February 2003 aaUPBEAT
The Workload Controversy
For many years there has been a debate between those who
believe UD should be viewed (as it was until relatively recently)
primarily as an undergraduate teaching institution and those who see UD
as a research university, albeit one with a strong commitment to
While the various participants in this debate always extol the
virtues of both teaching and research, it nonetheless remains true that
the differences are substantive and often lead to opposing conclusions
concerning UD's higher education goals.
The current effort by the Dean of the Colleges of Arts and
Science to systematically increase teaching loads is part of this
ongoing controversy. If implemented, the probable long range effect of
the Administration's approach will be a University more like it was in
the past: an institution that under emphasizes research and has a
faculty salary scale that reflects this orientation.
Regarding the supposed teaching/research conflict, it is
important for faculty to understand that the AAUP doesn't look at this
as a true dichotomy. At a research university such as UD, excellence in
both teaching and research should be strived for and both must be
properly rewarded and respected by the Administration. In particular,
heavy handed bureaucratic solutions to workload problems should be
avoided and such problems instead should be resolved as they are
resolved at other research universities: in a case by case manner as
they arise within a department.
The nation's major research universities do not try to enforce
workload policies like the UD Administration is currently attempting to
do. Dean Huddleston has been at the forefront of this drive to
implement, without consulting the faculty, a workload policy that
departs from current practices and that violates the AAUP's previous
understanding with the Administration regarding workload policy.
In a December memo sent to chairs in the College of Arts and
Science, Dean Huddleston stressed a number of the Administration's
workload policy goals. By and large these goals sounded more like a
Ford Motors' plan to make its assembly line workers perform more labor
per hour than a university's plan to improve education.
In this regard, Huddleston stressed a number of points,
- "Inflated" department faculties that needed cutting.
- The Administration's view that UD must "deploy our fulltime
faculty resources in ways" that increase productivity by upping
Although the Dean mentioned that his concern with these issues
grew out of the possibility that the College of Arts and Science might
have a deficit of $600,000 in 2003, he failed to mention in his memo to
chairs that part of the basis for this possible deficit was created by
an accounting error in the College of Arts and Science and isn't
traceable to faculty workloads, department sizes or any other such
issue. Yet in spite of this reality, Dean Huddleston, following the
corporate model, supports the notion that UD faculty like workers in
other "industries" must bail out management by making concessions when
management policies go awry. So, what the Dean wants at the moment is
for faculty to accept greater workloads without a whimper.
Fortunately for faculty members, we have protections against
Protection #1: No department can submit proposed
workload policy changes unless the changes are approved by the
department's faculty. The AAUP negotiated this faculty right precisely
so faculty will have greater control over departmental workload
Protection #2: According to the Collective Bargaining
Agreement, no workload policy changes can be implemented by the
Administration without AAUP approval. The AAUP fought for and won this
power for exactly the kind of situation we are now discussing. When the
Administration tries to coerce departments into rewriting their
workload policies, faculty should be aware that the union possesses the
contractual tools to veto the Administration's attempt to do so.
Protection #3: Faculty can defend against
illegitimate workload increases by making sure their workload
agreements contain all of the work for which they are supposed to be
given credit - not only courses and teaching, but also time given to
things like independent studies for theses and dissertations. A
thorough itemization of the work you do will weaken any Administration
efforts to add to your workload.
If the Administration gets away with implementing its new
approach to workload policy, a policy which is at odds with those at
the nation's leading research universities, its success in doing so
will signal to the rest of the world that UD no longer wishes to be
considered among the U.S.'s top research institutions. Not only would
this damage our ability to compete for new faculty, it also would
lower, over the long haul, faculty attempts to hold our own salary wise
vis a vis other higher education institutions in our comparator group.
There's no need for this to happen. The Administration's
efforts to forcibly increase teaching loads creates a false teaching
vs. research dynamic and is self defeating; it also violates the
Administration's supposed spirit of cooperation with the AAUP. As we
stated above, UD's present workload policy already gives departments
the flexibility to deal with the specific needs of each individual
faculty member in terms of her/his balance in teaching, research and
service. Given this flexibility, which is rooted in a case by case
approach at the departmental level, the Administration's heavy handed
effort to force increased teaching loads is clearly motivated by
concerns other than educational ones. Such Administration concerns
spring from a corporate approach to increasing "worker productivity" by
increasing workloads and minimizing the need to hire more people.
This is unacceptable to the AAUP on two levels.
First, as already stated, the mechanisms for handling
individual workload situations are already in place and therefore no
new policies are necessary.
Second, the Administration's disregard for its existing
workload policy understanding with the AAUP is disturbing in that it
raises the question of trust. The Administration chose not to emphasize
its true aims in an open way during discussions with the AAUP but
rather chose to achieve its goals by more covert means. Dean
Huddleston's December memo, with its workload policy points that hadn't
previously been discussed with the AAUP, was a clear attempt to
circumvent the AAUP by organizing department chairs around the
principle that the Administration reserves the right to act
unilaterally if it thinks it can get away with doing so. The fact that
elected AAUP officers were not allowed to attend a "chairs' caucus" at
which a workload policy discussion occurred is further evidence of the
Administration's desire to ignore faculty in this matter.
