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C.6. Evaluation of the Faculty

Evaluation of the faculty serves several Institute objectives, such as assuring and assessing educational effectiveness, providing performance feedback, developing faculty expertise, improving classroom performance, maintaining fairness, and documenting the basis for employment decisions.

Faculty are formally evaluated according to the procedures outlined below on three specific occasions. First, each year every regular faculty member is given an annual review by her/his school dean. Second, each regular faculty member is evaluated for contract renewal. Third, the evaluation process is applied to all promotions. The evaluation process is based in part on judgments made upon the review of regularly administered end-of-semester student evaluations and upon peer faculty reviews.

C.6.a. Criteria

Evaluation is based on the following criteria:

i. Demonstrated Teaching Effectiveness - The Institute is a professional graduate school, focused on preparing students for their professional lives. Accordingly, the first priority of Institute faculty is effective teaching and this category receives the greatest weight in assessing overall faculty performance.  Effective teaching requires faculty, at a minimum, to:

  1. Maintain up-to-date knowledge of the subject matter
  2. Demonstrate ability to facilitate meaningful discussion, reflection, and skills practice
  3. Structure courses in ways that align learning outcomes, course content, and assignments
  4. Apply an intentional, educationally-sound teaching philosophy
  5. Demonstrate ability to assess student learning and communicate feedback to students
  6. Communicate clearly with students in and outside of the classroom
  7. Foster an atmosphere of respect
  8. Be inclusive of diverse students and learning styles
  9. Maintain high academic standards that require students to make progress towards producing professional-level work
  10. Submit required Institute reports, such as semester grades, on a timely basis

ii. Scholarship and Professional Impact -  As a professional graduate school, one of the Institute’s greatest assets is the professional engagement of its faculty. This category evaluates the professional impact that faculty members make in their academic and professional fields and in the local and global communities.  Positive scholarship and professional impact increases the visibility and reputation of the Institute. Forms of professional impact include, but are not limited to:

  1. Research, publications, or conference presentations that advance theoretical knowledge, inform professional practice, and/or shape public policy
  2. Editorial roles with academic journals
  3. Professional consulting work
  4. Development of curriculum or facilitation of trainings that advance others’ professional practice
  5. Leadership roles in professional organizations and conferences
  6. Projects that meaningfully connect the Institute with local or global community people and groups
  7. Mentoring professionals outside of MIIS
  8. Volunteer service, in the local community and beyond, related to the faculty members’ academic or professional field
  9. Highly public activities such as media interviews, well-read blogs/podcasts, and related activities

iii. Service to the Institute and to Middlebury - Contributions of the faculty are essential to Middlebury’s operations, strategy, and success as an organization. This category evaluates faculty contributions to Middlebury. It includes contributions other than those described in the categories of teaching and professional impact.  Service to Middlebury and the Institute will at minimum include regular participation in governance and community building activities. These include faculty assemblies, town hall events, faculty retreats, orientation, commencement, faculty meetings, and program events.  Additionally, faculty may contribute to Middlebury and the Institute through both individual and group efforts including, but not limited to:

  1. Student support and advising
  2. Career advising
  3. Fellowship search committees
  4. Club advising
  5. Participation in student-organized events
  6. Supporting student research and conference presentations
  7. Creating professional development opportunities for students
  8. Mentoring students
  9. Middlebury and Institute leadership roles
  10. Directing a center
  11. Program chairs and language coordinators
  12. Faculty Senate
  13. APSIC
  14. FEC
  15. Chairing committees and task groups
  16. Other leadership roles
  17. Contributing to strategy and operations
  18. Serving on peer review committees
  19. Serving on search committees
  20. Serving on committees and task groups
  21. Developing program and Institute curriculum
  22. Supporting center initiatives
  23. Participating in focus groups and planning meetings
  24. Mentoring or training Institute faculty or staff
  25. Bringing resources into the organization
  26. Participation in marketing and recruitment efforts
  27. Working with donors
  28. Applying for and receiving grants that benefit Middlebury and the Institute
  29. Developing and/or coordinating non-degree programs and initiatives
  30. Hosting alumni events

