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OSC Office

Office location: Administration 301

Telephone: (323) 343-5054

Office Of Semester Conversion Publications and Media
Semester Course Unit Conversion Tool
Enter a number of units in either box then click outside the text box.

Quarter Units:

Teaching Load

Semester Conversion and Faculty Workload Considerations

     One of the issues of concern during campus discussions on whether to convert from the quarter to semester calendar was the impact of such a change on faculty workload. As part of that discussion, it was clarified that the academic calendar is neutral with regard to workload, with a specified number of faculty workdays per ye1r, regardless of calendar (see here).

     On the quarter system, tenured and tenure-track faculty teaching a full load would typically be assigned to teach 12 units (12 hours per week x 10 weeks = 120 instructional hours) per term, or 360 instructional hours per year. On the semester system, faculty teaching a full load would typically be assigned 12 units (12 hours per week x 15 weeks = 180 instructional hours) per term, or 360 instructional hours per year. The difference is that under the quarter system (with traditional four-unit courses), one is typically teaching three courses for four hours each per week, whereas under the semester system (15 weeks, with traditional three-unit courses), one is teaching four courses, for three hours each per week. While faculty may prefer one schedule over another, the total amount of instructional time, per week and per year, is the same regardless of calendar.

     Neither the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the CSU and California Faculty Association nor University policy define the workload of faculty, in terms of WTU assignments. While the above is what is traditional and typical, the CBA states only that faculty shall not be assigned an excessive number of contact hours, assume an excessive student load, or be assigned an unreasonable workload or schedule. Flexibility in faculty assignments is therefore possible, within budgetary, scheduling, and enrollment constraints.

     A consideration of ways to manage workload under the semester system was previously developed and is provided here. In sum, the ways of reducing the numbers of WTUs assigned faculty could include:

  • increasing average class size and student/faculty ratio;
  • adding more large lecture classes and more very large lecture classes with TA and GA support;
  • additional external grant, foundation, or endowment funding of release time; and
  • additional general funds to supplement the budget for instruction.

If you have questions, please contact AVPAA-AP Philip LaPolt at plapolt@exchange.calstatela.edu, or 323 343-3810.