Evaluation of Faculty
As department chair, you can help set the tone for a departmental culture that helps
all faculty grow professionally and support each other in that growth. Positive,
constructive feedback to faculty can help prevent serious problems down the road.
Be sure to thank faculty individually for their contributions to the mission of the
department. Just because faculty are doing their jobs doesn’t mean you shouldn’t
notice and thank them. All faculty want to feel that they are contributing to the
progress of the department and that their contributions are noticed and appreciated.
It’s really quite remarkable how positive a little recognition can be for morale.
When problems arise with a faculty member, there may be a temptation for you to address the issue in a general way publicly, or to make a rule that everyone has to follow in order to “solve” the problem. (For example, maybe you realize that students legitimately can never find a member of your department, so you make the rule, “all faculty must post and spend ___ office hours per week.” You quite possibly have made life more difficult for faculty who go out of their way to be accessible to students, and you have probably not solved the “problem.” Or perhaps you realize that a faculty member is relying on a final exam alone to establish grades, but your department’s understanding of best practice requires multiple assessments. So you say all faculty must give at least ___ tests per semester.” You have make life difficult for a faculty member who is using creative alternative assignments (papers, etc.) in lieu of in-class tests, and, again, you have probably not solved your “problem.”) Dealing with people one-on-one is much harder than making a bunch of generic rules, but what is needed is for you to have a courteous and frank discussion with the faculty member. You may even find out that there were extenuating circumstances of which you were unaware.
For new faculty, APSU has a faculty mentoring program. Guidelines for the mentoring program can be found here: https://www.apsu.edu/academic-affairs/faculty/faculty_resources/Mentoring_Guidelines-final_Fall_2019.pdf. Mentors and mentees are eligible for $300 each in professional development funds (details in the Guidelines document). Give careful attention to how you assign mentors for new faculty. You may find that a meeting of faculty mentors to discuss best practice is helpful.
Although used for RTP decisions and in the merit pay system, faculty evaluation should also be seen as one aspect of mentoring for professional growth. The various required evaluations are outlined below.
This chart (https://www.apsu.edu/academic-affairs/faculty/faculty_resources/type_of_instructor.pdf) details the required evaluation frequency for faculty in each category and gives links to the process descriptions and forms. The chart is organized by faculty category. Below is a list organized by evaluation form.
The current merit process is relatively new (as of this writing, Fall 2019). Details can be found here: https://www.apsu.edu/human-resources/compensation/faculty-merit.php