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GUIDELINES FOR HIRING AND REVIEWING NEWLY HIRED

ADJUNCT (FTII)FACULTY, AND FOR THE REVIEW OF NEWLY HIRED

FIXED-TERM (FTM, FTI) FACULTY

AT PENN STATE MONT ALTO


I. INTRODUCTION


The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure that the hiring of adjunct instructors who teach credit courses is done with the same degree of seriousness with which full-time faculty are hired. This is essential to the proper integration of adjuncts into the campus community. In July of 2002, the American Federation of Teachers, a union representing more than 50,000 adjuncts around the country, recommended steps to improve the working conditions of adjuncts. These steps include an equitable pay scale, evaluation procedures, and professional support such as orientation on expectations, curriculums, and governance structures. These guidelines also seek to bring uniformity to the divergent adjunct hiring procedures that presently exist at Penn State Mont Alto.


II. HIRING OF ADJUNCT (FTII) FACULTY


  1. The Director of Academic Affairs (DAA) and full-time faculty teaching in the discipline will review the curriculum vitae and other credentials of applicants for adjunct positions. Where there are no, or not enough, faculty in the discipline, faculty in related disciplines or the discipline's Commonwealth College (CWC) division will be invited to participate in the review.

  2. If the initial review is positive, the candidate will be invited to do a presentation for full-time faculty teaching in the discipline, related disciplines or the discipline's CWC division. The candidate will be asked to select any topic or issue in his or her field for the presentation, which will seek to simulate a classroom teaching experience as much as possible. Even for adjuncts with extensive prior teaching experience, this presentation serves several useful purposes. First, it gives our faculty and the adjunct a chance to connect. Second, it allows our faculty to share insights about the adjunct’s understanding about the level of the students he or she will be teaching, judging from the nature of the presentation. Third, it allows the adjunct’s questions to be answered by faculty from different perspectives. Fourth, it ensures that we do not substitute the judgment of students the adjunct may have taught at an earlier institution for our own by simply asking for and examining prior student evaluations.

  3. Every effort will be made to ensure that the above reviews are not requested within the two-week period preceding the commencement of the course for which the candidate is being reviewed.

  4. Faculty involved in the above reviews will then recommend whether to seek Division Head (DH) approval for the candidate to teach as an adjunct at Penn State Mont Alto. If the decision is to seek such approval, then the request will be processed on the necessary forms by the DAA’s office.

  5. If the DH approves, a contract will be prepared for the adjunct by the DAA’s office.

  6. A mentor will be assigned to share information on syllabus preparation and other pertinent matters such as class attendance and grading policies. The DAA’s office will provide copies of excellent syllabi on file to assist in this process. The DAA will also provide other relevant information to assist in a smooth transition to teaching at Penn State Mont Alto, including a copy of the University Handbook for Part-Time Faculty.


III. REVIEW OF ADJUNCT (FTII) FACULTY


  1. Newly hired adjuncts will go through a mid-semester peer evaluation (see attached instrument). The evaluation will be done by a full-time faculty member in the discipline, a related discipline or the discipline's CWC division. In order not to create an overly burdensome review procedure, the division of labor will be on a rotational basis agreed upon by all the full-time faculty in these categories. The evaluation will seek to elicit objective information about the adjunct’s teaching based on the evaluation instrument and eliminate subjective judgments deriving from biases about different teaching and learning styles.

  2. If the peer review results in recommendations for improvement, then a follow-up review will be done at the end of the first semester to determine the extent to which recommendations have been successfully implemented (see attached instrument).

  3. Peer reviews will not be done in subsequent years unless necessitated by performance issues that arise later. Thus, under normal circumstances, peer reviews will be done only in the first semester.

  4. SRTEs will be administered at the end of each semester. In addition, during the first semester only, alternative student evaluations supplemental to the SRTEs will be administered to gain deeper insight into student perceptions of teaching effectiveness (see attached instrument). The alternative evaluations will be mailed to students immediately after the semester in which the class is offered ends. Adjuncts who desire to continue using alternative student evaluations are free to do so.

