Faculty Evaluation Policy
Authority: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date Enacted or Revised: January 2015; Revised October 2015; March 2018; February 26, 2019; August 20, 2019; January 20, 2022; May 23, 2022
McNeese complies with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement standard 6.3, which states that “The institution publishes and implements policies regarding the appointment, employment, and regular evaluation of faculty members, regardless of contract or tenure status.” The University of Louisiana System Bylaws, Part Two, Chapter III, Section X, D-1 states that “As part of its evaluative procedures, each institution will utilize a system of periodic faculty evaluations by students, with the improvement of teaching effectiveness as a major focus of such evaluations. Institutions are encouraged to utilize multiple sources of information (e.g., student ratings of instruction, peer evaluations, etc.) in their review process. Evaluations are to assess performance in an appropriate mix of teaching, research, and service.” To support the University’s mission and goals related to excellence in teaching, research, and service, faculty participate in the annual performance review (APR) which includes two components:
- Job effectiveness/productivity in teaching, scholarly activity/research, and service; and
- Performance level, achieved as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory.”
Performance level is determined by the faculty member’s accountability to his/her job responsibilities and expectations as described in University policies as well as specific departmental and college guidelines. A satisfactory performance level rating is a precondition for consideration for awarding merit pay regardless of merit rank, and it is required for application for tenure or promotion. Performance level is independent of merit rankings 1 through 5. The job effectiveness/productivity portion of the APR determines merit level for faculty within each college.
Faculty must be informed of expectations for all APR components. When APR results of one year are discussed, expectations for the upcoming evaluation period should be communicated. At a minimum, each faculty member must meet basic job responsibilities and expectations as described in University policies and assigned by the department head. Failure to meet minimum expectations for effective teaching and instructional duties, scholarly/professional activity, service, and collegiality will result in an unsatisfactory performance level rating.
Part-time faculty and faculty with temporary appointments must be evaluated by the department head each semester in order to assess teaching performance and to provide a basis for employment decisions. The evaluation process for part-time faculty and temporary faculty focuses on classroom performance and other criteria consistent with the stated employment obligations. Evaluations must be documented and discussed with the faculty member and documentation maintained in the departmental office.
A. Job Effectiveness/Productivity Components
Faculty members are expected to demonstrate commitment to excellence in teaching. Student evaluations of instruction (SEI) and three (3) additional components related to effective instructional delivery must be included in evaluation of the teaching component for determining both the merit ranking and performance level rating. The teaching component includes the previous two semesters’ SEI results, generally the fall and spring prior to the evaluation period. Besides the SEI, additional items for consideration in this section of the APR include but are not limited to:
- Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) activities included in instruction;
- quality advising;
- examples of innovative instruction techniques or activities with positive results for student success;
- course review and summary activities;
- examples of innovative use of technology (other than web or hybrid course instruction);
- student enrollment patterns (withdrawals/trends); and/or
- student success rates, etc.
Performance level is an indication of the faculty member’s accountability for meeting University, college, and departmental expectations for academic performance and responsibilities. Performance level for the teaching component must be indicated as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Faculty must meet basic job expectations to achieve a satisfactory rating. Factors determining the performance level may include:
- meeting classes regularly;
- meeting course objectives;
- being prepared for classes;
- achieving appropriate student learning outcomes and student success rates;
- meeting a threshold score on the SEI as established by the department or college;
- activities relating to assisting students in meeting their academic goals;
- maintaining throughout the semester appropriate office hours at different times of the day on different days of the week in order to be accessible to students;
- course syllabi that include required elements according to University policy and college/department guidelines;
- use of technology to enhance course delivery where appropriate;
- posting syllabi on Moodle or other electronic sites as required; and/or
- other duties as assigned.
