Minimal Performance Criteria and Annual Evaluations

6.3 MINIMAL PERFORMANCE CRITERIA AND ANNUAL EVALUATIONS

Widely (if not universally) within the academic profession, faculty performance is evaluated in three areas of endeavor: teaching, scholarly/creative/professional activity, and service. In all three areas, certain activities and performance levels are taken for granted within what all faculty recognize as basic and minimal professional responsibilities. These include, for example, support of the Honor Code (see Appendix B), adherence to the Statement on Community Values (see §1.3), punctuality in meeting one’s assigned classes, faithfulness in keeping one’s posted office hours, the provision of appropriate course syllabi, the prompt return to students of graded work, the reading and other preparation one must do to keep instruction current and vibrant, the maintenance of memberships in appropriate professional and disciplinary organizations and societies, the reading one must do and the conferences and workshops one must attend to maintain currency in one’s profession or discipline, attendance at faculty meetings, and the willing acceptance of one’s fair share of departmental chores.

6.3.1 Evaluation Criteria The assignment of annual evaluation ratings in each of the three areas of faculty assessment should be done in a manner that is as consistent and as objective as possible. Toward that goal, the following descriptions of each level of achievement are intended to provide guidance for all faculty, chairs, and administrators involved in the assessment process. The examples of the types of evidence of achievement provided here are not meant to be considered comprehensive and are not limited to the examples provided. It is also not expected that a particular performance rating requires that a faculty member accomplish all of the examples provided within each category, but rather show a set of achievements consistent with these descriptions. Evaluators are also urged to consider the impact of implicit bias. For example, research shows that student evaluations of faculty can be affected by gender and/or race.

6.3.2 Teaching

Meets expectations. Expected performance in teaching includes a clear record of effectiveness in the classroom, as evidenced by the following: scores and comments by students reported by the student course surveys; acceptable peer evaluations of teaching and/or course materials; consistently meeting all scheduled teaching obligations and holding office hours as expected by the University; updating course content as necessary to reflect current knowledge in the discipline; presenting course syllabi which conform to the expectations of instruction at UMW. Of the three areas to be evaluated, teaching, scholarship/professional development, and service, teaching is preeminently important (Section §7.3). Therefore, given the emphasis on excellence in teaching at the University of Mary Washington, faculty must meet expectations in the category of teaching in order to achieve a satisfactory overall performance rating.

Exceeds expectations. This rating should be applied to a faculty member whose performance is determined to be well above the average level of expectations. Evidence of outstanding performance in teaching includes a clear record of success in the classroom, as well as additional teaching contributions which may include: a significant number of noteworthy positive scores and comments by students reported by the student course surveys; strong positive peer evaluations of teaching and/or course materials by departmental colleagues; involvement in new course development and/or teaching innovation; documented collaborative activity with colleagues in course design; contribution to interdisciplinary experiences for student learning; involvement and success in individual instruction or mentoring of students, as evidenced by student research, creative work, presentations or publications in departmental or campus venues; or assumption of additional, unusual, or particularly demanding teaching assignments.

Does not meet expectations. This rating implies that the faculty member is not meeting the minimum expected level of performance and that significant improvement is needed. Recommendations for improving performance should be discussed with the faculty member as part of the annual evaluation process. Evidence that performance in teaching needs improvement may include: a pattern of problematic scores and/or problematic comments by students reported by the student course surveys; peer evaluations of teaching and/or course materials that raise concerns about the quality of the course material or the strategies of instruction; a significant record of student complaints reported directly to the chair or dean; failure to meet assigned classes; failure to fulfill minimum performance criteria listed in §6.3 as they relate to teaching. This rating may also be assigned for failure to take steps for improvement in consultation with the chair as a consequence of a previous year’s rating.

6.3.3  Professional Activity

Meets expectations. Evidence of effective performance in professional activity includes not only engaging in the work necessary to maintain currency in the profession or discipline, but also demonstrating contributions to the discipline and/or teaching profession through activities directed toward professional peers beyond the university. Evidence of such contributions may include the following: participation in regional, national or international conferences through presentations, panel organization or participation, or workshop participation; preparation, submission or revisions of texts for possible publication; participating in exhibitions or performances; applications for external grants or funding; winning internal grants: the extensive employment of a faculty member’s professional expertise in the community (for instance, large-scale activities involving local schools or businesses); serving on the editorial board of a journal or as an officer in a professional organization; making efforts to obtain funding by preparing and submitting research proposals, or evidence of progression on a professional project. Documented contributions to professional organizations may also be considered in this category.

