Workload Strategy

(April 24, 2017)


UBC’s Collective Agreement (CA) with The Faculty Association states that: “The academic workload of a faculty member is a combination of self-directed and assigned tasks undertaken in fulfillment of his/her academic responsibilities in the areas of teaching, scholarly activity and service to the University and the community” (Part 1, Article 13.01a).1  The CA recognizes that workload is unit specific (Part 1, Article 13.01b).1 All faculty members of the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS) are expected to contribute to the Faculty through contributing to teaching, research/educational leadership, and service.

This Policy outlines the typical expectations across the three domains.  To the degree possible, it also aims for equitable contribution and to recognize differences in individual circumstances by delineating exceptions to these expectations in each domain.

The allocation of duties for the Research Stream faculty members (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor) is normally 40% full-time equivalen (FTE) teaching (30% classroom teaching + 10% graduate student supervision), 40% FTE research, and 20% FTE service.  The allocation of duties for Educational Leadership Stream faculty members (Instructor, Senior Instructor, and Professor of Teaching) is normally 60% FTE classroom teaching and educational leadership, 20% FTE educational leadership, and 20% FTE service. Lecturers, whose main responsibility is teaching, is normally 95% FTE classroom teaching and 5% FTE service.

UBC Policy Number 22 places the responsibility for decisions with regard to the assignment of teaching duties with Department Heads and School Directors (Article 3.2).2 Assignments of teaching duties in LFS are made annually by Program Directors in consultation with the Dean and Associate Dean, Academic, who provide oversight to maintain consistency across the Faculty.

1. Teaching

1.1 Classroom instruction

As degree program instruction forms a key component of the LFS’s core mission, it is fundamentally important that all faculty members contribute to teaching and learning in our degree programs.  All faculty members are expected to conduct high-quality classroom/online teaching.

Expectations    Research Stream faculty members’ normal classroom teaching commitment consists of 7.5 credits of instruction (30% FTE) with a minimum of 6 credits of undergraduate instruction.  A minimum enrollment of 5 students per academic year is required to be counted as a teaching contribution.  Contribution to graduate instruction may vary among graduate programs.  Faculty members will be called upon to contribute more in graduate instruction should the circumstances warrant.  Under such circumstance, it is the Associate Dean Graduate Studies’ responsibility to make the final decision in consultation with the faculty members in the graduate program.  Educational Leadership Stream faculty members will normally teach five full-term undergraduate courses (15 credits; 60% FTE) per academic year.  Lecturers will normally teach 18 credits per academic year.  For the purpose of clarification and consistency, the expectations are subjected to the following general principles:

  • Three credits of undergraduate instruction consisting of approximately 39 student contact instruction hours;
  • Other classroom or program teaching is pro-rated based on the number of in-classroom or direct contact hours involved;
  • Co-teaching is pro-rated based on the number of faculty members involved. For example, if two faculty members teach a standard 3-credit course with 19.5 direct contact hours/faculty member, each faculty member’s involvement is counted as 1.5 credits;
  • Gaining teaching experience is an important part of post-doctoral fellow (PDF) training. A faculty member co-teaching a course with a PDF/research associate will count it as teaching a full course if they can provide evidence that their contribution is equivalent to full instruction of a course.  For the purpose of this Policy, if a PDF is the sole instructor of a course, this course is not counted as part of the PI’s teaching commitment;
  • Teaching responsibilities with additional financial compensation is not counted toward a faculty member’s normal teaching load; and
  • The quality of teaching is important. Quality of teaching will be evaluated by the Associate Dean, Academic annually using various methods including the Student Evaluation of Teaching (SEoT) course evaluations.  If concerns arise, they will be discussed with the instructor, to increase the effectiveness of the teaching and learning activities.

Exceptions       A number of factors warrant a reduction of 3 credits of undergraduate instruction.  These factors include:

  • Faculty members with significant administrative roles. Major administrative roles within the Faculty may limit the ability of the faculty member to fully participate in classroom teaching.  Those roles include the Dean, Associate Deans, and Program Directors.  The Dean retains the right to make an equivalent determination for other administrative roles on a case-by-case basis;
  • Research chairs or salary awardees. Faculty members who hold a research chair appointment or receive salary awards often have a reduced teaching commitment as part of their appointment.  This would include, but is not limited to, CIHR New Investigator Awards, MSFHR Scholar Awards, Industry Research Chairs and Canada Research Chairs;
  • Faculty members with reduced appointments or joint appointments. For example, a faculty member who holds a 50% reduced appointment would be expected to teach one full-term undergraduate course (3 credits) and contributing to teaching a graduate course every other year.  The Dean, in consultation with the Associate Deans when appropriate, makes these decisions with respect to reduced work arrangements;
  • New tenure-track Research Stream faculty members. In recognition of the importance of developing a strong research program, new pre-tenure Research Stream faculty members will not be given a teaching assignment in the first year of their appointment, will teach one full-term undergraduate course (3 credits) in their second year, and assume full teaching responsibility starting in their third year;
  • New tenure-track Educational Leadership Stream faculty members: In recognition of the importance of establishing new courses, new pre-tenure Educational Leadership Stream faculty members will be given a reduction of three credits of undergraduate instruction in the first year of their appointment; and
  • Too few courses available for all faculty to teach two: Should the course offerings in the Faculty number fewer than 2 full-term undergraduate courses per faculty member per academic year, it is understood that some faculty members will carry one course during some academic years. If this is an ongoing situation, there will be a rotation among faculty members with regard to who carries one course rather than two.These faculty members should be prepared to add a course when the opportunity arises or when colleagues need relief.  Decisions with respect to this exemption will be made by the Program Director in consultation with the Associate Dean, Academic and the Dean.

