Those larger schools are able to offer established faculty those lighter loads in no small part through the use of adjunct faculty. See Note 2.
[…] If those outside academe have a hard time understanding what goes on there, that is also because the practical details of academic life can vary greatly depending on both the type of university or college and the field in which an academic operates (and of course upon whether one is on the tenure track). Schools can range from teaching-heavy colleges (which would include both small private institutions and satellite campuses of state universities, as well as community colleges) where the average professor is expected to offer four or five courses a semester (and do all of her own grading) to the elite research universities where the load is usually two courses a semester—perhaps less, if the faculty member has special administrative responsibilities such as chairing a department or directing an institute—and where most of the grading is done by graduate students, as part of their apprenticeship before beginning t… […]
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