College of Arts & Sciences Faculty Workload Policy
The work of faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences is divided into teaching, research, and service.
We teach to convey to students the insights of our disciplines so they can apply what they have learned in their careers and to benefit society. But we also want our students to grow intellectually, so we strive to help them develop life-long habits of curiosity and intellectual rigor. Our work as teachers helps students understand how knowledge is constructed and how to elucidate truth in and about our complex world. Teaching thus involves spending time with students in lectures, flipped classrooms, laboratories, tutorials, seminars, and in other modalities. It also means even more time spent outside the classroom, in form of advising and mentoring students, corresponding with them by email, holding office hours, giving students detailed feedback on their work, preparing class materials, developing innovative courses and curricula, and pursuing other activities that advance the teaching mission.
Those of us engaged in research broaden and deepen knowledge of the world around us and the people who have lived and live within it. As teacher-scholars, we then bring that knowledge from the forefront of our disciplines into our classrooms. We work closely with undergraduate and graduate students who are carrying out investigations with us to inculcate the practices that make for effective research.
We engage in service to provide additional opportunities for our students, to help our departments, the college, and the university to function and improve, to make our professions more inclusive and sustainable, and to ensure that the insights gleaned from our work at Ohio University are shared with our community in Athens, the State of Ohio, and the world beyond.
This college policy establishes general college guidelines for the purpose of accounting for and allocating this workload. Departments will adopt specific policies that accommodate the characteristics of their respective disciplines.
Defining faculty workload
Faculty workload encompasses expected faculty activities related to teaching, research, and service (TRS):
- Teaching: the teaching of regular semester-long courses as well as all other forms of student engagement,
- Research: all forms of scholarship and creative activity,
- Service: support provided to the department, college, home regional campus, university, local community, and profession.
To quantify faculty workload, each form of faculty activity is measured as the number of days during the five-day work week allocated to the activity, and TRS is expressed as the respective fractions of time devoted to the three activities. For example, a TRS of 40:40:20 means that a faculty member is expected to allocate 40% (2 days) toward teaching, 40% (2 days) toward scholarship, and 20% (1 day) toward service.
Variable workload principle
The college policy presented here provides principles for average departmental workload that are in compliance with university policy1. Departmental workload policies will allow the workload of individual faculty to differ from the departmental average and be tailored to each specific discipline.
Departmental workload policies will specify the research expectations of their tenure-track faculty, corresponding to the norms in their respective disciplines as well as the type of degree programs (bachelors, masters, doctoral) in which their faculty teach, in accordance with university policy.
Table 1 lists the ways in which Ohio University allows students to receive credit for faculty engagement in teaching and thus indicates the different avenues by which faculty can fulfill their teaching responsibilities. Considering non-credit-bearing forms of student engagement as part of faculty engagement in teaching requires approval of the Department Chair and the Dean.
|Description||Component||Counts as a "course" (with at least 3 class contact hours)||Counts as other forms of student engagement|
|Field||FLD||X (if not an internship)||X* (if an internship)|
*If fewer than 3 class contact hours
This college policy specifies teaching expectations in terms of semester-long courses that have 3 or more hours of class contact per week (henceforth “courses”). Departmental workload policies will identify appropriate yardsticks that allow the comparison of courses with one another and with other forms of relevant student engagement in ways that are meaningful for their respective disciplines.
The default assumption is that teaching a course with three class contact hours requires, on average, one full day per week2. Deviations from this assumption may be appropriate in some cases. A faculty member’s default “course load” is one course per academic year for every 10 percent of time allocated toward teaching. For example, the default course load of a faculty member with a TRS of 60:20:20 is 6 courses per academic year, or 3 courses per semester.
Faculty can generally request replacing one course per academic year with other forms of student engagement, provided that their other forms of student engagement amount to the equivalent of one course. Replacing more than one course with other forms of student engagement may be appropriate if it is in accordance with the approved Departmental Workload Policy. The specific combination of courses and other forms of student engagement with which individual faculty can fulfill their teaching obligations in any given year depends on the needs of their department/their regional campus to fulfill the curricular plan.
All instructional faculty are expected to engage in teaching. Some instructional faculty are also expected to engage in service. Instructional faculty are not expected to engage in scholarship.
Instructional faculty who are not expected to engage in service have a default TRS of 100:0:0, and their course load is 10 courses per academic year, or 5 courses per semester. Instructional faculty might be expected to engage in service for either half a day per week throughout the academic year, with an associated default TRS of 90:0:10, or a full day per week throughout the academic year, with an associated default TRS of 80:0:20.
Instructional faculty may request a reduction in their teaching load to be able to maintain their faculty qualifications or to pursue significant curricular innovation. Departments may grant a reduction of up to one course per academic year, provided that the instructional faculty member needs at least half a day per week throughout the academic year or at least one day per week during a single semester to be able to pursue the curricular innovation or to maintain this qualification. Whether such requests can be granted depends upon the needs of the department/the regional campus to fulfill the curricular plan.
All tenure-track faculty are expected to engage in teaching, scholarship, and service. The default TRS allocation for Athens faculty who teach and supervise undergraduate students is 70:10:20.3
Faculty who regularly teach and/or supervise graduate students need to engage in additional scholarship to be able to supervise graduate student research. Athens faculty who regularly teach and/or supervise
- master-level students have a default TRS allocation of 60:20:20
- doctoral-level students have a default TRS allocation of 50:30:20.
