EHHD Course Load Reduction Policy [8 May 2024]

The following policy governs course load reductions paid for with grant funds. EHHD tenure‐track faculty members are expected to contribute to the teaching mission of the university, and will teach at least two classes per year (or the equivalent). This limits the number of course reductions that faculty may include in their budgets. Course load reductions also depend on programmatic instructional needs and priorities as well as the relative difficulty of finding a competent instructor to replace the faculty member for any given course.


  1. Faculty who are planning a significant grant proposal for a project that is likely to require a faculty member’s time in excess of the established research portion of the workload (typically 30‐40%), may include the cost of a course load reduction if allowed by the granting agency.
  2. Plans for course load reductions should be stated and explained by the Primary Investigator (PI) in Appendix D of the EHHD Letter of Intent (LOI) and discussed with their Department Head in advance of a grant submission. If the grant is funded, salary commitments and plans will be discussed in the grant start-up meeting among all relevant parties (Department Head, Program Leader as needed, Accounting, OSP).
  3. Course releases depend on whether sufficient grant funds have been budgeted and are available for this purpose and the faculty member can be replaced by a competent instructor in the appropriate academic field.
  4. MSU President and Provost have established a minimum teaching load that faculty must meet is one course per semester (or two in an academic year) so course releases must take this into account.
  5. In EHHD, the cost of a 3‐credit course load reduction is ten percent (10%) of the faculty member’s AY salary (plus corresponding benefits), or a minimum of $8,148 (FY25), whichever is higher. For assistance with accurately calculating benefits, the PI should consult with the EHHD Department’s FSS Representative (or HR Benefits Calculator + 10% for the leave pool) as the grant budget is being prepared. An example of a course load reduction cost calculation is provided in the box below to help PIs conceptually understand the procedure.
  6. This policy applies only to course load reductions during the academic year and is not applicable to summer salary.
  7. The difference between 10% of the faculty member's base and the charge by the department for the replacement instructor (if less than their 10% of base) may be used toward Incentive Program for Researchers (IPR) pay-outs.

Any exceptions to this policy should be discussed with the Department Head, Associate Dean of Research Development, and be approved by the EHHD Dean. Note that some internal MSU grants are specifically designed to provide faculty members with a course load reduction and may not be subject to the 10 percent formula specified above. Faculty are encouraged to work with their Department Head through the annual review process to explore options for adjusting the workload distribution to accommodate grant and research aspirations and activities while taking into account programmatic teaching needs and priorities.


Course Load Reduction Cost Calculation Example

A tenure‐track faculty member was just awarded a 1‐year grant from an external funder that specifies a 20% effort during the school year.

  • She and her Department Head agree that she will have a 6‐credit course reduction
  • Her AY (10‐month) salary of $85,000
  • Each faculty member’s benefits are different based upon the actual benefit choices selected by the individual. This faculty member’s benefits rate is 43% of her base
  • Her grant must replace the 20% of her salary and accompanying benefits formerly paid by the department for her work effort on the
  • The amount of funds necessary for this course load reduction is as follows:

o $85,000 x 0.2 (20%) = $17,000 in salary, plus

o $17,000 x 0.43 (43% benefits rate) = $7310

o Thus a total of $24,310 must be budgeted in the grant for the faculty member to have a course load reduction of two (3‐credit) courses.


Course Load Reduction Worksheet

To initiate a course load reduction in the planned semester, fill out the worksheet and provide a signed copy to your departmental Business Operations Manager in order to ensure you are paid by the grant and everyone concerned has a record of the agreement.