Faculty have been asked to respond in an extremely short time frame to the latest administrative memo on “Guidelines for Implementing University Rule 3359-20-03.2”. In addition to the Faculty Senate and AAUP Executive Committees, various BUF have reviewed the new administrative guidelines (whose authorship remains unidentified) and developed a series of concerns. We offer these comments on the proposed guidelines for your consideration as you work with your colleagues to tailor unit workload policies.
Page 1, paragraph 1: In the very first sentence and in footnote 1, UA’s memo contradicts UA Rule 3359-20-03.2. The administration restricts the guidelines to all “regular” faculty, defined separately as all tenured or tenure-track. Yet, on page 1 of University Rule (UR) 3359-20-03.2, on faculty workload we read:
“(B) Faculty workload.
(1) Three activities, teaching, research/creative activity, and service, make up the full-time faculty workload” (emphasis added)
Simply put, the UR on workload applies to all full-time faculty, not just “…tenured or tenure-track…”; the UR contains no reference to “regular” faculty.
Page 3, paragraph 5: “The unit-level workload guidelines should follow UR 3359-20-03.2(B)(2) in specifying how teaching load will be assigned to individual regular faculty” (emphasis added). 3359-20-03.2 refers to all full-time faculty.
Page 4, fn 9: “UR 3359-20-03.2(B)(3)(b)(i)(d) allows “additional load credit [to] be granted with approval of the … dean” in cases where “a class substantially exceeds the maximum size for which it is programmed.” Deans should ensure consistency, equity, and transparency among units when granting such exceptions, subject to review by the Chief Academic Officer.”
PROBLEM: All this needs to be determined before the guidelines take effect.
Page 4, first full paragraph: “Load hours may be assigned to individual regular faculty for research/creative activities as part of their overall load.” But, “A written research/creative activity proposal must be approved by the [chair/director] and by the Dean of the college before load credit is assigned.”
Continuing on this, page 4, third full paragraph: “…the unit workload guidelines should identify the level and type of research/creative activity appropriate for regular faculty proposals, how such proposals will be evaluated and outcomes assessed, and whether distinctions between tenure-track and tenured faculty are relevant, provided the guidelines are consistent with the goals for unit-level average teaching load.10 In these regards, the number of load hours assigned should reflect the level of effort and importance of the activity to the unit mission.”
PROBLEM: Because it is likely that many faculty will have assigned hours for research this spring, each faculty member will need the appropriate time to develop these proposals and units will need to develop the appropriate rules governing assigned time for research. Part of this, to insure fairness and consistency, shall require comparable units to meet and arrive at comparable standards.
Page 4, last paragraph: “The unit-level workload guidelines should identify the level and type of service activity (including service to the college, university, and public), how such activities will be evaluated and outcomes assessed, and whether distinctions between tenure-track and tenured faculty are relevant, provided the guidelines are consistent with the goals for unit-level average teaching load.11 In these regards, the number of load hours assigned should reflect the level of effort and importance of the activity to the unit mission.”
PROBLEM: Units will need to develop these policies prior to implementing the new workload guidelines.
Given all this, the deadlines for Spring 2020 implementation are unrealistic.
Finally, it is disingenuous on the part of whomever wrote this document to claim to be fair while using only the upper-end of each degree range for unit requirements. The very fact that the UR rule includes a range of teaching responsibilities (e.g. 70-80% for BA/BS departments), with the remainder devoted to research/creative activity, strongly suggests that the amount and quality of these latter activities affects the amount of teaching. The administrative guidelines that use the upper limit of the suggested range for teaching, by their nature, directly indicate that the administration deems that every academic unit on campus is at the low end of performance in research and service. At a minimum, the starting point should be the mid-points of the ranges indicated for each degree level: 75% for BA/BA, 65% for MA/MS, and 55% for Ph.D. units.
What to do next: Faculty should voice their opinions about the workload guidance we received to their Chairs/Directors, Deans, and Faculty Senators. Senate meetings are public forums: you may attend to observe. If you do attend, you may ask to be recognized by Chair Saliga, and you can ask to have your questions, comments, and/or concerns addressed to the Interim President and/or the Chief Academic Officer. If you would like to attend this Thursday’s meeting (from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in the Law Building, room 180), it’s best that you email Heather Loughney at firstname.lastname@example.org so that she and Chair Saliga are aware that you’ll be present.