Faculty Load

"Faculty load" refers to a faculty member's combined responsibilities in the areas of Teaching, Research, and Service. Given the Strategic Goals of the College of Education, all tenure track faculty members are expected to assume some responsibility in all three areas. The expectations of work for the attainment of tenure and promotion are described in the University's manual of operations and in a separate College policy. This load policy is consistent with those expectations, but does not specifically address the typical evaluative criteria and judgments of excellence associated with tenure and promotion decisions.

The load policy is meant to be flexible. It does not prescribe an exact pattern of work for each faculty member, nor does it prescribe exact remedies for perceived load inequities.

Normative Expectations

The normative expectation for each tenure track faculty member in the College of Education is that work effort will be distributed so that approximately forty percent of their time is devoted to teaching, forty percent of their time is devoted to research and scholarship, and twenty percent of their time is devoted to service. (DEOs may assume automatic leeway of 10 percent from any of these point norms in specifying or using norms in their own departments.) We will subsequently refer to this distribution of effort as the 40-40-20 rule or norm, listed, for easy reference, below:

  • Teaching: 40 percent of effort
  • Research and Scholarship: 40 percent of effort
  • Service: 20 percent of effort

The Use of Norms

This normative scheme formalizes a set of expectations already in place in the College of Education, whereby work assignments are developed among faculty and their DEOs, yearly merit evaluations are made for faculty salary raises, and other periodic reviews of faculty performance are completed. It is recognized that work effort cannot be measured precisely, since no one clocks the hours spent by faculty in particular activities. However, these guidelines are useful for establishing general targets and ranges of work effort that faculty can use to gauge their own priorities and the College can use to monitor its own work and account for the contributions of its faculty. These normative and minimum expectations are no guarantee of merit pay increases or promotion. Ultimately the College is responsible for faculty teaching assignments, but in practice delegates much of that responsibility for arranging assignments to DEOs. DEOs, in consultation with program coordinators and faculty, are expected to implement the following principles in coordinating faculty members' teaching assignments:

  1. Teaching
    1. The normative teaching load of a faculty member includes regular classroom instruction, student advising and thesis direction. For some faculty it also includes supervision of field experiences and clinical supervision.
    2. The baseline expectancy is that a faculty member will teach two formal courses per semester totaling 5-7 semester hours. Ordinarily these will be two different courses requiring separate preparations. Enrollment caps on courses must be approved and may be adjusted by DEOs.
    3. In addition to formal courses, a regular teaching load will also include some combination of the following: supervising student teachers, directing courses having sections taught by TAs, organizing and supervising practica, directing independent study courses, and directing students in thesis writing. Seminars that involve considerable direct instruction (planning, lectures, paper reading, etc.) by the instructor are considered equivalent to a regular class.

      Tenured faculty appointed in programs with Masters and Ph.D. thesis requirements are expected to advise graduate students and supervise theses on a regular basis. Over a three-year period, faculty are expected to supervise to completion a reasonable number of satisfactory theses with an absolute minimum of at least one in each three-year period.

