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Faculty Evaluation Plan, Environmental Studies Program

Policy
Procedure
Purpose: 

To articulate the standards and procedures for the annual evaluation of faculty within the Environmental Studies Program.

Applies to: 

Faculty within the Environmental Studies Program

Campus: 
Lawrence
Policy Statement: 

Introduction

The Environmental Studies Program (EVRN) at the University of Kansas is governed by the “Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations” and the “Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct” located in the Policy Library. The faculty in EVRN are dedicated to excellence in teaching, advising and mentoring, research/creative activity, and service.  Regular faculty review helps maintain a productive program. Annual faculty review is meant to assess the effectiveness of performance, to support continued effectiveness, and to assure that personnel decisions are sound and justifiable. 

The Environmental Studies Program strives for excellence in teaching, advising and mentoring, environmentally related scholarship, and service. It should be recognized that EVRN is an interdisciplinary program and therefore, EVRN faculty work closely with other units across the university.  EVRN faculty have greater responsibility and demands placed upon them in teaching, advising and mentoring, research, and service.  The evaluation of performance will take into account the multiple responsibilities of jointly appointed faculty members.

The consideration and review of a faculty member’s record is a confidential personnel matter and all steps will be taken to ensure full confidentiality. The process of a faculty member’s annual review shall be conducted impartially and fairly.  Any members involved in the process who have a clear conflict of interest or who could otherwise compromise the impartiality of the process may be asked to recuse themselves from participating; the faculty member being evaluated may also petition for the recusal of any member of the process who the candidate feels may jeopardize the impartiality of the evaluation. 

This document, prepared in accordance with the University Procedure on Faculty Evaluation, details EVRN procedures and criteria for evaluation of faculty at all levels. 

Statement of Performance Expectations

  1. Unit Expectations

EVRN is an interdisciplinary unit with a range of faculty appointments. This includes faculty that share an appointment with EVRN and another academic unit on campus, faculty who share an appointment with EVRN and a research unit on campus, and faculty who have 100% of their appointment in EVRN.  Some jointly appointed faculty members have traditional 40% research, 40% teaching, and 20% service split across their units, other faculty members may have a differential allocation of their effort.  EVRN includes teaching professors with appointments that vary in terms of their allocation of effort across teaching, advising, service and administration.  Given the broad range of appointments within EVRN, we consider the specific nature of each faculty appointment in performing annual reviews.    

Teaching

EVRN views teaching effectiveness as a vital responsibility for faculty members, and it is an important component in the evaluation of EVRN faculty. Effective teaching refers to the faculty member’s dissemination of knowledge to enhance students’ skills and foster intellectual growth.

The number of classes expected per year for individual faculty is adjusted proportionally to the actual percent (or FTE) appointment in EVRN. The courses taught are chosen by each faculty member in consultation with the Director and in accordance with the needs, requirements, and expectations of EVRN. These courses include undergraduate and graduate required and elective courses offered by EVRN, ranging from introductory to advanced specialty courses, and seminars in the faculty member’s area of specialization. Teaching responsibilities include:

  1. Preparing and teaching classes that meet the needs of EVRN and other KU students;
  2. Preparing relevant and fair evaluations of student work;
  3. Being available and prepared for advising students in curricula; scholarship, professional, and applied interests. Faculty members are expected to discuss career options with students and to assist students in selection of appropriate elective courses to complete the major; and
  4. Being polite, courteous, and respectful toward students and colleagues.

Effectiveness in teaching may be achieved in many ways and may be documented by several means, among them: students’ qualitative and quantitative evaluation forms (for each course taught); peer evaluations; video tapes of lectures; assistance and mentoring from the Center for Teaching Excellence; teaching awards and commendations; course syllabi and instructional materials; participation in undergraduate thesis and project committees; participation in the Professional Science Master’s Capstone committees; participation in curriculum development for EVRN, and innovations in teaching. 

            Advising

Academic advising is an important aspect of the teaching responsibilities of all faculty members. This includes advising EVRN majors, first year/sophomores, and graduate students. As an interdisciplinary program, we recognize that our faculty also advise students outside of the EVRN program. Every faculty member is expected to maintain regular, posted office hours each week.  S/he should provide the EVRN office with a schedule of office hours.

