UNC Charlotte Academic Policy and Procedure: Faculty Workload

I. Executive Summary

The UNC System Policy on Faculty Workload (UNC Policy Manual 400.3.4) and its associated Regulation 400.3.4[R] require all UNC institutions to develop and implement policies and procedures to establish, publish, and monitor specific academic unit workload requirements.  UNC Policy 400.3.4 assigns all full-time faculty in the UNC system responsibility for a 1.0 Full-Time Equivalency (FTE, defined as 24 credit hours or contact hour equivalents per academic year, along with other routinely expected faculty duties) workload. 

The UNC System Policy allows for differential teaching loads based on individual faculty contributions in the areas of teaching, research, and service as identified in the faculty member’s annual workload plan.  The purpose of UNC Charlotte’s Faculty Workload procedure is to establish an institutional policy in compliance with UNC System Policy 400.3.4 and Regulation 400.3.4[R] by providing guidance on how faculty workloads may be differentiated to address the different facets of our institutional mission and requirements for faculty workload plans.

II. Applicability

This procedure applies to all full-time members of the faculty who have been appointed for a term that is longer than one year, including those with Special Faculty Appointments as defined in UNC Charlotte Academic Procedure: Special Faculty Appointments.

III. Workload Principles

  1. It is UNC Charlotte’s responsibility to offer high quality, accessible instruction to our students. Teaching loads must be assigned to ensure the availability of courses that will allow our students to meet the requirements for graduation in a timely manner.
  1. Variations in teaching load must be administered fairly, consistent with general standards of faculty productivity and standards for faculty rank.
  1. A teaching load of 24 credit hours (or equivalent contact hours) per academic year along with routinely expected faculty duties constitute a full workload and a 1.0 FTE appointment.  Appointments of 9-months’ duration or longer, with an assignment meeting the institution’s definition of 1.0 FTE, are considered full-time.  Routinely expected faculty duties are defined in UNC Policy as committee work, professional development, and advising. Faculty teaching load includes both graduate and undergraduate instruction. 
  2. However, as described below, a 1.0 FTE faculty appointment may have a differential teaching load, where teaching, research, and service activities are each assigned on a percentage basis totaling 100 percent.
  3. The period of measurement for application of this workload procedure is the academic year and does not include summer terms.  
  4. At UNC Charlotte, research in all its forms, including scholarly inquiry, discovery, exploration, innovation, creative activities, community engaged research, early stages of entrepreneurial activity that benefits the university, and/or interdisciplinary research, is an important part of our mission.

IV. University Level Criteria for Differential Teaching Loads for Individual Faculty

  1. UNC Policy 400.3.4 identifies acceptable justifications for differential teaching loads.  Teaching loads may be increased or decreased depending on the responsibilities and performance of an individual faculty member.
    1. Teaching loads exceeding 24 credit hours per year may be assigned to faculty whose primary responsibility is in undergraduate teaching. The instances in which it is typical to teach more than 24 credit hours are articulated in the college or unit-level workload policies.
    2. Assignments of fewer than 24 credit hours per year must reflect an expectation of additional contributions which may include but are not limited to: strong ongoing contributions to the university’s research mission, a heavy commitment to graduate education, and/or significant administrative responsibility.
  1. Emergencies, sudden increases in demand, or other factors may require that faculty occasionally teach courses in excess of their assigned load, generally referred to as an overload.  Analogously, there may be a lack of demand which causes a course to be canceled and the corresponding teaching load moved to a subsequent semester. Courses taught as overloads are typically limited to one per semester.  Additional pay for overload teaching during the regular term is subject to University Policy 101.15, Additional Compensation for Professional Services to the University, and may be used in those cases in which it is not possible to provide an adjustment in teaching load within the next two regular semesters.  Additional pay for overload teaching requires approval of the dean.
  2. Just as individual faculty may have teaching loads differentiated based on their contributions to the University, departments may also play different roles in advancing the mission of the institution.  College deans may approve variations in teaching loads for all faculty to reflect mission emphasis and to take into account other factors such as disciplinary differences in modes of instruction, team teaching, participation in interdisciplinary instruction, or the availability of teaching assistants. 

