Standard 5. Faculty - Description
- Appointment, Retention, and Advancement
- Roles, Reviews, and Rewards
- Support for Teaching and Advising
- Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity
Over the last ten years, the size of the budgeted full-time faculty has grown by almost 25%: from 118 to 146 (this year we also have two faculty members in unbudgeted lines). This growth has involved a systematic attempt to diversify the curriculum, to move all faculty members onto what is now a normal 3-3 teaching load, and to develop more opportunities for students to work directly with faculty members on research.
As we have executed our plan, we have been guided by the Faculty Handbook and the College Policies and Procedures Manual, which clearly identify full-time faculty membership in terms of rank (Instructor, Fellow, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor) and appointment type (tenured, tenure-track, term renewable, visiting, emeritus). Part-time faculty are not generally offered contracts at any rank other than Instructor. (Faculty Handbook, Chapter 1)
Although there are some historical exceptions, full-time tenure-track appointments are expected to have completed the Ph.D. by the date of hire. In unusual exceptions where this was expected but has not occurred, the faculty member normally will join Stonehill as an Instructor rather than as an Assistant Professor. For all other teaching positions, full- and part-time, we seek candidates who have credentials appropriate to each of the levels where we need their expertise.
The chart below indicates the breakdown of degrees held by faculty members and lab instructors in the Fall 2008 semester:
Highest Degree Held by Faculty - Fall 2008
|Doctorate, Professional, Terminal||122 FT||38 PT||160 (total)|
|Master's||22 FT||50 PT||72 (total)|
|Bachelor's||4 FT||6 PT||10 (total)|
|TOTAL||148 FT||94 PT||242 (total)|
The procedures for conducting a search are available in the Faculty Handbook (Chapter 5), and responsibility for the search is shared between the academic department and the academic administration, with significant input from the Vice President for Mission, who also interviews tenure-track candidates. In a search for a full-time faculty member, the search committee, the Dean of the Faculty, and the Provost & VP for Academic Affairs ask candidates about their teaching, their research, and their capacity for institutional citizenship -- how they see themselves contributing to the goals and mission of the department and College. These conversations with candidates include an explanation of the College's tenure process and criteria and a discussion of Stonehill's Catholic identity and Holy Cross tradition as they relate to the culture of the College.
We have, in recent years, been quite successful in bringing international scholars onto the full-time faculty. In addition, the appointment and retention of women has increased our percentages of female faculty in the ranks as follows:
Although we have made efforts to increase the diversity of the faculty, only recently have we begun to ask faculty search committees to demonstrate the seriousness with which they have attempted to attract a diverse pool of candidates. We certainly see a variety of intellectual backgrounds and training among our faculty, but the faculty is not as racially diverse as the student body or as representative of the broader culture as we would like it to be. But we have made progress. Whereas in 1999, 95% of faculty identified themselves as White/non-Hispanic, in 2008 only 88% claimed this ethnic origin. This will be an area of special effort in the next planning period (2010-15).
All new faculty members, both full-time and part-time, both tenure-track and term appointments, are provided with a written contract detailing the terms of the initial appointment. Contracts generally give the salary agreement for that particular year, but they indicate that the faculty member is either tenure-track or on a fixed-term appointment. Stonehill has begun to experiment with some longer term appointments (3-5 years) for those faculty members we would like to retain, but who are not eligible for the tenure tack. New faculty members of all appointment types are invited to a two-day "New Faculty Orientation," and also are encouraged to attend "The Spirit of Stonehill" -- the college's new employee orientation program.
Stonehill maintains a faculty salary grid which is reviewed annually against the median salaries of an agreed-upon comparison group. Currently, Stonehill's salaries at all levels are running slightly below the salaries of the comparison group, but given that Stonehill's financial resources are significantly lower than those of the group, we feel we are doing reasonably well in this area.
Stonehill is an exclusively undergraduate institution, so it employs no graduate teaching assistants to teach classes or lab sections. We do have a small "Teaching Fellows" program that attracts one late stage graduate student or recent Ph.D. to teach in each of the core disciplines (English, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies). Begun with grant funding from the Frueauff Foundation, this program assists the "Fellows" by giving them teaching experience at a liberal arts college, professional development funds for conference travel, and mentoring. Occasionally, we have hired one or two additional Fellows when the needs of the department made a Fellow the appropriate type of hire. Fellows teach two courses each semester and are paid a modest salary with full benefits. Finally, for decades Stonehill has trained and paid advanced undergraduate students recommended by faculty to work as peer mentors and tutors for students seeking help in coursework and especially in writing.
