The key driver of any successful learning experience is the people who develop and deliver it. Faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UW-Eau Claire) are committed to student success. They recognize and embrace the intensely personalized and relationship-centric teaching and mentoring that have become hallmarks of a Blugold education. At UW-Eau Claire, our strategic advantage derives primarily from our intangible assets such as faculty knowledge, reputation, and competencies rather than from tangible assets such as land, buildings, and equipment.
Our budget situation has created some inherent conflicts around faculty workload. Decreased numbers of faculty and increased class sizes make it more difficult to maintain relationships with students and provide opportunities for high-impact practices.
You can’t effectively teach a student to think, read, and write critically or creatively if you never do this work yourself. Likewise, you can’t teach a student to do research well if you never do this yourself. The student-faculty collaborative research which we are proud of, and rightly so, at UW-Eau Claire would be impossible if faculty were not highly accomplished researchers, scholars, and producers of creative work—ourselves.
In order to support faculty and staff with the implementation of the many proposals outlined in this Academic Master Plan, and to retain current faculty and continue to attract faculty from the world's premiere research institutions, we must create a desirable workplace. As we set forth priorities that demand continued faculty and staff dedication, we must focus attention on how we support faculty and instructional academic staff in their daily work with students. Faculty must find their work meaningful. They must have opportunities to make significant connections with students, and contribute to engaged student learning, community outreach, and the advancement of knowledge through scholarly work. They must have the resources necessary to perform their work well and be compensated at appropriate levels. We must clarify workload, address compensation, and provide professional development opportunities that help faculty thrive, and therefore best serve our students, in the face of large-scale change in higher education.
Priorities and Actions
Develop a flexible faculty workload plan to attract and retain faculty and to support academic excellence.
- As outlined in the Faculty and Academic Staff Rules and Procedures (FASRP), affirm 12 credit hours of teaching as the base for faculty workload and 15 credit hours of teaching as the base for instructional academic staff workload.
- Establish alternative workload models for the 15-credit load among teaching, research, and service. Alternative models must continue to meet University needs for overall student credit hours.
- Establish guidelines, criteria, and processes for workload considerations such as the use of contact hours versus credit hours, jumbo sections, student-faculty ratios, class sizes, and reassignment time.
- Develop a process for yearly documentation of faculty and instructional academic staff workload.
Provide meaningful professional development for faculty and instructional academic staff to meet strategic priorities.
- Provide professional development for using a variety of instructional methods to meet the needs of all students.
- Provide time and professional development to faculty and staff for innovative efforts that align with "Creating our Future: UW-Eau Claire Strategic Plan 2016-2020" and this Academic Master Plan.
- Require professional development in equity, diversity, and inclusivity for all faculty and staff to increase competence regarding cultural diversity, sexual identity, and global awareness.
- Create a Council on Scholarly Activity to support faculty development in a range of scholarly activities.
Revise faculty and instructional academic staff review processes.
- Revise department evaluation plans and department personnel committee processes in order to create more efficiencies.
- Revise faculty and staff evaluations to include recognition, reward, and expectation of contributions to equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
Create a sustainable, institutional compensation fund to address faculty and staff pay equity and compression, and to provide for merit increases.