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Brian Lucid

How is your workload measured?

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This question sits across research, teaching and service. 

How is your total academic workload defined? How is your activity measured? Is it a flexible system? Do you have a clear system of hours you are measured to? 

How many hours of teaching are you expected to do across a year? How many hours of service? How is research time factored in? Is postgraduate teaching and supervision evaluated in the same way as undergraduate? Do you use research funds to buy yourself out of your teaching? How much does that cost?

My school has a defined model, but it is not really working. I am about to start a process to re-evaluate it. I would be keen to hear other's experience. 

 

 

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http://www.psc-cuny.org/news-events/teaching-load-reduction-agreement-reached

CUNY has a strong union. That, however, is at risk with the movement towards "Right to Work" efforts to break up unions by not requiring dues of all members. That being said, here is my understanding of how things are measured and expected of f/t tenured faculty. (We've included many of these questions in the Design Incubation Census so if people haven't completed the survey, please do so soon. We're going to close this year's survey shortly.)

Whether a CUNY f/t tenured faculty member teaches at a Community College (2-year) or Senior College (4-year) will affect what is required and expected of them. Each of the 20+ colleges will vary slightly in how they assess each requirement. Many of the details are described on the union website http://www.psc-cuny.org/

3 hours ago, Brian Lucid said:

How is your total academic workload defined? How is your activity measured? Is it a flexible system? Do you have a clear system of hours you are measured to? 

How many hours of teaching are you expected to do across a year? How many hours of service? How is research time factored in? Is postgraduate teaching and supervision evaluated in the same way as undergraduate? Do you use research funds to buy yourself out of your teaching? How much does that cost?

We are paid by the teaching hour. Each course varies in the number of teaching hours. Many COMD courses in our dept have 3 or 4 teaching hours. Some courses have 6 teaching hours. Each course is broken down by credits/lecture hours/lab hours. Lab hours are in-class studio hours. A typical web design course, is 3 credits/2 lecture hours/2 lab hours (i.e., it is a 4-hour course).

Reading the article at the top, our union recently negotiated an 18 hour teaching load for f/t faculty at senior (4-year) colleges. So that is approximately 9 hours each semester, so approximately 2–3 courses a semester. Sounds cushy to most non-academics... here's why it's not.

CUNY is wildly underfunded. While Gov Cuomo loves to do things to make himself popular, such as offer free tuition, at the same time he does nothing to pay for it. So while we support free education for all, we also need funds to turn on the lights, have working facilities, staff to run the college, but those things are largely underfunded. So in terms of service—on the dept and college level—there is more work to be done than people to do it. Our service contributions get assessed every year during the tenure track process, and for every year through the promotion processes. At my college, we are required to submit a yearly cv (the PARSE) listing our teaching, service, and research efforts for that year. They get assessed yearly by the dept and administration. Typically we do 20 hours of dept/college service hours a week. This includes student advisement, curriculum development, dept administration (observations & evaluations, facilities, committees, recruitment & retention, scheduling, etc.), college administration. I'm sure there's other major things I'm missing...

Only a few colleges at CUNY offer graduate programs. So we generally do not have postgraduate teaching and supervision. It also means we don't have TAs to help teach/grade/administer our courses.

In terms of research funding, we can seek grants to pay for release time from teaching. I do not know the exact figures, but it would be the teaching salary for one course. I believe we are limited by the number of hours a grant can fund, which is typically 3 teaching hours per semester. In addition, the grant must fund all the administrative costs and benefits associated with those hours (this is measured as a percentage of our hourly salary which is based on union contracted pay scale). This works out best over the summer because we are not required to teach during the summer so grant-funded pay is in addition to our regular salary.

Research time is only factored in where it is not explicitly required in our regular contracted teaching/service duties. In other words, we are expected to do research, it is the most important thing (at my senior college) for tenure and promotion. But it is not stated how and when this is supposed to happen. It is third in priority during the teaching periods, and largely expected to happen over the summer. But as most know, research doesn't wait, and most things have to happen on a consistent schedule, largely during the regular working months (Sept–June). New tenure track faculty receive 24 hours of total release from teaching over the first 5 years. This time is meant to be used for research.

While there used to be a decent amount of funds to cover research conference travel/presentation costs, that has shrunk considerably over the past few years, thanks to Gov Cuomo. So if we are lucky we might get the cost of one domestic conference travel reimbursed. But that is not guaranteed.

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I teach at Central State University in Ohio. It is a public HBCU. In the state of Ohio we can't negotiate workload, the supreme court ruled against it. See AAUP vs CSU. 
https://www.oyez.org/cases/1998/98-1071

I am also curious as to how the university's define contact vs credit hour.

My teaching load is 12 credit hours and 20 contact hours. Which is sometimes a 4 x 4 load or 5 x 5. (We have 2 credit studio classes).  We have to be in our office 10 hours a week on top of this. Not included in this are various committee appointments, advising, and being asked to recruit. I also serve as the tech support for our computer lab. We have minor funding for travel through writing a grant through Title 3, but it has to be used for accreditation and not for presentations. With this in mind we are also expected to do research for P & T. The vast majority of my research is from doing Graphic Design jobs for clients. I am assuming it is applicable for P&T but it isn't specifically outline in the process. I am too afraid to count up the hours of work I do at this university. 

So yes workload is currently an issue here. 

 

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Mitch,

Most faculty at our university teach 4 x 4 each year and around 10 some contact hours. In our Art and Design department, we teach 3 x 3 but have 15 contact hours. We have NASAD accreditation which allows us to argue for the different time frame/structure of courses.  We only are required to hold 5 office hours, but I am there way more.

To get to your greater point on real workload, it's a lot for sure. If it was just about teaching in class life would be beautiful, but it's much more. It's all about pacing yourself, avoiding burnout is key.

Best of luck,
James
 

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James,

We had a review by NASAD recently and they wanted the University to state how our workload was calculated. So I am assuming that there is a possibility of arguing for a 3 x 3 or a 3 x 4 workload. We are currently drafting a document to send to administration, that shows research on other University's workloads. We will see how that works out.

Thanks for the information. 

-Mitch

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Kent State also has a strong AAUP faculty union and each dept/school has a handbook that outlines workload for that unit (subject to approval from deans and provost).  Tenure-track and tenured faculty in our School of VCD are assigned 12 workload hours per semester and these hours are allocated through discussion between a faculty member and our school director. The workload is generally assigned to teaching but can also be distributed to research, administrative roles, curriculum development, certain service roles, or other responsibilities. For example, my workload hours this spring are distributed as 6 teaching, 4 research, and 2 administrative; this past fall, it was 12 teaching. 

Our system needs updating, particularly in that our tenure & promotion guidelines are increasingly focused on research, scholarship, and creative activity. Some activities that are time-consuming are not included in workload (i.e., graduate thesis advising, various committees). As a faculty, we're looking at ways to integrate research workload time more consistently from term to term. And so, we are in the process of revising our handbook language to reflect the current (and future) needs of our faculty and students. 

Edited by Jessica Barness
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Jessica,
Do workload hours translate to contact hours? Could you possibly e-mail me what your handbook says for your unit? meismont@centralstate.edu. We are both an Ohio Public University and have AAUP, so it would be interesting research for what we are pushing forward to administration.

 

Thanks,

Mitch

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