Professional Development and Evaluation

 

Review of Article 22

 

 

I.        Overview

 

Article 22 of the 2005-2007 IFO MnSCU Collective Bargaining Agreement governs the Evaluation Process for faculty, and identifies the purpose, criteria, schedule and procedure for evaluation.

 

The evaluation process involves the preparation of two documents -- a Professional Development Plan and a Progress Report.

 

Each faculty member is required to develop a Professional Development Plan ("PDP" or “Plan”) for the period covered by the evaluation. For probationary and fixed term faculty, the evaluation period is the academic year (and for tenured faculty, the evaluation period is four years). The Plan must include specific objectives, methods and expected achievements in respect to the criteria in set forth in Article 22, Section B. While a faculty member must address all five criteria, s/he may place different emphases on the various criteria as long as it is consistent with department goals and university policy.

Probationary and tenure track faculty below the Professor rank, and fixed term and assistant coaches (with a 75% appointment or more), are required to submit a year-end Progress Report that describes progress made with respect to achieving the goals set forth in the Plan with regard to each criterion. For teaching faculty, effective teaching shall be the principal proportion of the five criteria considered in the evaluation and teaching faculty need to include evidence of effective teaching in their Report. Faculty are encouraged to use student assessments as evidence of ability to teach effectively;  evidence of ability to teach effectively also includes peer reviews, quality of syllabi, nature and quality of assignments, practices and quality for assessing student progress and other examples in set forth in Appendix G of the collective bargaining agreement.

 

 

II.       Purpose

 

Article 22, Section A, Sets forth the Purpose of the evaluation process.

 

The purpose of the evaluation process is to provide faculty with information which will contribute to (encourage and support) professional development. The purpose of professional development is to provide for continuing improvement in teaching and other student interactions, in scholarly activity and in service, and to provide a basis for personnel decisions.

 

The evaluation process thus has a dual purpose:  encouragement and support of professional development on the one hand and personnel decision-making on the other. 

 

 

III. Criteria

 

Article 22, Section B and Appendix G set forth the Criteria upon which evaluations are based:

 

Criterion 1.     Demonstrated ability to teach effectively or perform effectively in other current assignments;

Criterion 2.     Scholarly or creative achievement or research;

Criterion 3.     Evidence of continuing preparation and study;

Criterion 4.     Contribution to student growth and development; and

Criterion 5.     Service to the university and community.

 

Appendix "G" elaborates on the types of evidence appropriate for addressing each criterion, both for department’s development of goals and objectives and for the individual faculty member in preparing his/her PDP and Progress Report.  

 

 

IV. Schedule

 

Article 22, Section C provides the Schedule for evaluations, based on a faculty member’s appointment status.

 

Probationary faculty (.50 FTE or more) and fixed term faculty (.75 FTE or more) are evaluated annually, i.e., faculty must prepare a PDP (Professional Development Plan) and a Progress Report (PDR) each academic year.

 

Article 22, Section D, Subd 2. provides that first year probationary faculty complete their Plan covering the first academic year by the end of fall semester, and submit their Report on the first year by the end of spring semester. In their second year, probationary faculty submit their second year Plan within 15 working (duty) days after completion of the first year evaluation.

 

After meeting and conferring on the evaluation, tenure and promotion processes, the administration publishes the timetables for submission of Plans and Progress Reports, and for departmental and administrative responses. 

 

 

V. Procedure

 

Article 22, Section D provides the Procedure for the evaluation process.

 

The evaluation process includes the following steps:

 

1.            Meet and Confer between administration and the Faculty Association concerning timelines for preparation and submission of PDPs and Progress Reports, and for receiving departmental and administrative responses (and timetable for recommendations regarding non-renewal, tenure and promotion). 

 

2.            The administration publishes the timelines for the annual evaluation process.

 

3.            Initial meeting of each faculty member with the dean (arranged by the dean’s office) for consultation on preparing a Plan (PDP).

 

4.            The writing of the Plan by each faculty member for the period to be covered by the evaluation (i.e., for probationary and fixed term faculty, for the upcoming academic year).

 

5.            Department receives a copy of the Plan through the Chair. Typically discussion with the department follows (per departmental policy). Department members are encouraged to provide written comments on the Plan to assist the faculty member in his/her professional development and provide guidance for promotion and tenure. The department’s written comments are forwarded to the faculty member. Faculty member has the opportunity to respond to the department’s comments.

 

6.            The dean shall provide written comments on the Plan. Before commenting, the dean may consult with the department and chairperson about how the Plan relates to departmental goals and objectives.

 

7.            Faculty member has the opportunity to respond in writing to the dean's comments. The faculty member may change his/her Plan or have his/her written response to the dean’s comments included with the Plan in the personnel file.

 

8.            Copy of the Plan with comments added is placed in the faculty member's personnel file.

 

9.            At the end of the evaluation period, each faculty member prepares a year-end Progress Report with documentation describing progress made in respect to achieving objectives specified in the Plan. Faculty typically prepare a portfolio of materials to provide evidence of progress made toward each Plan goal (including e.g., student evaluations and other student feedback, syllabi and other course materials, written materials from presentations at professional meetings, acceptance letters for publications or other evidence of publications, sample of works in progress, agendas or other program notes for conferences attended, committee rosters and agendas).

 

10.        Copy of the Progress Report is provided to the dean.

 

11.        Copy of the Progress Report is provided to the Chair. The department receives a copy of the Progress Report through the Chair. Department members are encouraged to provide written comments on the Report to assist the faculty member in his/her professional development and provide guidance for promotion and tenure. The department’s written comments are forwarded to the faculty member.

