Recommendations

The committee sought to provide a framework for producing greater equity-mindedness about faculty workload and changing the institutional structures, policies, processes, and practices that create various forms of workload inequity. Producing and sustaining change requires agreement on the basic principles for achieving equity discussed in this report, as well as a good-faith commitment by all stakeholders to put them into action.

In recent years, DU’s commitment to the values of shared governance has elicited campus visits from numerous experts whose presentations routinely referenced American Association of University Professors (AAUP) policy principles and recommendations. We are also deeply informed by the American Council on Education (ACE) report on Equity-Minded Faculty Workloads and the workload equity practices and policies at other higher education institutions. Finally, we are encouraged by the nascent work at DU, which indicates that this work is positive, beneficial, and doable. Our recommendations serve as next steps toward institutionalizing this work consistently across campus.

These principles inform specific short-term, medium-term, and long-term recommendations for action at different stakeholder levels as tabulated below and guided by the timeline at right. 

Implementation Timeline

Summer 2022

Summer 2022

  • DU Chairs and Directors provide feedback on draft report in terms of factual edits or additions.
  • Deans and vice provosts engage the report during the annual retreat with the Provost.
AY 2022–23

AY 2022-23

  • Provost guides all schools and colleges to create unit-level workload equity policies through shared governance, in alignment with guardrails on discretionary authority—including annual accountability mechanisms for departments and grievance procedures.
  • Faculty Senators discuss workload equity report and next steps.
AY 2023–24

AY 2023–24

  • Units create and vote on workload equity policies by September 15, 2023.
  • Departments create and vote on service expectations at rank and series, and metrics of high-, medium-, and low-serving committees by Sept 15, 2023.
  • All university committees follow best practices, including scope, charge, projected outcome, expected level of service, and dismissal/evaluation processes.
AY 2024–25

AY 2024–25

  • Senate, academic leaders, and the Provost work together to create a university faculty workload policy (see SLU example).
AY 2025–26

AY 2025–26

  • Senate passes and the Provost approves a faculty workload policy. Beginning within units and departments aligns with research recommendations from O’Meara et al. and allows time for shared governance across heterogeneous academic schools and colleges.

Our Holistic Recommendations

Stakeholder Group

Short Term
(AY 22–23)

Medium Term
(AY 23–25)

Long term
(AY 25–27)

Individual Level

Read the workload equity committee report; talk to department/program colleagues about next best steps (1–2 things to address in next AY); and engage Faculty Senator. Department and program faculty collaborate to create clear departmental or unit expectations for service articulated at different ranks and series (see AY 22–23 goal). Develop a sense of shared governance, collective agency, and responsibility for workload policies and practices through participation in annual workload audits and discussions in departments/units.

Unit/
Department/
College Level

Identify/quantify extent of the problem in departments, programs, schools, and colleges in light of the nuanced, comparative, and evidence-based observations about the nature and scope of faculty work presented in this report.

Collective recognition of workload inequities that exist within and across depts based on data and regular discussions in department/program meetings, using ACE report worksheets to help structure a collective approach.

Provide guidelines on how to have equity conversations with colleagues and peers based on principles of professional behavior and responsibility articulated in the APT document.

Inform chairs, program directors, and deans of strategies currently available to them for addressing inequities through AY 22–23 workload equity committee.

Expectations vary greatly not only by rank and classification, but also within and among different units at DU. These expectations should be clearly defined, delineated, and communicated by each unit, school and/or college, as well as through the Provost’s Office to eliminate ambiguity and enhance transparency.

Devise unit level workload equity policy/ guidelines/processes/ and annual accountability expectations.

Develop possible paths to remedy inequities, such as credit systems, service rotations, workload equivalencies, and other mechanisms reported in the literature.

Recommend strategies at the department level to make workload transparent.

Chairs and deans take concrete action on and monitor change annually for workload inequities recognized within and across departments.

Departments/programs continue workload equity conversations to understand work people do with the concrete goal of dashboards and Equity Action Plans for 50% departments/programs.

Schools and colleges create guidelines through shared governance processes on how (or if) to provide relief/ credit to faculty who take the brunt of service.

Generate college Equity Action Plan that responds to changes like RI and considers factors that produce faculty dissatisfaction, disengagement, and departures.

Recommend strategies on how to provide workload equity in the context of peers who refuse to do work for the whole (e.g., social loafing, free-riding, and beyond).

Departments and colleges catalog service positions/committee work as low-intensity, medium-intensity, or high-intensity, and make this available to faculty. This will help differentiate service commitments, create more transparency around time-allocation, guide faculty in making informed workload decisions, and more easily track workload disparities and imbalances within units.

Provost Level

Provost reads report and meets with the workload equity committee to discuss next steps.

Require all schools and colleges to create workload guidelines through shared governance process and all-faculty vote.

