Date of Last Update
- Board of Trustees
- University Academic Senate / Provost
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FH 3.01 A-D
Grand Valley State University recognizes the value of mentoring for all faculty and especially for new faculty. The University provides new faculty with a first-year, University-Wide Mentor Program that is designed to support them as they begin to engage as teachers, scholars, and citizens of the university and greater community and begin to adjust to their responsibilities as faculty. Colleges and/or units provide additional discipline-specific, and unit- and/or college-specific mentoring. All new faculty are strongly encouraged to begin immediate participation in the University-Wide Mentor Program regardless of appointment date.
The role of a faculty member involves an interlocking set of responsibilities to students, to colleagues in both the institution and the wider profession, to the institution itself and its surrounding community, to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in the faculty member’s field, and to the ideals of free inquiry and expression. Normally, these are articulated as the areas of teaching (Regular Faculty) or professional effectiveness (Library Regular Faculty), scholarship and creative activity, and service, as outlined in the Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.2.9.
Each unit shall establish expectations, in writing for all its faculty, in the areas of teaching (for Regular Faculty) or professional effectiveness (for Library Regular Faculty), scholarship and creative activity, and service based on disciplinary standards and best practices and unit, college and university goals and work. Teaching (for Regular Faculty) or professional effectiveness for (Library Regular Faculty), scholarship/creative activity, and service are included in each faculty member’s workload. For both Regular Faculty and Library Regular Faculty, these unit expectations will be approved by the unit faculty, unit head, and the dean.
The primary responsibility of faculty is excellent teaching [as described in the Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.2.9]. Effective teaching must be documented by: a) self-evaluation, b) peer evaluation, and c) student evaluations. Evidence of effective teaching is a significant factor in contract renewal, tenure, promotion, and salary increment decisions. Units should periodically review and clarify course expectations of students. Appropriate course expectations, pedagogies, and assessment vary, depending on the discipline, course level and class size.
A regular faculty member whose appointment is at least half-time but less than full-time shall be considered "part-time" when referred to in the Faculty Handbook. Part-time regular faculty are expected to complete the same kind of work as full-time regular faculty, but in proportion with their appointment. Relevant items such as workload and significant focus expectations, sabbatical eligibility, promotion eligibility, and performance evaluation procedures shall be stated in writing from the Dean. These terms may be modified from time to time as circumstances change. See also Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.2.4.
Library Regular Faculty
The primary responsibility of Library Regular Faculty is professional effectiveness [as described in the Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.2.9.]. Evidence of professional effectiveness is a significant factor in contract renewal, tenure, promotion, and salary increment decisions. Evaluation of professional effectiveness will be on the basis of the judgment of colleagues and/or those who are instructed or served.
A. Teaching and Professional Work
Regular Faculty: Workload
Normally, within a full-time load, the expectation for teaching shall be 9 credits per semester. Evidence of effective teaching is significant in decisions on tenure, promotion, and salary increments. Each unit, with the approval of its dean, shall determine the number of courses that are required when any or all of the courses are other than three credits. Each unit, with the approval of its dean, shall also determine equivalencies of studios, labs, rehearsals, team-teaching, distance education, supervision of theses or student research, clinical or internship supervision, independent study or reading courses, teaching extraordinarily large classes, and other such formal teaching activities. Normally, no more than three different course preparations will be required of any faculty member in any semester.
Library Regular Faculty: Workload
The expectations for Library Regular Faculty are particular to each position, detailed in position description documents approved by the dean. Normally, within a full-time load, professional work assignments combine with scholarly/creative activities and service in 12-month appointments to equal full-time appointment.
B. Scholarly/Creative Activity (formerly called Professional Activity)
Within a normal full-time load, all Regular Faculty, [as described in the Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.2.9.], including Library Regular Faculty [as described in the Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.2.9.], are expected to engage in scholarship or creative activity related to the unit, college, or profession. In scholarship and creative activity, Grand Valley State University values and welcomes a variety of forms, including the scholarship of discovery, the scholarship of integration, the scholarship of application,and the scholarship of teaching (which includes the scholarship of teaching and learning [SoTL] and discipline-based education research). All of these forms are valued in determinations for promotion and tenure.
