Academic Assignment by the Numbers

Academic Assignment by the Numbers

Last year, when I went up for tenure, I had a hard time quantifying my teaching and administrative work — which at San José State University get collected together under the heading, “Academic Assignment.” I thought I kept pretty detailed records, but my tenure portfolio called the lie to that assumption. Not because I couldn’t account for my accomplishments (which I do keep pretty good records of), but because I didn’t have a good sense of the granular components of those accomplishments.

Again, this was particularly a problem with my academic assignment because administrative work of the sort I do isn’t very familiar to people in my department, to say nothing of the college or the university. As a consequence, the review committees didn’t assign much credit to my administrative work, despite it being more than 50% of my academic assignment. The failure to account didn’t turn out to be a major problem — I got tenure — but it was frustrating to not have a lot of the work I do recognized because I didn’t explain it sufficiently.

Below, I’ve put some numbers to the constitutent elements that make up my academic assignment. This is certainly not a comprehensive list, and the activities listed here are (inasmuch as it’s possible) restricted to things connected to my teaching or administration. This does not account for my research and writing, nor much of my service. The line between these activities and my research and service are very fuzzy, but I’ve tried to account for anything in particular that I wouldn’t likely have had the ability or impetus to do apart from my teaching or administrative responsibilities.

Also, worth noting, I did not do all these things on my own. I have not accounted in any detailed way for cooperation with students or colleagues, without which a lot of these things couldn’t have happened. But honestly, I simply couldn’t figure out how to do that in an efficient way.

Academic Assignment Activities, Fall 2015-Spring 2021

Interviews conducted (incl. TA, GA, Instructor, etc.) (avg. ½ hour each, plus coordination, communication, deliberation)>119
TAs supervised (incl. meetings, emails, materials review, mentoring)34 (+7 incoming)
Instructor teaching observations (incl. coordination, pre-observation mtg, materials evaluation, visit, report writing, and post-observation mtg) (>4¼ hours ea.)19 (approx. 81 total hours)
TA teaching observations (incl. coordination, pre-observation mtg, materials evaluation, visit, report writing, and post-observation mtg)            
A. First-time TAs (>3 hours ea.) = 26            
B. Experienced TAs (>3.75 hours ea.) = 13
39 (approx. 127 total hours)
Formal recommendations (letters/forms/phone, SJSU, no duplicates)45
Formal recommendations (letters/forms/phone, non-SJSU, no duplicates)16
Graduate student workshops facilitated (non-TA)9
TA workshops facilitated (incl. req’d trainings)15
TA meetings coordinated/facilitated83
Portfolio norming sessions facilitated11
Speakers/workshop leaders hosted (non-SJSU Writing Program speakers)13
Speakers/workshop leaders hosted (SJSU WP speakers)>5
Professional development sessions facilitated (non-TA faculty)12
Panel presentations (non-TA, not incl. opening day meetings)9
Conferences co-chaired (incl. grant writing / planning / team management / budgeting / etc.)2
Faculty seminars conducted (Writing Across the Curriculum)2
Writing intensive classes taught15 (incl. summer Early Start)
Non-writing intensive classes taught5 (incl. grad classes)
Independent Study courses facilitated (graduate)7 (18 units total)
Independent Study courses facilitated (undergraduate)1 (1 unit total)
Courses designed (major)1
Summer orientation1
Professional development sessions attended (WPA or teaching)>16
Committees related to program administration>8
Program assessments administered (incl. designing / revising materials, facilitating process, messaging, tabulating results, etc.)11
Co-authored pieces (15 co-authors, incl. 14 students, no duplicates)4
Research meetings (writing program)           
Consulting (incl. online/hybrid, CFA, CFD, SJAWP, Accreditation)            
Writing program, campus partner, and committee strategy meetings
Stretch / DSP point-of-contact (Summer 2016)
WPA meetings
Publisher interface/meetings
GE program review meetings
External group/organization networking
Materials, creation (incl. marketing materials, website / program)
Materials, evaluation (forms / processes)            
Materials, review (incl. syllabi)
Informal mentorship (incl. teaching / administration / graduate school / professional)
Office hours (TAs and writing program)


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