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R1 Our Way

What Is R1 Our Way?

In January 2022, DU was reclassified as a “Very High Research Activity Institution” (R1). Most of its faculty are excited about the reputational and material benefits, as well as the possibilities for graduate education and contributing to the knowledge of the world. Their concerns about this transition, however, center around anxieties that DU’s commitment to the “teacher-scholar” model, where innovative research and transformative teaching mutually inform each other, may shift to one in which “scholars” are seen as mutually exclusive from “teachers” and valued more highly. According to the COACHE 2019 Faculty Satisfaction Survey and the 2020 “R1 Report” administrated by the VPFA and Faculty Senate, in addition to concerns about how teaching will be valued (and evaluated), faculty worry about their own and their colleagues’ workloads, especially in terms of teaching, mentoring, and student support. The transition to R1 has the potential to exacerbate concerns articulated in the COACHE data, such as that the worst parts of teaching at DU are “teaching load” and “service load.” It also connects to our identified areas for improvement: leadership, service, promotion, and departmental collegiality—all of which are addressed in the new multi-year initiatives below.

To maintain DU’s identity and retain faculty , we need to continue to advance teaching excellence and insure institutional fit. At DU, these issues are accentuated by the distinctiveness of our Teaching and Professional Faculty (TPF) lines–those not on the tenure track, but an essential part of the DU faculty. An excellent academic experience and pursuit of quality, foundational to our mission and strategic initiatives, is impossible without TPF and adjunct faculty who are critical to our ability to deliver on our promise of a world class education. Support and programming aimed at valuing teaching, workload equity, attention to rank and series, unfunded research, and support for TPF and adjunct faculty is key to holding on to our distinctiveness, our commitment to academic excellence, to the promise of the teacher scholar model, and to achieving R1 our way.

Drawing on COACHE survey data (2019), the R1 Report (2020), and the Teaching and Professional White Paper (2021), we have identified four goals that guide our work in supporting teaching and advancing the teacher/scholar model as we live into R1:

Our Goals

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Valuing the Teacher/ Scholar/ Practitioner Model & Teaching Excellence

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Supporting Leadership & Mentoring for All Faculty Series

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Addressing Workload & Burnout

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Enhancing Student Experience, Learning, and Engagement

 In recognition of the importance of these goals for faculty and student thriving at DU, we announce a series of five funded initiatives, building on existing work from Faculty Affairs and the Office of Teaching and Learning, to support teaching at DU. These initiatives are faculty-focused, research-based, and will be sustained for three-year pilots. They are integral to the “Advancing Equity in Faculty Workload and Rewards” project, launched by the Provost in 2021. Please see below for a description and learn how you and your program can become involved. 

How To Get Involved

Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) Faculty Job Satisfaction Survey

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COACHE offers unique insights into the faculty experience, capturing sentiment regarding teaching, service and research, tenure and promotion, departmental engagement and collegiality, and other aspects of the academic workplace. Over 300 institutions use this validated instrument to inform change processes. As we live into R1, it is essential to understand the faculty experience and priorities and benchmark them both compared to our 2018 survey and to our peers. This line of sight allows us all to continue with data-driven programming and address climate issues centrally, at the academic unit, and in departments. These funds allow us to administer the COACHE survey in 2023.

Leadership Training and Support: Focus on Teaching and Professional Faculty

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Chairs, Directors, Associate Deans, and other faculty leaders are essential supports for faculty as they navigate change, especially in relation to the promotion process. There is need for additional mentoring and transparency for expectations for TPF faculty as identified in COACHE and beyond and for promotion from associate to full professor, made especially necessary in an R1 environment. These funds support three years of engagement by senior faculty in support for TPF

Faculty Leaders, such as chairs and directors, will:

  • administer and analyze results from an adapted version of the University of Southern California’s Pullias Center’s survey instrument
  • participate in three workshops, and attend the Pathways to Promotion for TPF panel
  • make a concrete plan to implement an element of the TPF faculty mentoring model developed by the TPF MOARS symposium group
  • publicly present their work to the DU community, including academic unit stakeholders

 Workload Equity Cohort- Department Equity Action Planning Teams

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Department Equity Action Planning (DEAPs) teams are a research-based approach to improving workload equity and faculty satisfaction through a collaborative, department or academic unit-based approach. These funds would expand the reach and sustainability of the planned pilot at DU, funding three years of DEAP cohorts of five departments per year, along with national experts to lead workshops, administration of evaluation and self-study tools, and stipends for participating faculty teams.

Teams will:

  • participate in training on workload equity and implicit bias
  • create a department dashboard to catalyze conversations about workload
  • create and revise a department equity action plan
  • publicly present their work to the DU community, including academic unit stakeholders

Teaching Excellence Department Action Teams

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This multi-year project, led by the OTL and the Teaching Excellence Task Force guides departments through a process of considering current practice and determining ways to ensure three voices (self, student, peer) are reflected in teaching evaluation for annual and consequential review. These “Department Action Teams” (DATs), have proven effective at University of Colorado-Boulder and beyond. Funding expands faculty, staff, and student stipends and offers a three-year runway of successive cohorts to participate in this transformative, equity-minded work.

Participating departments/programs will:

  • determine ways to apply the Teaching Quality Framework and ensure three voices (self, student, peer) are reflected in teaching evaluation for annual and consequential review.
  • Engage in workshops and training facilitated internally and externally.
  • Receive professional development funds
  • publicly present their work to the DU community, including academic unit stakeholders

 Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Certificate

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Based on a model at Boise State University and DU’s University College, this program provides a pathway for DU’s adjunct faculty to demonstrate their teaching skills, develop and reflect on their practice, and earn a certification of their teaching excellence. This expands DUs commitment to investing in the professional development of our adjunct series faculty who play a significant role in the student experience and in the classroom.

Adjunct Faculty will:


  • Complete a series of curated professional development opportunities offered by the Office of Teaching and Learning, including asynchronous opportunities and activities tailored for part-time instructors.
  • earn a stipend upon completion. ($250)