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Pre-Tenure Review Preparation Guidelines

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The pre-tenure review provides an opportunity for colleagues to reflect on the ways in which they are contributing to the learning of the community as a whole, even as they contemplate again the vocation of college professor. The Faculty Welfare Committee seeks to provide useful guidance for colleagues in their development in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service.  


An Overview of the Tenure Process
 

The tenure process is described in Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook.  When the President and the Faculty Welfare Committee consider candidates for tenure, at least four considerations are taken into account:            

1.      the performance of the candidates.          

2.      the current staffing and future needs of the departments involved.          

3.      the likelihood that the College could attract more qualified candidates.          

4.      the financial situation of the College.          

It is important to be aware that, while any of these factors may have an important influence on the decision to award tenure or not, only the first factor is within the control of the candidates. Considerations such as the financial condition of the college fall primarily to the administration and the board.  

 

Your Responsibilities  

While your department chair will assist you in preparation, the primary responsibility for preparing an effective pre-tenure presentation rests with the candidate. As a result, you should take the initiative whenever necessary to make sure that your chair is well informed about the progress of your career. Make sure that he or she has the opportunity to observe your teaching and that the necessary preliminary steps in gathering evidence have been taken. If you need advice or counsel, any of the Division Chairs or the Dean of the College would be pleased to offer assistance.   The Academic Affairs Office will notify you of the due date three months prior to your scheduled hearing. We expect you to provide a portfolio including a written report and a set of supporting materials in addition to your oral statement. We describe each of these below.  

 

The Pre-Tenure Review Report  

Eight (8) hard copies of your report should be provided to the Dean's office. In addition, please provide electronically in separate files (1) a copy of your personal statement, (2) CV, (3) SRI summary reports, (4) grade tendency report and (5) weightings sheet. Details for each of these report components are below. Please provide Jennifer Moon (jennifermoon@augustana.edu) in the Dean of Students Office with these electronic documents either via email or on a flash drive.

The report should include:          

1.    curriculum vitae (one additional copy of your vitae should be furnished to be included in your permanent personnel file).        

2.    a personal case-making statement on a) your work as a teacher and advisor; b) your scholarly/artistic achievements and goals; and c) your service to the campus and/or community.        

3.    grade tendencies report.        

4.    summary reports of your student evaluations, organized by course.  

Of these, the case-making statement is key and constitutes the core of your report. It should include thoughtful reflection on items 3 and 4.  

 

Statement on Teaching and Learning, Scholarship and Service  

Your statement should include a claim supported by evidence for your strengths in each of the key areas of teaching and learning; scholarship/artistic work; service. The Faculty Handbook states that a candidate for tenure must demonstrate "potential and promise as an effective teacher, productive scholar and integrated and active participant in the campus and local communities," and these are the expectations that the committee uses in assessing candidates at the pre-tenure review. By the time of the tenure review, we no longer are looking for "potential and promise" and are instead looking for a record of success that we are convinced has the "potential" to continue developing.  

Your statement should cover the following for each area of teaching, scholarship and service:

[For the teaching section only] The "Teaching Responsibilities" section should briefly explain your job:  what courses you teach and what non-course activities you handle.  It can be a paragraph or two, and/or a bulleted list.]

"Goals": You should address what you try to achieve (as a teacher, as a professional, as a community member).  You should talk about your general teaching philosophy, your specific objectives, and the strategies you use to achieve your objectives.   After you talk about your teaching, you should address those same considerations as they relate to your professional development and your service work in relevant sections of the report.  

"Achievements": You should then explain how you're doing in pursuit of your specific goals and objectives.  As it relates to teaching, that means how you monitor your own work (through course evaluations, classroom visits by colleagues, and so on), what you've learned through that monitoring, and what steps it has led you to take to make your teaching stronger. Such a case should include reference to specific qualitative and/or quantitative evidence of student learning in your classes (see below on Supporting Materials).  This is also where you could talk about notable student achievements (e.g., papers accepted at honors conferences or acceptances into graduate programs) and recognition of your own work (e.g., awards, invitations to guest lecture or to teach summer institutes and workshops).  Again, you should address those same considerations as they relate to your professional development and service work in relevant sections of the report.  

This section will include a reflective discussion of the results of student evaluations of your teaching. Student evaluation data (both quantitative and written responses) are just one source of evidence of your teaching effectiveness, but they are important to consider. You should consider quantitative score results as a point for reflective conversation: How do you make sense of the results when read against your teaching objectives and strategies? Where are your areas of strength? Areas of challenge? Have you selected appropriate learning objectives as identified on the IDEA instrument? Do your pedagogical choices align with these objectives? More information on how to interpret and respond to IDEA evaluation results can be requested from Mark Salisbury in the IR office.

