Faculty Workload Policy

Faculty Workload Policy

In supporting its mission and the land-grant mission of The Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Altoona must establish equitable work-load policies for its full-time faculty. Equitable workloads will ensure that the talents of the faculty are employed wisely and effectively in support of our mission. All full-time faculty at Penn State Altoona are expected to engage in research and creative activity, service, and teaching, which also includes advising students.

The goals of this faculty workload policy is to ensure equity among faculty, to improve the productivity of the faculty, and to provide sufficient flexibility to meet the needs of the College and its programs.


Teaching assignments are made by the Division Head, in consultation with the faculty member and program or discipline coordinator (where appropriate). The basic teaching assignment at Penn State Altoona is twelve credits or contact hours per semester, or twenty-four credits or contacts hours per year. For faculty who regularly teach 3-credit courses, this would be a four-four course load per year. However, provisional tenure track faculty are automatically assigned nine credits or contact hours per semester, or a three-three course load per year (with 3-credit courses), in order to facilitate their research and creative activities.

(Note: For tenure-track and research active faculty who regularly teach 4-credit courses, the typical assignment will be 8 to 12 credits/contacts per semester, and credit/contact hours would range from 16 to 20 per year with an average of 18 credits a year over a period of several years.)

All other standing faculty may apply for a modification of teaching assignment to a twelve and nine credit or contact hour assignment for the year or to a nine credit or contact hour assignment per semester in order to allow for additional productivity in other areas, such as research. Nontenure track faculty are not eligible to apply. Tenured faculty should discuss their research plans with their Division Head during the annual review process, and come to agreement on an appropriate modification, to be reviewed annually.

For tenure-line faculty, a maximum of 4 different preparations per academic year is recommended, and for fixed-term faculty, a maximum of 5 different preparations per academic year is recommended.

All full-time faculty may be expected to teach outside the normal workweek (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday) periodically. All full-time faculty can expect to alternate between Tuesday-Thursday, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, or other appropriate teaching schedules to support their degree programs and other course offerings.

As an additional part of their teaching assignment, almost all faculty have an advising assignment, usually of about 15 to 25 advisees.

Teaching and Administrative Duties

Faculty who are appointed as program or discipline coordinator will receive a reduction in their teaching assignment. The Division Head will recommend a modification of teaching assignment, in consultation with the program or discipline coordinator, to the Associate Dean, who will give final approval. Key issues are the size and complexity of the degree program and the breadth of recruitment and retention duties.

Faculty who serve as Campus College Resource and Representative (C2R2) will receive a 3- credit reduction in their teaching assignment.

Research and Creative Activity

All faculty members are expected to remain current in the discipline(s) in which they have teaching assignments. There is a wide range of activities that can be undertaken and documented to demonstrate efforts to remain current in one’s field(s).

Tenured and tenure-track faculty are expected to be actively engaged in productive research and creative activities as appropriate to the discipline(s) of their assignment. These activities may include, but are not limited to: publication of articles in refereed and non-refereed journals and in-house publications; publications of books, parts of books, and book reviews; exhibition, installation, production and/or publication of original works in music, literature, poetry, theatre, dance, visual art, film, and electronic media; performance of original music, dance, visual arts or theatrical works, or works from repertories of the performing arts.

Tenured and tenure-track faculty are encouraged to seek internal and external funding, such as grants, commissions, and contracts to support their research and creative activities.

Altoona College encourages innovative, interdisciplinary ways for faculty to realize professional growth and achievement in these areas. Any demonstration of achievement in these areas should ultimately produce or enhance recognition of a faculty member’s expertise by members of the profession outside of Penn State University. Because of the demands made by teaching responsibilities and because of campus limitations, quantitative expectations for the research and scholarly output of Altoona College faculty must be different from that of faculty at locations which emphasize the research mission. However, similar qualitative expectations should apply at all locations (see Penn State Altoona Tenure and Promotion policy).

Fixed-term faculty are expected to be actively engaged and remain current in their discipline(s). Activities to remain current and engaged in their discipline(s) include, but are not limited to: attending and/or presenting at appropriate disciplinary conferences; participation in workshops related to faculty position and/or discipline; conducting disciplinary or pedagogical research appropriate to the discipline(s); publication; creation of artistic products and forms (appropriate to the arts disciplines); participation in local, regional, national, or international theatrical or musical performances, including performing, directing, producing, stage managing, and designing set and costumes; receipt of grants to support pedagogical work or scholarship; enrollment in continuing education courses or programs appropriate to the discipline; pursuit of advanced degrees; and development of new teaching approaches.


All full-time faculty are expected to engage in service activities to further the missions of the College and the University. This service usually takes the form of committee work, participation in governance bodies, administrative support work, service to student groups, and professionally related service to the public. Penn State Altoona expects that this record of service will eventually incorporate positions of leadership at various levels: academic division, college, university, and professional organizations. Elected positions of major responsibility are viewed as evidence that a candidate’s service has earned the esteem of his or her colleagues.

A key element in the mission of Penn State Altoona is to recruit and retain students, especially in our degree programs. Thus, faculty service in support of recruitment and retention is especially valuable. Recruitment and retention service activities include, but are not limited to: attending College open houses; making presentations or demonstrations at Open Houses; meeting with, or following up contact with prospective students; presenting research at local middle and high schools; participating in new student orientation; serving as advisor to student club, organization or honorary society; involving students in undergraduate research, service learning, or other active learning activities; and announcing co-curricular, cultural and other events to classes, and providing credit, where appropriate.

Full-time faculty, especially those on the tenure-track should discuss future service activities with their Division Head during the annual review process, and during the year as necessary to maintain an appropriate balance between teaching, research and creative activities, and service.