The Carnegie hour is a unit of time that standardizes academic study across institutions. Established in 1906 as means to calculate retirement hours earned, Carnegie hours are now often required on syllabi. This way, students (and accreditation agencies) know how many “instructor-led” class hours to expect and how many “independent student learning” homework hours to schedule.
Educators have been critical of standardized measures of academic time since these hours were instituted. Even Carnegie has called for their revision. Others counter that they are so embedded in how higher education measures, well, everything—student learning, academic terms, job descriptions, full-time faculty employment (FTEs), TIAA retirement earnings, national accreditation assessments—that untangling higher education from this constructed 50-minute “hour” is practically impossible.Continue reading