Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

North Carolina Legislation Would Require All UNC Faculty To Teach Eight Courses Per Year

UNC LogoChronicle of Higher Education, N.C. Legislation Would Set teaching Load at 8 Courses a Year:

A bill introduced in late March in the North Carolina General Assembly has set college faculty members across the state abuzz with a bold suggestion:  Require all professors within the University of North Carolina system to teach at least eight courses each academic year.

Senate Bill 593, titled "Improve Professor Quality/UNC System," would reduce the salary of any professor who fails to hit that annual mark. ..

The backlash from faculty across the state was immediate -- and unsurprising. Professors expressed outrage. Many said a mandated 4/4 course load -- four courses per semester -- would make it impossible to focus on their research and other responsibilities.

Legal Education | Permalink


Let's do the math.

Each course is 3 hours per week. 4X4 is a whopping 16 hours per week in the classroom.

It's easy to get at least two of those courses to be identical - what are known as sections of the same course, but worth full credit towards your 4-4.

Office hours are whatever you want. Make them 1 hour per day, five days per week,

Prep is easy after you've taught a course once. Trust me, I've done it.

Office hours: one hour per day, five days per week.

Bluntly: you can do a 4-4 in under 30 hours per week without so much as cracking a sweat. If you can't, then you have no business teaching at a college level.

I've taught college, including graduate school, many times. I get off-the-charts reviews by my students... and I view it as easy money.

Suck it up, buttercup. Time to actually earn that easy money.

Posted by: RobM1981 | May 1, 2015 8:47:34 AM

I will be the first to say there are problems with higher education. I don't think this is the answer though.

The biggest increase in expenses for school is with the bloated administrations. Growing numbers of administration have far surpassed growth in faculty.

Just an idiot politician trying to get some ink while doing no real good.

Posted by: Golfman | May 1, 2015 7:22:17 AM

Professors will find jobs elsewhere if this passes. This sounds like the kiss of death to UNC. If this is state wide for publics... well, guess what... the entire state of North Carolina's public universities are going to be set back. There are many sins in the contemporary modern academic environment... but I assure you that this is not the solution unless all you want is teaching colleges. You can't have research universities with this.

Posted by: Patrick J. | May 1, 2015 6:55:41 AM

if the professors don't like the boss's decision, and, since the legislature funds the schools, they ARE the boss, they can always go get a j*b somewhere else...

you know, the kind where you have to show up every day, dressed appropriately, spending 8 hours a day actually w*rking, etc... no spring break or Christmas vacation, nor all the other holidays known to man, and no long summers off either.

the profs are just mad the gravy train has reached the end of the line.

Posted by: Red Seewun | Apr 30, 2015 6:14:00 PM

I don't know how this would work for graduate medical faculty, who for the most part teach on a modified apprenticeship model. How do you fit training a surgery resident in surgery in terms of "courses?" As a forensic pathologist, I teach medical students, residents, fellows, and graduate students, usually on a one-to-one basis, but I teach *no* "courses."

Posted by: billo | Apr 29, 2015 1:00:46 PM

"in the sciences (hard, not social) professors are expected to conduct research and apply for grants to further more research."

Yes, and in the real world (not academia), marketing is something you do *in addition to* your regular job, not instead of it.

Posted by: Bah | Apr 29, 2015 11:09:58 AM

Given what passes as research in many universities, actually requiring professors to teach would be a good thing. Colleges like to brag about how great their faculty is, but what many parents don't know is their kids will be taught my graduate assistances in many classes..

Posted by: Larry J | Apr 29, 2015 9:09:52 AM

The only useful thing I learned in college was how to juggle, from my digital signal processing prof, and Physics. The rest? Havent used since I graduated. Much of college is obviated by Khan Academy and Youtube. Learned more there than anything in college.

Posted by: Puddin | Apr 29, 2015 8:59:06 AM

Perhaps this site should start taking bets on which state will be the first to either completely privatize, completely defund, or simply close its public universities? It seems like there is a new horrible with each passing day.

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Apr 29, 2015 8:58:59 AM

If research is so integral then they could have semesters of research to do nothing but and get paid out of the "research" grant budget instead of the taxpayer and student budget. Accounting tricks and the intermingling of budgets is what keeps the administrative dead weight floating. Teaching should be paid out of the teaching budget and research out of the research grants. Keep them separate.

Posted by: Elliott | Apr 29, 2015 7:55:17 AM

I say if they are research active (truly) then get a release to 3, (so 3/3 or 6/year), else 4/4 is appropriate

Posted by: Rich | Apr 29, 2015 7:25:26 AM

Other responsibilities? Committee work. Right now I am on the accreditation committee. Trust me, it's work. Eight courses a year would be a 3/3/2 or a 4/4 I've worked as much as a 5/5/2 but then I'm at a junior college. Most senior faculty teach about a 2/2 or a 3/2

Posted by: Travis | Apr 29, 2015 7:17:30 AM

3-3 would be very reasonable for law schools, especially for faculty no longer publishing and who contribute very little by way of student advising, admin responsibility, etc.

Posted by: TS | Apr 29, 2015 7:13:23 AM

Perhaps they also need legislation that prescribes how much time legislators actually work on the business of the people, which would not include time spent fundraising.

Posted by: Clinical Prof | Apr 29, 2015 7:07:15 AM

As someone who works with these academics.... their research is all conducted by their undergrad, grad and post docs students. What they do when they are not in the classroom is look for grant funding. Writing grants = looking for a free handout. They absolutely have time to teach.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 29, 2015 7:04:10 AM

The NC General Assembly is a bit off the rails at the moment. All kinds of nonsense bills are introduced and some even pass.

A 4-4 teaching load is excessive and will not make anyone a better teacher or professor. I agree with AnonProf that 1-2 loads are also ridiculous. 2-2 is perfectly doable and even 2-3 or 3-3 can be doable depending on class sizes. 3-3 if the classes are 2 or 3 credits and have 20 students each is no problem. 3-3 with 4 credit 1L classes and 50+ in each is not doable.

I know certain folks don't believe this, but I work harder and longer hours as a professor than I did as an associate/senior associate in BigLaw. Professors are expected to put in a tremendous amount of "service" time - both to the institution, to the scholarly community, to the community at large, etc. In short, many of us -- not all but many -- work our asses off because we love what we do and we care about our students. Unrealistically heavy teaching loads will lead to burnout and ultimately make us worse teachers and mentors.

Posted by: anon in NC | Apr 29, 2015 6:41:14 AM

I wouldn't know about non-science professors, but in the sciences (hard, not social) professors are expected to conduct research and apply for grants to further more research. Naturally, some of this grant money goes to the university and is a big money maker. They are also expected to submit articles to peer-reviewed publications as well as peer-review submissions to those publications. All this in addition to teaching, grading, and other traditional tasks of teaching.

This is also why few, if any, of my science instructors had time to attend protests against my state government (Wisconsin) ending collective bargaining for teachers.

Posted by: Deathknyte | Apr 29, 2015 6:34:36 AM

What "other responsibilities"? Do all disciplines involve time consuming "research"?

Posted by: Peter Paplawsky | Apr 29, 2015 6:14:00 AM

Besides teaching and research what other responsibilities do they have?

Posted by: Worc1 | Apr 29, 2015 5:58:44 AM

4-4 is ridiculous, but no more so than 1-2. I think 3-3 seems fair. Law professors, in my opinion, have set up systems that are far too protective of their "free time" at the expense of teaching.

Posted by: AnonProf | Apr 29, 2015 5:43:40 AM