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imageIf you are a dean or a department chair, you are responsible for clarifying the University's expectations and for organizing the collection of peer, student, and self-evaluations to assess a faculty member's teaching. (See the resources for peer, student, and self-assessment elsewhere on this website.)   If you are a department chair, you are also responsible for conferring with the faculty member about these evaluations and for maintaining a personnel file.  However, while most first-hand evidence of teaching effectiveness will come from the faculty member, peers, and students, you also have something to contribute to the evaluation process.  After all, you have access to information that only an administrator has--e.g., notes from one-on-one conferences, telephone messages from the faculty member or parents, email and letters from colleagues, and petitions from students.  Your records may include, on the one hand, student requests for overrides or colleagues' letters of recommendation that document exemplary teaching.  On the other hand, your records may include student complaints about attendance and punctuality or the verdicts of grievance committees about grading practices. Such evidence places you in a unique position to determine whether the faculty member's course management and assessment skills conform to departmental policies and standards.  Click the links on the right to access resources that can guide you through this process.




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Overseeing the Implementation of University Policies

If you are a department chair, you are responsible for clarifying and helping faculty follow the policies described in the Faculty Handbook.  Therefore, for the purpose of evaluating teaching effectiveness, you may observe how well faculty members are fulfilling the teaching responsibilities listed in Sections 2.32-2.33 (see "Teaching" and "Conference Hours" under "Terms and Conditions of Faculty Employment" ).  To ensure that your evaluation is appropriate and consistent, you may wish to use the following rubric since it is derived (virtually verbatim) from Sections 2.32-2.33. However, keep in mind as the Faculty Handbook advises, "the purpose does not include a desire to impose a rigid codified body of rules on the faculty" (p.2.31).

Teaching Responsibilities

Faculty Responsibilities SA A SD D NA
Has a firm command of the subject.          
Keeps abreast of new developments.          
Selects teaching strategies that facilitate the learning process.          
Communicates the subject effectively.          
Instructs classes at the scheduled time and place.          
Instructs in a manner consistent with the course content and course credit approved by the appropriate faculty body.          
Notifies the department office, if unable to meet a class, and makes arrangements for substitute instruction or for the class to be notified concerning cancellation.          
Reschedules make-up classes, if needed, at a time reasonably convenient for students.          
Designs and evaluates conscientiously all student work with impartiality.          
Completes grading in a timely fashion according to the schedule of due dates announced by the Office of the Registrar.          
Gives students an opportunity to receive an explanation of the grade assigned.          
Provides each student with a written syllabus or course guide summarizing the objectives and requirements of their courses, the textbooks or other sources to be used, and the applicable attendance and grading rules.          
Avoids unacceptable discriminatory conduct based on such factors as race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability or handicap, age, or political beliefs.          
Is sensitive to the harmful consequences of professorial or student conduct or comments in classroom discussions or elsewhere that perpetuate stereotypes or prejudices involving such factors.          
Is available to counsel students about academic matters throughout the academic year by means of regularly scheduled office hours or appointments.          
Transmits timely and accurate information during conference hours.          
Is available to colleagues for purposes of discussing teaching methods, content of courses, and related matters.          

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Conferring with Faculty

Department chairs, should communicate regularly with faculty about their performance, not just in an annual or biennial conference.  Whether you chat in your office, the corridor, or cafeteria, ongoing communication can help you clarify the University's expectations and policies while providing the kind of formative evaluation that leads to teaching improvement.  For advice from the American Council on Education, see Irene Hecht's posting "The Challenge of Evaluating Faculty Colleagues."


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Additional References

American Council on Education. (2008). How can I evaluate my department's faculty? Washington, DC: Author.

Bensimon, E.M., Ward, K., & Sanders, K. (2000).  The department chair’s role in developing new faculty into teachers and scholars.  Bolton, MA: Anker.

Diamond, R.M. (2002). A field guide to academic leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Buller, J. L. (2006). The essential department chair: A practical guide to college administration. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc. 

Gmelch, W. H. & Miskin, V. D. (2004). Chairing an academic department. Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing. 

Lees, N. D. (2007). Chairing academic departments: Traditional and emerging expectations. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc.

Seldin, P. (1990).  How administrators can improve teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


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