iv. Professional Development - A hallmark of professionals is that they continually develop and update their knowledge and skills. Intentional, ongoing professional development is expected of all Institute faculty. It is expected that each faculty member will seek improvement in one (or more) of the other three evaluation categories, with recognizable efforts annually. Professional development goals may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Teaching
  2. Learning a new content area
  3. Developing, or substantially revising, a course
  4. Learning about diversity and inclusion in the classroom
  5. Learning classroom facilitation techniques
  6. Developing or improving learning assessments
  7. Testing a new teaching technique or technology
  8. Scholarship and Professional impact
  9. Formulating a research agenda
  10. Developing, or deepening, a research area
  11. Learning a new research method or tool
  12. Participating in writing accountability group
  13. Developing a consulting business plan
  14. Developing a professional website, blog, etc.
  15. Receiving training on engaging with journalists
  16. Undertaking new professional roles
  17. Middlebury/MIIS Service
  18. Taking management training
  19. Improving meeting facilitation skills
  20. Taking grant-writing training
  21. Undertaking new institutional roles
  22. Cross-category/Other
  23. Participating in mentorship as a mentee or in a peer-to-peer program
  24. Participating in professional development trainings (time-management, conflict resolution, leadership, etc.)
  25. Taking diversity training
  26. Taking a MIIS or external course
  27. Developing foreign language skills

C.6.b. Weighting Criteria

The above elements are not mutually exclusive. While demonstrated excellence in all is not necessary, outstanding achievement in some and adequate accomplishment in the remainder is expected of all members of the faculty. However, effective teaching is always essential.

All criteria necessarily include the faculty member’s behavior as a responsible Institute citizen, including serving as a quality colleague to faculty, a quality mentor to students, and an Institute community member who fosters its values and complies with its policies.

School deans, in consultation with the faculty of each degree program and the VPAA, shall establish clear guidelines for any weighting of criteria applicable to faculty evaluations in their schools.

C.6.c. Tracking

The VPAA is responsible for recording all information related to the evaluation process, including the calendar and list of faculty to be evaluated, the dates each file was forwarded and received by participants in the process, and the decisions reached at each level.

C.6.d. Commencement of evaluation process

The VPAA’s office notifies each faculty member in writing, by September 1, of the faculty member’s obligations with respect to the particular type of evaluation (annual review, contract renewal, or promotion action) that is to be undertaken in a given year. Appendix A provides a schedule that academic administration, the Faculty Evaluation Committee, and faculty being reviewed should follow. By the date stipulated on this calendar, faculty members shall submit reports on their activities (Faculty Activity Reports or FARs) based on the five criteria described in section C.6.a. FARs assist the academic administration and the Faculty Evaluation Committee in evaluating the record and the potential of the faculty members. Each school prescribes a template that clearly defines what is expected of faculty in this report.

C.6.e. Annual Reviews

During the academic year, every member of the regular faculty who in the coming academic year is not scheduled for contract renewal review or promotion review receives an annual review. These evaluations are conducted by the appropriate school deans, who rely on the Faculty Activity Reports (FARs) that each faculty member is required to provide annually to the dean. The annual review is based on a process mutually agreed upon with the school faculty, which shall include written comments from the school dean on the faculty member’s progress in the five criteria above, his/her strengths, and the areas in which improvement is needed. School deans are responsible for ensuring that each faculty member has received a copy of this review and has had an opportunity to respond to it in writing. These reviews and any responses shall become part of the faculty member’s personnel file. In the event of a disagreement, the evaluated faculty member may request that an annual review be forwarded to the Faculty Evaluation Committee for its independent evaluation. Such assessment shall be added to the faculty member’s file. See Appendix A for timetable for Annual Reviews.

