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Part 4. Personnel Policies

Section II. Appointment

H. Faculty Workload (Updated 5-10-09)

1. Idaho State University will maintain a general policy describing faculty workload that is applicable to all categories of faculty appointments (i.e., academic tenured, tenure track, and non-tenure track; and professional-technical non-tenure track). This policy will be subject to periodic reconsideration and revision by the ISU Faculty Senate and the University administration. This policy identifies and describes categories of faculty work and these guidelines are to be followed when assigning each faculty member's workload or for equalizing workloads among department/unit faculty members. Additionally, it is intended to provide a means for recognition and documentation of the work that faculty do.

a. Rationale

Institutions of higher education are required to establish a faculty workload policy that meets the criteria of their governing body (i.e., Idaho State Board of Education) and regional accrediting body (i.e., Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities). The ISU Faculty Workload Policy requires that full-time academic faculty on 9-month contracts be assigned 15 workload equivalency units of effort each semester. Workload assignments for faculty on 10- to 12-month contracts and for part-time faculty should be proportional to those for full-time 9-month faculty (e.g., 12-month faculty are assigned 40 workload units per year). A university workload policy should be flexible and contain the important attributes of accountability. Idaho State University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a doctoral research university (DRU). Doctoral-granting institutions are classified as doctoral research, high research, or very high research universities based on the total level of research and development activities and expenditures, number of faculty in the sciences and engineering, and number of academic doctoral degrees conferred. The expectation for tenured and tenure-track faculty at ISU requires significant expenditure of effort in research/ scholarship/creative activities.

The workload assignment of faculty impacts the commitment of university resources that are used to execute the goals and mission of the university, which are clearly defined within the ISU Strategic Plan. More importantly, the ability to advance the university's national stature largely depends upon the effective use of faculty time and effort directed toward high quality instruction, research/scholarship, service, and/or administration. Therefore, it is critical that faculty governance within colleges and departments/academic units establish clearly defined workload expectations and measures that lead to high quality performance in all aspects of faculty work germane to each discipline. Finally, evaluation and/or promotion of faculty must include the documentation of faculty performance within each area of the assigned workload.

Workload as defined herein is the total effort rendered to the university by faculty in instruction, research/scholarship/creative activity, professional service and/or administrative activities. The allocation of workload equivalency units to each of these components of faculty work is determined annually by the department chair or academic unit head after considering input from the faculty member, and the college dean is responsible for oversight of the departmental allocation of workload equivalency units within the college.. The number of workload equivalency units allocated to instruction, research/ scholarship/creative activity, professional service, and for some faculty, administration, will vary, but the total must add to 15 each semester for full-time 9-month faculty. The faculty members' college, department and discipline norms, and type of faculty appointment (e.g., tenured/tenure-track, or non-tenure track clinical, research, lecturer, and professional-technical) will be considered in assignment of workload in each area.

b. Purpose and Scope

The policy set forth herein is intended to serve as a general recommendation for the assignment of faculty workloads at Idaho State University. Each individual's workload should be assigned and subsequently evaluated within (1) the requirements and allowances stated in the contract which that faculty member signed with the University and the State Board of Education, (2) the set of professional expectations of the professoriate as a whole and the academic discipline which that faculty member serves (i.e., the "norms" for that profession or discipline), and (3) the context and normal operations of the college, department or academic unit to which that faculty member is assigned. Each college and department/academic unit will further refine, implement, and maintain a workload policy that is consistent with the University's policy and one that reflects the unique and specific needs and obligations of its own faculty. All such departmental/academic unit and college level workload policies must be approved by the dean and the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.

This general university policy is intended to provide a broad definition of faculty members' responsibilities, duties and expectations. It is acknowledged that, while fulfilling the academic mission of each faculty member's college and department/academic unit, the major components of faculty workload (teaching, research/scholarship/creative activities, service and/or administration) may be insufficient in defining a faculty member's responsibilities. Nonetheless, for the reasons stated above, this policy generally should apply to all faculty members at ISU with some exceptions (e.g., the faculty of the University Library, whose responsibilities may differ significantly from those of the general university faculty; research faculty paid wholly or partially from extramural funding; or clinical faculty paid partially from a clinical practice site). Finally, the intent of this policy is to provide guidance to deans, department chairs and academic unit heads in allocating workload for the department/academic unit, and to satisfy the requirements of accountability for both state and federal governmental agencies to which the University reports, and the citizens of Idaho, whom the University serves. There may be instances in which adjustments in faculty workload may impact temporarily the base salary of faculty (e.g., addition of administrative responsibilities with additional salary). Such faculty workload adjustments should include articulation of the terms and conditions of the adjustments, and be approved by the chair/academic unit head, dean, and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.

