Faculty Workload

This faculty workload policy at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock succeeds the previous policy (2020 UA Little Rock Faculty Instructional Load Policy2020 UA Little Rock Faculty Instructional Load Policy PDF) that was instituted in 1994. The 2020 policy relies on a distribution-of-effort model that recognizes teaching, research/creative activity and service as the three primary components of a faculty member’s workload. Each faculty member is assigned a percentage of effort for each component on an annual basis according to the needs of the institution and the professional development needs of the faculty member. The policy balances consistency to ensure equitable recognition of faculty activity with flexibility to allow the university and its individual units to anticipate and respond to changing needs. The policy supports the foundational role of teaching at UA Little Rock and is designed to ensure that assignments are consistent with resources and are sustainable over time.

This policy reinforces the following principles adapted from Faculty Roles and Rewards I:

  • Teaching: The UA Little Rock mission statement establishes teaching as a central value, and the University expects all UA Little Rock faculty members to contribute to the teaching mission of the institution. Therefore, while some faculty members may have workload distributions that are heavier in research and/or service than others, this policy establishes a minimum expectation for teaching workload. (e.g., pre-tenure faculty members may have a heavier research assignment in the first few years.)
  • Research/Creative Activity: All tenure-track faculty members are expected to be active scholars in the most inclusive sense (e.g., Boyer model).
  • Service: As a metropolitan and community-engaged university, UA Little Rock has a greater expectation of its faculty in the area of service than other universities. This policy seeks to more formally recognize and account for activities in the area of service, including service that helps integrate university and community resources.

Definition of Terms

  • Tenure-track Faculty: The term “tenure-track faculty” is defined as all faculty members who are tenure-eligible. This includes both pre-tenure faculty members and those faculty members who have been granted tenure.
  • Chair: The term “chair” or “department chair” is understood to include directors of academic schools.
  • Department: The term “department” is understood to refer to academic departments and schools, except for the Law School which is included in the category of “colleges”.
  • Instructional unit: The term “instructional unit” is used to quantify the teaching workload. The 2020 UA Little Rock Faculty Instructional Load Policy attempts to capture the diversity in disciplines, as well as class types in ensuring recognition of the faculty member’s workload. Recognizing that contact hours in teaching are not always identical to credit hours, the policy proposes a model that makes the connection between contact hours and instructional units (IU) using IU multipliers. The policy allows flexibility in multipliers of certain course types. Instructional units are converted to percentage of effort for the instructional component of the total workload assignment. One three credit-hour lecture/discussion course (or 3 instructional units) is typically equivalent to 20% of effort in a semester, or 10% within a year. Percentages for the research/creative activity and service components are determined by estimating the percentage of total effort that will be spent in these areas in a given year based on the faculty member’s planned activities.

Policy

Consistent with state laws and the university mission, this policy seeks to set the parameters of faculty workload distribution among the appropriate faculty roles as described in UA Little Rock policies 403.20 and 403.23 also known as Faculty Roles and Rewards I and II.

This policy retains the purpose of the original Instructional Load Policy adopted in 1994. Specifically that the goal is to distribute responsibilities among faculty in a way that most equitably and efficiently advances this tripartite mission of teaching, research or creative activity, and service. Consistent with the University’s complexity and with its role as a metropolitan university committed to diversity, the policy is designed to protect and promote the multiplicity of faculty roles. The policy is designed to promote quality teaching, research or creative activity, and service. It is also designed to enable colleges and schools, departments, and individual faculty (sic) to pursue, plan for, and recognize the fact that different individuals and units will have different objectives and will make different commitments among the three faculty roles (UA Little Rock Faculty Instructional Load Policy, 1994).

This policy also retains and elaborates the goal of promoting the balance of four workload variables identified in the original workload policy: equity, diversity, instructional needs, and resources.

  • Equity: Fundamentally, workload distributions within departments, colleges, and across the university must be fair and just. This does not mean that everyone must have identical assignments, but that everyone has an equal amount of work and responsibility over time, and that equivalent activities are given equal recognition for all faculty members.
  • Diversity: Diversity of talent and background is generally recognized as a hallmark of a strong faculty. A workload policy must be flexible enough to promote and utilize faculty strengths and take advantage of opportunities to advance excellence in all areas of performance. It should also allow for diversity of assignments over time, recognizing that individuals and departments may have changing goals and objectives.
  • Instructional needs: As stated in the original workload policy, decisions about workload distribution “must reflect the University’s responsibility to meet instructional needs, offering quality education to students in all general education and degree programs” (UA Little Rock Faculty Instructional Load Policy, 1994). Instructional needs may also include a variety of delivery modes and schedules that serve the needs of the students, providing access, as well as excellence in educational experiences.
  • Resources: Workload distributions must be based on realistic and sustainable levels of institutional resources.

