3(a). Delivery of Education
3.2 (sufficient faculty), 3.3 (faculty workload), 3.5 (resources aligned with objectives), 4.2 (future personnel needs), Question 1(human resources aligned with objectives) under Fiscal, Physical, and Information Resources (3)
As the campus considers how best to support excellence in meeting our core educational objectives in teaching and learning, we also face choices about how best to deploy our teaching resources within existing constraints to ensure educational effectiveness. Conventional wisdom has long proclaimed that tenure-track (ladder-rank) faculty members contribute the most to the reputation and learning climate of a university. Teaching is a core value of the campus, and our ladder-rank faculty members are integrally responsible for the delivery of education to both undergraduates and graduate students. Like other research universities, however, ladder faculty cannot, nor should they, teach all the classes offered on the Berkeley campus. If, for example, ladder faculty taught all classes, there would be no opportunity for graduate students to gain teaching experience in order to become effective faculty members in the future. Our priorities, then, are to maximize student exposure to ladder faculty within the constraints of our resources, while at the same time supporting and developing other instructors, including lecturers, post-docs, and graduate students, who play such a large role in student learning.
Statistical Profile of Faculty Course Loads
Consistent with most research universities, ladder faculty members share the teaching load with visiting and adjunct faculty, lecturers, emeriti and recalled faculty, graduate student instructors, and others with various academic/administrative titles. The campus is particularly fortunate to have a cadre of emeriti faculty dedicated to teaching; for example, 125 emeriti faculty were teaching in Fall 2001. The shared load helps to balance the need for fiscal responsibility, student interaction with faculty, and mentored opportunities for future professors to practice teaching. The next few paragraphs highlight a few of the statistics that can be found in more detail in the Required Data Elements (Appendix 1).
Each year, Berkeley typically offers approximately 1,700 lower division, 2,500 upper division, and 3,000 graduate primary courses, in addition to 5,400 independent study/thesis/dissertation courses, and 5,800 secondary sections (non-credit-bearing discussion and laboratory sections associated with primary courses). Primary courses are taught by approximately 1,470 ladder faculty, 200 visiting/adjuncts, 15 lecturers with security of employment, 600 lecturers, 100 emeriti or recalled faculty, 400 graduate students, and 400 others with mostly non-teaching (administrative) appointments. There are an additional 1,700 graduate students (and some advanced undergraduates) who direct secondary sections (discussion and lab courses) and 600 readers/graders and 400 tutors who provide additional support to the primary courses.
There has been a noticeable increase in the percentage of lower division primary courses taught by ladder faculty over the past decade (from 29% to 37%). Correspondingly, there has been a slight decrease in the percentage of upper division courses (60% to 56%) and graduate courses (73% to 70%) taught by ladder faculty. When one accounts for the size of the classes, ladder faculty members teach approximately 61% of the lower division and 64% of the upper division student credit hours.
Studies performed for UCOP in 1995 and Fall of 2001 analyzed lower division primary courses that were appropriate for non-ladder faculty to teach. These courses include introductory writing, foreign language, math, survey courses, English as a second language, and physical education. The studies indicated that of the 1,700 lower division courses, 1,200 courses fall into the categories listed above. Of the 1,200 courses, 23% were taught by ladder faculty. Of the remaining 500 lower division courses, 68% were taught by ladder faculty. For comparison, these percentages are among the highest in the UC system.
Similarly, the average number of primary courses taught by ladder faculty has increased from 3.25 (semester) courses in 1990-91 to 3.75 in 2000-01, and was as high as 3.94 in 1997-98. Berkeley has the highest ratio of courses taught by ladder faculty and the highest percentage of lower division courses taught by ladder faculty (37%) in the UC system. In 1999-00, the UC system-wide average was 4.9 (quarter) courses per ladder faculty compared to Berkeley's 5.75 (quarter) courses. System-wide, 25% of the lower division courses were taught by ladder faculty compared to Berkeley's 37%.
