LAS subscribes to the philosophy that teaching should be the primary area of emphasis for faculty members, with scholarship and service as important but lower priorities. Faculty will be recruited, evaluated, awarded tenure, and promoted predicated on this perspective.
The academic evaluation and reward system in Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) has two purposes: (a) to provide the means by which faculty, through annual reviews, progress through the academic ranks; and (b) to certify high achievement.
The following section defines pertinent concepts.
Teaching: For annual reviews, teaching refers to the act of cultivating a rich learning environment, which includes sharing knowledge, nurturing critical inquiry, inspiring curiosity, and encouraging students to apply what they have learned. Teaching primary reflects instruction-related activities that directly impact student learning. Because Nevada State College is a teaching institution, offering engaging and meaningful instruction is a highly valued activity in LAS. Section 2.0 provides a detailed description of the lines of evidence used within LAS to evaluate teaching.
Scholarship: For annual reviews, LAS defines scholarship as the process of exploring a relevant question or problem, synthesizing existing knowledge, developing new ideas, and sharing the results through discipline-appropriate outlets. LAS values scholarly efforts that represent the spectrum of orientation from basic to applied, including the scholarship of teaching. Section 3.0 provides a detailed description of the lines of evidence used within LAS to document accomplishment in scholarship.
Service: LAS defines service as a faculty member’s professional responsibilities to Nevada State College and its external community. Although we value all forms of service (institutional, professional, and community/governmental), LAS places most emphasis on service at the institutional level. Section 4.0 provides a detailed description of the lines of evidence used within LAS to document accomplishment in service.
At each annual review, the faculty member and evaluator will develop an annual review plan for the following year. The annual review plan will include goals for the faculty member to achieve in teaching, scholarship, and service. At each annual review, the faculty member must provide a copy of the annual review plan agreed upon at the previous year’s review and indicate which items they completed.
Faculty will submit a portfolio of annual review materials each year; this portfolio will include an updated CV; syllabi; a narrative or table of no more than 12 pages summarizing accomplishments throughout the year; and no more than 15 pages of evidence chosen by the faculty member to illustrate those accomplishments. The page limit on evidence does not include any of the following:
LAS sets the rating guidelines for assessing teaching, scholarship, and service on annual reviews. Discipline-specific standards and constraints should be considered when evaluating the quality and quantity of faculty contributions, and evaluators may adjust the ratings requirements accordingly. It is the responsibility of faculty members to justify flexibility in applying LAS ratings guidelines to their teaching, scholarship, or service contributions.
Both the Standards of Academe and the Tenure Guidelines utilize many of the same evaluative criteria. Initially, they were part of the same document. However, there was a strong rationale for separating the Standards of Academe from the Tenure Guidelines. The Standards of Academe require more frequent updates to reflect institutional changes, faculty concerns, modifications of service priorities, and research on best practices in pedagogy. The Tenure Guidelines, however, need to remain consistent throughout a faculty member’s progress toward tenure. Therefore, in 2014, the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences separated the two documents. The Standards of Academe now apply specifically to annual reviews and the Tenure Guidelines apply specifically to tenure. Appointed faculty committees will evaluate and update the Standards of Academe as needed, and faculty will be required to follow these standards for annual reviews upon approval by the Provost. Faculty committees will also evaluate and update the Tenure Guidelines as appropriate, but faculty will be evaluated for tenure under the guidelines in place when their contract as a tenure-track faculty member at NSC began. This protects faculty from having the Tenure Guidelines change as they are progressing toward tenure.
According to the Nevada State College mission statement, “excellence in teaching leads to innovative, technology-rich learning opportunities that promote the acquisition of interdisciplinary knowledge and skills.” To support this mission, the lines of evidence for excellence in teaching provide some comparability in evaluation while recognizing the diverse ways in which faculty may demonstrate teaching excellence.
As part of their annual review materials, faculty members shall submit a teaching narrative that provides context for the review of the individual’s teaching effectiveness. The narrative will be a reflection on important teaching activities, accomplishments, and challenges experienced in the year under review.
Material evaluated for annual reviews will include a syllabus (including the standard elements discussed below), official student course evaluations (available to department chairs on the shared X drive), and evidence of student learning or accomplishment for each course taught. Faculty members should expect to provide additional evidence of teaching effectiveness as requested by their department chair during the review process.
Items submitted as evidence of teaching effectiveness should relate to the quality of the learning environment provided to students in courses at NSC. Other items that may be related to teaching, such as research or publications in the scholarship of teaching, mentoring students toward making a conference presentation, or taking a leadership role in teaching workshops, should be submitted in the scholarship or service categories, as defined in the service and scholarship sections of this document.