Research and service should not be considered something faculty members do instead of teaching, since all three areas of activity are important and expected.

Therefore, this workload model uses a distribution-of-effort framework instead of “reassigned time” or “release time”. It retains the concept of instructional units (IUs) for the instructional portion of workload only.

While this policy retains an institutional teaching baseline of twelve instructional units per semester, the model framework assumes a more typical distribution of nine instructional units per semester for tenure-track faculty members actively engaged in research and service.

Faculty members may request, in special circumstances, an exception to the distribution maximums or minimums. These requests will be contingent on institutional needs and resources as well as the relative contribution of anticipated outcomes to the mission of the University.

This policy reinforces the principle that workload assignments should inform a faculty member’s performance evaluations.  As stated in the 1994 Instructional Load Policy, approved assignments “will be included as part of the annual review process as well as of the promotion and tenure process.” While the above principles make it clear that all faculty members are expected to engage in teaching and service; and all tenure-track faculty members are expected to be active scholars as well, evaluators should not disregard an emphasis in one or another category that is approved for any given period.

Model Framework

The faculty workload distribution of effort model uses a combination of percentage distributions and instructional units to describe full-time work by faculty members. Workload is distributed across the three performance categories as a percentage of all professional work within a year. Within the area of teaching, instructional units are used to measure the different types of instruction assigned to individual faculty members. The faculty workload framework is based on five assumptions:

  1. Teaching, research/creative activity, and service are integral components of a faculty member’s annual assignment and, as such, should be fully recognized in the workload framework.
  2. Full-time work by faculty members will include a certain percentage of time and effort in each category (for tenure-track faculty) or in at least two categories (for non-tenure-track faculty). The sum of effort in all categories equals 100%.
  3. A faculty member’s full-time work may be distributed across an academic or fiscal year, but will not be banked for future years. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to extend the distribution period to two years to accommodate special projects or balance extra teaching loads. Faculty members will work with chairs to determine the most appropriate and equitable distribution plan. Chairs may distribute a faculty member’s workload across an academic or fiscal year, or if necessary as much as two years, but otherwise, the overload has to match the resources. If a chair needs a faculty member to teach an overload outside of these parameters, extra compensation must be paid to the faculty member. This encourages departments to maximize their resources through careful scheduling and enrollment analysis, and it protects faculty members from inadvertent exploitation.
  4. For the different employment categories, there will be a typical workload distribution across the performance categories. This normative distribution covers most of the institutional needs most of the time but may be adjusted to meet specific needs or to optimize resources in any given year.
  5. One three credit-hour lecture/discussion course (or 3 instructional units) is typically equivalent to 20% of effort in a semester, or 10% within a year.

Although there is substantial variety in the service responsibilities of department chairs, this framework sets a typical teaching assignment of 6 instructional units per year in recognition of the expanded institutional responsibilities and expectations of chairs since the original workload level was set several decades ago when chairmanship of a department was considered a half-time job. The actual teaching assignment for chairs will vary based on a number of variables, such as the size and complexity of the department, the use of administrative coordinators, research agenda, and additional administrative responsibilities. Deans are responsible for verifying the level of activity in each category for chairs.

Procedures

  1. Each college will establish college-wide credit-hour multipliers for discretionary course modalities consistent with the university-wide policy. The default multiplier will be the lower value. An interdisciplinary college committee, the majority of whose members shall be full-time, tenure-track faculty, will review proposals for the higher value. Chairs submit proposals for the higher value multiplier to the interdisciplinary college-level committee. Committee recommendations must be approved by the Dean and Provost in order to be implemented. These multipliers will be reviewed within the college every five years. College policies must be on file in the Provost’s Office.
  2. Annually, department chairs, in consultation with departmental faculty members and appropriate department committees, will draw up plans for the distribution of teaching, research, and service for the next academic year. Chairs are responsible for ensuring that these plans are consistent with resources, productivity expectations, student needs, institutional goals, and faculty members’ individual professional goals. Chairs will submit department plans to the deans for review and approval and report results of the review and approval to the department faculty.
  3. Each spring, department chairs will meet with departmental faculty members for the faculty member’s annual review. At this meeting, the faculty member’s workload distribution of teaching, research, and service for the next academic year will be established. These distributions will be included as part of the annual review process, as well as of the promotion and tenure process. Any distribution changes made as a result of changes in department needs (e.g., sudden shift in enrollment, illness of colleague, etc.) following consultation with the faculty member will be documented in a revised workload distribution and taken into consideration in the evaluation process.
  4. Each spring, as part of the annual review process with the dean, a department chair’s workload distribution for the next academic year will be established, informed by the needs of the department and college. The department faculty will be informed of the department chair’s workload assignment.
  5. Each fall and spring, chairs will submit faculty workload reports to the college dean for review. The dean will submit workload reports to the Provost’s Office for review.