These factors are not additive and at no time may a faculty member have their teaching commitment reduced to zero, except faculty members who are on study, administrative, or medical leaves.

1.2 Graduate Student Supervision

As a Faculty with graduate-level programs, Research Stream faculty members are expected to play an active role in graduate student supervision.

Expectations    Research Stream faculty members will:

  • Be active as the supervisor for thesis-based graduate students. Faculty members who do not supervise thesis-based graduate students should be able to demonstrate active efforts at recruiting students, such as supervisory commitment letters for new students;
  • Have an active role in the committee membership of other graduate students. This includes membership on Thesis Research Supervisory, Final Oral Examination, and/or Comprehensive Examination Committees; and
  • Maintain an active role in supervision of students in professional programs where appropriate;

Exceptions       Factors that might lead to a lower supervisory load would include:

  • Faculty members with significant administrative roles. These roles include Dean, Associate Deans, and Program Directors.  The Dean retains the right to make an equivalent determination for other (combinations of) administrative roles on a case-by-case basis;
  • Faculty members with reduced or joint appointments; and
  • Faculty members on approved sabbatical or administrative leave;

2. Research / Educational Leadership

As a research-intensive Faculty, all Research Stream faculty members are expected to:

  • Maintain an active portfolio of research projects;
  • Actively seek and obtain peer-reviewed competitive funding as the principle investigator to support their research projects; and
  • Publish the results of their scholarly investigation, as the lead, senior, or corresponding author in peer-reviewed journals on a regular basis.

All Educational Leadership Stream faculty members are expected through their activities at UBC and elsewhere to advance innovation in teaching and learning with impact beyond their classroom.  Education leadership includes but is not limited to such things as:

  • Application of and/or active engagement in the scholarship of teaching and learning;
  • Significant contributions to curriculum development, curriculum renewal, course design, new assessment models, pedagogical innovation and other initiatives that extend beyond the member’s classroom and advance the University’s ability to excel in its teaching and learning mandates;
  • Teaching, mentorship and inspiration of colleagues;
  • Formal educational leadership responsibility within Department/Program/Faculty;
  • Interprofessional education programs;
  • Organization of and contributions to conferences, programs, symposia, workshops and other educational events on teaching and learning locally, nationally and internationally;
  • Creation of organizational conditions that support excellence in teaching and learning;
  • Contributions to the theory and practice of teaching and learning, including publications, book chapters, articles in peer-reviewed and professional journals, conference proceedings, software, training guidelines, instructional manuals or other resources;
  • Educating colleagues on innovations in teaching and learning at international, national, regional, campus, faculty or departmental events with a goal of others adapting the innovative ideas to evolve their teaching practices; and
  • Other activities that support evidence-based educational excellence, leadership and impact within and beyond the University.

For Research Stream faculty members who do not meet the minimum research expectations, additional teaching and service responsibilities will be assigned.  For Educational Leadership Stream faculty members who do not meet the minimum educational leadership expectations, additional teaching and service responsibilities will be assigned.

3. Service

All tenure / tenure-track faculty members are expected to engage in service to the Faculty, the broader UBC community, the broader scholarly community, and the public.  Assignments of service duties in LFS are made by the Program Director in consultation with the Dean and Associate Deans.

Expectations    At a minimum, faculty members should be engaged in the following academic service activities:

  • Attend a minimum of 50% of the following meetings:
    • LFS Faculty meetings;
    • LFS Community meetings; and
    • Program meetings.
    • Maintain active participation in service to the Faculty/University, including:
    • Participation in at least one non-compulsory LFS Committee (e.g., the Curriculum Committee, Peer Review of Teaching Committee, Safety and Security Committee, and Space Committee, etc.); and
    • Active participation in at least one additional UBC committee. This can include committees at Faculty or UBC level;
    • Maintain active participation in serving the community at large;


  1. Collective Agreement Between the University of British Columbia and The Faculty Association of The University of British Columbia July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2016.
  2. Policy 22, Appointments and Extension of Appointments for Heads of Academic Units. Article 3.2.