c. Workload Expectations

The expectation for tenured and tenure-track academic faculty for each college is an average of nine workload units of instruction, four to five workload units of research/scholarship/creative activity, and one to two workload units of professional service. Tenured faculty who are not actively engaged in research/scholarship/creative activity or extensive university service, may be assigned additional workload units of instruction. Tenured faculty with an unusually heavy service or scholarly load may be assigned fewer than nine workload units of instruction. The expected distribution of workload units for non-tenure track faculty appointments will be determined by the type of appointment. For example, clinical faculty will have increased focus on didactic and clinical instruction and professional service, and less emphasis on scholarly activity; research faculty will focus primarily on externally funded research projects and grant writing, with minimal teaching responsibilities; and lecturers and professional-technical faculty may have up to 15 workload units assigned to instruction each semester, with the remaining workload units assigned to service and/or scholarly activity. In addition to instruction, research/scholarship/ creative activity, and service, faculty may be assigned administrative responsibilities, which must be allocated within the total workload units.

Faculty will complete an annual Faculty Activity Report, based on the previous calendar year's activities, as part of the annual evaluation process. Each department chair or academic unit head will prepare an annual faculty workload summary report and forward a signed copy to the College dean. The department/academic unit report should contain the following information for each faculty member: name, rank/title, full time equivalency (FTE), contract, tenure status; and by academic semester, the assigned workload components, including instructional credit hours assigned, and the total workload equivalency units for each of the relevant components-teaching, research, service, administration. Each college will compile an annual workload report containing the assigned workload of faculty by department/academic unit, and submit the report to the Office of Academic Affairs. The summary of each faculty members' workload is to be included as part of the annual and periodic performance evaluations, and evaluation for promotion and/or tenure. Faculty workload history will be part of the personnel record of each faculty member.

It is required that each department/academic unit/college develop clear criteria and rationale within each component of the workload. While it is acknowledged that wide differences exist in the obligations and operations of the University's colleges and in the responsibilities of its various categories of faculty appointments, generally the 15 equivalency units of effort should be apportioned within the categories of activities outlined below. More specific criteria may be established for any of these general classes of workload activities by each college or department/academic unit with majority approval of the full-time continuing faculty of that unit and the dean of the college. When circumstances dictate, the relative allocation of time and effort expended in any of the major categories of faculty work may deviate from that generally recommended under this policy in order to meet the needs of the University, college, department/academic unit, and faculty member. Workload assignments are determined by the department chair or academic unit head after considering input from the faculty member, and the college dean is responsible for oversight of the departmental allocation of workload equivalency units within the college.

No faculty workload assignments should be made that conflict with a member's departmental/academic unit faculty evaluation standards or promotion and tenure policies. All should be mindful that concentration of faculty effort in one component of work to the near-total exclusion of effort in the other components, except for specific faculty appointments (e.g., research and lecturer) is discouraged under this policy, and every faculty member should be given the opportunity to contribute in measurable ways to the teaching, research/scholarship/creative activity, professional service, and, for some faculty, the administrative functions of the University.

(1) Instruction: As defined here, instruction includes the teaching, supervisory, and training functions necessary to fulfilling the academic mission of a faculty member's department/academic unit and discipline, and includes, but is not limited to: (a) graduate/professional and undergraduate coursework, (b) the supervision and direction of students' scholarly works, including but not limited to research papers and theses/dissertations, fine arts works and performances, clinical experiences and student teaching, and (c) other activities such as student advising necessary for students to complete their degree and program requirements at ISU. Accordingly, as determined by the academic unit, the assigned teaching load per semester for tenured and tenure-track faculty ordinarily should consist of an average of nine equivalency units. The instructional workload expectation for lecturers and professional-technical education faculty as determined by their department/academic unit normally is 15 equivalency units each semester; this may be reduced somewhat if there is a clear requirement for significant service and/or scholarly activity.

For purposes such as reporting time and effort to various extramural funding agencies, or for obtaining release time from instructional duties a faculty member is obliged to perform under the stated or implied terms of his or her contract, the equivalency units of effort in instruction, may be converted to percent of total effort. For example, faculty members requesting release from one or more equivalency units of instruction may be required to compensate their department/academic unit from a grant or other funding source to cover the cost of paying an adjunct faculty member to teach the course(s).

