Factors influencing faculty perceptions of teaching workload

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Background: Teaching workloads are often not clearly defined at academic institutions. Within health professional programs, the existence of both didactic and experiential teaching assignments make equitable distribution of teaching workloads more complex. Several reports in the literature have described the development of workload allocation formulas that have been predicted to improve faculty perceptions of fairness. Additional factors such as faculty shortage and lack of teaching support can influence faculty perceptions of workload. Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between the presence of workload measurement and allocation formulas and faculty satisfaction with workload. A secondary objective was to investigate the influence of several factors such as teaching support on workload dissatisfaction. Methods: Upper level administrators at six schools of pharmacy were interviewed in order to identify variables associated with workload assignments. This information was incorporated into a survey instrument to access faculty perceptions of teaching workload, and a link to the survey was sent via email to 690 faculty members at 12 pharmacy schools, with a request for their participation. Results: The survey response rate was 43%. Conclusions: The presence of workload measurement and workload allocation formulas were indicated by 37% and 14% of the respondents, respectively. The ability to participate in teaching schedule development appeared to improve workload satisfaction, whereas the presence of a workload allocation formula appeared to improve workload satisfaction and perceptions of fairness. A shortage of teaching support was the major factor associated with teaching workload dissatisfaction. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

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