Fact Check: How to Fix Policy 76 in 19 minutes

—FAUW Lecturers Committee, August 19, 2022

A recent guest post on this blog outlined, in a video, a potential solution to Policy 76. Using the 2021 Lecturers Survey, the FAUW Lecturers Committee would like to add data points that are relevant to this discussion. The survey achieved an 80% response rate (192/240) lecturers.

Assumptions in the video

The proposed solution in the guest blog was based on several key assumptions:

Assumption 1:  A “common rule of thumb” that one teaching task = 10% of workload.

Response: Such a rule of thumb is not written in any policy or document that we are aware of. A clear definition of a “teaching task” does not currently exist for either Lecturers or tenure-track faculty. Such a definition would fall under the purview of a workload policy, which UW does not have. Other institutions, such as the University of Toronto have workload policies.

Assumption 2:  The majority of Lecturers have an 80% teaching, 20% service load.

Response: Based on the 2021 Lecturers Survey results only 43% of respondents actually have an 80% teaching/20% service load. Although 80/20 is the most popular type of lecturer contract, it does not apply to the majority of lecturers. The table below shows which contract types exist among survey respondents and how many lecturers fall into each contract type:

Teaching/ Service/ Research split (contract type)# respondents% respondents (/192)
80/20/0 83 43.2 
60/40/0 24 12.5 
70/30/0 18 9.3 
50/50/0 18 9.3 
60/20/20 11 5.7 
30/70/0 4.7 
70/20/10 
40/60/042.1
100/0/0 1.6 
80/10/10 
30/50/20 
20/80/0 
80/15/5 0.5 
60/30/10 0.5 
50/40/10 0.5 
50/30/20 0.5 
45/40/5 0.5 
40/50/10 0.5 
40/40/20 0.5 
35/65/0 
30/60/10 0.5 
25/75/0 0.5 
20/60/20 0.5 

Assumption 3: That the number of teaching tasks should increase linearly with teaching percentage.

Response: The video acknowledges that the Memorandum of Agreement between FAUW and the University stipulates that such a relationship is not implied nor intended, and this is borne out by how course loads are distributed with respect to teaching percentages. The following table shows the number of courses taught by lecturers with differing teaching percentages. Data were collected from the 2021 Lecturers Survey.

% teaching in contract <=2 >8 Average # courses* 
100 5.33 
80 22 21 26 6.23 
70 16 5.67 
60 16 5.29 
50 14 4.21 
45 
40 3.83 
35 2.5 
30 2.91 
25 
20 2.5 
*Note about average # courses taught/T weight. This is a weighted average. The <=2 category is counted as two courses and >8 category as nine courses. The remaining weights are as they appear in the second row. The number gives the average number of courses taught by lecturers with the %T in that row. For example, the average # of courses taught by lecturers with a teaching weight of 100 is 5.33 courses/term (in a regular calendar year i.e., no COVID).
** Table notes: (1) Unlike the question about contract weights, the survey question “How many regular (0.5 credit) courses do/did you teach in the periods listed below?” which was used to construct the table was not a mandatory question and may have been skipped by some respondents. (2) The table only considers the % of teaching in one’s contract. Thus, a lecturer with 80% teaching and 20% service and a lecturer with 80% teaching, 15% service, and 5% research are both recorded in the same row.

Types of Teaching Stream Professors in the video

The guest post’s proposed solution itself suggests three types of contracts for Teaching Stream Professors:

  1. Contract type 1: 80% teaching, 20% service; teaching an effective load of six courses per year (based on a three-course reduction from a starting load of 7.5 courses per year).
    Response: From the survey, only 21 lecturers already fall into this category. This contract would reduce the teaching load of 34 lecturers who currently have 80/20 contracts but who teach more than six courses per year. The remaining 43 lecturers in this category would see either no change or an increase in teaching load.
  2. Contract type 2: 60% teaching, 40% service; teaching an effective load of five courses per year (based on a two-course reduction from a starting load of 6 courses per year).
    Response: From the survey, only five lecturers already fall into this category. This contract would not reduce the teaching load of any lecturers who currently have 60/40 contracts. The remaining 13 lecturers in this category would see an increase in teaching load.
  3. Contract type 3: 60% teaching, 20% research, 20% service; teaching an effective load of five courses per year (based on a two-course reduction from a starting load of 6 courses per year).
    Response: From the survey, only four lecturers already fall into this category. This contract would reduce the teaching load of six lecturers who currently have 60/20/20 contracts but who teach more than six courses per year. The remaining 9 lecturers in this category would see either no change or an increase in teaching load.

It should be noted that out of the 192 survey respondents, only 30 fit into the categories of Professor, Teaching Stream proposed in the guest post. The remaining 162 or the majority of lecturers on campus would be considered to be so-called ‘broken’ contracts.

Non-teaching terms in the video

Central to the proposal is the idea of a NTT+C (non-teaching term plus credit), which grants one term’s worth of teaching credit to Teaching Stream faculty every two years. The number of credits itself is variable depending on how an individual decides to distribute their teaching. It is instructive to compare this proposal with how non-teaching terms currently operate.

  • In some units, the teaching load for a non-teaching term is redistributed. For example, a lecturer teaching six courses per year would have to distribute their load of 12 courses over five terms in order to have the sixth be non-teaching.
  • In other units, the teaching load for the non-teaching term is NOT redistributed over a period of two academic years, which effectively reduces the teaching load over such a time. For example, a lecturer teaching six courses per year on a 2-2-2/2-2-2 schedule would have a load of 10 courses over five terms, with two courses being reduced from their workload.

Although it is framed as a reduced NTT, the proposed NTT+C is equivalent to a redistributed NTT, and is in fact a forced redistribution for those who would be on 80/20 contracts: the effective load of 12 courses is compressed into five terms. This would be a net increase for any lecturers who currently have a true (reduced) NTT, including many lecturers in Engineering and all of the lecturers in Environment. According to the video, these lecturers would be forced to either switch to the new track and increase their workload or choose to stay as lecturers and limit their career progression and opportunities.

We believe that transition into the new teaching stream and the opportunities it provides should be accessible to all of those who choose it and should not come at the expense of one’s workload.

From our unit and faculty consultations across campus, the Lecturers Committee has consistently heard that a NTT which is a reduction is a high priority for lecturers, including those who teach six courses per year, for a variety of reasons including work/life balance, taking vacation, preparing for upcoming terms, and participating in professional and pedagogical development (PPD) activities, which will be required for promotion, tenure/permanence, and performance assessment.

The Lecturers Committee position

Finally, we would like to clarify the Lecturers Committee’s position on the PPD term. Contrary to what the video claims, the motivation for the term is not exclusively tied to the need for PPD activities which would be required for tenure/permanence and promotion. Our position is that the PPD term would play an important role throughout a Teaching Stream Professor’s career cycle, whether they decide to reach Full Professor status or not. We will need time throughout our careers to engage in activities such as participating in the scholarship or teaching and learning (which may count toward promotion), for new pedagogical initiatives, for finishing projects, for updating course notes, for keeping our knowledge current, and so many other things which contribute to the excellent quality of teaching that we provide our students. Such activities are fundamental to defining the role of a Teaching Stream Professor at UW, which already exists and has long been recognized at comparator universities.

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