(2) Research, creative work, and scholarly activity: These are commonly acknowledged as activities related to: original investigation and discovery, translational research, the development of improved technologies, creative performance, original composition and academic writing, the investigation and improvement of pedagogy, the interpretation and integration of knowledge, and like activities. Recognition of the great diversity of activities associated with research and scholarship in the varied disciplines represented at Idaho State University requires that each college/department/academic unit or program must develop and include in its workload policy metrics for assignment of equivalency units for productivity in research and other scholarly activity. For tenured and tenure-track faculty a minimum of four equivalency units of effort in research or other scholarship activity is expected. The expectation for faculty with research appointments is nine to twelve equivalency units of sponsored research activity, with the remaining three to six equivalency units allocated to instruction and/or professional service.

(3) Professional service: Effort allocated for the purpose of fulfilling faculty service functions include, but is not limited to: serving on various departmental/academic unit and University standing and ad hoc committees and councils, serving as Graduate Faculty Representative (GFR) for graduate students outside the faculty member's immediate department/academic unit or discipline, serving professional societies and organizations in one's discipline serving in a professional capacity when addressing public and community needs, serving as a faculty advisor for student organizations, as a faculty mentor, and some forms of academic advising. Tenured and tenure-track faculty are expected to provide no more than two workload equivalency units of such service. Under certain circumstances (e.g., chairing a major institutional committee, Faculty Senate, Curriculum Council) additional professional service equivalency units must be approved by the department chair and college dean.

(4) Patient Care Services: An important, additional category of service is that performed by faculty who have professional practice responsibilities and/or who provide other clinical and/or patient care services as part of their assigned departmental workload. Professional service workload equivalency units for clinical faculty may exceed that expected of tenured/tenure-track faculty (i.e., greater than two equivalency units of effort), particularly when contracted by a practice site to deliver clinical services. Patient care services equivalencies must be approved by the Chair and Dean.

(5) Administration: Faculty may be assigned administrative responsibilities as part of their workload. Such assignments may include, but are not limited to, serving as department chair/administrative unit head, assistant or associate chair/academic unit head, program director, center director, assistant or associate dean, student advisor for a college or large department/academic unit, chair for special institutional projects (e.g., accreditation self-study), clinical coordinator or supervisor, and other such administrative work. Equivalency units allocated to such administrative assignments will be determined by the college dean or in certain instances by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs, in conjunction with the faculty member.

d. Calculation of Workload Equivalencies for Instruction

An equivalency unit of instruction does not necessarily equal a semester credit hour. The equivalency units assigned to a course depends on the course level, contact hours, number of students, type of course, and many other factors. Each college is required to develop an equivalency unit model that fits within the type of instruction provided. Credit for instruction workload equivalency units will not be allocated for overload courses or other instructional activity that includes additional compensation (e.g., stipend for Early College course supervision).

A number of factors should be considered in the assignment of workload equivalency units to the various instruction-related activities listed below. Each college, division, and/or department/academic unit will develop a weighting system that best fits the courses taught by its faculty. All department/academic unit weighting models must be approved by the dean and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs. The weighting schemas developed for calculating instruction equivalency units shall be reviewed every five years. The review shall include investigation of models currently in use at other universities and higher education systems and a survey of faculty regarding the model's effectiveness.

(1) Graduate/Professional Program Instruction: For weighting of graduate and professional courses, consider the following: number of students enrolled, type of instruction (e.g., primarily lecture, guest speakers, seminar, student presentations) and any other factors that may reflect the time and effort expended by the instructor of record.

(2) Laboratory-Type Courses: In assigning weight to regularly scheduled, academic laboratory and clinical lab courses; physical activity courses; studio art; studio music instruction; primary music performance organizations, such as ensembles and marching bands; off-campus field experiences/labs; and professional-technical combined lecture/lab courses, consider the instructor's time and effort and weekly contact hours in assigning equivalency units to these type of experiential courses.

(3) Supervision of Student Practice: For supervision of student teachers, clinical clerkship/practicum supervision, intern supervision, and other such courses, assignment of equivalency units should reflect the total number of students being supervised at one time, length of the course (e.g., 6-week clerkships, semester-long student teaching, etc.), and other such factors that take into account faculty time and effort in a semester.

(4) Honors Program Courses, Individual Research Projects, or Independent Study: Assignment of equivalency units for supervision of undergraduate student seminar courses, honors courses, individual instruction courses (e.g., in the arts), and individual research projects, should be weighted less that the total credit hours for the course (e.g., 0.1 or 0.2 equivalency units for each semester credit hour). In no case will individual instruction in a single course generate more semester credit hour equivalence than if the course were taught as a regularly scheduled, organized course.

