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Academic Freedom and Responsibilities/Teaching Loads

Academic Freedom and Responsibilities/Teaching Loads

3.5 Faculty Responsibilities (C)

The major emphasis shall be on teaching, by working with students in classrooms, distance learning, laboratories, individual conferences, and related activities to help the students develop their interests and abilities to the fullest capacity to become better persons, better workers, and better citizens. To accomplish this goal, the following work loads are expected of faculty.

3.5.0 Teaching Load (C)

Faculty teaching loads during the academic year shall include such combinations of on- and off- campus, day, evening, distance learning, and weekend classes as the needs of the college require. Twelve-fifteen (12-15) credit hours and fifteen-twenty (15-20) contact hours per semester are required for all full-time faculty. For the purpose of workload calculations, every lecture hour shall equate to one (1) credit hour and one (1) contact hour; and every laboratory hour shall equate to one-half (1/2) credit hour and one (1) contact hour. When the number of credit hours falls below twelve (12) because of the number of laboratory hours involved, the number of contact hours should be increased to bring the teaching load to the minimum of twelve (12) credit hours (utilizing the standard of two (2) laboratory hours equal one (1) credit hour) or to a maximum of twenty-four (24) contact hours.

Faculty teaching loads shall be calculated for the academic year, with a teaching load less than or in excess of normal for the fall semester being compensated for with adjustments in teaching load in the spring semester.

A faculty teaching load may also be adjusted by the college to take into consideration such factors as the use of instructional assistance, team teaching, the use of non-traditional instructional delivery systems, special assignments, and curriculum development. Curriculum development should be primarily for the development of a new program or new course in a program and/or the complete revision of an existing course or program.

Teaching-load adjustments shall be expressed in terms of an equivalent teaching load for the purpose of computing a faculty member's total teaching load. For the purposes of faculty workload, the following definitions shall apply:
  1. Teaching Load - The portion of a faculty member's total workload directly associated with the delivery of instruction as provided the faculty member during a semester or academic term, an academic year, or a contractual period.
  2. Credit Hour - 50 minutes of faculty instruction for a 15-week semester or 750 minutes of instruction.
  3. Contact Hours - The number of hours faculty spend in direct student contact, per week, in a 15-week course, including lectures, laboratories, clinicals, seminars, supervised practice, or other similar instructional activities as prescribed by the course description in the college catalog. The total number of contact hours associated with a course of any length must be equal to the total number of contact hours associated with a 15-week course. (See VCCS Policy
  4. Workload - The sum of all workload credits associated with a faculty member's assigned responsibilities during a semester or academic term, an academic year, or a contractual period, including teaching load and released time for temporary administrative, professional, or other special assignment duties.
  5. Workload Credits - For the purpose of workload calculations, one lecture hour shall equate to one workload credit and one contact hour; a laboratory hour or other non-lecture contact hour shall equate to one-half workload credit and one contact hour; every release time credit hour shall equate to one workload credit and 40 clock hours.
  6. Lecture Hour - Equates to one credit hour and one contact hour
  7. Laboratory Hour - Equates to one-half credit hour and one contact hour
  8. Clinical Hour - Equates to one-half credit hour and one contact hour
  9. Reassigned Time - a portion of a faculty member's total workload expressed in workload credits and measured in clock hours that represents a temporary assignment of non-teaching administrative, professional, or other special duties, calculated into the workload as one credit hour of released reassigned time equals one workload credit and a total of 40 clock hours devoted to the assigned duties. ( See VCCS Policy 3.5.2)
  10. Overload - A faculty member’s workload that, for an academic year, is a) greater than 30 credit hours, b) greater than 40 contact hours, or c) greater than 30 workload credits - whichever figure results in the greatest amount of overload credit hours. (See VCCS Policy 3.8.4); or a faculty member’s workload that, for a Summer term, is a) greater than 10 credit hours or b) greater than 10 workload credits - whichever figure results in the greatest amount of overload credit hours.

3.5.1 Office Hours (C)

To promote the availability of faculty to work with individual students, all full-time faculty members are required to post on or near their office doors a minimum of 10 hours per week as office hours to be available to work with students on their individual academic and occupational problems. All adjunct faculty are required to provide for student advising and related activities. Each adjunct faculty member shall ensure that all students have been informed of the contact details including location and time.

Exception due to distance learning, off-campus assignments, or use of technology to serve students may be approved by the Academic Vice President or designee.

3.5.2 Teaching Faculty Assigned Temporary Administrative/ Professional Duties

Regular nine and twelve month teaching faculty may be temporarily assigned non-teaching duties (released time) for administrative/professional activities of more than 50% of an individual’s full-time teaching load for a maximum of two academic years by the college president. Faculty assigned more than 50% released time for non-teaching duties for more than two years must be classified as administrative faculty unless an extension beyond two years is approved by the Chancellor. The college shall maintain a record of all released time for audit purposes.

3.5.3 Additional Activities (C)

Faculty responsibilities include committee work, student activities, community activities, student advising, and professional activities.

3.5.4 Professional Activities and Contributions

In addition to teaching effectiveness, faculty are expected to engage in and contribute toward the good of the college and its community. This requires that faculty members maintain current competence in their disciplines or specializations and that they share their expertise, time, and talents with the larger college community. Performance in this category will be measured not only by membership or affiliation but also by the quality of the contributions made by faculty members toward these endeavors. Such activities may include but are not limited to:

  1. Membership and activity in professional and civic organizations (general and/or specialized organizations at the local, state, and/or national levels);
  2. The accomplishment of important professional development activities that may or may not be part of an individual professional development plan;
  3. Attending and participating in professional conferences; workshops, and meetings;
  4. Keeping current regarding developments in education and industry;
  5. Participating in business or industrial activities related to professional field;
  6. Participating in college and state-level professional development activities;
  7. Being active in college and Systemwide committees;
  8. Engaging in writing speeches and reports and in consulting;
  9. Engaging in classroom-based research to improve teaching or in discipline-based research that may lead to publication;
  10. Sharing innovations in using instructional technology with colleagues in other colleges;
  11. Participating in the community service program at the colleges;
  12. Participating in local colleges advisory committees; and
  13. Contributing to community welfare and community development.

3.5.5 Academic Freedom and Responsibility (SB)

To ensure the college an instructional program marked by excellence, the Virginia Community College System supports the concept of academic freedom. In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, college faculty and students must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism.

Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but should be careful not to introduce teaching matters which have no relation to their fields. Faculty and students must be able to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence and to participate as responsible citizens in community affairs.

The System also recognizes that commitment to every freedom carries with it attendant responsibilities. Faculty members must fulfill responsibility to society and to their profession by manifesting academic competence, professional discretion, and good citizenship. When they speak or write as a citizen, they will be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As professional educators, they must remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not an institutional spokesperson.