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Graduate Faculty Teaching Assignments

For universities and colleges across the country, scheduling courses and faculty to teach them has not been an easy task. Balancing needs of students and the courses they need, with the faculty who are available and experienced to teach them, was a cumbersome task until Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) created a way to make the process easy and headache free.

Like many other schools, over the years DUSON had developed a manual teaching assignment management process using a combination of institutional knowledge, faculty surveys and spreadsheets. Also like many other schools, the process was not efficient.  Administrators knew there must be a better way of handling this complicated and complex challenge.

After not finding course scheduling software available on the market, DUSON developers began working directly with the School’s academic operations staff, academic program directors and faculty to create, test and implement an easier-to-use platform. TAMS was born. 

TAMS is an integrated software platform that engages faculty, taking advantage of their experience and history in teaching specific courses, while automating the course scheduling process for one, or multiple semesters. In addition, TAMS creates real-time administrative reports to ensure faculty were not over, or under booked in teaching assignments.

What is TAMS?

TAMS manages faculty teaching preferences, course offerings and master schedules, and teaching workloads. Through algorithms developed specifically for higher education, TAMS adjusts to the complicated and complex processes associated with managing academic programs and teaching requirements.  

 “Like most colleges and universities, the course and faculty assignment process was difficult to manage and a source of frustration for everyone involved,” said Marion E. Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and Ruby Wilson Professor of Nursing, Duke University School of Nursing, Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs, Duke University, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for Nursing, Duke University Health System. “We didn’t see any product like TAMS on the market and took it upon ourselves to create software that not only met our needs, but we think will most likely meet the needs of many other schools and institutions around the country.”

Since the internal launch of TAMS in 2013, new features and functions have been identified and added to the system. These additions ensure increased flexibility and collaboration among users and implement dynamic, real-time administrative reports to DUSON senior leaders to ensure efficient and effective use of the School’s resources. TAMS has ultimately increased the School’s ability to satisfy the preferences expressed by faculty to record levels.

Learn more now. Visit

TAMS is easy to use and benefits administrators, senior leaders and faculty.

Administrators can take advantage of TAMS to make decision making easy and accurate, while building either a single semester, or an entire academic year. TAMS helps manage every aspect of the teaching assignment and course scheduling process as well as orchestrates the data, the workflow and the communication.

TAMS saves time… DUSON Administrators indicate that results show savings of time over antiquated manual processes that equates to real reduction of costs.

“We estimate TAMS has easily saved us tens of thousands of dollars a year by cutting in half the time it takes to make teaching assignments, while at the same time, increasing satisfaction among faculty by honoring their teaching preferences,” said David. S. Bowersox, DUSON associate dean for Finance and Administration. “In real time, TAMS allows us to see how assignments being made are impacting faculty who may be under-, or over-assigned. TAMS gives us very detailed reports to help ensure all of our courses and sections are fully covered.”

Safe and Secure

School leaders can be assured that TAMS is safe and secure. By establishing varying levels of access during the process, those who need access to data can have it while administrators retain overall control. The TAMS system integrates also all academic data systems.  A school’s data is loaded into TAMS and then used to create totally customized teaching assignment plans and reports. TAMS also increases accountability by preventing under scheduling or over scheduling of faculty and ensures that resources are being effectively and efficiently managed.

Faculty have enjoyed using TAMS because it allows their direct input for expressing teaching preferences and providing feedback regarding their availability and future commitments. TAMS optimizes the matching of experienced faculty who are willing to teach courses that students need. It also measures the level of success in meeting faculty teaching preferences against the final course schedule.

When using TAMS, administrators engage faculty directly to determine their course teaching preferences for one, or multiple semesters. Faculty can then indicate whether or not their availability to teach a course will be impacted by research obligations, or other personal or professional factors.

Start Using TAMS Today

TAMS is easily adapted to any school’s academic planning process. The onboarding process is supported by a team that will ensure clients are ready to start using TAMS as soon as possible. Our technical team works with the client school’s IT staff to make sure the appropriate data is properly loaded into TAMS while the operations team assists the client’s administrative staff to ensure they are fully-trained and ready to use the software.

