Workload equity is an intentional benefit created by academic leaders, departments, and faculty members who take action to create better, fairer, equity-minded workloads. Policies and practices can be put in place to guide faculty and their institutions toward more equitable outcomes, especially for women faculty members and faculty members from historically minoritized identity groups who may perform disproportionately more “service”—a work category that requires, as we detail below, more careful unpacking—for the university. Workload equity also requires academic leaders and departments to be more accountable for implementing fair divisions of labor. Faculty often engage in at-times unseen diversity work, mentoring, teaching, and other service activities that are vital to the functioning of the university. Workload equity elevates these collective enterprises and aims to increase faculty productivity, satisfaction, and retention.
According to the 2018 COACHE Faculty Satisfaction Survey and the 2020 “R1 Report” administrated by the VPFA and Faculty Senate, in addition to concerns about how teaching will be valued (and evaluated), faculty worry about their service workloads and those of their colleagues, especially in terms of teaching, mentoring, and student support. DU’s transition to R1 has the potential to exacerbate concerns articulated in the COACHE data, such as that the worst parts greatest dissatisfaction among faculty of teaching at DU are “teaching load” and “service load.” These results connect to our identified areas for improvement: leadership, service, promotion, and departmental collegiality.
At DU, these issues are accentuated by the distinctiveness of our Teaching and Professional Faculty (TPF) lines comprising faculty who are not on the tenure track yet are an essential part of the DU faculty. In particular, teaching faculty and adjunct faculty—who often have no research expectations—may face or fear facing increasing workload both in terms of teaching load and service, a lack of respect, and increased precarity. Support and programming aimed at valuing teaching, workload equity, attention to rank and series, and support for TPF and adjunct faculty is key to holding on to our distinctiveness, to the promise of the teacher-scholar model, and to achieving R1 “our way.” Many faculty come to DU because they see themselves as teacher-scholars. Maintaining and expanding the conditions for the teacher-scholar practitioners to grow in this institutional identity is vital to faculty satisfaction, talent retention, and a high-functioning diverse faculty committed to educating and mentoring the next generation of thinkers and practitioners.
This guide is an ongoing work in progress, and will be updated regularly as the work being done at DU continues to expand. This includes the research, recommendations, and action put forth by the Faculty Workload Equity Committee, DEAPS, and divisions, colleges, and units across campus. Check back for updates and more information!