Faculty Rights and Responsibilities
(As approved by Academic Council June 6, 1994 and the WSU Board of Trustees June 11, 1994)
The mission statement of Wright State University emphasizes that "Wright State University is a comprehensive public university dedicated to advancing and disseminating knowledge through the pursuit of excellence in teaching, research and professional service. Fundamental to the university mission and central to all disciplines are superior teaching and scholarly activity addressing basic questions and the needs of society. Professional service balances the commitment of the university through applied research, technical assistance, cultural activities, clinical services, consultation, and similar non-instructional activities and services."
The mission statement further asserts that as a major metropolitan university, "Wright State University is committed to providing leadership addressing the educational, social, and cultural needs of the [communities it serves] and to promoting the economic and technological development of the region through a strong program of basic and applied research and professional service."
In pursuit of this mission, the University's faculty have responsibilities that include teaching, scholarship and service; however, these roles overlap. Faculty engage in scholarship and service activities that are founded in the synergistic relationship between the teaching, discovery, integration, and application of knowledge. Faculty members perform a wide variety of activities, in a pattern that changes from day to day and week to week. In addition, faculty study, write and evaluate student papers and projects at home, maintain office hours and attend meetings on campus, and conduct research in laboratories, in libraries, and in the field. Collectively, these activities result in excellence in teaching, the discovery of new knowledge, and service to our community and the nation.
At Wright State University, undergraduate education is the heart of our diverse teaching enterprise, the other important components of which include two-year programs, certificate programs, and professional and graduate courses of study. Excellence in teaching is complemented by excellence in scholarship and service; thus, student learning outcomes are enhanced by the linkage of these three faculty responsibilities.
At Wright State University, student learning is the primary objective. Hence, even though scholarship and service are important components of a faculty member's responsibilities, teaching is the primary function of the faculty. Teaching takes many forms, including lectures, seminar discussions, individual tutorial sessions, laboratory exercises, and other types of instruction. Whatever the format, however, teaching entails a concerted effort to work closely with students, to train them in the methods of a discipline and of its substantive content, and to develop in them the ability to analyze and to synthesize.
Teaching necessarily involves much more than the hours spent in a classroom. Faculty members spend considerable time reading and writing to prepare lectures and class presentations. They design, organize, and refine courses continuously. They gather materials for use in the classroom and work to incorporate new instructional technologies into their classes. Further, the teaching process itself is sometimes open-ended. Formal lectures and discussions may extend only as long as a class period, but individual tutorial meetings and laboratory sessions with students frequently last much longer.
Teaching includes evaluating student performance and providing feedback. Faculty members spend time creating appropriate testing material, grading examinations, and writing commentary to students concerning their performance on exams. In addition, faculty monitor the success of academic programs through student outcome assessment activities that establish and monitor overall student performance.
Teaching also requires a great deal of time working with students to improve their writing. The quality of all education and the acquisition of critical thinking skills is linked in a direct way to the amount of writing that students do. Teaching that promotes clear and concise writing, therefore, is essential. However, acquiring those writing skills takes extensive practice and requires considerable faculty assistance in the form of written and oral comments on papers and exams.
Teaching graduate students frequently requires extensive one-on-one activity and a particularly large expenditure of time. Mentoring those students, sometimes on a daily basis, is an important part of the entire teaching program, and individual attention is especially intensive as graduate students conduct and report their research projects that culminate in a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation.
Similarly, advising is intimately related to the educational process. Faculty members spend a great deal of time outside of class working with students in a variety of ways. They maintain required office hours to go over course materials and respond to questions from their students. Required office hours afford the personal contact that is not possible in the classroom. Faculty members also work with students in reviewing their programs of study, meeting graduation requirements, and providing career counseling. Without such time-consuming, face-to-face assistance, which is part of the teaching process, students would operate in an unacceptable vacuum in their efforts to advance their own careers.
Moreover, teaching requires a faculty member to devote significant effort to maintain professional skills. If one is to remain current, a faculty member must stay abreast of new books, follow current discussions in professional journals, attend academic meetings, and remain aware of new developments in the field. Fields of study evolve rapidly and methodologies change quickly.
Scholarship is a process of systematic inquiry that can include work in the library, laboratory, or field. It can consist of developing the design of a new study or analyzing previous studies or collected data. Scholarship requires substantial investment of time before significant results are produced.
Scholarship at Wright State University is also closely connected with the teaching process, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. All educators seek to communicate to students not simply the facts, but also an understanding of how knowledge is discovered and applied. An engineer working side-by-side in a laboratory with a graduate student is engaged in teaching and research at the same time, for the two cannot be separated.
