The National Science Foundation (NSF) has funded a three-year experiment to analyze faculty workload in STEM and social sciences departments throughout the University of Maryland System to determine if work is being distributed fairly.

KerryAnn O’Meara, primary investigator for the grant, says past NSF-funded research shows women and underrepresented minorities often do more campus service and advising than other faculty of similar discipline and rank. As a result, they’re unhappy with the amount of time left for research.

Workload dissatisfaction is one of the main reasons for faculty departures, says O’Meara, a professor of higher education and director of UMD’s ADVANCE program, which supports research and scholarship by women at the university.

The project will establish computerized “dashboards” that faculty and administrators can view to monitor balances of teaching, service and research and potentially use to distribute work equitably. UMD’s grant also funds similar research in the Massachusetts and North Carolina state systems.

Workload transparency brings a wide range of benefits, from greater equity within departments to a better idea of what the universities contribute to their states, O’Meara says.

“This is a way to increase fairness, so women and underrepresented faculty aren’t doing more service than everybody else,” she says. “It also allows us to create efficiencies by examining total activity to see if there are things we don’t need to be doing. And it gives us a way to describe to the public and legislators what we’re doing as a university and why.”