C.6.f. Contract renewals

For faculty on multiple-year contracts, applications for renewal of their contracts shall be reviewed and decision made by no later than 12 months prior to the expiration of their current contract (no later than June 30, the normal expiration date). This means that for faculty serving a six-academic-year contract, the review and decision shall be completed during their fifth academic year of service under such contract, etc. In the case of a decision for non-retention, the faculty member shall be informed by the date indicated in Appendix A during the year preceding the one in which the contract expires. Failure to provide timely notification of such a decision results automatically in the offer of an extension of one academic year to the current contract.

C.6.g. Promotion

Requests for promotions shall be considered according to the schedule in Appendix A. Faculty members may apply and be considered for promotion in accordance with the following schedules and criteria:

i. Lecturer, for promotion to senior lecturer, at any time after meeting the requirement for appointment to the rank of Senior Lecturer (section C.5.a.).

ii. Lecturer or senior lecturer, for appointment as assistant or associate professor, after completion of the doctoral degree (section C.5.a.).

iii. Assistant professor, for promotion to associate professor, after four (4) years in rank, if at least two (2) of those years have been completed at the Institute, and after a total of at least five (5) years of full-time teaching or equivalent professional experience. Application for promotion can be made in the spring semester of the fifth year and promotion, if awarded, shall become effective at the start of the sixth year.

iv. Associate professor, for promotion to professor, after ten (10) years of full-time teaching at accredited institutions of higher learning and four (4) years in rank as Associate Professor, if at least three (3) of those years have been completed at the Institute, or after equivalent professional experience. Application for promotion can be made in the spring semester of the ninth year and promotion, if awarded, shall commence with the tenth year.  

Among the considerations for promotion are the criteria for measuring excellence mentioned in Section C.6.a., as well as any further guidance established in each school. The principal determining factors for promotion for all faculty members, however, are excellence in teaching and validation of professional status, as determined by the individual school. Promotion to associate professor or professor requires evidence of significant contributions to the objectives of the Institute.

All such criteria include the faculty member’s behavior as a responsible Institute citizen, including serving as a quality colleague to faculty members, quality mentor to students, and Institute community member who fosters its values and complies with its policies.  Early promotion may be considered in cases of exceptional merit. 

C.6.h. The Process of Evaluation

Evaluation of faculty members for the purpose of contract renewal or promotion is a sequential process involving review by a committee of peers, the school dean, the Faculty Evaluation Committee (FEC), the VPAA, the provost, and the president and Board of Trustees in the case of promotion to full professor. The faculty member has opportunities to respond at each stage of the process.  In cases of promotion, external reviews by qualified persons of adequate professional/academic standing are also required.

Step 1 — To initiate the evaluation process for promotion or contract renewal, faculty members prepare and submit their professional files to their school deans according to the schedule set forth in Appendix A.

A complete file shall contain, but is not limited to, the following items:

  • the annual Faculty Activity Report (FAR) based on the criteria in Section C.6.a.;
  • quantitative and qualitative student evaluations;
  • samples of publications;
  • other evidence of professional currency and activity;
  • community service, fundraising, etc.;
  • letters of recommendation (optional).

It is the individual faculty member’s responsibility to initiate the evaluation process by submitting a complete, well-organized file by the deadline specified in the evaluation schedule (Appendix A). Should timely action not be taken by a faculty member, the school dean shall combine the relevant student course evaluation data and annual reviews into a rudimentary dossier, which is forwarded to the Peer Review Committee.

Step 2 – The process of forming the Peer Review Committees, including the role, if any, of the program chairs, shall be as agreed upon between the dean and the faculty of each school. Members of the committee shall be regular faculty members who, in the judgment of the dean, possess the professional expertise to evaluate the dossier. In the event that for good cause shown to the satisfaction of the VPAA, a candidate objects to a committee member’s participation, the VPAA shall direct that a replacement be appointed.

