Workload Considerations During COVID-19 (PDAD&C #14)

From: Heather Boon, Vice-Provost, Faculty and Academic Life
Date: August 12, 2021
Re: Workload Considerations During COVID-19 (PDAD&C #14)

The COVID-19 pandemic and related public health guidance and provincial legislation have had a significant impact on the responsibilities, workload, and professional activities of many faculty members and librarians. This memo reiterates the principles and considerations that should guide the assignment of workload in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and provides highlights of an agreement with UTFA with respect to COVID-19 related workloads in the 2020-21 academic year.

Assigned Workload for 2021-22

Workload will be assigned in a fair, reasonable and equitable distribution based on Unit workload policies and the University’s Workload Policies and Procedures (WLPP). The factors enumerated in section 4.2 of the WLPP will be taken into account to recognize the work needed to make changes to the approach to teaching or mode of course delivery to online delivery in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University commits to the principle of a transparent process of workload allocation within a unit, based on decisions made in accordance with criteria that are known to members within that unit, as outlined in the Workload Policies and Procedures (WLPP).

In assigning workload for 2021-22 for faculty and librarians, the increased workload involved in teaching certain courses and instructional sessions in certain formats in the

context of the COVID-19 pandemic will be taken into account by unit heads. Any significant increases in assigned service workloads associated with the COVID-19 pandemic will also be taken into account.

Such increased workload may be addressed in a range of different ways including but not limited to:

  • decreasing the number of courses and sessions an individual faculty member or librarian is assigned to teach;
  • providing additional teaching supports and resources such as increased TA hours;
  • implementing co-instructors for courses;
  • introducing or modifying enrollment caps; and/or,
  • offering teaching overload stipends.

Course Releases or Credits for 2020-21 COVID-19 Related Workloads

As part of the agreed upon COVID-19 specific Letter of Understanding (COVID LOU) between the University and UTFA, we will be asking units to identify those faculty members who were particularly impacted by the changes to course delivery that were necessitated by the pandemic based on the number of courses they taught and/or the aggregate enrolment of students in their classes as set out below. These faculty members shall receive a 0.5 FCE course release, or credit to be taken within the next three academic years, unless they have already been provided with a release or credit for the reasons outlined above. The Office of the Vice-Provost, Faculty & Academic Life will be sending detailed instructions and a template spreadsheet to academic units in the fall that will help you identify eligible faculty members and document course release/credit entitlement.

Below are the criteria by which the eligible faculty members will be identified.

Any faculty member who was assigned and taught:

a) six or more unique half course equivalents, in each case requiring the development of a new online or dual delivery/hy-flex1*,


b) an aggregate enrolment of 1000 or more students in the 2020-21 academic year,

shall receive or shall have received, a one half-course release, or credit to be taken within the next three academic years.

For clarity, if a faculty member has already received a one half-course or greater release or credit for COVID-related reasons from their academic unit, they would not be eligible for additional course release or credit to satisfy this provision of the COVID LOU – i.e., only faculty members who meet the criteria in (a) or (b) above and who have not already received a one half-course or greater release or credit for COVID-related reasons would be entitled to receive a one half- course credit to be taken with the next three academic years.

Courses taught on overload and for which an overload stipend was paid shall not be considered in determining whether the faculty member’s teaching load has met the criteria above. For the purpose of determining eligibility under a) and b) above, enrolment shall be prorated among faculty who co-teach a course.

Pre-Tenure and Pre-Continuing Status Faculty Members

For any pre-tenure and pre-continuing status faculty members who have not yet completed their interim or probationary review, the criterion for entitlement to the one half-course credit outlined above will be reduced to five or more unique half course equivalents, in each case requiring the development of a new online or dual delivery/hy-flex2.*

Pre-Permanent Status Librarians

In determining workloads for the 2021-22 academic year, supervisors and other library administrators shall discuss with pre-permanent status librarians the changing nature of their work during the COVID-19 pandemic and take this information into account in determining workloads to ensure they are fair, reasonable and equitable

As a reminder, any individual faculty member or librarian who believes their workload is not fair, reasonable and equitable, or is inconsistent with their unit workload policy or the WLPP may file a workload complaint in accordance with 10.1 of the WLPP.

*By “dual delivery” and/or “hy-flex” we refer to the activity of fully presenting the course material concurrently in two different modes, such as delivering the course in-person and then separately recording course material for remote delivery.