UVa Seal

Policy: Academic Faculty Roles and Responsibilities 

Date: 08/19/09 Policy ID: PROV-004 Status: Final

Policy Type: Executive Vice President & Provost
Contact Office: Executive Vice President and Provost (Office of the)
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To: Academic faculty (tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track).
Table of Contents: 

Policy Statement
Teaching Responsibilities

Reason for Policy: Defines the typical roles and responsibilities expected of academic faculty.
Policy Summary: 
Definition of Terms in Statement: 
Policy Statement:  Tenured and tenure-track faculty members' time is typically spent on:
  • Scheduled classroom instruction;
  • Research and scholarship, which may include individual direction of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students;
  • Clinical responsibilities; and
  • Departmental and other professional activities, including contributing to the governance of the University.

Academic non-tenure-track faculty members' responsibilities normally involve a range of activities that do not encompass the full scope expected from traditional tenure-track academic positions (e.g., an extraordinarily high obligation to research with minimal classroom instruction; or major responsibilities for teaching and/or clinical practice without research obligations).

Teaching Responsibilities:
The scheduled teaching load of individual faculty members varies in accordance with the work being done by that faculty member. Departmental chairs and deans have the authority to set such loads.

Faculty members with teaching or advising responsibilities are expected to maintain scheduled office hours that are sufficient to accommodate students who want consultation. Faculty members with teaching responsibilities must publish a syllabus for each course they teach and disseminate it to students no later than the first day of classes in each term; faculty members are expected to abide by their published syllabus. Changes to the syllabus after the start of the academic terms should be communicated to students in writing (usually via e-mail or distribution of a revised syllabus).

Faculty who anticipate a lengthy absence from the classroom (e.g., more than one week) must consult with their chair and dean prior to the absence regarding reasons for the absence and arrangements for covering their responsibilities. When a faculty member is unable to meet a class, arrangements must be made for alternative coverage, or the class must be rescheduled.

Faculty members teaching undergraduate courses who schedule mandatory sessions outside the regularly scheduled class meeting time (for example, to administer tests in a different classroom or to schedule visiting experts or guest speakers) should, whenever possible, schedule the dates and times of these sessions at the beginning of the term in SIS and include them in the course syllabus. If the additional sessions are not scheduled in SIS and listed on the course syllabus, faculty members must make alternative arrangements to accommodate students who are unable to attend. Mandatory additional sessions must be scheduled within the term (i.e., on or after the first day of classes and preferably before or on the last day of classes); mandatory sessions may not be scheduled on reading days. Mandatory sessions scheduled during the exam period may not take precedence over students’ regularly scheduled exam periods as published on the website of the University Registrar. These provisions do not restrict the University from changing the academic calendar during a term in which extraordinary circumstances disrupt the University’s normal operating schedule.


Faculty members who wish to schedule additional mandatory sessions related to their undergraduate courses should contact the administrator responsible for class scheduling in their department to discuss the option that best fits their course needs. Whenever possible, additional sessions should be scheduled in SIS at the beginning of the term in order to reserve classroom space. Classroom space may be reserved in SIS regularly throughout the semester (every week or every other week), several times throughout the semester, or once. Departmental SIS administrators who have questions about scheduling additional special sessions for undergraduate courses should contact UREG at rooms@virginia.edu.

Related Information: 

Consulting and Internal Overload
Grading Practices

Policy Background: 
Major Category: Executive Vice President & Provost Policies
Category Cross Reference: 
Next Scheduled Review: 08/19/17
Approved By, Date: Executive Vice President and Provost, 08/19/09
Revision History: Updated 11/4/14.
Supersedes (previous policy):  Policy On Faculty Workload.