Guidelines for College Faculty Personnel Reviews

[Approved 1997; Revised and approved May 2002]


These guidelines for personnel procedures reflect the urban public mission of the Graduate College of Education of the University of Massachusetts Boston and its commitments to:

1. the preparation and professional development of educators, counselors, school psychologists, and other practitioners or professionals through courses, research, field work, projects and partnerships focusing on the opportunities and challenges that characterize urban contexts;

2. the preparation and professional development of teachers and administrators for pre-K-12 urban education who are committed to constructive change and to being active change agents in early childhood, elementary and secondary education;

3. the preparation and professional development of academic and administrative leaders for higher education who are committed to constructive change and to being active change agents in higher education;

4. outreach to school systems, higher education institutions, workplace and community education sites, and other professional development settings by providing services and consultations, including training, evaluation, materials development , assessment, strategic planning, workshops, applied and action research, and policy development;

5. the development of theoretical and applied research initiatives, particularly, though not exclusively, those that address relevant issues confronting urban populations and communities.

Criteria and standards for the evaluation of faculty must be sensitive and responsive to these collective commitments of the college as well as to the specific choices and contributions of individual faculty members.

The guidelines that follow are divided into two sections: Criteria for Faculty Review, Promotion, and Tenure; and Types and Levels of Review: Procedural Guidelines.

These criteria and guidelines are to be used in conjunction with T76-081, the U-Mass System Academic Personnel Policy. [See also Provost's Oct 06 memo on reviews.]

Part I Criteria for Faculty Review, Promotion, and Tenure

The college recognizes that some of the best models of practice for education faculty will involve an integration of teaching, service and scholarship, for example, in the context of developing multifaceted partnerships with schools, agencies, and other higher education institutions, or in the process of conducting research in community settings, and that the following specific criteria will need to be applied in ways that highly value such work.

1. Indicators of teaching excellence

a. consistently high responses via student evaluations with an analysis of any weak evaluations and steps taken to address any specific concerns;
b. evidence from student evaluation comments and student letters that show impact of teaching on student understanding and student development;
c. evidence from course materials/syllabi substantiating: a rich conceptualization of the field, how the relevant knowledge of the course relates to the conceptualization of the field, and pedagogical design that gives students both immediate and larger critical and evaluative understandings;
d. evidence of course development to accomplish the above (c) within courses, and of new course development that contributes to a richer conceptualization of the program and includes expansion or deepening of course materials, activities, and updated bibliographies;
e. evidence of activities related to improving one’s own teaching as well as modeling and mentoring for others (such as participation in and/or leading teaching improvement seminars or professional development activities);
f. consideration of actual teaching loads, numbers of students taught, modality (seminar, lecture, on-line course), extra efforts to meet teaching needs of program (e.g. summer sessions, training, field experience);
g. evidence from personal statement of reflective practice in teaching and advising, including a grounded understanding of what students need to learn within their field and program, of personal teaching goals within that context, of the efforts made to accomplish those goals, and of one’s own learning from those efforts;
h. evidence from personal statement, if appropriate, of ways in which teaching and advising are integrated with, contributing to, or informed by one’s scholarship and service;
i. additional supporting documentation such as portfolios, web pages, examples of student work, (with consent forms filled out by students); examples of mentoring and peer coaching with colleagues, etc.

Evaluation of advisement contributions should include:

a. Number and type of advisees;
b. Quality of advisement based on an evaluation of both advisor and advising;
c. Contributions to dissertation, thesis, and final project committees with distinctions between serving as chair or reader and with designations regarding this work in relation to teaching load.

2. Indicators of excellence in service

Service activities should be evaluated primarily along two dimensions:

a. the level of professional competence or expertise required for its performance;
b. the effectiveness of the service, which includes the scope and significance of the service to the welfare of the college, the profession, and/or the community, as well as its impact on the development of the institution.

Generally, a faculty member's contributions relative to service are expected to be balanced between activities that can be classified as internal and external to the College. Written evaluations of service and testimonial letters describing the impact, scope, and the complexity of the service should be solicited and used for documentation, along with other available evidence (workshop proceedings, newspaper articles, curriculum units developed, etc.). The faculty member's personal statement should present evidence to show the coherence of her or his service activities. If service includes an administrative role, evidence should show how attention to program/department/college and student or community needs and concerns have shaped the administrative unit's policies, practices, and procedures.

Service may include:

∑ administration at any level;
∑ service on department, college, or university committees with distinctions between one's role as chair or member;
∑ service to student organizations;
∑ service to any public or private counseling or educational institution;
∑ consultation or service to government or other public interest groups;
∑ service to professional organizations;
∑ direct community organizing and development;
∑ presentations to schools, organizations and institutions that enhance the profession;
∑ consultations within the institutions;
∑ developing and implementing partnerships with schools, school districts and agencies.

