NAC&U Publication Proposes New, Holistic Approach to Faculty Support and Evaluation

There was a time when evaluating faculty in the core areas of teaching, scholarship, and service provided a somewhat reliable method of assessment. Over the last couple of decades, however, the lines between those areas has blurred, and faculty are now shouldering additional responsibilities. Faculty must keep abreast of ever-changing technology and determine if and how to use it in their pedagogies.They also must consider how to deliver high-impact practices, such as undergraduate research and civic engagement, to more of their students. Faculty also are more likely to be engaged in university processes, such as writing reports for accreditation, representing the university in external organizations, and recruiting students. The faculty evaluation process generally has not kept pace with these changing roles and responsibilities. A new monograph, “Refining the Paradigm: Holistic Evaluation of Faculty to Support Faculty and Student Learning,” seeks to offer guidance to higher education institutions in improving faculty assessment.

In this monograph, authors Richard Alan Gillman, associate provost for faculty affairs and professor of mathematics, Valparaiso University; Nancy H. Hensel, president, The New American Colleges and Universities; David Salomon, director of undergraduate research and creative activity, Christopher Newport University; and Stephen C. Wilhite,provost and vice president for academic affairs and student success, The American University of Ras Al Khaimah; build on their first work, “Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning,” which put forth the concept of holistic departments in which faculty within a department were viewed as teams rather than interchangeable, independent parts. In “Refining the Paradigm,” the authors address the issues found in current models of faculty evaluation and provide ideas for supporting faculty development and taking a holistic approach to evaluation. Both monographs were funded through a grant from The Teagle Foundation.

“Faculty work has become complex, and we must look at all aspects of it, recognizing that teaching, scholarship, service, and professional development are not mutually exclusive activities. We hope that that both this and the preceding monograph provide a fresh approach to structuring departments and evaluating faculty in a way that acknowledges all of their contributions,” said co-author Nancy Hensel, president of The New American Colleges and Universities.

In many ways, this is a continuation of NAC&U’s examination of faculty work and commitment which first began in 2002 when it published “New Academic Compact: Revisioning the Relationship Between Faculty and Their Institutions,” with a support from the Pew Charitable Trusts. That study first looked at faculty workload, professional development, differentiated roles, and evaluation. The Teagle Foundation then provided a grant in 2013 to further study faculty roles in an effort to individual and improve faculty evaluation, develop a holistic department model, and articulate and expand the NAC&U focus on integrating liberal arts and professional studies.

Access: “Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning”

Access: “Refining the Paradigm: Holistic Evaluation of Faculty to Support Faculty and Student Learning” 

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