Faculty: Instructional Workload Policy

This policy outlines the Mead Witter School of Music workload policy.


By University of Wisconsin Regents’s policy, each department develops its own instructional workload policy to fulfill its teaching mission. Departmental executive committees retain oversight of curriculum and are responsible for monitoring workloads to ensure optimal curricular offerings, to allow for curricular change and development and to ensure equitable teaching assignments. Departmental workload policies should be reviewed on a regular basis and must be approved by the Dean’s Office. 

The typical instructional load for departments in the College of Letters & Science is two 3-credit courses per semester per tenure-track faculty FTE on the instructional budget. The College recognizes the necessity for flexibility in teaching assignment and that instructional responsibilities go well beyond the number of courses taught or students supervised. All faculty share in the department's responsibility to see that courses are offered as required by curricular programs. The willingness to teach various types and levels of courses is an important element of departmental and University citizenship, as is the availability of faculty for regular office hours, committee service, and other out-of-class participation in the life of the department.
Academic instructional staff ordinarily have a heavier teaching load than faculty members, since their appointments do not involve an expectation of research or creative scholarship. Within L&S, academic instructional staff typically teach at least three 3-credit courses per semester. 
MWSoM Policy and Practice: 

This departmental instructional workload policy aligns with the College’s policy while accounting for the unique ways of providing music instruction within a School of Music. The MWSoM remains committed to the high-impact practice of individualized studio instruction for instrumental and vocal performance study. The School’s policies balance individual and collective flexibility with the wholistic needs of the department to maximize its resources and to provide offerings for majors, and whenever appropriate, general education offerings for non-majors including writing-intensive, honors, FIGS and ethnic studies courses, among other College expectations. While the Curriculum Committee monitors curricular offerings, it is the responsibity of Budget & Personnel to oversee workloads and teaching assignments and to adjust them as needed. 

All MWSoM faculty members teach at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and are expected to carry additional individual instruction sections to accommodate graduate student advisees (such as 660-799, 660-990 and 660-999) and undergraduate independent study projects (660-499), when appropriate. Within and among individual faculty members and areas, the School expects an equitable rotation of courses and instructional assignments, especially in undergraduate instruction and non-major offerings, and seeks to optimize enrollments whenever possible in accordance with departmental and College class size guidelines. 

Studio instruction remains the preferred method of providing advanced level performance instruction. This high-impact teaching practice requires that all faculty and academic instructional staff, but especially those teaching in the studio setting, engage actively in recruitment to ensure optimal studio size. Given the resource-intensive nature of studio instruction, undergraduate music majors and music graduate students must receive preference in studio assignments; on rare occasions, students exploring a double major in music and non-majors, may receive studio instruction with the approval of the associate director for undergraduate studies.

The School has identified 16-17 students majoring in our degree programs as the size of a typical studio taught by a full-time tenure-track faculty member. In some cases, a healthy studio may be considerably lower than this number, and if taught by a full-time faculty member, that individual’s work load would include additional teaching assignments. A full-time studio load for academic instructional staff is 21-22 students.

Students may expect to receive a minimum of 13, 50-minute lessons per semester; studio lessons must be held at a regular fixed times as is expected of classroom teaching. Students must be able to plan on a regular weekly schedule of instruction. In addition, studio faculty, alone or in collaboration, provide an additional weekly studio class of at least 50 minutes in length. Faculty members may elect to schedule longer studio classes or private lessons but must accommodate individual student class schedules. The School’s Absence Policy (see appendix) mandates that faculty make up any lessons missed due to off-campus engagements promptly and in consultation with the students.

Course offerings such as instrumental fundamentals, ensemble coaching and diction required for majors may substitute for the contact hours of students in studio instruction. 

Studio enrollments fluctuate over time and in any 3-5 year period, a faculty members and academic instructional staff may experience the occasional over- or underload. If a studio is consistently under-enrolled, the director and associate directors will identify additional workload assignments.

The workload for most faculty in the music studies areas (music theory, music education, music history, ethnomusicology) conforms to the College’s normal instructional load. Areas should seek to offer courses, especially upper-level and graduate offerings, on regular rotations to maximize enrollments and to allow students to plan their schedules accordingly. The School encourages team-teaching and other cross-departmental activities, such as FIGS, ethnic studies, Honors courses and other high-impact offerings. Pedagogical considerations are the most important criterion when determining appropriate class size. To best utilize faculty resources and to optimize student experiences, graduate seminars and literature courses should aim for aminimum enrollment threshold of 6 students; 400-level elective courses should have a minimum threshold of 18 students.

