Teaching Service Areas

Reference Number: F82-100
Senate Approval Date: Wednesday, September 01, 1982



At its meeting of November 30, 1982, the Academic Senate approved the following revisions to the Teaching Service Area Report dated November 16, 1976.


A Teaching Service Area (TSA) is the designation of an instructional area which represents a distinct curricular subdivision of the university’s instructional program, and a discrete competency held by a member or members of the faculty.  TSA is defined in Title 5, Section 42704, as amended:

Designation of Teaching Service Areas.  The President of each campus or designee, after appropriate consultation with departments, division or school faculty members, shall designate Teaching Service Areas at the campus.  The President or designee shall, after consultation with the academic teaching employee involved and with the members of each Teaching Service Area involved, assign each campus academic teaching employee to one or more Secondary Teaching Service Areas, as appropriate.  Each Teaching Service Area shall be designated so as to represent distinct curricular subdivisions and reflect discrete faculty competencies.  The President of each campus or designee, after appropriate consultation as provided above, shall, at intervals of no more than five years, review and, as necessary, amend the designation of Teaching Service Areas and the assignment of academic teaching employees to them to reflect changes in subject matter field and specialized curriculums (sic) offered at the campus.  Records shall be maintained by the campus of all such determination.

Each Teaching Service Area, approved by the President, is described in a competency statement on file in the office of the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs.

All faculty will be assigned a TSA.  Each tenured/tenure-track faculty member will be assigned a TSA at the time of his/her initial appointment.  Only at the time of initial appointment, a faculty member may be awarded one or more secondary TSAs.  Assignment of a secondary TSA requires full competency in the range of skills necessary to perform instruction in that instructional area.  Such a breadth of competency is distinguishable from the skill to teach one to several courses which are part of the curriculum of a TSA.  It is the intent of this policy to recognize qualifying for the TSA.  Assignment of TSA’s to lecturers will certify only that they possess the particular competencies within the entire TSA competency statement, which are appropriate for instructing the classes to which they have been assigned.

In order to be assigned a primary TSA, each tenured or tenure-track faculty member must meet the following conditions:

  1. 1. The faculty member must be able to demonstrate he/she possesses the discrete competencies required for a TSA in the field as documented in the approval TSA competency statement.

  1. 2. The faculty member must be certified by the current holders of the TSA that he/she possesses the discrete competencies described in the approved TSA competency statement.  This must be recommended to the President or designee in writing according to the procedures for the assignment of a TSA described below.  The TSA holders may delegate this responsibility to departmental HRT committees to act on their behalf.

The assignment of a TSA is for the purpose of establishing order of seniority by TSA in the event of layoff only.  Assignment of TSA’s shall not impede the movement of faculty among departments and interdisciplinary areas.  All teaching within the university hall be counted for seniority within the assigned TSA.  The fact that an individual faculty member does or does not possess a particular TSA will not be a consideration in judgments about moving faculty among departments to teach courses for which they are adequately prepared.  Such judgments will be made by the departments involved.  Faculty teaching in more than one department do not have an inherent right to change their primary TSA.

Except at initial appointment, no additional secondary TSA’s shall be granted at San Francisco State University after adoption of this policy.  To protect individuals already holding secondary TSA’s, any relinquishment of a secondary TSA presently held will be voluntary.

Departments are encouraged to review their TSA competency statements; and, where appropriate, make them more inclusive so that the TSA holders are less vulnerable to layoff.

Policy and Procedures for Designation and Review of TSA Competency Statements

According to Section 42704 of Title 5, the President or designee of each campus shall, after appropriate consultation and at intervals of no more than five years, review and, as necessary, amend the designation of Teaching Service Areas.  Approval of TSA’s according to established procedures by the President must occur before any faculty can be assigned to the TSA.

Procedures for the designation of new TSA’s or the revision of current TSA competency statements shall be as follows:

  1. 1. TSA holders recommending the revision, retention, and/or establishment of TSA’s shall submit their proposals to the school(s) involved.  Proposals shall identify the distinct curricular subdivisions and discrete faculty competencies characteristic of the TSA, and a preliminary list of all faculty expected to hold that TSA.

