Standard Four - Faculty

I. Purpose/Description

Overview (4.A.1, 4.B.1)

Our faculty are central to our institutional focus on undergraduate teaching excellence. Their primary responsibilities include teaching, scholarship, and service. These three categories of activities are clearly identified in goals embedded within our mission statement "to ensure vitality for effective teaching and service," and to engage "in scholarship, research, artistic expression, and other professional pursuits." Our faculty have a strong commitment to colleagues and students and a strong work ethic. They enjoy the academic freedom to pursue the teaching and scholarship that interests them.

We have highly qualified faculty in each discipline or program in which we offer major academic work. During the 2008-09 school year, we employed 786 faculty members. Four hundred and sixty were full-time salaried faculty members (including tenured, tenure-track, and term faculty), and 326 were part-time, non-salaried faculty. During this same time period, full-time faculty taught 74% of the total course load, and 26% was taught by part-time faculty.

Recruitment/Hiring (4.A.1, 4.A.6, 4.A.9)

We provide equal opportunity employment for all faculty applicants. We affirm our commitment to equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran, in accordance with state and federal laws (http://departments.weber.edu/aaeeo/).

The recruitment and appointment of full-time faculty follows the guidelines established by our Office of Human Resources, including position approval and advertisement, screening and interviewing applicants, and selection, approval, and offer of the position to the successful candidate. Approval to advertise open positions is ultimately provided by the Provost’s Office; open positions are advertised internally as well as locally and nationally through print and online publications.

Full-time faculty finalists are typically invited for on-campus interviews and are generally invited to provide teaching demonstrations on topics within their discipline. These demonstrations help display teaching styles, and provide opportunities for candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and research on the chosen topic. Relevant employment policies are made available to full-time faculty via the internet (http://www.weber.edu/AcademicAffairs/misc/faculty_handbook.html) as well as through department, college, and university meetings.

Part-time faculty are hired through more decentralized procedures. Historically, departments have recruited part-time faculty by word of mouth, used a web-based recruitment format accessible from the Human Resources page, or used other approaches that helped them identify the part-time faculty they needed. Since 2000 we have placed more emphasis on systematically recruiting and supporting our part-time faculty. Guided by the work of a university-wide Adjunct Faculty Task Force, we have offered part-time faculty recruitment seminars and run university-wide part-time faculty employment ads in our local newspapers. These seminars and ads have generated approximately 200 inquiries or responses per year to part-time employment opportunities.

In addition, we have developed a part-time faculty handbook to more effectively provide helpful information on the roles and responsibilities of part-time faculty (http://weber.edu/adjunctfaculty/).

Faculty Qualifications (4.A.1, 4.A.8)

Our faculty hold appropriate academic credentials for their teaching assignments. Full- and part-time faculty vitae are available on-site. Table I reflects the diversity of our full-time faculty’s training. Sixty-six percent of those faculty with doctorate degrees and 45% with master’s degrees received them at non-Utah institutions. One percent of the faculty have a terminal degree from a foreign institution. Approximately 90% of our full-time faculty hold terminal degrees as defined by their disciplines. In addition to terminal degree qualifications, many faculty, particularly in the Colleges of Health Professions and Applied Science & Technology, are professionally licensed or certified in their disciplines.

Standard 4: Table I. Qualifications

Institution

Ph.D.

M.A.

