Academic Affairs

Policies/Reports: Faculty Workload Policy


In fall 2013, UNCW implemented a Faculty Roles, Responsibilities, and Rewards (FR3) Task Force to examine these important systems and recommend a model for faculty effort assignment that will comply with the recently revised UNC Policy on Monitoring Faculty Teaching Workloads (UNC Policy 400.3.4); address any disconnections and deficiencies among our institutional systems of faculty roles (effort assignment), evaluation, and rewards; align with institutional evaluation and reward structures; and foster faculty achievement. Among the FR3 Task Force's initial recommendations was to clarify the UNCW Faculty Workload Policy, ensuring its alignment with System expectations. As the work of the FR3 Task Force may inform substantive changes to the policy, this preamble has been added to the legacy policy that follows in order to clarify the definition of a full faculty workload and the elements that compose it. A more substantive reworking of the policy is expected to ensue subsequent to the completion of the FR3 initiative.

The full workload of a full-time (1.0 FTE or 100%) faculty member is the sum of that individual's teaching, scholarship and service (including any administrative) activities. Not all faculty members will have assignments in each of these areas; regardless, the total workload (barring an assigned overload) must total 1.0 FTE (100%). The teaching assignment for faculty members who are not significantly engaged in research, creative activities and/or service activities is four courses per semester (12 credit hours or the equivalent thereof). Routinely expected faculty duties such as advising, committee work, and professional development are in addition to that teaching load, together constituting a full workload. The teaching assignment of 12 credit hours (or the equivalent) of a faculty member may be reduced based on his/her other professional assignments in research and/or artistic or creative activities and service (including administration) as well as other instructional activities. Such reductions should be commensurate with the effort associated with those other professional assignments. Through such reassignments, the standard teaching assignment of nine credit hours per semester may be achieved for faculty members significantly engaged in research, creative activities and/or service activities.

It should be noted that UNCW also appoints individuals considered by the UNC Policy Manual to be "special faculty members", including library faculty and research faculty. While not specifically addressed below, full-time special faculty members will have a full workload equivalent to that described above, though possibly with significant variations in assignment expectations among the various workload categories.


As you know, all UNC system institutions must send a report on Faculty Workloads to General Administration by July 1, 1997. A UNC system committee, on which Ken Gurganus served as the UNCW representative, developed the guidelines and procedures to be followed in compiling the required report. After rather prolonged deliberations, the committee recently adopted a set of guidelines and procedures which were forwarded to the sixteen system campuses. They have now been distributed to all academic departments at UNCW.

The UNC General Administration (GA) has also required departments to develop their own workload policies. Largely because of the prolonged deliberations within the UNC system committee, deans and department chairs had previously received little information about the parameters within which such departmental policies should be developed. Yet some understanding of the basic parameters is essential, both to allow departments flexibility in developing policies, and to insure that that flexibility not lead to significant campus-wide inequities in policies developed.

Several concepts are important for departments to keep in mind as they develop workload policies.

  • First, a full workload for a faculty member at UNCW is considered to be a teaching assignment of four three-credit hour courses per semester including credit hour equivalencies as defined below (4/4), and the completion of the routinely expected faculty duties such as advising, committee work, professional development, etc.
  • Second, departures from the full workload teaching schedule to a schedule of four three-credit hour courses in one semester and three three-credit hour courses in the second semester(4/3) or three three-credit hour courses per semester (3/3) are possible, but must reflect a faculty member's involvement in research and/or artistic or creative activities and service as well as other instructional activities.
  • Third, the course load per faculty averaged across the University must be a minimum of three three-credit hour courses each semester including credit hour equivalencies. (3/3) This standard, established by General Administration, reflects the university's status as a Comprehensive Level 1 institution. This designation determines the standard, or averaged, teaching load. It is not a definition of the maximum teaching load for all faculty.
  • Fourth, GA's workload guidelines give consideration for graduate instruction and laboratory and clinical instruction in assigning Credit Hour Equivalents. Neither graduate instruction nor laboratory , studio, or clinical instruction should receive a one-for-one reduction, i.e. a three-credit hour reduction in course load for teaching a three-credit hour graduate course or a two-credit hour reduction for teaching a two hour studio or lab course.
  • Fifth, all departmental workload policies will be reviewed by the appropriate dean and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.


