North Central Self Study
Chapter 5: Criterion Three
The institution is accomplishing its education and other purposes.
Efforts Made to Ensure
Effective Teaching, Service, and Scholarship
Evaluation of teaching involves a number of processes and procedures. All faculty members are required to undergo student evaluation of every course every semester. These evaluations seek to measure the instructor's handling of the course, communication skills, the student's perception of the learning experience and the extent to which student interest and/or thinking has been stimulated. The results of student evaluations and their attendant comments comprise part of the faculty portfolio submitted for annual peer review. If faculty members choose to do so, they may also request that classroom visits comprise part of their peer review. Subsequent to undergoing peer review, the portfolio is submitted to the chair for a review and written summary of all peer judgments. A copy of the chair's annual review is provided to the dean for the Cumulative Faculty record, and also to the faculty member who may respond in writing in both files.
Departmental procedures and guidelines for evaluation of faculty members' effectiveness in teaching typically considers:
- The quality of student work
- Growth and development of students in regard to course objectives
- Curriculum development and innovation
- Grading standards
- Currency, academic soundness, and relationship of course objectives to course level
Promotion and Tenure
The terms "adequate," "good," "superior," and "outstanding" are used to describe degrees of accomplishment in all areas of faculty activity. Consistent with the UNK mission to be the state's premier institution for undergraduate education, performance in teaching is paramount in granting tenure and promotion. "Therefore, all faculty members applying for promotion or tenure must provide, as a minimum, evidence of 'good' teaching" (Faculty Handbook, VI.A). In addition to a self assessment of teaching, the teaching materials recommended for promotion and tenure portfolios include:
- peer judgment materials and letters from department files
- summaries of student evaluations
- syllabi demonstrating innovation, improvement of methodology and/or integration and synthesis of subject matter
- awards and other recognition of teaching performance
- letters from current and former students
- evidence of scholarly work with students, student advising and placement in discipline related work or graduate schools, and other work beyond the classroom related to teaching
- evidence of faculty development activities related to teaching
- evidence of grant activities in support of teaching
- evidence of committee work related to teaching
- evidence of membership and work in professional organizations related to teaching--including presentations
- copies of publications related to teaching
Post Tenure Review
Post tenure review, instituted in 1999, provides assurance "that faculty on continuous appointment are accountable for their performance" (Faculty Handbook VIII.1). Faculty may elect or be required to undergo post tenure review if, after the third year of continuous appointment, a substantial and continuing deficiency is identified in a written annual evaluation. If the deficiency is in teaching, "evaluation by peers external to the campus may be used" (Faculty Handbook VIII.C) Faculty members who undergo post tenure review are required to prepare portfolios that include a self-assessment of teaching and appropriate reviews of performance, as well as copies of the materials listed above for promotion and tenure. Following review by a post tenure review committee, department chair, and dean, the faculty member will receive a written appraisal with recommendations, including a plan for how the faculty member can remedy any deficiencies and enhance his/her contribution to the university.
Information Technology Services
Technology assistance for faculty and staff has been available since 1975. The Information Technology Services has offered training on campus since 1992. This unit offers multiple ways of assisting faculty, staff, and students. For example, a Help Desk is available for individual assistance via the telephone, consultants will work with individuals in person, and workshops are offered on a frequent basis. Typical workshops during a semester include the assistance with management software, word processing, presentation and teaching software such as PowerPoint and Blackboard.
Center for Teaching Excellence
In response to a faculty initiative and to the 1994 NCA recommendations that UNK enhance its opportunities for faculty development, the Committee for the Encouragement and Evaluation of Teaching (CEET) was formed in 1997 and charged with developing a proposal for the establishment of an interdisciplinary teaching and learning center. The resulting Proposal and Implementation Plan called for an instructional development center that would contribute to the essential mission of the university-high quality undergraduate education. Once established, the Center for Teaching Excellence would offer:
- A regular program of instructional/faculty development workshops
- A resource library
- Publications, including a web-site, newsletter, and occasional paper series;
- A voluntary consulting service
- A grant program to support faculty participation in programs that enhance teaching
The Center coordinator/director in consultation with a nine-person Advisory Committee was to implement this five-year, three phase plan.