B.A.*

Adelphi University

1

Arizona State University

7

Ball State University

1

Binghamton University

1

Biola University

1

Bowling Green State University

4

Brigham Young University

24

18

1

Brown University

2

California Institute of the Arts

1

Case Western Reserve University

1

Central Missouri University

1

Colorado State University

1

Colorado Technical University

1

Columbia University

1

Cornell University

3

East Carolina University

1

Emory University

1

Florida Atlantic University

1

Florida State University

3

Florida Institute of Technology

1

Franklin Pierce College

1

George Washington University

1

Georgetown University

1

Georgia Institute of Technology

1

Georgia State University

1

Harvard University

2

Idaho State University

1

3

Illinois State University

1

Indiana State University

2

Indiana University

5

2

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

2

Iowa State University

3

1

Johns Hopkins University

1

Kansas State University

2

Kent State University

1

Louisiana State University

1

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1

McMaster University

1

Michigan State University

1

Midwestern State University

1

Mississippi State University

1

New York University

1

Northern Arizona University

1

Northern Illinois University

1

Northwestern University

1

Ohio State University

4

1

Ohio University

1

Oklahoma State University

5

Pennsylvania State University

1

Pepperdine University

1

Pittsburg State University

2

Purdue University

5

1

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

1

Rhode Island School of Design

1

Rice University

1

Saint Francis College

1

Saint Louis University

1

Sam Houston State University

1

San Diego State University

1

San Jose State University

2

Seton Hall University

1

Southern Illinois University

3

Southwest Missouri

1

Stanford University

1

State University of N.Y. – Albany

2

State University of N.Y. – Buffalo

1

1

State University of N.Y. – Stony Brook

1

Texas Tech University

2

Thunderbird Graduate School

1

Tokyo Institute of Technology

1

United States Sports Academy

1

University of Northern Colorado

1

University of Albany

1

University of Arizona

4

2

University of California – Berkeley

3

University of California – Davis

1

University of California – Los Angeles

3

University of California – Riverside

1

University of California – San Diego

1

University of California – San Francisco

1

University of California – Santa Barbara

5

University of California – Santa Cruz

1

University of California – Irvine

1

University of Colorado

7

1

University of Delaware

1

University of Denver

1

University of Florida

1

University of Georgia

3

University of Heidleberg

1

University of Houston

1

University of Idaho

1

1

University of Illinois

4

1

University of Iowa

4

1

University of Kentucky

2

University of Maryland

1

University of Massachusetts

1

University of Memphis

1

University Mexico

1

University of Michigan

2

University of Missouri

1

University of Minnesota

1

University of Montana

1

University of Nebraska

3

University of Nevada – Las Vegas

1

1

University of Nevada – Reno

1

University of New Mexico

2

University of N. Carolina – Chapel Hill

1

1

University of N. Carolina – Greensboro

1

University of Northern Colorado

1

University of Notre Dame

1

1

University of Oklahoma

2

University of Oregon

3

1

University of Pennsylvania

1

University of Phoenix

5

1

University of Pittsburgh

2

University of South Dakota

1

University of South Florida

1

University of Southern California

1

2

University of Tennessee

1

1

University of Texas

3

1

University of the Americas

1

University of Toledo

1

University of Utah

54

32

3

University of Washington

5

1

University of Wisconsin – Madison

5

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

1

University of Wyoming

2

Utah State University

20

21

Vanderbilt University

2

1

Virginia Commonwealth University

1

Virginia Tech University

3

Washington State University

3

1

Washington University

1

Wayne State University

3

Weber State University

15

12

Webster University

1

Western Michigan University

1

Westminster College

1

Wheaton College

1

Willamette University

1

TOTAL

286

156

18*

*Bachelor - of the 18 faculty members holding Bachelor degrees, eight are term positions for faculty who teach developmental or associate degree courses, five now hold their master's degrees, three are in progress of getting their master's degrees, and two have resigned from the university.

Part-time faculty qualifications vary, but at a minimum, part-time faculty must hold a degree in the discipline they are teaching or in a closely related discipline. In some disciplines, part-time faculty are required to hold doctorate degrees (e.g., anthropology, history, psychology).

Academic Freedom (4.A.7, 4.B.7, Eligibility Requirement 13, Policy A-8)

Academic freedom stands as the sine qua non for all credible institutions of higher education. This tradition lies at the heart of the academic enterprise, as eloquently expressed by former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Warren Burger: “The essentiality of freedom in the community of American Universities is almost self-evident. No one should underestimate the vital role in a democracy that is played by those who guide and train our youth. To impose any strait jacket upon the intellectual leaders in our colleges and universities would imperil the future of our Nation. No field of education is so thoroughly comprehended by man that new discoveries cannot yet be made. That is particularly true in the social sciences, where few, if any, principles are accepted as absolutes. Scholarship cannot flourish in an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. Teachers and students must always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, to gain new maturity and understanding; otherwise our civilization will stagnate and die.” (Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S.234, 250 (1957).

Formal Academic Freedom Policy

We foster an environment respecting academic freedom and regard our entire academic community all faculty (tenured and non-tenured), administrative officers, and students as being entitled to academic freedom. The section of our policy manual on Academic Freedom, Rights, Responsibilities and Due Process includes a formal statement on academic freedom (http://documents.weber.edu/ppm/9-01.htm) that says: "Weber State University seeks to provide and sustain an environment conducive to sharing, extending, and critically examining knowledge and values and to furthering the search for wisdom." This statement is modeled upon the AAUP "Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure" (1940).

