6 Contemplating the Prospect
school is a money-making proposition for most universities because
summer salaries are low relative to the amount of credit hours gener-
ated. This is especially true of mathematics departments. Also the
basic upkeep of the buildings and the pay for the support staff is al-
ready taken care of by the general fund. So a dean is more likely to be
able to dip into the summer budget to reward you than to pay you a
big academic year salary. Be careful though. The dean may not have
much control over the summer school budget; chancellors, provosts,
and presidents know a good thing when they see it. Also some schools
do not pay fringe benefits on summer school salaries; in that case it
may take $1.30 in the summer to equal a dollar in the academic year.
If you have been active in research, getting grants on a regular
basis, that may not be the case after you become a head. If you are
conscientious about the job, you may not have as much time for your
own research as you formerly did. Grant money may disappear. There
is also an assumption that department heads disengage from research
(more on that later), and a granting agency and your peer evaluators
may look at you differently than before you became an administrator.
So get a little income during the summer so that that raise you got
doesn't evaporate if you lose the grant. And keep the formal duties
that are required of you during the summer to a minimum so you can
use the extra time you have for research and scholarship. You need
it, and it's important for your success both as a mathematician and
as a head.
There is also the possibility of trying for a 12-month appointment.
This isn't impossible. I don't know how many have this. It sounds
good; after all, suppose you add N kilobucks to your academic salary
and then give yourself three additional paychecks. This is serious
money. There may be a price to pay, however. This really puts you
in the category of "administrator". Are you ready for it? It will be
harder to return to the faculty in the future; like most human beings
you will become accustomed to those three extra checks and will feel it
if you have to give them up. Also, if you have a research or educational
grant, it is likely to be the case that you will not be able to have the
grant pay you a summer salary. Finally 12-month appointments have
rules attached to them that faculty members are not used to. You
have to more closely account for your time, the number of holidays
is prescribed, etc. If you want to stay home and work in private on
your latest book, that may not be possible unless you use one of your
holidays.
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