Draft March 18, 2024: UNCG Policy and Regulations on Faculty Workload

Posted on March 18, 2024

Draft March 18, 2024

UNCG Policy and Regulations on Faculty Workload

I. Purpose:

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 contribute to it through a various work activities, as recognized in the UNC System Policy on Faculty Workload (400.3.4). These activities include teaching, mentoring, and advising; research and creative activities; community engagement and/or 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 both the UNC System Policy on Faculty Workload (400.3.4) and the Regulation on Faculty Workload (400.3.4[R]).  Previous guidelines on faculty workload at UNCG focused primarily on faculty teaching loads without sufficient attention to the totality of workload, including research/creative activities and all the various forms of service.

II. Scope and Definitions:

  • Faculty covered by this UNCG policy hold benefits-earning appointments (0.75 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).
  • Workload is defined in this policy as all activities in which faculty engage as part of their employment with the University, including teaching, mentoring, and advising; research, scholarship, and creative activities; community engagement and/or directed professional activities; and institutional, professional, and public service. More details about these activities, including specific forms of activity within these categories, are provided in this document.
  • Academic unit refers to the colleges, schools (excluding the schools within an academic unit), and the University Libraries.
  • Faculty supervisors refers to department heads, department chairs, program directors, school directors, and any other administrative position officially authorized to direct faculty activity.
  • Differentiated workload refers to the practice of assigning differential levels of teaching, research and creative activities, and service workload to individual faculty members based on the specific needs of the University, department, school, and program, and in consideration of the strengths of each faculty member. Unit policies that incorporate differentiated workloads must address requirements described in section III.B.3 below.

III. 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.
  • Given the discipline-specific nature of workload, deans may require the development of workload guidelines at the department/school/program level. Such guidelines, if developed, are subject to approval by the Dean and must be consistent with unit-level workload policies and this University-level policy.
  • Unit level workload policies are subject to approval by the Dean and Provost. Policies submitted for the Provost’s review and approval must accomplish the following:
    • Establish typical percentages of effort for teaching, mentoring, and advising; research, scholarship, and creative activities; community engagement and/or directed professional activity; and institutional, professional, and community service 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.
    • Clarify whether the unit policy incorporates differentiated faculty workloads. Faculty are normally expected to engage in teaching, mentoring, and advising; research, scholarship, and creative activities; and service (broadly defined) in percentages of effort described in this policy. Unit policies that incorporate differentiated workloads must require that each differential assignment is justified, explain how differential assignments are determined, and quantify elements of the 1.0 FTE assignment (or assigned elements proportional to reduced FTE) to maintain workload equity across the unit. This policy recognizes that the proportions of assigned faculty activities may vary, depending on department/school level needs and consistent with the concept that the appropriate mix of teaching, research and creative activities, and service may differ from person to person, and from time to time in the career of an individual.
  • Any academic unit that does not implement its own workload policy will default to the University workload policy until such unit policy is established. Likewise, any department/school/program that does not implement its own workload policy will default to the unit workload policy or, if a unit workload policy does not exist, the University workload policy.

IV. Role of Department Heads/Chairs and School/Program Directors

  • Faculty supervisors 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.
  • Faculty members’ agreement with their workload assignments is desirable; however, faculty supervisors hold responsibility and authority for the issuance of faculty workload assignments, subject to review and approval by the Dean.

V. Areas of Faculty Responsibility

  • UNCG embraces the teacher/scholar model and places high value on the three traditional categories of faculty responsibilities, including teaching, research and creative activity, and service. An additional category, directed professional activity (see section V.C. below), may be assigned when approved by the Dean. The three traditional categories of faculty activity are further specified as follows.
    • Teaching—including but not limited to classroom teaching, community-engaged instruction, mentoring, advising, and librarianship.
    • Research and creative activities—including but not limited to empirical laboratory work, field research, experimentation, community-based and community-engaged research, literature review and synthesis, theory development, preparation of manuscripts, artworks or other scholarly products, applying for internal and/or external funding, conducting funded research, presentation at research or other scholarly meetings, traveling for research or other scholarship, and dissemination of findings and other scholarly products to the public. Sponsored program funding is important to the University; however, research and creative activity outcomes are important to the University mission, whether it leads to, or is a result of, external funding.
    • Service—including community engagement and service to the department or school or 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 fields 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 different form of community-engagement activity. System Policy 400.3.4 and accompanying regulation 400.3.4[R] enumerate a vast array of activities that can constitute these areas of responsibility.
  • This policy acknowledges that select activities at UNCG may be classified as Directed Professional Activity. These activities are assigned by a Dean or a direct faculty supervisor (subject to approval of the Dean) and are understood to fall within the broad category of service but may also encompass other activities and may be defined differently from one discipline to another.
  • Directed Professional Activities may include but are not limited to the following:
    • Program Direction or Coordination.
    • Administrative or service functions provided by individuals who, in conjunction with their faculty rank, hold some administrative title or position other than Dean or one of the faculty supervisor titles (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 like 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 activities, and service (in all its forms) count towards a faculty member’s total workload. This flexibility is contingent on meeting the pedagogical and instructional needs of the departments, schools, and colleges, and the core instructional mission of the institution. Flexibility must also support student success and consider financial realities and implications. In addition, the System Policy and this University policy may not be contradicted.

