Proposed Faculty Manual Changes: Teaching Portfolio and Guiding Principles

The Faculty Affairs Committee in partnership with an ad hoc task force charged with aligning values and practices proposes two changes to the faculty manual. These changes are presented below and detailed in the linked document. Task force members include Laura Griner Hill, Stephen Hines, Louise Parker, Melanie-Angela Neuilly, Katie Cooper, Amanda Boyd, Matt Hudelson, and Sergey Lapin.

Please review and use the comment box below. If you wish your comments to be anonymous, please email FAC Chair Steve Hines.

Proposed Changes

  1. Move the Teaching Portfolio instructions from the Faculty Manual to the Provost’s Guidelines for Promotion & Tenure.

Goal: As part of an initiative to simplify and clarify the Faculty Manual regarding Promotion & Tenure, move the very detailed Teaching Portfolio section to the Provost’s annually published Guidelines for Promotion & Tenure.

    1. An important sub-goal is to become more nimble – i.e., placing the Teaching Portfolio instructions outside the Faculty Manual facilitates revisiting and revising these instructions as needed without having to follow the formal Faculty Senate process of amending the Faculty Manual.
    2. In addition, this move sets the stage to develop portfolios for faculty who contribute in significant ways to other missions of the university – e.g., (a) Outreach & Engagement, including clinical service and extension; (b) Scholarship & Creative Activities, including research; and (c) Service – both Academic Service, Governance, and Leadership (internally facing service) and Professional Service (externally facing service). Because each of these missions is valued, faculty who contribute to each should be provided a means by which to showcase their accomplishments in each. We expect the guidelines for each potential portfolio will similarly become part of the Provost’s Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure as they are developed. Again, having these documents outside the Faculty Manual simplifies the Faculty Manual and facilitates change going forward as lessons are learned.
    3. Supporting Memo
  1. Insert a new section into the Review of Faculty section of the WSU faculty manual that provides overall and procedural GUIDING PRINCIPLES for review of faculty.

These principles will apply to promotion and/or tenure review as well as to annual review.

Goal: This proposal represents the early steps in what we hope will be a sustained, multi-year effort to clarify and simplify the Faculty Manual relative to faculty review processes, notably for promotion and tenure.

Background: The Faculty Manual has been added to for years, with little apparent attention to overall clarity and usability. The section on Faculty Review, notably regarding promotion & tenure, is now “a bit of a mess.” Although it will require a sustained effort and widespread feedback from faculty across the WSU system, we believe an essential starting point is defining overall guiding principles for review, as well as a list of guiding procedural principles. As the larger revision process moves forward, these principles may be revisited and revised. However, we believe they represent an essential baseline starting point that will make things better in the short term and in the long term, foster development of a more effective document that addresses long standing issues of equity and fairness. These issues include but are not limited to mission equity.

Supporting Memo


2 comments on "Proposed Faculty Manual Changes: Teaching Portfolio and Guiding Principles"
  1. An anonymous set of comments from a constituent:

    1. We should not remove the teaching portion from the faculty manual and give it to the Provost’s Office so that they can be more “nimble” in making changes to it. Any changes should go through a rigorous review and not be made just by administrators.

    2.The proposed Guideline for Review of Faculty include no language about the needed due process required to allow faculty to contest an unfair review. As it is, chair’s make a decision and administrators just have to say they received it. In many cases they don’t even do that. Even when the Ombudsman supports you the University does not. We need help in this area.

    3.I like the expansion of the assessment in the guidelines, though think it needs to be anchored more with specifics and adds the opportunity for much more subjectivity in assessments and thus abuse (over praising people who don’t do much but are great at going along to get along) and punishing anyone who disagrees.

    Generally speaking, these changes do not bode well for the future of scholarship at the university.

  2. As a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC), I offer these thoughts in reply:

    1) Since the Faculty Manual is intended to apply to all faculty, regardless of unit or appointment, the FAC felt that placing detailed prescriptive instructions concerning the teaching portfolio in the Faculty Manual was too inflexible. Furthermore, the instructions for scholarship are considerably less prescriptive, essentially detailing what should be included on the CV, and instructions for documenting service and outreach are not included at all in the Faculty Manual. Since these components appear to be well-served by the Provost’s Guidelines, we saw no strenuous impediment in transferring responsibility for the language concerning the teaching portfolio from the Faculty Manual to the Provost’s Guidelines.

    2) Due process for an unfavorable review is covered in III.C.4.e, “Faculty Responses to Annual Review Evaluations.” The FAC would welcome concrete suggestions in bolstering the processes outlined in this section.

    3) Again, the language in the Faculty Manual needs to be applicable to all faculty and so specifics that avoid being narrow will be difficult to craft. The colleges and units are also responsible for crafting their college- and discipline-specific guidelines as well, using the guidelines from their parent areas as a framework.

    -Matt Hudelson, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics

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