Funded by the SVCAA in 1999, the Center opened in two study rooms on the second floor of the Calvin T. Ryan Library in August with a .75 FTE staff: a .50 coordinator and a graduate assistant (.25 FTE). The staffing for the Center has been reorganized during the 2003-04 academic year. The reorganization was undertaken to reflect budget cuts at the University and the need to add a position in the area of assessment. The reorganized staffing of the center will have a Director with a .50 FTE assignment as Director of the Center and a .50 FTE assignment as the Coordinator of Assessment. It is hoped that results from assessment at the institutional level and departmental level will assist with identifying faculty development needs. The combined position should enable the director to be more responsive to trends in assessment results. A graduate assistant will continue to be used in the Center. The center has also been relocated to a larger room located in the West Center building on campus.
The first workshops were offered in spring 2000. Currently open for ten months of the year (mid August-mid June), the Center provides a variety of activities, resources, and opportunities for all faculty, professional staff, and graduate assistants to develop their knowledge of teaching and learning styles and strategies. (A complete record of CTE events and attendance figures is on file in the Resource Room in the CTE Activity notebooks for 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003.)
The services offered by the Center for Teaching Excellence include:
- Workshops, symposia, round table discussions, and teleconferences focused on selected topics
- Resource holdings-books, journal articles, and videos-designed to promote awareness among faculty, administrators, and professional staff of the scholarship of teaching and learning
- Publishing opportunities on scholarship of teaching and learning in the UNK/CTE Compendium of Teaching Ideas and Resources
- $500.00 stipends for fifteen faculty/year who participate in a week-long Writing Across the Curriculum workshop that focuses on writing and critical thinking-especially for Writing Intensive (WI) courses
- $100.00 stipends for Writing Across the Curriculum alumni who attend WAC II to further enhance their teaching-of-writing skills
- Consulting services offered to individual instructors who want feedback for enhancing their performance in the classroom
Activities sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence are based on the underlying principle that faculty learn best about teaching from their conversations with peers, professional staff, and external experts.
- Presenters for the Center for Teaching Excellence include UNK faculty, Student Affairs professional staff, administrators, graduate assistants, and invited guest speakers from other campuses
- Since the first CTE-sponsored activity in spring 2000, the Center has offered an average of 10 workshops, symposia, or round tables each semester
- While attendance varies according to specific activity, topic, and event format, average attendance at CTE-sponsored events reflects a high level of faculty participation and campus-wide dedication to remaining current on teaching and learning strategies.
|Center for Teaching Excellence Attendance Figures|
As the above attendance figures, presentation, and service descriptions indicate, the Center has been successful in recruiting faculty and professional staff as participants, peer instructors, and researchers in the scholarship of teaching and learning. With the total number of UNK full time faculty at between 304 and 312 for the years 2000-2003, the average Center individual attendance of 122 per semester and the 2000-2003 cumulative attendance figures of 368, 450, and 477 per year show an unusually high level of participation in teaching and learning events. (A 15% participation rate is average for Research I institutions; a somewhat higher rate is typical for institutions in categories that are not identified as Research I.)
CTE Continuing and Future Challenges
- Maintaining sufficient staffing and programming during current budget cutting
- Initiating mentoring programs specifically designed for new faculty members
- Providing grant funding for faculty to develop or redesign courses and to participate in off-campus teaching enhancement programs
- Developing a regular schedule of publications including a newsletter and paper series
- Encouraging faculty to avail themselves of consulting services
- Offering additional follow up of presentation topics through regularly scheduled small group meetings
Staff Senate and Mentoring Programs
Organized in July 1995, Staff Senate is a representative group for all staff employees-Office/Service, Managerial/Professional and Directors. The primary purpose of Staff Senate is to promote a better working environment by addressing topics affecting staff members. In addition to acting in an advisory capacity to the Chancellor, administration, and other university groups, Staff Senate focuses on: professional development, performance management, staff recognition, and improved communication.
In keeping with its emphasis on professional development, in January 2001, the Staff Senate established the UNK Mentor Advantage program to help acclimate recent staff hires to their new work environment. Mentors help new employees become acquainted with university policies, procedures, values, expectations, and customs to enable them to develop a "sense of place" and become full participants in the university system. Since the inception of this program approximately twenty-five mentor-new employee pairs have successfully completed the program. Budgets cuts, which reduced the number of new hires during the 2002-2003 academic year, resulted in fewer participants in the mentoring program. However, the UNK Mentor Advantage Committee continues to seek new methods of improving the program, enhancing initial contacts with new staff members, expanding its pool of mentors, and providing awards recognition for program graduates and their mentors. (Additional information on Staff Senate and the UNK Mentor Advantage program is available at http://www.unk.edu/committees/staff_senate/.)
Next: Chapter 5> Sections> Student Services That Effectively Support
the Institution's Purposes
Previous: Chapter 5> Sections> Assessment of Appropriate Student Academic Achievement