CONTACT: STEVE PARROTT
5 Old Capitol
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-0557; fax (319) 335-0558
UI faculty devote 31.4 hours a week to teaching activities
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa faculty members spend an average
of 31.4 hours a week on teaching activities, according to a study conducted
by the UI Faculty Senate. Faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts,
which provides more undergraduate instruction than any other college, devote
an average of 37.4 hours a week to teaching activities.
The results of the study, which included all tenured and tenure track
faculty, were reported at the February meeting of the State Board of Regents
by Ed Wasserman, president of the UI Faculty Senate and professor of psychology.
The study marks the first time that the UI faculty has documented all
of its teaching activities, including not only regularly scheduled classes,
laboratories and seminars but also time spent preparing for classes, evaluating
student assignments, holding office hours, advising students, providing
individualized instruction, and working on special projects with honors,
masters and doctoral students.
"We conducted this study because we want to be accountable to the
Regents and the people of Iowa, and because we want to provide a richer
picture of what it means to be a teacher at a research university,"
Wasserman said. "These findings demonstrate that faculty members
spend a significant amount of time just preparing to teach in the classroom.
They also demonstrate that substantial teaching takes place outside of
"This comprehensive account of teaching activities reveals that
faculty members across all colleges of the university are fully and responsibly
meeting their teaching obligations to all of their students - undergraduate
students, graduate students and professional students," Wasserman
said. "This report shows that Iowans have every reason to be proud
of the university, its faculty, and the education that their students receive
here. The findings also attest to the fact that the university is exercising
responsible stewardship over the intellectual and material resources that
have been entrusted to it by the State of Iowa."
Other key findings of the study:
* Teaching activities make up the majority of the average faculty member's
work week. According to annual reports to the Regents, faculty members
work an average of 59 hours a week. Using that report as a basis for comparison,
the Faculty Senate study suggests that overall, UI faculty members spend
about 53 percent of their time on teaching. That percentage rises to 63
percent for liberal arts faculty. The rest of faculty time is divided
between research and service.
* Full professors in the College of Liberal Arts spend about the same
amount of time (37.4 hours per week) in the classroom and on other teaching
activities as do associate professors (37.5 hours) and assistant professors
(36.8 hours). In addition, the data show that full professors spend about
the same amount of time (6.7 hours a week) in undergraduate and graduate
classrooms as do associate professors (6.8 hours) and assistant professors
Assistant professors spend more time preparing for class and evaluating
student work than associate and full professors, but that is to be expected
because they are less experienced, Wasserman said. Full professors spend
slightly more time than associate and assistant professors on advising
students and working with honors, masters and doctoral students.
* The different academic missions of the individual colleges are reflected
in the kinds of teaching activities faculty report. For instance, liberal
arts faculty devote an average of 22 hours a week to undergraduate teaching
activities and about 15 hours to graduate teaching activities. Faculty
in engineering and nursing also spend more time teaching undergraduate
students than they spend teaching graduate and professional students.
Faculty members in the other colleges, especially dentistry, law, medicine
and pharmacy, devote most of their time to graduate and professional instruction,
and only faculty in dentistry, medicine and pharmacy engage in an appreciable
amount of clinical instruction.
"The differences among the colleges suggest that any global characterization
of teaching at the University of Iowa, or at either of its two sister schools,
will miss important differences in the missions and cultures of the colleges
that constitute these universities," Wasserman noted.
The questionnaire was sent to 1,761 faculty members in November 1997.
Over three-fourths of the faculty completed and returned the 20-item questionnaire,
which asked them to document their teaching activities during the spring
semester of 1997.