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Faculty Evaluation Plan, Department of Molecular Biosciences

Policy
Purpose: 

To articulate the standards and procedures for the annual evaluation of faculty within the Department of Molecular Biosciences.

Applies to: 

Faculty within the Department of Molecular Biosciences.

Campus: 
Lawrence
Policy Statement: 

Introduction

The Department of Molecular Biosciences subscribes to the University of Kansas Faculty Code of Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, as adopted by the Faculty Senate in 1971 and subsequently amended. The faculty of the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Kansas is expected to demonstrate commitment to effective teaching, advising, and mentoring both in the classroom and with individual undergraduate and graduate students; to engage in professional research; to provide service to the Department, College, and University, to local, national, and international communities, and/or to disciplinary and interdisciplinary organizations; and to work in a collegial and professional manner with Department colleagues, staff, and students. Faculty duties are set forth in Article IV Faculty Responsibilities, and the Department of Molecular Biosciences expects its faculty to live up to those responsibilities. Within the context of the Faculty Code of Conduct, the duties and expectations of Molecular Biosciences faculty and the means by which they are evaluated are presented below. The Department of Molecular Biosciences is a diverse group of faculty, and we are dedicated to the development and maintenance of a culture that supports and respects the individual. The purpose of this Faculty Evaluation Plan is to provide unbiased guidelines for evaluating the performance of our faculty regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, abilities, religion, regions, Veteran status, citizenship status, and nationality.

Statement of Performance Expectations

1.Unit Expectations

Overview: All faculty members are expected to contribute to the teaching/advising, research, and service missions of the Department, and to carry out their duties professionally, constructively, and in an informed manner. For pre-tenure faculty, effort is allotted as 40% teaching/advising; 40% research; and 20% service. Tenured faculty may have a different allocation of effort as described in the section 3. Differential Allocation of Effort below. Specific expectations for each category, regardless of effort allocation, are as follows.

Teaching/Advising: All faculty members are expected to carry out their share of the departmental teaching and advising activities and demonstrate competence in teaching and evaluation of student performance.

Research: All faculty members are expected to make a serious commitment to scholarship, and to continue learning in his or her discipline through research, reading of appropriate journals and books, and attending science seminars and meetings; and to propagate that learning through publication in appropriate journals and books, and by presenting posters and talks at sciences seminars and meetings.

Service: All faculty members are expected to engage in service. It is essential that the faculty member takes his or her service seriously, participates at a level on par with that of other faculty members of a similar rank, and displays good citizenship.

2.Standards for Acceptable Performance for Faculty Members

Overview. The following sections describe, in turn, the criteria for the evaluation of research, teaching/advising, and service as:

  • “Excellent” – substantially exceeds expectations for faculty members at the same rank and effort allocation
  • “Very Good” – exceeds expectations for faculty members at the same rank and effort allocation
  • “Good” – meets expectations for faculty members at the same rank and effort allocation
  • “Marginal” – falls below expectations for faculty members at the same rank and effort allocation
  • “Poor” – falls significantly below expectations for faculty members at the same rank and effort allocation

These standards apply to the standard effort allocation of 40% teaching/advising, 40% research, and 20% service. In the case of a differential allocation of effort or a Performance Improvement Plan, the standards for expected performance will be negotiated between the faculty member, chairman and/or Dean as appropriate and will be made available to the Faculty Evaluation Committee in order that they can accurately and fairly review faculty accomplishments. The Faculty Evaluation Committee will take into account any exceptional circumstances, as defined by University policy, that may have impacted the performance of a faculty member during the period of the review.

TEACHING & ADVISING

All tenured and tenure-track faculty members are expected to be effective teachers, foster student learning, and carry their share of the departmental teaching activities. Normal teaching/advising activities for 40% effort in teaching are approximately one undergraduate lecture or lab course with a three credit hour equivalence, plus contributions to one or more upper-level undergraduate or graduate specialty course per academic year. Classes may be team-taught. The level of teaching activity is subject to variation depending on the number of students in the class and the faculty member’s other teaching activities, which may include: developing new courses; guiding undergraduate, graduate, and/or post-doctoral research projects; serving on graduate thesis and dissertation committees; developing new instructional methods and techniques; developing assessment policies and procedures; and writing training grants. Additionally, academic advising is a vital part of the teaching responsibilities of all faculty members. Faculty are expected to be accurately informed about departmental and college curricular requirements. Effective advising also includes being available to students and assisting them in planning their academic or professional careers.

