SUBJECT: Reducing Faculty Teaching Loads
In discussions with faculty, the deans, Chancellor Grasso, Vice-Provost for Research Armen Zakarian and I have heard that one of the most important resources needed is more time: time for research, time for course development, time to create and implement innovations in your teaching, and time to develop new programs. With an 18-credit teaching load per year, most faculty are teaching three classes each semester, at times with three preps, and time is at a premium. As a result, the deans and I are proposing a faculty driven change in the curriculum, moving some courses from 3 credit hours to 4 credit hours. With the majority of a program's courses at 4-credit hours, the end result will be a reduced teaching load of 16 credits a year or a 2-2 starting next academic year.
A change from 3- to 4-credit courses was successfully implemented in CECS years ago, and various departments in CASL already teach a number of 4-credit courses, so this change is possible! We hope faculty can engage in thoughtful conversations with their colleagues: reflecting on their program’s course offerings and major requirements, and discussing how 4-credit hour courses may foster student success. For example, a 4-credit course may allow faculty to go more in depth in a particular topic or give an opportunity to include a project component. Note that in transitioning to 4-credit hour courses, the goal is not to increase total credits students need to graduate, so some content of current courses may need to shift.
As we begin to consider this transition, the Provost Office will be offering support to help programs think about curriculum changes in a broad sense as well as the nuts and bolts of such changes. More information will be coming soon about Drop-In Sessions to discuss the 3 to 4 credit changes.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs