Responsibilities of Academic Staff
Authority: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date Enacted or Revised: Revised August 17, 2015; January 26, 2017; March 1, 2018; May 16, 2018; February 5, 2020; August 18, 2020; December 10, 2020; November 23, 2021
Each member of the academic staff is expected to enhance the learning environment through instruction, applied research, scholarly activity, 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 their 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, continuous development of the curriculum through assessment, 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 and other work assignments related to primary work responsibilities.
This policy complies with standards 5.4, 6.2.b, and 6.3 of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement. 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.
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 of an 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 Affairs and Enrollment Management prior to the schedule being made.
Faculty responsibilities are assigned according to the following guidelines:
University Faculty Workload Requirements
- Full-time faculty teaching assignments consist of the equivalent of 15 credit hours of assigned time per semester (30 credit hours per academic year).
- Full-time faculty, with assistant professor rank or higher, who have a terminal degree (PhD, EdD, DBA, MFA, etc.) may be assigned teaching loads of: 12 credit hours per semester (24 credit hours per academic year) for instruction.
- Full-time 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 four course preparations per semester.
- The regular workload for full-time faculty who choose to work during the summer is six workload hours regardless of highest academic credential.
- Visiting lecturers or adjunct faculty may not teach more than nine credit hours per semester.
- Graduate assistants may not hold more than one and ½ assistantships and therefore should not teach more than nine credit hours or comparable labs during the semester. Note: International students may not hold more than one full graduate assistantship per semester according to immigration guidelines.
- Specific schools, colleges, or departments may set higher teaching load minimums for faculty when the nature of the discipline calls for higher workloads.
- Lab or clinical instruction workload hours may be calculated using appropriate methods according to the discipline and/or accreditation requirements.
- Internship, directed study, practicum, thesis, or other special instruction is not calculated in the workload report but may be considered appropriately in the Annual Performance Review.
- Certain student teaching, internship, thesis, or other special instructional responsibilities may call for prorated workload hours; however, prior approval from the vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management (VPAAEM) must be obtained in writing and forwarded to the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness to be filed with the workload report.
- Workload credit hours for courses taught by more than one faculty member will be divided proportionately according to each instructor’s percent of responsibility for teaching the course. For example, two faculty members assigned to one course with a three hour workload responsibility will each receive 1.5 hours of workload credit if they each share 50% of the responsibility for teaching the course.
- Departments should not request that workload credit hours be increased on a shared course due to an instructional load reduction resulting from shared responsibility.
- When scheduling a shared responsibility course in Banner, departments must enter each faculty member’s percentage of responsibility for teaching the course. Doing this will allow the correct workload credit to display on faculty workload reports.
- Evening, weekend, online, or compressed courses during the regular semester are a part of the normal teaching workload. This applies to all teaching faculty.
- Additional duties, including committee work, advising, and other service are a part of basic workload expectations and are not included in workload hour calculations.
Overload and Interim Pay
- Full-time faculty teaching a workload above the normal full-time teaching load are paid overload pay provided funding is available.
- Overload pay during a regular term or summer session begins at the first workload hour beyond the normal full-time load. Overload is available to full-time faculty only.
- When requesting overload pay, departments should submit the course(s) with lowest enrollments first. An exception to this rule is when a department submits an overload request on behalf of faculty from another department. For example, if a history professor teaches a biology course as an overload, the biology department should submit the biology course on the overload request for the history professor.
- Low enrollment classes of less than ten for an undergraduate course and less than five for a graduate course typically will not receive overload pay due to smaller workload requirements. In extenuating circumstances, overload pay may be prorated for classes with less than minimal enrollment expectations with prior approval from the VPAAEM.
- 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.
Non-Instructional Workload Hours
- 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, research or scholarly activity, or other extraordinary special assignments as clearly defined by the department and approved by the Dean and the VPAAEM.
- To request reassigned time, department heads must complete the Workload Reassigned Time Request Form.
- Reassigned time credit is for one semester only; therefore, it must be requested and approved each semester.