Additional sections of our policy manual focus on academic freedom issues:

  • PPM 9-02 provides details on faculty rights that stem directly from academic freedom
  • PPM 9-05 stresses that academic freedom also requires faculty responsibility in recognizing and sustaining the students’ academic freedom
  • PPM 9-09 describes the due process rights of any faculty who claims a violation of academic freedom

WSU is in compliance with NWCCU Eligibility Requirement 13 and Policy A-8. Teaching (4.A.3)

Teaching and learning are our primary focus; our mission statement makes clear that we are primarily an undergraduate teaching institution.

Workload

The Utah Board of Regents policy specifies that full-time faculty must teach at least 24 credit hours per academic year (http://www.utahsbr.edu/policy/R485.pdf). These credits may reflect lecture and lab courses (both face-to face and online), team-taught courses, and directed readings or individual study courses.

Teaching responsibilities may be reassigned in light of specific needs (e.g., supervising student teachers), grant arrangements (e.g., funded research projects), special program requirements (e.g., teaching graduate classes), or tasks in faculty governance (e.g., chairing a committee, department, or program). Decisions by the department and college to reassign time in these cases are made in accordance with existing WSU policies.

Part-time faculty workloads vary. Typically, part-time faculty do not teach more than six credit hours a semester (a limit that is monitored informally by the deans and the provost). However, in some colleges, part-time faculty are given a salary contract if they teach beyond six credit hours a semester. Further qualifications in PPM 3-50 limit overload teaching and compensation: faculty may teach no more than five extra credit hours during fall or spring semester, and extra academic projects may accrue no more than one-third of the base salary earned during their regular contract period.

Faculty Development

Institutionally, we provide several areas of support for teaching and learning. Our faculty development office, the Teaching & Learning Forum (TLF), is coordinated by a faculty member with 0.5 FTE reassigned time who is assisted by a clerical staff person. The TLF hosts numerous workshops and events for faculty that focus on pedagogy. Individual colleges also offer brown-bag seminars or workshops throughout the year on pedagogical issues specific to their faculty needs. TLF activities are available to all faculty, and since 2000, the TLF has actively targeted part-time faculty in terms of content and schedule of events. In 2008-2009, the TLF offered these events and resources for faculty and staff who chose to attend (http://programs.weber.edu/tlf/):

  • New full-time faculty retreat in August
  • Twenty-two book reading groups each semester with an average size from 4-10
  • Adjunct Retreat
  • Faculty Last Lecture
  • Faculty Research Symposium
  • Faculty Technology Symposium
  • Workshops including:
    • Service learning and WSU Advising networks
    • Writing a Textbook
    • Research Grants 
    • Study Abroad 
    • Caring Online 
    • Wimba Live Workshops 
    • Tenure and Promotion workshop

Student Perceptions of Teaching (4.A.8)

We gather data on our students’ perceptions of teaching with both national and local surveys.

The Noel-Levitz (see Appendix III) and NSSE (see Appendix II) data both reflect continuing improvement in students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of our faculty.

Scholarship, Research, and Creative Endeavors Expectations, Policies, and Practices (4.B.1, 4.B.3, 4.B.5)

We expect our tenure-track and tenured faculty to engage in scholarship, research, and creative endeavors, as noted in language from our mission statement. Additional detail is provided in various college mission statements, our faculty handbook, and institutional and college promotion, tenure, merit, and triennial review guidelines. All of these documents are developed with faculty input and are implemented under the direction of or with guidance from our faculty. The documents indicate that scholarship, research, and creative endeavors may include the following:

  • Publications (i.e., books and/or publications in refereed regional or national journals)
  • Formal, post-graduate education or work experience beyond the attainment of the terminal degree
  • Development of new areas of expertise which are of benefit to both the faculty member and the department
  • Development of new courses and/or programs within a college as well as significant modifications of existing courses or programs
  • Presentation of professional papers at regional or national scholarly meetings
  • Funded research and/or grants at a regional or national level
  • Creative activities that significantly impact the appropriate discipline on a regional and national level
  • Organizing and presenting regional, national, and/or international workshops for one’s peers
  • Development of technically oriented improvements or inventions that have a significant impact at the regional, national, and/or international level
  • Consulting where results of such efforts are brought back into the classroom

Ethical Considerations (4.B.2.)