TAMS can also be branded by the client institution. One of the many special features of TAMS allows a school’s logo and colors to be integrated into the display making TAMS appear more integrated into a client’s course scheduling system.

Since each school approaches the process of making faculty teaching assignments and scheduling courses differently, TAMS aligns to a client school’s needs by customizing data and the way data is labeled to meet school’s specific needs.

TAMS is now available to colleges and universities under a license agreement. Users will receive access to the TAMS platform, oversight of setting up the platform, training for faculty and staff as well as secure cloud hosting. For more information about TAMS, please visit 

History: First Issued: January 23, 2014.

Related Policies:
UNC POL 400.3.1.1 Teaching and Tenure in the University of North Carolina

UNC POL 400.3.1.1 [G] Guidelines on Teaching and Tenure
UNC POL 400.3.4 Monitoring Faculty Teaching Workloads
UNC POL 400.3.4 [R] Regulations Related to Monitoring Faculty Teaching Workloads
UNC POL 700.6.1 [R] Academic Integrity Regulations
NCSU REG 05.20.27 Statements of Mutual Expectations
NCSU REG 05.20.03 Annual Review of Faculty Members

Additional References:
NCSU POL 05.20.01 Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenure

NCSU REG 05.58.01 Additional Compensation
NCSU REG 05.20.34 Non-Tenure Track Faculty Ranks and Appointments
NCSU REG 05.20.24 Scholarly Reassignment for Faculty

Contact: Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (919-513-7741)


UNC POL 400.3.4 requires all UNC institutions to develop and implement policies and procedures to monitor faculty teaching loads and to approve significant variations from expected minimums. Policies must include the criteria and approval process for reductions in institutional load attendant to increased administrative responsibilities, externally-funded research, including course buy-outs, and additional institutional and departmental service obligations.

While the Board of Governors recognizes in this policy that “individual faculty teaching loads are best managed at the department and school level and not the system or state level,” they require all campuses to adopt a standard methodology for collecting data on teaching load, in order to ensure meaningful comparisons of faculty teaching load over time and across peers. For reporting purposes, the Board of Governors has selected the National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity known as the Delaware Study (see Section 4 of this Regulation.)

The purpose of this regulation is to define how North Carolina State University (NC State) will implement the Board of Governors’ policy in order to monitor faculty teaching loads and put in place processes for approving significant variations form expected minimum loads.


2.1. Teaching Workload: the portion of the faculty workload spent on direct instruction and instructional activities.

2.2 Course Overload: a workload assignment that exceeds the expected teaching load for the discipline/department or the teaching load defined in the faculty member’s Statement of Mutual Expectations; faculty may receive additional pay or alternative compensation (such as a subsequent course reduction) for overload assignments.

2.3 Course Reduction: a reduction in the faculty member’s normal instructional load to allow time for work on non-instructional activities.

2.4 Statement of Mutual Expectations: a written description of the appropriate mix of the individual faculty member’s realms of responsibility and the mutually agreed-upon expectations from both the faculty member and the department during the faculty member’s appointment as addressed in REG 05.20.27 – Statements of Mutual Expectations.


3.1. The duties that commonly constitute a faculty member’s workload fall under the six areas of faculty responsibility defined in NCSU POL 05.20.01 – Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Permanent Tenureand REG 05.20.34 – Non-Tenure Track Faculty Ranks and Appointments:

Teaching and Mentoring of Undergraduate and Graduate Students
Discovery of Knowledge through Discipline-Guided Inquiry
Creative Artistry and Literature
Technological and Managerial Innovation
Extension and Engagement with Constituencies outside the University
Service in Professional Societies and Service and Engagement within the University

3.2. The Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, in consultation with the Council of Deans, has established workload criteria for the university based on UNC POL 400.3.4, which defines an average instructional load for Research universities in the system of 4 courses (3-semester hours) per year for Research universities in the UNC system.

