GUIDELINES FOR THIRD-YEAR COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF PROBATIONARY FACULTY
The Board of Trustees approved a new process for appointment of new faculty at the June 16, 1998 meeting. The change has important implications for evaluation of progress toward tenure. Probationary faculty appointments are normally to be for three-year terms. Review for reappointment to a second three-year term will normally be based on a comprehensive review in the third year. The comprehensive review will follow the same process as the review for tenure, including decisions by the college Dean and the Provost, but will not include the external letters of evaluation which are required for tenure decisions.
The Table of Contents for Three-Year Review Files identifies the major elements of the comprehensive review file. Please note that the unit's tenure and promotion standards are to be included in the file (as they should be included in files for tenure and promotion).
Letters from the Dean and Chair/Director, as well as all evaluative reports by the faculty, will be most meaningful if they address the individual's accomplishments in the context of the unit's standards. Each candidate's strengths should be discussed in a objective and constructive way. In like fashion, it is expected that each candidate's weaknesses will be frankly addressed in letters and reports, rather than ignored or glossed over. Such an approach will enable colleagues, the Dean and the Provost to make an objective evaluation as well as provide guidance to probationary faculty on their career development.
Files are most effective if they are tightly written and lack redundancy. They should feature evidence that supports claims about performance. For instance:
- Evaluation of teaching must not rely too heavily on any single indicator, such as student evaluations of teaching;
- Data from student evaluations should be reported for each course and for individual questions, not for averages over many courses and questions;
- The evaluation form itself should be included;
- A context for interpretation of data should be provided (e.g., department averages for courses at similar levels);
- Peer evaluations should go beyond classroom behavior, to include consideration of course materials, instructor knowledge, and relevance/integration of material;
- Evidence of student learning outcomes is vital.
- Should be evaluated in terms of its significance and impact on the discipline (e.g., citations, critical review of content by colleagues); simple enumeration is helpful but lacks the necessary evaluation of quality and significance;
- Provide evidence of ongoing research (e.g., prospects of work in progress);
- Discuss the relationship of the current work to the dissertation. Probationary faculty should begin to establish an independent research/creative agenda by the time of comprehensive review.
- Evaluative material addressing the effectiveness of service activities should be included (e.g., self-assessment, letter from Chair or unit's personnel committee);
- Consideration should be given to establishing relationships among service, teaching, and research activities. Similarly, provide information on the relationship of service activities to the mission of the unit and the university.