Workload Equity Call Update

Oct 2, 2022

By: Renee Botta, Associate Professor, Faculty Senate President

The Office of the Provost, the Vice Provost of Faculty Affairs, and Faculty Senate are continuing their partnership to strengthen equity outcomes within and across departments and units by bringing greater clarity and transparency to three interrelated areas:

  1. Faculty responsibilities and expectations,
  2. The decision-making processes by which department and unit heads assign faculty responsibilities and set faculty expectations, and
  3. The standards by which faculty responsibilities and expectations are measured, assessed, and rewarded. 
The committee released its first report in September, which you can read here


Extending and building on the 2020–2022 workload equity committee’s work, the Senate created a multi-year workload equity committee and passed a new charge for a reconstituted committee to begin work this fall. 


The committee will be a continuation of a multi-year process. The overarching goal of the committee is to move toward university, school/college, and department policies, processes, practices and institutional “guardrails” that ensure workload equity and equitable faculty review. Committee membership will be reviewed and refreshed every academic year. Existing committee members may extend their service for up to three years, based on agreement with committee co-chairs. 


The workload equity committee (WEC) is charged as follows: 

  1. Starting September 2022, WEC will convene (with the process for its composition as described above) to begin work, with the goal of moving forward the 2021–2022 Workload Equity Committee Report findings. By Spring 2023, WEC will curate resources for departments or programs to use as they take steps toward creating norms/guidelines/policies/bylaws and/or credit systems around workload equity. This includes concrete measurement of change in workload inequities within and across departments. 
  2. WEC will review the results of the 2022 COACHE faculty exit survey and make recommendations for next steps in improving faculty satisfaction based on the data. 
  3. By Spring 2023, WEC will support academic leaders, schools, and colleges to develop unit-level policies, guidelines, practices, and accountability mechanisms; curate these resources to share with the campus community; and identify models of success, including concrete action from Chairs and Deans for addressing workload inequities that have been recognized. 
  4. By May 2023, WEC will develop a shared-governance process with critical votes and reporting structures designed in advance and share those specifications and that structure/process with the Faculty Senate for approval; by May 2023, WEC must create structures/processes to work with stakeholders without committee member representation and share that structure/process with the Faculty Senate for approval. 
  5. As necessary, WEC will survey or otherwise investigate workload-equity questions at DU, including ongoing efforts detailed in the 2020–2022 committee’s report, and the Department Equity Action Planning teams; WEC will work to advance DU data and tracking concerning workload equity, including concrete measurement of change in workload inequities within and across departments/programs and within schools and colleges. 
  6. Each year, WEC will document findings and create recommendations for moving forward—both for the next year of committee work and recommend a multi-year approach, including Faculty Senate votes, and an iterative process to make achievable, incremental changes to practice. 
  7. The end goal is a robust, rigorous, and evidence-based set of tools for improving workload equity, including but not limited to department-based practices and policies (e.g., dashboards and establishing guidelines for service expectations for all series and ranks), unit-level commitments (e.g., robust toolbox for credit system, “service sabbaticals,” etc.), and campus-level “guardrails” to help provide consistency without uniformity for faculty workload. 

If you’re interested in joining the committee, please email the Michelle Tyson and Hava Gordon a few sentences on why and how you would like to contribute to the committee. If you are nominating someone, please indicate what you believe the nominee would contribute.

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