Faculty in academic fields in which scholarship requires sizable external funding are expected to engage, on an ongoing basis, in proposal-writing and general grant-management, and they often need to manage significant equipment and physical infrastructure. If those grant-active faculty regularly teach and supervise
- master-level students, then their default TRS allocation is 50:30:20
- doctoral -level students, then their default TRS allocation is 40:40:20.
Faculty can generally request replacing one course per academic year with other forms of student engagement, provided that their other forms of student engagement amount to the equivalent of one course. Replacing more than one course with other forms of student engagement may be appropriate if it is in accordance with the approved Departmental Workload Policy. For example, grant-active faculty who maintain laboratories and who supervise, on a regular basis, the research of a significant number of doctoral-level students can request replacing up to two of their courses with other forms of student engagement.
Tenure-track faculty who wish to pursue significant curricular innovation may occasionally request from their department chair a reduction by one in the number of courses they are teaching in a particular semester.
Whether requests to adjust the number of courses can be granted depends on the needs of the department/the regional campus to fulfill the curricular plan.
Table 2 summarizes the default TRS of instructional and tenure-track faculty.
|Default YRS||Default number of courses per academic year|
|Faculty without research and service expectations||100:0:0||10|
|Faculty expected to engage in teaching and service who devote:|
|--half a day per week to service||90:0:10||9|
|--one day per week to service||80:0:20||8|
|Tenure Track Faculty|
|Faculty who teach and/or supervise|
|--bachelor-level students only: RHE faculty2||80:10:10||8|
|--bachelor-level students only: Athens faculty||70:10:20||7|
|Faculty who are engaged in proposal-writing and grant management on an ongoing basis and who teach and/or supervise|
Note: Faculty can generally request replacing one course per academic year with other forms of student engagement, provided that the other forms of student engagement amount to the equivalent of one course. Replacing more than one course with other forms of student engagement may be appropriate under special circumstances if it is in accordance with the approved Departmental Workload Policy.
For most faculty, the default TRS allocation toward service is expected to be sufficient to perform all service. The college supports temporary increases in the TRS allocation toward service (commonly known as “course releases”) for service that consistently exceeds the default TRS allocation, specifically, for the activities of
- department chairs,
- program directors who supervise faculty and/or staff,
- graduate program directors engaged in student recruitment and admission,
- undergraduate program directors, provided that enrollment is sufficiently large to require more time than specified in the director’s default TRS allocation toward service.
Temporary increases in the TRS allocation toward service for activities other than those listed above, within and outside the college, are possible if they are in accordance with the approved Departmental Workload Policy, or with approval of the Dean.
Faculty are expected to perform all professional service as part of their default TRS allocation toward service. Adjustments to accommodate particularly prestigious and time-consuming professional service are possible in exceptional circumstances.
Faculty who wish to increase their engagement in teaching and reduce their engagement in scholarship (and hence reduce their evaluation thereof) can request an increase in their TRS allocation of teaching and a corresponding decrease in their TRS allocation of scholarship. Departments are strongly encouraged to maintain a culture that values contributions to teaching as highly as contributions to scholarship.
Those faculty whose scholarship falls below the expectations defined in the departmental workload policy or who perform minimal service will contribute to the primary mission of teaching by having an increased TRS allocation toward teaching.
Faculty whose scholarship exceeds the departmental expectations may request a reduction in the TRS allocation toward teaching. Occasional, temporary adjustments of the TRS allocation may be appropriate to enable faculty to engage in scholarship enhancement or in the pursuit of external funding of general benefit to their department. Whether such requests can be granted depends on the needs of the department/the regional campus to fulfill the curricular plan.
All flexible workload TRS adjustments must be in accordance with the approved Departmental Workload Policy, must be made over a well-defined timespan, and are subject to re-evaluation on an annual basis.
Transitioning to the college workload policy
This college workload policy will begin in the 2021-2022 academic year. Application of the college workload policy might increase a department’s average faculty course load. Those departments that currently face considerably lower-than-desired enrollment in many of their courses are NOT expected to fully implement the college workload policy by Fall 2021.
Faculty who are not yet transitioning to higher course loads in their departments because of a lack of student demand are expected to
- develop new courses that contribute to the new General Education framework;
- contribute, depending on their areas of expertise, to the curricula of other departments that are in need of additional instructional support;
- take on additional service within their department, the college, and the university.
1Ohio University policy 18-009 (https://www.ohio.edu/policy/18-009) states: “Departmental and school policies are subject to approval by the college dean. In general, it is expected that the mission of the academic unit will determine the relative balance of teaching to research/scholarship/creative activity and public service. Units with an associate degree or two-year programs will be expected to devote 80-90 percent of effort to teaching. Programs with a baccalaureate program only will devote 70-80 percent of effort to teaching. Departments with an active masters program will be expected to devote 60-70 percent [of] departmental workload to teaching. Departments with active doctoral programs will be expected to devote 50-60 percent of departmental workload to teaching.”
2This assumption is based on the observation that the teaching load of instructional faculty at Ohio University’s regional campuses whose appointments carry no service and research expectations is 5 courses per semester—that is, one course equates to one day of the five-day work week. Alternatively, one might derive this assumption as the product of the number of class contact hours and the university-defined constant 8/3 (≈ 2.67) that accounts for preparation, grading, office hours, and assessment that occurs outside the class meeting time. By this formula, a class with 3 class contact hours requires 3 * 8/3 = 8 hours of faculty time per week, that is, one day during a 40-hour work week. Classes with more contact hours might be expected to occupy more than one day, unless such classes require reduced work outside of class compared to classes with three contact hours.
3The TRS allocation for RHE faculty is determined by their regional campus. The current RHE TRS for tenure-track faculty is 80:10:10.