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Passionate teachers fuel Boise State summer courses

Last summer was the first in eight years teaching at Boise State in which Mary Frances Casper didn’t have full attendance in one of her classes. Because of this, her class was prorated and she received half the pay for the same amount of work.

“Things were due in the fall and I needed the money but I didn’t have the option of canceling the class,” Casper said. “Two students needed it to graduate.”

During the summer many teachers rely on the extra income they receive from teaching these courses but it’s not the only reason they decide to devote their time.

“All the faculty are passionate about teaching,” Casper said. “They love their students and they love their classes; they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t.”

According to Regina Jenkins, director of the Summer Sessions program, summer compensation for full-time faculty is based on how much they earn during their 9-month contract year. Currently, full-time faculty earn 3 percent of their 9-month salary for every credit hour they teach. A faculty member who has a 9-month salary of $60,000 would get an additional $5,400 for every 3-credit class they teach in the summer.

If a department has an average of 20 students across all of their undergraduate classes, any course with at least 12 students is good to go at full pay. If a class has under 12 students enrolled, the chair of the department and the instructor can decide to prorate the pay (which is taking less pay for the class based off enrollment), or they may choose to cancel the class.

Last year the average number of students required was  12.

“That’s a big difference,” Casper said.

According to Casper, many of the communication classes available during the summer have a cap of 16 students due to classroom size, which makes the prospect of having a prorated class highly likely.

One of Capser’s fellow colleagues has already started to see the effects, canceling two courses this summer  and anticipating that her final two will be canceled as well. She has already planned to take up another teaching position somewhere else.

According to Rick Moore, chair of the Communication Department, Extended Studies runs all summer programs and they view it as a business.

“They can’t afford to offer a bunch of classes with four to five students in them,” Moore said.

Casper estimates that 80 percent of the work she puts in for one her classes is done before the class begins. The size of the class makes very little difference in the amount of work she puts in except for the amount of papers she has to grade.

Like her, many teachers care more about students more then money but this does not diminish from the fact that it it’s affecting their financial situation.

They are not obligated to instruct summer courses and may completely detach from the university once the summer begins; however, professors are required to complete research.

If an instructor absolutely feels that a course needs to be taught or wants to offer it anyway during the summer they must do it under a prorated basis.