Faculty Workload Policy
Department of English and Philosophy
University of West Georgia
The department of English employs a 3/3 annual workload as one conducive to the balance of teaching, scholarly or creative activity, and service that is required for excellent performance at the university. This 3/3 load requires faculty to engage in the full range of "work" implied in the term "workload" (as opposed to a "teaching" load) and calls for annual assessment by the chair of any faculty member's productivity. It allows faculty the clarity and opportunity with which to plan, research, and complete scholarly or creative projects, especially in conjunction with their existing 2-, 3-, or 5-year plan.
All faculty who accept a 3/3 workload agree to be active, engaged in their fields, and participating in a 2-, 3- or 5-year plan.
Faculty not engaged in work outside of teaching responsibilities will be assigned a 4/4 teaching load. In the absence of professional-growth activities, annual evaluations and merit pay considerations will be based upon excellence in teaching, as demonstrated by a thoughtful teaching portfolio which highlights achievements in teaching, such as participation in conferences on teaching, substantive revision and enhancement of courses, enhanced technology skills, etc. The decision not to engage in scholarly or creative work, and thus to maintain a 4/4 teaching load is obviously not a viable choice for any faculty member working toward third-year review, tenure, or promotion since these evaluations clearly mandate professional productivity.
In adopting the 3/3 workload, the department renews its commitment to the healthy integration of teaching and scholarship/creative activity, an integration that enhances teaching and invigorates scholarly and creative activity in a mutual way, and to a vision of the department as an engaged, dynamic, productive faculty who exemplify the university's mission of excellent teaching and fostering high achievement in undergraduate and graduate work.
This policy includes the following:
- Definition of the nature of the work in our discipline
- Promotion and tenure criteria (and supporting Appendix A, B and C)
- 2-,3-, and 5-year plans for faculty work (outline of agendas for research, teaching, and service and practical methods for achieving specific goals and maintaining professional identity)
Definition of the nature of work in English and Philosophy
Like all professors at the University of West Georgia, our work involves the integration of teaching, scholarship/creative activity, and service. The discipline of English requires one to be familiar with multiple critical/theoretical trends, along with current scholarship in one's field, and to maintain expertise not only in the history of one's field, but also of individual texts within that period/field of expertise. Such expertise is developed and maintained in part by keeping current one's reading of the premier journals in one's field(s), but also by regular scholarly/creative activity in research, writing, conference participation and presentation, and publication. The fruits of these activities inevitably constitute the deep background for one's class presentations. Further, many professors direct undergraduate and graduate research that develops from course work: supervision of Big Night projects, theses, colloquia and conference presentations are all examples of teaching that provides a focused model of scholarship/creative activity and professionalism for our students and provides authentic experience in such professional activities.
Specific to the discipline of English are the range of primary subject matter and the teaching of required secondary skills. In addition to scholarly expertise, the English professor must be intimately familiar with quite literally the hundreds of primary texts--e.g., novels, plays, poems, essays (literary and rhetorical), and a variety of non-fictional works--that constitute her field of expertise. Significantly, unlike professors in any other college discipline, English professors are also responsible for teaching-both as a primary subject in English 1101-1102 and as a secondary subject in every other English course, from the 2000-6000 level-critical reading and analytical writing skills. Teaching and refining these discipline-specific skills in a focused manner takes several forms: reading and responding to informal writing (journals, in-class writing), reading, responding, and marking evaluations of essay exams, prospecti, drafts and final versions of short analytical papers and longer (10-18 pages) research projects with attention to content as well as the form. In English 1101-1102-in which an average of five 3-4 page papers are required (20 pages per student x 24 students per class=480 pages), an instructor may read at least one draft version as well as the final version as students hone their writing skills (960 pages). The writing requirements-and thus the professorial commitment-are similar in sophomore through graduate levels: writing and rewriting requires reading and rereading until a satisfactory product combining fresh textual analysis and convincing and correct form can be developed. This is particularly true in the Senior Seminar in which students are required to write multiple versions of their final project in order to prepare it for publication in the seminar anthology.
