teaching loads

Scott Shumway Scott_Shumway at ACUNIX.WHEATONMA.EDU
Thu Oct 12 16:16:08 EST 1995

>I am trying to get information on how other schools calculate teaching
>loads in the sciences.  Specifically, I'd like to know:
>        1. What is your teaching load per semester?

At Wheaton College in MA we are one a 9 contact hours per week teaching
schedule.  For those of us in biology this translates into a lab course (3
hrs lecture and 3 hrs lab / week) plus a non-lab class (3 hrs lecture) OR a
laboratory section of introductory biology (3 hrs lab/wk).  We receive full
credit (one hour for one hour) for teaching labs.
        This is considered to be equal to three courses and is what is
expected of everyone across campus.  We teach the same load of 3 courses
each semester.  We are pressuring our administration to switch to a 3-2
course load or even 6-5 over two years, but making the change at a small
liberal arts college (1300 students) seems nearly impossible.  I would
greatly appreciate hearing from other schools where this has been done.
        Nine contact hours per semester is the party line, but might
actually border on fiction.  What is not factored into the 9-contact hours
is the time spent advising senior thesis projects, independent research
projects, and teaching tutorials.  It is often difficult to get
compensation (later course release) for these overloads, especially if you
are a junior faculty member expected to do all this and more.  Do other
institutions provide compensation for these overloads?  If so, how?

>        3. Do you have TA's?

        Many of the science labs have undergraduate teaching assistants
that ASSIST in the smooth running of the lab.  We do NOT have labs that are
taught by undergraduates.  There is always a faculty member running the
lab.  Therefore, staffing introductory biology for majors (3 lab sections)
and intro bio for non-majors (5 lab sections) is a major time commitment
for our 5 person dept.  As a result we are not able to teach as many
specialty courses as we would like.  How do other schools deal with this
>        4. Are the Sciences treated like the Liberal Arts with respect
>           to teaching loads?
        Supposedly it's 9 contact hours per week for everyone.  We must
NEVER let anyone question that a lab section IS equivalent to a 3-hour

I would greatly appreciate seeing all responses posted to the list and
would appreciate discussion of the questions that I have asked.  THanks,

Scott Shumway
Dept. of Biology
Wheaton College
Norton, MA 02766
"Scott_Shumway at WheatonMa.edu"

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