How university faculty spend their time, and whether they feel their workload is fair compared to their colleagues, shapes faculty retention, productivity, advancement and satisfaction. In some cases, faculty actually do more than their fair share of the department’s workload. In other cases, faculty just think they are engaged in more work because colleagues’ workload is not transparent. Research shows that women and underrepresented minority faculty engage in disproportionate amounts of teaching, mentoring, and service work, relative to peers and controlling for discipline and rank. Yet interventions aimed and mitigating bias and designing fair workload requires first understanding how faculty work is taken up, assigned, and rewarded.

The Faculty Workload and Rewards Project is an action research project for STEM and Social Science departments, funded by the National Science Foundation (ADVANCE-IHE PLAN: 1463898). The goal of the project is to improve organizational policies and practices that shape equity in workload for all faculty, including women and underrepresented minority faculty. Participating departments took part in a pre- and post-test survey, four project activities, and crafted department policies and practices to implement at the conclusion of the project.