Additionally, our responsibilities have increased recently to include providing instruction in writing and presentation technologies, from computer-assisted freshman composition to graduate-level research skills. These skills, which have become significant to our discipline, are both time-consuming and technically demanding, both for class preparation and ongoing faculty development. Particularly in view of the increasing importance of technological communication, our discipline must continue to prepare students to write in academic and workplace settings by devoting time to technological developments as they relate to our discipline.
Faculty in the English department are also committed to introducing students to the profession itself, both through teaching and service and activities which blend those roles. The Senior Seminar, for example, functions as a professional model of focused and sustained research activity: students take up a literary "problem"--much as a professional scholar does when she begins a research project, define and explore a particular aspect of that problem, develop and document an argument, write and rewrite that argument, and polish it for publication. Further, Senior Seminar students (which is to say all English majors) make the sorts of decisions that professional editors and publishers must make as they decide upon production values to produce their anthology. Clearly, the Senior Seminar is a course that provides students with a sustained experience of what a research project entails.
While this general discussion offers a description of the nature of our work, specific activities which constitute the workload of active faculty within our department are given in the following list, categorized as Scholarship, Teaching, and Service (although many activities demonstrate a healthy integration of these):
Scholarship/Creative Activity (see also Appendix A, B, and C)
- Publications (books, edited books, chapters, articles, review articles, reviews, bibliographies, encyclopedia articles, creative publications);
- Presentations (reading conference papers [national, regional, local] or serving as session respondent [national, regional, local]) or creative performances;
- Grants (external grants, grant-supported seminars and institutes [national, regional, local]);
- Editing scholarly/creative journals;
- Service in professional organizations (e.g. serving as officer within an organization);
- Chairing a session at a conference;
- Serving as referee in a professional context
High standards in teaching at all levels:
- Freshman teaching required of all faculty, courses informed by both critical rigor and student-centered processes of writing which utilize new technology;
- Sophomore literature teaching which introduces students to various fields of literature and analytical writing;
- Upper-division teaching which is informed by ongoing and consistent scholarly engagement within one's primary field of expertise or secondary area;
- Graduate teaching within one's field of primary expertise informed by ongoing and consistent scholarly engagement and the direction of critically-informed student research
Mentoring activities, such as
- Fostering undergraduate research characterized by discipline-specific critical facility, use of pertinent computer technologies, and up-to-date MLA style;
- Supervising and participating in undergraduate and graduate presentation of research
Department of English Colloquium Series;
- Directing/organizing undergraduate presentation of research at the university's Big Night Celebration;
- Organizing/supervising student panels at professional conferences;
- Directing/Serving as a reader on M. A. theses;
- Directing/Serving as member of M. A. committees
- Leadership (chairing) of committees [university, college, department levels];
- Membership on committees [university, college, department];
- Serving as Faculty Mentor to new colleagues;
- Classroom observation/evaluation of new faculty;
- Sponsorship of student organizations [university, college, department];
- Presentations/other service to university, college, department and regional communities;
- Participation in department activities
Promotion and Tenure Criteria (with supporting Appendix)
The following are the departmental promotion and tenure criteria as passed on 02/07/01. These criteria apply to 1) all tenure-track faculty members hired after 02/07/01; 2) all tenured faculty members up for promotion to Full Professor who have worked under the 3/3 load their entire time as Associate Professor.
Tenure-track faculty hired before 02/07/01 will be evaluated for their immediate next review (whether it be Third-Year Review or tenure and promotion to Associate Professor) based upon the earlier departmental promotion and tenure criteria (published on the English department web page under Promotion and Tenure Criteria Prior to 02/07/01. Once faculty members have completed that stage of review, they will then be evaluated according to the current promotion and tenure criteria for their next level of review (tenure or promotion to Full Professor).
Appendices A, B, and C provide supplemental information about the promotion and tenure process in the department and the university.