Department chairs and deans face many challenges in their roles. One of the most difficult is the evaluation of faculty regarding teaching effectiveness. This is particularly challenging for two reasons: (1) lack of formal preparation for instructors concerning teaching, and (2) limited choice of evaluation tools. One tool, classroom observation, can help address both of these issues and provide an objective measure of teaching effectiveness.
HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
The challenge of faculty evaluation is to simultaneously foster faculty development and fulfill the institution’s goals and mission, says Larry Braskamp, professor of Education at Loyola University Chicago and advocate of a humanistic approach to faculty evaluation.
“Evaluation involves setting the culture and climate for faculty to develop, and it has to take on an openness and respect for the individual to experiment and fail. You encourage faculty members to self-assess.
Evaluations mandated by institutions generally assess application of faculty expertise to teaching, research, and service. But as Keig (1994) states in Collaborative Peer Review, “Clearly,
Tina Ashford, assistant professor of information technology, was among the first faculty members at Macon State College to use an electronic portfolio to support her bid for tenure. Although the portfolio’s format wasn’t a factor in her tenure bid, she found that it offered several advantages over the traditional paper-based format that might make it attractive both to individual faculty members and tenure and promotion committees.
The primary cost associated with an academic department is personnel. Personnel can include secretarial and support staff, but is typically dominated by faculty. In fact, as much as 95 percent of a department’s budget can be tied directly to faculty costs. This means that department heads and chairs have little room to negotiate around faculty and must instead face challenges directly. Compounding the chair’s ability to create change is the reality of academic freedom and tenure, both of which can immobilize progress and growth.