Criteria for the evaluation of “Good”

  1. Successfully complete a level of teaching activity appropriate for the level of appointment, attend all classes as scheduled without multiple unexcused absences, and be available for consultations with students outside of regular class meeting times.
  2. Meet acceptable levels of teaching performance as demonstrated through performance measures including:
    1. Student course evaluations
    2. Peer evaluations
    3. Other evidence, including peer evaluation of course syllabi, experimental teaching formats, the development of model teaching techniques and similar activities that demonstrate adequate teaching performance
  3. Provide instruction in proper research and laboratory techniques to individuals who are carrying out research in the faculty member’s lab. This can be fulfilled by any of the following:
    1. A graduate student performing research in the faculty member’s laboratory
    2. A post-doctoral trainee performing research in the faculty member’s laboratory
    3. A rotating graduate student performing research in the faculty member’s laboratory
    4. An undergraduate student performing research in the faculty member’s laboratory resulting in a publication, research presentation at the departmental or higher level, application for research support such as a UGRA, enrollment in BIOL 424, or participation in the Biology Honors program (including enrolling in required honors courses).
  1. Advise graduate students through service on thesis and dissertation committees and/or participating in graduate education.

Criteria for the evaluation of “Very Good”

Meet the above criteria for “Good” plus one of the following or one or more of the criteria for the evaluation of “Excellent” below:

  1. Student Evaluations that are higher than the departmental mean for courses taught at a similar level
  2. Higher-than-average teaching activities in terms of total hours or student enrollment
  3. Provide research instruction for multiple trainees in the faculty member’s laboratory
  4. Advising a greater than average number of undergraduate students regarding degree requirements and career matters in a knowledgeable manner

Criteria for the evaluation of “Excellent”

Fulfill two or more of the criteria for an evaluation of “Very Good,” plus one or more of the following:

  1. Student evaluations that are substantially higher than the departmental mean for courses taught at a similar level
  2. Highly laudatory written student comments
  3. Recipient of a major teaching award
  4. New course development or substantial upgrades to an existing course
  5. Authorship on published textbook
  6. Extensive involvement of students in laboratory research
  7. Significantly higher-than-average teaching activities in terms of total hours or student enrollment
  8. Submission of training or other education-related grant applications or administration of an existing education-related grant

Criteria for evaluation of “Marginal”

Falling below departmental expectations.

a) A faculty member that fails to meet any one of the four criteria for “Good” listed above would result in an evaluation of Marginal

Criteria for evaluation of “Poor”

Falling significantly below departmental expectations.

  1. A faculty member that fails to meet more than one criteria for “Good” listed above would result in an evaluation of Poor
  2. A faculty member that falls significantly below expectations in any one criteria for “Good” listed above would result in an evaluation of Poor

Additional Considerations for Evaluating Teaching and Advising Activities and Effort:

  • In general, teaching a larger number of credit hours is considered a more substantial teaching effort than teaching fewer credit hours.
  • Teaching a course with a larger student enrollment is generally viewed as more substantial teaching effort than teaching a course with smaller student enrollment.
  • Higher student evaluations of the faculty member’s teaching are generally preferable to lower student evaluations.
  • In general, it is recognized that it is more difficult to obtain high student evaluations while teaching introductory courses than while teaching intermediate or advanced courses, due to the diverse backgrounds of the student population.
  • In general, teaching a larger percentage of a course is considered a more substantial teaching effort than teaching a smaller percentage of a course.
  • Peer evaluations also contribute to the determination of the quality of the faculty member’s teaching, when available.
  • If a lab has been unable to attract a student to work in their lab, or if a lab has no research funding available to purchase research reagents, faculty members will be granted a one year grace period during which they will be encouraged, but not required, to provide research training to students (criterion “c” under Criteria for the evaluation of “Good”) in order to meet departmental expectations for “Good”. The faculty member should provide evidence of the efforts that have been made to attract a student or obtain funding.

