Evaluating Faculty Performance

By Carol L. Colbeck | Go to book overview

EDITOR’S NOTES

Forces for change within and outside academe are modifying faculty work and the way that work is—or should be—evaluated. These forces include redefinitions of faculty work roles, innovations in technology, external pressures to adopt corporate management models, and increased demands for institutional accountability.

A strong force for change emerged from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Ernest Boyer’s landmark monograph (1990) Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate challenged faculty and administrators to redefine academic work in terms of the four “scholarships” of discovery, integration, application, and teaching. This short monograph and its sequel, Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate (Glassick, Huber, and Maeroff, 1997), have had profound influences on the conduct and evaluation of faculty work. Faculty work was—and often continues to be—defined by three roles: teaching, research, and service. The increasing influence of Scholarship Reconsidered and Scholarship Assessed on perceptions and evaluation of faculty work, however, pervades this volume. seven of the nine chapters in Evaluating Faculty Performance cite one or both, and two chapters use the four scholarships as organizing frameworks.

Advances in computer technologies exert simultaneous internal and external pressures for change in the conduct and evaluation of faculty work. Innovative technologies are opening new opportunities for faculty to interact with constituents, colleagues, and content across all faculty roles, whether those roles are labeled teaching, research, and service or discovery, integration, application, and teaching. Technological advances also allow new methods for data collection and analysis for evaluating faculty work. some advocates of increased use of technology in academic work also assert that faculty work roles can and should be “unbundled” in on-campus as well as virtual classrooms (Paulson, 2002). This division of labor may lead to cost savings but risks deprofessionalizing faculty as academic work becomes increasingly bureaucratized and managed by administrators rather than by academics themselves (Rhoades, 1998).

Just as technological advances, global competition, and out-moded practices spur dramatic re-creations of corporate processes, advocates for management change in higher education suggest that colleges and universities should become simultaneously more cost efficient and customer centered (Hairston, 1996). Pressures to copy corporate management practices are shaping proposed and actual changes in evaluation of faculty work. Total Quality Management and Continuous Quality Improvement may have been just administrative fads in higher education (Birnbaum, 2000), but their

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