Scholarly and Professional Activity (40%)
Elements of evaluation include documented scholarly and professional activities contributing to the discipline such as publications, presentations, or applied research. In the creative fields such as music, theatre, and art, performance and juried exhibitions are appropriate. In evaluating scholarly and professional work, the department head must evaluate the quality of publications (peer reviewed, etc.), presentations (national, regional, state, local, etc.), or juried artistic productions rather than focus solely on quantity. Professional involvement in the K-12 system which leads to documented applied research or presentation at professional meetings may be considered. Scholarly and professional activity must include documentation indicating a contribution which advances the profession. External grants or internal Shearman Research grants selected competitively for funding should receive greater weight than internal grants for scholarly and professional activity.
College or departmental expectations for scholarly/professional activity may address specific requirements related to accreditation- or discipline-specific criteria. APR and performance level expectations for scholarly/professional activities are commensurate with reassigned time and/or other components of job expectations.
Performance level must be indicated as satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
University and Public Service (10%)
APR measures for service activities may span a broad spectrum. Faculty members are expected to participate in and contribute to committee work at the departmental, college, and University levels. Participation in accreditation efforts must be considered. In addition, faculty who represent the University in their discipline-specific role in ways that contribute to University/community linkages should receive consideration for service merit.
Performance level must be indicated as satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
McNeese State University requires all members of the academic community to maintain an atmosphere of collegiality. Collegiality refers to behavior that is professional, cooperative, and respectful in a manner consistent with being a productive citizen of the department, college, and University. Collegiality applies across instruction, research, and service and serves as one of several criteria that may be related to the satisfactory performance level. Non-collegial behavior is that which does not meet the definition of collegiality as stated above and detracts from the productivity of faculty and staff. Respectful disagreement and infrequent/isolated incidents of discord should not be designated as non-collegial behavior. Civil discussion related to differences of opinion and diverse views are crucial to the health of any academic environment. Examples of non-collegial behavior include, but are not limited to:
- Frequently insulting other faculty members in front of students or frequently insulting students in front of others;
- Consistently lacking involvement in faculty meetings, University events, and employment responsibilities; or
- Regularly being unwilling to offer minimal assistance to other faculty members, the department, or college when expertise, help, or advice is requested.
Weighting the Components
Individual colleges/departments may adopt a plan that deviates from the above by no more than 10% for any category, but no category may have a factor less than 10%. The total must add up to 100%. Deans and department heads are expected to set goals and objectives for their respective units and to document faculty input for the plan adopted. Under this plan, individual faculty members, after consultation with the department head and after receiving approval for departures from the department’s guidelines, may deviate +/- 10% from those guidelines, provided the final factors are within the University guidelines. For example, teaching may be weighted 60% for faculty who do not receive reassigned time, scholarly activity may be weighted 20%, and service 20%. If a faculty member received reassigned time for scholarly activity, the scholarly component should be weighted at least 50%.
B. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Performance Levels
Faculty must achieve a satisfactory performance level in teaching and an additional satisfactory performance level in one of the two other APR components (scholarship or service) to achieve an overall performance level rating of satisfactory.
An unsatisfactory performance level indicates the need for improvement. Although not required, it is recommended that a documented improvement plan be developed when an unsatisfactory performance level is earned. Unsatisfactory performance level ratings result in the following required actions:
- After two (2) consecutive unsatisfactory reviews or three (3) unsatisfactory reviews in a five (5) year period, tenured faculty shall be subject to mandatory remediation. The plan for remediation should be developed by the department head in conjunction with the faculty member and dean. Non-tenured faculty will not be considered for renewal of appointment.
- If the faculty member and department head cannot agree on the plan of remediation, tenured faculty in the department will develop a plan of remediation.
- In those cases where the faculty member, department head, and dean cannot agree on the plan of remediation, the provost shall determine the final provisions of the plan based on the recommendations by the department head and tenured faculty in the department.
- If the faculty member has not achieved significant improvement in performance after a minimum of two (2) years of remediation, a recommendation for dismissal may be made.
- A recommendation for dismissal automatically will trigger a review by tenured faculty in the department. Based on all recommendations, including that of tenured faculty in the department, the provost may recommend that the University president or his/her designees institute proceedings for removal for cause including proper due process.