 

12.        The dean schedules a meeting with each faculty member to discuss progress during the evaluation period.

 

13.        A written summary of dean’s assessment of the faculty member's accomplishments with respect to his/her plan as they relate to the 5 criteria, along with suggestions to guide future professional development, is sent to the faculty member and placed in his/her personnel file.

 

 

VI. Observations and Additional Information on Process:

 

Relationship between Plan and Progress Report:

 

A faculty member’s Professional Development Plan is his or her own. It is developed after consultation with the dean (and presumably with departmental mentoring and guidance). In setting forth a Plan for meeting the 5 criteria, faculty typically establish goals or objectives to address each criterion. Faculty members should be mindful not to overstate realistically what is possible to accomplish during one academic year.  Ideally, the dean reviews, approves and supports the Plan.

 

At the year’s end, the faculty member’s Progress Report is an opportunity to show what one accomplished toward each goal in the Plan or to show that one has accomplished each objective in the Plan. The dean provides written feedback on the Report in the form of his/her “assessment of the faculty member’s accomplishments in respect to his/her plan.” [Article 20 Section D, Subd 3] The dean’s assessment is an evaluation of the faculty member’s accomplishments of the objectives set forth in the Plan.

Role of the Department in the Evaluation Process:

 

Article 20 establishes the means by which departments develop personnel recommendations, including responses to PDPs and Progress Reports, and recommendations regarding tenure and promotion.  Personnel recommendations on behalf of the department may be made by a committee of the whole or by a duly elected subcommittee. All departmental recommendations must be reviewed and approved by department faculty, so departmental subcommittee recommendations must be made available for review and approval by the entire department. An individual faculty member within the department has the right to make his or her own individual recommendation.  [Article 20, Section A, Subd. 3] 

 

A recommendation on a personnel action must include written reasons and it must be based on the five criteria in Article 22, Section B. [Article 5, Section Q of the collective bargaining agreement requires that a recommendation on a personnel action includes “written reasons and must be signed and dated by the person or persons” making it.]

 

A recommendation should also be consistent with the department's written policies, procedures and schedules established democratically in accordance with Article 20, Section A, Subd. 3. If the department suggests changes in a faculty member’s PDP, such changes must be related to the given criteria in Article 22, Section B.  Other criteria outside of the five areas specified in Section B may not be required by the department.  In all cases, copies of department or individual recommendations must be provided to the faculty member affected by the recommendations. 

 

 

Role of Department Chair:

 

The role of the department Chair in the professional development and evaluation process is parallel with his/her overall role as department Chair, i.e., Chairs are coordinators of department affairs. The Chairs are responsible for forwarding faculty members’ Plans and Reports to the department and for forwarding departmental recommendations to the administration. Chairs are not supervisors, and they may not unilaterally set criteria which faculty members must meet in their PDPs.  The Chair does not unilaterally establish or set departmental goals and objectives. Departmental goals and objectives with regard to PDPs are adopted by the entire department and the entire department must be involved (or invited to be involved) in the discussion of the PDP as related to those goals and objectives. 

 

The department Chair is expected to make an individual recommendation on “such matters as tenure, promotion and nonrenewal,” whether or not the Chair’s recommendation agrees the department’s recommendation. [Article 20, Section B, Subd. 3] In addition, the department Chair may be a good resource person for discussion on possible goals to include in one’s Plan, and to provide information on what has worked well or not worked well for others in the department.

 

 

Opportunity to Meet With Administration During the Process:

 

Faculty members should be aware and take advantage of opportunities provided in the process to meet with the dean or to comment on the dean's response.  For example, the faculty member consults with the dean before the Professional Development Plan is developed, receives comments on the PDP from the dean before the Plan goes in the file, and has an opportunity to comment on the dean's response and / or change the Plan before the Plan goes into the Personnel file.  Again at the end of the evaluation period, the faculty member meets with the dean to discuss the Progress Report and achievements, before the faculty member receives the written summary of the dean’s assessment. Many deans provide a draft assessment to the faculty member for discussion and comment, prior to issuing the dean’s “final” assessment.  

 

 

Providing Evidence to Address the Five Criteria (& the “Closure” Prohibition):

 

It is the faculty member’s responsibility to provide evidence which will establish his or her accomplishments under the 5 criteria. Article 22 Section B specifies the 5 criteria by which faculty members are evaluated, and Appendix G provides a list of the type of evidence that is appropriate for addressing each category. Past arbitration awards between the IFO and MnSCU have established that the intent of defining the types of evidence of meeting each criterion broadly is to allow faculty members to establish their own method of showing they meet each criterion. Faculty members have multiple ways to prove they meet each of the 5 criteria. Appendix G itself states that “an array of relevant information and data may be used as evidence in all five criteria.”  Arbitral authority provides that personnel decisions (to deny tenure or promotion) cannot be based on a faculty member’s failure to provide specific evidence for meeting a criterion, such as failure to publish in a refereed journal. [This has been referred to as “closure.”] Therefore, neither the department nor the administration can require that a faculty member submit specific evidence to meet any one criterion, such as requiring that it necessary for a faculty member to publish a book in order to meet Criterion 2. While Appendix G of the collective bargaining agreement provides that faculty “are encouraged” to provide student course assessments as evidence of teaching effectiveness, the administration cannot require it necessary for a faculty member to provide student course assessments in order to meet Criterion 1.