Draft February 1, 2024
UNCG Policy and Regulations on Faculty Workload
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s mission is to “redefine the public research university for the twenty-first century as an inclusive, collaborative, and responsive institution making a difference in the lives of students and the communities it serves.” Faculty are one of the cornerstones of this institutional mission, and they contribute to the mission through a variety of work activities, as recognized in the UNC System Policy on Faculty Workload (400.3.4). These activities include, but are not limited to, teaching, mentoring, and advising; research, scholarship, and creative activities; community engagement and directed professional activities; and institutional, professional, and public service.
Within this context, the intent of this University policy is to set forth equitable and fair guidelines for faculty workload that advance UNCG’s academic mission, recognize the wide variety of workload areas to which faculty contribute, and maintain compliance with the UNC System Policy on Faculty Workload (400.3.4) and the Regulation on Faculty Workload (400.3.4[R])
Scope and Definitions:
Faculty covered by this UNCG policy hold benefits-earning appointments (.75 FTE or greater), regardless of faculty employment category (i.e., tenured, tenure track, or professional-track faculty in the colleges/schools and the University Libraries).
For the purposes of this UNCG policy, workload is defined as all activities that faculty engage in as part of their employment with the University, including teaching; research, creative activities, and community engagement; and service. More details about these activities are provided in this document.
Academic unit refers to the colleges, schools (excluding the schools within an academic unit, such as CVPA), and the University Libraries.
Policy and Procedures:
This policy provides general guidelines for faculty workload across all academic units of the University. Each academic unit shall establish, publish, monitor, and report on a workload policy that sets forth fair and equitable guidelines that enable each academic unit to best utilize its faculty members and align their efforts in accordance with this policy, the UNC System Policy on Faculty Workload (400.3.4), and the Regulation on Faculty Workload (400.3.4[R]), keeping in mind student success and financial considerations and in alignment with the missions of the University, academic unit, department/school, and program. Unit level workload policies must:
- Establish typical percentages of effort for teaching, mentoring, and advising; research and creative activity; and service and other directed professional activity for faculty in each academic unit and for each faculty appointment type that together constitute 1.0 FTE for full-time faculty (or 0.75 FTE for faculty on ¾-time appointments or 0.875 FTE for faculty on 7/8-time appointments) in a manner consistent with the missions of both UNCG and the academic unit.
- Provide guidelines for when deviations from those typical percentages for a given academic unit and appointment type may be approved.
- Be approved by the Dean and Provost.
Any academic unit that does not implement its own workload policy will default to the University workload policy until the unit policy is established.
Role of Department Heads/Chairs and School/Program Directors
Department Heads/Chairs and School/Program Directors are responsible for working cooperatively with faculty to establish individual workloads consistent with the 1.0 FTE requirement (or equivalent for faculty appointed at less than full-time) that recognize individual faculty members’ contributions to the University in alignment with institutional policies, procedures, resources, and mission and with student success and financial implications. Although faculty members’ agreement with their workload assignments is desirable, Department Chairs/Heads/Program or School Directors hold responsibility and authority for the issuance of faculty workload assignments, subject only to review and approval by the Dean.
Areas of Faculty Responsibility
Faculty have three broad areas of responsibility: teaching (including community engaged instruction, mentoring and advising); research and creative activity; and service (including community engagement and service to the department/school/program, academic unit, institution, profession/discipline, and University System). This policy grants broad license to academic units to define these three areas in a manner that makes sense for the conventions of their field and in alignment with the University’s mission. Additionally, this policy, as per System Regulation on Faculty Workload 400.3.4[R], acknowledges that the same activity may be defined differently in different academic units or depending on the population being served. For example, “advising” may count as a teaching activity when it refers to intensive, one-on-one advising of graduate students, or may count as service when applied to undergraduate advising that requires less mentorship. Similarly, “clinical supervision” may count as a teaching activity or as a community-engagement activity. System policy 400.3.4 and accompanying regulation 400.3.4[R] enumerate a vast array of possible activities that can constitute these areas of responsibility.
In this vein, this policy acknowledges that there is a group of activities at UNCG often referred to as Directed Professional Activity that may be defined differently depending on the field of study. Directed Professional Activity consists of professional activities that must be dictated or assigned by a dean or head/chair/director (or other direct faculty supervisor, regardless of title), which may include but are not limited to:
- Program Direction or Coordination
- Administrative or service roles of individuals who, in conjunction with their faculty rank, hold some administrative title or position other than Dean or Head/Chair (e.g., Director of Credentialing or a Director of Campus Services)
- Faculty who do not hold a separate title, but are assigned academic unit or department/school/program duties similar to those of staff [This practice may occur in different forms or arenas depending on the field (e.g., in CVPA such duties may focus on production-related obligations)]
Academic units are granted flexibility to specify the means and extent by which teaching, research and creative activity, and service (in all of its forms) count towards a faculty member’s total workload. This flexibility is contingent upon meeting the pedagogical and instructional needs of the departments, schools, and colleges, as well as the core instructional mission of the institution. Flexibility must also support student success and consider financial realities and implications. In addition, the aforementioned System policy may not be contradicted.
