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3 Faculty Responsibilities

Teaching

While teaching is the focal point of the instructional program at Tarleton State University, teaching is more than classroom performance. Teaching requires regular preparation and continuous research and study, concern for the individual student, and a willingness to provide individual assistance both in and outside the classroom.

In a broader context, it also includes student academic advisement, analysis of library holdings and recommendations for purchases of library materials, committee assignments, and other responsibilities as a participating member of the University community.

Teaching assignments are normally made by the head of the department concerned, giving due consideration to the time needed for class preparation, grading, student advisement, research, and other faculty responsibilities.

Scholarly and Creative Activities

Historically, Tarleton State University has considered itself primarily a teaching institution. However, in the early 1980s Tarleton began to encourage scholarship and creative activity. With the approval of research-based degrees in 1988, the University developed formal policies on soliciting and securing research grants to encourage and properly recognize those faculty members actively involved in scholarship and creative activity. As a part of their normal teaching duties, all faculty members are expected to stay abreast of developments in their disciplines; the following information is provided for those faculty members who wish to develop or maintain an active research program.

The University receives research grant funds from the State of Texas each year. These funds are administered by the University Research Committee. The committee accepts proposals from faculty members, evaluates the proposals, and recommends which proposals should be approved. Details about procedures for these grants are provided on the Organized Research Grant(ORG) Program web page (/~grants/SubSection/GrantSourceWebsites/ORG.html).

Faculty members are encouraged to solicit and secure funded research grants from external agencies (government, business, and foundations). The Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (Sponsored Projects) provides assistance in identifying sources of money and in the development of proposals. Because funded research brings additional responsibilities, faculty should include in the project budget an estimate of the salary necessary for the primary researcher in order to allow the faculty member to reduce the teaching workload. The extent of course reduction will depend upon the salary to be received from the grant, the amount of overhead to be recovered by the University, and the shared judgment of academic administrators involved in the request. When grant guidelines prohibit salary funding of this nature, the University may base the reduction of faculty teaching load on such factors as the distribution of funds and the shared judgment of academic administrators involved in the request. In any event, the research grant must be judged to be of mutual benefit to both the faculty grantee(s) and Tarleton.

Some grants are made to an academic department without identifying a particular faculty member as the grantee. In those situations, the reduction in the teaching workload for the faculty who will be directly involved with the grant will depend upon the type of research and extent of efforts expected of the departmental grantee. Faculty teaching workloads normally would not be reduced by more than one course per semester.

Although a teaching workload reduction is not normally provided for equipment-only grants, exceptions to this policy will be considered if there is substantial evidence that a reduced teaching workload will be necessary to ensure the successful implementation of the research project. In no case will the teaching workload reduction exceed one course reduction per semester.

Each year, the University normally will provide a limited amount of released time units that will be available to faculty who wish to conduct research. The basic unit will be one-fourth of the normal teaching load (one-fourth time during the fall or spring term or one-half time during one summer session). A decision will be made each year regarding the total amount of released time that will be available for the following year. Faculty members may submit to the University Research Committee research proposals requesting released time. The committee will review the proposals, and recommendations will be forwarded to the dean of the appropriate college who will in turn forward the recommendations to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for approval.

Membership in University Committees

University rules and procedures are developed, executed, and revised by appropriate committees. Committee work is the means through which faculty and administrative staff members influence institutional policy. Committee assignments are a professional responsibility and an important element of service to the University and are considered in evaluating the workload among members of the faculty. The official description of the various committees and a listing of the current membership are located on the Tarleton web site at http://www.tarleton.edu/main/committeelist.html.

Academic Advisement and Registration

The members of the Tarleton faculty may be expected to serve as academic advisors. During every long semester, pre-registration is held for the following semester. Faculty members may be expected to advise students during pre-registration and to assist with advisement and registration near the beginning of each semester. Advisors should treat their role as an important part of the academic process and maintain a professional commitment to providing quality advising.

The duties of the advisor include developing degree plans, familiarizing the student with University requirements, and assisting the student with class scheduling. To fulfill these responsibilities, advisors need to know prerequisites and the sequences in which courses are offered. They should be prepared to explain to students the rationale behind University requirements, such as the core curriculum. The advisor should also check class schedules during the registration process to assure that students are taking a reasonable course load.

The advisor is expected to assist students with career goals by helping students ascertain if their interests and abilities correspond with career requirements. The advisor should be aware of graduate and professional educational requirements and opportunities and should also stay abreast of job opportunities in the field.
The advisor should be familiar with University support services and should refer students to these services when the occasion demands. The advisor should maintain adequate, posted office hours.

Counseling Students

Counseling students is an integral part of the teaching process. Special kinds of counseling (social, personal, financial, and health) are the responsibility of designated staff members, but on occasion may be done incidentally and very effectively by faculty.

