27 Jun Know Your Contract – Work Loads
- Academic Units must set transparent workload policies through shared governance
- Policies must address teaching expectations, including course load and class size
- Job expectations can’t be changed mid-contract without the faculty member’s agreement
- This entry refers to Articles XII of the 2018-2022 NTT contract and TT contract
While each of our contracts have addressed compensation issues, our new contract adds provisions to ensure that the value of your work can’t be eroded via administration unilaterally increasing course loads. In this update, we will explain how the new contract protects faculty from unexpected and uncompensated changes in job expectations. This entry is not intended to cover these topics exhaustively, and future articles will cover reduced or modified duties for life-changing events. if you have further questions or concerns about workloads, you are encouraged to contact us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com.
How Are Workloads/Course Loads Defined?
Per Article XII.B of the faculty contract, expectations have to “be created through transparent shared governance processes in each academic unit and made easily accessible to all faculty.” That means each academic unit has the flexibility to define workload expectations appropriate to their unique situation, but that faculty must be included in such decisions, and that expectations can’t be left vague and undefined. These expectations, once defined, should be revisited at least every three years.
This new contract provision is intended to protect faculty from changes in work expectations that could degrade the value of their labor. UICUF, therefore, strongly recommends that members familiarize themselves with existing policies where applicable, and initiate shared governance processes to define them where no policies currently exist. If you are unsure how to proceed, or have concerns about how to clearly define workload expectations, contact UICUF at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com ASAP.
What Has To Be Included In Workload Expectations?
Workload expectations are defined unit by unit, but they must include a few key points. Per the contract, “These expectations shall include a teaching statement that sets clear expectations for the teaching assignments, including course load and class size.” So faculty can specifically count on a locally defined standards for teaching loads, but expectations should be made clear for research and service duties if applicable as well. Again, all of these expectations should be defined through transparent shared governance processes, and be easily accessible to all faculty.
Can Administrators Change Work Expectations, or make Exceptions?
The contract language is designed to prevent changes in work expectations from being imposed on faculty members, so typically expectations for individuals should conform to the shared governance defined expectations of the academic unit. HOWEVER, these expectations can be changed by mutual agreement between a faculty member and their academic unit if needed. UICUF urges members to consider seeking or accepting such exceptions only with careful consideration and/or consultation with a union representative if desired.
Exceptions can also be made for faculty experiencing life-changing events such as the death of a family member or birth of a child. We will address modified duties for life-changing events in a later article.
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