We address the ethical considerations concerning scholarship, research, and artistic creation through two university-wide committees that are chaired by faculty and whose policies and procedures are created by faculty.

Our Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects (IRB) is a 12-member committee that includes six faculty members. Our IRB protects the rights of individuals who are asked to participate in research generated from or supported by WSU by assuring that all research projects adhere to federal, state, and WSU guidelines.

In fulfilling its purpose, the Human Subjects in Research Committee shall:

  • Review each research plan, recruitment procedure, and subject consent form to safeguard the rights and welfare of human subjects
  • Study the background and methodology of each proposed project to determine possible benefits and/or risks, physical, psychological, social, or legal
  • Assess confidentiality and adequacy of the method for securing informed consent from subjects
  • Review the scientific design since a poorly designed study can expose participants to unnecessary risk
  • Report findings and actions to the investigator and the institution
  • Review proposed changes in research activities to ensure that changes in approved research during the period for which the committee approval has already been given are not initiated without the review and approval of the committee
  • Approve research only with the concurrence of the majority of the committee members in attendance
  • Report to the appropriate administrative officer of WSU any continuing or serious non-compliance by the investigators, with the requirements and determinations of the committee

In addition to the IRB, we have an Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) with seven members, three of whom are faculty. We are registered as a Class R Research Facility under the Animal Welfare Act by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Institutional Support and Resources for Teaching and Scholarship (4.B.4, 4.B.5)

Because teaching and scholarship are often interrelated activities for our faculty, it is difficult to separate institutional resources that support these two important activities. Areas where teaching and scholarship institutional resources overlap are: 1) leave policies, 2) use of facilities, and 3) funding.

Leave Policies

Sabbaticals and special leaves represent an important aspect of institutional support for teaching and scholarship. Only tenured faculty are eligible to apply for sabbaticals, based on the formula of accruing one semester of sabbatical leave for every three years of full-time employment, for a maximum of two semesters (http://documents.weber.edu/ppm/3-25.htm). Special leave (http://documents.weber.edu/ppm/3-28.htm) is available for non-tenured faculty with other circumstances that create a benefit to WSU.

Use of Facilities

Our physical facilities are available to faculty to enhance their teaching and engage in scholarship. Examples of university space that support these activities include:

  1. Classrooms, including technology-enhanced classrooms
  2. Science labs
  3. Art studios
  4. Performance theaters and studios
  5. Computing facilities

For additional information about our physical facilities, see Standard 8.

Our library serves as both a physical facility and information resource for faculty teaching and scholarship.

Research Funding Resources

One of the priorities during recent capital campaigns has been support for faculty and for programs. Several large gifts gave the academic deans flexibility to support faculty scholarship as well as collaborative projects between faculty and students. In addition to donations, we also have funds that support faculty teaching and scholarship that come from external and internal sources. External funds are secured by donations sought from our Development Office and through proposals submitted by the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP).

Service (4.A.2)

In addition to teaching and scholarship, our full-time faculty are expected to make a contribution of service. This is a broad category that includes service to the governance of the institution, to the faculty member’s discipline, and to the broader community in which we live. Faculty service expectations are outlined in promotion and tenure review policies as well our merit and triennial review documents. All of these policies and documents were created with significant faculty input.

Service to the Institution

Faculty provide service to our institution in a variety of ways: advising students; assessing student learning outcomes; assisting in academic planning, curriculum development, and academic program review; and serving on committees at the university, college, and department level.

Faculty have key roles in the decentralized advising that takes place in departments and colleges, especially with the advising of majors. Faculty are assisted in their advising roles by the college liaisons from the central Academic Advisement Center and by the professional college advisors who work in six of the seven colleges (see Standards 2 and 3 for more information).

Committee service is another way in which faculty provide service to WSU. We have a long history of shared governance, and this often occurs through faculty participation on university, college, and department committees. Our Faculty Senate is the official voice for faculty and is empowered, after study and discussion, to advise the administration on educational policy and other affairs.

Service to the Discipline and Community

Our faculty serve vital roles within the professional organizations of their disciplines and the broader community.