    4. Each faculty member on the College payroll is expected to teach at least one formal course each academic year, regardless of their other responsibilities. Administrative appointments, grant buyouts of teaching assignments, and other agreements (see, for example, portfolio contracts) may exempt an individual from this requirement for no more than one year.
    5. Required courses and critical electives with demonstrated viable enrollments will be staffed first with faculty (best) qualified to teach them. It is expected that faculty across all ranks will teach such courses.
    6. Faculty are expected to teach courses with viable enrollments. Low enrollment courses necessary for students' programs of study will be scheduled infrequently enough to ensure viable enrollments without causing undue hardship on students' degree progress. At the discretion of the DEO, faculty may on occasion and on a trial basis develop and offer new courses that initially have low enrollments. Such courses must eventually demonstrate their viability (value to students as well as adequate enrollments) to be considered as a contribution to the faculty member's regular teaching load. Setting caps on course enrollments is the responsibility of the DEO. Courses that are required to fill the College’s Research Requirements may not be capped at fewer than 25 students.
    7. Courses that rely heavily on guest speakers with few contributions by the faculty member may be considered as less than a full course for calculations of load. Two faculty members who team-teach courses will normally receive a one-half course credit for their teaching.
    8. If a DEO believes that a tenured faculty member has an excessive load of teaching activities, s/he may recommend to the faculty member to consider a portfolio contract, so that the additional teaching responsibilities are formally recognized.
  2. Research, Scholarship, and Creative Work
    1. Faculty are expected to be active in conducting research, engaging in scholarship, and/or producing creative work which extends the knowledge base of the faculty member's discipline, contributes to the improvement of professional practice, or produces a professionally worthwhile product or tool.
    2. It is also expected that a faculty member will complete and publish at least one major scholarly article per year (or its equivalent). In addition (but not in lieu of), faculty will be expected to regularly present scholarly presentations at major professional conventions and meetings.
    3. A third expectation is that a faculty member will seek to support their own research and that of graduate students in their program by regularly applying for and securing extramural grants and contracts or other sources of support beyond the instructional budget of the College.
    4. Faculty wishing to devote a significantly greater percentage of time to research and scholarship than, say, to formal teaching, may do so if they have completed a portfolio contract.
  3. Service
    1. Service consists of those activities that help sustain or promote ongoing programs and services in the College, at the University, in the state, and elsewhere. In the College, it is expected that faculty will agree to offer some service in activities such as program coordination, student admissions, faculty and staff searches, review of programs and services, and by serving on standing committees in such areas as technology, diversity, and student financial assistance. At the University, it is expected that faculty will agree to serve on standing committees, ad hoc committees, and task forces. Beyond the University, faculty are encouraged to become involved with their professional organizations, to be of service to other public and governmental bodies, and to consult with professional constituencies.
    2. Each faculty member is expected to devote at least several hours per week, on average, to such service activities. Although service activities are important, commitments that might reduce a faculty member's level of involvement in teaching and scholarly activity are to be pursued cautiously and only after discussion with the DEO. Assistant professors are particularly discouraged from involving themselves in time consuming service activities which can interfere with their successful start to their teaching and scholarly careers.
  4. Grants and Contracts

    The College encourages faculty to support their work by regularly seeking out and applying for grants, contracts and private gifts that can attract additional resources to help them advance their own professional activities as well as the work of their colleagues and students. Clearly, success in attracting such resources is a key to sustaining and enhancing the long-standing quality of our academic programs, the training opportunities for our students, and the contributions our College makes to education. For simplicity, we refer to all such funding sources below as a "grant."

    If a faculty member wishes to devote a significant portion of their time to an activity supported through a grant -- particularly if it is an extramural source -- they should seek to enter into a portfolio contract and be prepared to agree to direct a portion of the budget from the grant, to replace their time, as follows:

    • For each formal course release, the faculty member will be shifted to salary support on the grant for a minimum of 10 percent of their academic year salary.
    • Faculty with joint appointments should work with their DEO's to coordinate salary allocations across Colleges.
    • The College, in consultation with the faculty member's DEO, may arrange to have the course taught by someone else, which may require additional salary funds to be released from the grant.


  1. This policy will apply to all tenure track faculty in the College with the exception of:
    1. Deans, Directors, DEOs
    2. Faculty with Individualized Portfolios (including those on developmental assignment)
  2. Consistent with the University's policy on Post-tenure Effort Allocation, any tenured faculty member may ask his/her DEO to consider developing an agreement permitting the faculty member a waiver from the College's normative load expectation, in the form of an Individualized Portfolio. The DEO is not obliged to agree to such a contract if it is not deemed to be in the best interests of the Department or the College. The Dean, similarly, will not be obliged to agree to such a contract.

September 2012 (stylistic changes only)