Overview of OSU-Cascades Workload Policy

Work Load Policy Recommendation
Approved 5-7-15, Updated 11-8-17, Updated 6-21-18

***This page is being updated. Please see the current OSU-Cascades Faculty Allocation of Effort Policy here.***

The workload allocation model is designed to:

  • Increase the perception of equity and fairness in teaching loads incorporating factors of enrollment, field and lab work, online and hybrid, practicum, etc.

  • Provide a guide for accounting for effort outside of teaching related to service, scholarship/currency, program lead, outreach, etc.


  • Create a new Workload Unit (WU) to capture effort allocations in a faculty member’s load.

  • 1 WU ~ 1 credit hour of teaching ~ 44 hours of effort

  • For teaching, 1 WU is allocated as follows: 10 hours face-to-face instruction, 20 hours preparation and grading, 14 hours of additional work related to teaching such as office hours, course preparation (syllabus, Learning Management System, materials preparation), regular course updates and modifications, course coordination within programs, writing letters of recommendation, program specific advising, and other duties that are unique to the course or program.

  • Program effort and WU allocation (rounded to the nearest 0.5)

9-Month Faculty (1560 hours over 3 terms)

  Student Related Activity Scholarship/Currency Service Total
Tenure-Track 50% = 17.5 WU 40% = 14 WU 10% = 3.5 WU 35
Tenured 60% = 21 WU 30% = 10.5 WU 10% = 3.5 WU 35
Instructor 80% = 28 WU 10% = 3.5 WU 10% = 3.5 WU 35

12-Month Faculty (1900 hours over 4 terms)

  Student Related Activity Scholarship/Currency Service Total
Tenure Track 50% = 21.5 WU 40% = 17 WU 10% = 4.5 WU 43
Tenured 60% = 26 WU 30% = 13 WU 10% = 4.5 WU 43
Instructor 80% = 34 WU 10% = 4.5 WU 10% = 4.5 WU 43

Acceptable Range: Each year, a faculty member’s load should be within 1 WU of the above totals. For 9-month faculty, the approved range is 34-36 WU, for 12-month faculty it is 42-44 WU.

There are two ways to determine a faculty member’s WU associated with teaching: Multipliers and special considerations.



Examples (credits * multiplier):


Workload multiplier

1 credit

2 credit

3 credit

4 credit

Lecture (≤ 60 UG, ≤ 41 GR)




3 WU

4 WU

Lecture (large > 60 UG, > 41 GR)

discuss with Dean





Science labs*

 1.0 - 2.0





Technical activities/labs*

1.0 - 1.5





Supervision/Independent study see Special Considerations below        

*Process for Determining Multipliers

Each program should develop a list of courses that fit into the various multiplier categories and have the list approved by their associate dean/dean. In some cases, course credits may be divided into different multiplier categories. For instance, a 4-credit course may include 3 hours of lecture (3 x 1.0) and 1 hour of lab with intensive set up (1 x 2.0) for a total of 5 WU assigned to the faculty member teaching the course. This justification should be specified in a program-based document.

Special Considerations
A list of potential special considerations are provided below:

