Frequently Asked Questions

Learning & Teaching Support Unit

An academic workload is a comprehensive view of the different activities undertaken academic staff. The workload  is agreed by members of a section or department and it allocates an agreed time  to each activity and each staff member.  

The UNAM academic workload consists of three components, namely, teaching, research and community engagement. The teaching component constitutes 60% of the workload while research and community engagement take up 30% and 10% respectively.

The workload fulfils two purposes:


  1. it allows a section / department / staff members (and management) to have a clear and comprehensive picture of who is doing what, and the amount of time they are dedicating to it.
  2. it ensures that staff are adequately, efficiently, and appropriately loaded in an equitable, fair and transparent manner that maximises their strengths. In this way, the workload contributes to the  enhancement quality in learning and  teaching, supervision, research and community engagement.

After the section / department / staff have agreed on the work  allocations, the section head or head of department compiles the workload using UNAM Workload Template.

The completed workload is submitted to the division Learning and Teaching Enhancement, where it is it is verified whether


  1. all claims are aligned with the requirements of the relevant policies, and modules as stipulated in the prospectus in terms credit, contact hours, practicals, tutorials, etc, and
  2. all the variables claimed by a staff member are in line with a departmental or programme requirements
  3. staff are fairly and appropriately loaded in terms of number of hours taught, relative to other staff in the section or department
  4. the section / department as a whole is under- or underloaded, and whether a case can be made for extra staff

After verification the workload is returned to the section head / head of department, who, if necessary, takes up staffing matters with Human Resources.

The teaching hours should be reflected in your contract of employment.  However, the current teaching hours guidelines per week, as approved by the Senate, are as follows:



Dean/Director / Associate Dean


Deputy Dean


Deputy Director




Teaching Staff


Teaching Practice Coordinator


Field Attachment Coordinator


Field Attachment Coordinator


This is best handled between the section head / head of department and the staff member concerned. The hours are not absolute for each component. For example, a staff member’s teaching workload may be below the approved hours, but they are doing more research and / or community engagement, then on balance their total workload should even out.

No, the teaching workload hours include not only actual teaching, but also teaching related activities, such as lesson preparation and assessment.

The existing UNAM workload policy and guidelines were designed in 2007 to cover only the teaching component. At that time, UNAM was predominantly a teaching institution; therefore, teaching was the most important part of the workload. However, as research and community engagement have become a compelling factor in academics’ work, and also in line with international trends,  a comprehensive academic workload policy, which includes research and community engagement, is being designed. After the policy has been approved, these components will be added to the workload template.

Yes and no.  Yes, if you are not paid for the supervision, in which case the claim can be regarded as community engagement.


No, if you are paid. Because if you are paid and then claim credit on your workload, then that is a double claim.