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Lynch School of Education

Faculty Policies and Procedures

lynch school of education faculty handbook

B. Review of Lynch School of Education Faculty

i. Appointment, Tenure, and Promotion

The information provided here is intended to identify general guidelines for appointment, tenure, and promotion rather than absolute criteria, since these are outlined in Chapter II, Sections 4-8 of the University Statutes. Moreover, each promotion and tenure decision is unique in its own way.

Untenured faculty in tenure track positions are normally required to initiate the process for tenure review no later than the end of their fifth year in rank. Faculty may, however, request that they be considered for tenure and/or promotion at any point during their time at the Lynch School of Education. Associate Professors seeking promotion to Full Professor may submit their materials for consideration for promotion at any point, post-tenure.

Specific instructions are available to faculty seeking tenure and/or promotion through the Office of the Associate Dean of Faculty and Academics (See Lynch School/BC Promotion and Tenure Policies under Lynch School Faculty Resources and Policies in Blackboard). Faculty are required to include a narrative essay on each area of faculty responsibility (teaching, advising, research, and service), with an explanation of what they see as past accomplishments in these areas, current work and trajectory for the future.

A detailed CV should be submitted along with the documentation listed above. The CV should be organized in the order of most recent publications, and the publications should be organized to distinguish books, book chapters, journal publications, and publications in newsletters, newspapers and/or the popular press, as well as distinguishing those under review, in press, and in print. Moreover, journal publications should make clear which journals are refereed. If in doubt, please consult your mentor, the O’Neill Librarian, or the Associate Dean of Faculty and Academics.

Finally, remember that those reviewing your materials may not be familiar with your discipline or your specific area of expertise. Therefore, it might be helpful to provide a brief summary of the major journals in which your work has been published and/or the impact factor of those journals to aid in the review process. Please note that it is not necessary to provide copies of your conference presentations or of the grants you have submitted. If you would like to submit these documents they can be submitted in pdf format.

In support of the Lynch School mission, the criteria used for recommending faculty members for appointment, tenure, and promotion relate to three discrete aspects of faculty activity—teaching, research, and service.

Teaching

Because teaching is at the heart of the Lynch School mission, the demonstrated capacity to teach effectively is a critically important element of faculty performance. Since teaching occurs in many ways and in many settings, its evaluation should encompass the full range of a faculty member’s instructional activities. This obviously includes classroom teaching in the various programs of the School at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. It also includes teaching that occurs in directed or independent studies or other tutorial settings as well as the direction of theses, projects, and dissertations in the various degree programs.

The review of the faculty member’s teaching should be as comprehensive as possible and should evaluate such factors as:

  • course design as reflected in course syllabi
  • knowledge of material
  • ability to interest students in the material
  • extent of preparation for classes
  • teaching method
  • creativity
  • use of technology

Faculty members who apply for tenure generally present an articulated philosophy of teaching and a record of excellent evaluations of graduate and undergraduate courses taught. They present evidence through course syllabi that their knowledge of relevant theory and research is current and appropriate. In addition to evaluating these aspects of a faculty member’s classroom performance in specific courses, the review should also take into account the way the faculty member relates to and serves as a role model to students in and out of class. In particular, this should include the way in which a faculty member relates to advisees, graduate and undergraduate research assistants, supervisors, and other students under his or her supervision.

Boston College administers formal course evaluations each semester, and the results of these regular evaluations are taken into account in the review. In addition, evaluations are solicited from a wide range of other individuals who are in a position to evaluate the candidate’s teaching. These may include both current and former students from various programs as well as colleagues in jointly taught classes or seminars, or who are otherwise in a position to evaluate the faculty member’s teaching. The LSOE Peer Evaluation of Teaching guidelines specify the practices used for summative assessments, which are considered by the Promotion and Tenure Committee (See Peer Observations under Lynch School Faculty Resources and Policies in Blackboard).

Research

Teaching and learning are reciprocal intellectual activities, and faculty members are expected to be actively engaged in scholarly reflection, research, and writing throughout the course of their professional careers. For the purposes of the tenure and promotion review, a higher premium is placed on original scholarship that makes unique contributions to help advance a field of study.

