The Faculty Workload and Rewards Project Seeks Data on Workload Policies

by KerryAnn O’Meara
Professor of Higher Education & Affiliate Faculty in Women’s Studies
Director, University of Maryland ADVANCE Program
University of Maryland

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to ask your help. My colleagues (Joya Misra, Audrey Jaeger) and I at the Faculty Workload and Reward Project are creating a repository of department, college or university workload policies that can help ensure fairness and equity. Examples include policy language regarding credit systems (e.g. for high enrollment classes, high number of advisees), equivalencies (supervising 5 MA capstones =1/2 a course release); performance benchmarks for merit pay and annual review (e.g. high performance in service includes x or y, low a or b), and differentiated workload policies (wherein faculty can agree to deviate from formula and teach more and be evaluated more on teaching than research), phased retirement policies, and ways of acknowledging both high and low performance.

A key issue faced by many academic departments trying to improve the retention and satisfaction of faculty is workload and equity. As departments have hired more part-time faculty, there are often fewer full-time faculty to play shared governance roles. Women and URM faculty often find themselves asked to serve on more committees, and engage in mentoring of URM or women students. Some faculty work is invisible, and does not seem to count in reward systems. Many institutions lose good faculty because of real and perceived equity problems as they relate to workload.

The National Science Foundation ADVANCE program has funded our project: The Faculty Workload and Rewards Project (Advance Award:1463898) to work with departments to increase awareness of implicit bias in what work is taken up, assigned, and rewarded. Participating departments begin by creating dashboards of workload data and move toward creating organizational practice reforms to correct equity issues and proactively design workloads for greater fairness and flexibility. They then consider various policy options and put in place policy or practice reforms to ensure equity moving forward.

We will compile workload policies and send back a summary to those who participate.

Please send examples of workload policies to Gudrun Nyunt, our project manager, at by Monday, May 8th, 2017.

Thank you so much.

Posted in eNews.