Scholarship does not detract from teaching; rather, it is an integral part of the process. Indeed, this is the reason that our best teachers are often our best scholars, for the same excitement that motivates a faculty member in the laboratory or the library leads to the best possible instruction in the classroom.
The third important component of a faculty member's responsibilities at Wright State University is service to the university, to the profession, and in keeping with Wright State University's metropolitan mission, to the local, national, and global communities. It is important to observe that many service activities also contribute to teaching or scholarship or both. Moreover, they are essential for the healthy functioning of the university, for the creation and dissemination of knowledge, and for fulfilling the university's many obligations to society.
Some examples include university committee duties entailing academic program development and campus governance; service to our students and student organizations; service to national professional societies and scholarly journals; service directed toward enhancing the quality of life in the greater community; and assistance to key societal institutions such as businesses, governments, health care providers, public schools, and other universities.
Mission and Faculty Workload
Inherent in the mission of Wright State University is a commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service. These are the interactive components of a university's commitment to excellence. For this reason, the workload of full-time faculty includes responsibility for teaching, scholarship, and service. The relative emphasis, however, that is given to each of these activities for an individual faculty member will depend on the mission and student needs of that individual's college and department.
Some departments offer only baccalaureate programs while others offer both baccalaureate and graduate degree programs. The relative emphasis between undergraduate and graduate learning also varies among these departments, and it is expected that the mission of these departments will define for the faculty an appropriate combination of effort relative to teaching, scholarship, and service.
To serve this mission, faculty may have different responsibilities in any given academic year. Most will spend more time in teaching, while some will be expected to devote greater effort to scholarship and service. In addition, the responsibilities for a faculty member may change over time in response to changing departmental and personal needs and expectations.
Guidelines for Faculty Workload Policies for Colleges and Schools Engaged in Undergraduate Education
Each college and school engaged in undergraduate education shall adopt a written faculty workload policy, subject to the approval of the dean and consistent with the following principles.
A. Wright State University and its faculty reaffirm our commitment to excellence in teaching and the maintenance of a quality learning environment, as specified in theWSU Faculty Handbook .
B. Teaching assignments and other components of a faculty member's workload should be based on the mission of the college or school, and the academic mission should inform both the type and the relative balance of the individual faculty's teaching, scholarship, and public service.
C. Academic departments or equivalent units have diverse missions, and there should be flexibility in the instructional efforts among departments. Departments with different missions should have different instructional expectations. Departments with only baccalaureate programs should devote more effort to instruction than those with active master's or doctoral programs.
D. Academic departments or equivalent units with similar missions should have similar instructional responsibilities.
E. Within academic units, there should be flexibility in the teaching assignments for individual faculty. Workload assignments should serve the strengths and needs of individual faculty and the department. In a given academic year, some faculty may give more effort to teaching while others may devote greater effort to research/creative activity and service.
F. College and school faculty workload policies. A college's or school's faculty workload policy shall specify the percent of effort that is expected of departments relative to teaching, scholarship, and service, in accordance with the guidelines that follow. These guidelines do not apply to professional efforts during personal time (e.g., vacation, non-contract periods, time outside a normal work week) or to effort supported by external or other special funding.
1. Two-Year or Associate Degree Programs. Academic departments or equivalent units engaged primarily in two-year or associate degree programs are normally expected to devote at least eighty percent of the total faculty workload effort in those departments to instructional activities.
2. Baccalaureate Departments. Academic departments or equivalent units engaged primarily in baccalaureate programs are normally expected to devote at least seventy percent of the total faculty workload effort in those departments to instructional activities.
3. Baccalaureate and Master's Departments. Academic departments or equivalent units engaged primarily in baccalaureate and Master's programs are normally expected to devote at least sixty-five percent of the total faculty workload effort in instructional activities.
4. Baccalaureate/Master's/Doctoral Programs. Academic departments or equivalent units engaged primarily in graduate programs are normally expected to devote at least sixty percent of the total faculty workload effort in those departments to instructional activities.
G. Faculty should maintain a schedule of posted office hours in accordance with the college/school faculty workload policy.
Annual Performance Appraisal
Appropriate discussions should occur between a faculty member and the departmental chair which will result in an understanding in writing of the workload distribution, that is, the proportion of effort to be expended on teaching, scholarship, and service. This distribution of effort should be reexamined annually and whenever a change in the faculty member's circumstances or the department's needs suggest that such consideration would be appropriate.
A faculty member's annual performance appraisal and evaluation should reflect the individual's workload expectations. In addition, the promotion and tenure guidelines and the annual salary increases should reward teaching, scholarship and service in a manner which is consistent with a faculty member's responsibilities.
This policy shall be implemented July 1, 1994, and will be periodically reviewed and amended as appropriate.