            Scholarly/Creative Activity

Faculty members are expected to engage in scholarly research and / or creative activity and contribute to the intellectual discourse in Environmental Studies and affiliated disciplines.  EVRN encourages investigation and experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of environmental issues. Faculty members are expected to use methodologies standard to particular disciplines in addition to demonstrating an effort to use frameworks and methods that transcend disciplinary boundaries. Such research may include critical evaluations and artistic creations as appropriate to the faculty member’s disciplinary training, and is expected to culminate in some combination of books, refereed journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings papers, grants, community engaged scholarship and other similar works. Faculty members are expected to show leadership in research. Leadership is often demonstrated through, but not limited to, PI and co-I status on grants and primary authorship on publications. Guidelines for promotion of Program faculty to different ranks are provided in the Environmental Program Studies Promotion and Tenure Procedure.

            Service

Service is an essential part of academic life, and faculty members are expected to perform their fair share of service responsibilities.  Faculty members should contribute appropriate service to EVRN, the College and University, the wider community, and their profession.  EVRN with its many joint appointments recognizes the faculty contributions to their other units.  As a highly diverse and visible program, faculty members are often called upon both within the University setting as well as outside to speak both on general issues about the environment and their own specific research.  In evaluation, this is recognized when assessing service contributions at other levels.  Documentation is to be provided on membership and effective participation on EVRN, Department, College, and University committees and service activities to the profession and public at large.

  1. Standards for Acceptable Performance for Faculty Members  

Faculty members are evaluated annually in terms of whether or not they have met the acceptable performance standards. The standards are excellent, very good, good, marginal, and poor.  To meet the acceptable performance standards, a faculty member must receive at least a good annual rating in each of the areas of teaching/advising, scholarly and creative activity, and service; strong faculty are likely to exceed these expectations. 

In a given review year, a faculty member’s work may be assigned an evaluation designation of “marginal” or “poor” in any of the three areas of evaluation. At such a point, the faculty member will be offered remedial support in written and verbal form to improve performance. If the faculty member’s evaluation scores remain “marginal” or “poor” over a sustained period of three years in any of the areas of evaluation, then the faculty member’s appointment will be recommended for termination. Such a recommendation is made based on the collective consultation of the Director and Associate Director, together with the corresponding body in the faculty member’s primary/secondary unit. Decisions on promotion and tenure are outcomes of the evaluation process; it bears mentioning that a designation of “marginal” or “poor” in any areas of performance in the promotion and tenure process may lead to College-level and University-level requests for further information from the Program.

  1. Differential Allocation of Effort (DAE)

The Environmental Studies Program expects faculty to devote equal attention to teaching and research. When evaluating faculty performance, the department applies the weights of 40 percent for teaching, 40 percent for research, and 20 percent for service to the university, community, and profession. These weights are the same for tenured and non-tenured faculty, although the department recognizes that the specific contributions of faculty members to the department’s mission will differ depending on career stage.

Changes in the standard 40/40/20 allocation of effort for a set period of time can be initiated by the tenured faculty member or Director. These changes can be short- or long-term and must correspond to changes in work-load, not just evaluation criteria. Reasons for alterations can include short-term items such as funded research or longer term career-stage issues. Faculty members are not allowed to reduce their teaching or research to less than 10 percent on permanent DAE agreements within the Program, based on their budgeted FTE. Departmental needs take precedent over individual needs when making decisions to alter a faculty member’s allocation of effort; such redistribution must be consistent with the best interests of the unit. The most likely occasion for consideration of such changes is in discussion between the chair and the individual faculty member following annual performance evaluations, or sooner so that appropriate arrangements may be made at the unit level for the coverage of course offerings. Any individualized changes in faculty allocation of effort will be negotiated with the Chair and documented in the faculty member's personnel file.

For short-term DAE agreements (one academic year or less), the DAE is ultimately approved by the chair of the unit. For long-term DAE agreements (lasting more than one year), approval must also be sought from the appropriate contact dean in the College. All Differential Allocation of Efforts are reported annually to the College Dean's Office. For long-term DAEs, the supporting documentation is also provided to the College and the Provost's Offices. Agreements for long-term DAEs must be reviewed every three years.