"Future Goals":  Ideally, your discussion of achievements should not just discuss your strengths; you should frankly and concretely discuss areas of challenge or difficulty in your work. You should then briefly but concretely summarize your goals for the next two years, identifying your priorities for continuing development and improvement.  

The portion of your statement on scholarship should assess your work thus far in professional expression and development, and outline plans for the years ahead, ideally using the same four-point structure outlined above. Evidence for accomplishment in this area might include:  

    • a statement of professional goals and plans for scholarship/artistic work;
    • a record of your production as a scholar/artist;
    • letters from peers outside the college who are qualified to comment on work in your specialty and on your potential for further scholarship. This element is optional but recommended, especially to communicate the quality of your specialized work to those outside your discipline;
    • if applicable, participation in professional activities such as conferences, service work in organizations, professional development workshops, etc.  

The portion of your statement on service should assess your contributions thus far to your department and the campus (and, optionally, to the public community), and outline plans for the years ahead, ideally using the same four-point structure outlined above.  Evidence for accomplishment in this area might include:  

    • a brief discussion of your participation in departmental work;
    • a brief discussion of your participation in campus committees, task forces, etc.;
    • if applicable, descriptions of additional special duties or activities that have contributed to the life of the college and/or the larger community.    

 

Summary Reports for Student Evaluations   You should include copies of your IDEA course evaluation summaries in your review report, organized by course, then chronologically. Please include summary reports for all sections you have taught.  

Summary data for old SRI evaluations: If you have taught course sections in the past using the former SRI forms, the "Excel Workbook for Presenting SRI Results" can be used to present your SRI data in tables and graphs.  You can enter the data yourself using the instructions and your SRI Instructor Reports, or the IR Office will load your data for you upon request. You may find such a summary extremely useful in revealing patterns of strength you can be proud of or instructional weaknesses you should address.  Contact Mark Salisbury in the IR Office for assistance    

As you prepare your review report, please consult with your chair, division chair, and/or the chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee. Also, please see section 3.3 of the Faculty Handbook on "Preparing a Case for Pre-tenure and Tenure Reviews."

 

Grading Tendencies Report    You will receive a report of your grading tendencies electronically from the Office of Institutional Research following each academic term. You will also receive a summary report of your grading tendencies prior to your pre-tenure review. (Please contact Mark Salisbury if you do not.) The report provides the mean GPA for students in your classes compared to the mean GPA provided by other faculty for those same students, as well as an indication of what proportion of faculty gave grades lower than yours. The purpose of this report is to provide you, your department and the Faculty Welfare Committee with a broad, general insight into your overall grading patterns.   While there are no formally identified benchmarks or expectations for faculty mean GPAs, the report provides an opportunity for reflection and conversation, particularly if grades are significantly above or below the faculty average.  Please consult your division chair and/or the chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee if you have questions concerning how to assess and discuss this data.     

 

The pre-tenure review report assists the preparation of your department's report on your progress, and will be distributed to each member of the Faculty Welfare Committee. Remember, only this report will be copied for each FWC member. The balance of supporting materials is submitted as originals in bound or boxed fashion. Your division chair can, of course, help you decide what to include, how to order it, and what to exclude. 

 

Supporting Materials  

The Dean's Office will accept files of supporting material and will make this material available for review by the members of the committee. The exact nature of appropriate supporting material is highly dependent upon your individual career. Among the material we expect to see from all colleagues:  

●      syllabi, sample assignments and exams

●      evidence of student learning. This usually comes in the form of samples of student work that illustrate learning outcomes connected to the objectives you set for your classes. Samples of student work should display a range of student outcomes (e.g., not just "A" work, but at a variety of grade levels). They can also illustrate growth or improvement of student performance over time (e.g., multiple paper drafts; pre- and post-test results). It is helpful to include a brief cover statement on such samples, to inform the reviewer how the samples address your learning objectives and what specific qualities to look for in the samples. Evidence of student learning can also come in the form of data you collect from students based on relevant instruments (e.g., pre- and post-testing, student knowledge surveys, etc.), if feasible and desirable.

●      all of the original student evaluation forms all courses. It is extremely helpful if candidates write the course name and term on the front of each folder of student evaluation forms. It is much easier if the forms are not in the original folders, but in a binder organized by course and/or year. 

●      reviews of  professional work or other evidence of its quality

●      copies of professional work, to include, for instance, books, book chapters, photographs of artwork, DVDs of musical productions, etc.