The Dean of the Faculty and Department Chairs carefully monitor and maintain fair and equitable teaching loads according to the policies described in the Faculty Handbook. The standard teaching load is 3 courses per semester and faculty members are expected to have active scholarly agendas and to offer appropriate mentoring and service to advance the work of the College. Department Chairs have a reduced load (and sometimes an additional stipend) based on an algorithm that calculates FTE students, FTE faculty, and FTE credit hours generated by the department. Faculty members are required to keep office hours each week. Of the 146 full time faculty, 122 act as academic advisors. Faculty members also act as community associates in the residence halls; over 60 assist with College Orientation programs and volunteer to be special first-year advisors. Every varsity sport has a faculty member who acts as a liaison between the team members and the academic division. Faculty members actively serve on all college committees. All academic progress and other judicial boards have faculty representatives as voting members.
Stonehill has been working to improve the percentage of courses taught by full-time faculty members, which has hovered around 70-72% during much of the last decade. We set a goal of reaching 75% by the end of the current strategic planning period, and we have achieved that. The new target for 2015 is 80%. Part-time faculty members bring valuable expertise and experience to their teaching. They are invited to a part-time faculty orientation program with the Dean of the Faculty each semester and Department Chairs are responsibile for integrating these faculty members into the life of the department.
The Faculty Handbook defines faculty responsibilities and outlines schedules for review and evaluation. All full-time non-tenured faculty members are subject to annual review by Department Chairpersons as described in the Faculty Handbook (pp. 40 -41). Tenure-track faculty members undergo a pre-tenure review, generally in the third year. Rank and Tenure procedures and criteria are well established and understood. Tenured-faculty members are reviewed every three years. The Stonehill faculty does an outstanding job in carrying out these responsibilities, as is evidenced by the high rate of tenure, the high level of participation in student-centered activities, and the high level of participation in College governance. Evidence of faculty scholarly accomplishment is compiled and published annually in the Stonehill Faculty Focus, copies of which are available through the Provost's Office. The current edition is also available online. For the year 2007-2008, over 50 faculty members published articles in peer-reviewed journals, authored reviews and commentary in scholarly publications, or published monographs. In addition, over four-dozen presented at national conferences, and several received important grants from organizations such as the American Association of University Women and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Many of these accomplishments relate directly to Stonehill's high level of support for faculty development. In order to attract and sustain a vital and productive faculty at all ranks, Stonehill provides a comprehensive Faculty Development Program that is designed to encourage, support, and reward faculty activities in the areas of improvement of teaching and learning; to enhance scholarship, service and other professional endeavors related to the mission of the College; and to develop leadership capabilities. This program, under the direction of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Dean of the Faculty, encompasses a number of incentives and initiatives. These include traditional sabbatical leaves; a faculty development fund that budgets an allotment of $1500 per faculty member to support travel to conferences, professional memberships, and research needs; competitive grant and release-time opportunities; pedagogy and technology workshops and seminars; extensive orientation and mentoring for new faculty; and ongoing support through the Center for Teaching and Learning.
The College subscribes to the AAUP statement on Academic Freedom and protects that freedom for all faculty members. In turn, faculty members are evaluated by their department chairs and agree to abide by the College's policies, which cover many areas of ethical behavior, from academic integrity to use of the IRB in research on human subjects. The handbook also covers procedures for disciplinary review of faculty members.
Faculty have wide latitude in adopting instructional techniques and delivery. Stonehill encourages appropriate integration of technology in the learning environment, as is evidenced by the history of Learning and Technology workshops, the development of QuickPlace, and the adoption -- for Fall 2009 -- of the Angel Learning Management system. In addition, Stonehill supports faculty to develop Learning Communities (with a shared summer development grant), to incorporate travel into classes or Learning Communities, and to involve students in service opportunities that extend the classroom through Community-Based Learning projects. This program has grown so strong that Stonehill secured a new grant from the Davis Foundation to support the opening of an Office of Community-Based Learning. The Office of Instructional Technology provides multiple technological supports to faculty members for both their teaching and their research.
Through the Faculty Senate, the General Education Committee, and the Academic Program Review Process, the curriculum is periodically reviewed at every level to ensure and enhance the quality of teaching and learning. In addition, senior capstone requirements in every major are intended to assist with measuring student outcomes. The Senate recommended in 2008 a change from a course-based graduation requirement to a credit model, and their study included significant findings related to regularizing academic rigor across all majors. In 2009, a General Education working group spent the summer reviewing the program and developing a proposal for modest changes and enhancements. Program reviews consistently identify improvements that the College takes seriously.