RESEARCH

All tenured and tenure-track faculty members are expected to remain active in research. The metrics of scholarly activity are varied, but should include the communication of one's ideas and research to other scientists and where appropriate to other individuals outside the university. The mechanism by which scholarly activity is communicated may vary depending on the nature of the underlying research. It is recognized that producing scholarly activities resulting from scientific research can be stochastic in nature. Scholarly activities for the previous two calendar years are taken into consideration for evaluation of research/scholarship.

Criteria for the evaluation of “Good”

  1. Publishing peer-reviewed research in journals and/or books
  2. Write and submit research grant proposals to external funding agencies or hold an active external grant
  3. Guide the research of graduate students, undergraduate students, postdocs, technicians, and/or other research personnel
  4. Present research at internal meetings or seminars, at local conferences, or other scientific venues

Criteria for the evaluation of “Very Good”

Meet the above criteria of “Good” and all of the following or one or more of the criteria for the evaluation of “Excellent” below:

  1. External funding at a level sufficient to support at least one graduate research assistant
  2. Maintaining discipline-appropriate rates of publication in peer-reviewed journals
  3. Presentation of research at regional, national or international conferences or other scientific venues

Criteria for the evaluation of “Excellent”

Meet the above criteria of “Very Good” plus one or more of the following:

  1. Publication rates in peer-reviewed journals that exceed discipline expectations, or publications in high-impact journals
  2. Extramural funding that fully supports the faculty member’s research operation, including salaries and stipends of multiple research personnel
  3. Recipient of a major award for research

Criteria for evaluation of “Marginal” Falling below departmental expectations.

a) A faculty member that fails to meet any one of the four criteria for “Good” listed above would result in an evaluation of Marginal

Criteria for evaluation of “Poor”

Falling significantly below departmental expectations.

a) A faculty member that fails to meet more than one criteria for “Good” listed above would result in an evaluation of Poor

Additional Considerations for Evaluation of Research Funding:

  • Grants with higher levels of funding are generally viewed as more substantial than grants with lower levels of funding.
  • In cases of multi-investigator grants, lead investigator status or multiple lead investigator status is generally viewed as more substantial than co-investigator or other less involved roles.
  • Competitive, national grants are generally viewed as more substantial than regional/state or local grants or grants that were non-competitive.

Additional Considerations for Evaluation of Research Publications:

  • Peer reviewed articles and invited reviews are generally viewed as more substantial scholarly activity than non-peer reviewed articles and book chapters.
  • Full length research articles are generally viewed as more substantial scholarly activity than short letters, communications or notes.
  • In general, first or last author publications are generally viewed as more substantial scholarly activities than middle-author publications.
  • Publications in journals with high impact factors are generally viewed as more substantial scholarly activity than publications in journals with lower impact factors.
  • Minor publications such as short abstracts of work that are published as meeting proceedings are generally viewed as less substantial scholarly activity than major works.
  • Awarded patents are generally considered to be equivalent to major peer-reviewed journal publications and are generally viewed as more substantial scholarly activity than patent submissions.

Additional Considerations for Evaluation of Invited Research Talks and Poster presentations:

  • Invited talks are generally viewed as more substantial scholarly activity than poster presentations.
  • Talks and poster presentations are generally rated according to the breadth of the audience they reach from international to national to regional to state to local.
  • Longer presentations are generally viewed as more substantial scholarly activity than shorter presentations.

SERVICE

All tenured and tenure-track faculty members are expected to contribute to the governance of the Department and University. Specific committee assignments should be agreed upon by the departmental chairperson and be consistent with the goals of the Department and University.

Service generally takes place at one of more of the following levels: (1) department, College, or University;

  1. community, state, region, nation, or international community; and, (3) profession or discipline.

