Task Group A4
Faculty Workload Issues

Phil Carlock
Bill Hamrick, Convener
Charlotte Johnson
Kathryn Martell
Ivy Schroeder


According to Provost Sharon Hahs , key goals of the Teaching and Learning Technology Roundtable (TLTR) that we believe are most relevant to teaching are: (1) to incorporate online learning (e.g., web enhancement) and other technologies into a large number of courses throughout the curriculum; (2) to encourage the development of a limited number of appropriate online degree programs or degree-completion programs; and (3) to nurture new ways of learning and teaching and to foster life-long learning. TLTR has shown us a number of exciting technological possibilities for creating and increasing online courses and web-enhanced courses.  From the TLTR discussions that emerged this Spring,  it has become clear that a large number of faculty across the University are envisioned as actively participating in diverse activities related to technology and teaching in the near future.  Some of the most intensive activities, such as on-line teaching (see Goal 2), may be limited to a few faculty, while utilization of technology to improve the quality of teaching and learning (see Goals 1 and 3) are envisioned as having much broader faculty participation.  Moreover, given the rapid rate of technological change, and the rather significant departure that technology-enhanced teaching represents from more traditional teaching models, active faculty participation in training and development activities is also envisioned.  However, it is not enough to have a vision; we also have to discover ways to actualize it. In particular, we must resist uncritical enthusiasm for technology as an all-purpose solution for improving the quality of education. One of the most significant obstacles consists in the time- and energy-commitments that such technology will impose on already severely burdened faculty. Most faculty, when asked how they are doing, will reply, correctly, that they are "really busy." Many also suffer from unhealthy fatigue.

Many of the faculty workload conflicts entail additional time commitments, such as the following:

Faculty workload questions that emerge from these conflicts include the following:

We prefer to see these workload issues as challenges rather than fatal objections.  Meeting these challenges will require the close cooperation of the University adminis-tration, the administration of particular Schools and the College of Arts & Sciences, and individual faculty members. To meet these challenges, we make the following recom-mendations. 


Incentives to consider:

We also note in passing that there are other work-related issues that are important incentives for faculty to develop and implement technology in their courses. The issue of intellectual property rights is an obvious example that we felt were beyond the purview of this committee.


Funding recommendations:  

Evaluation recommendations include:


The following documents provide overviews of how such questions of technology and faculty workload have been addressed recently by a number of professional organizations and faculty unions. Some parts of these reports bear directly on our considerations. Unions have been forced to specifically address questions on faculty workload, so their work is a good model for us to consider. Most of the texts refer to “distance learning,” but for our purposes we substituted “online courses” or “technology in teaching.”

National Education Association

In the NEA online journal, Focus on Technology, an article titled "Distance Education: Challenges and Opportunities" discusses faculty workload issues. This document which can be found at, indicates, "Distance education also means new union contract issues, such as evaluation, student contact, workload, and compensation. A review of the contracts on NEA's Higher Education Analysis System (HECAS) indicates this is an unsettled area of negotiations."  Also, the article states that "faculty members cannot be forced to teach telecourses and the courses are not used to fill their regular teaching load...   As the use of technology grows and telecourses become part of the regular course loads of faculty, compensation will become an issue. Another issue related to compensation is class size."

Another article, found at (Ed. note: link no longer active, 03/02/04), "Education Technology: National Education Association Resolutions 1997-1998," states the NEA's position on technology in the educational process and sums up its resolutions as:

American Association of University Professors

At, a report from the AAUP’s "Committee on Government Relations" is posted, titled "Report on Distance Learning." This report dates from 1997, and was published in the May/June 1998 issue of Academe. Among its contents is a consideration of faculty workload and compensation in distance learning. The report includes these recommendations to be considered by universities incorporating distance learning:

The American Federation of Teachers

In a report titled "Distance Education: Guidelines for Good Practice," issued May, 2000, by the Higher Education Program and Policy Council of the American Federation of Teachers addressed the question of technology and teaching. In the section labeled "The Standards," several recommendations are made, including the following:

A separate AFT report issued by the same council in January 1996, titled "Report of the Task Force on Technology in Higher Education," considered (among others) the following question: "Are the rights of the faculty and professional staff protected?" when it comes to dealings with management about technology issues. Some of the recommen-dations for protecting the rights of faculty included

The report also recommends "rewarding technology-related creative effort" and recommends that "higher education unions push for greater recognition of technology-related creative effort in tenure, promotion and other faculty reward processes."