Student information is available electronically through Banner (student information system) or Web X-tender (imaging system) Any faculty member may use these files, treating the information in the files as confidential in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Syllabus Requirement for Each Course

The Criteria for Accreditation prepared by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools states, "Students must be provided written information about the goals and requirements of each course, the nature of the course content, and the methods of evaluation to be employed." This requirement will be met by providing each student in a class with a copy of the syllabus for that course which includes a clear description of the grading methods and standards and the instructor's policy on class attendance. A copy of the individual course syllabus for each semester should be filed in the department head’s office.

Schedule for Teaching and Professional Activities

Full-time faculty members are expected to have classes or approved professional activities five days a week. The department head and the dean must approve a schedule involving fewer than five days a week for any full-time faculty member.

Class Attendance

Faculty members have a responsibility to their students and to the University to attend their classes regularly and punctually. If a faculty member is 10 minutes late to class, that class is dismissed.

Office Hours

Regular office hours are a necessary service to students and colleagues. Each faculty member's schedule of office hours should be posted in a prominent location.

Final Examinations and Restricted Activities Period

University policy requires that final examinations be given in every course for which a final is appropriate, during the time period shown on the official Final Examination Schedule. Department heads are responsible for ensuring adherence to this policy. Whether a final examination is appropriate in a particular course will be determined within the department in which the course is offered subject to the approval of the department head.

A restricted activities period, starting two days before the beginning of final examinations and continuing through the end of finals according to the University catalog, is a time during which no examinations may be administered other than finals, no major assignments may be due, and no student activities may be held. A study day may be specified each semester. Study day is the day immediately preceding the start of final examinations. No classes meet and no tests are administered during study day.
At the end of each semester, every faculty member must turn in to the departmental office a copy of the final examination he/she has given in each course. These copies of final exams will be kept in a secure location in the departmental office for at least one year after the exams have been given. These exams must be accessible to the dean or Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs upon request.

Course Records and Midterm Grades

Tentative class rolls are available when registration ends. Instructors check these rolls and corrections are incorporated into the final class roll, which reflects the enrollment in each class on the twelfth class day. Faculty should prepare their grade reports based on the twelfth-class-day rolls.

Instructors are encouraged to keep attendance records for at least three reasons: (1) to emphasize the educational value of regular class attendance; (2) to assist in counseling the student concerning his or her academic progress; and (3) to be able to respond to inquiries concerning grades and attendance of certain students.
Midterm grades will be computed and submitted to the Registrar's Office for all freshman and sophomore courses. Midterm grades are posted on DuckTrax for freshmen and sophomores.

Posting Grades

Faculty members are legally and ethically prohibited from publicly posting students' grades in such a fashion that students can be identified by anyone other than themselves or their designated representatives. Instructors may post grades by whatever method they devise, so long as the student's privacy is respected. Students' names, complete Social Security Account numbers or university identification (UID) numbers may not be used in posting grades.

Commencement

Formal commencement exercises are held at appropriate times of the year. Designated faculty participate in the academic procession in full regalia.

Student Evaluation of Faculty

Student evaluations of teaching will be administered according to the following guidelines:

  • All faculty members are to be evaluated in all of their classes every fall semester.
  • All tenure-track probationary faculty will be evaluated in each class every semester.
  • Faculty who are to be considered for promotion must be evaluated in each class for two semesters prior to promotion consideration.
  • Tenured faculty undergoing in-depth review must be evaluated in each class for two consecutive semesters (generally, the spring semester before the year of the review and the fall semester during the year of the review).
  • Non-tenure-track faculty will be evaluated in each class every semester for three years, then every fall semester.
  • Adjunct faculty will be evaluated in each class.
  • Faculty members may elect to be evaluated more often.
  • Special situations may be handled with permission from the appropriate dean and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Administration of Student Evaluations

  • The official instrument will be used during the last three weeks of the semester.
  • The evaluation will be administered by someone other than the faculty member and prefaced by these remarks: "You are being asked to evaluate _____________ on the quality of teaching in this course. We consider this an important process and the results will be used in the overall evaluation of _______; therefore we would appreciate a conscientious response and encourage you to make any comments you wish to make. The results of this evaluation will not be available to anyone, including _______, until after the semester is over. This evaluation is voluntary. Please turn in your form when you are finished."
  • The person administering the evaluation will then collect the responses, seal them in an envelope, and deliver them to the departmental office or other designated location.

Evaluation Of Academic Administrators

Provost Review

Evaluation and retention of the Provost by the President shall involve faculty input in a direct manner. The evaluation shall take place every four years. The President shall seek input from the faculty, deans, and, at a minimum, involve the executive committee of the Faculty Senate for input.