Scholarship may be expressed in many different forms, including:

  • Publication of an essay, article, or book. The most fundamental form in most disciplines represented at the Lynch School is a single-authored article or book, although it may also include collaborative co-authored work, particularly if the faculty member is the first author. Faculty are also encouraged to publish with current or former students.
  • Grant seeking, particularly the pursuit of external funding to support one’s research is increasingly important to the research endeavor. Resources of the Lynch School and the wider university are provided to ensure that faculty have access to support for proposal preparation.
  • Editing may be construed as original scholarship, depending on the nature and scope of the project.
  • Consultation through which the scholar brings to bear the results of his or her scholarly knowledge and insight may represent genuine scholarly contributions. School/community partnerships and interdisciplinary collaborations with schools and communities is increasingly recognized as important for teacher educators and human service professionals. Such work contributes importantly to the scholarship of the Lynch School faculty.

The Lynch School looks at a faculty member’s overall contribution to a discipline or field of study through a steady, programmatic record of accomplishments. In evaluating a faculty member, LSOE uses the following guidelines to assess scholarly productivity:

  • Whether the contribution is sufficient to merit the tenure or promotion involved
  • The regard in which the faculty member is held by peers in the discipline, both as a specialist and a generalist
  • The nature and value of the faculty member’s contribution to the field
  • Quantity and quality of published books and articles (the quantity of contributions is assessed according to the individual faculty member’s circumstances during the given time period and the type of publications submitted for review)
  • Lectures and papers presented in a critical peer environment
  • Participation in certain professional societies, including service on editorial boards
  • Frequency of citations of work, as evidenced through Social Science Citation Index and other indices
  • Evaluation by peer scholars from both inside and outside the University to assess such factors as soundness of research and argumentation, overall significance, and extent of influence of the work

Each external referee is supplied with a file of representative writings of the faculty member under review and is asked to indicate:

  • Whether a person bearing similar credentials would be promoted in the evaluator’s own institution
  • Whether a person bearing similar credentials would be promoted in the evaluator’s own institution
  • The regard in which the faculty member is held by peers in the discipline, both as a specialist and a generalis
  • The nature and value of the faculty member’s contribution to the field

Service

Service is an important measure of one’s citizenship and is essential to achieving a community of scholars within the Lynch School, profession, and the wider community. Since the work of administering the School and the University is done through a structure of committees, service on committees is perhaps the most common means through which faculty members contribute to the life of the school and the wider university. Such service may take a number of forms, including:

  • service on committees and administrative duties in the School and wider University
  • service as consultant, writer, or speaker to boards and agencies
  • membership on board and agency committees
  • services to civic organizations, community agencies, or other forms of public service
  • service to professional organizations related to one’s area of expertise
  • service to other departments of the University through teaching or invited lectureships

Generally such activities are judged as service if they are done pro bono or as a volunteer.

ii. Annual Review of All Faculty Members

The annual review of faculty concludes at the end of December and covers the preceding calendar year (January – December.) The Faculty Annual Review (FAR) is completed online, and is accessible throughout the year via Agora.  Faculty are encouraged to update the FAR as events and publications occur throughout the year.

The Dean, Associate Dean of Faculty and Academics and the relevant Department Chair examine the materials submitted by each full-time tenure-track faculty member along with all other relevant information available in the Dean’s office (e.g., course evaluations, teaching loads, course syllabi, advising and dissertation work, etc.) and rate these materials in the manner described below. The results of this examination are used for three purposes: (1) communication to each full-time faculty member regarding areas of strength and weakness during the preceding year; (2) allotment of each full-time faculty member’s salary increment; and, (3) allocation of teaching load for the upcoming year.

In the area of research, credit for the annual salary increment is given only for those items that include full citations and were published (that is, in print or online) during the year under review. Publications are organized on the FAR form as books, book chapters, journal articles, or publications in newsletters, newspapers, and/or the popular press, and are also listed as under review, in press, and in print.

Salary increments are based on the fulfillment of the expectations of faculty as listed above and discussed in the University Statutes. Specific increments are determined by the Dean and are based on the Annual Review process. From time to time an individual faculty member’s salary may be deemed too low due to changes in the job market since that faculty member was hired. If this situation arises, some of the total Lynch School salary increment pool may be used to make a market adjustment to that faculty member’s salary.

Reduced Teaching Loads
At the time of the annual review process, the Dean, Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Department Chair also review applications for reduced teaching loads. The Lynch School provides faculty with support for research in the form of reduced teaching loads. That support, however, must be balanced with instructional needs and the goal of providing a strong offering of courses as well as excellent research and teaching opportunities each semester. In addition, market forces impact the allocation of resources as the Lynch School tries to attract and retain the most productive and well-qualified faculty and students.

Graduate Assistantships

All first, second, and third year doctoral students are awarded assistantships by the Lynch School, and various faculty members are assigned to mentor these students.  In addition, many graduate students are hired to work on specific projects or in administrative offices in order to meet the needs of those projects and offices. 