  • Courses where course credits do not equate with work effort. Examples: 1) A student may register for 10 hours of Internship, but only 25 hours of faculty time is dedicated to student supervision. 2) A recurring course where student enrollments are consistently low (one or two students) but need to be taught to meet student needs. WU allocations should be calculated based on actual hours spent and approved by the dean. Depending on the nature of the course, calculations may be made on a student basis (i.e., 0.25 WU per student, 11 hours of effort) or on a course basis depending on the number of students (i.e., 10 hours face to face, 10 hours grading/prep. 2 hours per student.  Assume 12 students in a course. 10+10+(2x12)= 44 hours = 1 WU. 17 St = 1.25 WU. 23 St = 1.50 WU.
  • Team teaching
    • In tag team courses (instructor A teaches for 3 weeks and instructor B for 7 weeks), WU credit should follow the work effort (in this case, for a three credit course, 1 WU to instructor A and 2 WU to instructor B).
    • In co-taught courses where both instructors are engaged fully in the teaching each week, each instructor would be given 75% of the course WU. For example, a four credit course, each instructor would earn 3 WU. If course enrollments exceed 60 undergraduate students (41 for graduate courses) each instructor would earn 100% of the WU.
    • If there are special cases beyond those described above, please resolve the WU with your associate/dean.
  • Splitting a course and TA assistance
    • When a course reaches the maximum enrollment, it can be split into two sections or taught with a multiplier, as negotiated with your Dean.
    • WIC courses should be capped at no more than 25 students. If they reach 29 students they can be de-certified. A GTA or TA with a master’s degree can be requested for sections between 25-29. Best practice is to cap WIC courses at 20 on the schedule with a waitlist of 5 to allow possible space for graduating seniors.
    • When undergraduate courses reach 41 students and graduate courses 31 students, instructors may request a student worker to assist with facilitation and grading. For co-taught courses over 75, a student worker may be requested. Use the Student Worker Request Form to make these requests. Be sure to select "CCBO: Cascades Campus" for the Business Center option on this form so that it is routed to OSU-Cascades HR.
  • Program lead duties (calculated by program to capture unique needs, duties, and time allocations).
  • Accreditation work and other reports.
  • Graduate student duties.
  • Unusually challenging teaching duties (multiple unique preparations in a year, new course preparations, first year faculty release, high Student Credit Hours across multiple course sections). For a 9-month faculty member, when the course assignment reaches the fifth unique preparation, the faculty member is awarded 2 WU to recognize the additional worked needed to teach five unique courses. For 12-month faculty, the 2 WU for multiple preparations are awarded with the sixth unique preparation.
  • New program proposals (CAT I) or CAT II development performed within the context of a whole new program.
  • Other considerations as identified.

Process for Determining Special Considerations

  • Faculty should determine when there is a special consideration and document the time needed to accomplish the task.
  • Conversion of time to WU should be based on 44 hours of work. Where possible, try to create equivalencies rounded to 0.25, 0.5, or 0.75 WU. Example: Task xxx takes 3 hours per student. 3x6= 18 hrs. 3x8=24 hrs. Therefore, 6-7 students = 0.5 WU (approximately 22 hrs effort); 14-15 students (42 to 45 hrs) = 1 WU (44 hrs).

Grant Buy-Outs

Faculty may reduce their workload at the rate of $5000 per 3.5 WU for a maximum of 7.0 WU. An additional 3.5 WU reduction is permitted at the Corvallis unit’s rate, which varies by college but is typically 10% of annual salary plus benefits. Acceptable replacement faculty must be available. The individual requesting the load buyout must help identify the replacement faculty.

Documenting WU

Generating draft WU and course assignments is conducted each November as part of the program budgeting process and updated each year as part of the annual review process for each faculty member. Once programs have come to agreement with their associate/dean on multiplies, a Workload Justification page should be created for the program and stored in the Box folder related to faculty workload assignment for future reference and/or modification.

Monitoring the WU Policy

A committee of faculty and one associate/dean should meet at least once annually to 1) review the Work Load Justification pages of all programs, 2) review the impact of the Work Load Unit policy on faculty resources and program budgets, and 3) resolve any issues that might occur as a result of the implementation of this policy, 4) review and revise the Work Load Policy if needed

Position Descriptions and Effort Allocation

Position Descriptions effort allocations should be updated annually each Fall as part of the Annual Review process to ensure an accurate record of work load assignments.

2015 Original Taskforce Charge

The OSU-Cascades Dean’s Council launched a task force to evaluate the current workload allocation model and recommend new policies and procedures.


Kara Witzke, Jeff Gautschi, Ron Reuter, Julie Gess-Newsome, Kreg Lindberg

*This document replaces the “Classroom Support Guidelines for Full-Time Faculty” previously found in the Cascades Faculty Handbook (revised 11-12-13).