A growing number of faculty members now deliver a combination of one-on-one studio instruction and classroom-based offerings. Similarly, faculty conductors combine leadership in contact-hour heavy performance organizations with studio instruction in conducting and sometimes conducting classes as well. In these cases the department has counted a large, audition-based performance organization for about half of the load, allowing then for 6-8 students in the studio or a combination of a conducting class (typically 2-credit), secondary ensemble, small number of studio lessons or additional coaching or similar responsibilities. 

 Faculty and instructional staff may establish policies for their classrooms and studios, such as student attendance and behavior, standards of academic performance, standards for research protocol, lesson preparation, and expectations for capstone research or assessment proceedings, as long as those policies support the quality of education and the meeting of stated course learning goals.

Studio faculty and instructional staff are expected to attend all undergraduate and graduate audition days, semesterly juries, and undergraduate meetings during the fall Welcome Week and graduate receptions. All faculty and instructional staff are expected to carry out and post weekly office hours. Faculty members of D. M. A. committees are expected to attend and provide grades for degree recitals. Faculty members serving on tenure committees are expected to carry out regular peer reviews of probationary faculty members; other members of the Executive Committee are expected to contrtibute to the peer observation process as well.

The University requires syllabi for all curricular credit-bearing offerings. Current, updated syllabi are critical to the University’s reaccreditation process as well as to the School’s NASM accreditation, and the University’s Canvas platform provides templates. Students have a right to know the nature and scope of any course, class procedures, and especially the basis for grading. Today’s public-sector demand for clarity and accountability require transparency about instructional activities.

Colleague Coverage, Medical Leave and Use of Sick Leave:

In the case of instructor or faculty illness, the MWSoM will seek to ensure that students receive expected course and lesson instruction while supporting the specific needs of the faculty members. In the event of the occasional absence due to illness, faculty are expected to make up, whenever possible, teaching obligations or to seek to utilize colleague coverage. In accordance with College and University policies, absences from teaching that cannot be made up or other absences from scheduled departmental duties, including attendance at department meetings, are to be covered through taking sick leave via the online process.

In the case of absences due to hospitalization that last longer than 5 business days, the department may seek medical documentation, proof of the ability to return to work, and FMLA paperwork as a protection for the employee. Where faculty are unable to return to work fulltime and/or have restrictions, the department may pursue hiring additional staffing through the College. It is the responsibility of the instructional staff and faculty to share with the director or assistant director any concerns about coverage due to illness and how best to utilize sick leave or other resources. 

Changes to individual workloads:
The Budget & Personnel Committee, acting as the elected designees of the Executive Committee, and with the explicit approval of the Dean of the College, has the authority and responsibility to redefine the instructional duties of any instructional staff member as needed to ensure the health of curricular offerings. Individual faculty members make seek to redefine their instructional responsibilities as well with the written approval of Budget & Personnel. 

Non-tenure track academic instructional staff:
The MWSoM regularly hires adjunct instructional staff for certain studio offerings and as lecturers for occasional classroom teaching. These hires are often for fractional appointments less than 100%. We currently calculate an individual studio lesson at 5%, leadership of a small ensemble (i.e. Latin Jazz, hand drumming) at 15% and a 3-credit course at 33%.

Teaching Load Reductions:
The MWSoM currently has two administrative positions assigned to full-time tenured faculty that carry instructional load reductions. In addition, there are two faculty ensembles whose full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty also receive load reductions. 

The Director of the School of Music receives a 75% instructional load reduction to perform the duties associated with that position and is on a 12-month contract. Currently the Associate Director and Director of Graduate Studies each receive a 50% load reduction to perform the duties associated with these roles and receive an additional month of summer salary funded by the department. These load reductions may vary depending on the Area and specialty of the faculty member who holds the position and are subject to negotiation with the Dean of the College of Letters & Science and/or the School of Music Executive Committee. It has been the policy of the Budget & Personnel Committee to recognize and provide appropriate compensation and support, including short-term staffing support, to individuals holding these roles, as part of yearly salary exercises and other processes.