Criteria for the evaluation of “Good”

  1. Active participation in the governance of the Department and making effective contributions to general Department policy as demonstrated by the following:
    1. Regular attendance at Departmental Faculty Meetings without multiple unexcused absences
    2. Participating in faculty votes on Departmental matters during Faculty Meetings
  2. Active participation on a Departmental, College or University Committee

Criteria for the evaluation of “Very Good”

Meet the above criteria of “Good” plus one or more of the following or one or more of the criteria for the evaluation of “Excellent” below:

  1. Ad hoc service on grant review panels with lower effort (1-2 grants reviewed)
  2. Reviewing manuscripts for scientific publications
  3. Effective mentoring of pre-tenure faculty members in research-related areas such as grant and manuscript preparation. Procedures for the oversight of mentoring is described in Section 7 below.
  4. Participation in multiple Department, College, University, state or professional committees or participation on a committee or committees with higher than usual level of work responsibilities
  5. Journal editorship or participation on editorial boards of scientific journals with lower to medium demand (include number of manuscripts handled in editorial role)

Criteria for the evaluation of “Excellent”

Fulfill two or more of the criteria for an evaluation of “Very Good” plus one or more of the following:

  1. Dedicated service on, or chairing of exceptionally demanding committees
  2. Service on demanding external review panels (serving on NIH/NSF panels with 8-10 grant reviews)
  3. Journal editorship or participation on editorial boards of scientific journals with high demand (include number of manuscripts handled in editorial role)
  4. Organization of a major scientific meeting or conference
  5. Administration and service on training grants, core services and/or infrastructure development activities
  6. Service as an elected or appointed leadership position at the local (Department, College, or University) or professional society level
  7. Extensive community outreach activity
  8. Recipient of a major award for service

Criteria for evaluation of “Marginal” Falling below departmental expectations.

a) A faculty member that fails to meet any one of the two criteria for “Good” listed above would result in an evaluation of Marginal

Criteria for evaluation of “Poor”

Falling significantly below departmental expectations.

  1. A faculty member that fails to meet more than one criterion for “Good” listed above would result in an evaluation of Poor
  2. A faculty member that falls significantly below expectations in any one criterion for “Good” listed above would result in an evaluation of Poor

Agreement to Recognize Other Activities: The Department affords individual faculty members substantial autonomy in structuring their activities in the areas of teaching/advising, research, and service. Teaching/advising-, research-, and service-related activities other than those listed in the above section will be recognized, provided that they are consistent with the Department’s overall missions.

3.Differential Allocation of Effort

The Department expects faculty to devote equal attention to teaching and research. When evaluating faculty performance, the department applies the weights of 40 percent for teaching/advising, 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 the Department chairperson. 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 DAE agreements. 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 Department. The most likely occasion for consideration of such changes is in discussion between the chairperson 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 chairperson 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 unit director or chairperson, with a copy of this endorsement sent to the contact associate dean. For long-term DAE agreements (lasting one year or beyond), approval must also be sought from the appropriate contact dean in the college. All DAEs are reported annually to the College Dean’s Office. Agreements for long- term DAEs must be reviewed every three years, although either the faculty member or chairperson/director may request an earlier review in response to changed circumstances or performance. At that time, the agreement may be revised, terminated, or continued.

The selection among these options should be made following the guidelines and process for approval of long-term DAEs contained in the University Policy on Differential Allocation of Effort (DAE).

The DAE agreement must reflect changes both in workload and the level of effort assigned to faculty responsibilities. A reduction of effort in one area – teaching/advising, research, or service – must be offset by augmentation in another area. The standards for expected performance of any active DAE agreement must be provided to the Faculty Evaluation Committee so that the appropriate allocation of effort can be applied to the evaluation. While the evaluation criteria are not changed with DAE agreements, the number of criteria required for ratings of Good, Very Good, and Excellent may increase or decrease in areas affected by the DAE. For example, an increase in research effort from 40% to 70% could result in the evaluation criterion “Extramural funding that fully supports the faculty member’s research operation, including salaries and stipends of multiple research personnel” being moved from the category of “Excellent” to“Very Good”. An additional example would be a reduction in research effort from 40% to 20% could result in the criterion “Publishing peer-reviewed research in journals and/or books” being moved from the category of “Good” to “Very Good”.

