The Kansas Board of Regents today accepted a task force's plan developed to improve evaluation of faculty performance in response to demands for more accountability.
Regents were in Lawrence for their annual meeting on Kansas University's campus. The meeting was held at the Adams Alumni Center.
The Task Force on Faculty Evaluation was created last year after 18 months of debate about the faculty evaluation process at the regents' six universities.
Under the plan adopted by regents, each university must develop its own assessment system based on a common set of guidelines. The systems would be implemented in mid-1993.
"This proposal puts more emphasis on faculty development, which I think is a positive development," said Del Brinkman, KU's vice chancellor for academic affairs and a task force member.
While regents have demanded more accountability from universities, faculty wanted better preparation of department chairs in the consideration of personnel matters and emphasized faculty retention.
STUDENTS ASKED that the faculty evaluations place more emphasis on teaching and place more weight on student assessments.
Regents agreed with the task force's desire to make KU Chancellor Gene Budig and university presidents responsible for development and implemention of the faculty evaluation systems.
The plan requires:
Training of department chairs in the administration of faculty evaluations.
Linking outcomes of evaluations with assistance for growth and development and, when necessary, reassignment.
Training and supervision of graduate teaching assistants.
Appointment of an advisory committee to help universities select student ratings measures.
Brinkman said faculty evaluation needs to be considered in a broad context, not simply as a means for determining faculty promotion, tenure and salary decisions.
"WHAT NEEDS to be done with new faculty, GTAs, all faculty, really, is get them the kind of help, orientation, support and feedback to make them more effective," he said.
He said that at a time when faculty teaching loads and pressure to conduct research have increased, more time and money should be devoted to helping faculty improve themselves.
"Someone who is not successful may not be at fault. It may be lack of support," Brinkman said.
The task force concluded that considerable variation exists among state universities in the weight assigned to teaching, research and public service in current evaluations.
Student ratings of faculty teaching are a valid source of evaluation but are subject to bias regarding student motivation, the task force reported.
THE TASK force said faculty should be given a chance to add comments to the official evaluation record before it is submitted to the next higher administrative level.
In addition, the task force said each regents' university should establish a procedure by which faculty who disagree with their evaluation may request a review.
Debate among regents and university officials about tenure and promotion evaluation began in 1989. That discussion resulted in several reports on the topic.
Those reports revealed about 80 percent of faculty are performing satisfactorily and state universities have a higher faculty attrition rate than previously thought.
In addition, regents' staff reported that instituting another level of review might not improve performance, but the existing review system could be improved.