Department head leadership and the use of faculty credit hours as a measure of faculty workload


Background: Over the last decade, several factors have placed faculty workloads in higher education under scrutiny. Improvements in technology and increases in the numbers of participants in higher education have lead to increased costs, which have largely been absorbed by the taxpayer. The increase in the diversity among students attending college has brought to the forefront the need for change in instructional methods. Department leaders have made attempts to adapt to these changing conditions. Aims: The purpose of this study was to determine if faculty credit load assignments were an accurate measurement of faculty work loads. The study also identified management techniques of department heads at a private university and determined if these techniques are reflective of leadership used in a learning organization. Sample: The sample consisted of 95 full time faculty and 10 department heads. Method: Faculty work logs were used to collect data on the number of hours full time faculty were working and faculty credit hour assignment cards were collected to determine the load assigned to the faculty member by the University. An interview for each department head was conducted to determine department leadership strategies. Results: While no significant correlations were discovered between the number of faculty credit hours on faculty credit assignment cards and hours logged by faculty members in the area of total time, time spent in teaching related activities, time spent in administrative activities and time spent in advising activities, a weak positive correlation was shown with total time logged and time in teaching related activities. Conclusion: The qualitative data provided insight on the leadership practices of department heads within the University. Department heads described circumstances in which flexibility and experimentation were practiced during the assignment of faculty work (Yukl, 2002). Moreover, department heads described leadership practices that allowed for bringing in outside knowledge (Yukl) and single and double loop learning Morgan (1997).


Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education

Document Type



Administration, Faculty, Workload

Publication Date


Journal Title

New Horizons in Education