Adjusting Assigned Workloads and Documenting Faculty Work During COVID-19
April 24, 2020
The Office of the Provost has assembled the following suggestions for faculty members on documenting the effect of the pandemic on their teaching, their scholarly and creative productivity, and their service activities. This document is divided into two parts:
- Adjusting Faculty Workload Assignments for Spring 2020
- Suggestions for Documenting Faculty Activities During the Pandemic
These suggestions are intended to assist faculty and supervisors should they need to “document and describe any productivity disruptions experienced in enough detail to allow future reviewers to make informed and appropriate judgments within the evaluative context at hand.” More specifically, they are intended to address two of the measures listed on the March 20, 2020, memo, “Measures to Address Impacts of Pandemic on Faculty Career Progress”: “Review of future promotion cases; annual performance evaluations” and “Student Course Evaluations.”
- Benefit-Eligible Faculty: Collect evidence of faculty activities during pandemic measures; discuss options for workload adjustments with supervisors (per guidelines below)
- Department Chairs/Heads/Directors: Adjust workloads in Faculty 180 per guidelines below:
|Type of Faculty||Workload Adjustments||Initiator|
|Pre-tenured faculty||Option to make adjustments in F180 during Spring 2020||Faculty member or supervisor*|
|Faculty applying for Full Professor in Fall 2020||Option to make adjustments in F180 during Spring 2020||Faculty member or supervisor*|
|All other benefit-eligible faculty||Chair and faculty member will adjust Spring 2020 actual workload during the 2020 annual evaluation cycle||Supervisor|
*Supervisor will contact David Weaver (firstname.lastname@example.org), Office of Institutional Research, to make changes to 2019 evaluations.
Faculty are advised to consult with their department chair/head/director for guidance on prioritizing their responsibilities during pandemic conditions. Those in positional and decision-making authority, including department chairs, directors, and senior faculty should communicate to colleagues preparing for tenure, promotion, and annual performance reviews your commitment to “hold faculty members harmless relative to reduced activities and productivity directly attributable to pandemic conditions.”
Faculty workloads for Spring 2020 should be adjusted to reflect how effort was redirected from one area to another. For example, most faculty will have redirected their efforts from research/creative activity to teaching after March 16, 2020, when the university shifted all classes to online or remote delivery. That redirected effort should be reflected in the faculty member’s annual performance evaluation, as illustrated below:
|Planned Spring 2020||ACTUAL Spring 2020||Explanation|
|Teaching||60%||95%||If the faculty member’s time devoted to teaching increased because of the move to remote/online instruction, for example, the workload percentage should be reflected here.|
|Research||20%||0%||If the faculty member’s scholarly/creative activity was suspended and/or time was taken away from projects in process, for example, the workload percentage should reflect that.|
|Service||20%||5%||If the faculty member has had to let go service activities, for example, the workload percentage should be reflected here.|
Workload should be adjusted to represent what the faculty member was able to accomplish under their particular circumstances, not what might otherwise have been expected under normal circumstances.
Pre-tenured faculty and faculty who will be applying for promotion to Full professor in Fall 2020 have the OPTION to request that their Spring 2020 workload be adjusted in Faculty 180 to reflect how efforts have been redirected as a result of COVID-19. These changes can be made now, during Spring 2020, if those faculty request them. Chairs/supervisors will be able to access completed performance evaluations for the calendar year 2019 to make these adjustments. Chairs/supervisors must contact David Weaver (email@example.com) in IR to make these changes.
However, workload adjustments for all other benefit-eligible faculty will be made during the 2020 annual evaluation cycle (in Spring 2021), as has been our practice. All faculty are advised to collect relevant artifacts and evidence of their activities during the COVID-19 pandemic (see suggestions below) and enter them in Faculty 180 later, when time permits.
The suggestions below are NOT mandatory prescriptions, but instead, some initial ideas about the kinds of materials and activities faculty might want to use to capture how they adapted to the unprecedented and rapidly changing conditions of the pandemic. During the Spring 2020 term, we are encouraging faculty to collect materials, and then in Fall 2020 we will offer opportunities for written reflection and preparation for review processes like tenure and promotion.
