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Workload For Tenured And Tenure-Track Faculty (Policy 4560)

University Policy 4560

Download a Printable Version of Policy 4560

Effective Date

September 2006

Last Revision Date

January 2020

Responsible Party

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, (208) 426-1202

Scope and Audience

This policy applies to all tenured and tenure-track faculty.

Given the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Faculty Evaluation Procedural Appendix was approved in December, 2020, to provide procedural guidance for individuals and committees regarding performance evaluation during any period of time that has been designated an “affected term.” Accordingly, “[a]ll forms of Faculty performance evaluation that include an Affected Term within the review period shall be subject to the procedural adjustments described” in the Procedural Appendix. These adjustments include post-hoc workload adjustments. This Appendix has the force of policy.

To date, the following semesters have been declared affected terms:

  • Spring/Summer/Fall 2020
  • Spring/Summer/Fall 2021
  • Spring 2022

Supervisors and faculty reviewers must apply the principles for evaluation outlined in the Appendix for all faculty during those periods, no subsequent reviewer may change them.

1. Policy Purpose

To establish University-wide policies and procedures governing the assignment of workload for members of the tenured and tenure-track faculty who occupy full-time positions in academic departments, have academic rank, and are eligible for tenure.

2. Policy Statement

Professional expectations of all faculty members include teaching, scholarship, and service. While advising is generally integrated into all of these activities, any workload assigned for specific advising duties, such as undergraduate advising coordinator, shall be placed in the category of service.

The distribution of effort amongst teaching, scholarship, and service may vary amongst faculty members and semesters. However, the distribution of effort should always balance the scholarly and service interests of individual faculty members with their responsibility to deliver academic programs of high quality. This variation in the distribution of faculty effort is desirable because it allows optimization of faculty contributions to deliver high-quality academic programs.

3. Definitions

3.1 Clinical Course

A course taught in a clinic, K-12 classroom, office, courtroom, field camp, or similar setting, with an emphasis on the practice of professional skills under the supervision of a University-authorized preceptor.

3.2 ‘Faculty’ or ‘Faculty Members’

Members of the tenured and tenure-track faculty (as defined in University Policy 7000 – Position Definitions) who occupy full-time positions in academic departments, have academic rank, and are eligible for tenure.

3.3 Lecture Course

An established on-campus course consisting entirely of class meetings devoted to the presentation and discussion of course content and student assignments.

3.4 Scholarship

All forms of research and creative activity carried out by a faculty member.

3.5 Peer Review

Designates any discipline-specific factors used in determining whether the scholarly value of a particular scholarly product is academically or professionally noteworthy.

4. Responsibilities and Procedures

4.1 General Distribution Requirements

a. Baseline professional expectations for all faculty members include teaching, service, and peer-reviewed scholarly activities. Unless otherwise defined in college or department-specific workload policies, the standard teaching assignment is three, 3-credit courses per semester (3-3 load), which is generally equivalent to 60% of the total faculty workload. The remaining workload is generally allotted to scholarship and service.

b. Departments must have a statement in their dean and provost-approved department or college workload policies (see Section 4.3.a.) regarding expected annual scholarly activity for faculty. That policy must contain guidelines for any variance from the standard teaching assignment outlined above. Any year-to-year variances in the workload of an individual faculty member may be justified through a variety of activities including, but not limited to, work with graduate students and administrative assignments, provided they are consistent with the department policy and are approved by the chair and dean.

4.2 Workload Value of Teaching, Scholarship, and Service Activities

4.2.1 Total Workload

The course load for an individual full-time faculty member may vary from the fall to spring semester of an academic year based on scholarly activity, service, and other needs of the department. The department chair and college dean must approve the annual distribution of course loads for faculty who deviate from the departmental standard teaching responsibility.

Below are guidelines for assigning workload to teaching activity. Workload value associated with scholarship and service activity shall be defined in the college and/or department workload documents. The percentage of workload assigned to teaching, service, and scholarship must sum to 100%.

4.2.2 Lecture Courses

A three-credit undergraduate lecture course is normally identical to one of the three courses assigned each semester. An adjustment (increase or decrease in units) may be used by a department to take into account additional factors that significantly impact effort, such as large enrollment, service learning requirements, hybrid or online delivery, or help from graduate assistants, provided such adjustments are outlined in college or department-specific workload policies.

