A professor at a liberal arts college writes in because she has seen signs of confusion in her department about “what is manageable or expected” in the number and kind of assignments students have to complete in a course “when the professor does the grading.”
She notes that teaching is evaluated by her department in part on the basis of what kinds of assignments instructors give their students, with papers (drafts and final versions) and essay exams preferred over non-writing-intensive work. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of students most professors in her department teach each term, yet no apparent reduction in the number of writing-intensive assignments professors are generally expected to have their students complete—and then grade. There are no teaching assistants in her department. Her concern is that her department’s expectations are unreasonable.