Create guidance structure for decanal accountability on workload equity in college/school.

Host all-faculty discussions with the Faculty Senate, Teaching Excellence Task Force, and Workload Equity Committee on how advising, mentoring, academic program directorships, and other activities are categorized and evaluated as part of teaching, administration, or service to assure consistent definitions in evaluative processes.

Provost meets with workload equity committee to identify 1-3 committee recommendations that she believes have the highest priority and an idea about how she would support those priorities in her work/evaluation and support of the deans.

Take concrete action for addressing workload inequities that have been recognized to come from Provost.

Develop decanal annual reporting and assessment of school/college workload-equity progress as part of decanal annual review process.

Host discussions on workload equivalencies and service sabbaticals in shared-governance forums.

Establish a standing committee to address workload equity, so that it becomes a “normal” part of the conversation.

Provost catalogs university-level positions/committee work as low-intensity, medium-intensity, or high-intensity and make this available to faculty. This will help to better differentiate service commitments, create more transparency around time-allocation, guide faculty in making more informed workload decisions, and more easily track workload disparities and imbalances at the university level.

Collecting & Publishing Data

Collect data for clarity and transparency (see Nature of Problem #1). Create scorecards and dashboards to establish benchmarks on areas such as demographic information on faculty and staff (i.e., who is here and who is leaving). Publish data accessible to the university community annually.

Faculty Senate

Reconvene committee as multi-year effort.

Personnel Committee reviews university grievance policy and process, and reaffirms the Faculty Review Committee’s constitutional responsibility to handle workplace/workload/workload equity grievances.

Put forward recommendations from report as motions where appropriate.

Work with Provost’s office on policy, action, and accountability.

Work with deans on policy, action, and accountability.

Institute and manage mandatory training of Faculty Review Committee (FRC) about their charge and basic shared-governance principles.

Revise APT documents where appropriate.

Institutional Policy Level

Policy clean-up based on equity literature mandated by Provost and enacted by chairs or their equivalent.

Formally recognize invisible/undervalued faculty work (e.g., YouRock and others) and standardization of dashboard information.

Create of dashboards and/or support for departments to create data-tracking dashboards.

Change the way we recognize work (annual reports, T&P) to make moves toward equity sustainable.

Create policy and/or change at the university level for addressing and enacting workload equity.

 

Gather existing data and policies. Tracking construction of policies and associated practices to avoid policy subversion.

All committees have effort level, transparent workload, roles and behavior-based accountability (short/mid).

Awareness raising/ socialization of issues (incl. for new faculty); accompanying explainer video or slide presentation.

Policy audit and development—whether a unit-level action plan, university-wide policy, or both; include principles and practices as found in the Landscape Scan (Appendix I).

Action Stakeholders/Change Agents Can Take

Deans, associate deans, chairs, and directors have a particular role to play in supporting faculty workload-equity initiatives by establishing meeting agendas that include equity topics, leading informed discussions, responding expeditiously to concerns that arise in their units, and otherwise supporting collective activities and shared governance.

As such, we provide action steps leaders can take to advance workload-equity initiatives and make steps towards greater workload equity among faculties.

DEANS & ASSOCIATE DEANS

Short Term:

  • To reduce ambiguity and enhance transparency, set agenda times or committee structures to create clearly defined and delineated expectations that are communicated by each unit, school and/or college, as well as through the Office of the Provost.

Medium Term:

  • Set agenda times or committee structures for unit-level workload equity policy, guidelines, processes, and annual accountability expectations.
  • In collaboration with chairs and directors, specify concrete action and measured change from chairs and deans for addressing workload inequities that have been recognized within and across departments monitored annually.
  • Hold all-faculty meetings and/or charge a committee to create guidelines through shared governance processes on how (or if) to provide relief/credit to faculty who take the brunt of service.
Long Term:

  • Create an Equity Action Plan by the college, informed by department level work

 

Department Chairs

Short Term:

  • Build collective recognition of workload inequities existing within and across departments and programs based on data and regular discussions in faculty meetings, using ACE report worksheets to help structure a collective approach.
  • Work on department/program bylaws related to workload equity and decisions that impact workloads, including faculty discretionary leaves.

Medium Term:

  • Set agenda times or committee structures for department and program faculty to collaborate to create clear departmental or unit expectations for service articulated at different ranks and series (see AY 22–23 goal).
  • Departments/programs have workload equity conversations to understand work people do, with the concrete goal of creating dashboards and Equity Action Plans for 50% of departments/programs.
  • Concrete action and measured change from chairs and deans for addressing workload inequities that have been recognized within and across departments monitored annually.

Next Year’s Workload Equity Committee Work

  • Work with Faculty Governance Committee to create an integrated data approach for workload equity.
  • Create several department/program workload equity model bylaws.
  • See full Faculty Senate approved charge (Appendix H).