4.2.3 Laboratory and Clinical Courses

A laboratory course generally has more contact hours than credit hours. The course load value assigned to laboratory and clinical courses shall be outlined in the dean and provost-approved department workload policies. Those values will vary with the number of contact hours and other factors. For example, the workload associated with laboratory courses vary with the nature and level of the course. The course load value assigned to laboratory and clinical courses should be consistent with that used to determine rates of pay for adjunct faculty, if applicable. If a specialized accrediting body places limits on the teaching of laboratory and clinical courses in a particular program, these limits must be respected by those college and department policies.

4.2.4 Other Courses

The University offers many undergraduate and graduate courses not easily classified as lecture, laboratory, or clinical courses. The course load value assigned to each of these types of courses is determined by each department, subject to constraints imposed by the policies of the department and college.

4.2.5 Graduate Culminating Activities

Effort expended by a faculty member on graduate culminating activities (e.g., thesis, project, dissertation) is included as part of the annual teaching assignment, but only to the extent the culminating activities are represented by registered academic credits. The course load value assigned to a graduate culminating activity shall be outlined in the department or college workload policy.

4.2.6 Departmental Administrative Assignments

Departmental administrative assignments (e.g., chair, director, coordinator) during the academic year are included in the service activities. The reduction of teaching assignments based on administrative assignments is determined by each department with the dean’s approval and subject to constraints imposed by the policies of the department and college.

4.3 Development of Workload Policies and Procedures within the Colleges and Departments

a. Each college and department is responsible for developing and maintaining a written workload policy that defines annual professional expectations and outlines the process for any variance from the standard teaching assignment defined in Section 4.2. College and department-specific workload policies must be approved by the college dean and provost, as well as any changes to such policies over time. There must be consistency within the hierarchy of policies and procedures. The department policies and procedures must be consistent with (and in some cases identical to) the college policies and procedures, and the college policies and procedures must be consistent with University policy.

b. At minimum, the policies and procedures developed by a department must require the following: (1) uniform application to all faculty members of the department; (2) for each faculty member, joint development (by the faculty member and department chair) of an annual written professional expectation document that is approved by the department chair and subject to review by the college dean; (3) linkage of the annual workload description to the annual faculty evaluation; and (4) definition of a mechanism for implementing workload modifications during the academic year as the need arises.

c. If the annual professional activities of an individual faculty member and/or collective faculty within a department/unit are inconsistent with this policy, the appropriate chair, dean, or provost will re-examine the professional expectations and bring them into conformity with this policy. Following this review, if necessary, adjustments will be made in resources to the department, in faculty compensation and/or in workload balance.

d. The faculty workload for a given academic year must be documented according to the guidelines in Section 4.6 and filed with the office of the dean prior to the start of the fall semester.

4.4 Workload Assignment in the Case of a Salary Buyout

As described in University Policy 6100 (Allocation and Distribution of Recovered Facilities and Administrative Costs), a faculty member can be paid (in whole or in part) by a sponsored project during an academic year under an arrangement known as “salary buyout.” In the case of a salary buyout, the professional expectations of the faculty member will remain in place for the academic year, but the workload distribution shall include a redistribution of professional activity based on the terms of sponsored project, and it may not be possible to meet the distribution requirements amongst teaching, scholarship, and service stated in Section 4.2. The total academic year salary of the faculty member paid by the sponsor must be consistent with the effort assigned to the sponsored project.

4.5 Exceptions

This policy does not apply to faculty members on sabbatical leave, military leave, family medical leave, or sick leave.

4.6 Guidelines for Documentation of Faculty Workload

a. Documentation of faculty workload assignments for the upcoming academic year must be submitted to the dean prior to the start of the fall semester. Such documentation shall include the following items:

a. The percent of total workload assigned to teaching, scholarship, and service.

b. An explanation for any teaching assignment that is lower than the standard assignment of three, 3-credit courses per semester.

c. The course designation and course load value assigned for each course taught, if available. If specific course assignments for the following year have not been made, this information should be submitted to the dean when it is available.

d. An indication if the course is team-taught with another member of the faculty.

Any subsequent adjustments to a faculty member’s assigned workload are subject to approval by the department chair and dean.

Revision History

December 2012; January 2020