College of Humanities and Social Sciences
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Teaching Load Standards

College of Humanities and Social Sciences – The Research University Plan

Tenured and Tenure Track Faculty

This policy will identify general criteria and standards to define and evaluate research productivity for tenured and tenure line faculty in all departments and programs within CHSS.

Setting Teaching Loads Which Are Linked to Research Productivity

Faculty teaching loads have been and will continue to be primarily based on research productivity.  Therefore, release time for scholarly activities is linked with an expectation of greater research productivity.  However, CHSS is served by a faculty with a wide range of skills, interests and responsibilities.  Thus, different faculty members may have very different assignments in terms of teaching, research/creative activity, and service.  These differences in expectations shall be recognized, valued, and respected at all levels during the review of faculty performance.

The chart below outlines, in broad terms, the level of research productivity and service obligation associated with various teaching loads.  Each department is expected to articulate more specific standards for Minimal Research, Standard University Research, and Advanced University Research based on the standards and vehicles available for research and creative/scholarly contribution in their field for use in the performance evaluation process.

This may include, for example:

  • the pertinence of research projects to faculty member’s field of expertise
  • the degree to which scholarly works have advanced faculty’s discipline or profession demonstrated by the impact of the work on the field at local, state, regional, national, and international levels
  • the quality and quantity of the research products over a period of time
  • the extent to which faculty collaborate and mentor other faculty members within the department and outside of the department
  • whether the timeline needed to move projects from conception to publication is reasonable

Normal service/outreach obligation may include:

  • internal service at the department, college, or university level on committees
  • supervising graduate students on thesis or dissertation committees
  • external service in professional and community organizations at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels that are uncompensated and related to the faculty member’s professional training and competence



Teaching Load*

Expectation of Research and Service Productivity


Teaching Only

  • No obligation for research productivity
  • No service/outreach obligation


Teaching and Service

  • No obligation for research productivity
  • Normal service/outreach obligation


Teaching, Service, Minimal Research

  • Evidence of minimal research activity, e.g.
    • professional growth related to research (seminars, conferences, etc)
    • Papers submitted for presentation at professional meetings
  • Normal service/outreach obligation


Teaching, Service, Standard University Research

  • Evidence of on-going standard research activity, e.g.
    • Papers have been accepted or presented at professional meetings
    • Papers, chapters, or books have been submitted for publication
    • Papers accepted or published in journals that are not major refereed professional journals
    • Books or chapters accepted or published by publishing firms of lesser reputation or with limited circulation potential
  • Normal service/outreach obligation


Teaching, Service, Advanced University Research

  • Evidence of on-going advanced research activity, e.g.
    • Papers accepted or published by major refereed professional journals
    • Chapters have been refereed and appear in books that have been accepted or published by major publishing firms (high quality)
    • Books have been accepted or published by major publishing firms
    • Awards and funding for research
  • Normal service/outreach obligation

  *  Teaching load is based on university didactic hours and assumes 3 hours per course


Beginning in academic year 2008-09, the College will implement an opt-in program by department whereby current tenured and tenure track faculty members elect an appropriate teaching load with its associated research expectations.  New tenure and tenure track hires will customarily enter the department at the 2-2 level of Advanced University Research.

Each department will determine the process by which faculty adopt their teaching load and linked research expectation.  For example, the department’s salary review committee may determine teaching load for each faculty member.  Or it could be a negotiation between the department chair and each faculty member.  All processes must include the following:

  • Consideration of a faculty member’s previous professional performance in research/creative activity as well as future professional interests
  • Normally assignment in a specific category is chosen for at least three years for purposes of performance evaluation and raise review
  • Documentation of the elected teaching load for each faculty

 The process will be documented, tied to the annual faculty performance evaluation process, and submitted to the dean.

Course Reductions from Expected Teaching Load

Administrative Reductions

Course reductions for administrative positions will be based on the teaching load/research expectation of the faculty member and the size and complexity of the department.  Each department and program will formalize administrative course reductions and stipends.  A list will be provided to the dean, including Term faculty appointments (with no change in course reductions), for documentation purposes.  All administrative positions established henceforward receiving any sort of load reduction or compensation must be approved by the dean in advance.

 Standard Reductions (from a 2-2 load):
  • Department chairs will have a teaching load of 1-1.
  • Departmental administrators who received a 1-1 reduction in the previous system will receive 1 course reduction per academic year plus a stipend of $5,000 which includes summer administration work. 
  • Those administrators who formerly earned 1 course reduction each year will receive 1 course reduction every other academic year and a half stipend of $2,500 which includes summer administrative work.

 Faculty with teaching loads above 2-2 will maintain previous course reductions as long as they do not result in teaching equal to the chair (actual teaching must be more than 1-1).

Large Class Guidelines

Assigning double teaching credit for large sections should be unusual; however, they may be offered when it makes good pedagogical sense.  When a large class requires extensive grading or evaluation by the instructor, teaching credit may be proportionately increased.  General guidelines are as follows:

 A minimum seat enrollment should be agreed upon up front in order to count a section for double credit (usually between 1.6 – 2.0 times seat enrollment of a full regular section).  If the minimum enrollment is not achieved, the extra course should be made up the following semester. 

  • A double section is generally expected to have 2.5 times as many seats as a regular section.
    For example:  If a single section offers 45 seats, a double section should offer 112 seats.  (And more than 72 seats would be filled in order to count as a double section.)  Furthermore, classroom size and availability can lead to variance in these norms. 
  • No faculty member will teach more than one such course per year, except in the case of faculty teaching classes in excess of 200.
 Faculty Effort on Grants As It Relates to Teaching Load
  • Faculty charging labor to grants and contracts will provide 15% of academic year salary plus benefits to buy out the 1st course in an academic year, 10% for the 2nd course, and 25% for the 3rd course.
  • Only under extraordinary circumstances will a faculty member’s teaching obligation in an academic year be reduced to zero.  Such an arrangement must be negotiated with the Dean prior to submission of the grant proposal. 
  • Any other financial arrangement must be agreed to in advance by the dean.
Courses More than 4 Hours
  • Faculty on 2-2 loads who are teaching 8 credits one semester will teach 4 the other semester.  Faculty may not reduce teaching to zero in a semester by “banking” extra credits.
  • Faculty on 3-2 loads who are teaching 8 credits each semester are considered to be teaching a normal load and are not considered to be teaching extra.
  • For other course distributions which are analogous, arrangements will be negotiated with the dean.
Graduate thesis/dissertation

Department chairs should attempt to distribute thesis supervision and all graduate and undergraduate individualized section duties equitably.  Supervision of students does not provide credit toward course reductions.

Journal Editorship

There is no standard course reduction for journal editorships.  Any reduction needs to be individually negotiated with the dean and would be considered based on significance of the publication.

Uneven Load with Semester of Leave

A faculty member with an uneven teaching load (for example:  3-2 or 2-1) who is on leave status during one semester of an academic year will take leave in the semester with the lower load.


Chairs may reduce individual faculty teaching load on a temporary basis with explanation to the dean.  (The dean may or may not provide part time replacement budget depending on the circumstances.)

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