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James Madison University

Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies Program

Criteria Guidelines for Annual Evaluation, Reappointment,

Promotion, and Tenure

Approved 4/27/09 by IdLS Faculty

Approved 4/29/09 by Linda Cabe Halpern, Dean of University Studies

Minor revisions suggested and approved 6/12/09 by Susan Wheeler, Policy and Legal Affairs Advisor

Final revisions suggested and approved 7/20/09 by Doug Brown, Provost


Part I. General Considerations, p. 2

Part II. Teaching Standards, p. 6

Part III. Scholarly Achievement and Professional Qualifications Standards, p. 8

Part IV. Professional Service Standards, p. 10

Part V. Personnel Advisory Committee Structure and Procedures, p. 12

Part VI. Amendment Process, p. 13

Part I. General Considerations

A. Faculty Responsibilities

Faculty members in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies (IdLS) shall be dedicated professionals, scholars, educators, and contributing members of their professional communities. IdLS faculty members shall meet the general responsibilities of a full-time university faculty member as defined in the Faculty Handbook. By fulfilling these professional responsibilities, IdLS faculty will enjoy the privileges and responsibilities of academic freedom.

Faculty Handbook III.I.2.d.(1.): "At or near the start of an academic year, each faculty member and his/her AUH shall agree on a personal set of relative weights to be applied to the three performance areas of teaching, scholarly achievement and professional qualifications, and professional service in determination of the annual salary adjustment, as a part of the discussion of the Faculty Anticipated Activity Plan. See Section III.E.4.a. This agreement may be amended by mutual consent during the academic year."

IdLS requires that relative weights be based on 10-point increments and that the performance area of teaching receive a relative weight of no less than 40%.

IdLS faculty members teaching courses outside of the IdLS major are responsible for providing the IdLS Academic Unit Head (AUH) with copies of teaching evaluations for those courses. Also, faculty members are encouraged to provide the IdLS AUH with feedback on teaching performance received from the academic units housing the courses taught outside of the major (for example, classroom observations, student feedback outside the course evaluations, Teaching Analysis Poll reports, etc.). IdLS faculty members performing service for other academic units are responsible when submitting annual Summaries of Activities for providing the IdLS AUH with records of service, etc., and for providing the same to the IdLS AUH and the PAC when applying for promotion and tenure.

B. Criteria

IdLS will use the Faculty Handbook criteria for all types of evaluations of faculty members, including for re-appointment, promotion, and the award of tenure. These criteria are (a) teaching, (b) scholarly achievement and professional qualifications, and (c) professional service. These criteria will also be used as the basis for the annual evaluations of all IdLS Faculty and for pre-tenure review of tenure track IdLS Faculty. The standards included in teaching, scholarly achievement and professional qualifications, and professional service will include consideration of the following criteria:

  • 1. Leadership. A measure of self initiative and follow through, the ability to discern high-priority areas of need and suggest effective solutions, and the willingness to accept responsibility for completing assigned and/or self-initiated tasks.
  • 2. Commitment. The measure of dedication, support, and/or enthusiasm for the IdLS program and its needs.
  • 3. Collegiality. The measure of the extent to which the faculty member interacts productively with faculty, staff, and students.
  • 4. Conduct. Any aspects of a faculty member's conduct that impacts job performance, positive or negative, will be addressed in all types of evaluations.

C. Pre-Tenure Review

Although the Faculty Handbook does not prescribe pre-tenure reviews for tenure-track faculty, the IdLS Department requires tenure track faculty members with a standard seven-year probationary period to undergo a pre-tenure review in either the second semester of her/his third year or first semester of her/his fourth year at the university. Faculty members will prepare documentation for the pre-tenure review in the same manner as if they were preparing for the standard tenure review.

The pre-tenure review is intended to provide faculty members with guidance, and an indication of insufficiency or areas that need improvement does not automatically preclude a faculty member's continued employment status during the time remaining in the probationary period prior to the tenure review. Neither does an indication of appropriate progression or positive feedback guarantee the eventual awarding of tenure.

