Approved 4/13/2009 by the Administrative Council;
Updated 1/20/2015

Standard Teaching Load

The standard teaching expectation for research-active, tenured and tenure-track faculty is three courses or course equivalents per academic year, in addition to mentoring individual students in research. Some departments define course equivalents to provide greater weighting for courses that have very large enrollments or more than three credits, or reduced weighting for courses with small enrollments, less than three credits, or team teaching. The standard teaching weight for evaluation purposes is 40% and includes individual mentoring in addition to courses.

Reductions in Teaching Load

Research-active faculty are encouraged to “buy down” their teaching responsibilities to two courses per academic year. Buydown typically requires payment of 10% of the academic-year salary from research or service funds, though the amount may vary among the departments. Newly hired faculty are typically provided with two years of a reduced teaching load of two courses per year, without buydown, though some departments may extend this startup period and others may provide one semester off from classroom teaching. Faculty whose salaries are rostered in a research institute also typically have a reduced teaching load of two courses per year and an increased research expectation. Other reasons for reductions in teaching loads include the awarding of Dean’s Faculty Fellowships and administrative appointments such as Department Chair and require approval by the Dean. The teaching weight for evaluation purposes may be reduced when there is a reduction in teaching, but it may not be less than 25% without approval of the Dean and it should account for both course instruction and individual mentoring.

Increases in Teaching Load

Faculty who are less research active are expected to contribute to their departments with additional teaching and/or service. In particular, it is recommended that tenured faculty whose research rating is “below expectations”, or is “meets expectations” but with productivity measures in the lower range of this rating, teach four courses per academic year (unless they instead have a large service responsibility, such as an administrative appointment). It is further recommended that tenured faculty with little or no research productivity, as measured by research ratings of “below expectations” for multiple years, teach five courses per academic year. The individual departments may select other criteria to determine when an increase in teaching load is warranted. A one-year “grace period” is recommended before increasing a faculty member’s teaching load, to provide an opportunity to rebuild his or her research program. Also, with approval of the Department Chair or Program Director, a faculty member may have an increased teaching load in one academic year and then a reduced teaching load in a subsequent year, which is known as “course banking.” The teaching weight for evaluation purposes may be increased when there is an increase in teaching, but it may not be more than 55% without approval of the Dean.