For the purpose of preparing departmental guidelines, the following definitions of frequently used terms should be used.

Full workload: The sum of the teaching, research, and service activities of a faculty member. The full workload at UNC Wilmington is the equivalent of four courses (12 credit hours ) per semester. The full workload includes the course load PLUS all other related activities, including advising, course development, professional development, etc. Those faculty not SIGNIFICANTLY engaged in research, creative activities and/or service activities are expected to teach four courses per semester and carry out such normal faculty duties as advising and committee work.

Standard teaching load: The standard teaching load at UNCW is the equivalent of three courses (9 credit hours) per semester for those faculty significantly engaged in research or creative activities, providing exceptional service to the university/profession, and/or providing exceptional professional service to the larger community. The research/service activities of faculty assigned a standard teaching load comprise the remainder of the full faculty workload. The standard teaching load includes the course load and all other related activities such as advising, course development, grading, committee work, etc. Justification for the assignment of standard teaching loads must be reviewed and determined at the departmental level. The initial assignment of a 4/3 or a 3/3 teaching load will be reviewed by the dean to insure equity of assignment within the college and schools.

Reduced teaching load: Any teaching load below the standard teaching load of three courses (9 credit hours) per semester.

Reasons for Course Reduction: Items on the Annual Report of Teaching Loads Form, Section C, # 13.

Course reduction for faculty below the standard teaching load require activities above and beyond normal expectations in one or more of the following areas:

Reason for Course Reduction: Instructional

a. Course/curriculum Concerns

b. Heavy load/Academic Advising

c. Accreditation/Program Review

d. Technology Training leave

e. Co-curricular activities

f. Academic administration

g. Compensation for prior overload

h. On-Load Courses deferred

i. Other Instructional

Reason for Course Reduction: Research/Service

j. Externally Funded Research

k. Institutionally Supported Research Institutional Service

1. Institutional Service

m. Service to the Public

n. Service to the Profession

o. Off-campus scholarly assignment/ on leave

p. Other Research/Service

The reduction of a faculty member's standard teaching load to a level below 3/3 for any of the above reasons, including other, must be justified in writing by the department chair. Through the appropriate dean and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the standardized form on which the chair's justification is indicated will be forwarded to General Administration.

Course Credit Hours: The number of credit hours assigned to a course as listed in the catalog. Combined with Credit Hour Equivalents create the teaching workload

Credit Hour Equivalents: Additional credit hours assigned to a course for additional contact hours or effort, credit assigned for direction of DIS, Honors Theses, Master's Theses, service on Honor's and Master's thesis committees, and other instructional activities outside the normal course structure. Combined with Course Credit Hours create the teaching work load.

The number of Credit Hour Equivalents to be assigned for specific instructional activities is to be determined at the individual campus level. The determination of CHEs assigned for specific activities should reflect the diversity of instructional activities within the college, schools and departments. The following guidelines are offered ONLY AS A SUGGESTION concerning the specific activities which might be assigned CHEs, and the weights which might be attached to each instructional activity in determining CHE assignments. However, it should be noted that the suggested guidelines for the assignment of Credit Hour Equivalents reflect those originally proposed by GA.

Supervision of Master's Thesis = 1 CHE

Supervision of internships and practica: 3 contact hours per week in the field or in follow-up seminar = 1 CHE

Supervision of Student Teaching: Each 5 students supervised = 3 CHEs

Supervision of senior theses or directed readings courses: 1 student credit hour =0.2 CHE

Studios, labs, clinical courses in nursing and allied health fields, and activity courses that meet on fixed schedule and require extensive instructor preparation for class and extensive evaluation of student performance: The initial CHE assignment is determined by the department chair, to be reviewed by the dean to insure equity of assignment within the college and schools.

Extra credit for teaching:

a. master's level courses (not thesis) = 0.3 CHE per credit hour

b. large classes: CHE assignments for classes deemed large by the department should reflect the size of the over enrollment, i.e. 1 CHE for one-third over enrollment, etc.

Student Credit Hours: The number of students enrolled in a course times the course credit hours.