MINUTES OF THE FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE
JUNE 6, 2007; Mason Hall D-5, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Present: Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, School of Management, Chair; Martin Ford, Senior Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development; Marilyn Mobley, Associate Provost for Educational Programs and Associate Professor of English; Suzanne Slayden, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science.
Absent: Kevin Avruch, Associate Director and Professor of Conflict Resolution, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Lorraine Brown, Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Dave Harr, Senior Associate Dean, School of Management; David Rossell, Associate Provost for Personnel and Budget, ex-officio.
Suggested changes to the draft minutes April 25th will be incorporated prior to posting.
2.9.1 Appeal Procedures: It was agreed that the Faculty Senate chair should be informed about results of appeals; there is a need for both sides (administrators and faculty) to be informed. Statistics are compiled and reported to the BOV of the number and outcomes of appeals and reconsiderations. The availability of this data may provide encouragement to untenured faculty that the process exists and is working. Given a good local level review, would not expect many appeals to be successful, although there may be a few; overall there are not many examples. Concern also expressed that appeal process may go on so long that faculty member may obtain other employment; a loss to the university. Faculty should also be in regular communication with appeal board. Delays may occur when prospective board member declines to serve.
DISCUSSION: 2.4 Criteria for Evaluation of Faculty BOV discussion “high competence” vs. “competence”. Are we comfortable with terms such as “genuine excellence”? Concern expressed there may be opposition to changes in this terminology. Words may have been carefully chosen to maintain standards and flexibility. Should we change words, need to maintain fidelity to concept. Should concepts change, a huge grand-fathering effort necessary. “Genuine Excellence” as a very high standard, as well as guarding against fraudulence. Consensus or beyond a reasonable doubt? Demonstrable excellence clear, not at the margins. A faculty member who gives a lot of As may receive high (student) evaluations; this may be misleading. Another example involves publishing of a number of articles over a year - they may not appear in strong journals; may be repetitive; may not have been subjected to peer review; although this is not to say articles are not good scholarship. Need to convey idea to get below the surface of data, to discern underlying meaning of data; qualifying vs. quantifying. There are many indicators; complicated (to judge) genuine excellence. High competence not as extreme - may mean “mediocre” without some modifier. To review language at other large public research institutions such as Penn State, Univ. of Michigan, University of Minnesota, and University of Maryland. It was decided not to look at current peer list as not necessarily inspirational. Efforts underway to have a different peer list – working with SCHEV.
DISCUSSION: Relationship of Annual Evaluation to Promotion and Tenure Reviews: Does annual evaluation specifically address whether tenure-track faculty members are making reasonable progress toward promotion and tenure? In sixth year, despite receiving satisfactory annual evaluations, may not be sufficient for promotion and tenure. Annual evaluations serve different and related functions. To add statement “Annual evaluations for faculty on tenure-track will include a statement on progress (toward) tenure.”? Counterpoint: inability to do an in-depth teaching evaluation given number of faculty - some things will have more weight than they might have in promotion and tenure. The faculty member may be only person with particular area expertise at the university. Committee may not be aware that work is not considered highly outside the university. People are afraid to say things which may legally bite them.
In final analysis before going to BOV, Provost attempts to do a holistic assessment, taking into account dean and departmental recommendations. Also required to report to BOV how many faculty attain “genuine excellence” by teaching or research. General measurement probe dichotomizing people; should be a continuum. Need for other language to address person as a whole; instead of “two different job” language. Need for concept transcending research, teaching, service. Alternative to have a continuum in lieu of present three categories. Categories have been hardened, less and less recognition someone may be in boundary area. Superficial indicators - better to say quantify, qualify? To manipulate at college level how you define excellence and competence; hope that each academic unit is academically consistent. To change into tripartite evaluation? Would be more complex, although favors for measurement perspective. Departments need to provide more detailed range of expectations early on to help people. Not to codify, more of a mentoring process. Impact of many different disciplines, dynamics. . Not recommending any change in the end, but to look at issues. Also suggest (LAU) administrators receive training from legal affairs.
When he first arrived here, the Provost questioned why so many tenured associate professors were not progressing to full professor. An implicit message - should post-tenure review comment on it? Unknown what the base rate is at other universities. As a very young university, routinely hired faculty with limited research capacity, a different situation today. Some full professors jealously guard against inclusion of many more faculty in their ranks. Some faculty may not aspire to do this anyway - may choose to focus on other things; work involved not worth the pay bump ($1,500 raise). This does not mean there is a problem, might be worth exploring for research.
Clerk, Faculty Senate