Annual Evaluation System

1.Overview

Each faculty member submits their evaluation materials, using the PRO format, to the Department by the last day of February of each year. These materials are evaluated by the departmental Faculty Evaluation Committee, which consists of the departmental chairperson and three elected tenured faculty members (see departmental bylaws for details of the election procedure). Faculty Evaluation Committee members are evaluated by the three other committee members with the committee member being reviewed recusing themselves from the evaluation. In the event that a committee member has a spouse that is being evaluated, the committee member shall recuse themselves from their evaluation. In the event of other conflicts of interest that the committee determines may unduly affect the evaluation process, the committee member shall recuse themselves from their evaluation. In the event that there are disagreements among the committee over potential or perceived conflicts of interest, the Department Chair shall make the decision whether a conflict of interest recusal is warranted. In the event that the Department Chair is directly involved in the disagreement over a potential or perceived conflict of interest, the remaining three committee members shall vote on whether a conflict of interest recusal is warranted. In the event that recusals result in fewer than three committee members for the review of a given faculty member, the departmental chairperson will select ad hoc committee member(s) to bring the committee members performing that review up to three members. Ad hoc members will be preferentially chosen from among department members who either currently hold or recently have held an elected departmental position and who are eligible for service on the evaluation committee (for example, not currently serving on the P&T committee).

The results are expected to be returned to the faculty member by the end of March, so that there is sufficient opportunity to discuss the evaluation results prior to the timelines established for merit salary decisions.

2.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.

The evaluation materials include: a completed calendar-year Annual Faculty Information Form, which solicits multiple sources of data to document the faculty member’s teaching/advising, research, and service; an updated curriculum vitae; student teaching evaluation summaries; copies of newly published or near- published (submitted) research papers; and a copy of any applicable Differential Allocation Effort agreement or Performance Improvement (development) Plans. Much of this material may be provided via the KU PRO website. It is the responsibility of the faculty mentor to assist pre-tenure faculty members in completing this form.

3.Portfolio or Annual Report Review and Evaluation

The Faculty Evaluation Committee reviews each area of performance—teaching/advising, research, and service—and each committee member assigns a rating of “Excellent” for substantially exceeding disciplinary and departmental expectations; “Very Good” for exceeding departmental expectations; “Good” for meeting departmental expectations; “Marginal” for not meeting departmental expectations; and “Poor” for failure to meet multiple criteria for departmental expectations based on the review criteria outlined in Section 2 above. The committee will employ the instrument used for the Annual Evaluation of Faculty Performance (Appendix B) to make their evaluations. Copies of the completed evaluation instruments used in the faculty evaluation will be kept on record in the faculty member’s personnel file.

The due recognition of excellence—including nomination of faculty members for University and national awards and subsequent recommendations for merit salary increase—is critical to the Department as it both encourages retention of outstanding faculty members and provides a standard of excellence to which other faculty members may aspire.

The overall ranking of faculty for performance evaluation considerations will be performed by the departmental chairman using the following general guidelines:

  • Faculty are initially ranked using a 5-tier system, with the lowest rating received defining the tier:
    • Tier 1 is comprised of faculty with ratings of Excellent in all categories.
    • Tier 2 is comprised of faculty whose lowest rating is Very Good
    • Tier 3 is comprised of faculty whose lowest rating is Good
    • Tier 4 is comprised of faculty whose lowest rating is Marginal
    • Tier 5 is comprised of faculty whose lowest rating is Poor
  • Within each tier, faculty are ranked based on several different measures including:
    • The overall number of votes for a rating in a category (e.g. 2 votes for Excellent and 2 votes for Very Good would generally rank higher than 1 vote for Excellent and 3 votes for Very Good)
    • The percent effort of a category for which the rating was received (e.g. a ranking of Excellent in a 20% category would carry less weight than a ranking of Excellent in a 40% category)
    • The overall number of criteria fulfilled in different categories (e.g. fulfilling 2 criteria for Excellent in a category such as Research would generally rank higher than fulfilling a single criterion)
    • Additional considerations for the evaluation of teaching effort, grant funding, publications, and presentations as outlined in Section 2. Standards for Acceptable Performance for Faculty Members.

Annual evaluations for faculty on leave:

Sabbatical leave:

Within 60 days of their return to service, faculty members shall submit to the department chair a report that describes the professional activities undertaken during the leave and the outcomes of such activities. The outcomes will be compared to the stated goals in the sabbatical leave proposal. It is recognized that the majority of successful sabbatical leave proposals outline activities that would be considered “Very Good” productivity. The Faculty Evaluation Committee will therefore make the determination whether the outcomes of the sabbatical leave were “Excellent” for exceeding the stated goals; “Very Good” for meeting the stated goals; “Good” for accomplishing most, but not all the stated goals; “Marginal” for not meeting only a few of the stated goals; or “Poor” for not meeting any of the stated goals. When making these assessments, the three performance areas—teaching/advising, research, and service—will be weighted according to the stated goals of the sabbatical leave (e.g., if all goals were research-related, then the overall assessment will be derived solely through evaluation of the faculty member’s research accomplishments.)

When a faculty member is on leave for only a portion of the evaluation period, the regular performance evaluation process will be used for that portion of the evaluation period during which the faculty member was not on leave.

4.Annual Evaluation Feedback Process

The results of the annual performance evaluation process are directly communicated in a letter from the Chairperson to each faculty member. The letter will indicate the number of committee member votes for ratings in each category. A copy of the letter is retained in the faculty member’s personnel file. The letter of evaluation will also indicate areas of strength and areas that may need development and improvement. In addition, any information concerning progress toward tenure, promotion and/or tenure, or post-tenure reviews is also communicated. The faculty member is invited to meet with the chairperson to discuss the evaluation.

In case of a disagreement over the evaluation, the faculty member may request an administrative review from the departmental chairperson to consider additional materials or comments with explanations and interpretations of information presented in the original annual performance information form. The department chair may determine that a re-evaluation by the Faculty Evaluation Committee is merited and a new evaluation considering the additional information will be provided. At any point during this process, the faculty member has the right to write a letter documenting his/her objections that will be made a part of the faculty member’s personnel file.

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

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

  • The Molecular Biosciences Promotion and Tenure Committee will be responsible for conducting the post-tenure review in conjunction with and in full accordance with the Molecular Biosciences Faculty Performance Evaluation Policy and Procedures. The committee report will be considered as part of the regular annual evaluation process and the chairperson will discuss the review with the faculty member as part of that process.
  • 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 chairpersonfor his/her review. If the chair agrees with the report, he/she will indicate that agreement in writing to the faculty member and place a copy in the post-tenure review file. If the chairdisagrees with the committee’s evaluation, he/she shall explain the reasons for any disagreement in writing, with a copy to the faculty member and the committee.
  • Unit procedures for the relationship between Post Tenure Review and the Annual Evaluation process as outlined below in section #6

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

6.Outcomes of the Annual Performance Evaluation

The evaluation process of the Department of Molecular Biosciences, 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 chair 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. Failing to meet academic responsibilities is defined by receiving one or more ratings of “Marginal” or “Poor” in any category for the given year. The Faculty Evaluation Committee will clearly identify the specific deficiencies that resulted in the “Marginal” or “Poor” evaluation. The Department Chairperson, under advisement from the Faculty Evaluation Committee, will work in consultation with the faculty member to create a written Performance Improvement Plan that will be shared with the faculty member within 30 days of the original evaluation. The standards for expected performance outlined in the Performance Improvement Plan will be shared with the evaluation committee and used as the criteria for evaluation for the upcoming year. Any personal issues that may have contributed to the initial evaluation or formation of the Performance Improvement Plan will be kept confidential between the faculty member and the Department Chairperson. The plan may include appropriate provisions for faculty development, such as campus opportunities for faculty continued renewal and development, or for other appropriate interventions. When appropriate, performance improvement plans will contain plans for additional mentoring from faculty that excel in the areas targeted for improvement. 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

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 department and shall be available to the faculty member.

The Department Chairperson shall consult annually with the Dean, and the Dean shall consult annually with the Provost, on the progress of any faculty member who falls within the category of overall failure to meet minimum academic responsibilities.

