The Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees recently approved a resolution reducing the number of required faculty office hours from ten to six hours a week. The new policy states faculty must spend the hours in office for student consultation, with reduced allowances for faculty teaching online courses.
The 10-hour requirement, according to the faculty handbook, was used to justify more than just student consultation time, said Kenneth Futterer, president of the faculty senate.
“It says ten hours a week for either consultation with students or faculty, so it was being interpreted for faculty meeting hours and department meetings and all that kind of stuff to be part of that ten hours,” he said.
The resolution also states office hours may be divided based on the number of hours of online and traditional courses the faculty member teaches. For example, a professor teaching half his credit hour load online and half as traditional courses could be available in office half the time and virtually the other half.
“There was no previous requirement for online office hours for the online courses,” he said. “There was no standard format that somebody would make themselves available for a certain amount of time, a certain window of time each week, so that has been addressed too,” he said.
Futterer is sure the resolution will benefit students.
“It actually, probably, in practice, is easily the same or a little more [hours than before],” he said.