Policy:                   Faculty Workload

Effective date:    February 2019

Review date:       February 2022


Responsible Party: Office of the Provost


The purpose of this faculty workload policy is to guide primary academic units in the development of workload plans that will establish fair and reasonable assignments for tenurable and tenured faculty across the unit and the university. Faculty workload distributions recognize the roles and responsibilities of faculty in fulfilling the mission of the university.  At Montana State University, faculty perform responsibilities in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. These responsibilities are distributed among the faculty in a unit.  Each primary academic unit will develop a Workload Plan consistent with the principles and guidelines stated in this policy.


Expectations associated with a faculty member’s responsibilities are guided broadly by the mission of the university, with appropriate adjustments as necessary to fulfill college or unit responsibilities. Individual assignments in each area of responsibility may vary within a college or unit, and across the university.

Tenurable and tenured faculty members’ teaching, scholarship and service responsibilities are allocated as a percentage of the faculty member’s total effort in all areas of responsibility. This distribution of effort is referred to as the faculty member’s “percentages of effort” or “POE”. The total apportionment of POE across all areas will be 100%. Faculty must have a defined POE in each of the areas of responsibility, distributed such that faculty members have comparable total effort.  Faculty approved to serve in positions that include administrative responsibilities, such as Department Heads or Center Directors, may have a portion of their POE dedicated to the administrative responsibilities while maintaining responsibilities in teaching, research and service.

The faculty member’s POE are initially stated in their letter of hire and reviewed as part of the annual review process. The process for adjusting POE is described in the Annual Review Policy. Faculty member’s workload assignment will be consistent with tenure and/or promotion and annual review guidelines.


Each unit will develop a Workload Plan for teaching, scholarship and service assignments that is consistent with the guidelines accompanying this policy. The expectation is that the development of the unit workload plan will be a collaborative effort between faculty and unit administration.  The plan must specify the types of assignments and the expectations for POE in each area of responsibility.

The unit plan shall also include the circumstances that justify variation from the typical workload for faculty. The College’s Dean and the Provost will review and approve each unit’s Workload Plan.

The Workload Plan may be revised at anytime and shall be reviewed to determine if revisions are necessary for a program review or accreditation process in the unit or university.  The expectation is that the changes of the unit workload plan will be a collaborative effort between faculty and unit administration. Any revisions to the unit’s Workload Plan shall be submitted in writing to the College’s Dean and the Provost. Unit Workload Plans shall:

  • Advance the goals of the University Strategic Plan and the Academic Plans of the unit.
  • Consider unit curricular needs; retention and graduation goals; accreditation requirements; student credit hour requirements for academic programs in the unit and for general education and service courses; unit sponsored research commitments and resource constraints.
  • Provide flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of individual faculty and units (over time, over career stage, across the mission, across individuals).
  • Ensure that all faculty contribute to the teaching, scholarship and service mission of the institution.
  • Align with the annual review, teaching, scholarship and service activities identified in the Faculty Handbook and the Role and Scope Document of the unit.
  • Include quantitative and qualitative expectations for faculty in each area of responsibility that align with the mission of the university and the faculty member’s discipline, and the needs of the unit. In particular, expectations associated with scholarship activity should align with the indicators and associated quantitative and qualitative measures specified in the unit Role and Scope Document. Expectations shall be informed by discipline-specific national performance data and identified peer units.