  1. 2. At intervals of no greater than five years, the President shall initiate the review of all approved TSA competency statements by the current holders of the TSA..

  1. 3. TSA’s can be of three distinct types:

    1. a. TSA’s that coincide with existing departments and programs.
    2. b. Intraschool TSA’s that do not coincide with existing departments or programs, but encompass discrete curricular subdivisions and faculty competencies within a single school.
    3. c. Interschool TSA’s for which the distinct curricular subdivision and the discrete faculty competencies involve more than one school.

    1. 4. All proposed TSA competency statements shall be sent by the TSA holders to school councils for review, reconciliation, and recommendations.  School council recommendations, accompanied by comments from school deans, are forwarded to the Provost.  In the case of interschool TSA’s, school councils from all affected schools will review and make recommendations about proposed TSA’s.

    1. 5. The Provost shall review all recommendations for the designation of TSA’s within the university and shall forward approved TSA competency statements to the President.

    1. 6. The President shall review the Provost’s recommendations for all TSA competency statements within the university and seek such advice as is deemed necessary.

    1. 7. Upon his/her approval, the President will inform the faculty as to the approved TSA designations for San Francisco State University.  These competency statements will then be filed in the Faculty Affairs Office.

Policy and Procedures for the Assignment of TSA’s

TSA eligibility is based solely upon the discrete competencies outlined in the TSA competency statement.  TSA eligibility is not affected by the specific teaching assignment a faculty member may hold, or the funding arrangement of the faculty position in question.

All faculty must be assigned a TSA.  A faculty member may petition for a change in TSA at any time; however, under usual circumstances, petitions for change would coincide with the end of the five-year mandated review of TSA competency statements.  Procedures for assignment of TSA’s are as follows:

    1. 1. All new tenur-track faculty shall be assigned the TSA at the time of hire.  No appointment shall be approved by the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs that is not accompanied by the assignment of a TSA.  Deliberations on assignment to a TSA shall be guided by the competency statement approved by the President and on file in the Faculty Affairs Office.

    1. 2. All current holders of an established TSA or perspective holders of a new TSA shall serve as a committee of the whole to make recommendations regarding assignment of TSA’s.  The TSA holders may delegate this responsibility to departmental HRT committees.

    1. 3. For those approved TSA’s that do not conform to the nomenclature of existing departmental units, reviewing bodies as described below will be constituted to consider the cases of faculty requesting assignment or change to the TSA.

    1. a. For intraschool TSA’s, the reviewing body shall be the school council.
    2. b. For interschool TSA’s the reviewing body shall be appointed by the deans and the councils of the schools involved.  No reviewing body shall have over three members from any one school.

    1. 4. Recommendations from school councils shall be forwarded to the Provost accompanied by a statement by the dean.

    1. 5. All recommended TSA assignments or changes in TSA assignments, shall be forwarded to the President after review and approval by the Provost.  Upon the President’s approval, individuals will be notified, and the assignment or change of TSA will become a part of the faculty member’s personnel file in the Faculty Records Office.

    1. 6. It shall be the Provost’s responsibility to ensure that all faculty members have been assigned a TSA according to these procedures.

Appeals Procedures

    1. 1. TSA holders, or the HRT committee to which the authority has been delegated, shall justify negative decisions in writing to the dean and the faculty member requesting the TSA.

    1. 2. Appeals of negative decisions regarding TSA assignment shall be forwarded to a specially constituted faculty committee drawn at random from the tenured faculty in the school.  No faculty member within a department involved in the appeal may serve.  The committee of three shall forward its recommendation directly to the dean.  The dean, after reviewing the committee report and the appeal, shall forward his/her recommendation to the Provost with the appeal and the committee’s report.

    1. 3. In the case of a faculty member from outside the school or all-university program who wishes to appeal a TSA, a committee of three shall be formed by the random drawing of names from a list of elected faculty members of the Academic Senate to hear the appeal.  A senator from a department involved in the appeal may not serve.  A committee of three new members shall be constituted for each interschool TSA appeal.  The committee of three shall forward its recommendation directly to the Provost with the appeal and any other documentation.

    1. 4. The Provost shall forward his recommendation to the President who makes the final decision.

