Evaluation of Part-Time Faculty
State University of New York at Albany
Addendum to Guidelines for the Appointment of Part-Time Faculty Members
- Background This statement is an addendum to the "Guidelines for the Appointment of Part-time Faculty Members," issued annually by the Provost's Office, and is intended to articulate more specific expectations and standards for evaluating the performance of the University's part-time faculty, particularly in the area of teaching. Like the Guidelines, this statement was generated by a joint labor-management group, and will be reviewed from time to time to improve its usefulness in providing encouragement and direction for the institution's academic departments in fostering an environment that values and promotes the professional contributions of part-time faculty members.
The University at Albany has a long history of policy and practice for both student and peer assessment of teaching. Student feedback is regularly solicited for courses, using the Student Information Retrieval Form (SIRF) coordinated by the Office of Institutional Research or some other instrument endorsed by the instructor's department or program. In 1984, the University Senate passed legislation requiring each school or department to adopt a procedure for peer evaluation of teaching. The legislation does not mandate a single, uniform approach, but rather describes several standard and accepted techniques to serve as examples for the faculty of each unit to use in developing a response that is tailored to the particular character and needs their curriculum. Compilation and presentation of data generated from these student and peer assessment processes is routinely incorporated into the documentation accompanying term renewal and promotion recommendations for the full-time faculty. This effort reflects the mutual interest in extending these evaluation processes and expectations in so far as possible to part-time faculty.
- Recommended Expectations While departments and programs are encouraged to give serious and deliberate assessment attention to the performance and contributions of all part-time faculty members, this addendum statement focuses particularly on paid employees of the UUP bargaining unit. Approximately 250 individuals in this status are appointed to the University each semester to teach a variety of lecture and seminar courses as well as to interact with students doing required practica, independent study, and directed research.
- At a minimum, all departments and programs are expected to install procedures as necessary to solicit student evaluations for courses taught by part-time faculty. Data obtained from this source must be compiled and submitted to the department chair or dean and to the faculty member, together with comparative departmental or school-wide statistical mean scores.
- In addition to student course evaluations, departments and programs are expected to evaluate part-time faculty members on a regular basis. In all respects, the procedures for the evaluation of part-time faculty should adhere to the guidelines provided in the Administrative Memorandum on the Evaluation of Teaching (Office of Academic Affairs, April 24, 1984). At a minimum, these evaluations should include review of course syllabi and other teaching materials, review of grade distributions and other student performance evaluations at least once every three semesters. In addition, an initial direct classroom observation should be made within the first three semesters of the appointment, and periodically thereafter in departments and programs where the practice exists for full-time faculty members. An extension of the normal time period for the initial observation, by one semester, may be granted by the applicable dean. Part-time faculty members in departments and programs where classroom observation is not the normal practice, may nonetheless request one. Documentation of these evaluations shall be maintained in the department or program office, though available to the applicable dean in conjunction with renewals and other personnel actions.
- Lastly, part-time faculty should be invited to submit annual faculty activity reports. These reports provide a convenient mechanism for gathering regular and systematic information about a faculty member's larger, more comprehensive professional achievements and contributions. The report is available on the UAlbany website at http://www.albany.edu/academic_affairs/faculty_activity_report/
- Recommended Outcomes The purpose of encouraging more concerted efforts on behalf of teaching evaluation is to document the high quality of performance of part-time faculty and to promote and assist their professional development. Toward these ends, departments and programs are urged to create and maintain individual performance portfolios for their part-time faculty, especially those persons who have been (or are likely to be) associated with the unit on a long-term basis. The evidence gathered through this evaluation process is to be used in making a variety of personnel decisions, including renewal actions, recommendations for discretionary salary awards, and targeted institutional honors and awards intended to recognize the particular accomplishments of part-time faculty.
- Selected Resources
- Guidelines for the Appointment of Part-time Faculty Members, Office of Academic Affairs, February 2005
- Administrative Memorandum on the Evaluation of Teaching, Office of Academic Affairs, April 24, 1984
For more information contact: Office of Academic Affairs, 437-4920.
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