Updates on the Syllabus and Faculty Workload Equity

Dear Colleagues,

For the past several years (nothing moves fast in academia) your colleagues have been working diligently on several projects to move TCU forward in our mission to enhance our academic excellence. You can find a list of all the projects and committee work here. Each has links for more information. Over the next few weeks I will provide updates on several of those projects to keep you up to date.

Syllabus Template and Checklist

Last spring, a committee of faculty members and student representatives streamlined the TCU syllabus template by putting common information online with links from the syllabus, which greatly shortened the syllabus. Work has continued on simplifying and codifying information for a common TCU syllabus template to be used across the university beginning in spring 2025.

The new common template includes learning outcomes, QEP outcomes (where appropriate), academic honesty and more, to keep TCU in line with SACSCOC requirements. To make it even easier, a syllabus checklist has been provided as well as in-person and Zoom workshops. Click here to access the syllabus template, checklist and support services.

Don’t worry, your syllabus will still have your unique flair if you so choose. While the format of the common syllabus will be standard across the university, your choice of fonts, colors and graphics are up to you.

Also, in reference to the syllabus, the Student Government Association presented a resolution to Faculty Senate that all syllabi be available digitally. The Faculty Senate voted to support Faculty Handbook language that would ensure students receive digital copies of course syllabi by whatever means deemed most appropriate by the instructor (LMS, email, Box, etc.). This change will be made to the Faculty Handbook this summer.

Faculty Handbook

Speaking of the Faculty Handbook…as you know it is now available online and in PDF format upon request. Updates to the handbook will still be made annually each summer and a printed copy will be added to the archives kept in the Office of the Provost.

When updates are needed due to amended or new policies or procedures, the Office of the Provost will vet changes with deans and Faculty Senate Executive Committee over the course of the school year with a deadline of the end of classes in May. Likewise, changes recommended by deans and faculty governance leaders will be vetted by the Provost’s Office. In certain instances, the President’s Cabinet or Board of Trustees will vet changes. Approved changes will be made to the handbook during the summer.

Faculty Workload Equity

This one has really been in the works a long time to make sure we took a thoughtful approach and enabled due diligence at every step. Way back in 2018, the Faculty Relations Committee recommended special charges to workload and teaching load. In 2019, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution supporting the committee and defined the teacher/scholar model.

The goal is neither to increase nor decrease the overall work accomplished within a department, but to ensure equitable distribution among department members. This also guarantees that we have and are implementing a clear model per SACSCOC requirements.

Beginning in 2021 (after a pause for that pesky pandemic) a committee representing deans, Institutional Research, Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Faculty Relations Committee refined the model, vetted it with associate deans and department chairs, and then vetted it with a broader audience. In 2022-23, the Faculty Workload Equity Model was piloted in nine departments in five colleges, and then refined based on their feedback. This May, deans and department chairs will undergo training with faculty workload equity experts during the Academic Chairs and Directors Council Academy.

Our goal is to implement the Faculty Equity Workload Model in Spring 2025. I remind you that this is a model, not a policy. The model will be used for colleges and departments to mold to their unique needs.

These are just a few of the projects that we are wrapping up. I’ll update you on others in forthcoming communications. If you have any questions about the syllabus or faculty workload equity model, feel free to contact me or Associate Provost Fran Huckaby. For questions about the handbook, contact Director of Communications Elaine Cole.

Best wishes,

Floyd L. Wormley, Jr., Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Vice Provost for Research
Dean of Graduate Studies