SVCC HLC Self-Study Document

Sauk Valley Community College
HLC Self-Study Document

September 19-21, 2011

2002 Criterion 2

Evidence that needs strengthening:

The allocation of instructional workloads indicates an imbalance in the appropriate distribution of faculty assignments. Indeed, the institution’s 2001-2002 report of teaching workloads indicates teaching overloads in excess of 360 semester credit hours for full-time faculty. In one case, a faculty member carried an overload of 26 credit hours. Clearly, these levels of faculty workload are inconsistent with allowances for effective teaching for the full-time faculty available. Consequently, the team recommends that the college develop a faculty workload policy consistent with principles of good practice for teaching and learning (p. 8).

Two of the 2011 self-study committees examined the HLC’s concern about instructional workload. The visiting team cited the total teaching load as imbalanced in relation to an “appropriate distribution.” But the study teams generally concluded that what is appropriate for one individual or program is not necessarily appropriate for another. For example, some disciplines lend themselves to carrying overload; but some settings are very labor intensive per student, thereby lessening the desirability of overload. In addition, at Sauk, some open settings (specifically labs and clinicals) are compensated under the heading of overload. What is appropriate in this college community is a case-by-case decision. Figure ix shows the most recent available breakdown of overload distributions:

Figure ix: Overload Distributions
 No overload1 - 10 overload
hours (annually)
11 - 20 overload
hours (annually)
Over 20 overload
hours (annually)
YearTeaching FacultyNumber%Number%Number%Number%
FY0544 3 6.8% 27 61.3% 9 20.4% 5 11.3%
FY0646 10 21.7% 22 47.8% 10 21.7% 4 8.6%
FY0745 12 26.6% 24 53.3% 7 15.5% 2 4.4%
FY0842 10 23.8% 24 57.1% 5 11.9% 3 7.1%
FY0943 9 20.9% 25 58.1% 6 13.9% 3 6.9%
FY1043 5 11.6% 26 60.5% 8 18.6% 4 9.3%
FY1142 5 11.8% 22 52.4% 11 26.2% 4 9.5%
Source: Academic Vice President

The HLC team noted a faculty member with 26 overload hours. As shown in the table above, an average of about 9% of faculty are consistently willing to take on that level of overload. The team also expressed concern about teaching effectiveness. This is a vital issue as it speaks to the college’s Mission to provide “high quality” learning opportunities (link to an another section of the report1A.5). A closer examination of the situation shows that several practices ensure that those faculty who are carrying the largest loads are doing so because they can maintain high quality:

Although Sauk's practice of overload assignment is suitable in the context of its distinctive institutional needs, the self-study committees recognize that a more systematic policy approach would ensure that this practice is not warped or misused as time passes: