Faculty Policies and Procedures
lynch school of education faculty handbook
C. Mentoring of Untenured/Tenure Track Professors
The Lynch School provides untenured professors with a mentorship relationship with tenured professors to help guide them in their professional development, and to advise as needed on a range of academic and professional matters. Since the majority of untenured/tenure track professors are assistant professors these initiatives are focused at that level.
The mentorship initiative was developed to support faculty in their first years at Boston College and does not play a direct or formal role in the faculty evaluation process. The spirit of the mentoring relationship, however, should be to help untenured assistant professors in their pursuit of promotion and tenure.
No written reports are required, though some mentoring teams may wish to develop a written statement of goals and activities to achieve those goals.
Each untenured assistant professor will have two mentors among the associate and full professors. Normally, of the two faculty mentors, one will be in the area of teaching and research of the junior faculty member. The Department Chair, in consultation with the junior faculty member, will make the initial assignment of mentors. At any time the junior faculty member may request that one or more of the mentors be changed.
Assignment of mentors will take place within one month of the initial appointment to the Lynch School faculty. Under normal circumstances, the mentorship team will remain in place during the entire untenured appointment. Mentors will meet with the untenured assistant professor at least once per semester to discuss relevant professional matters; more frequent meetings are encouraged. Goals and scheduled meetings/discussions will be set by the mentors and mentee.
In addition, the Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs has organized two to three Faculty Development Workshops for tenure-track Assistant Professors each semester. They include a general orientation, a discussion of the third year review process, and discussions of teaching and research. Boston College faculty and staff are invited as resources and the format is designed to encourage sharing and mutual support. Additional topics are identified by participants.
i. Faculty Peer Observation of Teaching
As part of the current support provided for junior faculty through the Associate Dean’s office, a system of mandatory faculty observations are in place for pre-tenure faculty. Observation(s) in the first year are formative. In subsequent years, observations inform the Third Year Review and Tenure and Promotion decisions.
- First year observation by Mentor (informal, constructive feedback only)
- Second year observation by Department Chair (informal, constructive feedback only)
- Third year (or at least once before interim review) observation by Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs and by one of the faculty members mentors. (evaluative memos with candidate’s choice of observation rubric are placed in file for purposes of contract renewal vote)
- Between interim review and year up for tenure, observations by Mentor and current or past Department Chair (evaluative memo with candidate’s choice of observation rubric is placed in file for purposes of contract renewal vote)
Tenured associate professors who seek promotion to full professor will be observed twice before going up for promotion, once in the Spring prior to the year up for promotion and once in the Fall semester of the formal P&T process. (In exceptional circumstances, e.g., if someone has a sabbatical that would conflict with such an observation schedule, the candidate can work with the Associate Dean to implement an alternative calendar.) One of the observers will be the Associate Dean and the second an LSOE full professor chosen by the observed faculty member. Ideally, the two visits should be representative of the professor’s range of teaching levels and formats. In each case, the observed faculty member will choose an observation rubric, which will be filed along with an evaluative memo by the observer for purposes of P&T committee consideration.
Non-tenured faculty will be provided the opportunity to visit the classrooms of senior faculty peers who volunteer to be observed.
The LSOE will promote voluntary opportunities for tenured faculty to be observed by peers for the purposes of formative evaluation and improvement of teaching.
Peer observation of teaching by tenured faculty will be promoted by taking account of their efforts as part of faculty service to the LSOE.
The Dean’s Office will sponsor annually, at least one faculty forum or similar community conversation on teaching.
In line with best practices, the observing and observed faculty members will communicate about the observed class(es) at least one time before and after the peer observation.
Established teaching observation rubrics will be made available so that the faculty member can choose among them and modify to guide the teaching observation.
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