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June 22, 2000

Trial of plan for faculty evaluation of department chairs set to begin

Faculty would gain a voice in evaluating the job performances of their department chairpersons, under a system proposed by a University Senate task force.

The process would be similar to the current student evaluations of teaching coordinated by the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching. Summaries of faculty evaluations (but not the individual survey forms filled out by faculty) would be forwarded to both deans and chairpersons.

University Senate vice president Carol Redmond, who chaired the task force that began studying the issue last fall, told Senate Council members June 12: "We concluded that faculty should have an opportunity to assess the performance of department chairs, and that the principle goal of the process would be to provide deans with faculty evaluations of the chairs' performance which the deans could then use as a component in the annual evaluation of the chairperson."

Provost James Maher described the proposal at the April meeting of the Deans Council.

Deans of the engineering and public health schools have agreed to try out the system in their schools during the 2000-2001 academic year. Other schools also may participate in the pilot tests, Redmond said, but the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) probably won't be one of them.

"Some aspects of the system require further discussion," she said. "For example, unlike most other areas of the University, the appointment of chairs in FAS is for specific terms, usually no more than three years. Therefore, it's likely the pilot test will not proceed in FAS this year."

— Bruce Steele

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