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 scores 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 merit score 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.

6.3.2 Teaching

Score 3: Outstanding.  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 presentations or publications in departmental or campus venues; or voluntary assumption of additional, unusual, or particularly demanding teaching assignments.

Score 2: Effective.  This rating should always be interpreted in a favorable light.  This rating implies that the individual has been a productive and effective teacher.  This level of achievement represents the average performance expected of UMW faculty.  Evidence of effective performance in teaching includes a clear record of success in the classroom, as evidenced by the following:  acceptable scores and comments by students reported by the student course surveys; positive 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; and presenting course syllabi which conform to the expectations of instruction at UMW.

Score 1: Less than one year for evaluation, or less than effective – needs improvement. When used in cases other than a faculty member who is in her/his first year at UMW, this rating implies that the faculty member is only barely meeting the minimum expected level of performance and that room for significant improvement exists.  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:  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 record of student complaints reported directly to the chair or dean; a pattern of being inconsistently available to students during office hours; failure to construct course syllabi which conform to the expectations of instruction at UMW.

Score 0: Unsatisfactory.  The individual’s performance in teaching has not been productive or effective.  Evidence that performance in teaching is unsatisfactory may include:  failure to follow a plan for improvement created in consultation with the chair as a consequence of the previous year’s evaluation score of zero or one; persistent and significantly poor scores and/or seriously negative comments by students reported by the student course surveys which suggest a pattern of poor performance in the classroom, rather than a single, unusual occurrence; a continuing record of student complaints reported directly to the chair or dean; peer evaluations of teaching and/or course materials that demonstrate problems with the quality of the course material or the strategies of instruction; a failure to meet assigned classes or to fulfill expectations for one or more assigned courses; consistent failure to be available to students during office hours.

6.3.3  Professional Activity

Score 3: Outstanding. 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 situations. 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 may be considered in this category.  Other criteria include obtaining external sources of funding that are peer reviewed.

Score 2: Effective.  This rating should always be interpreted in a favorable light.  This rating implies that the individual has been productive and effective in professional and scholarly activities and represents the average expectations for UMW faculty.  It is important to note that the UMW Faculty Handbook recognizes a broad range of professional activity and nowhere states that a faculty member must publish to be in good standing. To earn an effective ranking, however, faculty are certainly required to give evidence that they are engaging in the work necessary to maintain currency in their profession or discipline.  Maintaining currency is not enough in itself to earn a score of 2.  In addition, faculty are expected to demonstrate contributions to their discipline and/or teaching profession through activities directed toward professional peers beyond the campus.   Evidence of such contributions may include any of the following: conference presentations; publishing journal articles, book reviews, encyclopedia articles, or other printed works; winning an internal grant; participating in on-campus and local exhibitions or performances; the extensive employment of a faculty member’s professional expertise in the community (for instance, large-scale activities involving local schools or businesses).  Recognition is also given to 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.

Score 1: Less than one year for evaluation, or less than effective – needs improvement.  When used in cases other than a faculty member who is in her/his first year at UMW, this rating implies that the faculty member is only barely meeting the minimum expected level of performance and that room for significant improvement exists.   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 campus.  In this case, the faculty member gives evidence that he or she is engaging in work necessary to maintain currency in the profession or discipline, but efforts to do more are unsuccessful or sporadic or may have been directed too narrowly to colleagues on campus or to an audience not well connected to the faculty member’s primary professional peers.  It is important for the chair and the dean to understand the specific constraints which contribute to this faculty member’s record of professional activity and work to develop a plan for increased professional activity within those constraints.

Score 0: Unsatisfactory.  The individual’s performance in scholarly and professional activity has not been productive or effective.  A rating of unsatisfactory is appropriate where a faculty member gives very little or no evidence of engaging in work necessary to maintain currency in the profession or discipline.

6.3.4  Service

Score 3: Outstanding.  This rating should be applied to a faculty member who has met the criteria for level 2 and whose service contributions have been determined to be well above the average level of expectations.  Evidence of outstanding service includes such activities as chairing an active University or College committee and/or documentation of significant contributions to an active committee.  In addition, evidence of leadership, innovation, or other significant service responsibilities may also be considered in this category.

Score 2: Effective.  This rating should always be interpreted in a favorable light.  This rating implies that the individual has been productive and effective in service contributions.  A rating of effective represents the average expectation for a UMW faculty member.  Evidence of effective service consists of meeting all one’s advising responsibilities and serving on at least one committee at the department or university level during the evaluation period and demonstrating responsible participation on that committee, or offering an 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 a faculty member may demonstrate service through an accumulation of other activities such as participation in departmental hiring activities, special events for students (such as receptions for graduating majors, career panels, or recruiting activities for Showcase), 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.

Score 1: Less than one year for evaluation, or less than effective – needs improvement. When used in cases other than a faculty member who is in her/his first year at UMW, this rating implies that the faculty member is only barely meeting the minimum expected level of performance and that room for significant improvement exists.   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 only slight department or university service when options for service were available or shows problems with meeting the expectations for student advising.  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.

Score 0: Unsatisfactory. The individual’s performance in service activities has not been productive or effective.  A rating of unsatisfactory is appropriate for faculty reporting no record of service of any kind.  Furthermore, documentation of a refusal to serve or documentation of failure or refusal to perform assigned duties on a committee warrants a rating of unsatisfactory.  Reports of refusal to serve and/or failure to perform assigned duties may come from committee chairs, the chair of the department, or the dean.  Also, failure to satisfactorily perform advising responsibilities warrants a score of zero for service.