Evidence of scholarship or creative activity is significant in decisions on tenure, promotion and salary increments. A variety of activities are considered appropriate for accomplishing these objectives and such activities are significant in decisions on tenure, promotion, and salary increments. Faculty scholarship or creative activity is generally acknowledged to be an important indicator of professionalism. Such activities not only sustain academic vitality but also promote student involvement, and activity that is desirable in the undergraduate and graduate education experiences. Methods of maintaining and updating professional competencies may include, but are not limited to, publications, presentations, performance, grant writing, scholarly or creative activity with students, and participation in professional meetings, institutes, and workshops. Enrollment in graduate courses may be especially important to those individuals lacking the terminal degree.
Shared university governance, contributions to GVSU communities, and the development of disciplines and professions all depend on meaningful service from faculty members. In addition to teaching and scholarly/creative activities within a normal full-time load, all Regular Faculty [as described in the Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.2.9.], including Library Regular Faculty [as described in the Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 4.2.9.], are expected to engage in service as determined by the unit, college, and profession.
Faculty members are expected to undertake increasingly responsible service work over the course of their university careers. It is also expected that untenured faculty members will concentrate on developing competence in teaching or professional effectiveness and scholarship and that the amount of expected service will be adjusted accordingly. Normally, service is not a compensated activity; exceptions to this must be approved by the Dean of the College.
Evidence of service is significant in decisions on tenure, promotion, and salary increments. Each unit and the library must establish its own standards and criteria for evaluation [as described in the Board of Trustees' Policies BOT 126.96.36.199.C and BOT 188.8.131.52.C.]. These standards must discuss both the type and amount of service work expected for various faculty ranks. Both quantity and quality of service work must be part of the evaluation. Normal departmental activities (e.g., attendance at department or college meetings, reviewing sabbatical proposals, commenting on personnel files, etc.) are a basic expectation of all faculty members. These activities are not sufficient to be considered satisfactory performance in the area of service.
GVSU depends on its faculty members for the time, energy, and the leadership that will enable the university to accomplish its mission. It is only through the service activities of faculty that GVSU is able to sustain strong shared governance. In addition to committee work, service to both current and prospective students and to alumni are also valued service activities.
As representatives of a particular discipline and members of a scholarly community, GVSU faculty members are responsible for advancing their professions and enhancing the quality of scholarly and professional organizations.
Service to the community involves faculty members acting as representatives of the university while using their expertise to contribute to the public's knowledge and welfare. Community service can sometimes be integrated with scholarship if a community engagement project results in a scholarly outcome.
D. Area of Significant Focus
A significant focus is concentrated activity that will, at its conclusion, produce a meaningful, documented outcome in teaching, scholarship, and/or service. It is undertaken in addition to expectations in those three areas. A significant focus can be a one-semester undertaking, or it can take multiple semesters to complete. Each semester, the significant focus shall require approximately the same amount of time as teaching a 3-credit hour or standard course. It shall not have been counted as part of the expected teaching load or have been compensated externally or additionally; exceptions to the compensation exclusion must be approved by the dean of the college. Faculty members should confirm that their choice of significant focus of activity is consistent with their unit’s and college’s expectations for tenure and promotion.
In their annual Faculty Activity Plan (see Faculty Handbook FH 3.02.A), every regular faculty member shall propose a significant focus. The significant focus will be reviewed and approved by the unit head and dean. In the annual Faculty Activity Report, every faculty member shall describe the progress that was made in the proposed area of significant focus.
A significant focus differs from reassigned time. See FH 3.02.C for an explanation of reassigned time.
Library Regular Faculty
Library Regular Faculty may optionally negotiate a temporary adjustment to their normally assigned expectations established by the unit in the areas of professional effectiveness, scholarship/creative activity and service in a given year to take on a proposed area of significant focus. This significant focus will be reviewed and approved by the dean. Faculty members anticipating review for personnel action, and especially action for tenure and promotion will want to ensure that their significant focus of activity is consistent with their unit’s and college’s expectations for tenure and promotion.
FH 3.01.C "Faculty Responsibilities. Service" amended May 9, 2017
FH 3.01.D "Area of Significant Focus for Library Faculty" amended May 9, 2017
FH 3.01.B "Definition of Scholarship" amended May 09, 2017
FH 3.01.D "Area of Significant Focus" amended November 8, 2016