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An Academic Accomplishment Index For Assessing Faculty Performance
Unformatted Document Text:  2 BACKGROUND There is perhaps no task more difficult, or likely to produce controversy, than that of assessing the performance and accomplishments of members of a faculty. A need for such assessment is involved in the recruitment of new faculty, in annual reviews of performance for salary increases, in judging merits for promotion and in making decisions concerning tenure. If things go wrong in these procedures, hopes can be frustrated, the wrong people can be hired, fired, promoted or given tenure. In some cases, lawsuits result. Most institutions make an effort to clarify the basis on which performance will be judged. Typically, these are set forth in a “Faculty Handbook.” Passages in such publications usually try to explain the criteria on which a member of the faculty will be judged for academic rewards. Some may refer to definitions of “merit,” which is used in many institutions for adjustments in salary. Most contain explanations of relevant criteria to be used for making decisions when the person becomes a candidate for promotion and for deciding on the award of tenure. Historically, then, faculty evaluation generally relies on assessing three areas that represent professional achievement---quality of teaching, the quantity and quality of research, and the nature and significance of service. Although these three areas are generally used to create an overall assessment of faculty performance, academic institutions may value these three areas differently. More importantly, although the various expected activities within each of these three areas are fairly universal, the degree to which certain aspects of professional and academic activity are recognized in the promotion and tenure process are used to determine the quality of performance. That is, some institutions may view a successful teaching record as the most important consideration in promotion and tenure decisions. Here, student evaluations, syllabi or other evidence of student assessment (Meyer, 1998, Fairweather, 2002) are recognized according to some sort of continuum or hierarchy of performance. In other cases, scholarly publications indicating research productivity may be the most important determinate of whether a professor’s

Authors: Adams, Jonathan.
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BACKGROUND
There is perhaps no task more difficult, or likely to produce controversy, than that of
assessing the performance and accomplishments of members of a faculty. A need for such
assessment is involved in the recruitment of new faculty, in annual reviews of performance for
salary increases, in judging merits for promotion and in making decisions concerning tenure. If
things go wrong in these procedures, hopes can be frustrated, the wrong people can be hired,
fired, promoted or given tenure. In some cases, lawsuits result.
Most institutions make an effort to clarify the basis on which performance will be judged.
Typically, these are set forth in a “Faculty Handbook.” Passages in such publications usually try
to explain the criteria on which a member of the faculty will be judged for academic rewards.
Some may refer to definitions of “merit,” which is used in many institutions for adjustments in
salary. Most contain explanations of relevant criteria to be used for making decisions when the
person becomes a candidate for promotion and for deciding on the award of tenure.
Historically, then, faculty evaluation generally relies on assessing three areas that
represent professional achievement---quality of teaching, the quantity and quality of research,
and the nature and significance of service. Although these three areas are generally used to create
an overall assessment of faculty performance, academic institutions may value these three areas
differently. More importantly, although the various expected activities within each of these three
areas are fairly universal, the degree to which certain aspects of professional and academic
activity are recognized in the promotion and tenure process are used to determine the quality of
performance. That is, some institutions may view a successful teaching record as the most
important consideration in promotion and tenure decisions. Here, student evaluations, syllabi or
other evidence of student assessment (Meyer, 1998, Fairweather, 2002) are recognized according
to some sort of continuum or hierarchy of performance. In other cases, scholarly publications
indicating research productivity may be the most important determinate of whether a professor’s


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