Fewer teaching hours for academic staff at FASoS

Fewer teaching hours for academic staff at FASoS

Measure should reduce workload for staff

26-04-2023 · News

MAASTRICHT. Academic staff at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) will spend five per cent fewer hours on teaching from the coming academic year. The time that becomes available – about 82 hours per academic year for a full-time assistant professor – can be used for other tasks, such as research. Dean Christine Neuhold made this announcement during a faculty council meeting last week.

The measure is possible due to the ‘sector plans’: a structural government investment of 200 million per year, intended for extra jobs and more permanent positions at universities. With the amount that FASoS is receiving, the faculty wants to recruit about ten new assistant professors during this and next year. “Those people will teach, but the total number of education hours at the faculty will remain the same,” Neuhold explains. “That means others can spend less time teaching.”

Giving everyone the same ‘reduction’ of teaching hours, seemed like the most practical as well as desirable option for the faculty board. “After all, the sector plans are also intended for a reduction of the workload. We want everyone to get a share in it.” An alternative that was on the table, consisted of creating more options for ‘teaching sabbaticals’. “That sounds useful, but it actually leads to a greater workload for other staff,” says Neuhold. “Other lecturers need to take over teaching tasks and it leads to more administrative work. The present solution is relatively easy to introduce and yields something for everyone.”

In the faculty council, the measure was – literally – received with cheering by the academic staff members. “A very welcome development,” “a gift”, and “I can’t imagine anybody being against this”, they said. “This may not sound very interesting to you, but you will be getting happier lecturers standing before you,” they assured the student members present.

The reduction will already apply to teaching hours of the next academic year, which will be allocated from next month. “So, lecturers cannot skip teaching tasks this academic year yet,” Neuhold assures. Also, for now no formal changes will be made to the present contracts. “Because this would provide an additional workload for HR, and that is exactly what we want to prevent.”

Photo: Shutterstock

Categories: News, news_top
Tags: teaching,workload,education,solverhours,fasos,sector plans,researchers

Responses

Prof. Dr. med. Harald H.H.W. Schmidt

How about we

1) reduce the teaching hours depending on one's research activity? There are different levels of being "research-active" and coordinating a Horizon Europe consortium (a desired activity, I suppose), for example, and at the same time having 50% teaching labeling is not doable within a 40 h work week. When I came to Maastricht in 2010, it was 70% research / 30% teaching, which is still way above the teaching load I experienced in Germany and Australia.

2) Another element is how many teaching hours one allocates to 1 FTE, e.g., considering admin tasks, preparation, and keeping up-to-date with the recent teaching-relevant development in a field. Just counting contact hours or a derivative thereof is bound to underestimate the true workload of cutting-edge teaching.

3) Evaluate the workload of admin-only teaching staff. How does this compare to the workload of Academic staff that actually delivers the teaching plus has still admin tasks remaining?

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