Alexander Woo asks:

Any discussions about putting teaching loads back at 5 a year?

1) No. Or at least I have heard zero discussion of this issue. Anyone else?

2) This would not save meaningful amounts of money because the College would still need to pay all its current faculty. One might argue that this would reduce the need for visiting professors but a) those have already been cut to the bone and b) the remaining ones are driven by sabbaticals/leaves in smaller departments.

3) I would like to see more of a focus on teaching at Williams and less on research. Increasing teaching loads is one way to achieve that. But there are probably better ways to go. Summary: Change the measure of faculty work from the class to the student. Instead of being required to teach 4 or 5 classes, professors ought to be required to have a meaningful intellectual relationship with 40 students per semester. Yet that is a rant for another day.

4) Wouldn’t the faculty go nuts if the Administration/Trustees ever suggested this?

5) Background from the Record here and here. Great to have the Record archives back on-line!

Williams professors will teach a lighter courseload beginning in the fall of 2002 due to a workload reallocation plan currently being developed by the department chairs and the dean of the faculty. The plan, which is intended to help Williams compete more effectively in the market for new faculty, is the result of a study performed by the faculty Steering Committee (SC) that suggested that it would be in the College’s best interests to reduce faculty workloads.

The current teaching load follows a 3-0-2/2-1-2 calendar, meaning that each professor teaches two courses each semester with one three-course semester and one Winter Study course in alternating years. The department chairs met on Nov. 8 to discuss ways to reduce faculty workloads, whether by having faculty teach fewer courses or through other adjustments.

Tom Wintner, associate dean of the faculty, said that the majority of the departments will reduce faculty course loads by eliminating the three-course semester. The Winter Study requirement will be maintained by most departments under the new system.

By the way, “compete more effectively in the market for new faculty” is 90% lie and 10% truth. The vast majority of professors that Williams has hired since this change would have come to Williams even if the course reduction had not happened. Always remember: Williams is run by the faculty. When they want X, you are likely to see X unless someone more powerful stops them.

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