Workload Policy and Procedures (WLPP) Guidance for Teaching Stream

October 27, 2015
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The purpose of this document is to provide assistance and direction with respect to teaching stream workload matters.


Workload is now, like salaries, benefits, and pensions, negotiable under Article 6 of the Memorandum of Agreement. The right to negotiate a fair, equitable and transparent distribution of workload is a significant achievement in ongoing efforts to protect collegial governance and the quality of our research and teaching at U of T.

Given the large increases in class size and the associated threats to the quality of research and teaching for all faculty, in the round of bargaining that ended in 2011, UTFA and the University administration together negotiated a workload document for faculty and librarians called the Workload Policy and Procedures (WLPP). In the recent round of negotiations, this policy was revised.

Unit Workload Committees are now meeting in departments, faculties, and colleges to determine workloads for tenure stream faculty, faculty in contractually limited term appointments (CLTA’s), teaching stream faculty, and librarians. Unit Workload Committees must establish Unit Workload Policies to be forwarded to the appropriate Dean for approval (or to the Provost in the case of single department faculties). The deadline for submission of unit-level policies has been extended to December, 1, 2015.

UTFA urges its members to consider the following points when determining workload for teaching stream faculty.

Note that all of the language in the WLPP applies to the teaching stream, unless otherwise indicated. “The Principles Governing the Establishment and Assignment of Workload” (section 1.0), for example, apply to the teaching stream. Note that the University has committed itself to “a fair, reasonable and equitable distribution of workload.”

Section 7.0 of the WLPP is directed at teaching stream faculty.

  1. In 7.1, the document states the following: “while the patterns of these duties may vary from individual to individual, these duties, namely: Teaching and related Administrative Responsibilities; Scholarship, and Service, constitute the principal obligations of faculty members in the Teaching Stream.”
  2. It is important to remember that the duties of teaching stream faculty, just as those of tenure stream faculty, include three components: teaching, scholarship and service.

    Section 7.2 defines scholarship for teaching stream faculty as follows:

    Scholarship refers to any combination of discipline-based scholarship in relation to or relevant to the field in which the faculty member teaches, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and creative/professional activities. Teaching stream faculty are entitled to reasonable time for pedagogical/professional development in determining workload as set out in paragraph 30(x)(b) of the PPAA *.

    *e.g. discipline-based scholarship in relation to, or relevant to, the field in which the faculty member teaches; participation at, and contributions to, academic conferences where sessions on pedagogical research and technique are prominent; teaching-related activity by the faculty member outside of his or her classroom functions and responsibilities; professional work that allows the faculty member to maintain a mastery of his or her subject area in accordance with appropriate divisional guidelines.

    Consequently it is imperative that teaching stream faculty have reasonable time in their schedules, that is, enough “space” in their appointments, to allow for the pedagogical/professional development, broadly defined, that the appointments policy (PPAA) calls for. Faculty with excessive teaching or service loads will not have the time to engage in scholarly activity.

    Remember that section 7.3 stipulates that “in determining the teaching component of normal workload both teaching and related administrative responsibilities will be taken into account.”

  3. Service, too, is an obligation. Teaching stream faculty must be given the opportunity to participate in meaningful ways in the governance of their units through service on committees.

    Note that section 7.4 of the WLPP, provides as follows: “the amount of service that a teaching stream faculty member will be expected to do will be reasonable and shall not, in general, exceed that which the majority of tenure[d] and tenure stream faculty in the same unit are expected to do.”

  4. Section 7.5 also offers protection to members of the teaching stream in that “[u]nit wide reductions in the tenure stream teaching related norms, standards or ranges will not be accompanied by unit wide increases to teaching related norms, standards or ranges for teaching stream faculty.”

    Some members have noted with concern that factors such as enrollment shifts have impacted the distribution of teaching responsibilities between streams even without a formal change to workload norms, standards or ranges.  UTFA encourages members to think broadly about factors that affect teaching load, such as aggregate enrolments of each instructor, in creating or revising unit workload documents. 

  5. Section 4.2 offers a list of “relevant factors” when calculating the teaching component of workload.

    Teaching stream faculty must make sure that all activity is counted. If the teaching stream course load in a unit is three and three (or six H courses per year), then all of the duties undertaken by the faculty member must count toward and should not exceed the three and three load. These duties might include course teaching or other kinds of teaching, course coordination, program direction, advising, supervision of teaching assistants, community outreach, etc… All faculty should expect to receive course release if they carry significant administrative responsibilities. In a unit in which the load is three and three, the faculty member should not be expected to carry three courses in each term in addition to a substantial set of administrative duties.

  6. In some units, teaching a large section is accompanied by teaching release. Teaching stream faculty are entitled to this kind of release on the same basis as tenure stream faculty in the unit.
  7. Under 4.1, the WLPP reminds us of a Memorandum of Agreement workload protection: “faculty will not be required to teach in all three terms, nor shall they be pressured to volunteer to do so.” Any faculty member who is pressured to teach in all three terms would be well advised to consult with UTFA.
  8. Under 3.2, the WLPP encourages temporary teaching and service load reductions for pre-continuing status teaching stream faculty.  Units may include this release in the unit workload policy in addition to the release faculty are now entitled to after a successful probationary review as a result of recent revisions to the PPAA.