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Summer Studies-Intersession Faculty Compensation

  • Responsible Office: Faculty Affairs, Office of the Provost
  • Current Approved Version: 06/07/2021
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose

In addition to offering courses during the fall and spring semesters, VCU provides opportunities for students to enroll in courses during summer and winter terms. These programs, Summer Studies and Winter Session, are part of the Division of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success.

Teaching assignments for Summer Studies and Winter Sessions are made by the schools and the colleges. Faculty contracts are prepared and issued by human resources associates in the offering departments. Courses are typically taught by 9-month and adjunct faculty appointed in a school or college. Compensation for teaching courses is outlined in this policy.

Please note that the specific procedures outlined in this policy pertain to standard academic credit hours. Faculty who teach non-academic/non-standard credits should defer to the compensation guidelines of their respective unit. Summer and intersession compensation for non-academic/non-standard credits must align with the compensation levels outlined in this policy, based on credit equivalencies.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Who Should Know This Policy

Faculty and personnel administrators are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.



The 11-day academic session spanning two weeks between fall and spring semesters.


The 3-week academic session between fall and spring semesters when the academic calendar can accommodate the duration.

Summer Studies

The 12-week academic session from mid-May to mid-August with class sessions ranging from three to eight weeks.

Winter Sessions

The academic term between fall and spring semesters that includes the Intersession and J-Term sessions.


The Office of the Provost officially interprets this policy in tandem with the Office of Summer Studies and Special Programs within the Division of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success. The Office of the Provost is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the Office of Summer Studies and Special Programs and the associate vice president for Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success.

Policy Specifics and Procedures

A. Compensation

  1. 9/10-month faculty:
    • Faculty on 9/10 month academic year appointments who teach courses during Summer Studies or Winter Sessions receive a salary that is proportionately equal to their primary contratual salary. As illustrated in the chart below, a faculty member teaching a three credit course must be paid 7 percent of the primary contractual salary (up to a maximum of $7,000 for three credits). Credits taught during the previous Winter Sessions are included in the nine-credit/21-percent limit. 
    • Credits% of Salary
      1 2.3%
      3 7.0%
      6 14.0%
      9 21.0%
    • Faculty will receive the percentage of their salary at the time of contract generation
    • It is recommended for faculty be compensated at 4.5 credits for a three-credit course with an enrollment over 60 students.
    • The minimum rate for faculty compensation will be $1,200 per credit or $3,600 per three-credit course.
    • Faculty on approved research grants or contracts or a combination of research or contract support, faculty grants-in-aid, or other university assignments may be paid up to a maximum of 1/3 of previous academic year’s salary when approved by the administrators concerned, usually the department chair, dean or supervisor. Total pay for summer employment shall not exceed 33.3 percent of the full-time academic year salary. Please see the Faculty Salary Administration Guidelines from the Office of the Provost.
    • Schools and departments may pay their faculty more than the required base pay at their discretion.
  2. All other employees providing summer or intersession instruction:
    • Summer and intersession instructors must be paid at least the minimum per-credit rate of $1,200 as established by the university. 
    • Adjuncts, graduate students, and hourlies, and any other non-benefit-eligible employees are limited to teaching 6 credits in the summer and cannot average more than 29 hours of work per week.
    • Schools and departments may pay more than the per-credit rate at their discretion.

B. Low Enrollment

In order to better manage course and classroom usage, the university has created enrollment minimums for courses. Courses must meet the following minimums in order for an instructor to receive full pay:

  • 100-200 level: 12 students
  • 300-400 level: 10 students Graduate level: 8 students
  1. 9/10-month faculty
    • It is recommended that 9/10-month instructors who have not reached the minimum enrollments in their Summer Studies or Winter Sessions be offered a prorated contract based on the number of students registered.
    • It is recommended that the pay be proportional to the minimum; for example, an instructor teaching a graduate class with seven students enrolled would receive 7/8 of their summer or winter salary for the course.
  2. All other employees providing summer or intersession instruction:
    • It is recommended that instructors be offered a per capita contract, or $123 per student per credit, up to the maximum compensation allowed for the class. In most cases, instructors will receive full pay at nine students.

C. Procedures

  1. Instructor responsibility:
    1. The summer employment agreement will be delivered electronically via DocuSign to the insructor who is required to sign it and return it within ten days to the departmental human resources associate.
    2. The instructor signing the contract is expected to personally fulfill the responsibilities of the contract and, should it become necessary for another person to teach the class for a portion of the contract, immediately notify the offering department so that appropriate contract adjustments may be made.
  2. Pay date information:
    • Summer paychecks are issued on the first and sixteenth of each month as in the regular academic year. If the instructor has direct deposit during the regular academic year, summer checks will be directly deposited as well. All new summer employees will be required to use direct deposit. Payroll and leave information will be available through Self Service Banner (SSB)—follow the link on the HR webpage at
  3. Appropriate summer loads:
    • VCU seeks to maintain a standard of excellence in compressed classes by holding as closely as possible to the one-credit-in-one-week limitation for both instructors and students during the summer.

Appropriate teaching loads may include:

6 credits in 5 weeks

9 credits in 8 weeks

3 credits in an occasional 2-week workshop

7 credits in 6 weeks

Inappropriate loads include:

9 credits in either 5 or 6 weeks

6 credits in either 3 or 4 weeks

3 credits in 1 week


There are no forms associated with this policy and procedures.

Related Documents

There are no related documents.

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

  • March 4, 2010 VCU Summer Studies/Intersession Faculty Compensation Policy
  • November 13, 2017 Summer Studies/Intersession: Faculty Compensation
  • June 7, 2021 Minor revisions.


There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.