Note: The annual performance review should reflect additional weight in the scholarly and professional activity category if the workload includes reassigned time for research or scholarly activity or other non-instructional duties.
Standard Academic Expectations
- 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.
- Faculty must provide a course syllabus for each class taught. Each syllabus must be posted electronically on Moodle by the first class day. The syllabus should be given to the department head/dean by the tenth day of class each semester/session. Syllabi should be reviewed and updated each semester.
- Faculty must utilize McNeese-provided e-mail accounts to communicate with department heads, deans, students, and the University community.
- Student support hours are to ensure that students have access to faculty outside of class for student-faculty interactions, including assistance with coursework and advising. Faculty should ensure their availability to students during these hours and prioritize student interactions above other tasks. Faculty should express their willingness to make special appointments with students who are unable to utilize scheduled student support hours.
- Full‑time faculty are expected to schedule AT LEAST ten student support hours each week during a regular semester and at least five student support hours each week during a summer session. These hours must be scheduled at various times during the day, including afternoons, and they should be spread across the week (Monday-Friday) to provide maximum opportunity for student accessibility. Part‑time faculty are expected to schedule a proportionate number of student support hours, usually two hours per week for each three-credit hour course taught.
- Faculty may conduct student support hours on campus or virtually. E-mail and telephone communication should also be available during these hours. All communication should be returned in a timely manner. Any virtual student support hours used in place of in-office support hours must be approved by the department head.
- Faculty should post the schedule and methods of communication for student support hours on course syllabi, in Moodle, in appropriate scheduling software as it becomes available on campus, and on the door of the faculty member’s office, if applicable. Faculty should notify students about any changes or cancellations during the semester.
- Full-time faculty members are expected to participate in commencement ceremonies each semester.
- Faculty should contact their department head and/or dean for departmental or college-level policies and expectations regarding responsibilities of academic staff.
Annual Performance Review (APR)
- Faculty are evaluated by the department head each year for teaching, research/scholarly activity, service, and collegiality through the APR process.
- All faculty must familiarize themselves with the Faculty Evaluation Policy.
- All tenure-track faculty must familiarize themselves with the Tenure in Academics Policy.
- Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI) scores are included in the APR. All full-time and part-time faculty participate in the SEI process during the regular academic year.
- Department heads must review SEI scores and classroom performance for part-time faculty and faculty with temporary appointments each semester as they are appointed on a semester-by-semester basis.
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 schedules 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 and non-teaching duties. 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 as 12-month employees and are considered the chief officers of their colleges. Deans provide academic and administrative leadership to support the University mission and ensure student success. Deans develop and maintain effective communication within their 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 workload of three credit hours per regular semester, unless reassigned to administrative or other duties with approval by the VPAAEM. Deans supervise and evaluate department heads and submit personnel decisions to the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management for review. Deans are evaluated by the VPAAEM with input from faculty and administrative evaluations.
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 department. Department heads are generally responsible for the development of teaching and scholarship among departmental faculty. They work directly with academic program coordinators and respective faculty, complete initial evaluations of faculty, determine course scheduling, set strategies for program development and review, promote student recruiting and retention, and ensure assessment of student learning.
Department heads receive three non-instructional workload credit hours for their administrative responsibilities. Upon receipt of prior approval from the VPAAEM, they may receive additional administrative reassigned time from teaching duties in their respective academic unit. Department heads are appointed as nine-month employees and must schedule at least 25 hours of 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 VPAAEM. 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. 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 assessment reports as required by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE). If the academic program includes general education and/or Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) coursework, the coordinator is responsible for ensuring achievement of student learning competencies, collecting assessment data, and submitting course section summary forms as required by IRE. The program coordinator’s 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 and when course schedules are being prepared. Faculty should be informed of changes in responsibilities in teaching, research, scholarly/professional activity, service, or special duties as soon as they are known. Part-time faculty (visiting lecturers and faculty employed less than full-time) should consult the Visiting Lecturer Appointment notice and other related institutional polices for detailed information concerning appointments.
This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.