Faculty Evaluation (4.A.5, Policy 4.1)

We have a complex and overlapping system of full-time faculty evaluation including a triennial review for all faculty that is described in Section 8 of our policy manual documents (http://documents.weber.edu/ppm/8-11.htm).

“Every three years, or more often at the discretion of the department chair or dean, or at the request of the faculty member, faculty members shall meet with their department chair for an interview covering the recent performance of the faculty member. Goals of the interviews include finding ways to help faculty members improve their performance, finding ways the university might better support faculty members, and discussing individual, department, and university goals and expectations.

Teaching performance should be a priority item for discussion. To provide a focus for discussion and better inform the chair, faculty members shall bring to the interview a summary of their most recent activities in teaching, in scholarship, and in service (vitae update since the last review).

The chair shall send a written summary report of the interviews to the dean for inclusion in the personnel file. That report shall include a listing of the major items of accomplishment of each faculty member, and identify deficiencies, if any, for inclusion in the personnel file. An individualized copy of the report shall be sent to the faculty member, who may make a response to the dean."

In addition to this triennial review (which some colleges do annually or biennially), we have in place merit review procedures when merit monies are available, annual reviews for term faculty for reappointment decisions, and promotion and tenure reviews for full-time, tenure-track faculty.

Merit Review

Merit reviews are oral or written evaluations of full-time faculty prepared, when funds have been allocated by the legislature, by the department chair and forwarded to the dean. Several colleges provide a common merit review form, while others rely on each chair’s preferred format.

Annual Reviews

Annual reviews are written evaluations prepared by the department chair and forwarded to the dean for the purposes of reappointing full-time term faculty. In the College of Applied Science & Technology, the College of Science, and the Library, tenure-track faculty are evaluated annually.

Tenure Formal Review

Tenure review procedures are outlined in Sections 8-11 through 8-20 of our policy manual. Although the policy manual contains general tenure criteria, specific criteria are established by each college and approved by the Faculty Senate. These criteria address the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service.

Responsibility lies with the candidates to prepare their files to demonstrate that they meet their college tenure criteria. Tenure files include information on teaching, scholarship, and service, including relevant material prepared by the faculty member, by her or his peers, and by students. Probationary tenure track faculty are informally reviewed by their department chair in their second year and formally reviewed by multiple committees and individuals in their third or sixth year (or fourth or seventh year, as noted earlier).

Faculty due process rights during tenure review are outlined in Section 8 of the PPM, up to and including a request by the candidate to appear before the Faculty Board of Review.

Promotion Formal Review

Faculty members may apply for advancement in rank after meeting the required probationary time and other criteria as specified in policy (http://documents.weber.edu/ppm/PPM8.htm). As with tenure reviews, responsibility lies with the candidates to prepare their files. The information prepared for advancement in rank is similar to that which is prepared for tenure reviews with the exception that promotion criteria are established by the university (versus individual college tenure criteria).

Advancement in rank is contingent upon evidence that supports teaching, scholarship, and service criteria as outlined in our policies (http://documents.weber.edu/ppm/8-11.htm). Faculty due process rights during promotion review are outlined in Section 8 of the PPM, up to and including a request by the candidate to appear before the Faculty Board of Review.

Triennial Faculty Review

Depending on the year and the status of the faculty member, this review may occur as part of the tenure or promotion review or as a merit review.

We have strong tenure-track and senior faculty review policies. For tenure-track faculty, these processes include an evaluation by faculty colleagues of teaching performance through multiple indices which include student and peer reviews and assure administrative access to all relevant materials. In addition, faculty colleagues and administrators examine and evaluate scholarly and service performances. Should a faculty member be found deficient, departments and colleges provide guidance and support for development.

II. Significant Changes Since 2004

There have been no significant changes since the last accreditation review.

III. Strengths and Challenges

Strengths include:

  • Institutional support for teaching, learning, and scholarship
  • Support for academic freedom
  • Shared governance
  • Undergraduate teaching excellence

Challenges include:

  • Support and evaluation of part-time faculty
  • Faculty salaries
  • Clearer standards/expectations for faculty scholarship
  • Faculty evaluations
  • Student advising by faculty

IV. Next Steps/ Action Items

  • More clearly defined scholarship expectations, rewards, and resources in light of mission statement

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