Each full-time faculty member will engage in work responsibilities equal to their FTE status, as assigned by their head/chair/director. Academic unit policies shall operationalize the process for establishing individual faculty workload expectations in accordance with the respective missions of each academic unit, student success, and fiscal considerations, and in a collaborative process between faculty and their head/chair/director. Recognizing the variation that exists in terms of faculty experience and position types (e.g., tenure stream in contrast to professional-track), these faculty supervisors should strive to ensure equity among their faculty in the assignment of workload responsibilities. Deans have responsibility and authority to adjust workload as they deem appropriate.
All employees whose primary job classification is as a faculty member with an appointment at 0.75 FTE or more, regardless of contract length and including faculty members who also hold administrative roles, must have a workload plan. Faculty members who are employed on less than a nine-month annual basis or are less than ¾-time may have a workload plan if directed by their academic unit.
As teaching and instruction is the primary mission of the UNC System, according to System Policy 400.3.4, teaching shall serve as the first component of determining faculty workload expectations, but not the only measure of faculty workload.
- A 1.0 FTE workload is defined as (1) a teaching load of 24 credit hours or equivalent contact hours per academic year, which accounts for 80% of workload; and (2) other faculty assignments representing 20% of workload that further the mission of the academic unit and institution. This policy and the System policy allow for flexibility and individual planning for workload and field conventions, such as that tenure-track faculty are generally expected to carry out research, scholarship, and creative activities as part of their workload and therefore faculty with research expectations and outcomes typically teach less than 24 credit hours per academic year. The workload for an appointment of less than 1.0 FTE shall modify the above definition of workload in a manner that is proportional to the FTE.
- A typical 3-credit hour (or equivalent contact hours) organized class is equivalent to 10% of workload. However, upon approval of the Dean, the percentage may be adjusted by the head/chair/director in consideration of factors such as course level, whether a class is team taught, class size, and other factors as indicated in System policy 400.3.4.
- This framework does not necessarily equate to a 4/4 teaching workload (i.e., 4 course assignments in the Fall semester and 4 in the Spring semester) for all faculty members. One purpose of this policy and System policy 400.3.4 is to provide a means for determining workload that moves beyond the 4/4 model. Workload assignments must account for faculty members who teach exceptionally large sections (recognizing the great variation in normal class sizes by discipline) and/or have additional responsibilities for research or creative activities, advising, mentoring, service, administrative duties, community engagement, and other scholarly activities. Thus, adjustable teaching loads may be used to reflect these individual differences. Departments and Schools should recognize the differences in service workload between serving at the department/school/program, unit, University, or System levels; between regional, state, national, and international professional services; and between serving as a member of a committee compared to serving as a chair. This policy provides flexibility for different types of service to be recognized at different percentages.
- All of the work involved with being an actively engaged faculty member, such as teaching (in all its forms), research and creative activities, service, and professional development, constitute a full workload and a 1.0 FTE appointment.
- In this UNCG policy, workload shall be measured through percentages, with percentages assigned to each category of faculty workload.
- Faculty are expected to engage in a collaborative discussion with their supervisor (head/chair/director) about the workload needs of the department, school, or program. These faculty supervisors hold responsibility and authority for the issuance of faculty workload assignments, subject to review and approval by the Dean. In the case of Department Heads/Chairs and School/Program Directors, workload will be set by and in consultation with their Dean. In the case of Deans and other administrative faculty, workload will be set by and in consultation with the Provost or the Provost’s designee.
- In addition to confirming each faculty member’s percentage of work effort by category (teaching, research and creative activities, and service, in all its forms), a faculty workload plan shall specify outcomes a faculty member is expected to achieve. Furthermore, these outcomes must be aligned with the faculty member’s annual reviews and demonstrate a clear link to reappointment, promotion, tenure, and/or post-tenure review, as appropriate. Workload plans should be designed with the missions of UNCG and the faculty member’s academic unit and department/school/program in mind, student success, and fiscal considerations.
Revision of Faculty Workload Plans
During the academic year, circumstances may arise that justify modifications to a faculty member’s workload plan. For example, a faculty member may be awarded an externally funded grant or contract mid-year that persuades the head, chair, or director to change the individual’s teaching workload. (Note: Such workload changes will be made only in cases where the newly arising circumstance represents a new component of the faculty member’s assignment that is approved by the head, chair, or director. Faculty may not adopt a new assignment of primarily personal interest and have their official University workload modified to accommodate this new assignment.) The workload plan and statement of expected outcomes should be revised at that time, with all changes subject to approval of the supervisor and the Dean. During faculty annual reviews, the supervisor is expected to acknowledge circumstances when the dynamic nature of faculty workload necessitated changes to the faculty member’s predicted workload and workload plan, and to consider these factors appropriately in faculty performance evaluations.
Faculty Work During Off-Contract Periods
Teaching or other student-directed responsibilities that are generally conducted during the academic year shall normally be completed during the faculty member’s contractual period (e.g., the 9-month or greater time period under contract). However, faculty shall develop a plan to address any responsibilities, such as incomplete grades that may remain from any semester/term prior to the start of the faculty member’s non-contract period and be available for communication regarding these matters, if necessary, during the non-contract period. Faculty contractual responsibilities that are incomplete at the end of the contract period must be completed in a timely manner, even during off contract
periods such as summer or other breaks. Faculty are also expected to respond within a reasonable time period to their supervisor and/or Dean, via email, on those rare occasions when communications during off-contract periods are deemed essential to the work of the department, school, program, academic unit, or institution.