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Faculty productivity should be judged on more than just course loads and publishing, and instructional cost can be a misleading data point in evaluating an institution’s faculty productivity, according to an essay by Michael F. Middaugh.

Middaugh is a retired associate provost for institutional effectiveness from the University of Delaware. During his time there, he spent nearly 20 years directing the National Study of Instructional Costs and Productivity, also known as the Delaware Study. Middaugh’s essay, “Measuring Faculty Productivity: Let’s Get it Right” appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The essay argues that traditional criteria for evaluating faculty productivity give an incomplete picture of faculty activities and responsibility.  Faculty productivity measurements that only account for teaching loads and publishing fail to give a fair view of the various ways in which faculty members contribute to their universities and their communities, Middaugh argues, and can be especially ineffective in reflecting the nuances of different academic disciplines.  “Colleges must consider the qualitative dimensions of out-of-classroom faculty activity, particularly in the fine arts, social sciences, and humanities, where there are little data about external support to provide context for teaching loads and instructional costs.”

Middaugh says that in order to create a more complete picture of faculty productivity, the Delaware Study collects data on many out-of-classroom faculty activities, such as a faculty member’s number of student advisees, thesis and dissertation committees served on, and the number of course curricula designed or redesigned. It also tracks public performances and exhibitions of fine arts faculty, patents applied for and awarded to science faculty, and grant proposals prepared and financed. He suggests that individual institutions should adopt a similar model in evaluating the productivity of their faculty members.

The full essay is available here:

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