Faculty Senate votes on new workload policy

By Ariana Portalatin, Campus Editor

Esther Bell
The Workload Committee drafted a faculty workload policy that was approved to move forward during Faculty Senate’s March 31 meeting.

During a special Faculty Senate session held March 31, members voted to move forward with the proposed Academic Year Workload Policy to be sent to the Statement Review Committee. 

The faculty voted 22-4 in favor of sending the policy to the Statement Review Committee, which will make further changes to the document before it is presented at the April 14 Faculty Senate meeting.

As reported March 13 by The Chronicle, a Workload committee formed in 2016 created a document designed to provide  better language in the college’s policies. The committee consists of several full-time faculty from across the college, department chairs, school deans’ staff, and administrators. 

During a March 28 public forum, held at the 1014 S. Michigan Ave. Building, and the March 31 meeting, held at the 600 S. Michigan Ave. Building, participants suggested changes to the draft. Most feedback asked for clarification of workload percentages and service requirements, whether the percentages were negotiable, as well as suggestions for language revisions. 

According to the workload policy draft, 80 percent of the workload for full-time teaching-track faculty members, which includes senior lecturers and lecturers, must include teaching and teaching-related activities, with 20 percent of the workload including services to the college, profession and community. For full-time tenure-track and tenured faculty members, 60 percent of the workload includes teaching and teaching-related activities, 20 percent must come from college services, and the last 20 percent from scholarly or creative endeavors.

The workload policy states that teaching-track faculty members are required to teach 12 credits per semester or 24 per academic year, or equivalent responsibilities approved by their chair or dean, and keeping regular office hours to assist students. Tenure-track and tenured faculty are responsible for teaching 9 credits per semester or 18 per academic year, or equivalent, approved responsibilities, and keeping regular office hours to assist students.

Pegeen Quinn, Associate Provost of Academic Personnel and Workload Committee member, explained that the committee wanted to measure workload by the faculty members’ efforts.

“It’s very difficult to quantify work hours for faculty members,” Quinn said.  “It really encompasses your overall work. It’s your hours, the effort you put in, the product you’re delivering, so your overall work effort is really what the percentages are meant to be based on.”

During the March 31 meeting, Scott Hall, co-chair of the Workload Committee and senior lecturer in the Music Department, said he agreed with the feedback.

“I’m a former artist-in-residence who was converted into a senior lecturer, and when that happened, certain aspects of my responsibilities at this college were ignored,” Hall said. “Without this, we will just continue to go backwards.”

According to Faculty Senate President and associate professor in the Photography Department Greg Foster-Rice, the document and all feedback will now be sent to the Statement Review Committee and Workload Committee for further revision, which Foster-Rice will report during the April 14 meeting. The board of trustees will also then vote on the document.

“This is a starting point for having faculty and their [chairs] have a conversation about equitable distribution of workload in the department,” Foster-Rice said. “Without this, I would be concerned that faculty wouldn’t have a case to make.”