12- vs. 9-month appointment?

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12- vs. 9-month appointment?

Postby El » Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:30 am

Hi all,

I am currently in negotiations for an assistant professor position, and one of the offers is for a 12-month appointment. I was under the impression that most faculty appointments are for 9 months. Can someone shed some insight into the benefits and/or downsides of a 12-month appointment (compared to a 9-month appointment)?

Thanks in advance. I always appreciate the expertise and range of wisdom in this forum.


12- vs. 9-month appointment?

Postby Rob » Tue Jan 04, 2005 12:09 pm

In some universities....if you have a 12 month appt you might not be able to supplement your salary with grant monies during the summer months whereas you can certainly do that during the 3 month "summer" that you would have in a 9 month appointment. In effect, you might be able to incerase your salary far more with a 9month appt + your own external grant support than you would accordingly during a 12 month appt.

Additionally, you would likely wind up with more academic responsibilites during the 3 month summer if the institution is proviing those additional 3 months of salary. You might in this case be required to teach in the summer, advise, have committee work which can decrease your freedom to use these valuable 3 months to dedicate to you research/group.

Best of luck.

12- vs. 9-month appointment?

Postby Sal » Tue Jan 04, 2005 9:41 pm

On the other hand, if it's mostly a teaching college and you generally plan to teach in the summer anyway, you *might* get more money than from a comparable 9 month contract. Many CC's and teaching colleges pay faculty who elect to teach in the summer at their adjunct rate, which is a significant pay cut compared to the tenure track faculty rate.

12- vs. 9-month appointment?

Postby El » Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:01 am

Thanks for the follow-ups and insights. I'm in research and the positions are in research-oriented schools. The school with the 12-mo appt. assured me (though of course, I'll get it in writing) that I will not have to teach in the summer months. So is the lack of opportunity/need to prospect for summer support the only "pro" for the 12-month position? Inversely, is the lack of ability to add to my salary during the summer the only "con" for the 12-month position?

Again, thanks for any insight!


12- vs. 9-month appointment?

Postby Andy » Wed Jan 05, 2005 11:09 am


The above comments are good.

I hope that the 12 mo. v 9 mo. issue is not the main issue on which you will decide about a faculty position. FAR more important are the support you'll get from the university directly, the research environment, and your ability to bring in grant money with the students, postdocs, and other resouces available at each school.

You'll have to "prospect" for support whether it's a 9 or 12 month position. In real world scenarios, the 12 month versus 9 month distinction is often just a difference in accounting.

Best of luck. Sounds like you have some good options.


12- vs. 9-month appointment?

Postby Rob » Wed Jan 05, 2005 12:00 pm

I agree fully with Andy. If they have assured you no summer teaching, then assuming that service requirements are not a big burden during those months, you are getting a good deal.

It frees up the overall direct costs of your grant applications (which are frequently capped based on award mechanism) for you to request $ for associates, post-docs etc. This can translate into a very productive opportunity for you.

Andy is again correct that you will need to hussle to get grant support should be nice knowing that it appears, salary wise, that your institution offers a nice supportive environment and that they do not expect you to fund your own summer salary directly.

Good luck

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