State University of New York
Memorandum to Presidents
Date: February 5, 1991 Vol. 91 No. 1 (Unofficial Text Version)
From: Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Subject: Campus Policies on Faculty Utilization
To: Presidents, State-operated Campuses
The State Comptroller is preparing a final audit report on faculty utilization at a representative group of State-operated campuses. The preliminary draft and audit recommendations that were sent to you for advice and comment, focused on the amount of time devoted to classroom instruction, on variations from the prevailing campus practice in faculty contact hours, and on the lack of formal policies on faculty utilization at some campuses.
The major recommendations in the preliminary report urged that all State-operated campuses should have the following in place:
- formal policies specifying the teaching responsibilities of faculty;
- specific standards on minimum class size;
- annual performance programs for full-time faculty members addressing instructional, research, service and administrative responsibilities;
- annual reports from individual faculty members on their activities and accomplishments; and
- systematic procedures for review of course loads, class size, and faculty reports by appropriate officers.
Our own data on faculty utilization and those from national sources, as illustrated in the attached table, show that the amount of teaching done by SUNY faculty compares favorably by institutional type with similar colleges and universities in the United States. These statistics indicate that: University Center faculty teach an average of two to three courses per week; University College faculty teach between three and four courses per week; and College of Technology faculty teach about five courses per week. These statistics represent the average number of classes per faculty by campus type. The precise number of courses taught by individual faculty members varies depending on responsibilities for administration, research, creative and service activities, as well as on the type of classes and the number and level of students.
Though the auditors were aware of these favorable statistics on course loads, their preliminary report concentrated on unexplained variations from these averages for some faculty members and departments. The report also cited instances of low enrollment courses and sections that appeared to be taught frequently without adequate documentation of their justification.
We plan to respond fully to the audit's emphasis on individual exceptions rather than prevailing practices, but some of its findings do suggest the need for more formal campus policies on faculty utilization. Your reactions to the preliminary audit recommendations support this conclusion. We need to codify the prevailing practice on our campuses into more formal policies and to adopt more systematic procedures for ensuring an effective and equitable distribution of faculty responsibilities. These policies should continue to recognize the full range of faculty responsibilities for instruction, research and creative activities, and campus and community service. They should also incorporate appropriate variations among campuses.
No uniform policy on faculty utilization can work in a system as diverse as the State University of New York. Each SUNY campus needs a policy that reflects its institutional type, educational mission and unique character. The following guidelines set out the components required in a formal campus policy on faculty utilization. They reflect your comments and advice in response to the preliminary audit recommendations. They also allow for appropriate variations by campus type and mission, while assuring system accountability for faculty utilization.
Guidelines on Faculty Utilization Policy
Each campus policy on faculty utilization should include:
1. A statement recognizing that instruction, research or creative activities, and campus and community service are part of the normal responsibilities of full-time faculty members.
2. A description of the normal distribution of these responsibilities as part of the total professional obligation of full-time faculty. The description of instructional responsibilities should include, but not be limited to, classroom teaching as expressed by the contact hours, credit hours or course loads normally expected of full-time faculty members.
3. The method of modifying expected responsibilities in one or more of the functions normally expected of full-time faculty members because of increased or reduced activities or assignments in other areas.
4. Annual reports from all full-time faculty members that cover their activities and accomplishments during the current year and foreshadow plans for the following year, and review of these reports by appropriate academic officers.
5. Periodic review of the justification for low-enrollment courses that allows the continuation of essential courses yet assures the effective use of faculty resources.
6. Periodic campus-wide assessment of faculty utilization to ensure an effective, efficient and equitable use of faculty to assist the campus in achieving its educational mission.
The purpose of these guidelines is not to change existing workloads, but to formalize prevailing practices, to attest fairness on campus and within the System, and to enable each State-operated campus to demonstrate the effective utilization of its greatest resource-the faculty.
Each campus should send its draft policy on faculty utilization to my office for review and approval by June 1, 1991. Questions concerning these policy guidelines should be directed to me.
Joseph C. Burke
This memorandum for information to:
Presidents, Community Colleges
Deans, Statutory Colleges
AVERAGE NUMBER OF CLASSES TAUGHT, FULL TIME SUNY FACULTY COMPARED TO PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS NATIONALLY
INSTITUTION TYPE AND SECTOR AVG. NO OF CLASSES
SUNY UNIVERSITY CENTERS 2.35
NATIONAL PUBLIC RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS 1.82
NATIONAL PUBLIC DOCTORAL INSTITUTIONS 2.45
SUNY UNIVERSITY COLLEGES 3.74
NATIONAL PUBLIC COMPREHENSIVE 3.00
SUNY TECH/AGRIC. COLLEGES 5.38
NATIONAL PUBLIC TWO YEAR COLLEGES 3.53
NOTE: EXCLUDES TUTORIAL INSTRUCTION.
SOURCES: NATIONAL DATA • 1958 NATIONAL SURVEY OF POSTSECONDARY FACULTY, NSOPF.88. NATIONAL CENTER FOR EDUCATION STATISTICS.
SUNY DATA • COURSE AND SECTION ANALYSIS (CASA)
CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION OFFICE OF INSTITUTIONAL RESEARCH
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
AUGUST 24, 1990