●      evidence of your contributions in the area of departmental, campus, professional, and/or community service.   The supporting materials should give an educated outsider the ability to draw a full and accurate picture of your career and, in particular, the past two years.   The Dean's Office will notify you when materials may be picked up after the review has been completed.  

 

The Pre-Tenure Review Meeting  

Pre-tenure hearings last approximately an hour, 30-40 minutes with the candidate.

Oral Presentation

At the outset, you'll be given the opportunity to make a spoken presentation. These presentations typically take about five minutes. If you choose to speak, you may wish to:   

●      note particular strengths of your case, especially those factors whose significance might not be immediately grasped by someone from outside your field

●      respond to those factors that might reflect negatively upon your case 

●      discuss your role in the future of your discipline, department and college  

Q&A Session

At the conclusion of your oral presentation, the committee will have an opportunity to raise questions with you for 25-35 minutes concerning your time at and experiences with the College. The committee will try to use the question period as a time to examine the aspects of your career which make them the most concerned, as well as to inquire into particular areas of success. This is part of their attempt to understand why things have progressed as they have, to understand the degree to which you have been able to grasp the nature of and possible reactions to problems, and to formulate useful advice.  

 

Discussion with the Department Chair   Following this discussion, your participation in the review will be concluded. After you leave, the committee will continue with questions for and discussion with your department chair for approximately 10 minutes. This discussion is intended to follow up on points raised in the department's report and in the review discussion.  You are encouraged to debrief with your department chair at some point following that conversation.    

 

Follow-up Conversation  

The Faculty Welfare Committee will provide you with a letter that congratulates your successes and articulates areas of concern that should be addressed in advance of your next review. Following your receipt of that letter you will have a follow-up conversation with your department chair, division chair, and the chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee.  The purpose of the conversation is to inform you of the committee's reaction to your presentation. This meeting will also try to alert you to any obstacles or challenges which may lie ahead, and address any questions or concerns you have about the letter.  

In reflecting on the conversation, you might ask yourself how you might respond to the letter and in particular how you will make any changes suggested. Discuss the letter with your department chair. Perhaps the Augustana Center for Teaching and Learning can help you with teaching issues. If your development as a scholar is a concern, speak with the dean about the resources available to you. You should be sure to respond to the letter in subsequent reviews. We suggest that you focus on those obstacles that are within your control (e.g., ineffective teaching or advising, poor scholarship or minimal involvement in the life of the College) rather than any that may not (e.g., a mismatch between your academic specialization and the department's or college's long-term needs, faltering student enrollments, and so on).    

 

The pre-tenure review is an advisory process designed to help probationary faculty members gain some general assessment of their development relative to the parameters of the college's and department's expectations for its faculty. The committee provides candidates for tenure helpful information regarding their tenure cases. Since at least one new member is elected each academic year to the committee, it is certain that the individuals who comprise the pre-tenure review committee will not be the same individuals who ultimately are called upon to render a tenure recommendation. The needs of the College could change. Candidates for tenure should focus on what is within their control: these reviews aren't intended to anticipate future needs of the college, but they do focus on areas that candidate control: teaching, scholarship, and service. A generally positive pre-tenure review(s) will not necessarily result in a positive tenure recommendation, nor does a generally negative review(s) preclude a positive recommendation.  

The intent of this pre-tenure review process is to provide constructive feedback through transparent communication and procedures to assist the tenure-track faculty member in the years leading to the tenure review. At any point during the process, please consult your department chair, division chair, and/or the chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee for help with any questions or concerns you may have.    
 

 

Appendix A  

Pre-Tenure Paid Leave  

Please provide your application for a leave in your third year when requested by the Dean's Office in advance of your pre-tenure review report and materials. The application should include:  

●      a detailed proposal for the scholarly/artistic project for which the leave will be used, including information on where the leave will be spent and expected avenues for publication (or peer-reviewed presentation, in the case of artistic works).

●      a description of the relationship of the proposed project to the candidate's ongoing scholarly/artistic agenda.

●      dates of proposed leave and any reason that the leave must be taken at the time proposed.

●      a statement of any supplementary sources of financial assistance.

●      a supporting statement from the department chair, which will include plans for covering your teaching load during the leave.  

Applications will be reviewed by the Faculty Welfare Committee, who will approve proposals subject to the following criteria:

  • the proposal is sufficiently substantive and detailed such that a persuasive case is made for why the project is significant, how it can be accomplished, and how it will be published or produced;
  • the results of the candidate's pre-tenure review indicate that the paid leave will not impede the candidate's developmental needs regarding on-campus teaching.  