D. Flexibility of Guidelines

The evaluation standards described here should not be interpreted as inflexible and absolute. The evaluation system within the IdLS Program should be sufficiently flexible that all members of the faculty can concentrate on their strongest areas within teaching, scholarship, and service. However, unsatisfactory performance in any area may be cause for nonrenewal of an untenured faculty member, or for post-tenure review of a tenured faculty member.

E. Time Span of Criteria

For both promotion and tenure, the evaluator(s) shall consider all accomplishments of the faculty member's entire career that are relevant to the member's role in the IdLS Department, but with greater emphasis placed on recent accomplishments by the faculty member.

For annual evaluations, the standards applied shall consider the previous year's accomplishments.

F. Promise of Continued Performance

Evidence of promise for continued dedication to (1) teaching, (2) scholarly activity, and (3) service are essential before an IdLS faculty member will be recommended for reappointment, tenure, or promotion.

G. Standards for Promotion and Tenure

Interdisciplinarity is valued and encouraged in all areas under review.

Recommendations for promotion are made separately from recommendations for tenure. However, to be awarded tenure, the faculty member must meet performance and conduct standards required for promotion to associate professor. III.E.7.e. Several factors may affect the awarding of tenure or promotion, e.g., Section B, above; however, the minimum required standards shall be those specified in the Faculty Handbook for promotion and tenure:

Satisfactory ratings in all of the criteria shall be necessary for promotion to assistant professor. III.E.6.a.(1)

An excellent rating in one of the criteria and satisfactory ratings in the others shall be necessary for promotion to associate professor. III.E.6.a.(2)

To receive a satisfactory rating in the area of scholarly achievement and professional qualifications for promotion and tenure decisions, faculty members are usually required to have published three articles in refereed journals or a book during the period being evaluated. IdLS faculty members' scholarship and professional development can be interdisciplinary, degree based, or a combination of the two. Evaluations of IdLS faculty members' scholarship and professional development shall focus on the quality and quantity the faculty members' work, not whether it is interdisciplinary or degree based. Further, scholarship that is co-authored, published in scholarly venues in languages other than English, and demonstrated in forms other than traditional publications, but which are appropriate to the disciplinary standards in the candidate's expertise, is valued and encouraged. Examples of alternative scholarly outlets include such things as creative writing or archaeological discoveries. Candidates should clearly articulate their contributions to co-authored scholarship and may invite letters of support from colleagues who are able to attest to the quality and relevance of their scholarly work. However, depending on a faculty member's scholarly focus, the academic unit head in agreement with the PAC may request input from colleagues in the faculty member's degree discipline when making promotion and tenure decisions.

Excellent ratings in two of the criteria and a satisfactory rating in the other shall be necessary for promotion to professor. III.E.6.1.(3)

An excellent rating in one of the criteria and satisfactory ratings in the others shall be necessary for a tenure recommendation. III.E.7.e.

H. IdLS Faculty and Joint Appointment Interdisciplinary Faculty

Faculty Categories:

IdLS Faculty are faculty members whose appointment is solely within IdLS. These faculty members will be evaluated under the guidelines stated in this document.

Joint Appointment Interdisciplinary Faculty (JAIF) are Faculty members who engage in teaching, scholarship, and service for IdLS and another academic unit. JAIF faculty will be evaluated annually and for promotion and tenure under the agreements created when faculty members are hired as JAIF members or accept a JAIF appointment if already a university faculty member.

I. Standards for Reappointment of Non-tenure-Track Faculty

The minimum qualification for a faculty member to receive a non-tenure-track reappointment is satisfactory ratings in all three review criteria, although factors similar to consideration for tenure (such as promise of continued long-term performance) will also be evaluated in determining qualification for reappointment. Other factors such as program need, program financial issues, and conduct of the faculty member must also be considered in determining reappointment.