    1. 5. The university’s grievance procedure is available to faculty after the appeals procedure has been utilized.



ad hoc Committee

David Tabb, Chair

Stanley Bailis

Raymond Miller

Dorothy Westby-Gibson

Graham Wilson (until 8/30/76)

Provost Donald Garrity

Dean Lawrence Ianni


All tenured and tenure-track faculty have assignments in teaching service areas that are identified in departmental personnel records.  The current set of TSA’s for this campus is:




Broadcast Communication Arts




Communicative Disorders

Comparative Literature


Creative Arts

Creative Writing

Design and Industry




Elementary Education

Higher Education

Interdisciplinary Studies, Education

Secondary Education

Special Education



Ethnic Studies

Asian American Studies

Black Studies

La Raza Studies

Native American Studies


Foreign Language










Health Education


Home Economics


International Relations






Physical Education

Physical Science


Political Science



Social Science

Social Welfare


Speech Communication

Theatre Arts

Urban Studies

World Business

On 8 January 1976, C. Mansel Keene, Vice Chancellor for Faculty and Staff Affairs, circulated a memo on “Teaching Service Area Designation and Assignment” to all campus presidents.  The memo is a succinct and highly informative review of the definition and history of TSA’s and of the policy intentions that led to the changes in Title 5 which occupy us now.  Because it is imperative reading, we present it here.

During its November 1975 meeting, the Board of Trustees adopted an amendment to Title 5, California Administrative Code which will probably require extensive consultation and re-examination of teaching service area (TSA) designations and assignments at each campus.  This amendment was a direct outgrowth of the November 1974 report of the CSUC Task Force on Steady State Staffing.  The report noted broad variances among campuses in TSA designations and the fact that he impact of such designations would be most apparent in the event of faculty layoffs since Section 43201(b) of Title 5 provides that such layoffs are implemented by TSA.  Beside making recommendations related specifically to the establishment of TSA’s and assignment of faculty to them, the Task Force took particular not of Section 43205 (b) of Title 5 which permits an academic employee to elect, in lieu of layoff, to transfer to a TSA in which he or she has taught at least 24 semester or 36 quarter units within the four years prior to notice of layoff.  After finding this provision to be mechanical, the Task Force stated:

...the mere teaching of 24 or 36 units does not establish competency for assignment to a Teaching Service Area.  Retention of the 24/36 unit transfer election would, furthermore, ten to discourage interdepartmental exchanges and hence counter needed faculty development.  An amendment of Title 5, however, should preserve the existing right of election of any academic employee who has already accrued such a right.

As an alternative procedure to the current Title 5 provision, the Committee recommends that multiple TSA’s be established for faculty members, where appropriate, as system wide policy.  When multiple TSA’s are designated for a faculty member, one of these shall be declared “primary” and the others “secondary”.  A request for designation of a secondary TSA, or for the designation of a new primary TSA, may be initiated either by the faculty member or the institution.  Except in the case where TSA categories are redefined as a result of the review prescribed above, such a change may be made only with the faculty member’s consent.  Initial designations of redefined TSA’s shall be made administratively after consultation with the faculty members.  An individual will normally be assigned to the academic department within which his or her primary TSA falls, and will normally receive teaching assignments in that TSA unless 1) he or she is invited to teach, and consents to the assignment, in a secondary TSA; or 2) his or her position is jeopardized by layoff, in which case he or she may elect assignment in one or more of his or her secondary TSA’s, even if such assignment may displace a tenured faculty member with less seniority who holds tenure in the TSA as a primary TSA.  Unless his or her own position is jeopardized by layoff, an individual may not be assigned to a secondary TSA if such an assignment will force displacement of another faculty member teaching in his or her primary TSA.

In implementation of the Task Force recommendations, the Board of Trustees adopted the following amendments to Section 42704 and 43205 (b) of Title 5:

42704.  Designation of Teaching Areas.  The President of each campus or his designee, after appropriate consultation with department, division or school faculty members shall designate teaching service areas at the campus as the end of the first college year of a new campus.  The President or designee shall, after consultation with the academic teaching employee involved and with the members of each teaching service area involved, assign each campus academic teaching employee to one primary teaching service area and may assign each campus academic teaching employee to one or more secondary teaching service areas, as appropriate.  Each teaching service area shall be designated so as to represent distinct curricular subdivisions and reflect discrete faculty competencies.  The President of each campus or his designee, after appropriate consultation as provided above, shall, at intervals of no more than five years, review and, as necessary, amend the designations of teaching service areas and the assignments of academic teaching employees to them to reflect changes in subject matter fields and specialized curriculums offered at the campus.  Records shall be maintained by the campus of all such determinations.

