6.61 – Assignments – Teaching Load

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Scope: NMSU System

Source: ARP Chapter 6 | HR - Hiring, Work Rules and Assignments

Rule Administrator:

Last Updated: 07/29/2009



ARP 10.60 - Faculty Grievance Review and Resolution

See also:

ARP 6.72 – Department Heads Responsibilities, including Teaching, Section K

Revision History:

2017 Recompilation, formerly Rule 5.20.20
07/29/2009 Adoption of amendments approved by Board of Regents
07/14/2009 Amendment approved by Administrative Council, with 07/01/2009 effective date
11/11/2008 Amendment approved by Administrative Council, with 07/01/2009 effective date

A. Purpose

Faculty members perform a wide variety of tasks determined by the requirements of their discipline and by the mission of the university. Accordingly their workload will vary from individual to individual and over time for a particular individual. The purpose of this Rule is to establish a fair and equitable allocation of workload among faculty taking into account the interests of the faculty and the needs of the university. Recognizing the complex role played by faculty in the university setting, the primary responsibility for establishing workloads shall rest with the departments or equivalent administrative unit.


B. Scope of Application

The rules set out here apply to faculty time financed from instruction and general (I & G) funds. Faculty time not financed by I & G funds is not covered by these rules. Faculty time partially funded from I & G shall be prorated.


C. Teaching Load, Generally, for NMSU LC Faculty

A faculty member employed on the Las Cruces (Main) Campus budgeted exclusively from I&G funds will normally be responsible for the equivalent of teaching 12 credits per semester.  The faculty member may be expected to participate in some scholarly and creative activity, professional and/or public service, or internal service to the university. Significant work of this kind reduces the faculty member’s responsibility for formal instruction.


D. Teaching Load, Generally, for Community College Faculty

The teaching load for community college faculty members will usually be the equivalent of 15 credits a semester or from 27 to 30 credits an academic year The teaching load shall be prorated for short courses or courses taught over part of a semesters.


E. Equitable Distribution of Workload

  1. Executive Administration: The executive vice president and provost and Chancellor shall seek to allocate faculty resources among departments or equivalent administrative units, taking account of internal and external constraints, so as to distribute workload in a fair and equitable manner. Factors that may be considered in allocating resources include accreditation, workloads at peer institutions, national disciplinary norms, and retention of faculty, the needs of new programs, credit hour production, legislative mandates, and other factors.
  2. Dean or Equivalent: Within each college or equivalent unit, the college dean or equivalent administrator shall seek to allocate faculty resources within their college or equivalent unit in order to achieve a fair and equitable workload. When inequitable workloads arise, it shall be the responsibility of the dean or equivalent administrator to rectify the inequality.


F. Departmental Workload Policy

  1. Departments and equivalent units will specify how they determine teaching loads. Departmental or equivalent unit workload policy will be 1) developed by the department faculty in collaboration with the department head and approved by the dean or equivalent administrator, 2) contained in written departmental guidelines, and 3) distributed to all faculty in the department. Department guidelines shall clearly specify the method by which teaching load is distributed. The dean or equivalent may ask for revisions to the departmental workload policy.
  2. In determining teaching load, the departmental or equivalent unit workload policy shall consider the impact of: courses with a lab component; career path of the instructor; tenure and promotion; workloads at peer institutions; national disciplinary norms; faculty retention; relative proportion of graduate and undergraduate instruction; supervision of master’s theses or doctoral dissertations; student advising and retention activity; mentoring activity, individual faculty member’s scholarly and creative productivity; service productivity; new preparations; method of course delivery; class size; help from graduate assistants; administrative and/or service assignments; team teaching; and methods of grading. Given the importance of graduate programs to the mission of the university, special consideration must be given to support of graduate programs. Other factors specific to particular departments or disciplines may also be considered.


G. Annual Determination of Individual Faculty Teaching Load/Right to Appeal

The teaching load for each faculty member will be determined annually by the department head or equivalent administrator through a process that follows established departmental or equivalent unit policy and involves an element of negotiation. The agreed upon teaching load for each faculty member will be articulated in writing and signed by the faculty member and the department head or equivalent administrator, and shall be included in the faculty member’s personnel folder. If agreement on these responsibilities cannot be reached, the faculty member may appeal the case in accordance with university procedures. (See ARP 10.60 Faculty Grievance Review and Resolution) In an appeal situation, if a change in academic responsibilities will affect the faculty member for more than one semester, the appeals procedure must have been completed before the reassignment can be made or continued.


H. Considerations for Variance

The percentage breakdown of time allocated to each academic activity may vary among faculty members.

  1. The allocation will be based on the average time required for the satisfactory performance of the activity.
  2. Courses such as thesis, dissertation, research, special problems and independent study are not automatically considered to be the equivalent with teaching typical graduate or undergraduate courses. When such activities are included in the teaching load, the department head or equivalent administrator and the affected faculty member shall collaboratively determine course equivalency consistent with the department teaching load policy.
  3. In collaboration with faculty in their department or equivalent unit, and subject to approval by the college dean or equivalent administrator, department head or equivalent administrator may make adjustments to faculty teaching loads if those adjustments increase load equity and are at least revenue neutral. Adjustments to teaching loads within programs should result in or maintain load equity, should respect the career paths of faculty, and should not place an extra teaching burden on junior faculty who are preparing for tenure review. When a faculty member is assigned special duties above the normal load, arrangements will be negotiated between the faculty member and concerned administrators to determine the amount of additional compensation, if any, to be received.
  4. When considering individuals for tenure, promotion in rank, merit pay increases, research/service awards, and/or endowed chairs/professorships, departmental workload policy and an applicant’s teaching load history must be presented to reviewing bodies and individuals. An applicant’s teaching load and its potential impact on scholarly and creative activities, and service must be considered in the review process.


I. Cooperation

The successful application of these guidelines depends upon maintaining goodwill between faculty and administrators.