Part II. Teaching Standards

1. To receive a satisfactory rating for teaching, a faculty member must demonstrate the activities listed below:

  • a) Commitment to assigned classes, e.g. thoroughness of class preparation, careful and objective grading, and timely return of tests and papers.
  • b) Course organization, e.g. clearly defined course objectives; course content, syllabi, handouts, readings and/or textbook consistent with the course description; and course level and rigor consistent with student abilities and IdLS practice.
  • c) Clear and effective communication with appropriate use of teaching resources.
  • d) Mastery of the subject matter.
  • e) Acceptable student evaluations of classes over the period of review. Student evaluations should indicate the faculty member's effectiveness in engaging student learning.
  • f) Effective student advising when assigned advising duties. Measures of effective student advising may include such things as: solicited and unsolicited student feedback; appropriately completed administrative forms, including course substitutions, graduation applications, etc.; and accurate and timely curricular advice to students.
  • g) Positive attitude toward students, as shown by availability outside of class, assistance with student professional development, and jobs/ graduate school placement.
  • h) Personal leadership demonstrated through self-initiative and follow-through with instructional tasks.
  • i) Participation as a valued team member in team teaching, curriculum development, or instructional improvement activities.

2. To receive an excellent rating, the individual must show satisfactory performance in teaching. In addition, the individual must demonstrate performance above the normal satisfactory requirements by such achievements as:

  • a) Strongly positive student response to teaching and/or advising, e.g. student-sponsored teaching awards, consistently above average student evaluations, or unusually positive alumni comments.
  • b) Peer recognition of teaching ability and commitment to teaching and/or advising, e.g. university or externally sponsored teaching awards or exceptionally positive reports of peer observation of teaching and/or advising.
  • c) Evidence of instructional vitality, e.g. developing new courses, methods and materials; innovations in course content or methodology; and use of a variety of teaching methods.
  • d) Supervising student independent study and honors projects.
  • e) Leadership in non-traditional learning experiences and activities, e.g. honors research, independent study, class projects, field teaching, etc.
  • f) Quality teaching in a variety of learning contexts, e.g., special lectures, seminars, special studies, discussion groups, etc.
  • g) Breadth in teaching expertise, e.g. the ability to teach a variety of subject areas, at the upper and lower levels, or courses for non-IdLS majors.
  • h) Publication of teaching-related materials.
  • i) Presentations and publications on innovations in course content and teaching methodology.
  • j) Professional development through such efforts as:
  • Participation in workshops, conferences or similar activities devoted primarily to improving teaching methods and course content.
  • Participating in regional and national pedagogical organizations.
  • k) Leadership in teamwork, e.g. generating a spirit of teaming, building team consensus or capabilities, initiating teams that effectively address IdLS curriculum needs.
  • l) Instructional leadership, e.g., the ability to initiate and execute constructive change in an IdLS, university, or external curriculum.
  • m) Demonstrated instructional and/or advising accomplishments that the PAC deems exceptional.

3. A faculty member who shows serious deficiencies in either quality or quantity of teaching shall be rated as unsatisfactory.

Part III. Scholarly Achievement and Professional

Qualifications Standards

1. A satisfactory rating requires evidence that the faculty member is continuing to learn and stay abreast of developments within his/her field. The activities listed below are examples of evidence that may be used to support a rating of satisfactory. An individual is expected to show these activities:

  • a) Membership and participation in professional meetings, field conferences, and other scholarly gatherings.
  • b) Research involving students in independent studies or within the Honors Program.
  • c) Presenting papers at regional meetings and publishing in non-refereed journals.
  • d) Development of instructional or education materials.
  • e) Demonstration of professional development through such activities as:
  • Ongoing personal professional development (NSF short courses, attending national meetings, etc.) or an organized program of self-study in a new area of research.
  • Securing additional education at professional short courses and conferences.
  • f) Engaging in unpublished ongoing research.
  • g) Presentations at faculty seminars and colloquia.
  • h) Reviewing proposals for sponsored government, academic, or industry programs.