Exceeds expectations. This rating should be applied to a faculty member whose professional and scholarly contributions are determined to be well above the average level of expectations. Evidence of outstanding performance includes publication, performance, exhibition, or conference presentation in peer reviewed venues. Peer reviewed publications and presentations are evidence that the quality and productivity of the activity is acceptable to a knowledgeable peer group. Serving as editor of a journal may be recognized in this category. Documented contributions to professional organizations, including election/appointment to a significant leadership role, receiving a significant award for work by a professional organization may be considered in this category. Other criteria include obtaining external sources of funding that are peer reviewed.

Does not meet expectations. This rating implies that the faculty member is not meeting the minimum expected level of performance and that significant improvement is needed. Recommendations for improving performance should be discussed with the faculty member as part of the annual evaluation process. Performance in professional activity needs improvement when there is no discernible record of contribution to the faculty member’s discipline and/or scholarship of teaching through activities directed toward professional peers beyond the university, for instance because such efforts have been unsuccessful or sporadic, or may have been directed too narrowly to colleagues on campus or to an audience not comprised of professional peers. Failure to fulfill minimum performance criteria listed in §6.3 as they relate to professional activity is also cause for this rating. This rating may also be assigned for failure to take steps for improvement in consultation with the chair as a consequence of a previous year’s rating.

6.3.4  Service

Meets expectations. Evidence of effective service consists of meeting all one’s advising responsibilities and serving on at least one committee at the department, college, or university level during the evaluation period and demonstrating responsible participation on that committee, or providing documentation and explanation for the lack of activity. Sometimes committees have more work than at other times and sometimes a committee’s agenda is not always within the committee’s control. Furthermore, there are times when a faculty member is not assigned to a committee (or has recently completed a term on a major committee). However, expectations for service remain and all faculty are expected to participate in the work of their departments and colleges outside of the classroom, to provide academic advising to students, and to serve in governance of the university. All faculty are expected to attend department and general faculty meetings (including voting on the graduates), and attend graduation ceremonies and other formal academic ceremonies.(see Section 5) A faculty member may demonstrate service through an accumulation of other activities such as participation in departmental hiring activities, admissions recruiting activities including participation in on campus admissions events, reaching out to prospective students when asked, meeting with prospective students and their families, attending special events for students such as receptions for graduating majors, career panels, or other activities that are limited in scope. Community outreach activities that rely on a faculty member’s academic expertise and serve to connect the University with the community can be recognized in this category. Willingness to serve on a committee is a minimum requirement for this level of recognition. In the case of a minimal record of service, a faculty member is expected to offer evidence of willingness to serve (for example, making oneself available for election to a major committee—even if the election is won by a competing candidate) or present a credible case for alternatives to established committees. Service to the profession may be included in this category, but it alone does not constitute evidence of effective service. Faculty members in their first year shall automatically be considered satisfactory in service.

Exceeds expectations. This rating should be applied to a faculty member whose service contributions have been determined to be well above the average level of expectations. Evidence of outstanding service includes such activities as serving in a leadership role on an active University or College committee and/or documentation of significant contributions to an active committee. In addition, serving on multiple committees, evidence of other leadership, innovation, or other significant service responsibilities may also be considered in this category.

Does not meet expectations. This rating implies that the faculty member is not meeting the minimum expected level of performance and that significant improvement is needed. Recommendations for improving performance should be discussed with the faculty member as part of the annual evaluation process. Service performance needs improvement when the record shows no or only slight department or university service when options for service were available, consistent failure to attend department meetings and/or significant department functions, consistent failure to attend general faculty meetings and/ or participate in academic ceremonies including Graduation and Honor Convocation, or when the faculty member fails to satisfactorily perform advising responsibilities. The previous service record should be taken into account, however, to ensure that the faculty member is not penalized after having completed a major committee assignment. Failure to fulfill minimum performance criteria listed in §6.3 as they relate to service is also cause for this rating. This rating may also be assigned for failure to take steps for improvement in consultation with the chair as a consequence of a previous year’s rating.