Based upon the dean’s review, the sustained failure to meet academic responsibilities may lead to a recommendation for dismissal in accordance with the University Policy on Faculty Evaluation: http://policy.ku.edu/provost/faculty-evaluation-tenured-tenure-track.

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.

7.Faculty Development Initiatives

Mentoring for new tenure track faculty: Newly hired tenure track Assistant Professors are paired with well-experienced and successful faculty members who act as mentors, assisting the Assistant Professor in developing effective teaching and research programs. The Department Chair, in consultation with the Assistant Professor, will be responsible for choosing an appropriate mentor to suit the wants and needs of the Assistant Professor. Mentoring includes such things as help in developing effective teaching styles and strategies, help in preparing research grant proposals, and general guidance in navigating through the process of deciding in which activities to strategically participate. At times the mentor may be expected to serve as the advocate for the Assistant Professor in the areas of, for example, excessive teaching and committee activities. It is noted that some early stage faculty members may not be fully prepared to challenge some decisions or requests made by more established faculty members, and the mentor is expected to assist in these matters. Pre-tenured faculty members who are experiencing poor student evaluations of their classroom teaching will have experienced and successful faculty members attend their lectures to offer both verbal and written comments supplemented with suggestions to improve teaching effectiveness. In addition, the faculty member experiencing difficulties will be encouraged to contact the Center for Teaching Excellence for advice and help. If improvement is not achieved, interaction with the Center for Teaching Excellence will be viewed as a requirement. . It is recommended that mentoring meetings take place a minimum of twice a year. In the event that a newly hired tenure track faculty member chooses not to participate in the mentoring program, this will be documented. If performance issues arise, renewed efforts to engage the newly hired tenure track faculty in the mentoring process will be pursued and documented.

Mentoring for associate professors: Associate professors are paired with senior, well-experienced and successful full professors who act as mentors, assisting the associate professors with strengthening their teaching and research activities to help them be more competitive for promotion to the rank of full professor. The mentor and mentee will meet regularly to discuss strategies for enhancing the teaching and research programs to bring them to levels that garner international recognition commensurate with those expected for promotion to full professor. In the event that an associate professor chooses not to participate in the mentoring program, this will be documented. If performance issues arise, renewed efforts to engage the associate professor in the mentoring process will be pursued and documented.

Mentoring Oversight and Incentives: The Department chairperson will provide routine oversight of the mentoring program. Grounds for dissolution of the arrangement can include dissatisfaction on the part of either the mentor or mentee, as well as concerns by the chairperson that the interaction is not productive. Progress in all performance areas—teaching/advising, research, and service—should be monitored on a regular basis. Once a year, in conjunction with the annual performance evaluation, Assistant and Associate Professors participating in the mentoring program will discuss with their mentors progress on their research and teaching goals in detail. Written reports of this meeting will be prepared by the mentor and submitted to the Department chairperson for inclusion in the Annual Faculty Evaluation process. The overall success of the program will be assessed on a yearly basis by the Faculty Evaluation Committee. As the program progresses, it is recognized that additional modifications may be required. The committee will regularly query participants for potential improvements. Data useful in evaluation will be collected including: number of mentors and mentees enrolled in the program; mentee and mentor satisfaction with the process; etc. More long-term assessments will focus on mentee productivity and their success in achieving promotion and/or tenure. Mentors participating in the program will be recognized for their service.

Research-Intensive Semester (RIS): CLAS offers all early stage 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. In the Department of Molecular Biosciences, the teaching release that faculty members typically receive during their first year at KU serves as a research intensive semester. 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 department chairperson. Note that paid leaves and fellowships do not take the place of a RIS.  Once the chairperson approves the RIS for the early stage faculty member, the details concerning the RIS should be confirmed to the faculty member in writing and documented in their personnel file. The chair 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:

Appendix A: Instrument(s) used in the student evaluation of teaching. The Department of Molecular Biosciences utilizes the University’s “Student Survey of Teaching” form as this instrument. In addition, the department utilizes the “Student Evaluation of Teaching, Optional Comments” form. Faculty may include them as part of the evaluation process, but are not required to. If submitted by the faculty member, the department has voted to use these comments in the evaluation process.