FACULTY LOADS

University Regulations/Procedures

The mission of North Carolina State University is education, research, and outreach and extension. Each NCSU faculty member is expected to contribute to one or more of these activities and to participate in service to the institution.

According to the NCSU Faculty Handbook, "performance reviews of faculty members are intended to provide periodic opportunities for department heads to evaluate past performance of faculty members and for faculty members to share with their department heads professional goals and objectives for the future. These evaluations shall be made in accordance with the established University, school, and departmental promotion and tenure guidelines and in the light of assigned functions (e.g., teaching, research, service, and extension). The results of these evaluations shall have a significant bearing on merit salary recommendations and, in accordance with established procedures, on recommendations for re-appointment, promotion, and tenure" (section V, p. 42) [4.4.10.1; 4.4.10.4].

As a member institution of the University of North Carolina system, NCSU uses the following definitions for full-time equivalent (FTE) students and faculty:

The number of FTE faculty positions allocated to the University is determined by dividing the number of FTE students by 14.7. State funding for NCSU faculty is determined by multiplying the number of FTE faculty by the average faculty salary at the University

NCSU computes a comparative metric for program teaching loads as part of its Faculty Workload Report. The formula used by the University, denoted CAL FTE ("calculated FTE"), is:

CAL FTE    = 1.0 x number of undergraduate credit hours
           + 1.6 x number of graduate credit hours
           + 0.7 x number of laboratory contact hours
           + 1.0 x number of undergraduate majors
           + 6.0 x number of master's majors
          + 15.0 x number of doctoral majors

The NCSU administration uses CAL FTE to examine relative teaching loads between departments and to redress situations where there are imbalances. The CAL FTE for each academic unit is divided by a universitywide constant that normalizes this weighted sum for the University to the budgeted FTE that is computed as discussed previously. For the two semesters of 1992, the constant ranged between 330 and 430. Note that CAL FTE acknowledges the significant faculty time commitment required for graduate education [4.4.9.1].

Results of the Self-Study Survey of Faculty indicate overall satisfaction with the level of additional duties stemming from student advising, committee assignments, and other internal and external responsibilities required of the faculty by the University. Survey results also indicate that the vast majority of faculty consider the methods used by the various colleges and departments to assign workloads to faculty is considered fair and equitable.

Teaching-Load Data

There is evidence that faculty teaching loads are increasing at NCSU. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and the College of Management carry very high ratios of student credit hour per FTE faculty (>257:1), and the Colleges of Engineering, Management, and Textiles carry very high ratios of FTE student per FTE faculty (>25:1).

Table 8.21 summarizes by college the number of FTE students, the number of FTE faculty, and the number of degrees awarded at NCSU for fall 1984, 1988, and 1992. Also shown by college are the ratios of students to FTE faculty.

The data shown in table 8.22 indicate that both the ratios of FTE students to FTE faculty and the average number of student credit hours delivered by FTE faculty have recently increased. The 8.3 percent decline in the number of FTE faculty from 1988 to 1992 may be due in part to a change in the methodology used to identify the number of teaching faculty. (The 1992 data include only those faculty whose salaries are derived from teaching budgets, whereas faculty numbers for earlier years appear to have included research faculty who occasionally taught a course.) Even after adjusting for this methodological change, however, there appears to have been a decline in the number of teaching faculty during this period.

Furthermore, the number of student credit hours offered in fall 1992 is approximately 7.1 percent higher than in fall 1988. The aggregate effect of declining teaching faculty population and increased student credit hours is an effective increase in average faculty teaching loads.


Table 8.21
Full-time equivalent faculty, FTE student, student-credit-hour delivery, and degrees awarded by college


College                                              Fall 1984      Fall 1988       Fall 1992
-------                                              ---------      ---------       ---------
Agriculture and Life Sciences       FTE students      3,068.00       2,806.00        3,114.00
                                     FTE faculty*       157.00         162.80          159.10
                            Students per faculty         19.54          17.24           19.57
                                             SCH     27,425.70      24,641.50       25,582.00
                             SCH per FTE faculty        174.69         151.36          160.79
                           Degrees awarded:  B.S.          425            406             459
                                             M.S.          119            125             105
                                            Ph.D.           73             82              75

Design FTE students 564.00 558.00 603.00 FTE faculty 41.00 45.80 42.60 Students per faculty 13.66 12.18 14.15 SCH 6,633.90 7,534.00 7,160.00 SCH per FTE faculty 160.27 164.50 168.08 Degrees awarded: B.A. 81 106 133 M.A. 44 67 62 Professional 18 -- --

