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SoE Faculty Policies

School of Engineering Policy Workload Expectations in Tenure-Track Faculty Positions

Draft – December 1, 2006
Revised December 21, 2006
Implemented Fall 2007


In pursuit of its aspirations, the Tufts School of Engineering seeks to foster a collaborative and supportive working environment for its faculty. The School values and strives for excellence in three general areas: teaching, research, and service. However, it recognizes that the level of contribution in each of these areas may vary, both among individuals and over time within a faculty member's career. Historically, at Tufts, a faculty member's responsibilities were defined at the Department level, typically in terms of course load and departmental service expectations.

Over the past few years, the School's goal of attaining leadership in interdisciplinary graduate education and research has led to an increase in faculty participation in graduate student mentoring and sponsored research. These changing faculty roles and the need to be more competitive in faculty recruitment have created the need for a more flexible and broader definition of faculty responsibilities. In addition, a survey of existing practices revealed some inconsistencies in expectations across departments. Thus, it is an appropriate time for the School to re-evaluate its traditional workload policies for tenure-track faculty.

The next section outlines a new policy for workload expectations of the tenure-track faculty. It was motivated by an effort to articulate and standardize the expectations of faculty across the School. This policy was developed in close collaboration with SOE department chairs and represents a consensus policy that will be implemented in fall 2007. In developing this policy, an effort was made to acknowledge faculty contributions in all areas, to ensure fairness in the distribution of responsibilities, to maintain faculty participation in education at the undergraduate level, and to provide flexibility to the Department Chairs in the implementation of this policy.

Workload Expectations Policy Outline

  1. The nominal course load for all tenure-track faculty members will be set at 3 courses/academic year.
  2. All faculty members will teach at least one undergraduate level class per year in their total.
  3. Generally, courses contributing to this load will be 1 credit and have a minimum enrollment of 6 students. At the Chair's discretion, under-enrolled, half credit, or team taught classes may be counted toward this three course total.
  4. The expectation of faculty members who are teaching three courses per year is that they meet all of the following criteria (based upon a three year moving average):

    1. Average at least 2 refereed journal publications/yr (in some fields, conference papers may be counted); submitted patents may also be used towards this total
    2. Fully fund (full stipend and partial tuition) at least two full-time graduate students per year through external support (this will typically be through research assistantships, but full external fellowships – such as NSF, industry, or foreign university supported - are acceptable).1 Tufts fellowships and TA support will not count towards this criterion.
    3. Advise/mentor at least 4 graduate students, of whom two must be thesis students.
  5. All Assistant Professors will have a reduced teaching load (2 courses in their first year). This course load reduction may be extended to the second year at the Department Chair's discretion. In subsequent years prior to the tenure decision, all Assistant Professors will be assigned a teaching load of three courses per year. This load will also apply to all untenured tenure track faculty, who have been hired at the Associate and Full Professor level.
  6. Tenured faculty members who do not meet the criteria specified in part (4) will be expected to teach an additional undergraduate or 100 level course each year.
  7. Faculty members with large graduate student mentoring responsibilities and large funded research programs will be offered the opportunity to teach one less course per year through 15% offset (course release) of their academic year salary. A dollar amount equivalent to this offset will be placed in the Department budget, to facilitate hiring of adjuncts or lecturers to teach the class, with the remaining resources to be discretionary to the Chair.
  8. All full-time tenure-track faculty members will teach at least 2 courses per academic year (unless on approved sabbatical, junior faculty leave, or unpaid leave of absence).
  9. All tenure track faculty members will be expected to engage in regular advising of undergraduate students and provide service on an average of two Department, School, or University committees.
  10. For those faculty members engaged in extraordinary service, their nominal course load will be reduced by one course per year. This applies to Associate Deans, members of the Tenure and Promotion and AS&E Executive Committees, and Department Chairs.
  11. All holders of endowed Chairs, Senior Faculty Fellow, and SOE Interdisciplinary Center Director positions are expected to assume leadership roles in the School and would normally also have a reduced teaching load (2 courses/year), as prescribed in their appointment letters.
  12. Tenured faculty members who do not carry an average service load, as described above in item 9, may be assigned additional duties or special projects by their Department Chair.
  13. At his/her discretion, the Department Chair may grant one course release to a faculty member for unusual activities in curriculum development. 

  14. Salary increases will continue to be based on merit. Extraordinary performance in all three areas – teaching, research, and service – will be rewarded.

1 Note that all industry or foreign university fellowships must be consistent with School of Engineering and University guidelines and carry an agreed portion of the tuition.