The following are the minimum required lines of evidence:
Evaluators have copies of final grade distributions and student evaluations on file. Faculty need not provide these items.
The faculty member may request that the department chair exclude course evaluations with extremely low response rates from consideration, or the department chair may use independent discretion to exclude them.
Additional evidence of teaching effectiveness may be provided by the faculty member. This evidence may include, but is not limited to:
As a part of their teaching responsibilities, faculty members often participate in related activities that enrich the quality of education at Nevada State College. A description of these activities should be provided in the annual review materials. These activities may include, but are not limited to:
When rating teaching, evaluators will consider the faculty member’s progress toward meeting the goals in the annual review plan. The quality of contributions will be rated more highly than the quantity.
Due to the variability of the numerical ratings on student evaluations across courses and disciplines, the numerical thresholds in this section should be interpreted as guidelines and not absolute standards. Receiving numerical ratings above or below the thresholds do not guarantee that an instructor will attain the corresponding rating as they are merely one measure among many used for evaluation.
Unsatisfactory: Fails to meet expectations
An Unsatisfactory rating indicates one or more of the following conditions:
Satisfactory: Meets expectations
At the Satisfactory level, faculty members are expected to be competent teachers, as evidenced by the creation of a classroom climate that respects students and welcomes diversity, the absence of major problems or student complaints related to an instructor’s courses, and by quality contributions in all of the following areas:
Commendable: Exceeds expectations
Faculty members are expected to meet the following criteria:
Evaluators may also consider the following as evidence of teaching effectiveness:
Excellent: Exceeds expectations in a sustained manner
Faculty members are expected to meet the following criteria:
Evidence of productive scholarship can be supported by published records and other original discipline-specific peer-reviewed and editor-reviewed work of a professional nature, including research on the scholarship of teaching, creative works (for those in the arts), and the mentoring of substantial student research projects. Categories of evidence of scholarship are presented in Section 3.2 below.
In annual reviews, departmental and school-level evaluators judge the quality of scholarship done. Quality refers to the extent to which scholarship contributes to advances in knowledge and/or the enrichment of teaching. This concept of quality places more importance on the process and effect than on the quantity of products.
Faculty should provide a short narrative statement in their annual review to provide a context for their scholarly efforts. Collaboration on products is encouraged and supported by the faculty of LAS, although it is expected that a share of the products will reflect sole or principal authorship.
Lines of evidence related to scholarship might include, but are not limited to:
Research and Professional Publications. The quality of the candidate’s research and professional publications or reports will be evaluated within the context of norms for the candidate’s discipline. Juried outlets are accorded more significance than publications that do not undergo peer review.
Chapters in Books. Book chapters will be evaluated in terms of the inherent quality of the piece and scope of impact or dissemination within the context of norms for the candidate’s discipline. Refereed chapters are accorded more significance than non-refereed chapters.
Books. Scholarly books that broaden a disciplinary knowledge base with original research or produce novel applications of existing knowledge to professional problems are accorded the most significance with in this subcategory. Textbooks that compile and organize existing knowledge are weighted less than an author’s unique work. Readings, edited books, and conference proceedings shall, in turn, be given less significance than standard textbooks.
Artistic Production. Nevada State College respects the work of artistic scholars and supports their efforts. For those in fields where artistic production is standard, works that are creative in nature (fine art, production of films, creative writing, poetry, and others) will be evaluated within the context of norms for the candidate’s discipline.
Undergraduate Research. Faculty members are encouraged to mentor student research and research projects. Mentorship and supervision of student research will be evaluated in terms of the length of project, dissemination of research, and peer-reviewed professional publications. Projects that are more time-intensive (over several semesters) will be accorded more significance than those where faculty take a more peripheral role in mentoring students or research projects. Student work accepted for publication in a professional, peer-reviewed journal will be accorded the most significance within this subcategory.
Professional Reports, Technical Reports, Informational Reports, Monographs, and Lab Manuals. Professional publications will be evaluated in terms of their quality, with reference to the intended audience. As with books and book chapters, the scope of dissemination will be considered.
Conference Papers and Poster Presentations. The value attributed to paper and poster presentations is variable, and will be evaluated by the following six factors (listed here in no particular order of importance): (a) the quality of the paper or poster, (b) the quality of the conference, (c) the scope of the conference – international, national, regional, or local, (d) the scope of the dissemination of the paper, (e) whether the item was refereed, and (f) whether the paper or poster was invited. Generally speaking, formal presentations will be granted more weight than poster presentations. Evaluators may also grant more weight to papers or presentations that include significant student involvement.