The Peer Review Committee shall evaluate the faculty member’s record and present to the dean a written report, inclusive of its recommendation (contract renewal/non-renewal, promotion/non-promotion, or approval/non-approval of a sabbatical proposal).

On the same date the Peer Review Committee recommendation is sent to the dean, a copy is forwarded to the faculty member, who has five (5) working days in which to submit a response to the committee’s evaluation and/or additional information to the school dean. This period may be extended if the faculty member is unavailable to receive and comment on the report.

Step 2a – The soliciting of external reviews in cases of promotion review shall be the responsibility of the VPAA. To this end, the faculty member and the school dean shall both submit a list of names, including contact information, of three persons possessing adequate professional/academic expertise and qualifications to evaluate the dossier and to judge also on the basis of the mission of the program with which the candidate is affiliated. External reviewers should be established scholars in the candidate’s field, or leaders in the profession.  In order to guarantee sufficient time and to facilitate the process, the name lists must be submitted to the VPAA no later than October 1. The VPAA shall then obtain a written evaluation from one person on each list. 

The external reviewers shall confine their evaluation to the faculty member’s record of scholarship/professional achievement as well as professional stature and present to the VPAA a written report, inclusive of their recommendation (promotion/non-promotion).

The external reviews shall be obtained in a period of time concurrent with the peer-review process. The faculty member will have access to the opinions of the external reviewers, but not to the external reviewers’ identities, thus preserving the confidentiality of the process. Restricting access is meant to ensure frank and honest assessments of the candidate, while still providing useful input into the faculty member’s formative evaluation.  The deans, FEC, and VPAA will have access to all materials submitted in connection with promotion review, including the external evaluations.

Step 3 — The school dean, whose review must explicitly acknowledge the candidate’s written response(s), if any, adds his/her evaluation of the faculty member to the file and forwards it to the Faculty Evaluation Committee. The dean’s final evaluation shall be issued no sooner than five (5) working days after receiving the peer evaluation and the external reviews in cases of promotion.

On the same date, a copy of the dean’s evaluation is sent by the school dean directly to the faculty member, who has five (5) working days in which to submit, to the Faculty Evaluation Committee, a response to the dean’s evaluation. This period may be extended if the faculty member is unavailable to receive and comment on the report.

Step 4 — The Faculty Evaluation Committee will review the file, explicitly acknowledging any written responses and other materials from the faculty member. The Committee may request additional information from any party involved in the case. If the Committee finds that the faculty member has not been accorded due process during the evaluation procedure, it shall forward such a finding to the VPAA, with copies forwarded to the school dean and to the faculty member on the same date. In doing so, the Committee shall consider whether in its judgment, the evaluation has proceeded in accordance with policies of the Faculty Handbook.

Unless the Faculty Evaluation Committee finds that the faculty member has not been accorded due process during the evaluation procedure, it will then make its own independent evaluation. The Committee shall issue its final evaluation no sooner than five (5) working days after receiving the file from the dean. The Faculty Evaluation Committee’s independent evaluation may take one of three forms: (a) concurrence with the recommendations of the school dean; (b) non-concurrence with the recommendation of the school dean; or (c) a recommendation, for reasons stated, that the VPAA invoke the one-year extension provision (see section 6.10) or, under special circumstances, a longer extension to provide the faculty member sufficient time to demonstrate enhanced performance.

Step 5 — The Faculty Evaluation Committee places its finding of due process and its evaluation of the faculty member in the file, with copies forwarded to the faculty member, the school dean and the VPAA on the same date. The faculty member has five (5) working days in which to submit a response to the Committee’s evaluation and/or additional material to the VPAA.

The VPAA, whose review must explicitly acknowledge the candidate’s written response issued following the report of the Faculty Evaluation Committee, if any, shall issue a final report including evaluation of the file and recommendation, no sooner than five (5) working days after receipt of the file. This report is added to the file, with copies forwarded to the faculty member and the school dean on the same date.