2. To receive an excellent rating, the individual must contribute to the advancement of knowledge. An excellent rating requires evidence from professionals external to the university that the individual is recognized for scholarly contributions or professional expertise. The individual must demonstrate performance above the normal satisfactory requirements by such achievements as:

  • a) Demonstrated contribution to knowledge through a focused, goal directed program of research or other scholarly activity.
  • b) Receipt of professional achievement awards, or other evidence that demonstrates external recognition of individual professional achievement.
  • c) Invited lectures and/or publication in the proceedings of national or international conference.
  • d) Publication of book reviews, discussions, and technical reports in one's professional area.
  • e) Service as editor of a national or international journal or referee of papers for such a journal.
  • f) Recipient of government or foundation grants, awards, or contracts.
  • g) Active research involving students and demonstrable through presentation or publication in a professional forum.
  • h) Publication of ongoing research and other scholarly activity in refereed national or international professional journals or serving as editor of a scholarly volume in one's field.
  • i) Presentation of papers at national or international professional meetings.
  • j) Initiating a successful grant proposal for external funding and/or directing the resulting project.
  • k) Authoring textbooks or teaching materials.
  • l) Professional consulting which reflects recognition of the individual's expertise.
  • m) Other scholarly achievement, recognition, or professional development which the PAC deems exceptional.

3. A faculty member who shows serious deficiencies in either quality or quantity of scholarly activity shall be rated as unsatisfactory.

Part IV. Professional Service Standards

Professional service includes activities that advance the mission of the university, the college, or the department; activities that advance one's professional scholarly community; and activities that benefit society in areas related to one's professional expertise.

To receive a satisfactory rating for professional service, the individual must participate in many of the activities listed below at an acceptable level, and must provide an adequate level of service to the IdLS Department. To receive an excellent rating, the individual must be at least satisfactory in performing the activities below, must demonstrate leadership in service, and must demonstrate many of the achievements listed below at an extraordinary level.

1. Service that advances the mission of the university, University Studies, and Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies.

a) Serving and participating as a valued team member on departmental, college and university committees, including IdLS representative to the Faculty Senate.

b) Participating in public relations events and student recruiting.

c) Participating in grant proposals for external funding for teaching and equipment support.

d) Serving as a faculty advisor to student organizations.

e) Serving as a satisfactory student curriculum advisor.

f) Initiating and carrying out a program which leads to a significant increase in IdLS or university resources, or in IdLS's or the university's ability to perform its mission.

g) A major service or office at the department, college or university level.

h) Service leadership, e.g., the ability to initiate and execute constructive change in the IdLS Department.

i) Other professional service which the PAC deems to be a leadership contribution.

2. Service that advances one's professional scholarly community.

a) Serving as a referee or reviewer of scholarly articles or textbooks.

b) Reviewing proposals for sponsored government, academic, or industry programs.

c) Serving as an officer of a regional, national, or international professional organization.

d) Serving as an editorial member of a professional journal.

e) A major effort conducting workshops, symposia, and training sessions in one's professional area.

f) Other professional service to the faculty member's professional scholarly community which the PAC deems to be a leadership contribution.

3. Service that benefits society in areas related to one's professional expertise.

a) A contribution which applies the resources of the university to solving a problem of local, regional, state, national, or international concern.

b) A major effort to solve a problem at the local, state, national, or international level providing a significant benefit to society and in an area directly related to one's professional expertise.

c) A major service or office at the local, state or national level related to one's professional competence.

d) Other professional service directed at the betterment of society in the area of one's professional competence which the PAC deems to be a significant contribution.

A faculty member who shows serious deficiencies in either quality or quantity of service shall be rated as unsatisfactory.

Part V. Academic Unit Personnel Advisory Committee

1. All tenured IdLS faculty are eligible and expected to serve on AUPAC decisions involving tenure and promotion to associate professor.

2. All IdLS faculty who hold the rank of associate or full professor are eligible and expected to serve on AUPAC decisions involving promotion to full professor.

3. All full-time IdLS faculty, regardless of rank, are eligible and expected to serve on AUPAC annual evaluations on an elected basis. Each academic year in the fall semester, three faculty members will be elected by the full-time faculty of IdLS to serve on the annual evaluation AUPAC.

Part VI. Amendment Process

Recommendations regarding changes to these Guidelines may be submitted to the Academic Unit Head by a majority vote of the IdLS and JAIF faculty.