University of Delaware - College of Engineering

ECE Business Operations

Governing Policies

Workload Policy

University of Delaware
(Approved February 2004)

Faculty Workload Policy


The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is committed to providing society with engineers able to create new knowledge, solve a wide variety of society's problems, and effectively exploit opportunities in new areas of science and technology related to electrical and computer engineering. To achieve the goals of the Department, each full-time faculty member is expected to contribute to teaching, service, and research/creative/scholarly activities.

The 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement is hereby incorporated by reference. The workload policy shall be administered in a fashion consistent with the terms of the 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement and any future agreements which supercede or replace it.

A. Teaching activities include:
1. In class course instruction;
2. Individual teaching of undergraduate and graduate students, such as the supervision of independent study coursework;*
3. Advisement of students in course-related, curriculum-related, and profession-related matters;*
4. Thesis and dissertation advisement toward the award of graduate degrees;*
5. Textbook writing; and,
6. Improvement and development of courses, curricula, instructional methods and materials. [For example, preparing lecture notes to be distributed to students, or in other ways going above and beyond what is usually required in teaching].

* These activities can only be counted as teaching as cited in Article 11.9, Footnote 3 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

B. Research activities include:
1. Performing individual and collaborative research and other scholarly activities;
2. Supervising and collaborating with undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral associates, in research work,
3. Publishing significant contributions in scientific, technical, and professional journals, presenting results at scholarly meetings, and utilizing other effective methods for the communication of research findings; and,
4. Regularly seeking and receiving external support for research programs.

C. Service activities include:
1. Contributing on university, college, and department committees and on administrative assignments;
2. Serving for professional organizations on a local, national, and international level, such as active membership on academies, committees, boards, and conference organizing committees;
3. Serving as an editor or associate editor for a scientific or professional publication, reviewing books, proposals, and journal papers; and,
4. Contributing in other activities that serve to promote the mission of the department, such as degree accreditation and recruitment of undergraduate and graduate students.

D. Consulting activity, although important to faculty development, is considered to be a private professional activity. Its effect on the Department should be apparent in enhanced teaching and in research that is pertinent to society's needs. Faculty consulting activities must comply with the University Policy on Consulting.

E. Faculty workloads will encompass teaching, research, and service, but the distribution of these components may vary from faculty member to faculty member, depending on the needs of the Department and the interests of faculty members. Workloads are generated by consultation between the faculty member and the Chairperson. The responsibility of the Chairperson is to ensure that the Department’s total workload is distributed equitably, both within an academic year and over a period of years, taking into account the needs of the Department, its students, and its faculty.

F. An individual’s workload will be determined with the expectation that the faculty member will have the opportunity to meet the criteria for promotion and satisfactory peer review. The concept of balance among the three categories of teaching, research, and service is of utmost importance and will characterize the expectations of the chairperson and faculty member in discussions of the assigned workload.


A. The total workload for tenure-track faculty is defined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University and the AAUP. The agreement considers a 100% workload as 12 credit hours or 18 teaching contact hours per semester.

B. The percent of each faculty member’s workload devoted to teaching, service, and research may vary because the College adheres to an “administered” workload policy. The policy’s two intents are to allow optimal utilization of the skills and contributions of each faculty member in the College, and to ensure each faculty member’s continued scholarly and professional advancement. These two considerations are used by the faculty member and his or her department chairperson to determine the individual’s appropriate workload percentages allocated to teaching, research, and service. Priorities are given to meeting of departmental course offering requirements, and to each faculty member’s obligation to provide an equivalent total workload as the result of teaching, research, and service activities. It is the chairperson’s obligation and prerogative to administer workload allocations to address these priorities.

C. In determining overall workloads, consideration is typically given to the following activities. This list is not meant to exclude other legitimate justifications for the modification of an individual’s workload composition.
1. Time devoted to course and curriculum development. This may constitute a greater portion of the overall workload when it is the first time a course is taught, and is expected to vary from year-to-year depending on the changes made;
2. Proposal preparation and solicitation of research funds;
3. Time spent for the active recruitment of undergraduate and graduate students;
4. Responsibility for specific administrative or leadership activities;
5. Participation in external activities so as to have an effective voice in national and international science and engineering policy affecting research funding directions, accreditation, and long range plans for the profession through participation in the governance of professional societies;
6. Participation, on behalf of the department, in important university policy and administrative work;
7. Salary release through grants, contracts or other sources of funding defined by the College’s Buyout Policy; and,
8. Release time for those who are newly appointed at the Assistant Professor level (normally during the first two semesters of appointment).

All Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty are expected to contribute in a significant and continuing way to teaching undergraduate as well as graduate students and to fulfilling the instructional priorities of the Department. It is a faculty norm that on-going programs of externally funded research are expected of all Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty and are not a justification for further reducing teaching and instructional contributions. In some circumstances, however, faculty may buy-out additional instructional time through salary release from external grants and contracts defined by the College’s buy-out policy.

D. A typical administered workload in the department would include the teaching of three three credit contact hour courses per academic year. These courses would typically be assigned so that in one semester of the academic year a faculty member would have one three credit contact hour course per week, for a teaching workload of 25%. In the other semester, the faculty member would have two such courses, for a teaching workload of 50%. In addition, the faculty member is expected to develop and support a nationally recognized and externally funded research program of high quality involving graduate students, which would represent 65% workload effort in the semester with a 25% teaching load, and 40% research workload effort in the other semester. A faculty member should also provide substantial service to the department, university, and profession at a level of 10% workload effort. Variations on this workload may include the teaching of a four credit hour course, or additional courses as required by demands on the department. Other variations may include an exceptional load for advisement* (Article 11.9, Footnote 3 of the CBA) or recruiting of graduate or undergraduate students.