The statistics for Berkeley, however, should not mask areas of concern that we are trying to address. For example, the percent of courses taught by ladder faculty for individual departments range from 14% -100% for upper division courses and 5% -100% for lower division courses. Over 15 departments have less than 50% of their upper division courses taught by ladder faculty. Of particular concern are those courses that are either notably impacted (having students wait-listed because space or resources do not allow sufficient enrollment to meet demand) or are gateway courses (courses required by two or more departments to enter into or advance in the major). Currently, ladder faculty members teach 57% of the top 25 impacted courses, and 72% of the gateway courses. Since these courses can be major bottle-necks for students, significantly increasing time-to-degree for some who cannot get into them right away, the campus continues to explore solutions that lessen the restriction while maintaining the integrity of the education. A further area of concern is the increasing number of interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs which have no permanently budgeted ladder faculty. Faculty members from different disciplines share the teaching responsibilities for interdisciplinary programs. However, some programs are experiencing difficulty in attracting ladder faculty to teach their core courses. We are concerned that students in interdisciplinary programs might have less exposure to ladder faculty than we would like.
Context for Berkeley's Course Load Statistics
Behind the statistics on "who teaches what" lies a web of conditions and contextual factors that must be considered when contemplating change. Teaching workloads that vary by discipline and department, reductions in teaching loads for administrative and other special considerations, governance by different collective bargaining agreements, and rotating sabbatical leaves for faculty, all influence who is available to teach in any given semester. Who teaches tends to be determined ad hoc, driven by immediate teaching needs rather than by a coherent vision of education at Berkeley. Another factor impacting instruction by ladder-rank faculty has been the state's funding of the campus and other legislative initiatives. In 1990-91, the campus was, in part, funded on a weighted student-faculty ratio of 17.6 to one (more weight was attached for graduate instruction). The recession of the early to mid 1990s resulted in severe budget cutbacks and an increase in the budgeted student-faculty ratio to an unweighted ratio of 18.6 to one. The cutbacks in state funding also led to early retirement programs in 1991, 1993, and 1994. The combined Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Programs (VERIP) led to a loss of 27% of the total ladder faculty workforce between 1991 and 1994. Some departments lost over 50% of their ladder faculty. The total number of budgeted faculty full-time equivalent (FTE) did not equal the 1990-91 level until the 1999-2000 academic year; however, the 1999-2000 budgeted faculty FTE included significant increases in student FTE due to the elimination of weighted consideration for graduate versus undergraduate students.
Berkeley's state funding is tied primarily to enrollment growth and is based upon the UC system's marginal cost of instruction (currently at $9,000 per student FTE). The actual cost of instruction at Berkeley is much higher. This, combined with the limited state support provided for faculty start-up costs, restricts the number of ladder faculty that can be hired. New faculty members also may have reduced teaching loads in their early years.
In the early 1990s, the state legislature established an Initiative to Improve Undergraduate Education, which required UC campuses to increase the average number of courses taught per ladder faculty by one course every two years and to report annually to the legislature on progress in meeting the goals to improve undergraduate education. Berkeley has exceeded or been near this target every year since 1992-93.
Future Constraints Affecting Delivery of Instruction
Future constraints will add to the contextual factors as Berkeley moves forward in its instructional staffing plans. Projected enrollment increases will increase demand for faculty FTE. Between 1998-99 and 2010-11, the campus has been targeted for a 4,000 student-FTE increase with approximately 3,000 at the undergraduate level. As part of this growth, the state is providing support for year-round operations and allowing for growth in the Summer Session to count towards the enrollment increase. A joint Academic Senate/administration committee, the Task Force for the Regularization of Summer Sessions, will influence course offerings and faculty work cycles in addition to workloads, since most faculty currently teach in the Fall and Spring, and devote summers to research and preparation.
The campus is also anticipating an increase in the number of faculty retirements beginning in 2003-04 as faculty reach age 65. Again, proportions of faculty affected will differ across departments. A few departments could experience high faculty turnover rates.
The financial outlook for the state is not promising in the short term. As of this writing, the state is facing a shortfall of almost $24 billion. One option to address the shortfall is to borrow against future revenues. If this occurs, it will be more difficult to restore campus budgets to the desired or needed levels. Similarly, the campus is overenrolled by over 500 student FTEs and is not likely to receive additional funding for this. Even if the state restores its traditional funding for the campus, Berkeley still confronts a major shortage in space and facilities to accommodate the anticipated growth.
© Copyright 2002 The Regents of the University of California at Berkeley. All Rights Reserved.
To report problems with this website, please contact the webmaster.