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.

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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.

A project team, including 16 of NAC&U’s members, has created  “Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning” – a monograph that encourages colleges and universities to more effectively structure departments to address changes in higher education and better support student learning.

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“Colleges and universities haven’t really changed the way departments are structured and the way faculty are evaluated despite major shifts in pedagogy and faculty responsibilities over the past few decades,” said the monograph’s co-editor David Salomon, professor of English and director of undergraduate research at The Sage Colleges. “We need to move away from viewing professors as the ‘sage on the stage’ and instead focus on the various activities – inside and outside of the classroom – that they do to foster student learning and advance the institutional mission.”

In the monograph, NAC&U outlines a new way of organizing departments and programs as “holistic departments” and recommends a new process for faculty evaluation called “the learning-centered paradigm.” Traditionally faculty have been evaluated on scholarship, teaching and service, but this monograph addresses the reality that faculty are engaged in many activities that cannot be easily separated into those categories. Instead, it argues for a holistic view of a department’s collective workload and seeks to achieve fluid, equitable workloads that can change as the department’s and faculty members’ needs change.

The authors call for a holistic view of faculty assessment as outcomes and successes can be demonstrated in many areas, rather than simply scholarship, teaching and service, such as mentoring undergraduate researchers, facilitating learning communities, and coordinating experiential learning opportunities including internships and civic engagement projects. The monograph promotes the idea of students as active learners, working collaboratively with faculty doing research, service projects or other experiential learning.

“NAC&U was a good candidate to adopt this project because our member campuses already have an integrated view of higher education,” said Nancy Hensel, president of The New American Colleges and Universities. “In fact, some campuses were already examining these issues which allowed us to include real-world examples in the monograph.”

“Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning,” edited by Nancy Hensel, Lynn Hunnicutt and David Salomon, is available on the NAC&U website. The Holistic Department Committee included representatives from Arcadia University, Belmont University, Hamline University, Pacific Lutheran University, The Sage Colleges, University of Evansville, Valparaiso University, Westminster College, and Widener University. The Faculty Evaluation Committee included representatives from Belmont University, Hamline University, The Sage Colleges, University of Evansville, Wagner College, Westminster College, and Widener University. Working to support and strengthen liberal arts education, The Teagle Foundation supports projects to improve student learning in the arts and sciences.

Although undergraduate research is identified as a high-impact practice, frequently it is an option for only a few students, mainly juniors and seniors, primarily during the summer. Faculty who have had success embedding research into courses, thus reaching more students, including freshmen and sophomores, have shared their experience in a new book, “Course-Based Undergraduate Research: Educational Equity and High-Impact Practice.” (Stylus Publishing, 2018)

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Edited by Nancy Hensel, NAC&U president and a noted leader in undergraduate research, the book addresses all aspects of undergraduate research, including the design of course-based research for first- and second-year students, mentoring a class rather than individual students, setting appropriate expectations, and the dissemination of student research. The book is applicable for faculty at both two-year and four-year institutions and includes examples from the sciences, social science, and humanities.

“Often faculty are unsure about how to engage first- and second-year students in undergraduate research, yet research has shown that the skills developed through undergraduate research help prepare students for future careers,” said Hensel. “This book includes contributions from faculty in a variety of disciplines at both large and small, public and private, and two-year and four-year institutions, illustrating the possibilities of course-based research for freshmen and sophomores.”

NAC&U faculty from California Lutheran University, Manhattan College, St. Edward’s University, University of New Haven, and Valparaiso University contributed chapters to the book, and Cathy Davidson, a prominent scholar and recipient of the NAC&U Boyer Award in 2016, wrote the foreword.

The book is available in paperback form for $35.00 or as an eBook for $27.99. Order directly from Stylus Publishing and use code CBUR20 at checkout for a 20% discount (expires 12/31/18).

Click here for more about the book or to order from Stylus Publishing.


“Exploring, Experiencing, and Envisioning Integration in U.S. Arts Education,” published in 2018 by Palgrave Macmillan, explores the dedication of the New American Colleges & Universities (NAC&U) to the purposeful integration of liberal education, professional studies, and civic engagement through the performing, literary, and visual arts.

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The book’s concepts support the idea that development of professional skills in combination with the theoretical aspects of liberal arts curriculum, which traditionally includes music, theatre, art and literature, provides a high quality undergraduate educational experience that uniquely prepares students for adaptability in their careers and engaged citizenship grounded in the ability to think creatively, critically, and ethically.

“Arts and liberal arts are under attack because critics say they do not help to prepare students for their careers,” said Nancy Hensel, president of NAC&U and the book’s editor. “The concrete examples in this book demonstrate how the arts can be successfully integrated into an undergraduate liberal arts curriculum and what benefit that has on students, both in the present and in preparation for their professional futures.”

“Exploring, Experiencing, and Envisioning Integration in U.S. Arts Education” includes chapters from faculty at NAC&U member institutions including Drury University, Valparaiso University, Manhattan College, Ohio Northern University, Belmont University, University of La Verne, Widener University, St. Edward’s University, and Wagner College.

The authors, which also include faculty at Ball State University, University of Maine Farmington, and Montana State University, provide detailed examples of course level and programmatic integration of the arts discussed from both an applied practice-based approach and a philosophical framework.

The book offers the following:

  • Exploration of the ways in which campuses are integrating professional skills into arts courses in major and general education courses
  • Descriptions of integrated programs such as music business that integrate disciplinary theory, applied practice, and community engagement experiences
  • Useful examples of integrated arts programs

“Exploring, Experiencing, and Envisioning Integration in U.S. Arts Education” is part of the Arts in Higher Education series edited by Nancy Kindelan in the Department of Theatre at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass.

Exploring, Experiencing, and Envisioning Integration in U.S. Arts Education
Edited by Nancy Hensel
Published by Palgrave Macmillan
Hardcover, $99.00
ISBN 9783319710501
Released January 17, 2018



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