Departmental academic standards and the faculty norms that support these standards affirm an expectation for all faculty of excellence in teaching and scholarship that is at the level of well- respected departments across the nation. The typical administered workload in the department reflects and supports this standard of excellence. The typical workload also reflects the assessment that each faculty member is actively engaged in an on-going externally funded research program involving graduate students that meets the standards of academic quality and scholarly productivity among nationally respected Electrical and Computer Engineering departments . This typical workload assignment for research reflects the fact that much of the assigned faculty research effort constitutes University support for activities funded by external contracts and grants at a level approved by the chairperson and dean.

As stated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, administered workloads must be in accordance with the actual contributions of the individual faculty members, reflect expected quality of teaching and are not automatic. Thus workload assignment variations to support research and scholarship must be reflected in the research and scholarly productivity commensurate with that workload responsibility. The chairperson may assign or approve requests for nonstandard workloads that are otherwise consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and University policies and procedures. The chairperson may assign one or more additional courses during the year beyond the typical assigned workload to faculty members who are not over time actively engaged in scholarship, publication, or securing extramural funding.

In order to assure that each faculty member meets his or her full obligation to the Department, workloads may be readjusted when a faculty member is unable to perform the work that was previously allocated. Such reassignment may occur, for example, when enrollment by the first session of a class demonstrates that the course should be cancelled. In general, reassignment to alternative work can occur whenever the Chairperson establishes that the faculty member is unable to discharge any element—teaching, research, or service—contained in the original workload plan, and after consultation with the faculty member.

E. As stated by the Faculty Handbook, all faculty are fully engaged for the whole year of fifty-two weeks. While normally members of the teaching staff are required to teach for only nine months annually, responsibilities of faculty to the University do not cease during the summer months. Indeed the international stature of the department depends strongly on the vigorous and continuous level of scholarship, research, and professional leadership by the faculty. Faculty must make an annual request to the chairperson that their workload and performance evaluation include summer activities. Research summer activity will change the overall workload percentages allocated between teaching, research, and service. For example, a faculty member may have a teaching assignment of three three credit courses during the academic year (38% teaching workload) and a 10% service workload. If that faculty member carries out an approved summer research program included in the workload of two months of summer research activity, the overall workload distribution would be 31% teaching, 61% research, and 8% service.


A. The faculty member is expected to meet classes during the regularly scheduled class periods; also to have open access to students in need of support and advice; this is helped by holding regularly scheduled office hours but meetings with students should be encouraged beyond that.

B. The faculty member will be on campus as required by his/her workload.

C. The role of faculty in providing academic and career advisement is critical to the continued success of the department. Distribution of student advisees may vary from faculty member to faculty member. These activities will be accounted for in the workload in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article 11.9, Footnote 3).

D. The Department recognizes that childbirth can affect the teaching availability of a faculty member. In accord with University policy and Article 9.1.3 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the administered load for the faculty member may allow either partial or full relief from teaching during the semester of the birth of a child or immediately following the birth of a child.

E. Talents, interests, and development needs of individual faculty will produce considerable diversity of teaching assignments vis-à-vis undergraduate vs. graduate courses, and elective vs. core courses. An equitable policy over time will provide faculty comparable opportunities to explore the range of teaching opportunities in which they have an interest, and to develop as teachers and scholars. It is the responsibility of the chairperson to consider equity of teaching assignments over time when administering faculty workloads.


A. Merit pay increases are to be awarded in a fashion which is consistent with the faculty member’s performance as reflected in the annual evaluation conducted by the department chairperson. The annual evaluation shall be based on criteria which have been clearly communicated to faculty members in advance of the period covered by the evaluation and which are consistent with the workload plans developed in accordance with this docu¬ment. Persons on an approved sabbatical or other approved University programs should receive merit consideration.

B. The department chairperson’s evaluation of a faculty member's activities shall consider all evidence submitted by a faculty member which is consistent with written departmental criteria for merit pool allocations. These merit criteria must include a well-defined metric that communicates the value assigned to different levels of contribution in teaching, scholarship and service and must also be consistent with the department's criteria for promotion and tenure. The criteria and associated metric shall be developed by the chairperson of the department in consultation with the faculty.

C. Consistent with established University policy the chairperson or dean will meet with the faculty member to review the annual evaluation and shall communicate to each faculty member the basis for the evaluation.

D. The chairperson or dean shall also review with the faculty member, upon request, information which indicates the correspondence between merit pay and the faculty member's department or comparable unit evaluation ratings within that unit so that the faculty member may know whether his or her merit pay is consistent with the annual evaluation. Anonymous or confidential information shall not be used to evaluate a faculty member without that faculty member having the opportunity to respond to the substance of the information before the evaluation is complete. Merit increases are to be awarded solely on the basis of performance in teaching, research, and service.


A. These workload policies will be reassessed every three to five years, or when requested by the Chairperson or a majority of the departmental faculty.

B. Major curricular changes or the addition of new centers and programs may necessitate modification of this policy.

C. Contract changes instituted through the Collective Bargaining Agreement require reassessment of this policy.

D. Any modification to this workload policy must be approved by a majority vote of the faculty, in accordance with the departmental bylaws, the Chairperson, the Dean, the AAUP, and the Provost.

E. These workload policies will be provided to new faculty upon their appointment.

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