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Memorandum: Service Norms in SPS

The purpose of this memo is to set clear expectations for engagement in service activities for SPS faculty. This includes both tenure/tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty (e.g., clinicals, lecturers). This is an addendum to the SPS P&T guidelines and workload policy. Service is activities that are valued and essential to the sustainability of academic programs or professional fields, but that are not captured by teaching or research. Specific examples can be found in the SPS P&T guidelines. Program Leads (PLs) and Faculty Director(s) (FDs) may make service assignments as part of their administrative duties, but faculty are responsible for managing their service portfolios. The expectations outlined in this memo will be used to evaluate faculty service contributions and create equity in the distribution of service across faculty members; specifically, failure to align workloads or meet the expectations as outlined below may result in a rating of “does not meet expectations” on annual performance evaluations or in a workload adjustment plan.

Workload alignment

1.   It is expected that faculty workloads be representative of how faculty spend their time, in order to make fair and equitable evaluations of their performance and contributions to SPS. Faculty should be honest and diligent in accounting for their service contributions, and adjust their workload accordingly.

a. This may mean either taking on or giving up service responsibilities to match one’s workload assignment, or adjusting the percentage of one’s service workload to match one’s actual responsibilities.

b. Faculty whose service responsibilities may be misaligned with their workload should consult the FD(s) and their relevant PLs to discuss adjustments.

2. The standard workload in SPS includes 20% service, but some faculty may deviate from that. For a 20% service load across the year, the expected time allocation is roughly 8 hours per week (on average) spent on service-related activities.

a. This includes attending meetings, responding to emails, participating in discussions, and contributing to written reports (when applicable).

b. Note: Faculty will not be required to track time, but faculty should generally be aware that their service-related activities should be roughly 8 hours a week.

3. At least half of one’s service activities should be performed within SPS or as a representative of SPS to a University Committee (e.g., University Sabbatical committee or Undergraduate Curriculum Committee).  Although professional and community service are also valued, they should not represent the entire service load of a faculty member.

a. Exceptions to this may occur under special circumstances when faculty take on high profile positions for professional service, such as journal editors or organizing a conference. These exceptions are negotiated with FD(s) when the external service opportunity arises.

4. Advising theses or dissertations is NOT part of one’s service load.

a. Note that advising dissertations or theses is considered part of the teaching load for research-intensive faculty in SPS.

i. SPS faculty typically serve as chair/co-chair for two (2) to three (3) students and as a member of an additional three (3) to four (4) committees.



1. Faculty are expected to be engaged in service assignments.  The bare minimum includes regularly attending meetings, efficiently responding to emails, thoughtfully participating in discussions, and writing reports (when applicable) that improve and enhance the committee’s work.  All work should be done in a culture of respect and with a spirit of generosity towards others on the committee and the objective at hand. Faculty members should not “free ride” on the work of others.

a.  Note: Faculty are expected to respond to (or at least, acknowledge) any formal communication about service assignments within two (2) business days, and notify other committee members of planned meeting absences.

2. Faculty should regularly volunteer for service opportunities as they present themselves at program or school-levels.

a.  Please contact PLs or FD(s) to discuss open or upcoming service opportunities.

b.  Junior faculty should discuss their service engagement with their Mentoring Committees, and be sure to balance their service contributions with their progress towards tenure and/or promotion in other areas.  It is prefered that Junior service integrate closely with Research and Teaching objectives.

i. Tenured and/or senior faculty should consult with their Mentoring Committees (for Associates) or peers to determine appropriate service activities and workload balances.

c. Just as faculty with research in their workload are expected to keep up an active portfolio of research leading to new knowledge and discovery, faculty are similarly expected to cultivate and manage an active portfolio of service.  They should seek out service that aligns with their skills and expertise and they should manage professional development that enhances their ability to contribute. It is not solely the role of PLs or FD(s) to assign, allocate, or distribute service, although FD(s) reserve the right to evaluate and assess whether a faculty member’s service adequately meets expectations. The impetus is then on faculty members to seek out and engage in adequate service assignments or to adjust workloads accordingly.

3. It is also expected that faculty take on some leadership roles that are commensurate with their rank and experience as part of their service responsibilities. This may include chairing committees, setting agendas, writing reports, running meetings, or creating new initiatives. Faculty service portfolios should not be solely that of committee members or passive participants.

a. Expectations for leadership are higher for senior faculty. For example, Professors will chair more committees than Associates; Associates will begin more initiatives than Assistants. But overall, leadership in service is expected of senior faculty.

b. Committee chairs and faculty serving in other leadership positions should encourage compliance with these standards among their colleagues, and consult with PLs or FDs to address any issues that may arise.


Collegiality & Professionalism

1. Under all circumstances, faculty should treat each other with mutual respect. This includes engaging in civil discourse.

a. Note that the goal of collegiality here is to maintain civility, decorum, and an environment in which all faculty feel free to participate. Using bullying tactics, intimidation, ultimatums, passive aggressive behaviors, or any type of behavior that is disrespectful to one’s colleagues or that shut down disagreement are detrimental to collaboration. This includes digital behavior, such as deleting comments before others can read them or unprofessional behavior (tardiness, inactivity, disengagement) on Zoom or other virtual formats.

b. Service should be conducted in the spirit of improvement and progress towards achieving SPS’s mission and vision.  Additionally, faculty should work to make processes more equitable and inclusive so that they elevate new knowledge and better position our students and faculty for success in alignment with the University’s mission.

2. Collegiality and professionalism are also important to community-building and cultural maintenance within SPS. Both of which are built on mutual respect and collaboration. Faculty are expected to be part of the SPS community in positive and productive ways.

3. Faculty should also keep in mind power differentials that occur, particularly those between junior and senior faculty or with those holding administrative positions, and be careful not to use that power to intimidate those holding opposing ideas or alternative viewpoints. Faculty should also be cognizant of how service workloads and inequities are impacted by invisible service often associated with traditionally marginalized groups.

4. Faculty should work to mentor their peers into understanding professional and cultural norms within SPS and the University. This includes socializing junior faculty, as well as taking advantage of “teachable” moments and encouraging peers to be “good citizens” of SPS and the University.

5. Mentoring Committees should play an active role in coaching their mentees around the explicitly stated expectations within this memo, as well as the implicit cultural norms in academia generally and SPS specifically. This is particularly important for faculty associated with traditionally marginalized or underrepresented groups in academia.



1. Service engagement will be evaluated by the FD(s) in consultation with PLs as part of normal performance evaluation processes.

a. Compliance with the standards listed within this memorandum represents the minimum to achieve “meets expectations” on annual performance evaluations.

i. Note: Faculty will not receive “exceeds expectations” if they are not actively leading and directing service at the School and University level.

b. Workload adjustments may be utilized to redirect the effort allocation of those not contributing adequate service work to SPS.

c. Periodic surveys and assessments may be conducted to verify the conduct and behavior on service committees.

d. Faculty are not expected to police their colleagues’ behavior, but they should direct issues of non-compliance with these standards to committee chairs, PLs, or the FD(s).