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Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook
Chapter 5 -- Faculty: Leaves, Insurance, and Retirement Benefits
Faculty Reassigned Time: Policy, Principles, Program, and Process
1. Rationale and General Policy Statement
Institutions of higher learning that value their growth and effectiveness need to encourage and release the full potential of their faculty. It is common knowledge that incentives of various kinds can play a critical role in promoting good teaching, innovative research, and valuable community service. The provision of regular time for creative scholarly activities is an essential but often intangible commodity.
It is, therefore, the policy of Fort Hays State University to provide teaching faculty with reassigned time to be used as an incentive for completing various kinds of scholarly activities. It is assumed that the provision of reassigned time will allow faculty to reset their daily schedules to complete worthwhile projects they otherwise would have insufficient time to accomplish.
1. Equal Access
All faculty will have an equal opportunity to compete for reassigned time. Special arrangements will be created to insure that any inequities in access generated by department/college size or other conditioning factors will be accommodated (see Section III).
Reassigned time can be awarded for a variety of purposes. The typical award will be for scholarly activity as defined by the faculty member's discipline and/or criteria set forth in the University Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook. Reassigned time may also be awarded for worthwhile projects involving teaching or community service. Teaching or community service projects, however, will normally be accommodated within departmental reassigned time policy arrangements unless departmental size or other special considerations apply.
Reassigned time can be awarded in a variety of formats. The typical award will be for three (3) hours of reassigned time for one semester. This is based on the recognition that the normal teaching load at Fort Hays State University has been defined by the Faculty Senate as 12 undergraduate teaching hours per semester.
Other award formats and options, however, especially for major research programs nearing completion, innovative service projects involving economic development, or efforts to promote external grant-seeking are not to be ruled out in appropriate cases. For example, departments are encouraged to establish arrangements which will permit faculty members to "bank" departmental reassigned time which could be "matched" with University-wide grants of reassigned time or resources. Possible departmental incentives and arrangements might involve creative scheduling of classes, pooling of courses, or special assignments such as direction of a higher than usual number of independent studies (see Section III).
Accountability is a vital principle. It serves to maintain the integrity of the reassigned time program, the faculty participants, and the administration. It applies to the procedures used to allot reassigned time at both the University and departmental levels, the specification of goals, and the measures of achievement. Accountability is assumed to serve as a motivator to insure that faculty make optimum use of any grant of time and, furthermore, to emphasize the reciprocal obligations and commitment of the administration as an equal partner in the arrangement. The award, implementation, and expectations of any in-house grant of time at any level must be embodied in a "memorandum of intent" and approved by the appropriate administrative agents and participating faculty member.
In order to comply with the imperatives of the aforementioned principles, a "two-track" reassigned time policy will be established. Track I will operate at the departmental level. Track II will operate at the University-wide level. The latter track is specifically designed to insure that all teaching faculty will be provided equal opportunity to apply for grants of reassigned time.
Track I (Departmental-level)
It will be the responsibility of the University president, the provost, and each of the college deans to encourage and support the development of guidelines and arrangements for the award of reassigned time within each academic department. The purpose of these guidelines is to clarify and establish how reassigned time is to be awarded within a department as an incentive for scholarly activity, teaching innovation, or service projects. Departments are encouraged to devise and manage a variety of incentives including creative scheduling of classes, the pooling of courses, the "banking" of reassigned time in return for the assumption of extraordinary duties, and so on. These guidelines will be developed through consultation with all members of a department and afford each member an equal opportunity to compete for reassigned time. All departmental-level guidelines must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate college dean and provost. It is assumed that departmental reassigned time will be managed on the basis of these approved policy arrangements but with an emphasis on flexibility and creativity in addressing the needs of faculty vitality and development. The appropriate management of reassigned time will be a criterion for the evaluation of department chairs and college deans.
Departments which are unable to generate internal reassigned time should inform the college dean and the provost. After a comprehensive review of a department's claim of an inability to generate internal reassigned time, the provost will have the prerogative to assign a particular department special status within the Track II/University-wide reassigned time program.
Track II (University-level)
It is the responsibility of the provost to establish a University-wide reassigned time pool which will be open to all teaching faculty. The objective of this University-level arrangement will be to assure that all teaching faculty will be provided an equal opportunity to compete for reassigned time, e.g., faculty members from small departments or departments assigned special status under Track I stipulations.
In order to fund and support this University-level program, the provost will set aside funds which represent the equivalent of .5 percent of the total annual instructional FTE. This appropriation will generate approximately $24,000 to fund eight units of reassigned time yearly at three hours each. These eight units will be available, on a competitive basis, as an incentive to faculty engaged primarily in scholarly activity or the promotion of external grant-seeking projects. Exceptions to these categories will be approved by the provost and the Reassigned Time Committee in accord with the procedures enumerated in Section IV.
a. Track I--The award and assignment of reassigned time within departments will be regulated by approved departmental guidelines and embodied within yearly negotiated workload agreements.
b. Track II--It is the responsibility of the provost and the president of the Faculty Senate to appoint on a biennial basis a Reassigned Time Committee (RTC). The RTC will consist of the provost, a faculty representative from each of the four academic colleges, the graduate dean, and director of grants.
Step A: The RTC will develop and review annually a set of guidelines to regulate competition for reassigned time at the University level. These guidelines will include strict rules of accountability.
Step B: Each year the RTC will evaluate all applicants for University-wide reassigned time, eliminate applications as appropriate, and rank all applications in order of priority. There will be no restrictions on the number of applicants from a specific department.
Approved by President Edward H. Hammond (01-21-89).
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