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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Buying Out Courses through Grants

faculty handbook

With the approval of their Chair, Dean, and the Vice Provost for Research, full-time faculty and Administrative faculty may “buy” release time (buy out) from their teaching and other academic and administrative responsibilities in order to work on sponsored projects during the academic year. Faculty in the Psychology Department cannot use buyouts to reduce teaching load below two courses per year. The Teaching Committee can grant exceptions to the two-course minimum. The terms of any buy-out have to be negotiated with the administration. Here are the guidelines the university follows:

Each full-time faculty member’s academic year includes six units of time from which they may buy out; each of the six units is equal to 1/6 of the faculty member’s academic year salary. Those six units include each course they teach, as well as research/scholarship and service. Each course is equal to one unit, and remaining units are defined by the Chair and Dean of the faculty member’s department and school. All six units are eligible for buy out with Chair, Dean and Vice Provost for Research approval.

Example: Faculty X in the Psychology Department teaches two courses each semester. Dr. X serves on the plagiarism committee and advises students; she also has time allotted to her research/scholarly activities—she’s currently writing a text book with a colleague. Based on this model, her units of time would likely break down as follows: 4 course units, 1 unit of service, and 1 unit of scholarship.

There are two categories for buyout: I. Full-time faculty requesting buyout from a course taught by a single faculty member or for a course that is team-taught; II. Administrative faculty seeking buyout of their administrative time.

I. Release time from courses taught by a single faculty member or a course that is team-taught:

Release time will not be granted for less than 1/6 of a faculty member’s academic year time for courses taught by a single faculty member. Release time from courses will be available only in multiples of 1/6 and partial buy out of a course will not be permitted. However, there may be circumstances where a researcher needs to buy out a portion of a unit beyond the initial 1/6 unit or units to meet—for example, the sponsor’s required level of effort. In instances were a portion of an additional unit or units is required, the unit(s) should be specified, (e.g., research/scholarship, service) and approval must be granted by the Vice Provost for Research.

In the case of a buyout for a course that is team-taught the faculty member should buy out only that portion of the course they would have been teaching. In addition to courses faculty may request release from any type of unit they wish (e.g., research/scholarship, service). To manage minimum teaching levels and other personnel issues, Chairs and Deans may negotiate these arrangements at the time of proposal. However, commitments made at the proposal stage and documented in the Internal Proposal Transmittal Form must be honored should an award be made.

Example: Dr. X is proposing a research grant to NSF. She would like to buy out of three courses in order to devote 50% of her effort to the project. The Chair of the Psychology Department needs his faculty to maintain a 1:1 teaching load, however, so he suggests Dr. X buy out of 2 course units, and her one service unit. They agree and document this on the Proposal Transmittal Form for future reference.

Buyout: 2 course units, 1 service unit = 3/6 or 50%

II. Administrative faculty, for example, Associate Deans, buying out of their administrative responsibilities:

Administrative faculty are contracted to spend a percentage of their time performing their administrative duties. If an Administrative faculty member wants to buyout some of this time it can be done as a percentage of their time and not necessarily in multiples of 1/6. If they are teaching and want to request a course buyout they must follow the guidelines of item I above.

Example: A full-time faculty member who is an Associate Dean contracted to spend 67% of his/her time engaged in administrative work and teaches two courses. The Associate Dean can request a buyout in a grant for 10% of administrative time during the calendar year. In addition if he/she requests a one course buyout he/she would need to request 1/6 of their academic year salary.