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Chapter 3
Faculty Responsibilities

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Other Responsibilities

Commencement and Matriculation

Full-time faculty members have a duty to attend the commencement and matriculation exercises of the school(s) in which they teach. Faculty members are asked to wear their appropriate academic regalia for the occasion. Faculty members should report to their department chairs if they are unable to meet their responsibility to participate in commencement and matriculation.

Annual Submission of Faculty Information

In the spring semester of each year, faculty members are required to report their professional activities and accomplishments to their department chairs, including, but not limited to, current information on teaching and advising, scholarship, and service. This information is used as a part of the annual merit review. Faculty members in Arts and Sciences who fail to submit their information are ineligible for a merit raise.

School and University Accreditation

Compliance with external accreditation boards is a crucial part of everyone's responsibilities in an academic setting. Faculty members are expected to respond in a timely manner to accreditation-related requests from their department chairs, program directors, or other university personnel. Examples of frequently requested materials include but are not limited to a curriculum vitae in a specified format, course syllabi in a specified format, and relevant outcome assessment and evaluation data.

Working with One Another

Tufts University strongly believes that members of the community should treat one another with dignity and respect. These principles are embodied in the university policy "Working with One Another."

Outside Professional Activities

The principal professional commitment of full-time faculty members is to the university. It is recognized that the university-related education, research, service, and activities are such that it is neither feasible nor desirable to attempt to establish narrow time and location regulations on how faculty members fulfill these responsibilities.

It is both appropriate and desirable that faculty members be involved in professional and other outside activities, in the practice of their profession, in consulting, guest lecturing at other institutions, and serving in professional and community organizations. Such activities extend the faculty member's professional competence, enrich the teaching he or she can provide at Tufts, and contribute to the advancement of the profession.

The university encourages outside professional activity on the part of faculty members when it furthers their professional development, especially when it enhances their teaching and research capabilities. It is expected, however, that faculty members will arrange any external activities in which they may engage so as not to interfere with their primary commitment.

Faculty members must obtain the approval of the dean of the school before engaging in any significant outside professional activity. Activities may be significant even though they involve comparatively little time. A single guest lecture or a one-time consulting visit would not normally be considered significant, but a lecture series or an ongoing consulting relationship would be. Where there is disagreement about the propriety of an activity, the school dean and the faculty members involved shall make their best efforts to arrive at a resolution consistent with the mission of the school. The school dean will make the final decision.

Faculty members should not take on substantial teaching or other commitments in another educational institution. Exceptions would include guest lecturing, participating in invited seminars, and similar activities.

Faculty members should not engage in external activities that are inconsistent with good professional practice; that impose restrictions on the freedom to publish university-based work; or that involve any significant use of university facilities, materials, services, personnel, or restricted university information without specific advance written permission from the university and, where needed, appropriate compensation.

During the academic year, no more than 20 percent of one's total professional effort during normal working hours of a five-day week may be directed to outside work. The intent of this guideline is to avoid situations in which the time or creative energy a faculty member devotes to extramural activities compromises the amount or quality of his/her participation in the instructional, scholarly, or administrative work of the university.

A faculty member who has applied for and been granted a sabbatical, or any other research leave funded by the school, is not to receive salary compensation for services in another institution or organization. This does not preclude fellowships or other grants-in-aid for advanced study.

The guidelines in this Handbook are provided to assist individual faculty members and senior academic administrators in identifying possible problems. These guidelines apply to full-time faculty members and pertain to the period of their university contracts (nine-month, twelve-month, or other). If part-time faculty members fulfill their obligations to the university and if their activities do not conflict with university policies, then the way in which they spend the balance of their time is not a proper concern of the university.

In addition to possible conflicts of commitment, addressed above, faculty members may not engage in activities that pose an actual or potential conflict of interest with the faculty member's responsibilities to Tufts University. Faculty members in the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering should consult the "Conflict of Interest Policy."

All faculty members at Tufts University are bound by university policies, many of which are listed in the appendix.

Examples of Outside Professional Activities

The following activities are examples consistent with these guidelines.

  • Acceptance of royalties for published scholarly works or other writings, or of honoraria for commissioned papers and occasional lectures
  • Service on committees or boards of organizations, public or private, that does not conflict with university obligations. This includes professional organizations that are discipline-based. The payment of honoraria or reimbursement for expenses in these cases would not be an issue.
  • Consulting with outside organizations or clients that does not conflict with obligations to the university or the practice or policy restrictions of the school

The following activities need to be examined case by case.

  • Service as a principal consultant or director of an outside concern
  • Service as a consultant to a firm that in turn sponsors the faculty member's work, or related work, at the university
  • Relationships that might enable (or appear to enable) the faculty member to influence the university's dealings with an outside organization in ways leading to personal gain or to other conflicts of interest
  • Activities that appear to conflict with university policies governing research funded by an external agency and with funds administered by the university
  • Activities that directly or indirectly involve students in anything other than their normal academic pursuits

The following activities are probably unacceptable.