For additional information, please see the University Policy on Differential Allocation of Effort (DAE).

Annual Evaluation System

  1. Overview

Description of Structure/Timelines for Annual Evaluations

Each faculty member with a base budget appointment in EVRN will be evaluated annually by the Personnel Committee.  The Personnel Committee will include the EVRN Associate Director as committee chair and two other EVRN base budget faculty.  The Director will also review all files, receive the recommendations of the committee, and take the primary responsibility of summarizing the committee’s recommendations in written form to be shared with each faculty member.

The annual-evaluation process in EVRN is structured and scheduled to allow sufficient time for discussions with faculty members concerning their performances in the past cycle and  the expectations for their performances in the cycle ahead.  The process functions on the basis of the calendar year. The annual evaluation time is as follows:      

  • December: The Chair of the Personnel Committee shall call for each faculty member’s annual report. 
  • Late February / Early March Annual reports for all faculty members must be submitted
  • March: Personnel Committee evaluates the annual reports
  • End of March/ Early April  : Individual evaluations are submitted to the Director by the Personnel Committee.
  • First two weeks in April: Director sends evaluation letters to individuals
  • Last two weeks in April: Director & Associate Director meet with individual faculty members to discuss his or her evaluation.  Individuals then have ten days to appeal the evaluation to the Director. 
  • First two weeks in May: The Personnel Committee and the Director consider and respond to all appeals. 
  1. Portfolio or Annual Report Preparation

NOTE: Faculty are responsible for annually maintaining their PRO record, which is also accessed by administration for reports such as the College snapshot of departmental productivity. PRO provides an annual activity report and faculty are advised to view and update their PRO reports before submission of the faculty member’s portfolio to the unit. In classifying your work as major and minor, please bear in mind the definitions in the unit’s Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.  

Faculty members are required to provide EVRN the information needed to evaluate annual performance with respect to teaching/advising, scholarly/creative activity, and service.   Annual reports submitted to the Program cover the previous calendar year and must contain at minimum the following information:

  • A current vita (faculty submission)
  • A one page memo outlining the most significant accomplishments in teaching, research and service for the annual evaluation period.
  • Teaching /Advising
    • List of all courses taught (faculty submission)
    • Syllabi of courses taught (collected from “teams”)
    • Student teaching evaluation summaries for all classes taught in the calendar year (collected from teams)
    • Copies of peer-teaching evaluations conducted during the previous calendar year, and (faculty submission)
    • Number of students advised in the Program (faculty submission)
  • Creative/scholarly work from the previous calendar year, including
    • Full citations of major and minor publications and information on the quality of publication outlets (faculty submission)
    • List of conference presentations (faculty submission)
    • List of non-conference presentations (e.g., invited seminars at other universities, seminar presentations at KU, etc.) (faculty submission)
    • Full citation of grant submissions and grants awarded (investigator list, amount requested/awarded, agency, status of grant) (faculty submission)
  • Service
    • List of all service activities and level at which they are carried out the previous calendar year (for example Program, College, University and whether for the discipline or community) (faculty submission)

The committee, if necessary, may request additional materials. EVRN faculty members may also submit additional information, such as written student comments or any other material deemed to be relevant to annual evaluation.  

  1. Portfolio or Annual Report Review and Evaluation

At the end of the fall semester, the chair of the Personnel Committee sends EVRN faculty members a request to submit an updated vita and a portfolio documenting their teaching/advising, scholarly and / or creative activity, and service over the past calendar year.  The Personnel Committee and the Director are responsible for evaluating this material, applying the standards for teaching/advising, research/creative activity, and service articulated in this document.  The assessment includes recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of EVRN.  Given the professional diversity of faculty contributions in Environmental Studies, it is difficult to assign one set of numerical values or a standard point system for each type of teaching, research, and service activity. The Personnel Committee consciously considers this diversity as it reviews faculty material. 

