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PS-10.A.04 - Faculty Teaching Workload

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EFFECTIVE DATE: Sept. 1, 2022

ISSUE #: 6

PRESIDENT: Loren J. Blanchard


This PS defines the restructured faculty workload policy for the University of Houston- Downtown. The teaching course load described recognizes the increased faculty time commitments in the areas of service and scholarship at the university.


2.1 The term "year," unless otherwise specified in this PS, means the 9-month academic year.

2.2 The term "one-to-one course" refers to a course in which a student receives direct research supervision by a faculty member such as in the case of Directed Studies, Special Projects, and Undergraduate Research Supervision.


3.1 Scope

The policy defined in this PS applies only to full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members and only to the part of the year included in the 9-month academic year that encompasses two long semesters.

3.2 Principles

This policy is intended to facilitate effective teaching, support professional development, encourage research, maintain academic quality, and provide appropriate response to enrollment growth. Department chairs will regularly monitor each faculty member's teaching load to ensure its consistency with sound pedagogical practices, and the best interests of the students, the department, the college, and the university.

3.3 Policy

3.3.1 The standard course load for a faculty member during the combined long semesters is 21 semester credit hours (9/12 or 12/9) of classroom instruction or the equivalent. It is the responsibility of the department chair, in consultation with the faculty and the dean, to ensure academic programs have appropriate coverage. In addition, faculty are expected to maintain scheduled office hours, perform other course-related activities, be involved in shared governance activity, provide service to the community within their areas of expertise, and engage in research and other creative activities.

3.3.2 The teaching load for department chairs is nine (9) semester hours or equivalent per year.

3.3.3 Graduate semester hours shall count as 1.5 undergraduate semester hours in determining teaching load.

3.3.4 Course load adjustments to balance "half-course" credits, as for graduate teaching, shall either be banked until a full credit is earned or may be paid out as an overload if the faculty member should request overload pay. To consider departmental needs, the timing of a workload adjustment should be approved by the department chair but credited within two calendar years from the time the full credit is earned.

3.3.5 The department chair is responsible for assigning and monitoring the workload of faculty within the department to insure individual compliance to the course load requirement. The department chair will insure that other academic duties are assigned equitably within the department. Course releases below the 12/9 or 9/12 semester credit hours per year require written approval by departmental chair and college dean prior to annual scheduling. The department chair must report all course loads to the college dean, who must report these to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

3.4 Adjustments and Exceptions to Policy

3.4.1 Adjustments and exceptions to this policy provide for other than the standard teaching workload in particular situations. Where adjustments and exceptions result in less than the standard teaching course load, such reduction shall be referred to as "reassigned time." The following adjustments are current university-wide policy; however, other adjustments and exceptions may exist or be approved according to the bases indicated in the following sections.

3.4.2 The cumulative supervision of ten (10) undergraduate students enrolled in one- to-one courses shall count for 3 undergraduate course credits. The cumulative supervision of seven (7) graduate students enrolled in one-to-one courses shall count for 4.5 undergraduate course credits. This formula can be used in determining the faculty member's course load or may be paid out as an overload if the faculty member prefers. Overload pay may be prorated on a per student basis for one-to-one courses. To be credited, all such one-to-one courses should follow the requirements of the Directed Studies Policy (03.A.17) including requirements for necessary approvals and documentation. Faculty and Department Chair will work together to ensure equitable distribution of one-to- one courses in order to maximize faculty-student contact.

3.4.3 Service as chair of thesis committees is credited with a graduate course release for four thesis committees chaired. Discontinuation of service as thesis committee chair while the thesis is in progress does not contribute to credited workload. Faculty who serve as thesis committee members, do so as part of their regular workload. The Department Chair or designee(s) responsible for thesis distribution will ensure equitable distributions of workload resulting from service on thesis committees.



There are no exhibits associated with this policy.


Responsible Party (Reviewer): President

Review: Biannually

Signed original on file in Human Resources.


Issue #3: 3/1/86

Issue #4: 1/1/07

Issue #5: 9/1/10


There are no references associated with this policy.