IV. RETENTION OF ADJUNCT (FTII) FACULTY


The decision as to whether to retain an adjunct will depend on campus instructional needs, budgetary considerations, and results of the adjunct’s peer reviews, SRTE scores, alternative student evaluations, and other student feedback received by the DAA during the semester. Whenever possible, adjuncts shall be given reasonable notice of their retention for a subsequent term. Adjuncts who will not be retained will also be given reasonable notice and thanked for their service to Penn State Mont Alto. As a way of showing the campus's appreciation for their services, a social will be held in honor of adjuncts at the end of each semester . The social will be held in the evening to allow for maximum participation.

V. REVIEW OF NEWLY HIRED FIXED-TERM (FTM, FTI) INSTRUCTORS


The Commonwealth College has developed extensive guidelines for hiring fixed-term faculty (Commonwealth College Faculty Search Guidelines, October 2002). However, apart from the administration of SRTEs, there are no well thought-out policies and procedures for reviewing newly hired fixed-term faculty with a view to properly integrating them into their new academic environment and promoting their success. To that end, new fixed-term faculty will undergo the same review procedures as new adjuncts.

Thus:

  1. Newly hired fixed-term faculty will go through a mid-semester peer evaluation. The evaluation will be done by a full-time faculty member in the discipline, a related discipline or the discipline's CWC division. In order not to create an overly burdensome review procedure, the division of labor will be on a rotational basis agreed upon by all the full-time faculty in these categories. The evaluation will seek to elicit objective information about the adjunct’s teaching based on the evaluation instrument and eliminate subjective judgments deriving from biases about different teaching and learning styles.

  2. If the peer review results in recommendations for improvement, then a follow up review will be done at the end of the first semester to determine the extent to which recommendations have been successfully implemented.

  3. Peer reviews will not be done in subsequent years unless necessitated by performance issues that arise later. Thus, under normal circumstances, peer reviews will be done only in the first semester.

  4. SRTEs will be administered at the end of each semester. In addition, during the first semester only, alternative student evaluations supplemental to the SRTEs will be administered to gain deeper insight into student perceptions of teaching effectiveness and allow for further mentoring. The alternative evaluations will be mailed to students immediately after the semester in which the class is offered ends. Fixed-term faculty who desire to continue using alternative student evaluations are free to do so.

VI. VOLUNTARY REVIEW OF EXISTING FIXED-TERM (FTM, FTI) AND STANDING FACULTY


Existing fixed-term and standing faculty who have been teaching at Penn State Mont Alto for more than a year are not subject to the mandatory review procedures for newly hired fixed-term faculty, as these faculty participate in the annual review as prescribed by HR 40. However, existing fixed-term and standing faculty who desire to have a reviewer visit their classes for purposes of providing feedback toward improvement of their teaching, may either directly request a peer to conduct such a review or ask the DAA to arrange one.



VII. RETENTION OF FIXED-TERM (FTM, FTI) AND STANDING FACULTY


The retention of fixed-term and standing faculty will depend on the same factors currently used: type of contract (FTM, FTI, STANDING), instructional needs, budgetary considerations, and the results of HR 40 evaluations of faculty performance.


VIII. SCOPE OF GUIDELINES


These guidelines only apply to newly-hired adjunct and fixed-term faculty. They do not apply to fixed-term faculty who have already completed a year of service and undergone an annual faculty review at the time of implementation of these guidelines. Nor do these guidelines apply to non-teaching faculty, existing faculty who teach an overload under a supplemental contract or tenure-track faculty. Tenure-track faculty are hired and peer reviewed under the Commonwealth College Faculty Search Guidelines and the Commonwealth College Peer Review Manual.


IX. DEFINITIONS OF TYPES OF APPOINTMENTS

The following definitions are abridged versions of those appearing in University Policy HR 06.

  1. Standing Appointment: An appointment which is full-time and for which no ending date is specified.

  2. Fixed-Term Multi-Year (FTM): An appointment which is full-time for minimum of 36 weeks up to a maximum of five years with an ending date specified.

  3. Fixed-Term I (FTI): An appointment which is full-time for at least six calendar months with an ending date specified.

  4. Fixed-Term II (FTII): An appointment which is full-time for less than six calendar months or, less than full-time and has an ending date specified.

Endorsed by the Penn State Mont Alto Faculty Senate

March 19, 2003