University of Wisconsin Oshkosh college deans and administrators have long been aware of the $12,000 statutory limit on “overload” time and payments and have worked hard in challenging times to keep faculty and staff beneath that cap while fulfilling our academic mission. University of Wisconsin System data detailing overloads in the calendar year 2012 differs from our own, for technical and interpretative reasons. Regrettably, our campus’ analysis still shows 13 instances of overload payments beyond the $12,000 statutory limit for this past year. These amounted to total overages of approximately $32,900, with the individual overages averaging $2,530.
These payments were made for work done by faculty and staff members. Nevertheless, we recognize any overages beyond the $12,000 limit violate the state statute and are unacceptable. Moving forward, we are rededicating ourselves, in colleges and departments throughout our institution, to better track and code faculty and staff overload work time, ending any and all violations.
Our analysis shows that, in almost all cases, overload compensation beyond the $12,000 statutory limit involved employees teaching extra classes as last-minute replacements due to retirements and/or colleague departures. In some cases the overages involved faculty with specialized areas of teaching expertise that could not be addressed by others on our campus. All of these faculty and staff are helping provide seats that have already been promised to students, and this service is vital to our mission to ensure students achieve success and timely graduation. Our intention was not to violate a state statute. Our purpose was, and is, to educate and propel our students on educational journeys free from delay or disruption.
While limited in use, overload compensation has given UW Oshkosh and other UW System institutions a degree of flexibility to best serve students in a time of challenging fiscal conditions and a fluid, ever-changing workforce. And while the statute that sets the $12,000 limit is set to expire in less than four months, we recognize our obligation to honor the law and appropriately use any and all compensation tools given us to carry out our academic mission.
Lane Earns, Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs