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104.3 - Faculty Teaching Workload Policy

University Group Policy #104.3

I.    Executive Summary

Winston-Salem State University promotes the ideal of a teacher-scholar for its faculty and recognizes that faculty workload is comprised of much more than teaching courses. The UNC Policy Manual sets the institutional average maximum number of courses taught for Master I programs at 6 courses per year and for Baccalaureate programs at 8 courses per academic year. These numbers assume a three-credit hour course and a historical classification system that is no longer used. Winston-Salem State University under the current Carnegie Classification system is considered a Masters Medium College and University and thus, the institutional target is an institutional average of six courses per year for tenure-track and tenured faculty. It is understood departments may vary teaching workloads based on additional duties and responsibilities specific to the needs of the curriculum. These duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to: program direction, research and creative activities, course and curriculum development, student advising and internships, maintenance of professional certifications, and service to the university and community. It is also expected that department chairs and faculty will take into consideration the number of separate course preparations in any semester as well as the actual number of students taught when setting teaching workloads each term. When possible, new tenure-track faculty should be given some reduction in course load in order to have time to establish effective teaching and a line of scholarship. This Faculty Teaching Workload Policy is intended to assist in setting the maximum annual number of courses taught and the maximum annual teaching load by semester hour. Department chairs and deans will also be cognizant of the need to maintain student credit hour production across the department, the college/school and the university in order to maintain funding for faculty positions. It is expected that faculty and the chair will work together to balance these sometimes competing priorities. Given historical imbalances in faculty lines and expertise and the movement of the institution from baccalaureate to masters, some departments may find it difficult to achieve the targets. However, through curriculum reform and strategic hiring when funds are available, progress should be made in achieving the maximum teaching workload targets across the tenure-track and tenured faculty. Other relevant policies such as the Faculty Overload Policy should also be considered when setting faculty workloads.

II.  Policy Statement

Departmental faculty, chairs and deans shall use the following guidelines when setting faculty teaching workloads for all full-time-tenure-track and tenured faculty members for both number of courses and semester hours. Reductions in the teaching workload may be considered for individual faculty members for reasons including but not limited to: buy out of time by research grants; departmental, college/school and university service; number of separate course preparations; and class size (UNC Policy 400.3.4 identifies possible grounds for course reductions). Course increases may be considered due to low number of overall students taught.

III.    Guidelines

Two sets of guidelines are provided to address differences in expectations for those faculty members who have nine-month or twelve month contracts.

Teaching Workload Guidelines

The following tables set guidelines for maximum and minimum workload based on the number of courses and semester hours per academic year for nine-month and twelve month faculty.

Teaching Workload Guideline - 9 Month Faculty
Nine-Month Faculty Maximum Courses/Annum Minimum Course/Annum Maximum Semester Hours/Annum Minimum Semester Hours/Annum
Teach only undergraduate (UG) courses 7 1 21 3
Teach only graduate (G) courses 5 1 15 3
Teach both UG and G courses 6 1 18 3
Teaching Workload Guidelines - 12 Month Faculty
Twelve-Month Faculty Maximum Courses/Annum Minimum Course/Annum Maximum Semester Hours/Annum Minimum Semester Hours/Annum
Teach only undergraduate (UG) courses 8 1 24 3
Teach only graduate (G) courses 6 1 18 3
Teach both UG and G courses 7 1 21 3

Significant deviation (more than a 3 hour course) from these guidelines requires the approval of the dean.

Overload and Overload Compensation Guidelines

Teaching overloads are discouraged as faculty has scholarship and service responsibilities as well as teaching assignments. Overloads should be assigned and accepted carefully so that faculty does not become over extended. With the same cautions applied to external activities for pay, the priority must be on faculty meeting their regular campus professional responsibilities.

Faculty may teach a maximum of only one course overload (3 credits) per semester with the approval of the dean. Deans shall notify the Provost’s Office whenever they approve an overload. The notification should include a brief explanation consistent with this policy. Overloads exceeding three semester hours will only be approved in the rarest circumstances. Exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance by the provost. Additional compensation is paid to faculty members for teaching course overloads that is in line with compensation models for summer school and adjunct pay and may consider rank, discipline and salary.


The faculty evaluation process, detailed in the Faculty Evaluation Manual annually requires faculty to record and reflect upon their teaching, scholarship and service. A summary of the work each year is captured in the annual Faculty Record Sheet that is found as an appendix at the end of the manual.

Course loads are monitored annually (through the Faculty Evaluation process and by a Banner report) by the department chair and reported to the dean. Monitoring includes ensuring that the Independent Study policy is being followed in accordance with the intent of the BOG Policy 700.6.1[R]. The dean works with the chair to address any irregularities before the next cycle.

IV.     Applicability

This policy applies to the Faculty of Winston-Salem State University.

Responsible Division: Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Adopted: April 14, 2008
  • Revised: December 19, 2014
  • Amended: September 17, 2015

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