3. Indicators of excellence in scholarship

The category of scholarship is broadly construed to include all original inquiry (both theoretical and empirical); systematic analysis or critique of problems (both practical and theoretical) that result in original writings or products; systematic program development work; and creative activities (such as artistic production). In general, the category of scholarship involves the question of through what scholarly and creative efforts, the faculty member is adding to society's understanding of education and counseling, and is strengthening capacities for identifying and resolving issues in those fields. The assumption is that productive scholarly activities in the College will take many forms and involve many disciplines or combinations of disciplines. The measure of what is productive scholarship is that it is judged to be creative, rigorous, and valuable after being publicly scrutinized by professional peers.

The advancement of theory and practice in education, counseling, school psychology, and related fields of the College calls for many kinds of scholarship. Therefore, various specialized forms of scholarship are likely to be found among faculty. Each specialized form requires somewhat different criteria for judging the significance and soundness of the faculty member's work. In many areas, scholarship is heavily empirical, analytic, and quantitative, drawing from a variety of methodological traditions in the natural and behavioral sciences. In other areas, the approaches may be more qualitative, drawing upon naturalistic or ethnographic approaches. In some areas of education, counseling, and school psychology, faculty members contribute through applied or decision-oriented inquiry as opposed to conclusion-oriented inquiry. The development and evaluation of policy is another important form of inquiry in these fields.

Evidence of scholarly work in almost every field will include written documents (articles, chapters, and books as well as evaluation reports, grant proposals, etc.) or other products (computer software, videos, etc.) that show:

∑ deep theoretical underpinnings relevant to the current state of the discipline and its related fields;

∑ rich conceptualization of some aspect of the field's problems/issues/questions and of how particular areas of inquiry or activity might be relevant to addressing them;

∑ an approach to scholarly inquiry/applied scholarly activity that is well justified, coherent, and appropriate to the goals of such inquiry or activity;

∑ analysis, synthesis, model-building, or otherwise making sense of what is being learned from this endeavor;

∑ with whatever has been learned, some sense of its implications and what real difference it might make to the work that goes on in relevant settings.

It is recognized that certain types of scholarship require more effort and are held to higher standards of public and peer evaluation. Therefore, the College Personnel Committee recommends that in major personnel decisions, different weightings be considered. Listed below are two categories, A and B, in which the A category requires more stringent public scrutiny and, therefore, should receive more weight in personnel reviews.

Scholarship activities include (but are not limited to):

Category A

ß Articles published in refereed journals;
ß A scholarly book that advances the knowledge base or synthesizes existing knowledge;
ß A textbook designed for student use;
ß Chapters in books written by or for scholars or practitioners;
ß A creative exhibition or work that has received appropriate peer review and is relevant to the faculty member's field;
ß Editorship of a major reference journal;
ß Receipt of a major research and/or training grant (with high impact on programs, students and the institution);
ß A scholarly monograph that is solicited, published, and disseminated for broad professional review;
ß Completion of a major project which contributes to the practice of education or counseling (e.g. the development of innovative curriculum or a program evaluation) and which is peer reviewed;
ß Receipt of a national or international award for scholarship.

Category B

∑ Presentation of a research or scholarly project at a prominent international, national, or regional conference or gathering of professionals;
∑ Presentation of a solicited or referred scholarly paper at a prominent international, national, or regional conference or gathering of professionals;
∑ Publication of a scholarly review of a book for a professional journal or other major publication;
∑ Contribution to a major professional newsletter or an editorial statement in a major professional publication;
∑ Development of a comprehensive curriculum guide or educational plan for a school system or significant collection or schools that is adopted for official use;
∑ Development of media and materials, such as computer software, films, and videotapes if published or adopted for official use, such as by a school system;
∑ Membership on an editorial board of a major professional journal;
∑ Receipt of a regional or state award for scholarship;
∑ Receipt of a pilot research or training grant;
∑ Presentation of a scholarly speech or public testimony to governmental policy makers.

Coherence is a key dimension of presenting and understanding a faculty member's scholarly work. To assess scholarship in holistic, integrated ways that are more comprehensive than simply compiling the sum of a candidate's record in columns A and B, a close review of the candidate's personal statement should consider how the candidate sees coherent threads of meaning and impact in his or her scholarship and how she or he reflects on her or his contribution to important issues and the current state of knowledge in his or her field(s). If appropriate, the personal statement might also show how the candidate integrates her or his scholarship with teaching and service.

Furthermore, some examples of significant scholarly work reported in either Columns A or B will be conducted within and applicable to specific school, agency, or community contexts. To assess applied scholarship in schools and other educational or community settings, consistent with the "Research, Creative or Professional Activity" category of T76-081, the following six elements are important to consider:

1. Intentionality -- the scholar (possibly in collaboration with others) defines one or more issues or poses one or more problems to be explored.
2. Informed choice -- problems are posed and choices made that are informed by an understanding of the context and of the appropriate literature.
3. Reflection in action -- strategies and plans are reflected upon and adjusted during the course of the activity to maximize outcomes.
4. Inference -- meaning is made out of the experience to assist in the generation of knowledge and other insights, skills or approaches.
5. Dissemination -- appropriate forms are used for the sharing of the knowledge and insights generated.
6. Assessment of impact -- formal and informa1 methods of evaluation are utilized to monitor and assess the impact of the professional activity.