V. Roles and Responsibilities

The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs is responsible for:

  • Assigning responsibility for developing college-level faculty workload policies,
  • Reviewing and approving college-level faculty workload policies and subsequent revisions in the context of University and UNC System policies, and
  • Reporting requirements as described in UNC Policy 400.3.4 and Regulation 400.3.4[R] and section VII below.

Each college Dean is responsible for:

  • Developing a college-level faculty workload policy in consultation with department/school leadership that considers unique factors related to the college mission,
  • Defining teaching, research, and service for their college,
  • Establishing typical percentages for teaching, research, and service for different faculty roles and ranks, where the percentages from the three categories sum to 100,
  • Submitting the college-level faculty workload policy for review and approval by the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and
  • Reviewing and approving department-level faculty workload policies subsequent revisions and any significant differences from college-level faculty workload policies.

Note that Deans may elect to have workload policies that are consistent across departments/schools or to allow variation across departments/schools.  If variation is allowed, Deans may delegate defining teaching, research and service to the department/school and may delegate establishing typical percentages for teaching, research, and service for different faculty roles and ranks.  If a college has variation across units in the workload policies, each department/school Chair/Director is responsible for:

  • Developing a unit-level faculty workload policy and criteria for teaching loads that are consistent with college-level and University-level policies and that consider unique factors related to the unit’s mission, and
  • Submitting the unit-level faculty workload policy for review and approval by the Dean or the Dean’s designee. 

Annual Workload Plans: Annual workload plans aligned with institutional mission that articulate workload expectations for each faculty member are to be completed during the annual review process and approved by the department chair and dean. Each annual workload plan should include the following:

  • number of credit hours (or contact hour equivalents) to be taught by a faculty member for the upcoming academic year,
  • the percentage of time committed to each of teaching, research, and service, consistent with college-defined expectations,
  • specific outputs and efforts expected to be completed during the next academic year, and
  • a clear linkage between the annual workload plan and the expected work toward longer-term evaluations such as reappointment, promotion, tenure, and tenured faculty performance review.

VI. Training

Training will be provided by Academic Affairs for all department chairs, school directors, associate deans and deans who review faculty workload plans or develop or revise workload procedures.  

VII. Reporting

To ensure that the institution meets the reporting standards set by UNC System Regulation 400.3.4[R], Regulation on Faculty Workload, the Office of Academic Affairs will monitor teaching loads annually, including independent study courses (in compliance with UNC Charlotte Guidelines for Undergraduate Independent Study), overloads (in compliance with University Policy 101.15, Additional Compensation for Professional Services to the University), and workloads.

The Provost will review all reports to ensure that instructional productivity is at acceptable levels, and will work with Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics to compile an annual report of faculty activity summarized at the unit and/or campus level.

The annual report will include:

  1. the assigned workload and percentage of faculty time dedicated to teaching, research, and service, and articulating the workload and percentage of faculty time in each faculty member’s annual review letter;
  • organized course sections taught, student credit hours produced, and faculty contact hours;
  • measures of research/creative activity and service;
  • the process by which the institution implements this policy and evaluated faculty workloads; and
  • other quantitative or qualitative information that provides additional context.    

Upon completion, the Provost will submit the annual report to the Chancellor.  Upon approval, the Chancellor will submit the report to the Board of Trustees for approval by September 30 following the academic year in accordance with UNC System Regulation 400.3.4[R], Regulation on Faculty Workload..  Following approval by the Board of Trustees, the Provost will submit the annual report to the UNC System Office President by October 15th following the academic year. 

VIII. Definitions

  • Faculty – All persons who hold Professorial Rank (Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor) or a Special Faculty Appointment (Visiting Professor, Adjunct Professor, Instructor, Assistant Professor (Library), Assistant Professor (Military), Lecturer, Assistant Research Professor, or Artist-in-Residence).

IX. Procedure Contact(s)

X. History

  • Established: March 6, 2014
  • Revised: July 30, 2015
  • Revisions endorsed by the Faculty Council on January 18, 2024
  • Revisions approved by the Board of Trustees April 25, 2024

XI. Related Policies, Procedures and Resources

XII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is this procedure referenced?
    The procedure is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website.