43205.  Demotion or Transfer in Lieu of Layoff.

(b) Academic Employees.  In lieu of being laid off, an academic teaching employee actively employed at a campus during the academic year 1975-76 or prior thereto at such campus may elect transfer to that other teaching service area in which he or she has served longest during the preceding four years at the particular campus if both of the following conditions exist:

    1. (1) If the employee, during the four-year period immediately preceding the date of the mailing of the layoff notice, taught at least 24 semester units or 36 quarter units in any one teaching service area other than the teaching service area in which he or she is teaching on the date of the mailing of the layoff notice provided that only such units as have accrued during the academic year 1975-76 and prior thereto may be utilized for purposes of transfer under this section.

    1. (2) If the employee has not previously during that year elected transfer in lieu of layoff.

In the agenda presentation of these amendments, it was made clear that the policies expressed in the Task Force language quoted earlier would govern implementation of these amendments, particularly that of Section 42704.  Please implement the requirements of this Section under the guidelines of that language.

In a memo of 5 April 1976, Dean Ianni requested all school deans to initiate the consultations that would have TSA’s designated by 28 April and assigned during May.  This time-table failed, and the Academic Senate consequently offered the following pair of resolutions on 4 May 1976:

Resolved, that the Academic Senate solicit the Administration’s support to delay the process for the designation and selection of TSA’s by schools, departments, and faculty until the beginning of the fall semester, 1976.

Be it further resolved, that the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate and the Faculty Affairs Committee create a committee to work with Provost Garrity and Dean Ianni during the summer to develop a process to allow for the thoughtful and wise choice of TSA’s.  Commencing with the opening of the fall semester, this committee would serve as a consultative resource to faculty on the assignment of TSA’s.

On 18 May 1976, President Romberg informed Eric Solomon, Chair of the Academic Senate, that the administration had already decided to take more time with TSA’s.  The President also indicated that the Senate’s second resolution would be acceptable if committee deliberations could be completed by summer’s end and if the faculty could make its final recommendations available early in the fall term.  Accordingly, the committee, which Professor Solomon had meanwhile solicited through a letter of 13 May, took the Senate’s second resolution for its change and went to work.

The committee’s objectives for the summer were:

    1. 1. To identify - perhaps “to anticipate” is more accurate - such concerns and options relating to TSA’s as the faculty would likely need to consider.

    1. 2. To devise procedures in terms of these concerns and options that should enable the faculty to participate effectively in the designation and assignment of TSA’s.

    1. 3. To write a report of its conclusions for the Academic Senate.

    1. 4. To prepare for its consultative role next fall.

To these ends, the committee reviewed all major documents pertaining to TSA’s; queried all school deans as to what they and their faculties had in mind on this matter; met several times with Provost Garrity and Dean Ianni to exchange ideas and information; consulted once with Clay Sommers, Dean of Faculty and Staff Affairs in the Chancellor’s Office; and held numerous discussion sessions on its own.


Though there is no immediate prospect of layoffs at San Francisco State, the processes of designating and assigning TSA’s will be interactions of great consequence.  We shall have to live with the thoughts and feelings about each other that these interactions engender as well as the decisions they produce.  Moreover, the decisions themselves will reflect our sense of the University’s academic segmentation and will in that way serve as a kind of blueprint of professional relations among us - relations that will surely influence our routine activities and our developmental thrusts as well.  And once they are established as employment categories, TSA’s will just as surely become bailiwicks to be defended.