Criteria for Assigning Graduate Assistantships

  • We seek to provide research assistants with excellent research experiences and mentoring.
  • We provide graduate teaching fellows with teaching experiences in Lynch School courses in which they are developing expertise.
  • We place students in areas in which we need additional administrative support for faculty and professional staff.
  • We assign new untenured assistant professors a full graduate assistant for their years prior to promotion to associate professor, assuming they demonstrate through the annual review process that they are productively engaged in research.
  • Faculty who are on sabbatical typically mentor half-time assistants if they have an active research agenda and are able to assure the Dean’s Office of their capacity to mentor students if they are absent from the Boston area.

Criteria for a Reduced Teaching Load

Each faculty member is expected to meet a level of productivity equal to teaching three courses each semester. Most active researchers teach four courses per year, with the expectation that they sustain their research productivity. Those who do not meet the minimum criteria to be classified as an active researcher are assigned five courses if they have significant responsibilities that are equivalent to the workload required for a sixth course.

There is some flexibility in this practice. Additional course reductions are sometimes given on a temporary basis for the following reasons:

  • Heavy administrative responsibilities, such as serving as a department chair of one of the two large departments.
  • A superior research agenda. Examples of such an agenda include a combination of at least three of the following: serving as a journal editor on prestigious and labor-intensive journal editorial boards; writing major grants which lead to buyouts in subsequent years; heavy dissertation advisement which leads to publications by and/or with students; significant peer reviewed publications; work on a book for which there is a contract.
  • Untenured faculty are assigned a reduced teaching load for their first year of service. If their research is strong, they are assigned a two/two load for all of their remaining pre-tenure years.

In all cases, the needs of the faculty, the needs of the Lynch School, and the demands of the departments are balanced in determining faculty teaching load and graduate assistant assignments.

Any faculty member who has concerns about the outcome of his/her review can meet with the Dean to discuss these concerns. In the event of an error, the letter concerning the decision will be revised.

iii. Third Year Review of Untenured Faculty Members
Section 6E of Chapter II of the University Statutes requires tenured faculty members in each unit to review periodically the academic achievement of untenured faculty members and to vote on whether they should be recommended for renewal. Accordingly, senior faculty members of the Lynch School meet annually to review the performance of tenure-track faculty members and vote on contract renewal of faculty in their department following the second and fourth year of service.

The annual review materials of faculty members in their second year are sent to tenured faculty members. In their third year of employment, all junior faculty members submit interim review materials to the Tenure and Promotion Committee, which reviews teaching, scholarship, and service activities.

This interim review strives to achieve three important purposes:

  • increase the tenure rate through use of more focused and direct feedback on faculty progress
  • inform the planning of faculty development opportunities
  • assist the Dean in the on-going review of faculty performance

By January 30th of an untenured faculty member's third year at the University, the faculty member submits an electronic file containing a summary similar to that submitted at the time of review for promotion and tenure (with the exception that no external reviews will be sought). This expanded annual review includes documentation and material supporting the faculty member's full accomplishments over the previous two and a half years.

The faculty member provides documentation in the areas of:

  • teaching, which may incorporate a teaching portfolio that includes documents such as professional development activities, course evaluation forms with written comments, written comments by faculty members who have observed classes, written comments concerning course observations by the Associate Dean for Faculty and Academics and another peer observer, course syllabi, and a statement of teaching philosophy
  • scholarship, including copies of publications and presentations, and a research narrative
  • service, including lists of Lynch School program coordination responsibilities, University and Lynch School committees, editorial review work, contributions to professional associations, and a service narrative.

The Promotion and Tenure Committee reviews these materials and sends a written summary of their review to the Dean with a copy to the faculty member. The letter makes recommendations regarding renewal of the faculty member's contract, areas of accomplishment, and areas in need of attention.

Tenured faculty members vote on contract renewals of untenured faculty members in September of the untenured faculty member's second and fourth year of service. The information gathered during the interim review informs the deliberations of the tenured faculty in voting for the contract renewal of untenured faculty members in their fourth year of service.

Untenured faculty members should note that they may request that the Promotion and Tenure Committee review their annual review materials in any given year. The Promotion and Tenure Committee will provide the faculty member with written feedback.

iv: Full-time LSOE Non-Tenure Track (NTT) faculty

The new LSOE policy on Non-Tenure Track Faculty will be posted here in mid-September.

» Continue to C. Mentoring of Untenured/ Tenure Track Professors

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