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Policy on work load documentation

1. Motivation

We, the ICS faculty, feel a responsibility to the University of Hawaii and the wider state community to provide an understanding of how we spend our time and the contributions we are making. We developed this workload documentation procedure with the goal of providing ample justification for the support we receive from the people of Hawaii without creating record-keeping overhead that would detract from our productivity.

Our workload documentation procedure is intended to be compatible with the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents policy, which specifies that Mānoa faculty normally teach 3 courses (9 credits) per semester, or a total of 6 courses (18 credits) per academic year. According to the policy, reductions from that teaching load are granted in recognition of scholarly activity other than teaching. The most important of these activities is scholarly research and publication. The ICS Department Workload Procedure provides evidence to justify our teaching workload reduction to four courses per year. It is also intended to be compatible with Article IV of the UPHA contract, which states that faculty workload should be developed within the context of the college mission and unit, division, or department objectives.

We base our workload documentation on the assumption of a 40-hour work week even though many of our faculty willingly work more than this amount. We feel strongly that number of hours worked is an extremely poor metric with which to evaluate and/or rank faculty. Therefore, our approach is to “cap” each faculty member’s documented workload at 40 hours a week, as this is sufficient to fulfill the goal of providing evidence of appropriate faculty effort to the UH administration and the wider community.

Our procedure is to document our workload once a year, in January, during which time we will document our activities during the preceding twelve months (i.e. the preceding calendar year). Given that research products generally take longer than a semester to produce, we believe that yearly documentation provides the best balance between timeliness and completeness.

Our procedure takes into account that some faculty will be more involved in one aspect than another of our three main missions: education, research and service. However, we expect that all ICS faculty will devote significant effort to all three of these missions. Our procedure produces metrics that are quantifiable and that are understandable to the outside world. We are not interested in minutiae; there are many tasks that may cumulatively take up a large amount of time, but are expected as part of our profession in support of the three primary missions. We believe it is better to assign a single value (or two) to a particular activity when possible, rather than to get into excessive negotiations over relative worth of different activities by different professors who may differ in their perspectives on time invested. We acknowledge that individuals make significant contributions that do not fall within the general categories listed below, and these contributions can be credited towards the workload (with explanation). We assume that these workload documentation will be publicly available to all members of the department as well as to the public; they are not personal documents.

2. Workload categories and standard hourly allocations

In the following section, we present a description of how workload can be documented in a standard manner for our three primary activities: teaching, research and service. To achieve this, we provide “standard hourly allocations” for various common activities such as publishing papers, teaching courses, and serving on committees. Obviously, the actual amount of time for any scholarly activity can vary greatly depending upon the person and the way the activity is carried out, but we do not want this documentation policy to require each faculty member to perform record keeping that would detract from their productivity. So, for common activities, we provide a standard hourly allocation that represents a defensible, conservative value for time typically spent on such an activity over the course of a year.

If a faculty member wishes to use a value different from the standard allocation, they are free to do so, but they must then provide justification for the departure.

2.1 Research

While there are many activities associated with research, they are all linked to products, which are what we measure.

2.1.1 Publications

Publications in peer-reviewed journals or peer-reviewed conferences are expected. We recognize that some peer-reviewed publications are more prestigious than others, but the purpose of this form is to track workloads, not judge or reward prestige or popularity of a product. We acknowledge that individual publications may require more or less time to produce and some papers have more or less contribution from coauthors; the standard hourly allocations below are meant to represent conservative, easily defensible values. In special cases where a major monograph has required more than double the time credited for an average refereed paper, the actual time allocated may be used (see “Other research products” below).

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Papers accepted in refereed journals or conferences; refereed book chapters 4 hours each
Technical reports produced, non-refereed papers accepted, scholarly reports directed at a lay audience 2 hours each

2.1.2 Proposals

Whereas the expectation is that most research or scholarship will eventually be published, many good research proposals are never accepted for funding due to funding shortages. Nevertheless, faculty are expected to write grant proposals, and these efforts should be credited towards the workload, whether or not the proposals are funded. The purpose of this form is not to judge the quality of proposals; there is no difference in workload credit between funded and unfunded proposals. However, because smaller proposals are usually narrower in scope and shorter in length, they usually require less time to write and they therefore credited less towards the workload.

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Major proposals (> $100,000) submitted 2 hours each
Smaller proposals (< $100,000) submitted 1 hours each

2.1.3 Research Presentations

Presentation of one’s research directly to an audience, whether at a scientific meeting, or by invitation of an academic department, government agency, or other interest group, is an important form of scholarship wherein the researcher’s work is received and discussed in an interactive setting. The preparation of oral and poster presentations can require substantial time, and this time is credited towards the workload.

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Research Presentations (oral or poster) 1 hour each

2.1.4 Other major research products

Each faculty member’s research program and scholarship may include unique elements that do not fall neatly within the three sections outlined above. It is important to allow for major but less common forms of scholarship to be credited towards the workload. Also under this section, major papers requiring more than double the time credited under “Publications” can be recorded.

