Addressing Workload Inequity: The Workload Equity Task Force

CSU’s Workload Equity Task Force Takes on Equity Issues in the Division and Evaluation of Faculty Workloads

Workload inequity can pop up in subtle or glaring ways across higher education. For faculty, inequities can appear in through the division and evaluation of service, the allocation of teaching assignments, or the way different activities are rewarded and valued. Since its charge in 2022, CSU’s Workload Equity Task Force has been investigating programs and practices from across the university that can help address inequities in academic workloads. In particular, the task force has been engaged in activities to accomplish the following long-term objectives:

  1. Creating a sustainable long-term structure for assessing workload equity within and among   
  2. Increasing transparency and accountability in how workload is assigned and evaluated. 
  3. Identifying and implementing strategies for resolving inequities and shortcomings in how academic work is assigned, evaluated, and valued.
  4. Exploring current budgetary dynamics and identify opportunities to inform budget models to facilitate equity in workload distribution.  
The ACE Equity-Minded Faculty Workloads report has been a guiding framework for CSU’s Workload Equity Task Force.


The task force’s activities are guided by the American Council on Education’s (ACE) 2022 report, Equity-Minded Faculty Workloads: What We Can and Should Do Now. In this comprehensive report, the authors note that faculty workloads have undergone some dramatic changes since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic: “Reductions in faculty capacity mean that many faculty members are being asked to ‘pick up’ additional work (e.g., teaching extra classes, serving on return to work committees, establishing laboratory staffing plans)” (p. 3). This extra work often goes unrecognized and comes without additional resources or compensation to complete the work. As a result, inequities that were already present in the academy before the pandemic have become starker and more extreme in the past few years. This inequitable distribution disproportionately affects faculty with minoritized identities, including women and faculty members of color, and is tied to faculty burnout, dissatisfaction, and disengagement.

In the ACE report, they outline six conditions that can promote equity, including transparency, clarity, credit, norms, context, and accountability. The Workload Equity Task Force has been working with these conditions in mind, attempting to create and promote tools to address inequities here at CSU. In our multi-pronged approach, the task force first began by engaging with college and departmental leadership. This included meeting with the executive committees of each college to learn about the challenges they face around workload inequity as well as process and practices they have implemented to promote positive workload equity. One outcome from these visits will include a toolkit available to all CSU community members with examples of tools and practices being used by groups across campus to promote equity.

Our next step has been to engage in a bottom-up approach, collaborating with a few departments across campus to help them identify workload equity challenges and create tools to help them address these challenges. The tools created will be designed in collaboration with departmental faculty and in alignment with the ACE principles. The task force will also continue to engage with important groups, like Faculty Council, the Council for Gender Equity (CoGen), and the Committee on Non-tenure Track Faculty (CoNTFF) to ensure that efforts to promote equity address the needs of all CSU faculty.

With the ongoing work of the task force combined with partnership and collaboration from across campus, we believe that departments can take steps to enhance workload equity and create more positive experiences for faculty at CSU.


Author Information: This blog post was written by Meara Faw with support from members of the Workload Equity Task Force. Meara is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and co-chair of the Workload Equity Task Force.