Faculty members may request, in special circumstances, an exception to the distribution maximums or minimums. These requests will be contingent on institutional needs and resources, as well as the relative contribution of anticipated outcomes to the mission of the University.

Faculty Workload Typical Distribution

Tenure-Track Faculty (9-Month) – Typical Workload Distribution
Teaching 60% (usually equivalent to 9 IUs/semester or 18 IUs/year; typically 6 IU minimum, 12 IU maximum in-load per semester, or 12 IU minimum, 24 IU maximum per year)
Research 10-30% (typically 25% minimum for pre-tenure faculty and 50% maximum for sponsored research salary buyout)
Service 10-30% (typically 15% maximum for pre-tenure faculty)

 

Tenure-Track Faculty (12-Month) – Typical Workload Distribution
Teaching 60% (usually equivalent to 9 IUs/semester, 6 IUs/summer)
Research 10-30% (typically 25% minimum for pre-tenure faculty and 50% maximum for sponsored research salary buyout)
Service 10-30% (typically 15% maximum for pre-tenure faculty)

 

Tenure-Track Faculty Librarian (12-Month) – Typical Workload Distribution
Professional Practice 80% (librarianship responsibilities)
Research 10%
Service 10%

 

Non-Tenure-Track Faculty (9-Month) – Typical Workload Distribution
Teaching 80% (usually equivalent to 12 IUs/semester)
Research 0%
Service 20%

 

Department Chair (12-Month) – Typical Workload Distribution
Teaching 20% (usually equivalent to 6 IUs/year)
Research 10% (chairs may negotiate for different percentage for research)
Service 70% (includes administrative and other service)

 

Instructional Weights

The teaching workload is quantified using instructional units. The policy attempts to capture the diversity in disciplines, as well as class types, in ensuring recognition of the faculty member’s workload. Recognizing that contact hours in teaching are not always identical to credit hours, the policy proposes a model that makes the connection between contact hours and instructional units (IU) using IU multipliers. The policy allows flexibility in multipliers of certain course types and provides for a college-level committee to make recommendations to the dean of the college and the Provost on the multipliers of those courses. For instance, in the case of a three credit-hour lecture and lab combined course where the course has a single course number and meets for two hours of lecture and two hours of lab, the weekly contact per credit hour is 1.33. If the multiplier of one is used with the credit hours (three) to determine the instructional units, the IUs will equal three. If the multiplier 1.33 is used for the same number of credit hours (three) the result is four instructional units assigned to that course.

For course types that warrant flexibility in assigning weights, this model eliminates the multiplier ranges used in the previous policy and replaces them with two discrete multiplier values. This maintains flexibility while minimizing fractional workload assignments. Every effort should be made to ensure equitable weights for course types. Instructional unit information must be included in new course proposals.

All of the weights in this table assume there are no teaching assistants used for any particular section of the course. If a teaching assistant is used in the course, the multiplier will be no more than 1 in most circumstances. Since there is a wide variability in the way teaching assistants may be used, from classroom set-up to grading to semi-autonomous instruction, this policy does not set a teaching assistant workload value. The department chair must account for the role of the teaching assistant in adjusting workload values for sections that have them.

Individualized instruction is weighted on a per student basis rather than a per credit hour basis assuming that the student is registered for a 3 credit-hour individual instruction course such as an internship or thesis credit. For instance, all undergraduate individualized instruction is weighted at .33 per student. If an instructor has nine students taking an internship course, he or she would be assigned 3 instructional units (.33 X 9 ≈ 3). For sections of individualized instruction that have more, or fewer than 3 credit-hours, the instructional weight per student should be adjusted accordingly.

Individualized instruction IUs are normally limited to 3 IUs per instructor per semester, but may be increased to a maximum of 6 IUs in certain circumstances with approval from the dean. This includes undergraduate individualized instruction, master level thesis/final project advising, and doctoral level research and dissertation advising. When a methodologist serves as a co-advisor on a master or doctoral level project, each co-advisor will receive .5 IU for that project instead of 1 IU. Students must be enrolled in thesis, dissertation, or research/dissertation hours for instructor to receive IU credit for advising. There is a limit of three semesters per student for receiving IU credit for masters level thesis advising, a limit of six semesters per student for receiving IU credit for doctoral level dissertation advising, and a limit of eight semesters per student for receiving IU credit for doctoral research/dissertation advising in those units that combine these requirements into one course type. These courses are identified by the course title: Doctoral Research/Dissertation. Faculty members may request, in rare circumstances, an exception to the individualized instruction limits. These requests will be approved contingent on institutional needs and resources as well as the relative contribution of anticipated outcomes to the mission of the University.