Scholarship-Based Grants and Contracts. Funded grants and contracts provide evidence of the capacity to organize scholarly activity judged meritorious by external funding agencies. Therefore, external funding will be accorded more significance than internal (college) funding. Grant and contract proposals should be evaluated in terms of the funding agency and the scope of the funded research.
Scholarship Production in Progress. Evidence of scholarship in progress, particularly the continuation of funded endeavors, manuscripts under review, exhibitions under development, and formal working papers serves as an indicator of the candidate’s intent to complete projects. Completing a prospectus, literature review, or data collection, and writing individual parts or chapters of a project, are examples of production in progress. Statements of scholarship in progress should be supported by artifacts such as working drafts or notes.
Other Peer-Reviewed Creative Endeavors. Evidence provided for scholarship production in other forms (lectures, creative work, unique equipment, computer software/program design, video productions) will be evaluated in terms of (a) scope of dissemination, (b) character of receiving audience, and (c) prestige of validating authority, institution, or agency. External validation of quality is essential.
Refereeing Peer-Reviewed Books and Journal Articles. Reviewing the contributions of other scholars is an important service. This achievement will be evaluated based on the time and effort it takes to referee the publication, as well as the overall impact of the publication.
Shorter Works that Advance Public Knowledge. This may include short articles published in the bulletins of academic organizations and various forms of public media (newspapers, legitimate web magazines, etc.) that advance the general public knowledge. Such activities have less significance than original peer-reviewed contributions such as journal articles. Therefore, two works that fall into this subcategory count as one item for annual review. This category cannot be counted more than once in any review year, regardless of the total number of items published.
Lines of evidence related to the demonstration of academic leadership in scholarship might include, but are not limited to:
Lines of evidence related to the demonstration of national recognition in scholarship may include, but are not limited to:
Each year, all faculty members shall present evidence of scholarly progress that outlines their scholarly contributions over the year in review. Evaluators will then assess each faculty member’s scholarly output by applying the categories in 3.6 to the ratings requirements in 3.7.
The following categories provide general guidelines for assessing an individual’s work. Contributions not listed here, as well as those contributions listed in 3.3 and 3.4, should be considered. As LAS values quality over quantity, evaluators should adapt these categories where necessary, especially when dictated by the standards or requirements of a particular field or discipline.
Level A – Includes the following items or equivalent:
Level B – Includes the following items or equivalent:
Level C – Includes the following items or equivalent:
LAS set the following rating guidelines for assessing Scholarship on the annual review. These benchmarks serve solely as a guide. Evaluators can be flexible in the ratings where faculty members have undertaken forms of scholarship or scholarly leadership not listed here.
Note: A consistent rating of Satisfactory on annual reviews is not equivalent to a rating of Satisfactory on the tenure review. Tenure-seeking faculty should plan out their scholarship agendas so they have time to complete the required expectations listed in the Tenure Guidelines.
As a developing institution, NSC values the service contributions of its faculty. It is one of the many ways that faculty work together to fulfill our mission. Service encompasses three areas: (a) institutional, (b) service to the profession, (c) service to the community. First and foremost, faculty are expected to demonstrate how they contribute significantly to meeting the needs of the institution, followed to a lesser degree by contributions to the profession and community or government agencies.
When evaluating faculty contributions in service, both the quantity and quality of service are important considerations. Quantity in the absence of quality is insufficient to earn high ratings in service. As part of their annual review materials, faculty members shall submit a brief narrative description of their service activities. Faculty members are encouraged to submit relevant evidence (e.g., documents created, revisions or edits made) that reflects particular service contributions and may be asked to provide additional evidence of service contributions as requested by their department chair during the review process.
Lines of evidence related to the demonstration of accomplishment in service are listed below, but these are examples only and do not exhaust the range of possibilities. Additionally, the case may be made for any service contribution in one level that, due to a particular time commitment or other requirements, might be considered as qualifying for another level.
Level A – Substantive involvement in a single meaningful event (e.g., college fair) or participation in an endeavor that requires a relatively low time commitment.
Examples of Level A Service Items:
Level B – Substantive involvement in a meaningful endeavor that requires a moderate time commitment and/or reflects the faculty member’s contribution to the accomplishment of an important institutional goal.
Examples of Level B Service Items:
Level C – Substantive involvement in or guidance of a meaningful endeavor that requires a significant time commitment, involves an important leadership role, and reflects the faculty member’s contribution to the accomplishment of an essential institutional goal.
Examples of Level C Service Items:
Contributions to the profession or community that serve the mission of Nevada State College may be counted as service items if they contribute to the mission or promote the objectives of NSC. The examples below are not exhaustive.