The Board of Governor’s UNC POL 4003.4 does not prescribe teaching workloads for individual faculty members; it defines a standard for Research universities compared to Doctoral, Master’s and Baccalaureate institutions in the system and presumes that a significant part of the workload for faculty at a Research university comprises research and scholarship as well as teaching responsibilities.

The instructional load for individual faculty members will vary from this average load depending on the nature of the faculty member’s appointment: e.g., responsibilities in teaching, research, extension/engagement, service and other responsibilities as set out in the Statement of Mutual Expectations. Teaching workload may also reflect the faculty member’s appointment type (tenure-track/non-tenure track or research/teaching/extension) as well as level of performance in teaching and other responsibilities.

3.3 UNC POL 400.3.4 identifies the following possible grounds for course reductions from the expected teaching load for research universities:  increased administrative responsibilities, externally-funded research- including course buy-outs-and additional institutional and departmental service obligations.

3.4. The Dean of each college, in consultation with the department heads/chairs/directors within the College, will establish criteria for expected workload for the departments and schools in the college, including justifications for overloads and course reductions.   Department and school teaching workload expectations may vary in relation to major responsibilities and overall assignment of duties, disciplinary standards, class sizes, contact hours, and accreditation requirements.  The Provost must approve college or department workload expectations which vary significantly from expected college minimum loads.

3.5. Each department or school will develop guidelines for teaching assignments, including how course reductions, overloads, courses for extra compensation, large classes, laboratory or studio sections, graduate student advising, multiple sections of the same course taught simultaneously in face-to-face and distance education formats, and other variations from standard course loads are factored into teaching load and reporting. The Dean must approve guidelines which vary significantly from expected department minimum loads.

3.6 The department head or chair of each department or director of each school is responsible for defining individual workload assignments for each member of the faculty consistent with university, college and department guidelines. These expectations must be incorporated into each faculty member’s Statement of Mutual Expectations.  The Dean must approve individual teaching assignments that vary significantly from expected department and college minimum loads.

3.7. For faculty holding a joint or interdisciplinary appointment, the administrator of the faculty member’s primary academic department, in consultation with the administrator(s) of the departments to which the faculty member is jointly appointed or the interdisciplinary programs to which they are assigned, will define the workload expectations.

3.8. Faculty members will include their teaching responsibilities in their annual Faculty Activity Reports, and the department head/chair/director’s annual performance review of faculty members shall be based upon that year’s assigned duties.

3.9 As required by the Board of Governors in its Academic Integrity Guidelines (UNC POL 700.6.1[R]), NC State must develop guidelines for the number of undergraduate independent studies a faculty member may teach per term.  The Provost has determined that a faculty member may teach no more than three (3) undergraduate independent studies for courses regularly available through classroom or distance education in a semester or summer session without written approval from dean (not designee).


4.1 For reporting purposes, the University of North Carolina campuses will use the National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity (Delaware Study) Data Collection Form for full time equivalent faculty within the University.

The Delaware Study provides comparable teaching data at the discipline/department level (not for individual faculty members) using the following faculty categories:

  • regular tenure or tenure-track faculty
    · other regular faculty
    · supplemental faculty
    · teaching assistants

4.2 UNC institutions, including NC State, will use the Delaware Study data definitions and common definitions of instructional formats; see  UNC POL 400.3.4 [R] Regulations Related to Monitoring Faculty Teaching Workloads.

4.3 For reporting purposes, teaching load is derived by the number of organized courses a faculty member is assigned in a given semester. Courses that are not conducted in regularly scheduled class meetings, such as “readings,” “special topics,” “problems” or “research” courses, including dissertation/thesis research, and “individual lesson” courses (typically in music and fine arts) are excluded from the teaching load calculation reported for the Delaware study.

4.4 The University will use data from the Delaware study to collect information on teaching workload annually at department, college, and university levels and to monitor implementation of the University’s workload expectations.