Academic Deans Review

Deans serve with the approval of the Provost, the President, and with prior approval from the Chancellor. Input from relevant faculty, department heads, and directors shall be solicited to help determine the effectiveness of the deans. Deans can be removed for unsatisfactory performance.

The Provost will conduct a formal evaluation of each dean annually.

Faculty and department head evaluation of the deans will be conducted in the spring of every even-numbered year. Information gathered will be reviewed directly by the Provost for the purpose of determining the effectiveness of the deans and also to ascertain what action, if any, is necessary.

Faculty review
Faculty herein refers to those holding faculty rank who are employed full-time regardless of release time assignments outside of teaching as department heads, directors, etc.

  • A faculty review of the deans will occur in the spring of every even-numbered year and will be part of the formal review process. This biennial formal review may include input from appropriate offices, agencies, and staff members as determined necessary by the Provost.
  • Prior to the review process, a committee, appointed by the Provost and consisting of the deans and college faculty, shall review the evaluation instrument to determine if any changes need to be made.
  • Prior to the review process, the dean will communicate to the faculty an official job description with a list of professional accomplishments detailing the goals that were achieved during the past two years.
  • The main goals of the review are to assess faculty perceptions of the deans, gather useful ideas and advice from the faculty, establish or redefine goals and priorities for the colleges, and foster continuous improvement in the colleges.
  • All responses will be delivered directly to the Provost and will be opened and reviewed in the presence of the Faculty Senate President. All discussions between the Provost and the Faculty Senate President are strictly confidential.
  • Any problems or inconsistencies in the implementation of the review procedures should be reported to the Faculty Senate.
  • Evaluations shall be electronically administered. Dates for evaluation will be announced to all faculty prior to electronic publication. Electronically administered evaluations should occur over a period of at least five working days and provide some method of allowing faculty members who will not be available during that time the means to participate (e.g., absentee evaluation).
  • Faculty responses will be kept anonymous. Responses collected over the Internet must use a method that ensures that each faculty member provides only one response and that all responses will remain anonymous.
  • Only full-time faculty are eligible to participate in the evaluation process.
  • Any problems or inconsistencies in the implementation of evaluation process should be reported to the Faculty Senate and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Evaluation of Department Heads

The college dean is primarily responsible for evaluating the performance of the department heads. The purpose of this evaluation is to document each department head’s effectiveness as an academic leader and manager of the department. The dean’s evaluation should be an ongoing process that encourages the department head’s professional development.

The dean will conduct a formal evaluation of each department head annually.

In the spring of even-numbered years, faculty with full-time appointments in each academic department will complete an evaluation form assessing the performance of their department head. The dean will use the information from the faculty’s evaluation (see section 4, below) as an important factor in the evaluation of the department head. The evaluation by faculty will consider the various skills needed to be an effective department head. In addition to faculty feedback, the dean will use information gathered from his or her own observation of the effectiveness of the department head and the progress the department head has made toward achieving the department’s mission. The dean will prepare a summary of the evaluation, which will be provided to the department head and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Faculty Evaluation of Department Heads

The purpose of faculty evaluating their department heads is to promote better communication with, understanding of, and improved performance by Tarleton’s department heads. Allowing faculty to evaluate their immediate supervisors will open a channel of communication for those parties providing feedback essential to improving department heads’ performances. The evaluation process will provide a means for department heads and their immediate supervisors to more objectively evaluate their performance. Information obtained from the evaluation can be used by the department heads to increase their efforts in areas perceived to be weak by the faculty.

Guidelines for the evaluation of Department Heads are as follow:

  • Department heads will be evaluated by all departmental faculty who are employed full-time at Tarleton State University. Part-time faculty, teaching assistants, and staff will not participate in this program.
  • The evaluation will be conducted in March of every even-numbered year. Any department head who falls below satisfactory on his or her overall rating will be evaluated every year until the performance level is satisfactory or above. When a department head falls below satisfactory for two consecutive evaluations, the dean will consider reassigning that individual. If the department head is not reassigned, the dean will provide an explanation to the faculty of the department in question.
  • Evaluations shall be electronically administered. Dates for evaluation will be announced to all faculty prior to electronic publication. Electronically administered evaluations should occur over a period of at least five working days and provide some method of allowing faculty members who will not be available during that time the means to participate (e.g., absentee evaluation).
  • Faculty responses will be kept anonymous. Responses collected over the Internet must use a method that ensures that each faculty member provides only one response and that all responses will remain anonymous.
  • The department head’s evaluation will be reported to the department head, the Dean, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  • Any problems or inconsistencies in the implementation of the evaluation should be reported to the Faculty Senate.