- For any provision of this procedure that requires participation by a group or committee of tenured faculty in the department, if the number of department faculty is insufficient, tenured faculty from outside the department shall be selected to participate in the process. Appointments of faculty from outside the department require the approval of the provost.
- In certain cases, the University president must exercise discretion as to whether to refer the matter of dismissal to a separate dismissal for cause. This may be done without reference to or at any time during the procedures described in the APR and determination of performance level.
C. Annual Performance Review Process
The APR is conducted each spring and is based on that academic year’s job performance (fall and spring semesters). Faculty members are responsible for timely submission and accuracy of the information included in the APR. A copy of the APR form is available from the department head.
A faculty member must furnish his/her department head with written/documented material substantiating activities considered to be meritorious and/or indicating accountability for job expectations. Department heads combine quantitative and qualitative data to arrive at APR scores which are ranked relative to peer performance in the department and/or college. Qualitative data may include the department head’s observations, measure of work ethic, and professional activities. Department heads also determine the performance level of satisfactory or unsatisfactory.
The APR rankings will determine a merit ranking based on the following scale: 5=Outstanding, 4=Above Average, 3=Average, 2=Below Average, or 1=Unsatisfactory. Merit categories are directly related to the level of merit pay (salary increase) if merit is funded. Job effectiveness/productivity components and performance level results are considered in appointment renewal, promotion, and tenure decisions. The performance level rating of satisfactory or unsatisfactory is independent of merit ranking categories and is not subject to merit ranking category percentages.
A faculty member may decline to participate in the APR; however, the faculty member must state this option in writing to the department head. Faculty who do not participate in the APR will not be eligible for salary increases, tenure, or promotion. Faculty who do not participate in the APR must participate in SEIs and may be evaluated solely on SEIs and the department head’s determination of performance level, including collegiality.
The department head reviews all submitted materials and other relevant information to the faculty member’s job performance. Each department must have a template for evaluating APR information. After the department head reviews the information submitted, he/she indicates the following in accordance with departmental criteria: 1) the performance level (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) for each component, and 2) the faculty member’s APR merit ranking of 1-5, with 5 indicating the highest score. The department head discusses APR results with each faculty member. When APR results of one year are discussed, expectations for the upcoming evaluation period should be communicated.
The department head submits APR submissions and results to the dean of the college for review. The dean evaluates all faculty performance and recommends merit rankings of 1-5, with 5 indicating the highest score.
Faculty eligible in the merit ranking include full-time faculty (including directors/coordinators within the college) who are continuing service in the upcoming fiscal year.
Department heads are evaluated on a combination of elements to include administrative performance evaluation, teaching, service, collegiality, and, to a limited degree, scholarly activity.
Deans and departments heads discuss faculty merit rankings and performance level ratings for faculty and department heads with the provost and president. After all APR results have been discussed with the dean, provost, and president, the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management sends approved APRs and merit category assignments to each dean. The dean provides the information to the department heads who inform faculty of performance level ratings and merit category assignments.
Annual performance reports, which include a statement indicating performance level ratings and merit categories, must be signed by the faculty member, the department head, and the dean. These reports are placed in departmental and college personnel files. Only results of APR merit category rankings (not supporting documentation) are maintained in the Office of Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management.
If the faculty member disagrees with any part of the department head’s or dean’s evaluation, within 10 days the faculty member must request a conference that includes all parties concerned (faculty member, department head, and dean) to attempt to resolve the issue.
If no resolution for an appealed APR is reached within the college, the faculty member may appeal to the provost within 10 calendar days of the conference held at the college level. If the faculty member does not agree with the provost’s recommendations, he/she may appeal to the ad hoc Merit and Promotion Council within 10 days. The Council is appointed by the president and is composed of one tenured faculty member from each college and one from the library. At least one member of the Council must represent the Faculty Senate. The Council will forward its recommendations and all applicable information with the APR to the president, who will make a final ruling on the recommendations within a reasonable time, not to exceed 90 days.
Deans and department heads inform newly hired faculty about the APR process.
This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.