This section examines how hidden workloads impact faculty careers and provides recommendations for surfacing, acknowledging, and valuing invisible labor.
Defining Hidden Workloads
“Hidden” or “invisible work” is faculty work supporting institutional missions, goals, initiatives, shared governance, operations, and cultural life that is unrewarded, inequitably distributed, and/or in excess.
The scholarship on hidden and invisible labor suggests that such work may be dedicated to a faculty member’s department, another department, a division or college, or to a university. Hidden and invisible work includes forms of emotional labor that are difficult to quantify and measure. In addition, hidden and invisible work includes excessive amounts of work that are typically not included as criteria for review, merit compensation, promotion, and tenure. Faculty undertake hidden and invisible work for a variety of reasons including being good stewards of their institutions and supporting the holistic development of students and colleagues. Irregular patterns of how work tasks are engaged, assigned, and rewarded contribute to hiding labor and making it invisible.
This review of the scholarship on invisible academic labor offers a multifaceted picture of the various areas where such labor is occurring and reveals that the impact of hidden workloads depends on rank, administrative roles, and faculty identities.
Hidden Workloads on ACS Campuses
To understand the scope and forms of hidden labor undertaken by faculty at ACS institutions, ACS faculty were surveyed about their service tasks, the amount of time devoted to these tasks, and their experiences with hidden labor.
The scholarship on hidden labor, as well as from conversations with ACS Deans and Provosts, points to some potential interventions to address some of the inequities of hidden workloads, including designing equity-minded workloads, sharing data on workload and rewards, reducing the total volume of service, and reimagining a campus culture around service.
Download this PDF that explains how to implement these interventions.