The question of operationally defining a tenure-track faculty work-load is fraught with risks. The basic categories are teaching, research and service, however the relative emphasis, the baseline teaching load and defining appropriate metrics are what make this whole matter difficult.
Ideally, the process should be transparent, there should be a clear process to “buy-down” course load from grants and the outcome should be aimed at maximizing the scholarly talents (this means research and teaching) of each faculty member.
At Krasnow, we are working first to allow each faculty member to self-select with regards to either teaching or research as far as primary emphasis. Selecting teaching will end up with a higher base teaching load, but also will mean that the primary evaluation criteria will be based on teaching metrics (not only course evaluations from students, but also peer review and curricular development). Selecting research will “lock-in” the base teaching load, but also will mean that the primary criteria for evaluation will be on research productivity.
With regards to service, the trick is to define it broadly enough to allow for external professional organization service, editorial board membership while including the more typical intra-university committee membership.
Finally, in the interests of transparency, there is the need to quantify. Fully transparent, implies some sort of algorithm for objectivity in the above areas. I’d be interested in input from readers of Advanced Studies on how to do that.