VI. Workload Expectations

  • Each full-time faculty member will engage in work responsibilities equal to their FTE status, as assigned by their faculty supervisor.
  • 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 supervisor. 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. Faculty supervisors have responsibility and authority to adjust workload as they deem appropriate, subject to approval by the Dean.
  • 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 are the central responsibility and critical base of the UNC System, teaching shall serve as the first component when determining faculty workload assignments. Work involved with being an actively engaged faculty member, such as teaching (in all its forms); research and creative activities; service, and directed professional activity, constitute a full workload and a 1.0 FTE appointment.
    • A 1.0 FTE workload during the academic year (traditional 9-month period of faculty employment) 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, such as committee work and other forms of service. 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/or 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 faculty supervisor, considering factors such as course level, class size, whether a class is team taught, and other factors as indicated in System Policy 400.3.4.
    • This framework does not necessarily equate to a 4/4 teaching workload for all faculty members (i.e., 4 course assignments in the Fall semester and 4 in the Spring semester). 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, recognizing that many factors may play a legitimate role in decreasing the number of course assignments for some faculty. Workload assignments can 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, scholarship, and/or creative activities, advising, mentoring, service, administrative duties, community engagement, and other activities. Thus, adjustable teaching loads may be used to reflect these individual differences, and these should be clearly documented and clarified in the unit level policy. Faculty supervisors 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.
    • Workload shall be measured through percentages, with percentages assigned to each category of faculty workload. These categories should align with how a faculty member is evaluated during annual reviews and in future opportunities for promotion.
    • Faculty are expected to engage in collaborative discussion with their supervisor 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.
    • The workload of Heads, Chairs, and school/program Directors will be set by the Dean. In the case of Deans and other administrative faculty, workload will be set by the Provost or the Provost’s designee.
    • In addition to confirming each faculty member’s percentage of work effort by category (teaching, research, scholarship 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 all relevant expectations for 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, and with student success and fiscal considerations.
    • Determination of work effort for programs and courses that require the supervision of clinical practice will be managed at the unit level based on factors such as but not limited to discipline, accreditation requirements, and delivery (e.g., indirect or direct supervision).

VII. Revision of Faculty Workload Plans

  • During the academic year, a significant circumstance may arise that justifies modifications to a faculty member’s workload plan. For example, a faculty member may be awarded an exceptionally large grant or contract mid-year that persuades the faculty supervisors to change the individual’s teaching workload. This policy is not intended to trigger repeated workload plan revisions each year. Circumstances justifying the need for workload revision are rare and of significant scale; however, criteria for workload modification may be determined at the unit level.
  • Workload changes will be made in cases only where the newly arising circumstance represents a new component of the faculty member’s assignment that is approved by the faculty supervisor. Faculty may not adopt a new assignment of primarily personal interest and have their official University workload modified to accommodate this new assignment.
  • When a significant circumstance occurs and justifies revision of the workplan, as described above, the plan and statement of expected outcomes should be revised at that time, with all changes subject to approval of the faculty supervisor and the Dean.
  • During faculty annual reviews, the faculty 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.

VIII. Faculty Work During Off-Contract Periods

  • Teaching assignments and other faculty activities that are conducted during the academic year shall normally be completed during the faculty member’s contractual period (e.g., the 9-month or greater period under contract).
  • When circumstances prevent faculty from completing assignments during the contract period, faculty must address any outstanding responsibilities in a timely manner. In many cases, the assignment must be completed during the faculty member’s off-contract period, such as the summer months or during academic year break periods. An example may include resolving incomplete grade assignments.  Faculty must also be available for communication regarding these matters, if necessary, during the non-contract period.
  • Faculty are also expected to respond within a reasonable time to their supervisor and/or Dean, in person or via electronic means, including on those rare occasions when communications during off-contract periods are deemed essential to the academic year work of the department, school, program, academic unit, or institution. These essential communications would be time-sensitive and pertain to the faculty member’s University duties or expectations.