The Personnel Committee reviews each faculty member’s portfolio and evaluates the performance of the faculty member in the three categories of evaluation: teaching/advising, creative/scholarly activity, and service. In each area, the faculty member’s work is assigned an evaluation rating of excellent, very good, good, marginal, or poor, defined as:

  • “Excellent” means that the faculty member substantially exceeds expectations for their work.
  • “Very Good” means the candidate exceeds expectations for their work.
  • “Good” means the candidate meets expectations for their work.
  • “Marginal” means the candidate falls below expectations for their work.
  • “Poor” means the candidate falls significantly below expectations for their work.
  1. Annual Evaluation Feedback Process

The Personnel Committee presents the Director with its detailed comments and evaluative ratings of each faculty member. The Director then writes a summary evaluation based on this information and presents it in writing to each faculty member, including any additional observations. The summaries will include reference to performance in each area in relation to expectations, information on progress toward tenure and/or promotion, and suggested strategies for improvement. The summary will also inform faculty members of the opportunities to discuss the evaluation. The Director and the Personnel Committee will review any objections to the evaluation by a faculty member, and a reassessment will be provided in written form to the individual faculty member. Summary evaluations for each faculty member will be retained in the personnel files of the Program office, including all related documentation of any conflict or disagreement with the Director, Associate Director, and Personnel Committee’s evaluations.

  1. Post-tenure Review and Integration into the Annual Evaluation Process

This section includes information for faculty members undergoing Post-tenure Review.

  • The Post-tenure review will be conducted separately from the annual evaluation, but the two are processes will be integrated in that the post-tenure review file will be based on the previous six years of annual evaluations. 
  • The Post-tenure Review committee will provide a copy of their report to the faculty member, who may submit a written response for inclusion in the post-tenure review file before it is forwarded to the Director for his/her review.  If the Director agrees with the report, he or she will indicate that agreement in writing to the faculty member and place a copy in the post-tenure review file.  If the Director disagrees with the committee’s evaluation, he or she shall explain the reasons for any disagreement in writing, with a copy to the faculty member and the committee. 

Additional information can be found in the Unit’s Post-tenure Review Policy.  

  1. Outcomes of the Annual Performance Evaluation

The evaluation process of the Environmental Studies program seen in all its aspects, yields multiple outcomes. It acknowledges faculty accomplishments or shortcomings and makes them matters of record. It initiates discussions that influence the planning of both individual career development and unit evolution. It assists in the identification of opportunities for faculty improvement and renewal. It provides annual as well as cumulative data for merit-salary recommendations, sabbatical-leave and grant applications, tenure and promotion decisions, post-tenure review, and reassignments of responsibilities. And it provides documentation that may be used, at extremes, in support of either recognition or dismissal.

Procedures for developing performance improvement plans

If the Director ascertains that a faculty member's performance seems to be failing to meet academic responsibilities, the administrator and the faculty member shall develop a written plan of methods to improve the faculty member's performance. The plan may include appropriate provisions for faculty development, such as campus opportunities for faculty continued renewal and development, or for other appropriate interventions. The chairperson may call upon the University administration for assistance in constructing such a plan, including provision for additional resources, where needed. A faculty member may reject any plan recommended to aid performance levels, but the faculty member must understand that a sustained overall failure to meet academic responsibilities is a basis for dismissal.

Procedures for addressing failure to meet academic responsibilities

In the event that a faculty member does not agree with an evaluation and is not satisfied with the follow-up meeting between the faculty member and the Director, the faculty member may appeal any decision based on the evaluation.  At the programmatic level, an appeal begins with a letter to the Director, outlining the disagreement and providing all necessary documentation to present the case for appeal.  The letter will also become part of the faculty member’s personnel file. The Director will present the appeal to the Faculty Evaluation Committee who will review its evaluation based on the information presented in the appeal.

If a faculty member has been informed that his/her performance still fails to meet academic responsibilities, the faculty member may request a review by a faculty committee designated to hear such matters in the College. The review committee will issue a non-binding recommendation on the appropriateness of this conclusion to the unit administrator. The administrator may change the evaluation after receiving the committee's decision, or may choose not to do so. In any event, the report of the committee will become a permanent part of the faculty member's personnel file within the academic unit and shall be available to the faculty member.

Program Directors shall consult annually with the dean, and the dean shall consult annually with the Provost on the progress of any faculty member who fails within this category of failure to meet academic responsibilities.

