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Faculty Evaluation and Classroom Observation

One of the most important jobs that Chairs will complete is evaluating faculty. Winston-Salem State University provides guidelines for this process. This section of the Chair’s Handbook will provide guidelines for a chair that is covered in the Faculty Handbook and the Faculty Evaluation Manual.

Annual Performance Review for Tenure Track Faculty

The chair shall provide each tenure track faculty member in the department’s professorial ranks a letter each year that offers an evaluation of the faculty member’s accomplishments during the previous year and discusses the Faculty Member’s progress towards achieving reappointment, promotion or the conferral of Permanent Tenure, as appropriate. The letter should clearly and specifically address strengths and weaknesses in the performance of the Faculty Member, providing for a clear plan and timetable for improvement of any deficiencies in performance.

While ultimate decisions on reappointment, promotion, and the conferral of Permanent Tenure take into account many factors, not all of which are related to the Faculty Member’s performance, effective annual evaluations are intended to help to eliminate unexpected results in the comprehensive reviews supporting decisions on reappointment, promotion, and the conferral of Permanent Tenure. Guidelines for the annual performance review are detailed in the Winston-Salem State Faculty Evaluation Handbook.   

Annual Performance Review for Clinical Track Faculty Clinical track faculty members will be evaluated annually by the department/ program supervisor in accordance with the current human resources directives and the provisions of the employment contract. Evaluation will be based on satisfactory progress toward, or effective attainment of, all the criteria for initial appointment at clinical faculty rank set forth in the employment contract. Each Department or Program will establish at the outset responsibilities and ratio of teaching, service, and research. To allow for the unique professional requirements of each program, the particular departments or programs will establish additional performance criteria for appointment, reappointment, advancement in rank, and salary increases, as appropriate.

Required Assessments

Several assessments of teaching are required in the annual evaluation of faculty.

  1. The Student Rating of Classroom Instruction should be administered to all classes each semester.  Appropriate questions from the Student Rating of Classroom Instruction should be included and used to support statements about course delivery and teaching effectiveness in the annual review.  Student responses to individual questions should be used to illustrate strengths and areas where, from the student's perspective, improvement might be needed.   Other student rating forms or evaluative instruments which elicit more information about advising and mentoring should also be administered and data collected and shared with the faculty member and evaluators.   
  2. Non-tenured faculty members will compile a course design document for one class each year as part of the annual review of teaching.  A very good resource for this document is the book, "Idea-Based Learning, A course Design Process to Promote Conceptual Understanding", by Edmund J.  Hansen. This can be either a fall or spring class.  In order to spread the evaluation load faculty should consider doing the design document in the fall or even over the summer after a spring class.  This ensures adequate time for both the preparation and the review by the peer.  The cover sheet for the design document should explain why this course was chosen for evaluation.  If this course has been evaluated before, then the faculty member being evaluated should also guide the evaluator as to what changes have been made in the course. The course design document should contain contextual information about the course; the course syllabus; a course matrix (which gives a detailed analysis of the instructional methodology used to address each course objective and how each course objective is assessed); and supporting materials.  The faculty member being evaluated should provide a narrative to guide the evaluator through the materials provided.  The backbone of the course design document is the syllabus. The faculty member should use this to show the evaluator in detail how each objective on the syllabus is presented to students, how objectives are assessed and what the criteria are for assessment of each objective. Supporting materials should be included as referenced examples of how lectures, classroom activities, supplemental readings, handouts, quizzes, tests, assignments and assessments are used to enhance student learning.
  3. A classroom observation of the course under review for non-tenured faculty (course design document in 3 above) must be completed by at least one peer each year and included in the annual review.
  4. For cumulative reviews (tenure, promotion), a summary across time and a narrative about how the information from the student reviews and peer reviews were used to improve teaching should be included.  


The scholarship portion of the annual report or tenure and/or promotion portfolio should include a narrative on how the faculty member has been and continues to be involved in the research process.  It is important that the narrative help the reader understand the direction, coherence, and relevance of the faculty member’s work.  This includes not only research in their discipline, but also both research into the teaching and learning process.  It should also include examples of research or creative products produced within the year(s) being evaluated.  Details or examples of how the dossier should be developed are left to departments to determine.  

Departmental, University, Community and Professional Service

At the heart of the academic enterprise is faculty participation in governance, especially in matters of curriculum and the vitality of the faculty.  Faculty should determine the content of the curriculum, degree and certificate requirements, standards of instruction, student achievement standards, grading, and all matters relating to student progress in academic programs.  They should also have major responsibility for the hiring, evaluating, reappointing, recommending tenure, and promoting of their faculty colleagues.  This requires participation in curriculum and faculty committees at the departmental and university levels. 

The service portion of the annual report or tenure and/or promotion portfolio should explain and provide examples of how the faculty member has been involved in any of the service areas.  The faculty member should make a case for how their service to the department, university, community and/or profession has made an impact on those served.  Details or examples of how the report/portfolio should be developed are left to departments to determine.   Letters from committee chairs and/or the products of service work should be provided as evidence of work accomplished or the service rendered.