Currently faculty members of the Wingra Wind Quintet and the Wisconsin Brass Quintet maintain instructional workloads that are equivalent to two thirds (67%) of a full-time studio faculty workload and receive 1/3rd release time for their ensemble participation. They are expected to rehearse regularly (typically 6 hours per week) and perform on campus, locally and throughout the state under the sponsorship of the department’s Music Engagement and Outreach Program (MEO), a cost-recovery program supported by revenues generated from faculty ensemble performances and other engagement activities.

With the exception of the second violin, the faculty members in the Pro Arte String Quartet hold appointments that are 50% Artist-in-Residence and 50% faculty. (The second violin position is currently a 50% Artist-in-Residence with an additional 15% position in chamber music.) The Pro Arte Quartet rehearses 15 hours each week and maintains a more extensive performing and recording schedule than the Wingra Wind Quintet or the Wisconsin Brass Quintet. The faculty members of the Pro Arte Quartet carry an instructional workload that is the equivalent of one half (50%) of a full-time studio faculty member’s load

APPENDIX: relevant material from University sources 
Faculty Policies and Procedures (FP&P), the University’s foundational document, articulates basic responsibilities of faculty, and the School of Music extends these toall academic instructional staff as well: 

Fundamental Responsibilities: The university faculty are responsible for teaching, research, or other scholarly activity appropriate to the discipline, and public service. Furthermore, every faculty member has an obligation to maintain professional honesty and integrity, to seek knowledge and to share that knowledge freely with others. No member of the faculty shall be absent from his/her classes or other regular duties at the university except by the permission of the chancellor or appropriate dean. Faculty members shall avoid a concentration of class hours that is detrimental to effective teaching. It is the responsibility of faculty members to carry out duties assigned by the department, and to share in the governance of the institution as a whole. 

Attendance at meetings. It is the duty of faculty members to attend departmental, school or college, and university faculty meetings. 

The principles of academic freedom, as they are generally understood in higher education, are foundational for faculty members. FP&P 8.1 B. and C. explain further: 

Academic freedom is the freedom to discuss and present scholarly opinions and conclusions regarding all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression, an to reach conclusions according to one’s scholarly discernment. It also includes the right to speak or write–as a private citizen or within the context of one’s activities as an employee of the university–without institutional discipline or restraint on matters of public concern as well as on matters related to professional duties, the functioning of the university, and university positions and policies. 

Academic responsibility implies the faithful performance of professional duties and obligations, the recognition of the demands of the scholarly enterprise and the candor to make it clear that when one is speaking on matters of public interest or concern, one is speaking on behalf of oneself, not the institution.

UW System Administrative Policy 1212 (formerly BN 3) Sick Leave


(4) Teaching Responsibilities and Leave Usage — Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees

Faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees who have teaching responsibilities, but do not meet these responsibilities because of an absence specified in Section 4.C.(1) of this policy, must report leave, regardless of whether a qualified instructor covers the aforementioned responsibilities. Teaching responsibilities include class time preparation, actual classroom instruction, and scheduled office hours available to students for educational guidance.

(5) Sick Leave During Winter and Spring Sessions Breaks – Academic-Year-Basis Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees

Academic year employees are in pay status during winter and spring session breaks and are required to fulfill their University obligations, research, and/or educational pursuits and to observe their official work schedules. If they are not able to fulfill their academic obligations due to the reasons specified in Section 4.C. of this policy, leave must be used.

(6) Sick Leave Use Outside of Regular Contract Year — Academic Year-Basis Faculty, Academic Staff and Limited Appointees

  1. Faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees who are under contract with the University of Wisconsin to teach or perform other duties for compensation during a period outside their regular contract year (e.g., employees who contract for summer service or summer session) may use sick leave during the contract period for reasons described in Section 4.C. of this policy.
  2. Sick leave may be used during the contract period if employees are unable to fulfill their contractual duties due to an illness or other medical necessity that begins before the effective date of the contract and continues during the contract period.
  3. Sick leave may not be charged for hours that the employee did not work because the class or other duties were cancelled by the University due to lack of enrollment, lack of funding, or similar reasons.
  4. Sick leave used outside the regular contract year should be reported in actual hours missed.


This statement was drafted and approved by the Budget & Personnel Committee.

Keywordsworkload, instruction, courses, teaching assignments,   Doc ID120418
OwnerWendy J.GroupMead Witter School of Music
Created2022-08-09 16:43:26Updated2024-03-22 11:44:03
SitesMead Witter School of Music
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