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Research, Writing, and Resources from Project Leaders

Culpepper, D., Misra, J., O’Meara, K. & Jaeger, A.J. (2022). Addressing workload equity: Seven strategies for department chairs. The Department Chair.

For decades, national surveys have shown faculty report high levels of dissatisfaction with the distribution of labor in their departments, especially women and underrepresented minority faculty. Research suggests this dissatisfaction is warranted, as these groups are often engaged in more service, mentoring, and institutional housekeeping than their peers. Despite the ample work revealing workload inequities and their consequences, few studies have examined the backdrop of conditions and practices within which workload is perceived as more or less fair, especially within departments. Drawing on survey data from 30 academic departments in Maryland, North Carolina, and Massachusetts, we empirically test three propositions about the conditions under which faculty experience their department workloads as equitable. We found departments where faculty reported equitable work conditions and practices (e.g., transparency, clarity, rotations of time-intensive roles) were significantly more likely than departments where faculty did not report these conditions and practices to report satisfaction with workload distribution, and satisfaction with teaching and service activities. Department work practices and conditions had a small or insignificant effect on faculty intent to leave. Interestingly, faculty confidence in the ability to enact these practices and conditions, which we termed action readiness, was not predictive of faculty satisfaction with workload distribution or teaching and service activities. We outline implications for academic leaders seeking to make academic workloads more transparent and equitable, and for future research.

O'Meara, K., Lennartz, C., Kuvaeva, A., Jaeger, A., Misra, J. (2019). Department Conditions and Practices Associated with Faculty Workload Satisfaction and Perceptions of Equity. The Journal of Higher Education, 744-772.

O'Meara, K., Culpepper, D., Misra, J. & Jaeger, A. (2021). Equity-Minded Faculty Workloads: What We Can and Should Do Now. American Council on Education.

O’Meara, K., Beise, E., Culpepper, D., Misra, J., & Jaeger, A.J. (2020). Faculty work activity dashboards: A strategy to increase transparency Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning.

Misra, J., Kuvaeva, A., Jaeger, A., Culpepper, D., & O’Meara, K. (2021). Female faculty of color do extra diversity work for no extra reward – here’s how to fix that. The Conversation.

Misra, J., Kuvaeva, A., O’Meara, K., Culpepper, D., & Jaeger, A.J. (2021). Gender, race, and faculty work inequities. Gender & Society Blog.

Faculty workload inequities have important consequences for faculty diversity and inclusion. On average, women faculty spend more time engaging in service, teaching, and mentoring, while men, on average, spend more time on research, with women of color facing particularly high workload burdens. We explore how faculty members perceive workload in their departments, identifying mechanisms that can help shape their perceptions of greater equity and fairness. White women perceive that their departments have less equitable workloads and are less committed to workload equity than white men. Women of color perceive that their departments are less likely to credit their important work through departmental rewards systems than white men. Workload transparency and clarity, and consistent approaches to assigning classes, advising, and service, can reduce women’s perceptions of inequitable and unfair workloads. Our research suggests that departments can identify and put in place a number of key practices around workload that will improve gendered and racialized perceptions of workload.

Misra, J., Kuvaeva, A., O’Meara, K., Culpepper, D. K., & Jaeger, A. (2021). Gendered and racialized perceptions of faculty workloads. Gender & Society, 35(3), 358-394.

Webinar: (2020). Intractable Challenges in Faculty Workload. .

Youtube Video: (2019). Making Faculty Workload Equitable .

O’Meara, K., Misra, J., Jaeger, A.J., & Culpepper, D. (2019). Needed: Allies for equitable faculty workloads. Inside Higher Ed.

O’Meara, K. (2018, May). The Hallway Ask. Inside Higher Ed.

Faculty members experience a gap between how they would prefer to spend their work time and how they actually do so. In this article we report results from a four-week workshop called “The Terrapin Time Initiative.” It was guided by theories of behavioral economics and behavioral design, which suggest that small changes to the context, or “choice architecture,” in which individuals make choices can enhance decision-making. Results indicate that the workshop was effective in changing the “choice architecture” in which faculty made decisions about their time-use, thereby helping them to develop new strategies for managing their time.

Culpepper, D., Kilmer, S., O’Meara, K., Misra, J., & Jaeger, A.J. (2020). The Terrapin Time Initiative: A workshop to enhance alignment between faculty work priorities and time use Innovative Higher Education, 165-179.

We conducted a randomized control study to improve equity in how work is taken up, assigned and rewarded in academic departments. We used a four-part intervention targeting routine work practices, department conditions, and the readiness of faculty to intervene to shape more equitable outcomes over an 18-month period. Our goal was to (a) increase the number of routine work practices that department faculty could enact to ensure equity, (b) enhance conditions within the department known to positively enhance equity, and (c) improve the action readiness of department faculty to ensure equity in division of labor. Post intervention faculty in participating departments were more likely than before the intervention to report work practices and conditions that support equity and action readiness in their department, and that teaching and service work in their department is fair. Participating departments were significantly more likely than control departments to report practices and conditions that support equity and greater action readiness to address issues of workload equity in their department. Finally, participating department faculty were more likely than control department faculty to report increased self-advocacy and were more likely than control department faculty to report that the distribution of teaching and service work in their department is fair.

O’Meara, K., Jaeger, A., Misra, J. Lennartz, C. & Kuvaeva, A. (2018). Undoing disparities in faculty workloads: A randomized trial experiment. PloS One.

O’Meara, K. (2018). Undoing the Can of Worms. Inside Higher Ed.

O'Meara, K., Beise, E., Culpepper, D., Misra, J., & Jaeger, A.J. (2021). Workload considerations in academic program review: An opportunity to advance equity. University of Maryland.