This FAQ is primarily for Philosophy, Religion, and Humanities faculty, but includes some information that may be useful to all faculty. If you have questions about the implementation of Faculty Evaluation in your discipline, contact your program leadership or your dean. If you have questions about the Philosophy department's implementation or if your question isn't answered here, you are welcome to contact me.

Click on a question to open the answer.

  • How was my portfolio level or year assignment determined?
    • The portfolio policy distinguishes two sets of faculty: (1) those with three or fewer years of service and (2) those with more than three years of service.
      • Faculty in group (1) submit a first-, second-, or third-year portfolio, based on calendar years of service.
      • Faculty in group (2) submit a third-year portfolio in the evaluation cycle assigned and every three years thereafter. Because we wanted to spread out the workload for faculty and evaluators, we randomly assigned one-third of the faculty in each program to each of the next three evaluation cycles (2002, 2003, or 2004).
  • What does my year assignment mean?
    • Each faculty member in A&H who has more than three years of service at ACC was randomly assigned an evaluation cycle in order to implement the portfolio system. Your year assignment represents the academic year in which you must submit a third-year portfolio. For instance, if your assignment is 2003, then you will submit a portfolio on November 1 of the 2002-2003 academic year. Because we are implementing this new system, the deadline for this year has been extended to December 7, 2001. (This extension applies only  to A&H faculty.)
  • Will someone remind me to submit a portfolio in two years, or do I have to try to remember?
    • Each year, the dean will notify all A&H faculty of their current portfolio levels and due dates. Even so, since your portfolio could include material from the three previous years, it makes sense to collect the required materials as you go.
  • Why am I required to submit the portfolio level indicated in my memo from my department chair?
    • According to the portfolio guidelines, if you have three or fewer years of service, then you must submit a first-, second-, or third-year portfolio. Because the portfolio system is based on calendar years of service at ACC, the assignment of a portfolio level is based on your hire date. For instance, if you were hired in August, 2001, then you are now in your first year, so you must submit a first-year portfolio. Similarly, if you were hired in August, 2000, then you are now in your second year, so you must submit a second-year portfolio. We based portfolio assignments on a hire date baseline of January 1. For instance, if you were hired before January 1, 2001, you must submit a second-year portfolio this year, but if you were hired after January 1, 2001, you must submit a first-year portfolio this year.
  • My portfolio level doesn't match my longevity at ACC. Is this a problem?
    • This is only an administrative issue. Your longevity is based on how many semesters you have taught at ACC, not on calendar years. You can actually earn longevity at a rate different from the passage of calendar years (depending on how many semesters you teach in any given year). The portfolio system, however, is based on calendar years. For this reason, your portfolio level assignment is based on your hire date. (see Why am I required to submit this portfolio level?)
  • What is the evaluation period for portfolios?
    • The evaluation period for the first-, second-, and third-year portfolios is fairly straightforward: these portfolios are cumulative, so materials are drawn from your first, second, and third years of service at ACC. (If you are in your first semester of service, this may pose a challenge. Contact your program coordinator for additional guidance.)
    • For faculty who have more then three years of service, the portfolio is submitted every three years. The third-year portfolio covers the three previous academic years. (For this purpose, summer semesters belong to the previous academic year, e.g., summer of 2001 is part of the 2000-2001 academic year.) For instance, if your third-year portfolio is due in the current cycle (2001-2002), it will cover the following academic years: 1998-99, 1999-2000, and 2000-01 (through the summer of 2001)..
  • If I don't have to submit a portfolio this year, do I have to do any other faculty evaluation activities this year?
    • All faculty are evaluated every year, even though (after the first three years) portfolios are only required every three years. You will still do student evaluations according to the schedule published by the Faculty Evaluation Office, and you are still required to complete the online Faculty Input Form. For details, see the Evaluation Procedures on the Faculty Evaluation website, especially Section III, "Faculty Responsibilities."
  • The portfolio guidelines are unclear. Do I submit every syllabus, exam, etc., from every course I've taught during the evaluation period?
    • The guidelines are susceptible of a variety of interpretations, and in general it is the responsibility of the dean and program leadership to notify you of their interpretation and expectations. Note that programs and task forces are given leeway to require additional items, so long as their evaluation plans are approved by the dean. Some programs are interpreting the guidelines differently, and in some cases programs have additional requirements of faculty. If you have a question that isn't addressed here, contact me, your program coordinator, or the dean's office.