Online and hybrid courses will fall into one of the course type categories in the Instructional Workload Table and will have the corresponding instructional unit value. Compensation may be provided for the quality certification of online courses in a process separate from regular workload assignment. Team taught (interdisciplinary) courses will fall into one of the course type categories in the Instructional Workload Table and will have the corresponding instructional unit value. For purposes of assigning workloads to individual faculty members who are team teaching a course, the chair(s) with the approval of the dean(s) may assign up to the full IU value to each member of the teaching team. The assignment of instructional units in these cases should be based on the time and effort contributed of each team member.

Lab sections, whether independent or part of a lecture-lab combination are shown in the weights table with common credit hour-contact hour ratios. Some labs, however, will have different ratios not shown in the table. In these cases, departments should convert the different ratio to the appropriate multiplier and submit for review according to the procedures outlined in the procedures section of this policy.

The instructional workload weights table includes a course type labeled “unusually large classes”. Each department, with approval of the dean, and based on normative data, will establish discipline-specific norms for class sizes that are based on the instructional practices of the discipline and the needs of the students. Normative class size should not be based on the maximum occupancy of the classroom used. “Unusually large classes” are generally those that are substantially larger than the disciplinary norm by course type and that maintain the level of individual attention to students provided in classes of standard size.

This instructional workload weights table eliminates the distinction between graduate and undergraduate courses as separate course types. All lecture/discussion/seminar courses, for instance, have the same weight assignment regardless of whether they are graduate or undergraduate courses. Graduate courses have fewer students than undergraduate courses by design. The extra work that may be required in terms of advanced material preparation and feedback is balanced by having smaller class sizes. In cases where graduate courses are as large as or larger than undergraduate courses of the same type in the same discipline, it may be categorized as an unusually large class and given a higher weight as appropriate.

Teaching Workload Weights for Credit Bearing Courses (PDF Table)

Course Type Examples/Explanation Weekly Contact Hours per Unit of Credit IUs per Credit Hour IUs per 3 Credit Hours
Lecture/Discussion/Seminar Standard class size for discipline 1 1 3
Science Laboratories-independent section Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, Engineering 2 1.33 or 2 4 or 6
Science Laboratories-independent section Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science, Engineering 3 2 or 3 6 or 9
Lecture and Lab Lecture and lab combined—(e.g. 2 hours lecture, 2 hours lab) 1.33 1 or 1.33 3 or 4
Lecture and Lab Lecture and lab combined—6 contact hours total 2 1.33 or 2 4 or 6
Studio Courses Art, Music, Theatre studios 2 1.33 4
Physical Activity Course Leisure Studies 2 1 or 1.33 3 or 4
General Activity Course Field experiences 2 1.33 4
Individual Music Lessons Total IUs dependent on number of students; 3 contact hours (6 half-hour lessons) = 2 IUs .5 .33 NA
Applied Music-Ensemble Includes performance requirement; based on category Variable 1, 2, or 3 NA
Bowen Law School Courses All courses in the Bowen Law School curriculum 1 1.5 4.5
Unusually Large Classes Chair recommends/dean approves standard class size for discipline and course type, no teaching assistants 1 1.33 4
Practice Teaching Faculty-student contact averages 2 hours per week per student Variable .375 or .67 per student* NA
Individualized Instruction Independent study, internships, practicums, UG honors, Donaghey Scholars thesis, UG research; limit 3 IUs/sem. Variable .33 per student NA
Master level thesis or final project Major advisor or methodologist; see parameters and limits in Individualized Instruction section below Variable .5 or 1 per student NA
Doctoral Dissertation Major advisor or methodologist; see parameters and limits in Individualized Instruction section below Variable .5 or 1 per student NA
Doctoral Research/Dissertation Major advisor of research and dissertation in Applied Science, Bioinformatics, Engineering Science & Systems, and Integrated Computing, see parameters and limits below Variable .5 or 1 per student NA

*Per-student multipliers generally assume that the student is registered for three credit hours, but they are not strictly tied to credit hours since the workload for these individualized teaching categories does not always match the credit hours for which the student registers.

Policy Review

The UA Little Rock Faculty Workload Policy will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee every five years. The Provost and Faculty Senate President will collaborate to appoint the members of this committee. The committee should have representation from each of the colleges and different ranks and administrative levels including chairs and associate deans, and should have members who can speak to different types of assignments, such as individualized instruction, clinical supervision, lab preparation, etc. The committee will produce a written recommendation that will be submitted to the Provost for review. Final approval of recommendations is made by the Chancellor.

 
 
Source: Faculty Senate November 20, 2020 Meeting
Status: Active
Approved By: Christina Drale, Chancellor
Originator: Faculty Senate
Custodian: Office of the Chancellor