Academic advising at Stonehill is a faculty responsibility. The Office of Academic Services coordinates advising for the College. Working in close collaboration with the Registrar's office and each Academic Department, advisors are trained and have access to the staff for any questions during the course selection periods. All students have an assigned faculty advisor in their major who is expected to have contact with them at least twice each year. Exit surveys with seniors show a high level of satisfaction with advising. A special advising program for first year students brings students and advisors together during the first week of classes and again within the first month. Advisors work closely with Career Services to monitor and support the future plans of all graduating seniors. Special advising programs are in place for Health careers, Law School, and post-graduate fellowships. Academic departments have designated graduate and professional school advisors and liaisons to the Office of Career Services. Academic Services maintains an Advising website.
Beyond advising toward specific majors and learning outcomes, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Academic Services, and the Academic Advisors survey all graduating seniors to ascertain career and professional school plans. The success of our students in our programs is evident from our freshman retention rate of 89-91%, and our four year graduation rate of 79-80%. Stonehill placement rates at graduation are well above the national averages supplied by NACE (The National Association of Colleges and Employers).
In 2007-2008 the College convened a task force to examine our Academic Integrity Policy and Procedures. Their report and recommendations were approved by the faculty and administration for implementation this academic year. The full policy description is available in The Hill Book and the Faculty Handbook. The Dean of Academic Achievement has disseminated information about the policy to faculty and students. In general, course syllabi describe the policy and its relationship to course requirements. The policy is also covered as an integral part of New Student Orientation. Violations of the integrity policy are processed by the Director of Academic Services and an Academic Integrity Board. There is also an Appeal Board for students who wish to challenge either a decision by the Academic Integrity Board or a grade as part of a defined Grade Appeal process.
Stonehill College is blessed with a cadre of fine professors who demonstrate expertise in scholarship and pedagogy in their disciplines. Each department defines scholarly expectations for faculty, both for tenure and beyond. As already mentioned, the College provides considerable resources to assist faculty in reaching their scholarly goals. The College sets reasonable expectations for scholarly attainment given a 3-3 teaching load, but faculty members regularly exceed those goals, and do so with high levels of academic integrity.
According to the procedures governing the Rank and Tenure process for full-time faculty, significant scholarly and professional contributions to a candidate's academic discipline are an essential component of the criteria for tenure. In order to be granted tenure, a candidate must have a record of scholarly contributions that indicates strong potential for further accomplishment. Stonehill takes seriously the scholarly development of all faculty members at all stages of their careers. To that end the College supports a number of professional development opportunities, many of which have already been outlined above.
Beyond those levels of support, the College also sponsors several offices and services to assist faculty members in scholarly pursuits. The Office of Academic Development (OAD) helps the faculty to obtain external funding for scholarly research, academic program and curriculum development, and community service projects. The College requires all applications for external funding for faculty projects to be submitted through the OAD.
The OAD offers many services to the faculty (and others in the community) seeking external support. The Director provides information on potential sources of grant funds through the "Stonehill Grants Bulletin," published four times a year, and in response to individual requests and helps to search for funding using Grants Search, an electronic database supported by the Grants Resource Center. The Director also obtains application materials and information from funding agencies and maintains a mini-library of resources on project development and proposal-writing (e.g., books, videotapes, sample proposals). When the faculty member is ready to apply, the Director helps edit draft proposals, works closely with faculty on project budget development, processes proposals through institutional channels, obtains required institutional signatures, prepares cover sheets and other official forms, and duplicates, assembles, and transmits final proposals. She also helps to set up funded projects and monitor them through closeout, ensuring compliance with external agency policies. The OAD assists in dealing with other College offices working with funded projects, such as the Controller's Office and Purchasing and the Director serves as the College's liaison to external funding sources." (Faculty Handbook, chapter 4) In addition, the OAD has a strong relationship to the Institutional Review Board (IRB), and the Director of Academic Development sits on the IRB.
The OAD also sponsors the SURE Program and assists faculty members and students in developing appropriate research projects for the 8- and 10-week research periods.
Stonehill College periodically reviews and evaluates its policies and procedures to support faculty teaching, scholarship, advising, and service. Increases in student enrollment and faculty size generate regular reviews to ensure that we maintain sufficient institutional support to meet enrollment increases. These reviews have led to the development of new programs and offices and to increases in already existing programs of support for faculty development.