Faculty teaching performance is evaluated every semester. Candidates complete Student Opinion of Teaching (SOT) for every class. (Beginning Fall 2008, the new form will be the Student Rating of Teaching.) These evaluations of teaching are reviewed by the academic dean and the division chair, and then given to the faculty member. The faculty may use the information to make improvements to courses. Adjunct faculty members are also assessed by the candidates with the SOT.Tenured or tenure-line faculty members are evaluated as prescribed in the institution’s procedures for promotion and tenure. In 2007, the unit proposed new Criteria and Evaluation Procedures in line with institution and system requirements and expectations (currently awaiting UM system approval). Prior to tenure, faculty members create a portfolio to provide evidence of their success in teaching, service, and research. Tenured and tenure-line faculty members submit updated vitae annually and under the unit’s proposed procedures, they also write professional goals for the year. These are shared with the division chair and provide a guide for productivity, growth, and assessment. We are developing additional assessment procedures which will be used to assist us in evaluating the performance of adjunct faculty members and using the information for program improvement. This may include lesson observations by the discipline coordinator.
Individual faculty members receive the SOT and the scores are also recorded for use in promotion and tenure decisions and for post-tenure review. Most of the faculty members receive high scores from the candidates in their courses. Institutional data shows divisional averages for the SOT (See for example: http://www.morris.umn.edu/academic/SOT.Spr2005.pdf ). These data are misleading in that they include scores from our colleagues in Wellness and Sports Science and are not disaggregated for teacher education alone. Because of the small size of the faculty, the numbers are very susceptible to change due to the performance of only one person. In general, teacher education faculty members are perceived as caring, knowledgeable, and excellent teachers. Typically, the lowest score for all faculty members is the one that rates the classroom or building, not the teaching.
Faculty members often use candidate evaluations to make course-based and more general improvements to their teaching. Those faculty members, who are formally evaluated as part of the tenure and promotion process, must make intentional and systematic efforts to respond to feedback and improve as part of the evaluation process. In the written annual assessments of probationary faculty, specific goals may be included in any of the three core areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. The faculty member must strive to meet specific goals and show progress as described to receive a satisfactory evaluation and a vote for continuance at the time of the next review. The unit provides support to the probationary faculty members. This support includes informal and formal mentors who meet regularly with the probationary faculty to discuss, assist, and guide them through the process. There are grants and stipends provided to help support their research and professional development. The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning is also a resource for those striving to improve.