How to maximize efficiencies for assigning academic workloads

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Efficient and effective assignment of faculty contributes to successful academic planning and enhances the learning environment for both students and educators.

This is because many critical factors for a teaching staff to be useful and perform at their best depend on the administration of the institution that employs them.

A crucial part of this administration is determining each teacher’s academic workload in a given period.

This procedure follows the following steps typically:

1. Find out each teacher’s availability and subject(s) to teach

The institution must provide a physical and digital communication space for each teacher to report their availability and the subject(s) they can teach in a given period. When using a technological platform for managing institutional resources, the teacher usually enters their information in the system and can verify that the information is correct.

2. Analyze and align the academic workload of each teacher

The planning area and degree directors compare the number of schedules, subjects, student sections and working days with the availability of teachers, both permanent and temporary. Then they align this information with the time period’s academic needs.

During this process, the institution makes an initial academic workload proposal. Teachers must accept, modify or reject it according to their availability, for reasons previously validated by the institution for this purpose.

3. Assimilate feedback from faculty on academic workload proposal

Teachers must have space of time to submit their observations and discrepancies with the proposed schedules.

It is essential that the institution offers face-to-face and digital opportunities for the educator to provide their comments, as well as a transparent process to follow once this feedback is received.

4. Provide final academic workload proposal

Once comments and/or modifications have been assimilated, teachers are informed of their definitive workload in the academic period before the start of the educational year.

The area in charge must know its teachers’ characteristics well to make this process logical and relevant to strategic planning.

To achieve this, it must continuously produce real and reliable information, through surveys and data storage generated on its institutional resource management platform.

With this in mind, data analysis software can gather an immense amount of information and process it to understand better what educators need to deliver quality teaching.

The collected data should allow the institution to answer the following questions:

Schedules and classes
  • What subjects need assigning?
  • What are the schedules and on what days?
  • What are the minimum and maximum class sizes?
  • What is the permitted student-faculty ratio and what is the optimum ratio?
  • Does the academic workload include or exclude teacher training schedules or student reinforcement workshops?
Class selection
  • Is the assignment immovable or flexible in parts or its entirety?
  • Can faculty choose schedules or is it a unilateral decision?
  • Are assignments based on the experience of past academic calendars?
  • Does planning include educators’ comments and experiences?
  • What is the procedure for institutions to decide between teachers who want the same schedule, subject and/or day?
Class content
  • Are there classes that require additional material or resources?
  • Do assignments take into account the special needs expressed by students or faculty (physical aspects, access to services or distance from libraries, etc.)
Identification
  • What type of work contract does the teacher have?
  • What are the minimum requirements that a teacher must meet?
  • What additional requirements can teachers present to improve their classification?  

 

Conclusion

The assignment of every teacher’s academic workload is a vital component in the strategic planning of an educational institution.

The plan must follow a rigorous, reliable and meaningful process, aligned with the main institutional objective, which is to provide quality education.

Poor management harms the educational climate, resulting in teachers working on unsuitable schedules, subjects or working days, which affects their performance.