Level A – Substantive involvement in a single meaningful event (e.g., participating as a speaker at a community event) or participation in an endeavor that requires a relatively low time commitment.
Examples of Level A Community and Professional Service Items:
Level B – Substantive involvement in a meaningful service endeavor in the community that requires a moderate time commitment.
Examples of Level B Community and Professional Service Items:
Level C activities are typically reserved for internal service. However, a faculty member may argue that a particular external service activity goes beyond Level B and deserves a higher rating. For example, a faculty member who plans an entire national conference in Las Vegas that directly benefits the College may contend that the effort justifies Level C status.
The following are selected, non-comprehensive examples of how service to the institution and community/profession might be evaluated for annual reviews. Evaluators should converse with evaluees to determine the quality of service, considering the time and effort required and the substance of the contribution. The quantities indicated below are general guidelines, not fixed designations. The quantity required may vary based on the quality of the contribution. Failure to meet designated service obligations may diminish a faculty member’s annual review ratings, regardless of other service contributions.
While the emphasis is on institutional service, faculty members may propose including significant forms of academic leadership in service or service to the profession or community as part of the performance rating. Such service should be demonstrably related, directly or indirectly, to the mission of NSC or LAS or to the faculty member’s discipline or department.
To acknowledge various service contributions, the three service levels equate to this point scale:
1 Level A activity = 1 point
1 Level B activity = 2 points
1 Level C activity = 4 points
To achieve a Satisfactory rating in service, the faculty member must receive 4-5 points.
To achieve a Commendable rating, the faculty member must receive 6-7 points, and must include at least one B or C level activity.
To achieve an Excellent rating, the faculty member must receive 8 points or more, and must include at least one B or C level activity.
Importantly, a faculty member who completes six or more Level A activities would not meet the standards for Commendable, because it requires at least one Level B or C activity.
The annual review process applies very stringent standards to achieve high levels of performance in teaching, scholarship, and service. It is not the intent of LAS to expect or require consistent Excellent ratings on annual reviews in order to receive an overall Excellent rating in any of the three areas when applying for tenure. Therefore, annual review ratings must be contextualized to represent expectations for Unsatisfactory, Satisfactory, Commendable, and Excellent ratings in the tenure application process. These ratings will be based on the cumulative performance of faculty members during the time leading up to the tenure review.
Teaching and service operate on yearly cycles, so annual review ratings are utilized extensively in determining tenure ratings in these areas. However, scholarship does not operate on a yearly cycle, since projects can take multiple years. Consequently, the tenure expectations for scholarship must be more independent of the annual review ratings and focus on the cumulative accomplishments of the faculty member during the probationary period.
Faculty will be evaluated for tenure under the guidelines in place when their contract as a tenure-track faculty member at NSC began. This protects faculty from having the Tenure Guidelines change as they are progressing toward tenure.
The Promotion and Tenure Policy details the guidelines for the application process, including the materials a candidate should submit and procedures for how those materials are reviewed. The process is a complex one, where several evaluators will consider numerous factors. However, as a general guideline, LAS faculty must meet these standards to be considered for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:
Faculty members applying for tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor shall provide a brief narrative of their teaching accomplishments in their tenure application. This narrative is critical to provide justification for or evidence of appeals to annual reviews that do not meet the requirements set forth in these standards. The evaluators have some latitude to make exceptions to the requirements in the case of extreme circumstances as presented in the narrative.
Faculty members applying for tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor shall provide a brief narrative of their scholarship in the tenure application. This narrative contextualizes the list of accomplishments. The evaluators have some latitude to make exceptions to the requirements in the case of extreme circumstances as presented in the narrative.
LAS has set the following benchmarks for rating scholarship in the tenure review process. These benchmarks serve solely as a guide. Evaluators can be flexible in those cases where faculty members have undertaken exemplary forms of scholarship or scholarly leadership not listed here.
Note: A consistent rating of Satisfactory on Annual Reviews is not equivalent to a rating of Satisfactory on the Tenure Review. External validation (peer-reviewed, juried, or editor-reviewed) of one’s work in a published product during the probationary period is requisite for promotion and tenure at NSC. While LAS recognizes and values publications that synthesize existing knowledge (e.g., textbooks), at least one publication must reflect the faculty member’s original contributions to the discipline or to the scholarship of teaching.
Faculty members applying for tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor shall provide a brief narrative of their service in the tenure application. This narrative contextualizes the list of accomplishments. The evaluators have some latitude to make exceptions to the requirements in the case of extreme circumstances as presented in the narrative.