Education and Psychology FTE students 934.00 1,007.00 1,237.00 FTE faculty 83.00 93.90 104.70 Students per faculty 11.25 10.72 11.81 SCH 16,497.00 19,509.00 21,150.00 SCH per FTE faculty 198.76 207.76 202.00 Degrees awarded: B.A. 131 163 245 M.S. 129 103 110 Ph.D. 47 43 43

Engineering** FTE students 5,521.00 5,729.00 6,417.00 FTE faculty 202.60 261.30 251.20 Students per faculty 27.25 21.92 25.54 SCH 38,581.00 42,913.00 46,220.00 SCH per FTE faculty 190.43 164.23 184.00 Degrees awarded: B.S. 974 910 970 M.S. 182 237 295 Ph.D. 34 69 97

Forest Resources FTE students 699.00 561.00 686.00 FTE faculty 36.10 36.60 35.60 Students per faculty 19.36 15.32 19.27 SCH 3,521.40 2,938.00 4,142.00 SCH per FTE faculty 97.55 80.27 116.35 Degrees awarded: B.S. 96 94 94 M.S. 33 27 36 Ph.D. 17 7 6

Humanities and Social Sciences FTE students 5,879.00 6,553.00 5,465.00 FTE faculty 356.90 395.00 314.10 Students per faculty 16.47 16,59 17.40 SCH 90,924.00 108,049.00 90,141.00 SCH per FTE faculty 254.76 273.54 286.98 Degrees awarded: B.S. 1,242 1,766 1,490 M.S. 93 125 101 Ph.D. 4 6 3

Management*** FTE students -- -- 2,171.00 FTE faculty -- -- 75.10 Students per faculty -- -- 28.91 SCH -- -- 24,003.00 SCH per FTE faculty -- -- 319.61 Degrees awarded: B.S. -- -- 747.00 M.S. -- -- 36.00 Ph.D. -- -- 3.00

Physical and Mathematical Sciences FTE students 2,209.00 1,775.00 1,169.00 FTE faculty 309.70 280.90 260.70 Students per faculty 7.13 6.32 4.48 SCH 78,236.10 67,542.60 67,165.00 SCH per FTE faculty 252.62 240.45 257.63 Degrees awarded: B.S. 224 310 147 M.S. 56 57 60 Ph.D. 30 25 43

Textiles FTE students 991.00 789.00 857.00 FTE faculty 27.30 29.20 27.10 Students per faculty 36.30 27.02 31.62 SCH 5,033.70 3,565.00 5,253.00 SCH per FTE faculty 184.38 122.09 193.83 Degrees awarded: B.S. 92 126 119 M.S. 14 16 20 Ph.D. 6 7 2

Veterinary Medicine FTE students 233.00 293.00 293.00 FTE faculty 82.20 82.20 81.50 Students per faculty 2.83 3.56 3.60 SCH 0 239.00 5,897.00 SCH per FTE faculty {--} 2.91 72.36 Degrees awarded: B.S. -- -- -- M.S. -- 3 4 Ph.D. -- 3 8 DVM -- 69 62

These data come from the instructional database and they may not reconcile with those in the personnel database as shown in table 8.1.

* Excludes research (NCARS) and extension (NCCES) FTEs.

** Department of Computer Science moved from Physical and Mathematical Sciences to Engineering in fall 1987.

*** Created July 1992.


Table 8.22
University averages for faculty-load metrics (derived from table 8.15)

                          Fall 1984      Fall 1988      Fall 1992
                          ---------      ---------      ---------
FTE students              20,098.00      20,071.00      22,012.00

FTE faculty                1,371.40       1,474.10       1,351.70

SCH                      266,853.70     276,931.10     296,713.00

FTE students/FTE faculty      14.66          13.62          16.28

SCH per FTE faculty/faculty  194.58         187.86         219.51

Broader Aspects of Workload

The data presented in tables 8.22 and 8.23 quantify faculty teaching loads but do not capture other elements of workload, such as commitments to research and service. Although it is difficult to obtain quantitative data for faculty workload in research and service, it is clear that NCSU faculty serve the University and the larger community in many ways. In addition to service on department, college, and University committees, faculty provide advice and consulting to students, to government agencies, to sister universities, and to many companies; they are active in professional societies; they teach short courses; they host external visiting groups; and they perform a variety of community service functions, etc. Unfortunately, the University does not systematically track such service contributions of faculty, and it is not clear that faculty participation in community activities, as well as other service contributions, are considered positively in decisions pertaining to promotion, tenure, and salary adjustment.

