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New Ways of Assessing Faculty

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Content originally published on data180.com. Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.

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Assessing the productivity and success of university faculty members is a difficult, inexact science. Many institutions have traditionally assessed employees’ work in three areas: teaching, research and service. But in an age where the lines between these three areas are often blurred, is there a better way to measure faculty achievement? That was the topic of a panel discussion, entitled “Supporting Student Learning Through Holistic Faculty Evaluation,” at a meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities in January.

Colleen Flaherty, a writer for Inside Higher Ed, attended the conference and reported on the ideas presented during the panel session in an article titled “Reassessing Faculty Assessment.” Flaherty’s article relays innovative examples that some institutions have started using to assess faculty productivity.

Jon Kilpenen, dean of the college of arts and sciences and associate professor of geography at Valparaiso University, told session attendees his faculty senate had recently approved a plan that would give members credit for work outside of teaching and allow departments flexibility in handing out courseload and service assignments. This is in contrast to the former assessment model, which required all faculty members to teach a standard 24 credits per year.

“One of the big issues here is to relook at teaching, scholarship and service and the collapsing boundaries between the three,” Kilpenen said in the article. “In a holistic department, someone might pick up more service, and we want to make sure we account for that in the evaluation, as well.”

Flaherty also cites an example David Salomon, associate English professor at Russell Sage College, told the panel. His school recently reworked the the kinds of questions found in student evaluations of faculty teaching.

The evaluations ask students to agree or disagree with statements such as “You put effort into learning the material covered on this course” and “You were challenged to do your best work in this course.” Representatives of the school reworked the teaching evaluation in an effort to focus more on the student’s role in active learning.

The full article from Inside Higher Ed is available here: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/01/26/aacu-session-focuses-holistic-faculty-evaluation.

Content originally published on data180.com. Learn more about Interfolio’s acquisition of Data180 here.