Spotlight on Workload

Categories: Bargaining, Bargaining Updates 2010, Workload

Our proposal to the university on faculty workloads (Proposal 5) aims to make sure that our members have a healthy and productive work environment, with workloads assigned collegially, fairly and equitably. We based our proposal on our comparator universities: Toronto, Western and Queen’s have made good progress on defining workloads in large comprehensive research universities like ours.

Our goal is workloads that are predictable and fair, developed at the departmental level to accommodate differences across departments. Many departments and units already establish workloads collegially, so our proposal aims to institutionalize best practices at UBC in setting workloads. Our proposal includes the following premises:

  1. the assigned part of workload (teaching and service) should be set fairly, reasonably, and in a timely manner.
  2. an elected departmental (or equivalent) committee should determine departmental workload norms and standards, so that these are collegially determined and agreed upon.
  3. significant teaching-related workload obligations (unusually large classes, directed readings, course coordination, undergraduate or graduate supervisions ) should be weighted in credit-equivalents, to ensure balanced workloads for all faculty.
  4. teaching loads should be equitably distributed amongst department members, with consideration given to class size, new courses, and other time-demanding factors.
  5. teaching loads should be averaged over three year windows, so that members may (within limits) carry a “credit” or “debit” balance in teaching duties. This will give departments and faculty more flexibility and freedom.
  6. where possible, faculty should have at least one day a week and one term a year free from teaching assignments, in order to protect precious research time.

We’ve also made proposals to ease the service burden on professorial faculty by increasing the number of instructors promoted out of the long-term full-time sessional faculty ranks (our Proposal 6). Instructors, with their blend of teaching, curriculum and service work, provide invaluable support for programs and departments.