Look! A post with substance! I thought I would take advantage of the increased traffic and put a topic up for discussion.
Here at my U, there is quite a disparity in teaching load between departments- even within the same college (i.e., Arts & Sciences). A handful of our departments have PhD programs, many have Master's programs, and some have no grad programs. Some of the differences in teaching load can be linked to these grad programs (or lack thereof), but there are still differences among departments with the same highest degree. For example, some departments give their pre-tenure faculty a reduced load for the entire probationary period. Others (such as mine) give a reduced load for the first year on the job, but then go to full load. Recently, our administrators have been discussing an 'equitable workload' policy and at the same time, my department has been recommended to develop our own policy on the subject. There is much bitterness and controversy over this idea and discussion. The bottom line is that certain faculty (who are more research-active) would teach the same or less than now, while others would teach MORE than they do now. Some fear that this would make teaching a punishment for not being active enough in research. Meetings we've had on the subject have not made much progress. My feeling is that under our current policy (based solely on number of courses taught and NOT on credit-hours, number of students, or class size), we already have variable teaching loads. Some people teach lots of seminars that meet once week and have less than 10 students. Others teach several 4-credit classes with labs, or even 3-credit classes with labs. Some teach 90-student general education courses, but there are others who rarely do so. Some teach Tuesday/Thursday only, while others are here every day.
My questions to everyone out there is this: How does your department or university determine teaching load? Are there variations between faculty in the same department? I think my department needs to see how others do it elsewhere and see if any of those fit for us- otherwise, our discussions are going nowhere!
tags: academia teaching workload