The Faculty Welfare Committee will provide a provisional decision in time for the department to make preliminary master schedule plans for the following academic year. A final decision will be deferred until after the candidate's pre-tenure review.     

Faculty Handbook section 7.2:  Pre-Tenure Paid Leave  

7.2.1 Augustana supports faculty in their efforts to conduct scholarship even as we encourage excellent teaching. In order to encourage faculty to develop substantial scholarly or artistic production, Augustana provides an opportunity for a pre-tenure paid leave.  

7.2.2 Conditions  

7.2.2.1 Teaching faculty members hired in a tenure-track position are eligible for a one-term, two-course pre-tenure paid leave.

7.2.2.2 Interested faculty members must apply for the pre-tenure paid leave at the first pre-tenure review.

7.2.2.3 The Faculty Welfare Committee will approve all proposals which specifically aim to produce peer-reviewed publication or equivalent artistic production during the pre-tenure years.

7.2.2.4 Pre-tenure paid leaves may be for one term (6 credits) only. An academic year with a pre-tenure paid leave will be compensated at the full 9-month salary. Overloads are not permissible during the leave year.

7.2.2.5 The term in which a pre-tenure paid leave is taken must follow the first pre-tenure review and be before the end of the second academic year following the year of the first pre-tenure review. The term in which a pre-tenure paid leave is taken must be before the term in which the tenure review is conducted.

7.2.2.6 The pre-tenure paid leave will not be scheduled in an academic year in which a faculty member has already been granted any other form of leave. Tenure track faculty members are encouraged to take a pre-tenure paid leave in the academic year immediately following the first pre-tenure review.    

 

Appendix B   

Pre-Tenure Review Guidelines for Department Chairs


The role of the chair is critical to the success of our junior colleagues. Based on our experience in pre-tenure reviews, we'd like to ask you to think about your role in upcoming pre-tenure reviews and your relationship, as a senior colleague, to the junior colleagues in your department.

The pre-tenure review is advisory and diagnostic in its intent. It is not designed to produce a judgment about our junior colleagues' careers. The review is intended to send messages to them about their progress toward the goals that the college and department have for them. The most useful messages are directive: they allow the new faculty member to understand those things which most need additional attention and they offer recommendations, to the candidate and department, on how they might proceed. And these hearings serve as a channel by which the department's concerns - great or small - can be articulated, amplified and given the imprimatur of a college-wide committee.

A hearing which produces only vague statements of praise is, from our perspective, a failure because it offers no avenue by which our colleague's near-term performance (and long-term prospects of tenure) can be strengthened.

You can substantially increase our ability to offer guidance if you speak directly about the strengths and weaknesses of any candidate. The committee will have read all of the available written material, but only the division chair will typically have had direct observation of colleague's teaching. This gives the committee a relatively narrow base from which to offer suggestions. Your judgment should be based on conversations with all members of your department as well as their written comments following classroom observations, your own direct observation of teaching, interviews with a representative number of students, alumni surveys, letters from peers in the candidate's area of expertise, and the like. Given that preparation, your report will enable the committee to better assess the candidate's work.
 
We ask you to take the utterly essential step of building on the review to provide feedback to the candidate. Whether the letter from the committee is generally positive or negative, you will need to help the candidate interpret it and determine next steps. We encourage you to meet with the dean and division chair if it is necessary for further clarification at any time. We educators may be practiced communicators on other regards but the short-term discomfort of sending and receiving candid and critical messages means that we seldom reap the long-term benefit of effective feedback communication.
   
The committee's specific expectations for chairs are as follows:


1.     The chair is responsible for preparing a brief and concise report to Faculty Welfare Committee, Dean of the College, and President (8 copies). In addition, please provide a copy of your report electronically in a single file. The report should be comprehensive and include assessment of the candidate's work as a teacher and scholar and in service to the campus and/or community. All aspects of the candidate's work should be considered including, for instance, specific areas that are routinely overlooked such as the candidate's abilities as an advisor.  The report should describe how you've gone about gathering information and what conclusions you've reached. It need not be more than two or three pages. If you've chosen to have students fill out some sort of written rating form, you may wish to append the results.  

2.      The candidate must be provided a copy of the departmental report, and be well aware of its content of the report. You should have a meeting with the review candidate in advance of the review.  

