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 largely focused at that level.
Each untenured Assistant Professor will have two mentors among the Associate and Full Professors. Generally at least one will share some research background with 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.
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.
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 Academics organizes three to four Faculty Development Workshops for tenure-track Assistant Professors each semester. They include a general orientation, a discussion of the third year review process, discussions of teaching, research, and other professional development issues. 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 (see all materials in Peer Observation folder under Faculty Resources and Policies on the Lynch School server). 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 both Mentors (informal, constructive feedback only)
- Second year observation by Department Chair (summative review informing second year contract renewal and third year interim review)
- Third year observation by Associate Dean of Faculty and Academics (summative review informing third year interim review and fourth year contract renewal)
- Between interim review and year up for tenure, observations by are made by a Mentor and current or past Department Chair (summative review informing promotion and tenure evaluation).
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 (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 of Faculty and Academics 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 review by the Promotion and Tenure Committee (see Peer Observation folder under Faculty Resources and Policies on the Lynch School server).
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 acount 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 (see front page of evaluation forms for description of the peer observation process).
Established teaching observations rubrics will be made available so that the faculty member can choose among them and modify to guide the teaching observation (see Peer Observation Forms A-G under Faculty Resources and Policies on the Lynch School server).
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