Recommended Faculty Workload Policy Proposed by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (March 2012)

 

Teaching Expectations.

 

1.The University of Oklahoma is strongly committed to ensuring that all students receive an outstanding education, that public resources and tuition revenues are used in an efficient manner consistent with accomplishing the Universityís mission, and that faculty members are fully supported with the resources necessary to accomplish their professional goals and are actively and productively engaged in teaching, research and public service. The University encourages faculty members to become recognized leaders within their disciplines, which will enrich the educational experience of all students, enhance the reputation of the University and contribute to the success of its alumni in their careers beyond graduation.

 

All academic units shall develop a written policy that ensures that all full-time faculty members (1.0 FTE) teach their full assignments of courses, which presumptively constitutes four (4) credit-bearing courses per academic year.The full assignment of courses shall be defined by each department in consultation with the Dean and the Provost. Individual departments may require higher or lower course requirements from the four course presumptive benchmark depending upon various objective considerations, which may include but are not limited to: recognized standards for workload requirements of peer institutions in the same or similar discipline, terms of an original university appointment, manner and structure of course delivery (e.g. distinctions between traditional lecture format for doctrinal courses and those with significant laboratory requirements) and student contact data.

 

The Dean or Department Chair, in consultation with Committee A, may adjust the four course requirement based upon demonstrated reasonable, justifiable basis for reduction in teaching load for the academic year.Illustrative justifications may include research/creative activity (demonstrated by publications, national presentations, research grants, participation in PhD committees, and undergraduate and graduate student mentoring), assisting the professional development of untenured faculty members, terms of an original university appointment, or exceptional university/professional service.

 

A faculty member who fails to satisfy the departmentís teaching load requirement without prior agreement of their unit will be expected to make arrangements to make up the shortfall in the subsequent academic year, if feasible.†† Teaching load calculations exclude semesters in which a faculty member is on sabbatical, research leave or unpaid leave. Faculty with less than a 1.0 FTE appointment will be expected to teach a proportionate share of the course load, implemented in consultation with the Dean or Department Chair and Committee A.

 

2.†† All tenured and tenure-track faculty are expected to teach undergraduate students, to the extent reasonably appropriate and feasible in light of the best professional judgment of the academic unit.This commitment to undergraduate students may include, but is not necessarily limited to: (a) teaching organized class sections, (b) supervising independent study and research, and (c) providing mentoring and academic advising of such students.Departments which do not offer undergraduate degrees are specifically excluded from this policy. Those departments which may have a low enrollment of undergraduate students in a given academic year should nevertheless make their best efforts to fully staff undergraduate courses with tenured and tenure-track faculty.

 

3.In recognition of the high importance of providing the best possible academic foundation for all students, each academic unit is strongly encouraged to staff freshman and lower division courses with full-time tenured and tenure-track professors, including faculty who hold endowed chairs and professorships and/or who have received awards for teaching excellence. In carrying out this policy, departments should exercise their best professional judgment to make teaching assignments for tenured and tenure-track faculty based upon consideration of: (a) the academic needs and resources of the unit, (b) reasonable and justifiable student needs and expectations; and (c) the background, training, experience, expertiseand other professional commitments of faculty members; and (d) other factors related to fulfilling the specific programs and goals of the individual academic unit.

 

4.Each academic unit shall develop policies and procedures with respect to establishing minimum enrollment requirements for all undergraduate and graduate courses.Departmental units should exercise their best professional judgment in determining threshold enrollment criteria, which may include but are not limited to: pedagogical differences in the structure and delivery of courses, historical and projected enrollments in course offerings, any unique characteristics of the course, and whether the course is typically filled by graduate or undergraduate students.

 

5.Faculty members who are not actively engaged in productive research, creative activity and scholarship at an acceptable rate based upon departmental standards governing the specific academic discipline may be assigned an increase in teaching load, at the discretion of the Dean or Department Chair in consultation with Committee A.Departments may consider various factors in applying this policy, which may include but are not limited to: producing scholarly publications, creative activity recognized by the discipline, national presentations, obtaining grants, holding leadership positions in national professional organizations, supervising graduate students, serving on MS and PhD committees, and supervising undergraduate research opportunities.

 

6.In order to utilize faculty resources in an efficient and productive manner while maintaining a high quality learning environment, all full-time faculty members are presumptively expected to teach a minimum average of 75 students per academic year as part of their in-load teaching through organized class sections and other credit-bearing instructional activities. Adjustments will be made proportionately for faculty members with approved course releases or for circumstances where class size is limited by its nature, such as laboratory, field, or performance and studio courses. Those departments which may have a low enrollment of students in a given academic year should nevertheless make their best efforts to meet the objectives of this policy to the extent reasonable and feasible.

 

7.The University recognizes the high importance of providing all students with an outstanding education and facilitating their ability to graduate. Therefore, in implementing this faculty workload policy and making specific course assignments, each academic unit should exercise their best efforts to provide comprehensive curricular offerings so that students will be afforded a full and fair opportunity to satisfy all graduation requirements in a timely manner.