Sustained failure to meet performance expectations

Based upon the judgment that there has been a sustained failure to meet academic responsibilities, the Dean may recommend to the Provost that a tenured faculty member be dismissed. In making this determination, the Dean shall consider the nature of the failure to meet academic responsibilities, the reason or reasons for this failure, the number of years that the faculty member has failed to meet academic responsibilities, the level of discernible improvement in the faculty member's performance after being notified of any failure in performance, and the extent to which the faculty member has complied with the terms of any plan developed to improve the faculty member's performance. The Provost will review the case and, if the Provost agrees with the Dean's recommendation, the Provost will recommend to the Chancellor that the faculty member be dismissed. If the Chancellor agrees and recommends dismissal, this recommendation will go to the Faculty Rights Board.

Should any recommendation to dismiss be brought against a tenured faculty member based exclusively or in part on grounds of sustained failure to meet academic responsibilities, both the report(s) of the review committee(s), the annual written evaluation(s) of the unit administrator concerning the faculty member, any outside evaluations, and any germane written response by the faculty member to the charges shall be made available to the Faculty Rights Board.

  1. Faculty Development Initiatives

The Director will assist faculty members each calendar year in evaluating development opportunities available through conferences, fellowships, seminars, grants and endowment funds. While monitoring and communicating the needs of the Program, the Director will also support the faculty member in development efforts, such as applying for grants for the improvement of teaching, preparing paper presentations, attending conferences, preparing applications for research funds, and considering a temporary alteration of the 40/40/20 formula for tenured faculty members.

Further support is provided by the Program’s mentoring system, which links a new faculty member with a tenured EVRN faculty. This mentor assists the new faculty member in understanding the mission, requirements, and standards of teaching, research, and service as expected by EVRN and the University.

Research Intensive Semesters (RIS): CLAS offers all junior faculty members in good standing a reduced teaching responsibility at some point during the faculty member’s pretenure employment. Faculty members will be released from classroom teaching duties for up to one semester, depending upon the relevant departmental teaching expectations, and will be expected to concentrate on research intensive activities. Faculty members are eligible for a research intensive semester assignment up to and including the spring semester before their publication dossiers are sent out to external reviewers in June, with the latest possible Research Intensive Semester (RIS) assignment typically being the second semester of the fifth year. Faculty members in good standing who have stopped their tenure clock remain eligible for a RIS assignment. The actual decision of which year/semester the individual is assigned a research intensive semester will be made in consultation with the Director. Note that paid leaves and fellowships do not take the place of a RIS. Once the Director approves the RIS for the junior faculty member, the details concerning the RIS should be confirmed to the faculty member in writing and documented in their personnel file. The Director also provides a copy of this authorization to the College Dean’s Office so that RIS data can be tracked. Faculty members who are granted a RIS are expected to continue to meet their usual duties regarding departmental advising and other service activities.

See Faculty Development Programs for information about additional faculty development opportunities.

Appendices

Student Evaluation of Teaching

The Environmental Studies Program uses the University's "Student Survey of Teaching" as the instrument for the student evaluation of teaching. 

Contact: 

Environmental Studies Program
University of Kansas
Lindley Hall 215
1475 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045
envstudies@ku.edu

Program Director
785-864-8902

Approved by: 
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Approved on: 
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Effective on: 
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Keywords: 
FEP, Faculty Evaluation Plan, Annual Evaluation, Faculty Review, Faculty Performance, ENVS
Change History: 

02/27/2020: Policy approved and updated. 
05/10/2019: Approved by faculty vote of the Environmental Studies Program
09/28/2015: Fixed Promotion and Tenure Guidelines link to open in new window.
09/25/2015: Added PRO statement to Section III.B. Portfolio or Annual Report Preparation
06/25/2015: Removed “Under the University’s post-tenure review policy” language as unit has separate PtR policy.
04/02/2015: Fixed broken link to Board of Regents Policy Manual.
12/17/2014: Fixed broken BoR link.
11/20/2014: Technical edit to BoR link.
07/10/2014: Technical edits - added outline formatting, updated links, standardized method of date notation in Review, Approval & Change History.
05/20/2014: Approved by the Provost
05/05/2014: Approved by the Dean of the College
05/02/2014: Approved by faculty vote of the Environmental Studies Program

Personnel: Faculty/Academic Staff Categories: 
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School/College Policy Categories: 
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