In the case of renewal of a contract, the VPAA will make a recommendation to the provost.  The provost will make the decision about the contract renewal. 

In the case of promotion to full professor, the recommendation will be forwarded to the president, who, in consultation with the provost, will make a decision, with the final decision to be made by the Board of Trustees. 

Step 6 — In cases other than promotion to full professor, should the faculty member disagree with the decision of the provost, she/he may appeal the decision in writing to the president within one (1) week of being notified of the decision. The decision of the president is final.

A faculty member being evaluated may request an additional five (5) days in addition to the five (5) working days provided, for the purpose of obtaining materials deemed critical to the case.

C.6.i. Sabbatical Leaves

The Institute provides opportunities for professional development and research through faculty sabbatical leaves, subject to available financial resources and program requirements.

After each six (6) year period of full-time (or full-time equivalent) teaching at the Institute, faculty members become eligible to apply for a sabbatical leave.  Application for sabbatical leave is made in the fall semester of the sixth year of full-time teaching (or full-time equivalent) and, if granted, leave commences in the seventh year.  Before applying for a subsequent sabbatical leave, faculty members must again complete a minimum of six (6) years of full-time (or full-time equivalent) teaching.

Faculty members must make formal application for a sabbatical leave through their school deans, who forward requests to the Faculty Evaluation Committee. The VPAA takes action based on the recommendation of the Faculty Evaluation Committee and school dean, and on the needs of the Institute. Applications should be made before September 15 of the year preceding the academic year for which the leave is requested. The process for review of sabbatical proposals is the same as the process for review of applications for contract renewal or promotion, beginning with step 2.

The principal criteria considered for the granting of sabbatical leave include: the nature and quality of the research or professional project proposed by the candidate for the period of the sabbatical; the utility of the project to the applicant's professional growth and to the reputation and academic programs at the Institute; and the ability of the Institute to continue its academic programs during the absence of the professor seeking a sabbatical. Faculty members who are granted sabbatical leaves normally are obligated to return to their regular teaching positions at the Institute for at least one (1) year following the sabbatical and to give a full report on their research or other activities during the sabbatical.

Schools may modify these criteria for sabbatical leaves to support the specific mission and objectives of the school. In that event, school deans, in consultation with their faculty and the VPAA, shall establish clear guidelines for framing such sabbatical leave criteria.

Sabbatical leave may be granted for an entire academic year at fifty percent (50%) of the annual salary or for one (1) semester at full salary. The sabbatical period shall be counted as time served at the Institute for the purposes of calculating promotion and contract renewal periods. The Institute shall continue the faculty member's health and retirement benefits during the sabbatical under the same terms as during regular service at the Institute.

In the event that a faculty member’s request for a sabbatical leave is denied by a school dean, the Faculty Evaluation Committee shall evaluate the request independently, based on the Institute criteria and any modifications made therein by the school, as described above.

C.6.j. Role of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Institute (VPAA)

The VPAA of the Institute has approval/denial authority for all faculty sabbaticals, and recommends faculty contract renewals, promotions, and re-appointments of deans to the provost, subject in some cases to review by president or Board of Trustees, as outlined in the procedure above. The VPAA may elect to recommend an extension of an existing contract up to one (1) year, or, under special circumstances, a longer extension in those cases when it is judged that more time is needed to evaluate faculty performance for a contract renewal decision.

C.6.k. Leave without Pay

In its continuing efforts to provide its faculty with opportunities for professional research and development, the Institute shall consider options for academic leave without pay on a case-by-case basis. A faculty member may apply for leave without pay, normally before September 15 of the year preceding the academic year in which the leave is requested, by submitting formal written application to the VPAA through the school dean. Leave taken without pay shall not be considered time served at the Institute for purposes of calculating promotion and contract renewal periods, and benefits shall be suspended for the length of the leave. Every effort should be made to schedule a period of leave without pay in a manner that does not disrupt the Institute's academic programs.