3.      The chair should have first-hand knowledge of the candidate's strengths and weaknesses and should be in conversation with the candidate about both. Keep no secrets from your junior colleague. Please share all specific concerns expressed in the report with the candidate prior to the meeting. What the candidate learns during the meeting and in the follow-up conversation should echo, to a degree, what he or she has already heard from you in the course of the interactions you have already had, particularly during annual departmental reviews. Please see section 3.1.1 of the Faculty Handbook for details on the annual review.  

4.     Classroom observations: Tenured faculty members in the department should have visited classes throughout the two years preceding the review. As chair, you should sit in on at least three or four classes and talk with your colleague afterward about your observations. The most helpful peer evaluations of teaching address the questions noted in the appendix to these guidelines, and the committee would appreciate having written responses addressing each of these points from all faculty who have observed the candidate's teaching. The ACTL Moodle site has copies of teaching evaluation templates available for your use; your department should decide on and use a common instrument to make sure the collected data is consistent and comparable.  

5.     As chair, you should note how your colleague reacts to criticism and whether any of your suggestions are reflected in later classes. Make a point of requesting and reading the more recent IDEA evaluations (both the summary sheet and the student comments). Consider meeting on the last day of the term with one of your colleague's classes. Keep track of his or her grading tendencies.  

6.     Talk to a variety of tenured faculty who have worked with your untenured colleague. These should not be limited to faculty in your department, but should include members of teaching or sequence teams, committee members or chairs, informal advisers or mentors, and so on. In talking with these colleagues, first remind them (and yourself) that the conversations are confidential. Then ask two sorts of questions: do you have reliable evidence - first-hand or from your students - about problems which have occurred and do you have suggestions for change?  

7.     Talk to a variety of students who have had class with your untenured colleague. These should not be limited to students recommended by your colleague but should also include other students whose judgment you trust. First remind them that these conversations are confidential. Because students are extremely nervous about the prospects that their comments may have an adverse effect on their futures in the department, be as sensitive as you can to the need to safeguard their sense of confidentiality. You might ask two sorts of questions: have you experienced difficulties with this instructor and do you have suggestions for change? One approach to these questions might be to allow the students to distance themselves from the observations. You might, for example, say: "some students have reported that X is intimidating. Do you have an idea of what sorts of things might have led them to that conclusion?"    

We are grateful to you for the work you do in helping our junior colleagues develop as teachers and scholars. No work is more important to Augustana. Chairing a department is never easy or well-rewarded. When you add to that the responsibility for providing objective, and occasionally difficult, assessments of our colleagues, sometimes the job seems monumental. You should know that your work can make a substantial difference to the ongoing strengthening of the college.


Appendix C


Guidelines for Peer Review of Teaching
The University of Kansas Center for Teaching Excellence

 

Four Facets of Teaching for Peer Reviewers

Under the Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure Recommendations (2005-2006 Academic Year), KU faculty members who are completing peer reviews are encouraged to address the following four areas:

1. Quality of intellectual content

  • Is the material in this course appropriate for the topic, appropriate for the curriculum and institution?
  • Is the content related to current issues and developments in the field?
  • Is there intellectual coherence to the course content?
  • Are the intellectual goals for students well articulated and congruent with the course content and mission?    

 

2. Quality of teaching practices

  • Is the contact time with students well organized and planned, and if so, are the plans carried out?
  • How much of the time are students actively engaged in the material?
  • Are there opportunities (in or out of class) for students to practice the skills embedded in course goals?
  • Are there particularly creative or effective uses of contact time that could improve student understanding?
  • Are there any course structures or procedures that contribute especially to the likely achievement of understanding by students?

 

3. Quality of student understanding

  • Is the performance asked of students appropriate for course goals, level of course, and for the institution?
  • Does the performance requested include challenging levels of conceptual understanding and critical evaluation of the material appropriate to the level of the course and of the students?
  • Are students being asked to demonstrate competence in the stated course goals? If not, is it possible to identify why?
  • Are there obvious changes in the course that could improve performance?
  • Are the forms of evaluation and assessment appropriate to the stated goals of the course?
  • Are they particularly creative or do they provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding using intellectual skills typical of the field?
  • Is the weighting of course assignments in grade calculation coordinated with the relative importance of the course goals? 

 

4. Summarizing the evidence of reflective consideration and development

  • Has this faculty member made a sincere effort to insure that students achieve the goals for the course?
  • Has the faculty member identified any meaningful relationship between what (s)he teaches and how students perform?
  • Is there evidence the faculty member has changed teaching practices based on past teaching experiences?
  • Is there evidence of insightful analysis of teaching practice that resulted from consideration of student performance?   

 

As reported in November 2005 issue of Teaching Matters, published by the KU Center for Teaching Excellence.  

 

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