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Agenda Item FA 21-18

Submitted by the Research Council

Differential Teaching Loads Resolution

06/03/21: Passed


The Research Council has spent the spring 2021 semester discussing differential teaching loads and how this could be implemented at UNF. Our conclusion from this discussion is that the Research Council in 2021-2022 should continue this discussion after receiving a more clearly defined vision of UNF as a top-tier university from the University administration.


In the interim, we have identified three minimal recommendations by which the University of North Florida could take an incremental step to progress toward this status:

  1. We recommend that the current policy that gives new tenure-track faculty one course release in years one and four be adjusted such that new faculty be given a course release in each of their first three years. This is one extra course release than is already provided. We recommend this shift to a 2-3 load for three years to help new faculty develop their research and teaching.
  2. We also recommend that new course preparations for new tenure-track faculty be limited in their first three years. While department needs vary, providing faculty a reduced course load to ensure quality in research and teaching is negated if they are required to prepare more than four or five distinct courses across this critical period of faculty development.
  3. Over past five years UNF, on average, has been offering between 6 and 7 full-pay one semester competitive sabbaticals. Increasing the number of such sabbaticals will be instrumental in helping faculty in their Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity effort. The number of sabbaticals is determined by the formula outlined in the CBA article 26.1.b.2 with one sabbatical for each 40 eligible faculty members. Research Council suggests reevaluating and renegotiating this formula towards increase in the number of full pay sabbaticals.

We believe this policy shift will result in an increase in research opportunities and activities for new tenure-track faculty, which will likely translate to an increase in external funding. Faculty in disciplines who have access to external grant funding can achieve a reduced teaching loads beyond the first three years through successful external funding. We also believe this satisfies our current teaching-focused mission as faculty will be able to prepare higher quality courses.