Following on to the first post of this eagerly awaited series, Eli moves the subject of faculty workload. The Rabett is not whining, but he is discussing motivation for the pursuit of grants. This is a US centric post, but there are comparable issues everywhere, which is what comments are made for.
Any such discussion in the US starts with, the obsessively known to academics, but little known to non-academics and students, fact that tenure track faculty are only paid for nine months work and research faculty are not paid even bupkis by the universities. Sometimes, as in the case of medical school faculty, they don't even get nine months. Eli will discuss research faculty in the next post of this series
That's right bunnies, yrs truly either hustles up an additional third of his salary, or endures a certain disdain from Ms. Rabett. There are three ways of doing this, teach summer courses, a death march, given the short summer terms and the amount of material to be taught**, find grant salary support or seek a summer research position at a national laboratory with 10K other faculty. Failing that, one can work for free, become a greeter at WalMart or go sit on the beach.
The casual reader may think that bright, expert Rabetts can charge what they are worth for summer salary, but alas, that is not so. First, the Feds only pay at the same rate that the Uni pays you during the academic year. This goes by the name of the Institutional Base Salary, aka IBS. Second, Rabetts can only claim summer salary for time Eli is actually working, so vacations can't be charged for (some, not Eli, honor this in the breech until they are caught). Granting agencies frown on paying more than a month, so at least two grants are needed. Charge 100% of the time for a month to a grant, and Eli can't (at least in theory) work on anything else, so the safest thing is to have two or three grants (Eli wishes) and proportionally charge each over the entire summer leaving 5% or so uncovered so to write more proposals or go to the can.
Others are saying, well, why not go naked during the summer. This is allowed on certain beaches, and may be possible at the best research universities, but for someone not working at a top 50 place, nine month IBS's for Professors can be less than 100K, often much less, and salaries for Assistant and even Associate Professors can be, well, let's say, not very much, even at the top fifty places.
Which brings us to the academic year. Academic year workloads depend on where. Research university faculty tend to teach one course a semester (1+ 1) or even less. They also tend to have graduate student teaching assistants. OTOH they are expected to bring in grants that support their graduate students and post-docs as well as pay overhead (now called F&A for facilities and administrative costs). More on that later. Faculty at comprehensive, or teaching institutions typically have workloads of 2+2, 3+2 or even 3+3, which translates as the number of courses taught each semester. In general each course has three weekly contact hours. One can explicitly buy out of teaching responsibility through grants. This does not increase annual salary, but rather changes the mix of responsibility (e.g. instead of teaching 2+2 if you got 50% of salary from grants, you would teach 1+1). However, someone bringing in a significant amount of grant funding, will, in general, have a lower teaching load, and if done long enough, the IBS will increase in the next year, etc.
Now, 2+2 or 3+2 may not seem much to a K-12 teacher but that does not include research and advising research students. Add research on to such a load, especially when you are competing with folk at the research universities for funding, and the workload avalanches.
**Eli's department refuses to teach Physical Chemistry during the summer, because it is unreasonable to expect that students will assimilate the material in the short six week summer semesters. We have experimental proof.