UFPC ANNUAL REPORT AY 1998-99
May 13, 1999
TO: General Faculty
FROM: University Faculty Personnel Committee
The University Faculty Personnel Committee (UFPC) members are pleased to provide our annual report. It has been a pleasure to read the many excellent files of candidates this year. We are particularly impressed with the quality of teaching. With few exceptions, we note a high level of performance in this most important obligation of faculty at Humboldt State University.
We are charged with ensuring that the procedures and standards of Appendix J are met, and we are responsible for evaluating each candidate in the Retention, Tenure, and Promotion (RTP) process. In carrying out these duties, we have a continuing concern regarding lack of compliance with Appendix J and encourage all RTP candidates, department chairs, and personnel committee members to review Appendix J of the Faculty Handbook. We offer the following suggestions and concerns to aid in the RTP process.
We are very concerned that department and college personnel committees are not paying attention to the requirements of Appendix J. Please be certain to use the version of Appendix J issued Fall 1998. Section V provides specific information on WPAF contents; Section VII delineates peer review committee obligations; and Sections VIII and IX state the criteria for retention, tenure, and promotion.
Please note that the required standard for RTP in the area of teaching is excellence. A record of teaching excellence is combined with a reasonable level of performance in the three non-teaching areas and these three non-teaching areas are considered "equally in weight and compensatory in combination." A candidate does not have to perform in all three non-teaching areas in order to receive a positive RTP recommendation. (Appendix J, Section VIII)
The quality of the presentation of the WPAF varies tremendously from department to department and candidate to candidate, even though Appendix J is clear on format and content. All candidates should become familiar with Appendix J and seek mentoring in file preparation if unclear on any aspect of file preparation.
Departments are urged to ensure that candidates are mentored before and during the process of assembling their files. This mentoring should include file preparation, assistance in letter procurement, and frank appraisal of professional performance including a specific recommendation regarding reappointment, tenure, or promotion.
As a matter of professional responsibility, each faculty member from the initiating unit is strongly encouraged to provide written evaluations of candidates. We do not expect that all faculty members will observe all candidates for RTP each semester. However, we do hope to see a regular pattern of frequent observation throughout the review cycle. Such evaluations are the most significant portion of a file if the evaluations include observed and reported assessment of teaching and other professional activities. (Letters should be current, especially in cases of tenure and promotion.)
Student evaluations are important and even though only two classes are required to be evaluated, we strongly encourage evaluations in all classes during the RTP process. Candidates and IUPCs should not ignore negative themes in student evaluations. Failure to address these themes may cause subsequent personnel committees to formulate their own interpretations without the benefit of candidate and collegial assistance. All completed evaluations should be included rather than selectively submitting only a portion.
The Committee also remains concerned that collegial and personnel committee letters ignore weaknesses in teaching that are evident from the study of student evaluations. If these weaknesses are not interpreted and contextualized by the respective initiating units and by department colleagues, the UFPC members are obliged to proceed without this valuable information.
All materials in the file, including each letter of evaluation by a personnel committee, dean, or chair, must be seen by the candidate prior to being added to the Working Personnel Action File (WPAF). Please be certain that each such letter contains the signature of the candidate. This signature indicates that the candidate has seen the letter and has had the opportunity to respond to its content.
The candidate should use the complete Personnel Data Sheet (PDS) form even if some portion is not applicable. If a section is not applicable, so note as "N/A."
The WPAF should contain all appointment, reappointment, prior committee, and prior student letters from the date of appointment or from the date of last promotion, whichever is more recent.
Do not include such things as manuscripts, copies of articles, or works of art in the WPAF. If the candidate wishes to have these items evaluated, the items should be placed in a separate file under the control of the file custodian and made available for review by colleagues and personnel committees.
Candidates should explain thoroughly the contents of their file. Mere listings of items causes difficulties for subsequent evaluating committees. The PDS offers the opportunity to clarify and expand on the file's contents. Also, the inclusion of a teaching philosophy in the PDS is helpful to evaluating committees in understanding pedagogical styles of candidates. Candidates and IUPCs should refer to Appendix J to determine what "case" must be articulated clearly when the candidate is requesting an unusual decision.
"Early tenure" is a rare and extraordinary situation and will be recommended only when evidence is presented to establish a clear advantage to the University.
The Initiating Unit Personnel Committee (IUPC) should clarify with the candidate whose responsibility it is to solicit letters to be placed in the WPAF.
Please read prior years' UFPC annual reports. These reports contain substantial information to assist candidates and personnel committees. Also candidates and committee members are encouraged to attend the annual year end informational meeting of the UFPC.
Candidates typically should not include paid activities, such as extended education teaching or consultantships, as service to the community unless these activities have some distinct service component.
Candidates receiving service credit should be aware that their opportunity for review is shortened. For example, candidates who have received two years service credit will not receive a full review from the UFPC until they are well into their fourth year.
Please do not ask or imply that we should "read between the lines" of your recommendations or evaluation. We are obligated to make our recommendations only on the evidence presented in the file and not upon suggested implications.
In order to assist members of the UFPC in scheduling courses, we are establishing the practice that the UFPC will meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 to 12 in all future semesters if possible.
- Ben T. Allen, Chair
- Simon Green
- Jim Johnson
- Mimi Mace
- Wendy Woodward
PLEASE RETAIN FOR FUTURE REFERENCE