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Responsibilities of Academic Staff

Responsibilities of Academic Staff

Academic and Student Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
Revised August 17, 2015
Each member of the academic staff is expected to enhance the learning environment through instruction, applied research, and service that support the institutional mission. It is a basic principle that every member of the academic staff, of whatever rank, shall at all times be held responsible for competent and effective performance of his/her duties/workload expectations and foster collegial relationships with supervisors, peers, students, and the University community.

Primary duties of faculty include effective classroom teaching, academic advising and counseling of students, participation in departmental committee work and curriculum development, applied research or scholarly activity, and service such as assisting in recruitment of students and initiatives designed to help students succeed academically, as well as other assigned duties. 
Faculty shall share in University governance by participating in committee work, meetings, and providing input on matters relating to curriculum development and the learning environment.  Faculty service on University committees, either through election or appointment with consent, should not interfere with duties related to regularly-scheduled classes other work assignments related to primary work responsibilities.
This policy complies with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Comprehensive Standards 3.7.5, 3.2.6, and 3.4.10. McNeese State University is a member of the University of Louisiana System (ULS), and this policy complies with University of Louisiana System Board Bylaws and Rules Part Two, Chapter III, Section 1. The President serves as appointing authority for all personnel.  

Faculty Workload

McNeese State University is defined by the Louisiana Board of Regents and the ULS as "primarily a teaching institution" and assigns faculty work expectations accordingly. Course schedules are developed several months prior to the beginning academic semester, but may change as needed according to student enrollment. Department heads discuss faculty workload with their dean prior to making faculty assignments.  Each dean must verify reassigned time and obtain approval for faculty reassignments from the Office of Academic and Student Affairs prior to the schedule being made.

Faculty responsibilities are assigned according to the following guidelines:
  1. Full-time faculty teaching assignments consist of the equivalent of 15 credit hours of assigned time per semester (30 credit hours per academic year).
  2. Faculty holding the terminal degree (PhD, EdD, DBA, MFA, etc.) may be assigned teaching loads as follows:
    1. 12 credit hours per semester (24 credit hours per academic year) for instruction
      1. Evening, weekend, online, or compressed courses during the regular semester may be a part of the normal teaching workload
      2. Faculty are expected for adhere to academic guidelines and provide an appropriate syllabus for each course no later than the first day of the course meeting as indicated in the official course schedule
      3. Faculty must post the course syllabus to MOODLE by the first day of the course meeting
      4. Faculty must supply the department head with a copy of the syllabus by the first day of the course meeting
    2. Six credit hour teaching load (or equivalent) for the summer session regardless of highest academic credential.
    3. Faculty may teach interim sessions for overload pay according to the current scale.  Interim sessions are not included in the workload for the regular academic year or for the summer session.
    4. Overload pay during a regular term or summer session begins at the first hour beyond the normal full time load.  Overload is available to full-time faculty only
    5. During the regular term faculty may be assigned 3 credit hours per semester (6 credit hours per academic year) for research or scholarly activity
      1. The Annual Performance Review should reflect additional weight in the scholarly productivity category if the workload includes reassigned time for research or scholarly activity or other duties
    6. Additional duties, including committee work, advising, and other service are considered part of basic workload expectations, but not included in the per-credit hour workload count
    7. Specific schools, colleges, or departments may set higher teaching load minimums for faculty, especially those not actively involved in non-instructional activities.
      1. Lab or clinical instruction may be calculated using appropriate methods according to the discipline (and may differ according to discipline and/or accreditation requirements). 
      2. Internship, directed study, practicum, thesis or other special instruction is not usually calculated in the workload schedule but may be considered appropriately in Annual Performance Review.  Certain student teaching, internship, thesis or other special instructional responsibilities may call for prorated credit hours for instructional workload
    8. Reassigned time for duties other than instruction or other exceptions to teaching and/or research time must have prior approval.  Reassigned time must be for special documented accreditation requirements, specific administrative duties, or other extraordinary special assignments as clearly defined by the department and approved by the Dean and the Vice-President for Academic and Student Affairs.  See Reassigned Time Guidelines below.
  3. Faculty whose highest academic credential is the master's degree (regardless of faculty rank) teach at least 15 credit hours per semester (30 credit hours per academic year) and should have no more than 4 course preparations per semester.
    1. Lab or clinical instruction or practicum supervision may be calculated using appropriate methods according to the discipline (and may differ according to discipline and/or accreditation requirements).
  4. Visiting lecturers or adjunct faculty may not teach more than 9 credit hours per semester.
    1. Department heads must review Student Evaluation of Instruction and classroom performance of each VL each semester.  VL's are appointed on a semester by semester basis.
    2. Graduate assistants may not hold more than 1 and ½ assistantships and therefore should not teach more than 9 credit hours or comparable labs during the semester.  Note that international students may not hold more than one full graduate assistantship per semester according to immigration guidelines.
  5. Faculty job performance responsibilities include participation in committee work and service as part of the normal workload.
  6. Faculty are expected to meet classes regularly throughout the semester for the allotted class minutes and may not stop holding class sessions before the end of the semester.  Faculty must inform department heads or the dean when class sessions will not be held and must ensure course content is covered if class sessions must be cancelled due to non-emergency situations.
  7. Full‑time faculty members are expected to schedule AT LEAST ten office hours on campus each week during a regular semester and at least five office hours on campus each week during a summer session.  Office hours must be scheduled at various times during the day, including afternoons and should be spread across the week (Monday-Friday) to provide maximum opportunity for student accessibility.  Office hours scheduled online must be conducted from the campus office.
  8. Full-time faculty members are expected to participate in commencement ceremonies each semester.
  9. Part‑time faculty are expected to schedule a proportionate number of office hours, usually two hours for each three credit hour course taught; part-time faculty  must utilize McNeese provided e-mail accounts to communicate with department heads, deans, and students.
  10. Faculty are evaluated by the department head each year for teaching, research/scholarly productivity, service and collegiality through the Annual Performance Review process.
    1. All full-time and part-time faculty participate in student evaluation of instruction during the regular academic year.
    2. All faculty must familiarize themselves with the Annual Performance Review Policy
    3. All faculty must familiarize themselves with the Tenure and Promotion Policy
  11. Full-time faculty teaching credit hours above the normal full-time teaching load are paid overload pay provided funding is available.
  12. Interim session courses are not calculated as part of the regular semester load and are taught for overload pay.
Note:  Deans and department heads should document communication informing faculty annually the criteria for teaching workload as well as for Annual Performance Review, and tenure and promotion.  This communication should occur at the beginning of each academic year.

