Email to faculty
Discussions with Faculty Senate
- From February 18, 2021 – Provost Chilton and Chief of Staff Kristina Wilson address constituent concerns over the ONEWSU whitepapers.
- YouTube Link Discussion begins 26 minutes into the meeting.
Written responses to areas of concern
We are currently soliciting responses to these areas of concern. These will be regularly updated below:
Faculty affairs and unit structure
We are actively seeking input from all stakeholders on which aspects of faculty affairs and unit structure are working well at the system level, and which would work better at a local level.
We have heard your concern that units with small numbers would get phased out if units become completely autonomous on each campus. We have also heard that people are concerned about losing the benefits of disciplinary and college connections and losing the ability to support and serve graduate programs at multiple locations independently.
We want to assure you that there is no intention to downsize or phase out people or programs. On the contrary, we want to keep what’s working in our current “baseline” state and make it “baseline plus” – to increase the ability of all campuses not just to stay healthy but also to grow, each its own unique ways.
Please continue to let us know: what is working? What are your main concerns? How can we take what’s working well and make it better, by adjusting what’s “system” and what’s “campus” in faculty affairs and unit structure?
Our goal is to ensure that each campus has the autonomy to take advantage of local education opportunities, or to adapt curriculum to meet student needs and campus realities, while maintaining a quality educational experience throughout the WSU system.
We will work strategically with Vice Chancellors for Academic Affairs at each campus (Everett, Global, Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, Vancouver) to ensure that new degree program proposals have been vetted appropriately throughout the system governance process. There will also be ample opportunity for engagement by the entire WSU community on potential program offerings to avoid unnecessary duplication. However, it is also important to keep in mind that every new degree program does not need to come from Pullman or to be part of a current college in Pullman.
We will work to assess and ensure uniform program quality throughout the WSU system through the use of system metrics and clearly articulated program outcomes while recognizing that students may have different opportunities depending on program location. As an example, students on urban campuses may have more opportunities for in-semester work-relevant experiences due to local proximity to the business community.
Here too, please let us know your thoughts and ideas about how we can keep what’s good in our baseline and how we can adjust to improve.
Promotion and tenure
The system provost will continue to ensure academic quality and impact across the system and will review all tenure and promotion cases. Decision will be informed by carefully developed T&P guidelines that take into account the realities of different work contexts and different job expectations, while at the same time maintaining the high standards of an R1 institution. The Provost will work to ensure that available resources, access to graduate programs, and other campus-based conditions are considered carefully in T&P recommendations.
The faculty manual will contain the university’s guiding principles for promotion and tenure and will acknowledge the value we place on all aspects of our mission: teaching, research, and service (including leadership, outreach, engagement, and extension). It will state that evaluation of performance must be based on the 1) job and disciplinary expectations for each individual case, not on a prescriptive “one size fits all” definition of productivity, and 2) the context in which each person works.
In a separate document, issued with the annual promotion and tenure guidelines, we will also issue guidance on how to document and how to evaluate productivity and impact for a variety of activities and in different contexts. These guidelines, issued annually, can change to reflect the changing realities of a campus, discipline, or social context (e.g. COVID-19) over time.
- As examples of activities: what do productivity and impact look like for faculty who do community-based participatory research? For faculty who do work that is innovative and entrepreneurial? For faculty who do clinical service?
- As examples of context: Some people work in disciplines where grants are not required; some people work in departments or locations where graduate students are not available; and some people work on campuses where they have higher service loads or higher teaching loads. These contexts, and their relation to faculty productivity, must be taken into account by those who evaluate performance.
R1 status and accreditation
To address this question of how proposed changes might impact the R1 status for WSU campuses, we reached out to Craig Parks. Craig is the WSU Vice Provost for System Innovation and Policy and he serves as the WSU liaison to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCUU), which is the accrediting organization for WSU. If enacted, changes as described to date will not affect accreditation because all campuses would remain under the same WSU Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS #236939) number (see: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Washington+State+university&s=all&id=236939). Carnegie R1 status is linked to the institution based on the IPEDS number and all campuses “sit” under the parent IPEDS identification number. The details about our governance structure are immaterial to Carnegie status and thus, provided we continue to meet the underlying R1 rating criteria, our status will not change under the proposed system structure for WSU.