APS #1006

ActiveUnder Review Revision

Differentiated Annual Workloads for Faculty

Brief Description

Affirms the University’s commitment to appropriate differentiated workloads.

Policy Profile

APS Policy Title: 
Differentiated Annual Workloads for Faculty
APS Number: 
Proposed Effective Date: 
July 1, 2020
Effective Date: 
July 1, 2014
Approved By: 
President Bruce D. Benson
Responsible University Officer: 
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: 
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Policy Contact: 
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Differentiated Annual Workloads for Faculty, effective July 1, 2007
Last Reviewed/Updated date: 
July 1, 2014
Applies to: 


The intent of this policy is to affirm the University’s commitment to appropriate use of differentiated workloads.

Policy Statement

The University of Colorado (1) affirms that it needs and values faculty contributions in teaching, leadership and service, research/creative work, and, when appropriate, clinical or professional practice and (2) provides a mechanism to facilitate annual recognition and support of these activities. The division of faculty activities into the categories above is, to a considerable degree, artificial for they are all important to the development and promulgation of knowledge. The academic life necessarily entails activity in all areas.

The University recognizes that there are legitimate differences in: (i) faculty development needs, (ii) interests and areas of expertise among faculty members, (iii) conventions particular to academic disciplines, and (iv) academic unit program needs. A prescriptive, rigid, and/or uniform formula that inflexibly dictates annual workloads for individual faculty is not conducive to responding to these differences.   Thus, the university has developed a differentiated workload policy to address these needs. 

Each campus shall develop a written policy on differentiated workload. Such policies may permit a school or college not to offer differentiated workloads.  Faculty representatives shall be involved in the development and implementation of differentiated workload policies at the campus level.  These policies shall be consistent with: (i) the University's commitment to its mission of teaching, research/creative work, and leadership and service; (ii) the development and advancement needs of individual faculty members; (iii) conventions particular to academic disciplines such as clinical or professional practice; (iv) academic unit program needs; and (v) the goals and objectives of the primary unit and campus.  Annual assessment and reward of each faculty member shall consider the assigned workload.

Campus policies shall include:

  1. Criteria for evaluating the propriety of a differentiated workload assignment. These criteria shall ensure that the differentiated workload of an individual faculty member does not compromise his/her ability to satisfy specific evaluation criteria for tenure and/or promotion, as described in the Standards, Processes and Procedures for Comprehensive Review, Tenure, Post-Tenure Review and Promotion​.
  2. A mechanism for ensuring collaboration between the primary unit chair and individual faculty members for the purposes:(i) of deciding whether a differentiated workload assignment is appropriate; and (ii) of determining an appropriate balance between the development and advancement needs of the individual faculty member, the program needs of the primary unit, and the University's commitment to teaching, research/creative work, leadership and service, and, where appropriate, clinical and professional practice.
  3. A mechanism for ensuring that subsequent annual merit increases for an individual faculty member reflects the agreed upon differentiated workload. 
  4. Provision for a written statement describing the agreement on differentiated annual workloads and expectations for the relevant academic year.
  5. In order to ensure appropriate communication between faculty and the primary unit chair, and a clear understanding of the appropriate uses of differentiated annual workloads, each Chancellor should provide for training and orientation for primary unit heads and other academic administrators.

This policy pertains only to annual workloads. Utilization of annual differentiated workloads shall not compromise standards governing the award of tenure and promotion, which is clearly stipulated in the Laws of the Regents (Article 5.B.4.(B)).  In the years prior to tenure and promotion to associate professor, careful assignment of annual workload is critical to ensure that faculty members have the time needed to develop a record of achievement in teaching, research/creative work (and where appropriate, professional and clinical practice), and leadership and service required for the award of tenure.  Thus, in most cases, differentiated workloads should not be assigned to faculty members on a seven-year tenure clock.  Similar care shall be given to workload assignments prior to promotion to full professor and for faculty in units with “up-or-out” promotion clocks. 

This policy creates no unilateral rights for a faculty member to insist on a particular workload assignment.

Related Policies, Procedures, Forms, Guidelines, and Other Resources


  • Initial Policy Effective:  July 1, 1989
  • Revised: July 1, 2007
  • The term “service” was replaced with the term “leadership and service” effective April 30, 2014 per resolution of the CU Board of Regents.
  • Revised: July 1, 2014