The UNC Policy Manual


Adopted 04/12/96

Amended 03/07/01

Amended 01/11/13


Monitoring Faculty Teaching Workloads


As a result of findings and recommendations of the 1995 Legislative Study Commission on the Status of Education at the University of North Carolina, the 1995 Session of the General Assembly enacted House Bill 229, Section 15.9 entitled “Rewarding Faculty Teaching.”  The bill requires;

The Board of Governors shall design and implement a system to monitor faculty teaching workloads on the campuses of the constituent institutions.

The Board of Governors shall direct constituent institutions that teaching be given primary consideration in making faculty personnel decisions regarding tenure, teaching, and promotional decisions for those positions for which teaching is the primary responsibility.  The Board shall assure itself that personnel policies reflect this direction.

The Board of Governors shall develop a plan for rewarding faculty who teach more than a standard academic load.

The Board of Governors shall review the procedures used by the constituent institutions to screen and employ graduate teaching assistants.  The Board shall direct that adequate procedures be used by each constituent institution to ensure that all graduate teaching assistants have the ability to communicate and teach effectively in the classroom.

The Board of Governors shall report on the implementation of this section to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee by April 15, 1996.

System to Monitor Faculty Teaching Loads:

               All campuses and constituent institutions will develop and implement policies and procedures to monitor faculty teaching loads and to approve significant or sustained variations from expected minimums.  Policies must include the criteria and approval process for reductions in institutional load attendant to increased administrative responsibilities, externally-funded research, including course buy-outs, and additional institutional and departmental service obligations.  Given the complexity of faculty work activities, individual faculty teaching loads are best managed at the department and school level, and not the system or state level.  However, to ensure meaningful comparisons of faculty teaching load over time and across peers, all campuses shall adopt a standard methodology for collecting data on teaching load.  This standard is described below.

               For reporting purposes the Board of Governors will annually review data from the National Study of Instructional Costs & Productivity (The Delaware Study)[1] of teaching loads for full time equivalent faculty within the University.  The Delaware Study provides comparable teaching data at the discipline level using the following faculty categories: regular tenure stream, other regular, supplemental and teaching assistants.  Teaching load is derived by the number of organized class courses a faculty member is assigned in a given semester.  Courses that are not conducted in regularly scheduled class meetings, such as “readings,” “special topics,” “problems” or “research” courses, including dissertation/thesis research, and “individual lesson” courses (typically in music and fine arts) are excluded from the Teaching Load calculation.

               Standard annual teaching loads will be differentiated to accommodate the diverse missions of the individual campuses.  These differences will be captured by Carnegie Classification.[2]  Standard faculty teaching load measured by number of organized class courses a faculty member is assigned in a given academic year is the following:


·                  Research Universities I:                 4

·                  Doctoral Universities I:                  5

·                  Masters (Comprehensive) I:        6

·                  Baccalaureate (Liberal Arts) I:     8

·                  Baccalaureate (Liberal Arts) II:    8

Distinction between Teaching, Instructional, and Total Faculty Workload:

               In addition to teaching load, as defined above, instructional workload also includes developing materials for a new course, developing courseware or other materials for technology-based instruction, supervising undergraduate research and masters theses and doctoral dissertations, directing students in co-curricular activities such as plays, preparing and equipping new laboratories, supervision of teaching assistants, and academic advising.

               To ensure that course material delivered in the classroom is relevant, faculty perform scholarly activities such as research, scholarship, and creative expression.  These activities may include writing articles, monographs, and grant proposals, editing a scholarly journal, preparing a juried art exhibit, directing a center or institute, or performing in a play, concert, or musical recital.

Faculty also engage in service activities that inform classroom teaching and student learning.  These activities may include responses to requests for information, advice, and technical assistance as well as instruction offered directly through continuing education.  Service includes training and technology transfer for business and industry, assistance to public schools and unit of government, and commentary and information for the press and other media.  Service also includes time spent internal to the university which may include participation in faculty governance, serving on search committees for new faculty, and preparing for discipline accreditation visits.

In order to appropriately monitor and reward faculty teaching, evaluations must be placed in the context of total faculty workload.  Therefore, all campuses and constituent institutions shall implement annual faculty performance evaluation policies that measure and reward all aspects of faculty workload, separately and in combination, consistent with the instructional mission.

Rewarding Teaching:

               The board’s intent is that measures described in the previous section will lead to personnel policies and decisions that take due account of each faculty member’s contribution to the undergraduate teaching mission of the institution.  The President and the board are concerned that faculty be rewarded both for the quantity and even more for the quality of teaching.  Concerning quality, the board notes the enthusiastic support from campuses and the public for its teaching awards.  It takes pride in the standard for teaching excellence that is set by award recipients.

               All policies and procedures required under the UNC Policy 400.3.4 must be submitted by campuses and constituent institutions to General Administration and approved by the President.


*Supersedes and replaces the prior UNC Policy 400.3.4, “Monitoring Faculty Teaching Workloads” as this version was approved by the Board of Governors on January 11, 2013.

[1]The National Study of Instructional Costs & Productivity (“The Delaware Study”) is the acknowledged “tool of choice” for comparative analysis of faculty teaching loads, direct instructional cost, and separately budgeted scholarly activity, all at the level of the academic discipline.

[2]The Carnegie Classification™ is a framework for recognizing and describing institutional diversity in U.S. higher education.  This framework has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences, and also in the design of research studies to ensure adequate representation of sampled institutions, students, or faculty.