Survey: The faculty workweek remains well over 40 hours

More regents news

The state Board of Regents also approved its study group's 10 recommendations that limit or clarify programming and policies about diversity, equity and inclusion at the three regent universities.

Iowa State faculty, on average, worked 52.53 hours per week last year, according to a biennial self-survey they completed during spring 2023 semester. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members report working 53.6 hours per week, non-tenure track faculty 49.2 hours, and clinical track faculty 49.9 hours. At Iowa State, 1,355 full-time faculty received the survey over eight weeks, and 85.5% returned it. Each participant tracked and recorded their professional activities for their assigned week. The reported workweeks are down slightly -- less than an hour in most cases -- from spring 2021 results, the last time faculty were surveyed.

The state Board of Regents received the survey results during its Nov. 15-16 meeting at the University of Northern Iowa.


Iowa State faculty activity (spring 2023): Average hours per week


Tenured, tenure-track



Dept chairs

Student instruction





Scholarship, research and creative work





Clinical work





Outreach, community engagement





Professional development





Administration and service











Associate provost for faculty Dawn Bratsch-Prince provided examples of faculty research and outreach that positively impact the state, including apparel products for firefighters and nursing mothers, patent-protected digital agriculture components on farm machinery, and collaborations to understand why aging Iowans do better in some small towns, or how to grow crops or raise bees amid solar panels to use the land more efficiently.

The biennial survey also tracks the distribution of student credit hours (SCH) among faculty groups. At Iowa State, tenured and tenure-track faculty taught 33.2% and 8.7% of undergraduate SCH, respectively, in fall 2022, a decrease from 2020 of 0.1 percentage point (tenured faculty) and 1.5 percentage points (tenure-track faculty). Term faculty taught 45.8% of undergraduate SCH in fall 2022, an increase of 1.8 percentage points over fall 2020. Graduate assistants taught 12.2% of undergraduate SCH in fall 2022, a decrease of 0.3 percentage point compared to fall 2020.


A comparison: Total Iowa State student credit hours and who provides them

Faculty type

Fall 2022

Fall 2020










Graduate assistant




Instruction incentive plan for Business faculty

After a one-year pilot during calendar year 2023, the board approved a three-year plan (2024-26) that provides additional pay to tenured and tenure-track faculty in the Ivy College of Business who develop and lead custom seminars, workshops or other professional education services for corporate clients. The faculty receive a portion of the registration fees collected for the sessions they teach, with compensation based on contact hours delivered. Additional compensation through this program is capped at 20% of a faculty member's base salary. Custom Education Services Incentive Plans are a tool for improving faculty retention, and also provide an opportunity to promote the college's graduate programs.

Veterinary Medicine faculty are piloting a similar strategy that incentivizes them to provide veterinary clinical services.

Faculty professional development for 2024-25

The board approved professional development assignments (PDA) next year for 38 Iowa State faculty -- 2.3% of eligible faculty. A general rule is to keep the list at or below 3% of eligible faculty each year, said Rachel Boon, chief academic officer for the board. The list includes seven assignment requests for the full 2024-25 academic year, 18 for fall semester 2024 and 13 for spring semester 2025. The number of Iowa State faculty PDAs is consistent with recent years, 41 this year and 38 last year.

Each of the regent universities has its own criteria for the faculty professional development program. At Iowa State, all faculty employed half time or more are eligible to apply. There is no requirement on length of service, however priority is given to accomplished senior faculty, faculty who are seeking competitive fellowships (for example, a Fulbright Award), and faculty who haven't received a PDA in the last five years. The length of service for faculty with approved PDAs varies from five to 25 years.

Across the three regent universities, 95 faculty professional development assignments last year (2022-23) cost an estimated $133,000 and have produced $36.3 million in grants and external funding, with another $60 million in submitted grant proposals.

Second phase for the VDL

Iowa State received board permission to construct a 78,500 square foot addition to the south side of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine campus. The board approved a schematic design and budget ($66.5 million) for phase two, which will move remaining lab functions still housed across the street at the college, including diagnostic research, laboratory testing sections and administrative staff. The additional space also means safer biocontainment and biosafety, an efficient process flow of samples and additional program space to meet growth and more effectively integrate diagnostic medicine education. The 90,000-square-foot phase one (plus a partial basement) is nearly complete and staff should begin their move in January.

Phase two construction could begin next summer and last two years. Funding comes from dollars directed to Iowa in the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and pledged last winter by Gov. Kim Reynolds ($40 million), an $18 million state appropriation (Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund) this year, university funds ($6.5 million) and private gifts ($2 million).

CYTown infrastructure, phase 2

The board approved a revised budget ($37.7 million) for infrastructure and parking lot improvements at the Iowa State Center for the athletics department's CYTown development. The additional funds ($9.2 million) are necessary to complete phase 2, the lots immediately south of Center Drive (A3, B3, C3). Phase 2 also includes a north-south corridor in the middle of the lots for future facility development and a new CyRide transit hub in the northeast corner of the lots. Phase 2 work will begin in the spring, and most work will be completed prior to the fall 2024 semester.

More space for veterinary oncology

Iowa State received permission to begin planning phase two of the pet cancer clinic at the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center. The project includes remodeling 3,600 square feet and building a 2,000-square-foot addition to the northeast corner of the small animal hospital, estimated to cost up to $6.75 million. University funds and private gifts would pay for the project. Phase one, a radiation therapy facility, opened in February 2019. Iowa State is the only veterinary facility in the state with oncologists providing cancer care.