Not only do we have a unique opportunity to highlight the innovative work faculty are doing right now, but we should also seize this moment to document the range and diversity of our scholarly and creative work, particularly in response to the pandemic.
Doing so serves at least two purposes: 1) preparing for future evaluations (annual evaluations, tenure and promotion, etc.), and 2) building a robust catalog of faculty work that may, in some cases, fall within the criteria for one or more of Ernest Boyer’s types of scholarship (as defined in our tenure and promotion policy, University Policy 4340): the scholarship of discovery, which is our traditional model, the scholarship of application and engagement, of integration, and of teaching and learning (examples of each model are included in the suggestions below). In addition to highlighting the scholarship of discovery, we want to recognize now, more than ever, the vital role that the other scholarly and creative domains contribute to communities within and outside of the university. (See Examples of Evidence for Each of the Boyer Models for Scholarship for definitions, types of evidence, and examples from Boise State faculty)
The central question, however, is how departments define and value (or might) different types of scholarship and creative activity, depending on how well the Boyer model is understood. To advance our shared understanding of the Boyer model, we will draw upon the catalog of Boyer scholarship/creative activity in #2 above to engage campus faculty in further defining how Boise State implements and evaluates it. These future conversations will advance the university’s efforts to diversify our scholarly/creative portfolio.
This list is NOT prescriptive, only suggestive.
During the spring semester, try to collect the materials that are related to COVID-19 without worrying about what may or may not be relevant. We will offer workshops in the fall to reflect on the materials and how to represent the work. In the next few months. Faculty 180 will have an activity classification for COVID-19 so faculty can more easily identify the work that was affected by the pandemic. Faculty with tenure-clock extensions are encouraged to collect materials, as well, even if this time period will not be considered during tenure and promotion review.
This document is a list of possible examples of what you might collect. This list is NOT prescriptive, only suggestive.
- Emails, documents from the President, Provost, Dean, Department Chair, etc. about the COVID-19 measures university personnel were asked to take
- Emails, documents related to changes in tenure and promotion policies and/or processes, tenure clock extensions, and so on
- Optional: documentation/description of time taken away from work due to illness (self or family), childcare, or other disruptions in one’s personal situation due to COVID-19 measures (for additional information about what to do if you or someone in your family falls ill, please see https://www.boisestate.edu/hrs/)
We recognize that the transition to remote instruction has required faculty to rapidly learn and implement new teaching technologies and innovate in their instruction in multiple ways. This represents a substantial development of curricular materials by the faculty. Faculty are encouraged to note these educational innovations and development of new materials in the teaching sections of Faculty 180 as evidence of teaching effectiveness.
Student Course Evaluations: Faculty have the option to include or exclude student course evaluations for Spring 2020 in evaluation materials. If they choose to exclude them, faculty “are expected to produce a document that reflects on the challenges and opportunities of the altered teaching environment. For example, they might write a narrative explaining how the move online was accomplished, how student expectations changed, and what new skills or other insights regarding pedagogy were gained as a result. This document would stand in place of the evaluations in any subsequent review where the evaluations would appear.”
Examples that fall under teaching might include:
- Teaching materials: (suggestion: start with three of the below)
Note changes in the teaching you were engaged in before the COVID-19 measures and then after:
- Drafts of syllabi or schedule: before and after moving to an online or remote delivery model
- Assignments, exams, quizzes, other assessments: before and after moving to remote instruction
- New teaching methods, new ways of assessing learning, new approach to grading implemented as a result of the change to remote instruction
- Any other teaching materials developed to accommodate the new delivery model and support student learning in the new environment
- Recordings of instruction (without violating student privacy)–maybe a University YouTube channel?
- Notes on the challenges faced in moving to remote instruction during the pandemic
- Description of situational factors that affect course design/delivery, documents showing how the instructor may have collected information about students’ situation.