(5) Thesis or Dissertation Supervision and Committee Membership: Credit for supervision of students actively engaged in graduate thesis or dissertation research shall be granted to the chairperson of the thesis or dissertation committee, and to a lesser extent to the remaining committee members. The amount of credit awarded each semester should be weighted based on the number of student credit hours. Whenever the GFR is also deeply involved in guiding the student throughout the thesis/dissertation process, appropriate weighting is to be allocated.

(6) Advising of Undergraduate and Graduate Students: Faculty who are formally assigned a large number of undergraduate and graduate students to advise each semester may be granted instruction credit. One equivalency unit of instruction may be granted based on the total number of advisees (the exact number will be determined by the department/academic unit or college).

(7) Class Size: For academic courses, workload credit may be proportionally increased for teaching a large regularly scheduled undergraduate class that requires extensive grading or evaluation of students' work by the faculty member, or decreased for a low enrollment regularly scheduled undergraduate class. The college and/or department/academic unit should determine what weighting factors to assign based on number of students enrolled and course credit hours).

(8) Proportional Credit for Multiple Instructors: When more than one instructor participates in teaching a single course, the workload credit is proportioned according to the effort expended by each instructor (to total 100%).

(9) Coordination of Courses: A faculty member who coordinates several sections of a single course, serves as a coordinator for a team-taught module in a clinical program, or other such course administrative responsibilities may be granted additional equivalency units of instruction (the department/academic unit or college will determine the equivalency units to be allocated).

(10) Joint Undergraduate/Graduate Courses: Joint undergraduate/graduate (e.g., 4xxl/5xx) courses scheduled for the same time are not counted as two separate courses in calculation of instructional workload. Additional weight may be assigned, based on the credit hours for the course and the number of students enrolled. The college and/or department/academic unit will determine the adjustment factor for these courses.

(11) Courses Taught Off-Campus: For courses that are taught at least 40 percent time face-to-face at an off-campus location, additional weight may be assigned based on the distance faculty members must travel from their home campus. The weighting factor to be applied will be determined by the college and/or department/academic unit. If a faculty member teaches more than one course on the same day(s) at the off campus site, the weighting factor will apply to only one of the courses (the course with the largest credit hours).

(12) Courses Taught Online and via Distance Learning: Additional weight may be allocated for courses taught online and distance learning, based on the number of students enrolled and other factors related to course delivery. The weighting factor to be applied will be determined by the department/academic unit faculty and college dean.

(13) Insufficient Enrollment: A reduction in teaching workload, with concomitant increase in research and/or service workload may be granted temporarily if assigned classes do not materialize because of insufficient enrollment and additional classes or other instructional duties cannot be assigned to the faculty member. This exception may be granted for two consecutive semesters only for any particular faculty member.

(14) New Faculty Members: At the recommendation of the department chair/academic unit head, and upon approval of the dean, up to three equivalency units of workload credit for each of two semesters may be given to a newly-appointed faculty member during the first year of employment for the purpose of developing instructional materials for courses the faculty member will teach in subsequent semesters, or for additional research efforts. The amount of equivalency credit allocated to new faculty is dependent on the total teaching load for the department/academic unit faculty.

(15) Course Development: At the recommendation of the department chair/academic unit head, and upon approval of the dean, instructional workload credit may be granted to a faculty member involved in the creation of a new course, new course format, or significant new course materials. The amount of workload credit will be determined jointly by the faculty member, chair/academic unit head, and dean.

(16) Clock-Hour Basis: Instructional workload equivalents for faculty members holding professional-technical education (PTE) rank may be determined on a credit hour or clock-hour basis. Determination of the number of credit hours taught per semester and/or the number of hours of instruction-related activities per week for full-time employment will be identified in the College of Technology workload policy.

(17) Credit Granted by the Dean and/or Provost: Academic workload credit may be granted for additional activities not specified above, such as major college recruiting and/or advising responsibilities, professional development to improve pedagogy as required by a formal remediation plan approved by the dean and chair/academic unit head, preparing major documents in the fulfillment of programmatic needs or accreditation requirements, or for other duties performed in the best interest of the institution's instructional programs as determined by the dean and Provost.

e. Compliance Assessment

Faculty workload assignment will be documented in a faculty member's annual plan, which is established by the faculty member's unit head (with input from the faculty member) before the start of the contract year. The annual plan may be revised if and when unforeseen circumstances arise that require changes in the faculty member's workload. Faculty members' compliance with their assigned academic workload requirements will be assessed as part of the annual evaluation process and time and effort report. Faculty will complete a time and effort report each semester, as well as provide a summary of total workload activity as part of their annual evaluation. If a faculty member is found to be out of compliance, the chair/academic unit head and dean, in discussion with the faculty member, shall take appropriate measures to ensure workload requirements as outlined in this policy are met in the future.


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