Instructional Faculty Workload Policy


Excelsior College places a premium on recruiting, hiring, and retaining highly qualified instructional faculty to serve its students. Crucial to the College’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 and growing number of graduate and undergraduate courses per year.

To manage this growth in a thoughtful and deliberate way, Excelsior places a necessary limit on the number of courses an adjunct faculty member may teach for the College within a calendar year. As it continues to grow, the College must carefully monitor and enforce the instructional faculty workload policy. There are compelling reasons for this:

  • There are legitimate concerns that adjunct faculty may be taken advantage of if they are teaching an excess number of courses. Excelsior College joins the ranks of most colleges and universities across the country in placing a strict limit on its adjunct workload to prevent even the perception that it is taking advantage of its adjunct faculty.
  • 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.
  • Since Excelsior currently depends on nearly 100 percent of its courses being taught by adjunct faculty members, the College 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 3-credit courses, for adjunct faculty is dependent on the course length and is as follows:

  • 14 course sections per calendar year for 15-week courses
  • 16 course sections per calendar year for 8-week courses

No more than 3 course sections may be taught by any faculty member at one time.

Note: These limits will vary somewhat for those teaching two- or four-credit courses, for those teaching tutorials with just one or two students, and so on. Program directors and/or associate deans in the schools will follow specific guidelines (below) to determine the limits for these courses.

There are basic principles that guide the instructional faculty workload policy:

  • Students and faculty must have a quality teaching and learning experience.
  • Adjunct faculty are meeting expectations for substantial and constructive interaction as stipulated in the Faculty Handbook.
  • Those who oversee the adjunct faculty are provided with a clear and reasonable policy to accomplish their work.
  • Adjunct faculty are treated fairly and ethically to ensure that faculty feel that Excelsior College is a preferred place to teach.
  • The College is in compliance with labor laws and the College’s benefits plan.


The Student Information System (SIS) has been programmed to apply this policy. Adjunct instructors who go over the limit stated by this policy will not be available for teaching until the following calendar year.

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

Course LengthTime worked for each credit taught by weekExample based on 3-credit courses
15-week term3 hours/week3 credits x 15 weeks x 3 hours = 135 hours taught
8-week term5 hours/week3 credits x 8 weeks x 5 hours = 120 hours taught

Exceptions to the policy

Exceptions to the course load policy will be made only with the approval of the 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. A highly qualified instructor who demonstrates the capacity on occasion to handle a larger-than-normal workload
d. Emergency situations due to faculty absences from the course, etc.