- Professional development:(suggestion: start with one or two of the below)
- Workshops, webinars, consultations, other structured learning opportunities for moving to remote instruction
- Research, sources of ideas for teaching online
- Brief description of the revisions made to the course
- Accommodations to new delivery model and disruptions to students’ lives and learning environments
- Student learning: (suggestion: start with one or two of the below)
- Examples of student work
- Student feedback
- Ask students to reflect on the differences they notice in terms of learning and delivery in the course before and after it went online (embed a question in the course evaluations?)
Note changes in the types of service you were engaged in before the COVID-19 measures and then after:
- Types of service, approximate time commitment
- Additions or changes to amount/type of service activities
- Activities that were repurposed/created to address issues related to COVID-19, etc.
Note changes in the types of scholarly or creative activity you were engaged in before the COVID-19 measures and then after. Note the nature of the disruptions (e.g., access to library materials, restrictions for going into the field, cessation of work with human subjects, inability to present or perform accepted work, delayed publication, etc.):
- See Examples of Evidence for Each of the Boyer Models for Scholarship
- Refer to your discipline’s style guide for listing work that was interrupted by COVID-19 (e.g., https://apastyle.apa.org/blog/canceled-conferences)
Potential Summer workshops or sessions: The Office of the Provost will collaborate with other units in Academic Affairs to develop opportunities for faculty to reflect on the work during this time and to prepare for tenure/promotion review, annual evaluations, etc.
Statement on Equity and Teaching During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Tenure for the Common Good)
ASA Statement Regarding Faculty Review And Reappointment Processes During The Covid-19 Crisis (American Sociological Association)
- African Studies Association
- American Academy of Religion
- American Anthropological Association
- American Association of Geographers
- American Association of Philosophy Teachers
- American Educational Research Association
- American Folklore Society
- American Historical Association
- American Musicological Society
- American Philosophical Association
- American Political Science Association
- American Psychological Association
- American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
- American Society for Theatre Research
- American Studies Association
- Archaeological Institute of America
- Association for Asian Studies
- Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
- Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies
- Association for Theatre in Higher Education
- The Council of Writing Program Administrators
- Dance Studies Association
- Executive Committee of the Association for Jewish Studies
- German Studies Association
- International Center of Medieval Art
- Latin American Studies Association
- Law and Society Association
- Linguistic Society of America
- Medieval Academy of America
- Middle East Studies Association
- Modern Language Association
- National Communication Association
- National Council of Teachers of English
- National Council on Family Relations
- National Council on Public History
- Organization of American Historians
- Rhetoric Society of America
- Society for Cinema & Media Studies
- Society for Classical Studies
- Society for Ethnomusicology
- Society for Music Theory
- Society for Personality and Social Psychology
- Society for Research in Child Development
- Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study
- Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics
- Society of Architectural Historians
- Society of Biblical Literature
- Sociologists for Women in Society
- World History Association
 Thanks to Pei-Lin Yu, Kelly Myers, and David Wilkins for initiating and collaborating with the Assistant Provost for Academic Leadership and Faculty Affairs in creating this document.
 Review of future promotion cases; annual performance evaluations: Supervisors and other decision-makers shall hold faculty members harmless relative to reduced activities and productivity directly attributable to pandemic conditions. . . . This principle applies to annual performance evaluation, progress to tenure, and promotional review. It is incumbent on the faculty member and supervisor to document and describe any productivity disruptions experienced in enough detail to allow future reviewers to make informed and appropriate judgments within the evaluative context at hand.
Student Course Evaluations: All faculty members, regardless of rank, will be shielded from the impacts of negative teaching evaluations attributable to pandemic conditions and their consequences. Faculty will be given the option to include or exclude their student course evaluations from Spring 2020 in future performance evaluations (including tenure and promotion processes).
If a faculty member chooses to exclude those evaluations, they are expected to produce a document that reflects on the challenges and opportunities of the altered teaching environment. For example, they might write a narrative explaining how the move online was accomplished, how student expectations changed, and what new skills or other insights regarding pedagogy were gained as a result. This document would stand in place of the evaluations in any subsequent review where the evaluations would appear.