Faculty Workload Policy

Missouri State University recognizes and supports the important work that faculty members do in and outside of the classroom to impact academic disciplines, students, the University, and communities. In support of that commitment, the following workplace policy was drafted to guide department, college, and University decisions related to the fair and prudent allocation of faculty workload.  

All departments are required to create and maintain workload policies that define the appropriate teaching load equivalence of courses and teaching-related activities (including contact hours) and define what constitutes "research active" faculty. In constructing these policies, departments are expected to use selected terms and definitions outlined in this document. These terms include "equated hours," "standard workload,"; and "overload." The term "equated hours" is used to refer both to credit hours of teaching and to time assigned to activities that are equivalent to credit hours of teaching. The work involved in any activity worth three equated hours will have been determined to be equivalent to the work involved in having sole responsibility for instructing a one semester non-laboratory three-hour undergraduate class with enrollment at typical numbers or with responsibilities that do not significantly increase normal workload. Departmental policies regarding how equated hours are assigned to particular activities are to receive majority approval in departments, and subsequent approval by the Department Head, College Dean and Provost. The process for creating the workload policy should be transparent. Changes made to the departmental workload policy by any level of academic leadership should be documented, made available, and communicated to the department. In cases where a minority of the faculty is performing duties that substantially increase their workload, it is the Department Head's responsibility to ensure the policy is fair and equitable. Workload policies should be reviewed every three years by the Department.

"Standard workload" is 24 equated hours across an academic year with the exception of instructors without a service component. The conceptual framework for this standard workload is a total workload of 30 equated hours with six equated hours being allocated for maintaining currency in one's field, advising duties, and normal department, college, and University service activities. The departmentally-approved activities of each faculty member will often vary, and in many cases the standard workloads for individual faculty members will also vary. Research-active faculty members are typically granted a three hour reassignment per semester to promote scholarly endeavors at the University, resulting in an equated 18-hour instructional workload for an academic year. Research and other agreed upon activities are negotiated between the Department Head and the faculty member, with the approval of the College Dean.

The University supports rigorous curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and clearly and strongly supports faculty involvement in mentoring student research. Thus, the construction of viable workload policies, equitable both within and between departments, requires that departmental workload policies address specific courses and the workload of each, program development, coordination, and supervision, individualized research or readings supervision, thesis supervision, extensive off-campus travel associated with job duties, and other activities valued by the department that increase a faculty members workload (i.e., as measured in equated hours).   

"Overload" is determined by evaluating the workload assigned to a faculty member in relation to the standard workload as configured for that faculty member. Thus, if a faculty member with a typical nine-hour semester teaching load is asked to teach additional coursework during a semester, then that faculty member's workload would be considered overloaded. Any faculty member with a workload assignment that exceeds, according to department workload policy, 25 equated hours shall be compensated for being on overload status. It may reasonable that, as a function of departmental workload policies, a faculty member's standard instructional load may deviate one to two hours above or below nine hours for research active faculty and 12 hours for non-research active faculty.  

Faculty members who are requested to teach overload course assignments have the right to refuse such assignments. If a faculty member chooses to accept an overload assignment, then that faculty member is entitled to overload compensation, to future workload reductions, or to another compensation arrangement mutually acceptable to the faculty member and Department Head. Faculty who receive overload compensation will receive a minimum instructional salary based on a scale of 2 ½% of base salary per credit hour unless otherwise negotiated with the unit's direct academic administrator or College Dean. Faculty who choose to accept an overload assignment will be permitted to renegotiate prior established merit weights for teaching, research, and service.  

If a substantial proportion of faculty disagrees with the content of the department policy or with changes made to the policy by the Department Head or College Dean they should attempt to resolve differences of opinion with the focal/relevant academic administrator. If a resolution is not possible then the faculty member may submit a written appeal to the Provost for consideration. Faculty who feel the department policy is not being applied equitably may use the normal appeals process outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

Approved August 13, 2008