Information about publishing recorded teaching hours from 2016-17

The following message was sent to UW–Madison faculty and instruction academic staff from the Office of the Provost on Dec. 21.

All Faculty and Instructional Academic Staff,

 This message pertains to individuals who served as faculty and instructional academic staff during the 2016-17 academic year.

 We want to make you aware that data about your for-credit recorded teaching in 2016-17 has been shared with the University of Wisconsin System as required by recent changes to state law made by Act 59. The changes require that by January 1, 2018, the Board of Regents implement a plan for monitoring teaching workloads of faculty and instructional academic staff, including requirements for individual faculty and instructional academic staff members to report the number of hours spent teaching to the system administration. Part of the implementation includes making available teaching hours of individual faculty and instructional academic staff members.

UW System plans to publish this data on its Accountability Dashboard  no later than January 1, 2018. Visitors to the website will be able to enter the name of an individual faculty or staff member and receive the following information:

  • Percent of annual FTE allocated to the instructional mission (“program 2”).
  • Annual Teaching Hours for Group Instruction (sum of the course credits for each group instruction section taught in fall 2016/spring 2017). For example, an instructor who taught one three credit course and one four credit course would have 7 credit hours for group instruction. Courses with variable credit (i.e. 3-4 credits) are counted at the maximum value.
  • Annual Teaching Hours for Individual Instruction (sum of the maximum credits for each individual instruction section taught). For example, an instructor who supervised a directed study course in which the student could have enrolled for 1-12 credits would have 12 credits of individual instruction.

Here are some key points to understand about the data:

  • The instructional mission of the university is very broad. While classroom group instruction and independent study/research credits are at the center of the instructional mission and are the most visible components, faculty and staff contribute to the instructional mission in many ways that are not captured in these metrics.
  • For example, this metric does not capture all instruction provided by clinical faculty who supervise medical, pharmacy, nursing, veterinary medicine, and law students. It also does not capture the work performed by instructional academic staff who provide support for student learning, for example through programs such as the Chemistry Learning Center and the Writing Center.
  • Individual teaching loads vary each semester for many reasons. UW-Madison’s educational workload policy is that on a campus-wide basis, faculty workload is expected to average two group classroom instruction sessions and two individual instruction sessions for each full-time equivalent instructional position. The policy recognizes that specific workloads will vary across schools/colleges, departments and individual instructors. It also sets criteria for making exceptions to normal instructional workload for individuals due to work performed in areas such as research, public service, administration.
  • Two other critical components of faculty work not measured by this metric are research and public service. The university’s research enterprise is valued at $1.6 billion per year, the sixth highest in the country. As state support for higher education has declined, it’s become more important for faculty to be entrepreneurial and successfully compete for research dollars.
  •  UW System has said (in keeping with additional provisions of Act 59) that future versions of the data will include time associated with other instructional activities such as mentoring and assisting students and preparing for class, research, scholarship, creative activities, and service to internal stakeholder groups and the community.

If you have questions about the data, please email

If you receive media inquiries, please contact  Meredith McGlone in University Communications for support in responding: or (608) 263-7523.