    • In the description of the second-year portfolio, "first-year portfolio" does not mean that you must re-submit your first-year portfolio again. Rather, this ambiguous phrase refers to the description of the contents of the first-year portfolio, namely, a syllabus for each course taught, major assignments, tests, projects, etc. Similarly, the phrase "second-year portfolio" in the description of the third-year portfolio means the description of the contents and not the actual portfolio submitted the year before.
    • In the PHIL/RELG/HUMA program, I am interpreting the guidelines as follows:
      • Syllabi: Submit one syllabus representative of each course number you have taught (not each section/course) during the evaluation period. For instance, if you taught five sections of PHIL1301 during the entire evaluation period, you would nevertheless submit one PHIL1301 syllabus. Distance learning courses are assumed to be different enough from "traditional" courses that they are counted as distinct course numbers. For instance, if you taught one or more sections of HUMA1301 and one or more sections of HUMA1301PCM, then you should submit one syllabus for HUMA1301 and one syllabus for HUMA1301PCM.
      • Instructional materials: Instructions for instructional materials (exams, major assignments, handouts, etc.) are similar to those for syllabi. You should submit representative samples of your instructional materials for for each course number you taught during the evaluation period. Recall that the purpose of the portfolio is to assess teaching effectiveness. For this reason, your teaching materials should be representative of your courses and your teaching philosophy, and should therefore include a range of items such as exams, major assignments, or handouts. As above, distance learning courses will be treated as separate course numbers.
  • I don't use handouts in my courses. Will I be penalized?
    • The essential point of this question concerns the approach to instructional materials submitted as part of an evaluative system. My approach is to assess the effectiveness of instructional materials in terms of (1) clarity and organization and (2) appropriateness to the pursuit of departmental and individual course outcomes.
    • The mere lack of a particular type of instructional materials is not grounds for "losing points" on the evaluation. As noted above, the purpose of the portfolio is a summative assessment of teaching effectiveness. If you are reflective about your course construction, your choice of types of assignments is motivated by your teaching philosophy and what you are trying to accomplish (outcomes), and that motivation should be evident in your course materials.
    • Significant mismatch of teaching materials, on the one hand, and teaching philosophy, departmentally defined course outcomes, or the college's mission constitutes grounds for "losing points."
  • What is the statement of teaching philosophy and the course commentary? How will they be evaluated?
    • In general terms, your statement of teaching philosophy should articulate your guiding principles as a teacher and explain why those principles are significant in the conduct of your classes. (See the description in the Portfolio Procedures published by Faculty Evaluation.) Since there is room for legitimate disagreement about teaching philosophy, this item cannot be evaluated according to some independent standard of correctness. I consider the statement as a reflective exercise that gives each of us an opportunity to step back and think about teaching and to articulate the principles and values that guide our practice.
    • Nevertheless, the college and our department have legitimate interests in certain issues regarding teaching philosophy, and your statement will be evaluated as an element in teaching effectiveness. In the PHIL/RELG/HUMA department, the rating for the statement of teaching philosophy will be based on two criteria:
      • the degree to which the principles and values articulated harmonize with and support the missions of the college and of our department
      • whether these principles and values are evident in the design of your courses
    • I think that these criteria are sufficiently independent of the issue of "correctness" of teaching philosophy that it is possible to evaluate the statement without implying that any particular teaching philosophy is "wrong" or misguided. I have always welcomed diversity of view and approach in our department, but at the same time there is a legitimate need for some minimum threshold of consensus regarding our mission and the purpose of our courses.
    • The statement of teaching philosophy is a global statement of guiding principles and values. The Course Commentary, which is required in the third-year portfolio, is an opportunity to discuss in greater detail the implementation of one's teaching philosophy in a particular course. In this commentary, you will choose a representative course and explain in some detail how the principles and values you have articulated motivated your choice of instructional modalities, types of assignments, evaluation/grading system, etc.

This page was last updated 01/18/2005 08:23:41 PM by mdaude.


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