Fortunately, if faculty members stick to the three "protection
points" itemized at the end of the previous section, the Administration
will have a difficult time forcing increased workloads.
A persuasive argument can be made that provoking a controversy
over increasing faculty workloads is part of an Administration attempt
to obscure the real issue: the University's need for more faculty to
handle the mounting instructional, guidance and research needs of UD's
student body. Faculty can't afford to forget the Administration's
public commitment to hire tenure track faculty to meet the University's
Unfortunately, the Administration's aim appears to be to meet
teaching needs not by hiring new faculty but rather by increasing the
teaching loads of existing faculty.
Faculty who are considering retiring from the University in
the near future have until June 30, 2003 to sign an intent to retire
agreement. Signing by that time will make a retiring faculty member
eligible for the special incentive program that was negotiated by the
AAUP and Administration.
Facts that you should know about the incentive program include:
- Fulltime faculty members who sign the intent to retire
agreement by the date mentioned above are eligible for the incentive
program just as long as their effective retirement date is no later
than June 30, 2005.
- Fulltime faculty who previously signed a retirement
agreement with an effective retirement date between July 1, 2002 and
June 30, 2005 are also eligible to participate in the incentive
- For eligible faculty, the University will contribute 11% of
the final base salary to the faculty member's TIAAS/CREF or Fidelity
retirement account for an additional two years after the effective date
- This one time retirement incentive program will not be
available, or otherwise apply, to any fulltime faculty member who does
not sign an intent to retire agreement on or before June 30, 2003.
The AAUP and Legal Studies Program of the University of
Delaware will cosponsor a symposium on Law, Unions and the Modern
University" at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5, 2003 in Purnell 115.
Speaking will be a team of labor lawyers from the prominent
Philadelphia law firm of Ballard Spahr Andrews and Ingersoll, LLP.
These lawyers were involved in recent labor negotiations at Cornell,
Temple and Penn involving faculty workloads, student rights,
negotiating collective bargaining agreements, and efforts to unionize
graduate students. Following their March 5 presentation, the lawyers
will respond to questions from a panel of UD faculty, including an AAUP
representative. There also will be time for questions from the
audience. Faculty, students and administrators are invited to attend.
Refreshments will follow.
Introductory Note: Given the threats made by Dean of the
College of Arts and Science in his recent memo, it is important that no
workload policies be developed by faculty without first familiarizing
yourself with (a) the Administration's goals in this matter and (b) the
faculty's power, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, to protect
itself from Administration attempts to systematically increase
Unless you want your workload unnecessarily increased, read
this edition of the Upbeat before participating in your
department's development of a written workload policy.
Introduction: The following statement was drafted by David
Colton, the union's chief negotiator, then discussed and approved by
the Executive Council. According to Colton and other bargaining team
members, the Administration's current effort to increase workloads has
nothing to do with what was agreed upon during the most recent AAUP
Administration negotiations regarding workload policy.
A December 2 memo from the Dean of Arts and Sciences to the
chairs in the College suggests that the Administration intends to
increase teaching loads in an effort to overcome budgetary problems.
The memo further threatened departments with no new faculty positions
if the Administration's guidelines on workload policy are not followed.
These Administration objectives are strongly opposed by the
AAUP and are contrary to both the intent and spirit of the recently
negotiated workload agreements. If the Administration's efforts are
successful, this will create a two tier system of tenure track faculty
which, as stated in the December Upbeat, is in the opposite direction
taken today by major U.S. research universities. Such an outcome would
devalue UD's research image and seriously affect our ability to recruit
The AAUP emphasizes that the metrics
and/or guidelines required in the Collective Bargaining Agreement under
Articles 11.2 and 12.4 were designed to prevent arbitrary increases in
teaching or service by chairs claiming that individual faculty members'
research was insufficient. A metric and/or guidelines for service and
research allow individual faculty to have a rational basis for deciding
a workload division appropriate to them (including the possibility of
an increased teaching load if so desired by the faculty member).
Articles 11.2 and 12.4 were not intended as a mechanism for the
Administration to create a systematic two tier framework for tenure
track faculty in an effort to increase productivity during a period of
Therefore, until this conflict between the Administration and
AAUP concerning the purpose of revising workload policies is resolved,
the AAUP will:
- Instruct the AAUP Contract Maintenance Officer to approve
no new workload policies, and
- Request faculty to consider increased service (especially
AAUP service as covered under Article 5.12 of the Collective Bargaining
Agreement) as an alternative to increased teaching workloads. The
opportunity for AAUP service will certainly increase if the issues
between the Administration and the AAUP remain unresolved.