Tomorrow's Academic Careers
The posting below looks at the formative and summative aspects of post tenure review and senior faculty development. It is from Chapter 17, How Post-Tenure Review Can Support the Teaching Development of Senior Faculty by Mary Deane Sorcinelli, Mei-Yau Shih, Mathew L. Ouellett, Marjory Stewart
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, in the book, To Improve the Academy: Resources for Faculty, Instructional, and Organizational Development, Volume 25, Douglas Reimondo Robertson, Editor, Northern Kentucky University, Linda B. Nilson, Associate Editor, Clemson University. Copyright ? 2007 by Anker Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved. ISBN 13: 978-1-933371-08-5. Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 563 Main Street, P.O. Box 249, Bolton, MA 01740-0249 USA [www.ankerpub.com]
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Tomorrow's Academic Careers
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How Post-Tenure Review Can Support the Teaching Development of Senior Faculty
In the past decade, due to demographic and economic pressures, state policy-makers and higher education board members have urged institutions to initiate post-tenure review policies to ensure accountability for the quality of faculty teaching, research, and service. Collective bargaining agreements in more than 37 states have initiated mandates for the implementation of post-tenure review and evaluation of tenured faculty (Licata & Morreale, 2002).
Post-tenure review refers to a "systematic, comprehensive process, separate from the annual review, aimed specifically at assessing performance and/or nurturing faculty growth and development" (Licata & Morreale, 1997, p. 1), which can be embedded in either a summative or formative framework. As Licata and Morreale (1997) note, the summative framework uses the review to collect accurate and reliable information about past performance that is used to make a personnel decision. Specific actions are taken as a result of the review-either reward when the performance is above average or remediation, in the form of a professional development plan, when the performance is judged to be below average. In contrast, the formative framework outlines a review process that is developmental, and the outcome of such a review is the development of a professional growth plan that focuses on future career development. This framework is usually not connected to any personnel decision-making and, in some cases, only the faculty member sees the review.
Researchers have noted that while the philosophy of most post-tenure review policies is formative, nearly all have summative aspects and policies outlining actions to occur if the faculty member does not address deficiencies identified in a review (Licata & Morreale, 1999). A key question that campuses face as they develop and implement post-tenure review policies, then, is how to blend the concepts of accountability and renewal into a workable system (Alstete, 2000; Licata & Morreale, 1997).
Senior Faculty Development Programs
At the same time that a range of post-tenure review processes have been taking shape, institutions have increasingly recognized the need to provide opportunities for tenure faculty to address new teaching and learning challenges. Faculty members are facing instructional situations in which students may differ widely in their levels of interest and commitment, their preparation, their availability for course-related work, and their learning styles. The ethnic and social diversity in the classroom is also changing, as enrollments as women, multicultural, and minority students continue to increase. Many faculty have not learned to teach with technology and may require support and training to function optimally in a rapidly changing technological environment. In addition, faculty are being asked to assess student learning outcomes and study and document their own teaching (Sorcinelli, Austin, Eddy, & Beach, 2006).
Given dramatic changes in the teaching and learning landscape, what does research tell us about teaching vitality among experienced faculty? While studies support the presence of some unhappiness and malaise, overall they conclude that senior faculty devote considerable energy to teaching and student concerns. Studies further suggest that the effectiveness of tenured faculty as teachers is less related to time spent on teaching than to an enlargement of teaching styles and relationships with students (Karpiak, 1997; Romano, Hoesing, O'Donovan, & Weinsheimer, 2004).
Crawley (1995) surveyed 104 research universities to learn about faculty development programs available to senior faculty. Findings revealed a high level of support for traditional approaches to faculty development (e.g., sabbaticals, unpaid leaves), but suggested that faculty development approaches that expanded or created new roles and responsibilities for senior faculty were more limited. Our review of programs at teaching and learning centers confirmed Crawley's findings. While many center provide programs and interest groups where faculty can share issues and concerns about teaching, fewer have programs designed specifically for tenured senior faculty. Of those that do, two faculty development models predominate. The first and more common model is the provision of individual funds to encourage renewal in teaching by tenured faculty (e.g., small grants to buy books, supplies, hire technical support, and fund travel to disciplinary and teaching conferences). The literature suggests that relatively modest grants can support the development of new course or program initiatives and also send a message that the institution values the engagement and new directions taken by tenured faculty (Baldwin, 2002; Finkelstein & LaCelle-Peterson, 1993).
Some campuses have developed programs that offer a second type of opportunity in which senior faculty join other senior colleagues in structured learning communities to learn and share ideas about teaching and learning. These programs have been designed in response to studies that suggest that faculty at mid-career and senior level experience isolation and desire opportunities to talk about teaching with colleagues (Bland & Bergquist, 1997; Karpiak, 1997, 2000). Both of these senior faculty development programs have documented positive outcomes in terms of the development of new skills in and attitudes about teaching, enhanced collegiality, awareness of teaching and learning styles and strategies, and gains in student learning (Blaisdell & Cox; Jackson & Simpson, 1993; Romano et al. 2004; Shih & Sorcinelli, 2000; Stassen & Sorcinelli 2001).
Linking Post-Tenure Review and Faculty Development
While senior faculty development programs have reported a number of positive outcomes, there has been little research into the outcomes of the different but related concepts of post-tenure review and faculty development. Studies focusing on the developmental aspects of post-tenure review offer differing perspectives. Some campuses have noted benefits such as improved faculty productivity, morale, and commitment to one's discipline (Goodman, 1994). The majority of studies on post-tenure review, however, reveal little impact on a faculty member's professional development (O'Meara, 2003, 2004; Wesson & Johnson, 1991). The problem is that many of these studies are limited to data obtained during initial startup of the program, prior to the creation of any faculty development initiatives (Harrington, 2002; O'Meara 2003, 2004). Such studies also review that few institutions have actually created post-tenure review processes with any relationship to faculty development programs. In fact, a new study of faculty development programs in the United States and Canada found that post-tenure review was the issue for which faculty developers from all institutional types offered the fewest services and which they ranked as least important to address through their faculty development programs (Sorcinelli et al., 2006).
The post-tenure review and professional development process described in this chapter offers one model for how to link a post-tenure review process with faculty development in teaching, providing insight into the benefits of post-tenure review that joins performance review with the fostering of the continued professional development of tenured faculty. We also highlight several key features of this model. For example, unlike many other post-tenure processes (Alstete, 2000; Licata & Morreale, 2002), this initiative has the support of the administration and faculty, sparing it from being viewed as merely symbolic. It is framed in the context of renewal rather than remediation, supporting faculty with proven records as well as those whose teaching merits attention. Additionally, institutional funds are readily available to support a wide range of development initiatives. Finally, there has been a concerted effort to document and assess the outcomes of faculty development projects.
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