  • Service involving executive responsibility for an outside concern working in areas related to the faculty member's professional activities
  • Situations in which research or service activity that could and ordinarily would be carried on with the university is conducted elsewhere to the disadvantage of the university and its legitimate interests
  • Any outside activity that involves a level of commitment, dedication, or time that prejudices the individual's primary responsibility to the university

School of Engineering Policy Workload Expectations in Tenure-Track Faculty Positions

Draft – December 1, 2006
Revised December 21, 2006
Implemented Fall 2007


In pursuit of its aspirations, the Tufts School of Engineering seeks to foster a collaborative and supportive working environment for its faculty. The School values and strives for excellence in three general areas: teaching, research, and service. However, it recognizes that the level of contribution in each of these areas may vary, both among individuals and over time within a faculty member's career. Historically, at Tufts, a faculty member's responsibilities were defined at the Department level, typically in terms of course load and departmental service expectations.

Over the past few years, the School's goal of attaining leadership in interdisciplinary graduate education and research has led to an increase in faculty participation in graduate student mentoring and sponsored research. These changing faculty roles and the need to be more competitive in faculty recruitment have created the need for a more flexible and broader definition of faculty responsibilities. In addition, a survey of existing practices revealed some inconsistencies in expectations across departments. Thus, it is an appropriate time for the School to re-evaluate its traditional workload policies for tenure-track faculty.

The next section outlines a new policy for workload expectations of the tenure-track faculty. It was motivated by an effort to articulate and standardize the expectations of faculty across the School. This policy was developed in close collaboration with SOE department chairs and represents a consensus policy that will be implemented in fall 2007. In developing this policy, an effort was made to acknowledge faculty contributions in all areas, to ensure fairness in the distribution of responsibilities, to maintain faculty participation in education at the undergraduate level, and to provide flexibility to the Department Chairs in the implementation of this policy.

Workload Expectations Policy Outline

  1. The nominal course load for all tenure-track faculty members will be set at 3 courses/academic year.
  2. All faculty members will teach at least one undergraduate level class per year in their total.
  3. Generally, courses contributing to this load will be 1 credit and have a minimum enrollment of 6 students. At the Chair's discretion, under-enrolled, half credit, or team taught classes may be counted toward this three course total.
  4. The expectation of faculty members who are teaching three courses per year is that they meet all of the following criteria (based upon a three year moving average):

    1. Average at least 2 refereed journal publications/yr (in some fields, conference papers may be counted); submitted patents may also be used towards this total
    2. Fully fund (full stipend and partial tuition) at least two full-time graduate students per year through external support (this will typically be through research assistantships, but full external fellowships – such as NSF, industry, or foreign university supported - are acceptable).1 Tufts fellowships and TA support will not count towards this criterion.
    3. Advise/mentor at least 4 graduate students, of whom two must be thesis students.
  5. All Assistant Professors will have a reduced teaching load (2 courses in their first year). This course load reduction may be extended to the second year at the Department Chair's discretion. In subsequent years prior to the tenure decision, all Assistant Professors will be assigned a teaching load of three courses per year. This load will also apply to all untenured tenure track faculty, who have been hired at the Associate and Full Professor level.
  6. Tenured faculty members who do not meet the criteria specified in part (4) will be expected to teach an additional undergraduate or 100 level course each year.
  7. Faculty members with large graduate student mentoring responsibilities and large funded research programs will be offered the opportunity to teach one less course per year through 15% offset (course release) of their academic year salary. A dollar amount equivalent to this offset will be placed in the Department budget, to facilitate hiring of adjuncts or lecturers to teach the class, with the remaining resources to be discretionary to the Chair.
  8. All full-time tenure-track faculty members will teach at least 2 courses per academic year (unless on approved sabbatical, junior faculty leave, or unpaid leave of absence).
  9. All tenure track faculty members will be expected to engage in regular advising of undergraduate students and provide service on an average of two Department, School, or University committees.
  10. For those faculty members engaged in extraordinary service, their nominal course load will be reduced by one course per year. This applies to Associate Deans, members of the Tenure and Promotion and AS&E Executive Committees, and Department Chairs.
  11. All holders of endowed Chairs, Senior Faculty Fellow, and SOE Interdisciplinary Center Director positions are expected to assume leadership roles in the School and would normally also have a reduced teaching load (2 courses/year), as prescribed in their appointment letters.
  12. Tenured faculty members who do not carry an average service load, as described above in item 9, may be assigned additional duties or special projects by their Department Chair.
  13. At his/her discretion, the Department Chair may grant one course release to a faculty member for unusual activities in curriculum development. 
  14. Salary increases will continue to be based on merit. Extraordinary performance in all three areas – teaching, research, and service – will be rewarded.

1 Note that all industry or foreign university fellowships must be consistent with School of Engineering and University guidelines and carry an agreed portion of the tuition.