes.
  • The adoption of this policy provides departments with the flexibility to staff unexpectedly abandoned courses with full-time, adjunct or graduate students which offers a larger pool of qualified individuals who can staff courses, thereby allowing course coverage decisions to be guided based on the shared goal of providing a quality education to our students.
  • Finally, the Equity Working Group wants to acknowledge that while adjunct faculty cannot use leave to provide compensation for themselves, many of them are risking their health and safety by continuing to teach on campus this semester. As such, we recommend that the College makes good on their full contracted pay rate even while paying for another faculty member to cover their course when they cannot. The Dean’s Office will assess the cases of adjunct faculty if and when they occur and keep this recommendation in mind.

Notes and Limitations from the Dean

  • A faculty member experiencing a COVID-related disruption must work through university processes for leaves related to the pandemic. Information can be found on the HR COVID-19 page.
  • If the faculty member prefers, they may receive the compensation as professional development funds.
  • Graduate students’ hours must be managed so they do not exceed eight hours/week of work if they already have a GTA appointment. If they do not have a GTA appointment, hour restrictions are not a concern.
  • This policy will be in effect for fall 2020. We will review, and revise if necessary, the policy at the end of November or beginning of December 2020. This evaluation meeting will be scheduled at the time the guidelines take effect.