One way of blunting the negative prospects of our TSA decisions, and of possibly accentuating the positive, involves maximizing the scope of multiple assignments, thereby increasing our interactions and our interdependencies.  This approach may also help us to avoid a pair of strategic traps:  It may at first seem that broadly defined TSA’s will afford greater assignment flexibility and, therefore, greater job protection.  Actually, the broader a TSA is, the more nearly it comes to obliterating competency distinctions and, therefore, to imposing a straight seniority layoff sequence that mortgages our future.  Conversely, it may at first seem that narrowly defined TSA’s afford the greatest job security by excluding from assignment senior colleagues who are primarily assigned elsewhere.  But narrowly defined TSA’s can only protect an in-group so long as the tides of popularity flow there way.  When tides turn, jobs disappear and so does the University’s capacity to offer instruction in the area affected.

By defining TSA’s in ways that respect curricular and competency differentiations and that also recognize the capacities of colleagues situated elsewhere to contribute to TSA’s so defined, we shall perhaps be able to avoid both traps while encouraging multiple TSA affiliations.  The results will not prevent layoffs, but they may keep the losses involved from being disastrous.

The Keene memo can be construed as providing several bases for attending to these concerns.  By defining TSA’s generally in terms of “distinct curricular subdivisions and…discrete faculty competencies,” and by making it possible for faculty whose primary TSA positions are jeopardized by layoff to seek reassignment and hence continued employment in their secondary TSA’s, the memo brings considerations of educational scope, quality and coherence to bear upon the standard seniority rule of first-in-last-out.  By locating seniority in the Univesrity at large, the memo grants ample security to long-tenured faculty members.  But by channeling seniority “bumping rights” through predefined TSA’s to which faculty have been previously assigned, the memo allows the acknowledged competencies of younger faculty members to protect them from the worst inequities of a layoff procedure based on seniority alone.  Indeed, by making diversity of competence into a form of job security for instructors who can be reassigned to several TSA’s, the memo bay be said to foster faculty development - provided, of course, that lines of access to TSA’s are kept open.  And since the memo does not preclude the designation of interdepartmental, inter-school and all-university TSA’s, it leaves several developmental opportunities open to consideration.  In effect, our re-examination of TSA’s may be used not only to establish our present operating form, but also to give long overdue recognition to such critically important curriculum elements as General Studies and to identify fresh lines of instructional development.  The creation of novel assignment possibilities is one reward for such an exercise.  The reason of an interesting future may be another.


How well we attend to our concerns for integrity, equity and development will depend in large part upon the TSA options we actually consider and the procedures we actually use to designate TSA’s and to assign ourselves into them.  Section 42704 of Title 5 imposes scant limits on these matters:  There must be primary TSA’s, there may be secondaries, and both must “represent distinct curricular subdivisions and…discrete faculty competencies.”  There must be faculty consultations on the designation and assignment of TSA’s.

Being so few and so general, these limits leave many options and procedures open to consideration - too many for the faculty as a whole to review with care in the time allowed.  Hence, it seemed proper for this committee to identify an articulated set of options and procedures that would be acceptable under Title 5 and attentive to what could be learned about faculty opinions and concerns.

TSA Options:

The Academic Senate charges this committee “to develop a process to allow for the thoughtful and wise choice of TSA’s”.  The recommendation of particular TSA’s is therefore beyond our purposes.  But we found it impossible to discuss, much less to devise, procedures without some notions of the substantive matters to which the procedures would apply.  Consequently, we decided to press what facts we could gather into a speculation about types of TSA’s the faculty would likely need to consider.  We came up with the following three suggestions which, it should be emphasized, are only categorical types of TSA’s.  It remains for the faculty to propose particular instances of these types and to specify them in curricular and competency terms:

1. Degree-granting departments and programs within schools:  In some schools, e.g., BSS, these units coincide with existing TSA’s and are likely to be retained as such.  But there are also schools in which currently established departments and programs are not TSA’s.

2. All-School TSA’s:  Many schools of the University have collections of courses that are generally recognized as serving school-wide curricular functions through the exercise of faculty competencies pertaining to the educational mission of the school as a whole.  Such courses are commonly located in and taught by instructors from different departments or programs, and they have often served as lively contexts for faculty interaction and development.  TSA’s designated by school names in recognition of the services rendered and competencies required by these courses could also serve as assignment categories for the faculty who regularly staff them.

