Faculty at Sonoma State University are evaluated systematically according to the guidelines written in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the CSU system and the California Faculty Association (CFA). The evaluation process includes two types of faculty review: performance reviews and periodic evaluations, and covers the three areas of teaching effectiveness, scholarship and service. Under the MOU reached by the CSU Board of Trustees and the California Faculty Association, tenured and tenure-track professors must be evaluated by students in two classes each year using the Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness (SETE), an instrument developed by University faculty committees and approved by the University. The SETE contains 14 items asking students to rate the instructor on a scale of 1 to 5 (sample SETE). Evaluation of full-time faculty also includes peer review in the form of classroom visits by faculty colleagues to observe instructional practices (peer observation form), and self-review of one’s teaching effectiveness.
Faculty perform above average on the Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness (SETE). Table 5.3.f-2 summarizes the SETE results for SOE faculty for the last eight years. The scale on the SETE ranges from 1- ineffective to 5- very effective. The overall mean scores are equal to or higher than 4.6 and the average scores per item are all higher than 4.39, with the highest score being 4.94 (my instructor displays competence, Spring 2008). In addition faculty use other types of information to evaluate their teaching: 55 % use mid-semester feed-back from students, 71% request additional end of semester information. Other information used by faculty to evaluate their teaching includes student learning, personal notes, and dialogue with students. Changes are introduced based on this feedback. Instructional modifications include changing texts, inviting guest lecturers, improving assignments, and clarifying assessment rubrics.
Effectiveness in Supervision
All faculty members (both tenure-track and adjunct) who have supervisory responsibilities are evaluated by the candidates they supervise and by the mentors or resident teachers with whom interns or student teachers are placed. This evaluation is returned to the department chair. Supervisors may also be evaluated by other SOE faculty as part of the peer review process described under teacher effectiveness. Department Chairs facilitate the assessment process and feedback loop to supervisors as described in Standard 3.
Performance reviews are conducted annually following the first year of probationary appointment for untenured, tenure-track faculty. Performance reviews are conducted at six-year intervals for tenured faculty at the associate level. Performance reviews require detailed reporting of performance using a standard SSU Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion dossier format, and include extensive documentation of teaching effectiveness, scholarly activities and service. School of Education departments have policy and procedures corresponding to the SSU policy.
Faculty who are six years beyond receiving tenure (generally those who have achieved the rank of Full Professor) are evaluated in the SSU following the Post Tenure Review policy contained in the Faculty Handbook. Areas for this review are identical to RTP review. The School of Education RTP Committee oversees this process following the SOE Periodic Review of Tenured Faculty Schedule. RTP and Periodic Review procedures include feedback and recommendations from peer review committees and administrators at all levels when improvement in teaching, scholarship, or service is needed. Frequently, department chairs confer with faculty to assist them in taking action to bring about change. All faculty members are expected to engage in professional development activities that target any identified areas of weakness and to show evidence of improvement at the next review.
Adjunct faculty are evaluated each year and are required to do SETE evaluation in each course they teach. Evaluation of their supervision is completed every semester, as described above. The department chair reviews these evaluations, together with course syllabi. Decisions about whether to rehire adjunct faculty are made by the department chair based on this documented evidence (SSU policy on Periodic Evaluation of Temporary Faculty).