5e. Unit Evaluation of Professional Education Faculty Performance
5e.1. Describe how the unit will ensure the regular, systematic, and comprehensive evaluations of full-time, adjunct/part-time, tenured, and non-tenured faculty, as well as graduate teaching assistants.
Thomas University systematically completes a comprehensive evaluation process of full-time and adjunct/part-time faculty with the goal of continuous improvement. While TU does not grant tenure, all full-time faculty hold continuing appointments (with an option to apply for a multi-year letter) subject to annual performance as reflected in formal evaluations. At each faculty rank, with expectations for responsibilities and skill incrementally increased, the general evaluation criteria address teaching and advising, professional and scholarly activities, and service to the university and community.
Adjunct faculty are evaluated for teaching excellence on a semester-by-semester basis on student evaluations, and annually on Division Chair or peer observation of teaching. Additionally they are required to complete the Adjunct Faculty Development Profile.
The formal evaluation process requires faculty to annually submit a Reflective Self Profile demonstrating teaching effectiveness, scholarship/professional development, and service activities. University expectations are considered to be exceeded, met, or not met in each category. Teaching Excellence is evaluated in relation to evidence of strong student evaluations; advising; professional rapport with students; appropriate and rigorous course content; scholarly and current command of subject matter; maximizing student learning. Scholarly and Professional Involvement and Achievement must show evidence of the impact of professional development/involvement on teaching and/or the university as well as contributing generally to the scholarship of discovery, integration, application, and teaching. Service to Student Body, University, and Wider Community is met through evidence of active engagement in division and university committee work and duties supporting student and community needs related to one’s field of expertise.
During fall and spring semesters and summer term, student evaluations of all full and part-time faculty members are administered by the university’s Office of Institutional Assessment. Results of student evaluations are analyzed and course summaries are distributed to the faculty and Division Chairs as aggregated and disaggregated data after each semester ends.
The performance of the faculty members is reviewed annually by the Division Chair (or in the case of the Division Chair by the Provost/VPAA) in relation to the submitted Profile, course evaluations, and the supervisor’s observation and review of evidence.
As part of the annual evaluation process, the faculty member identifies one to three goals in each area for the following academic year. The Division Chair discusses the faculty member’s annual performance and goals and the Division Chair completes the Faculty Evaluation Summary. The faculty member is given the opportunity to review the Chair’s evaluation. If a corrective action plan is required (one or more areas not meeting expectations), it is developed with the faculty member. Both the faculty member and the Division Chair sign the evaluation and submit it to the Provost/VPAA.
Peer evaluation is the process that helps ensure the teaching effectiveness of all faculty with teaching assignments through regular evaluation by other faculty members. The complete peer review process includes four key components: the pre-observation exchange, the observation, the post-observation exchange, and the creation of a summative report. Additionally, faculty who supervise field and clinical experiences are evaluated by both the mentor teacher and the teacher candidate.
5e.2. Describe how faculty evaluations will be used to improve teaching, scholarship, and service.
As indicated, annually the faculty evaluation process results in the faculty member setting measureable professional development goals in the areas of teaching excellence, scholarship, and service. The faculty identifies the type of support that will be required for achievement of the established goal(s) in each area. Following discussion and agreement with the Division Chair, faculty members are expected to attain their professional development goals and the academic administration will provide the support the faculty member needs to do so.
If a faculty member is evaluated as not meeting expectations in one of the performance areas of Teaching Excellence, Scholarly and Professional Involvement and Achievement, or Service to Student Body, University, and Wider Community, the Division Chair develops a corrective action plan in discussion with the faculty member to which he/she agrees. Action plans typically align the faculty member with a university support person such as the Academic Technology Specialist, a senior academic advisor, or a peer mentor to meet regularly with the faculty member to address areas of improvement needed. Action plans require statement of measurable changes in behavior or productivity and these targets are addressed by the faculty member with the support person and progress is closely supervised by the Division Chair over the following academic year. Progress is formally evaluated in the next year’s annual evaluation.
Throughout the year the academic administration identifies current needs for faculty development that enable all faculty – fulltime and adjunct – to better meet students’ learning needs and the university’s specific goals for rigorous, effective teaching and learning. Two Friday mornings per semester are reserved for mandatory Faculty Development Workshops; other voluntary workshops are offered during the 1 ½ hour meeting time throughout the semester. Recent workshops have addressed online teaching pedagogy and technological know-how, effective academic advising and understanding of FERPA requirements; developing appropriate course and program learning outcomes; engendering pervasive academic integrity; and working with a disruptive or potentially violent student.