CAS Teaching/Workload Guidelines
These guidelines are intended to establish general principles related to workload
distribution in the CAS and thereby to help facilitate greater consistency across
departments in the college. The primary purpose of these guidelines is to bring faculty
workloads into alignment with TBR and University of Memphis policies, while at the
same time encouraging and supporting research productivity. They are meant to allow
research-active faculty adequate time to pursue substantive research and at the same
time assure that each faculty member is contributing in a significant way to the overall
mission of the college and the University.
Within these overall guidelines, Chairs of Academic Departments are charged with setting
appropriate workloads for the members of their respective departments. Workload distribution
should be in accordance with CAS and university policy, departmental instructional
needs, and resources. All workload assignments are subject to change depending upon
departmental, college, or university needs.
Certain minimal principles do apply. All tenure and tenure track faculty are expected
to contribute to departmental and university service and should be provided the opportunity
for a workload that supports continued research activity.
- Tenured faculty who continue to demonstrate research productivity through ongoing publications and
sponsored research activity should be assigned a teaching load of no more than 3/3
in any department.
- Tenured faculty assigned a load of 2/2 should be performing normal departmental service,
demonstrating a high or very high level of scholarly contribution, and contributing
actively to the graduate program.
- Any reductions below 2/2 should be reserved for faculty members who meet the criteria
for a 2/2 load and additionally have levels of external funding to finance a buy-out
or equivalent IDCR contributions, and/or very significant additional service assignments.
- Tenured faculty who are not or are no longer research active but do perform their
appropriate share of departmental service will be assigned teaching loads of 4/4.
Loads below that level should be based on ongoing and documented publications and/or
sponsored research or very significant additional service assignments (see below for
a discussion of “very significant”).
- Every faculty member not on an official PDA or other approved college leave should
normally be teaching a course each semester. There may be reasons for exceptions
in some cases, which the chair should clear in advance with the dean of the college.
- Tenure track faculty should initially be assigned teaching loads consistent with the teaching load of
highly productive faculty members in that department to provide them the opportunity
to develop a research record at that load.
- Instructors are considered to have a baseline teaching load of 5/5 since they have no research
or faculty service responsibilities. Instructors or other full-time non-tenure track
faculty who have departmental service and/or professional development obligations
in addition to their instructional duties may be eligible for a 5/4 or 4/4 teaching
load—such reductions will be made by the chair in consultation with the dean of the
- For the sake of these guidelines, a class that counts toward one’s teaching workload
is considered to be a traditional 3-credit “organized” course and is enrolled by enough
students to meet the minimal expectations negotiated between the departments and the
college. This would include having regularly scheduled times for an on-ground course
and equivalent requirements for an on-line class but would normally exclude readings
and research and independent study courses, for example.
- Teaching schedules and assignments must be based above all on students’ curricular
needs. Classes should be scheduled at the standardized times approved by the university,
i.e. MW classes should be scheduled only on an exception basis and almost never during
- Workload distributions should be done in a good faith effort to distribute workload
assignments and expectations equitably among faculty at all levels.
- Eligible tenured and tenure track faculty members should normally teach at all levels
offered within their departments, consistent with student and departmental needs.
- Some adjustments in load may be made for very large, time-intensive courses in cases
where the department can also document significant extra effort involved in grading
and managing those courses due to the high enrollments. Only in exceptional cases
would this alone justify reductions below the 2/2 level.
- If a faculty member buys out of a course through sponsored research, the department
should use its portion of the IDCR or faculty salary recovery to cover the replacement
instructional costs. The buy-out rates should be based on a percentage of the faculty
member’s annual salary (usually around 12.5%) and not on the cost of replacement faculty.
The precise rate that is appropriate in different areas and for different kinds of
grants and contracts is a matter that will be negotiated between the faculty member
and the department and college.
- “Significant additional service assignments” in the sense mentioned above that would
lead to reductions in the normal service assignment should involve at least as much
work as an additional course, i.e. around 150 hours or more during the course of the
semester, in addition to normal departmental service assignments.
- Some involvement in comprehensive exams, capstone requirements, thesis, dissertation,
and readings and research supervision is part of the normal expectation of research-active
graduate faculty and part of the justification of any teaching loads below 3/3. Additional
credit for such activities should be given only for faculty members supervising a
much higher number of dissertations than other faculty members in the department and
should normally still not go below a 2/2 load based on this additional contribution