Adjunct Faculty Workload Policy

Adjunct Faculty Workload Policy


Excelsior University places a premium on recruiting, hiring, and retaining highly qualified instructional faculty to serve its students. Crucial to Excelsior’s mission is the need to appoint faculty who are dedicated to student success, who are knowledgeable and current in their fields, and who have the skills and talent to engage students in learning. To fulfill this mission, Excelsior depends on hundreds of adjunct faculty to deliver a large number of graduate and undergraduate courses per year.

Excelsior places a limit on the number of hours an adjunct faculty member may teach for Excelsior within a calendar year.

  • To ensure the academic quality of its courses, Excelsior must set reasonable limitations on the number of courses an adjunct faculty member may teach in a given term or year.
  • Excelsior must demonstrate to outside accrediting bodies that its policy on adjunct course limitations is both reasonable and strictly enforced.

The maximum teaching load, based on 45 hours per course credit*, for adjunct faculty is as follows:

  • 1950 hours or approximately fourteen (14) 3-credit course sections per calendar year.
  • No more than 9 credits may be taught by any adjunct faculty member at one time.

Note: These may vary at the discretion of the Dean for sections with low enrollment and independent studies with lower workloads. In addition, time spent on course development and revisions as a subject matter expert (SME) will count toward the 1950 pool of hours.


The Faculty Management System (FMS) has been programmed to apply this policy. Adjunct instructors who go over the limit stated by this policy will not be eligible to teach until the following calendar year unless approved by the vice-provost.

The following guidelines will be used by the FMS to calculate the number of hours that the faculty member has taught depending on the number of credits.

Course Length Hours worked for each credit taught Example based on 3-credit courses
15- and 8-week term 45 hours per 3 credits x 45 hours = 135 hours taught

Exceptions to the policy

Exceptions to this policy will be made only with the approval of the vice-provost and may be made only on rare occasions and according to the following specific criteria:

a. A compelling student need for an additional section
b. A compelling program need to staff course sections
c. Emergency situations due to faculty absences from the course, etc.

For current staff/full time faculty who teach courses or develop courses at Excelsior University, please see policy entitled: Staff Serving as Instructional Faculty, Course Developers and Clinical Faculty.

*45 hours per course credit based on the Carnegie Unit