Unbalanced FTE Explained
At UO, we typically talk about a faculty member’s FTE in two different ways – FTE per term and annual FTE. For most faculty, these are the same. A faculty member on an annual 1.0 FTE contract will have a 1.0 FTE in each term. Some faculty, however, have less than 1.0 FTE, and this can lead to them working an “unbalanced” schedule, where their term FTE does not match their annual FTE.
The most common unbalanced schedule is a faculty member who teaches only in one term. If that faculty member were to teach three classes in CAS in fall term, they would have a 1.0 FTE for fall term, but an annual 0.33 FTE.
We also have some faculty who work an unbalanced schedule throughout the year. For instance, they might teach 3 classes in fall, 1 class in winter, and 2 classes in spring. So, their term FTEs would be 1.0, 0.33, and 0.67, and their annual FTE would be 0.67.
This chart shows how FTE in a given term translates to annual FTE for 12-month and 9-month faculty, respectively:
|TERM FTE||ANNUAL FTE|
|TERM FTE||ANNUAL FTE|
Clearing Up Confusion
The administration recently assigned contracts with an annual 0.55 FTE to many Career faculty members who were used to having an annual 1.0 FTE contract. This has created a new situation for these faculty, leading to some confusion. This confusion has been compounded because it looks as though many units plan to assign faculty an unbalanced schedule, at least at the beginning of the year.
For instance, many of our 12-month library colleagues were just renewed on contracts with an annual FTE of 0.55, but they have been told that they will be working 1.0 FTE this summer. This means that they will use an annualized 0.25 of their annual 0.55 FTE contracts in one term. The administration can spread their remaining 0.3 of annual FTE out over the course of the rest of the year.
Some units who anticipate having full enrollment will also be forced to assign their 9-month instructional faculty to a full course load for the fall term. This would be a term FTE of 1.0, or 0.33 of an annual FTE.
Another way to think of this is in terms of dollars. If a faculty member has a base salary of $50,000 and the administration gives them a contract with an annual 0.55 FTE, they are promising to pay that faculty member $27,500 over the course of the year.
So, for our librarians, this summer, they will have a term FTE of 1.0 and work full time. They will be paid 25% of their annual salary for that term of work, or (using the $50,000 salary example above) $12,500 over the course of the summer. The administration will still owe them $15,000 for their work over the rest of the year, but no more than that.
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Frontloading vs. Increasing FTE
At this point, it is our understanding that the administration does not plan to increase annual FTE in these situations, but rather have these faculty working an unbalanced schedule. So, in both cases, the faculty who are assigned to work 1.0 FTE for a term are NOT receiving an increase to their annual FTE. Instead, the administration is effectively frontloading the FTE.
Instead of frontloading FTE, the administration could choose to increase the annual FTE of faculty contracts. We believe that the administration will eventually have to increase FTE for many of our colleagues. It is not feasible, for instance, for the librarians to use almost half of their annual FTE in summer and still have our libraries functioning for the rest of the academic year. There is nothing stopping the administration from raising library FTE now, except their desire to use the restoration of Career faculty as a bargaining chip in negotiations over wage cuts.
Of course, the effectiveness of their strategy is undercut by the fact that they need our labor. They need the librarians working full time all year – the library is already understaffed. As they anticipate assigning 9-month faculty to teach full course loads in fall, it is ridiculous to think that they would only need those faculty to teach two or so more classes all year. We have been urging the administration to deal fairly with faculty now and assign them realistic annual FTE given the particular situation they may be in, but so far the administration has refused.
As we prepare for bargaining this summer, restoring FTE to levels that match the work needed and fixing the Career contract system are our top goals.