3. Inter-School/All-University TSA’s:  The University has several curriculum sequences that are staffed by specially qualified faculty located in different schools and that serve the instructional needs of several departments in the various schools involved.  Information Science is an example that is not a TSA at present.  The University also has some programs that should and in some instances do draw their faculties from nearly all schools on the campus.  Some of these programs, e.g., General Studies, are distinguished by the curriculum functions they serve and could have - indeed, should have - the faculty competencies required by those functions specified.  Other programs in this group, e.g., American Studies and Women’s Studies, provide curricula that are topically distinctive and require faculty members who can amalgamate ideas and information that the specialized disciplines divide.  Few of these Inter-School/All-University programs are TSA’s at present.  But many of them could be so designated on the basis of their synergistic curricular and competency characteristics, and they could certainly serve as useful assignment categories.


The committee devised its procedural recommendations in light of the following points:

1. Section 42704 of Title 5 required that the campus administration consult the faculty twice with respect to TSA’s - first as to the designation of TSA’s for this University, and second as to the assignment of faculty into the TSA’s thus established.  Our concern is with the procedure by which the faculty will reach its recommendations on both matters.

2. Equity, efficiency and the need ultimately to produce an articulated system of TSA’s all point toward the importance of following nearly uniform procedures in all sectors of the campus.

3. Though all TSA proposals will be forwarded to the Provost, schools should be the focal contest of faculty deliberations on both designation and assignment matters.  This in order to preserve our final recommendations from the effects of impersonality at the all-university level.  Naturally, school councils will in this respect be operating on the basis of recommendations from their own sub-units, from each other and from all-university bodies.

4. The schools should be prepared to constitute new inter- and intra-school groups that will formulate recommendations on novel TSA designations and assignments.

5. Existing and, in some instances, newly formed bodies will have to be charged with the responsibility of reconciling recommended TSA designations and assignments that are contested.

6. Members of the ad hoc Committee on TSA’s are prepared to meet with faculty groups in a consultative capacity.


1. All groups wishing to recommend the retention and/or creation of TSA’s should submit their proposals to the school(s) involved.  Proposals should identify the curricular and competency characteristics of the TSA presented and a preliminary list of the faculty expected to participate in it.

2. School Councils review, reconcile and recommend on all TSA proposals sent to them. Council recommendations, together with comments by the school deans, are forwarded to the Provost.

3. The Provost and the Academic Council review and reconcile recommendations from the schools and formulate a TSA package for the University as a whole.

4. The President reviews this TSA package with such advice as he may wish to seek.

5. The President informs the faculty as to what the final set of TSA designations is and thereby initiates the assignment process.


1. All faculty members shall be assigned to one primary TSA and may seek multiple secondary TSA assignments with the understanding that the latter will be reviewed according to the faculty member’s indicated preference order.

2. Tenured and tenure-track faculty who already hold appointments in existing departments and programs that are retained as TSA’s shall keep these as their primary assignments without challenge unless they request otherwise.

3. All other TSA assignments shall be based on reviews of faculty applications by the following groups:

For TSA’s that coincide with existing departments and programs, the existing HRT committee shall be the initial reviewing body.

For intra-school TSA’s that do not coincide with existing departments or programs, reviewing bodies shall be appointed by the school deans and their councils.

For inter-school and all-university TSA’s, reviewing bodies shall be appointed by the deans and councils of the schools involved.

4. Faculty applications for TSA assignments shall indicate to the appropriate reviewing group:  (a) whether primary or secondary assignment is sought; (b) preference ranking of multiple secondaries; (c) years of tenure-track employment at the University; (d) curriculum contribution to the TSA; (e) competencies relevant to the TSA.

5. Reviewing groups shall process all applications for primary assignment before applications for secondary assignment are treated. Since secondary assignment confers seniority bumping rights very like those provided by primary assignment, the processes of reviewing applications of both sorts should be similarly conducted.

6. Reviewing groups shall notify the Provost and the applicants of their recommendations at the same time.  Negative decisions shall be justified in writing.  The Provost forwards his recommendations to the President.

7. Appeals from the recommendations of reviewing bodies shall go to school deans and their councils in the case of intra-school TSA’s, and to a newly constituted University Level Appeals Committee that shall advise the Provost in cases involving inter-school and all-university TSA’s.

8. The President shall notify all faculty members of final assignment decisions.