Exceptions to McNeese Faculty Workload Policy-Critical Circumstances

During times of severe budgetary limitations, faculty holding terminal degrees may be required to teach at least 15 credit hours per semester (30 credit hours per academic year) to the exclusion of all reassigned time for research and other duties.  This rule exists as one effort to protect personnel positions and salaries in times of severe economic crisis.

Dean and Department Head Administrative Responsibilities for Workload Assignments

Deans verify workload schedule and reassigned time information each Fall and Spring semester and submit appropriate forms to the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness.  Workload schedule information identifies time allocated to teaching, research, and University and public service duties, as well as collegiality.  Workload schedules should be reviewed by the department head and dean to facilitate equitable distribution of non-teaching duties within the department and to balance each faculty member's teaching and non-teaching duties.  

Administrative Structure for Academic Colleges



Deans are appointed as12-month employees and are considered the chief officers of their colleges and members of the senior leadership team.  Deans provide academic and administrative leadership to support the University Mission and ensure student success.  Deans develop and maintain effective communication within the respective college, with personnel across campus, with students, and with external community constituents.  They coordinate the activities of department heads so that clearly-defined goals related to program improvement, recruitment and retention, and student learning outcomes may be achieved.  The Dean is responsible for upholding university policies and procedures, SACSCOC and the respective accrediting agency requirements, evaluation of programs, and evaluation of faculty performance. 

The Dean normally assumes a course load of 3 credit hours per regular semester, unless reassigned to administrative or other duties with approval by the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.  Deans supervise and evaluate department heads and submit personnel decisions to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs for review.  Deans are evaluated by the Provost with input from faculty and administrative evaluations.

Department Heads

Department Heads report to the college dean and are full-time ranked faculty members who represent the departmental faculty and have administrative responsibilities for their respective departments.  They are generally responsible for the development of teaching and scholarship among departmental faculty.  Department Heads work directly with academic program coordinators and respective faculty, complete initial evaluations of faculty, determine course scheduling, and set strategies for program development and review, recruiting, and student retention.  Department heads are appointed as 9 month employees and must schedule at least 25 hours office presence each week during the academic term.

Provided satisfactory performance is documented, department heads may be reappointed each year by the President upon the recommendation of the academic dean and the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.  During the academic period, the department head may be reassigned at the discretion of the dean to teaching or other duties commensurate with the individual's academic rank. 
Department Heads may receive alternate work time releases from teaching duties in proportion to the requirements of the administrative duties of their respective academic unit.  Deans evaluate department head job performance with input from faculty and administrative evaluations.  

Academic Program Coordinators

At McNeese State University each academic program is assigned a program coordinator who is academically qualified in the field or curricular area of concentration.  Program coordinators work with faculty, department heads, and deans for curriculum development and review. Program coordinators must collect data and complete Academic Program and Academic Unit Progress reports as required by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE). If the academic program includes General Education coursework, the Coordinator is responsible for ensuring achievement of student learning competencies, collecting assessment data, and submitting Course Summary Forms as required by IRE.  Program coordinators do not receive reassigned time; the annual performance review should include appropriate points in the teaching component according to coordinator responsibilities. 


Department heads should discuss academic duties with each faculty member at the beginning of each academic year of his/her duties and when course schedules are being prepared.  Faculty should be informed of changes in responsibilities for that year, in teaching, research, or other creative or artistic activity, service and special duties, and  as soon as changes are known. Part-time faculty (visiting lecturers, adjunct faculty, and faculty employed less than full-time) should consult the Visiting Lecturer appointment notice and other related institutional polices for detailed information concerning appointments.