The candidate's personal statement, curriculum vitae, and package of scholarly work (selected by the candidate) are reviewed closely by generally acknowledged external experts in the field, as defined jointly by the candidate and committee, and are also reviewed by the committee members themselves. To justify a finding of excellence in scholarship, all or almost all of the external reviewers and committee members must find the work to represent significant contributions to the field, with evidence showing the likelihood of continuing contributions.

Part II Types and Levels of Review: Procedural Guidelines

A. Composition and types of Committees involved in personnel reviews

1. Department personnel committees should consist of a minimum of three members, with composition to be determined by departmental constitution. Personnel tasks include review of Annual Faculty Reports and part-time faculty, and, when available, assignment of merit allocations.

2- The College personnel committee (CPC) is elected by faculty according to the by-laws of the College Senate. Personnel tasks include review of the work and recommendations of all ad-hoc committees, and, as needed, review of issues that arise from departmental personnel committees. CPC members who have served on ad-hoc committees for major personnel actions will abstain from voting on those personnel actions when they come under review by the CPC.

3- Ad-hoc committees will be formed for each major personnel review -- fourth year, promotion and tenure, full professor promotion, and post-tenure review. Composition and specific personnel tasks and procedures for these committees are defined below.

Types of Review

I. Annual Review

At the beginning of each academic year, the Personnel Committee of each department of the Graduate College of Education will request a copy of each faculty member's Annual Report for review, and if appropriate, recommend merit allocations using guidelines and procedures developed by each department.

II. Fourth Year Review

A. There should be 5 tenured faculty members on the Ad-Hoc Fourth Year Review Committee.

1. At least two committee members should be from the department;
2. At least one member should be from the Graduate College of Education and outside the department;
3. No more than two from outside the College.

B. At the discretion of the committee and with approval by the candidate, outside reviewers who have expertise in the candidate’s area may also be used in the review process.

C. After the Ad-Hoc Departmental Committee Review and the Chair’s letter have been completed, the College Personnel Committee reviews these reports together with the candidate’s basic file and prepares its own report to be forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate College of Education.

D Application of the criteria:

The criteria in Part I are applied in a developmental fashion, to identify whether the faculty member is making reasonable progress toward tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor as represented by “a record of achievement sufficient to have gained recognition on and off campus among scholars or professionals in his or her field and promise of continuing professional development and achievement” (T76-081, p. 7). As in the promotion and tenure review, a satisfactory fourth-year review is based on a thorough assessment of teaching, service, and scholarship. However, the fourth-year review does not involve ratings of “excellence” or “strength” that are required for each category in a promotion and tenure review.

III. Review for Tenure/Promotion to Associate Professor

A. There should be 5 tenured faculty members on the Ad-Hoc Tenure and Promotion Review Committee.

1. At least two committee members should be from the department;
2. At least one member should be from the Graduate College of Education and outside the department;
3. No more than two from outside the College.

B. The candidate submits up to eight names as outside reviewers to the Ad-Hoc Tenure/Promotion Review Committee. The candidate should note any possible conflicts of interest, e.g. any prior non-professional relationship with the candidate.

The Ad-Hoc Tenure/Promotion Review Committee selects an additional eight names for outside reviewers. The candidate will have an opportunity to review the names for conflict of interest. The Committee will determine whether to include any reviewers that pose possible conflicts of interest based on a written summary of identified conflicts from the candidate.

There should be between six and eight external reviewers -- approximately half from the candidate, and half from the Committee -- who contribute to the final review process. A list of the external reviewers used and a notation of whether they were proposed by the candidate or committee should be recorded and included with the file for subsequent levels of review. The chair of the ad hoc committee, or his or her designee, will be the sole correspondent with reviewers, will forward all materials for the review, and will express appreciation on behalf of the university for the reviewers' contributions.

C. Application of the criteria:

Criteria for tenure and associate professor: "a record of achievement sufficient to have gained recognition on and off campus among scholars or professionals in his or her field and …promise of continuing professional development and achievement" (T76-081, p. 7). A recommendation for promotion and tenure requires an assessment of teaching, service, and scholarship that results in convincing evidence of excellence in two areas and strength in a third. "Strength" is generally an indicator that work in that area is not so much of lesser quality, but of lesser scope or impact.

IV. Review for Promotion to Full Professor

A. The Promotion Committee should consist of five members, with at least four members from the University. All four members from the University should be tenured full Professors. At least two members of the Committee should be from the Graduate College of Education.

B. Application of the criteria:

1. Evaluative review of the same criteria used for promotion to Associate Professor;

2. Evidence of celebrated excellence in one or more areas of professional activity based on a “record of achievement sufficient to have gained substantial recognition on and off campus among scholars or professionals in his or her field” and “significant potential of continuing professional development and achievement” (T76-081, p. 8);

3. Evidence of serving as a model and mentor to students, faculty, and professional or community colleagues.

V. Post-Tenure Review

For procedures and criteria, see "Policy on Periodic Multi-Year Review": <>.