Today I wanted to ask a simple, specific question: How does my salary relate to the amount of teaching that I do? Let’s take a look:
- I’m paid $105,000 per year, so with benefits I probably cost $150,000.
- Sabbaticals increase my cost by about 13%.
- An in-state student will pay $6500 in tuition for 26 credit hours of coursework during the 2012/2013 school year, or $250 per credit hour. A typical course is 3 or 4 hours and therefore costs $750 or $1000 to take.
- Putting these pieces together, my cost is equivalent to 680 credit hours of teaching per year.
In reality, I teach around 375 credit hours worth of courses in a typical year; definitely not enough to cover my salary. But what is the big picture? Here are a few other things to think about:
- My salary doesn’t come directly from tuition—it’s in the state budget, paid using tax revenue.
- Students who are not Utah residents pay approximately 3x more tuition.
- Grad student tuition is more expensive than undergraduate. However, a lot of grad students get tuition waivers.
- If I taught at an expensive private school, tuition would easily cover my salary. For example, a credit hour at Yale costs six times what it costs at Utah.
- Some professors teach quite a few more credit hours than I do, though many teach fewer.
- An instructor would typically teach many more credit hours than I do. Three of the four instructors employed by my department make less money than I do, but not by a lot.
- In a typical year, I bring in several times my salary in grants.
The interplay between state funds, tuition, and grants makes it hard to simply follow the money. This post doesn’t have a specific point to make, but I wanted to set the stage for a subsequent piece. State salaries such as mine are public information.