For all activities recorded in this section, justification for the hours specified, including details of time invested should be provided.

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Software Development Variable (requires justification)
Monographs, patents, etc. Variable (requires justification)
Major grant administration Variable (requires justification)

3. Teaching

3.1 Course workload

We assume a normal teaching load is four 3-credit courses per year, or six credit hours of teaching at a time.

For courses that the faculty member has taught before (i.e. “old courses”), a conservative estimate of workload is 3 hours of work per credit per week. For a three credit course, this represents approximately six hours of preparation and three hours of class time per week.

For courses the faculty member has not taught before (i.e. “new courses”), a conservative estimate of workload is four hours of work per credit per week. For a three credit course, this represents approximately nine hours of preparation and three hours of class time per week.

For the purposes of workload documentation, the average weekly workload is determined by multiplying the total credit hours of teaching for the entire year by the standard hourly allocation. Since each credit hour only accounts for half a year’s work, the standard hourly allocation is thus half the workload estimate. Thus, if a faculty member teaches 12 credits of “old” courses in a year, the standard hourly allocation of 1.5 hours per credit hour yields an average weekly workload of 18 hours per week, which corresponds to the conservative estimate described above.

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Lecture, lab, or seminar course Old courses: 1.5 hours per credit hour
Lecture, lab, or seminar course New courses: 2.0 hours per credit hour

3.2 Student thesis committees

A second major form of teaching is the individual supervision of students working on their masters or doctoral dissertations. (This could also be viewed as research, but we list it here for convenience).

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Chair, Graduate Student Committee 1 hour per student
Member, Graduate Student Committee 0.5 hours per student
Directed research (ICS/LIS 499, 699) 1 hour per student enrolling in 3 credit hours

4. Service

There are many forms of service, and the list below is not exhaustive. We should not expect to record single events like judging science fairs, but more time-demanding service such as organizing a science fair could be credited under “Other Service”.

4.1 Committees

A lot of important work is done through committees. We recognize that some committees require more time than others, but rather than trying to work this out precisely, a representative workload credit is given per committee membership. We are concerned with recording the workload associated with committee work rather than judging the prestige or value of various committees.

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Chair of major university, college, or department committee or non-university committee related to faculty expertise 2 hours per committee
Membership in a major university committee (departmental, Faculty Senate, University Research Council, etc) or non-university committee related to faculty expertise 1 hour per committee
Chair of conference/workshop 2 hours per chairpersonship

4.2 Peer Review

Peer review is the lynchpin of information and computer sciences. It identifies scholarship and verifiable merit. Faculty who regularly participate in the peer review should receive credit towards their workloads for this service. As general guidance, providing written peer review of 10 documents (e.g. manuscripts, grant proposals) should be credited as one workload hour.

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Peer review: journals or other publications, grant proposals, policy documents, etc 1 hour per 10 documents

4.3 Other Common Service

Other forms of service that are commonly performed include the following:

Work Product Standard Hourly Allocation
Department chair 20 hours
Associate chair 10 hours
Graduate chair 10 hours
Undergraduate advisor 10 hours
Major service to external organization Variable hours (must justify)

5. Example Workload Document

The following page presents workload documentation for a hypothetical year by a hypothetical ICS faculty member. As noted above, this documentation is produced once a year by each faculty member in January and documents their accomplishments during the preceding twelve months. Hours are classified as “SHA” if using the Standard Hourly Allocation. If classified as “V” (Variable), then justification must be provided.

Workload Documentation for: John Doe

Workload Period: 1/1/2010 – 12/31/2010

Hours SHA or V Activity
4 SHA “Highly complex complications”, Journal of High Complexity, accepted for publication.
4 SHA “Empirical studies of complex complications in first year students”, Conference on Complex Complications, June, 2010.
2 V Major grant administration, “Complex Complications”, National Science Foundation
2 SHA Major grant proposal to NIH ($2M), “New Findings in Complex Complications”.
12 Research Total
18 SHA Taught ICS 212, 331, 101, 641 (all old courses)
2 SHA Chair, 2 student Ph.D. committees (Jane Doe, John Smith)
3 SHA Directed research, 3 students, (Matt Bender, Heather Bowen, Kim Willoughby)
23 Teaching Total
2 SHA Chair, ICS Curriculum committee
1 SHA Member, ICS Infrastructure committee
1 SHA Member, Faculty senate
1 SHA Reviewer, 12 documents (ICSE 2010, ISERN 2010)
5 Service Total
40 GRAND TOTAL (capped at 40)

Justification for hours listed as Variable:

  • 2 hours are allocated for Major Grant Administration. During the past 12 months, on my $4M NSF grant, I was responsible for writing position descriptions for four administrative hires, producing the ad, interviewing candidates, and training them. This required approximately 100 hours of time, or an average of 2 hours/week.

Approved by faculty: February 18, 2011

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