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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Tenured Prof Refuses To Teach Summer Course Because Under-Enrollment Would Have Cut His Pay 43%

Inside Higher Ed, Professor Cancels Course Over Proposed Pay Cut:

A professor of biology at Youngstown State University canceled a summer course after finding out that the university planned to prorate his salary based on low enrollment, WKBN reported. The professor, Chet Cooper, reportedly said that “it was wrong for me to accept that kind of position given my expertise and my professional position at the university.” Cooper, whose now-canceled microbiology course was to have eight students instead of the required 15, wrote in an email to those enrolled, “The issue is that I adamantly refuse to teach this course for less than full pay. Due to contractual restrictions based upon enrollment, I would have to agree to teach the course for a 43 percent decrease in salary. As any faculty member knows, it is as much effort to teach eight students as it is 15.” ...

Ron Cole, university spokesperson, said in a statement that professors “volunteer to teach in the summer” and their pay “is above and beyond what they get paid for the regular nine-month academic year.” At the same time, he said, Cooper “did not do anything wrong. He absolutely has the right” not to teach in summer. Cole called such situations “unusual,” according to WKBN. No student reportedly needed the course to graduate.

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I guess this professor is ignorant of the fact that reduced summer enrollment means reduced money coming into the University to pay his summer salary.

Posted by: AnonLawProf | Jun 28, 2017 12:48:04 PM

I don't see a problem with this. I have refused to teach summer when the administration cut compensation. I wouldn't of made it all about me, but these are nine-month contracts.

To the opposite, I have taught summer when a group of students needed the course to graduate, but that was my choice.

Posted by: Dale Spradling | Jun 29, 2017 7:16:25 AM

It's only as much work to teach 8 as it is to teach 15 if you're using multiple choice tests or have TAs handling all your assessment.

Everyone who teaches a writing-based course knows it's roughly twice as much work to teach 15 students as it is to teach 8. And frankly, I'd say the last 7 essays are a lot more work to grade than the first 8.

Posted by: Derek Tokaz | Jun 29, 2017 8:40:32 AM