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Full-time faculty increase course load

Effective academic year 2013-2014, full-time faculty members will be teaching one more course within their current course load. This will equate to a 24 credit per nine-month load. Otherwise known as a standard 4-4 teaching schedule, the additional course aims to place more full-time faculty members in the classroom. Full-time faculty members currently teach on a 4-3 load, with four courses in the spring and three in the fall. Aside from teaching students, faculty are required to conduct research, publish works, participate on committees as well as advise students.
Teaching an additional course creates more work for faculty members: yes. But Dr. Kenton Sparks, Interim Provost, is confident that the change will raise Eastern’s quality of education. Sparks denotes the change occurred from general trends in higher education, a measure to control costs, and more importantly to raise academic standards. Currently twenty-two universities comparable to Eastern use a 4-4 course load. Sparks says, “Benchmarking accordingly will enhance Eastern’s strategic position.”
In order to place more full-time faculty in the classroom, the direct repercussion of the 4-4 change will decrease the number courses taught by adjuncts. Though Eastern is not a research institution, the change has faculty members questioning the effect an additional course will have on research. “For those who are doing research, the 4-4 change will have no effect on how much research we do.”
Because of the increase in course load, students will notice more class sections becoming available. The change is causing the university to explore the usage of hybrid courses, which will add more flexibility to faculty and students’ schedules. Blended learning courses present an equal amount of work for faculty as well as accommodating students who cannot come to traditional classes.
According to Sparks, Eastern’s learning environment will experience a “better academic quality because while faculty is doing more, you have a full-time professor teaching more students.”

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