Differentiated Annual Workloads

  • TO: Chairs and Directors
  • FROM: Todd T. Gleeson
  • SUBJECT: Differentiated Annual Workloads
  • DATE: 3 December 2002

A recent query was received that asked if University or College policy language gave authority to chairs and directors to require additional classroom instruction of faculty members who were no longer adequately engaged in research and creative work activities. At issue is what authority does a chair have or not have to require additional teaching from reluctant colleagues.

The two page University policy statement on Differentiated Workloads can be downloaded at https://www.cu.edu/policies/aps/academic/1006.pdf.

This policy obligates primary units to have policies for formulating differentiated workloads, but does not assign to the chair any authority to force additional teaching. Most other language on this subject encourages the faculty member or the chair to enter into “a negotiation” regarding differentiated workloads that either party may initiate, but stops short of assigning authority to a chair or director to force the issue.

I asked for policy language from departments that addressed this dilemma of the resistant under-performer. Some departments have adopted policies that provide tests that trigger mandatory workload adjustments. Some examples worth sharing include:

Using Annual Evaluations in Research/creative Work as a Trigger:

  1. The Chair will consult with those who have earned “below expectations” ratings in research/creative work regarding additional teaching to supplement their workload. As long as evaluations meet expectations, no extra teaching assignments will be required. (modified from FINE)
  2. Changes in workload may be initiated by the Department. If, on the basis of annual performance reviews, the Chair feels that the interests of the Department. A reassigned faculty member may appeal the change in assignment to the (dept) committee. (modified from ENGL)
  3. Faculty who have earned “below expectation” or “unsatisfactory” ratings in research/creative work in three consecutive years shall be required to assume one or more additional classroom instruction assignments. Increased workload adjustments shall be reviewed and approved by the department executive committee. (composite).

Using Performance Standards as a Trigger:

Teaching levels are defined as Level 1 (normal) and level 2 (3x normal). To qualify for Level 1 assignment, each tenured faculty member must fulfill all three performance criteria:

  • Mentor graduates or undergraduates as the primary research advisor, and
  • Publish at least one refereed research paper in the last 2 years, and
  • Receive at least $50,000 annually in non-departmental funding.

Non-tenured faculty are exempt from meeting these criteria. (modified from MCDB)

Given that we seem to be in an era of increased teaching demand but shrinking resources, it seems prudent to protect the scholarly activity of your productive colleagues by having policy language that allows a mechanism to require additional teaching from some under-achieving members of your unit, providing that faculty appeal privileges are protected.

If your unit does not have policy language that allows unit leadership to impose additional teaching, the only recourse is the Post-tenure Review (PTR) policy. PTR policy allows for differentiated workloads to be the result of two substandard annual evaluations. However, this policy applies only when annual evaluations result in “below expectations” or “unsatisfactory” rating OVERALL, and so would not apply to faculty with reasonable teaching and service records but below average research/creative work records.

I invite you to examine your unit’s policies and practices regarding the judicious application of differentiated workloads.