Recommendation 8.43: NCSU should develop appropriate metrics and data-collection systems to assess faculty service.

Although the Faculty Handbook (p. 37) makes clear that all tenure-track NCSU faculty must be actively involved in the scholarship of their professional areas, it is difficult to measure the extent of faculty load that is attributable to research activities. One way to do this might be to measure levels of funds for release time, for student support, or for equipment, but the accuracy of such a measure is limited because some areas have better access to research funding than others. Furthermore, although some NCSU colleges track release time, no universitywide system for release-time monitoring exists. Thus, such measures do not necessarily correlate well with level of faculty research activity.

Recommendation 8.44: NCSU should develop a comprehensive instrument to measure faculty research loads, including such variables as graduate teaching, graduate advising, and academic release time.

Another measure of faculty involvement in research is the number of graduate research assistants (GRAs) supported at the University. Table 8.1 indicates the number of GRAs supported at NCSU during fall 1992. These data are reproduced in table 8.23, which also computes a ratio of FTE GRAs to FTE faculty (excluding extension and administration) for each college. Table 8.23 supports the conclusion that NCSU faculty are actively involved in research as a part of their normal workload. The average faculty member at NCSU supports .38 FTE GRA, or about three-fourths of a half-time GRA (the standard GRA workload assignment) per faculty member.

The growing importance of research as a part of the workload of faculty is also indicated by trends in graduate teaching. Figure 8.1 depicts trends in graduate student credit hours as a percentage of total student credit hours for fall 1984, fall 1988, and fall 1992. Figure 8.1 clearly shows the trend toward a relatively higher fraction of graduate student credit hours at the University over the last decade, which implies an increasing emphasis on research as a part of the faculty workload.


Table 8.23
Graduate research assistants supported, fall 1992


                                              FTE GRA per 
College                              GRAs     FTE faculty
-------                              ----     -----------
Agriculture and Life Sciences       189.79       .61
Design                                   0         0

Education and Psychology             12.24       .12
Engineering                         202.47       .83

Forest Resources                     41.39       .76
Humanities and Social Sciences        3.50       .01

Management                            3.68       .01
Physical and Mathematical Sciences   67.14       .32

Textiles                             46.45      1.13
Veterinary Medicine                  27.08       .27

Totals                              594.74       .38


Figure 8.1
Trends in the proportion of graduate-student credit hours delivered

Abbreviations:

ALS -- Agriculture and Life Sciences
D -- Design
E -- Engineering
EP -- Education and Psychology
FR -- Forest Resources
HSS -- Humanities and Social Sciences
M -- Management
PAMS -- Physical and Mathematical Sciences
T -- Textiles
VM* -- Veterinary Medicine

* VM ratio is of graduate-student credit hours to the sum of graduate and professional (DVM) student credit hours.


This increase would probably have been larger if it were not for the University of North Carolina system's tuition policy, which requires payment of out-of-state tuition by all non-North Carolina residents, independent of their employment status at the University. One effect of this policy is that out-of-state residents, who do not obtain some form of tuition remission, strive to minimize their costs by reducing the number of graduate hours taken. This means that student-credit-hour data probably do not accurately reflect true faculty workloads at the graduate level.

Recommendation 8.45: NCSU should address the problem of understated faculty workloads caused by the University of North Carolina system policies that proscribe tuition remission for graduate students who are not North Carolina residents.

Comparison with Faculty Loads at Peer Institutions

Table 8.24 provides data on average student-credit-hour delivery per FTE faculty for each of twenty-two peer institutions in the South and Southwest for fall 1991. Comparison with student credit hours delivered by NCSU's FTE faculty in each of the ten colleges shows that three colleges are one standard deviation or more above the peer group mean. The College of Management data reflect a student credit hours per FTE ratio of three standard deviations above the peer mean; the College of Humanities and Social Sciences is more than two standard deviations above the peer mean; and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences is more than one standard deviation above the peer mean. All other colleges fall below the peer mean of 206 student credit hours per FTE faculty member. Both the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences carry a heavy service burden in the University undergraduate programs for students with majors in the other colleges and schools. The College of Management was recently created and is in the process of adding additional faculty to accommodate its large student enrollment.

Colleges imposing a teaching load that is particularly heavy relative to peer institutions are at a disadvantage in recruitment and retention of faculty. Moreover, the unfavorable comparison with peer institutions does not reflect well on the University, particularly considering that these ratios appear in various published university and college rankings.

Recommendation 8.46: NCSU should adjust its faculty workload so that it is comparable with the norms of peer institutions.

Self-Study Table of Contents