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MLA Recommendation on Minimum Per-Course Compensation for Part-Time Faculty Members

Recognizing that many variables enter into determinations of salary, the MLA believes that part-time faculty members should be compensated pro rata to salaries for full-time faculty members performing similar duties, whether by a per-course, per-credit-hour, or full-time-equivalent percentage. The following factors should be considered in determining compensation increases above annual minimums, as reflected in an appropriate salary schedule:

  • Instructional workload: number of contact hours, class size, advising, and method for evaluating student work and assigning grades (e.g., labor-intensive reading and commenting on student papers)
  • Ancillary duties, including but not limited to: recruitment; supervisory role and responsibilities; research, publication, other forms of professional development, and curriculum development
  • Length of academic term (i.e., semester, quarter, trimester, or other system)
  • Years of experience and professional degrees or other qualifications
  • Health and retirement benefits: If benefits are not available to the instructor, an equivalent add-on premium or stipend should be added to the base salary to compensate for lack of benefits.
  • Contracts or appointments: Higher than minimum rates of compensation should apply in cases where contracts or appointments are for one year or less and not renewable, have no provision for a career path consisting of a sequence of appointments leading to longer-term contracts, or (after a reasonable probationary period) provide no rights to due process procedures prior to termination.

Following a review of best practices in various institutions, the MLA recommends minimum compensation for 2014–15 of $7,230 for a standard 3-credit-hour semester course or $4,820 for a standard 3-credit-hour quarter or trimester course. These recommendations are based on a full-time load of 3 courses per semester (6 per year) or 3 courses per quarter or trimester (9 per year); annual full-time equivalent is thus $43,380.

If compensation rates were specifically tied, pro rata, to the MLA’s 2014–15 recommendation of a $47,370 minimum annual salary for an entry-level full-time instructor, these rates would be $7,890 for a standard 3-credit-hour semester course and $5,260 for a standard 3-credit-hour quarter or trimester course. The MLA’s recommendation for the minimum salary for an entry-level full-time instructor in English and foreign languages is calculated on the basis of averages of salaries reported annually for these fields by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR).

April 2014


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© 2015 Modern Language Association. Last updated 04/25/2014.