Instructional Workload Policies

Instructional workload policies support several campus objectives:

  • Managing teaching resources to sustain curriculum capacity;
  • Maintaining a commitment of ladder faculty to undergraduate education;
  • Ensuring overall faculty workload equity; and
  • Complying with UC Office of the President commitments made to the State (governor and legislature).

Departments are required to maintain a written policy explicitly describing expectations for ladder faculty instructional workload. The campus normal teaching load is five courses (or five course equivalents, based on lab courses, heavy independent study commitments, etc.). Chairs should exercise careful oversight in determining the particular number, value, and use of course equivalencies. Department workload policies are reviewed on a regular basis in conjunction with the external review process. The following Principles (established by the CPEVC in 2008) should be the foundation for departmental policies:

  1. Departments are established with the expectation that they have sufficient faculty resources to offer stable undergraduate and/or graduate curriculum.
  2. Faculty teaching assignments should be made on the basis of department designed policy and applied uniformly across all faculty members in the unit.
  3. Departments with fixed teaching loads for all faculty members should reexamine their practice. Research and service contributions vary significantly across individual faculty and their career phase. The overall workloads should be equivalent, which means that workload in the area of teaching might vary for equity to be achieved.
  4. Course release is not a faculty entitlement. Course release is approved only within the context of department responsibility to ensure students normal progress towards degree.
  5. Course release as a form of compensation should be judiciously used, especially for the burdens of departmental and administrative service. Alternative forms should be sought, such as assignment of small enrollment courses, summer ninths, larger stipends, or research support (GSRs, readers, etc.) to partially compensate for time taken from research activity.
  6. In instances where incentives for recruitment and/or retention are necessary, the general principle outlined in #5 should be the primary course of action. When multi-year course release is appropriate, written agreements are required and include an end-stop, sunset clause, or time limit when the agreement will be terminated. This requires the agreement be revised by the faculty, department chair, and/or the dean, as appropriate.
  7. Course release requires decanal review to ensure equity across departments in the provision and amount of course release granted for department administration and to guard against the potential that course release could undermine faculty equity, creating perceptions of privileged and non-privileged faculty.

Guidelines describe teaching expectations presented in the context of the department's overall mission and include a template for articulating a department workload policy.

Ladder rank faculty instructional activity is reported annually by the campus to UC Office of the President. Departmental policies are also submitted on an intermittent basis.