UMSL Workload Guidelines for Tenure-Track Faculty at UMSL


Principles Underlying Faculty Workload at the University of Missouri-St. Louis1

As a land grant, metropolitan, public research university, the University of Missouri-St. Louis endorses a faculty workload consistent with its mission. The campus requires from the faculty professional engagement in teaching, research/scholarship/creative activity2 ,and service/administrative/economic development3 activities for the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge to address educational, social, economic, political, cultural, and artistic opportunities and challenges in the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond.

UMSL faculty are professional scholars and teachers who fulfill their responsibilities in varied ways. As scholars, they must meet the stringent demands of tenure, promotion, and post-tenure reviews. As scholars, teachers, and colleagues; faculty are held accountable for quality work and high productivity through annual reviews of all aspects of their professional obligations. Such professional activity in the setting of a research university means that the common national measure of employment, a 40-hour workweek, falls far short of the time a UMSL faculty member works each week. Nor do these obligations cease during university holidays. Although the conditions of employment vary considerably by discipline, typically, faculty devote months of uncompensated effort during the summer and student holidays to advance their research, improve their courses, or engage in service and collaborative activities.

However rigorous, professional workload requirements must also reflect the reality that UMSL faculty represent varied academic disciplines that face different market conditions in the academy and other market sectors (private firms, non-governmental organizations, etc.). These differences defy a simplistic formula for workload as units compete within the marketplace to recruit and retain the best faculty. A faculty workload policy requires guidelines that can be interpreted and implemented at the unit level and reviewed for effectiveness at the next administrative level and during five-year program reviews.

Unit administrators4 have the primary responsibility to balance the multiple demands upon their faculty in a way that ensures the effective and efficient delivery of courses and academic programs, supports the research mission of the campus, and encourages service activities. To do this, unit administrators must couple the expectation that the professional effort of every faculty member will equate to full-time engagement in a combination of activities directly related to the campus and unit missions with a flexible, transparent structure that encourages the differential application of faculty talents over the course of a career.

1 This document does NOT pertain to non-tenure-track faculty, e.g., lecturers, affiliate professors, part-time faculty, or to tenure-track faculty working in administrative roles.
2 When used alone, research is shorthand for research/scholarship/creative activity.
3 Service is meant to include service to the campus, the region, and the profession; administrative and committee roles; contributions to economic development; and collaboration with other professionals.
4 Unit administrators include persons with titles such as department chairs, division chairs, area coordinators, and, in some units, the dean.


Within public higher education in Missouri, research is uniquely the responsibility of the four campuses of the University of Missouri System and thus central to UMSL's mission. Research and teaching are complementary activities; a faculty member with an active research program will infuse teaching with an enthusiasm born of the quest for new knowledge. The precise percentage of time devoted to research, teaching, and service activities is typically negotiated by the individual faculty member in consultation with and as approved by the unit administrator. The University of Missouri workload policy in Collected Rules and Regulations, 310.080.E. states, No regular faculty member can be assigned either fewer than 12 section credits or fewer than 180 student credit hours per academic year without an instructional waiver.

To fulfill CRR 310.080.A., units must develop workload policies in consultation with the units dean, who, after approving them, will seek the Provosts approval. The following guidelines provide a framework for developing unit-based faculty workloads:



Workload Guidelines for Tenure-Track Faculty at UMSL

  • Workload assignments must enable faculty members to fulfill the three responsibilities of teaching, research, and service while meeting the campus's mission and units goals and conforming to the workload policy in the University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations 310.080;
  • The average instructional responsibility for all regular faculty members on each campus will be 9 section credits per semester. The Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will establish instructional benchmarks for each college and school to attain the campus average instructional responsibility goal of 9 section credits per semester as per CRR 310.080D.
  • Workload assignments may vary among and within disciplines;
  • To comply with the Collected Rules, faculty normally teach a minimum of three three-credit courses or the equivalent each semester;
  • In a given unit, extraordinary efforts in research (or in some cases service or administration) may result in a reduction in teaching load; Faculty members with external funding may buy out their time if they pay from their grants/contracts the proportion of their salary dedicated to work on the funded project or, at minimum, the actual cost for replacing themselves in a course if grant funds are insufficient to cover the proportion of salary.
  • When faculty teach outside of the unit or conduct exceptional service for which they are paid (e.g., chair Faculty Senate), the faculty members tenure unit should receive funds to cover the cost of replacing the faculty member in the course(s).
  • The teaching load for each faculty member will be reviewed and adjusted based on the annual faculty review;
  • Unit administrators, in consultation with their deans, have primary responsibility and accountability to establish and monitor individual and unit workloads to meet the University of Missouri System workload policy. Verification of the efficacy of the unit's workload standards will be part of the five-year program reviews.


Approved by the Provosts Council April 1, 2009