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Faculty Evaluation Procedural Appendix

Date approved by Faculty Senate:  December 8, 2020

Date approved by Provost:  December 9, 2020

Date approved by VPR:  December 9, 2020

Date approved by President:  December 11, 2020

Periods declared as “affected terms” per the Provost and the Faculty Senate:

    • Calendar year 2020 (approved 1-14-2020)
    • Calendar year 2021 and academic year 2021-2022 (approved 12-8-2021)

Scope

This document prescribes certain procedural requirements in the evaluation of all Boise State Faculty, as defined below, based on post-hoc workload adjustments and impact characterization.  It does not affect the initial assignment of Faculty workloads (Policy 4560), Faculty salary determination (Policy 4430), or any established form of faculty leave from the University (Policies 7220, 7230, 7240, 7260, or 7610).  Any workload adjustments are for the purpose of evaluation only and do not change or impact actual effort reporting on sponsored projects.

The duration of time during which this Appendix is active is limited but undefined, due to the intrinsically volatile nature of the motivating COVID-19 pandemic conditions.  To the extent that this appendix is inconsistent with other University Policies, it supersedes them while active.  The President of the University retains sole discretion to deactivate this Appendix, though the reviewing entities named above may jointly deactivate it.

Authority

Consistent with SBOE Policy II.G, this document provides procedural guidance for individuals and committees regarding performance evaluation.  It is a time-limited appendix to several University Policies identified below, and as such, it has the force of policy.   

Department and college policies that address the evaluation of Faculty shall be interpreted and deployed in a manner consistent with the principles and procedures outlined herein.

Implicated University Policies

4290 – Annual Performance Evaluation of Faculty, and Policies that reference 4290:

4220 – Adjunct Faculty

4250 – Lecturer Faculty 

4490 – Clinical Faculty

5010 – Research Faculty Policies and Procedures

4320 – Faculty Peer Review

4340 – Faculty Promotion and Tenure Guidelines

4380 – Periodic Review of Tenured Faculty

Definitions

Affected Term: a semester or academic year that has been jointly designated by the Provost and Faculty Senate as a period of time during which the assigned work of all Faculty is or might be adversely affected by COVID-19 and/or related environmental factors.  

Compounding Factors: pandemic-related conditions experienced by an individual Faculty member that are specific to their own situation and have adverse effects on their assigned work.  Examples include childcare, financial distress, and COVID-19 illness.

Faculty: any member of the faculty at Boise State University, as defined in Policy 7000, who is compensated for their official duties; practically speaking, this includes all Boise State faculty types with the general exception of Affiliate Faculty and Professors of the Practice.

Mixed-Workload Faculty: a Faculty member who carries assigned workload in more than one of the three traditional areas of responsibility (Teaching, Research, Service).

Responsible Evaluator: an individual or committee charged with conducting an evaluation of Faculty in accordance with applicable policies; typically, this included Department Chairs and Heads, Deans, and committees at the department and college levels.

Uniform-Workload Faculty: a Faculty member who carries assigned workload in only one of the three traditional areas of responsibility (Teaching, Research, Service).  

Principles 

The novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has fundamentally disrupted virtually every aspect of life in the United States and many other parts of the world.  Individuals, families, and communities have experienced negative impacts on multiple fronts.  The magnitude, intensity, and duration of these impacts are not the same for everyone, however, as conditions ostensibly independent of the pandemic have had amplifying or buffering effects for different populations. 

In short, everyone has been impacted by COVID-19, but not everyone has been impacted in the same way or to the same degree. 

This is no less true for members of the Boise State Faculty than it is for members of any other population.  And because this is so, our structures, processes, and standards for evaluating Faculty performance must be adjusted to take account of this reality. 

Boise State Faculty are subject to various forms of evaluation, as reflected in the policies referenced above.  In each instance of the relevant type of evaluation, appropriate adjustments shall be made to the evaluative procedure for all Faculty performance during Affected Terms, as described below. 

Moreover, because COVID-19 has resulted in disparate impacts across populations and individuals, adjustments must also be made to acknowledge Compounding Factors experienced during Affected Terms.  The range of conditions that may be Compounding Factors is so large and varied as to resist precise definition.  Broadly speaking, the variety of condition types includes but isn’t limited to: economic; familial; physical or mental health-related; socio-political. 

Procedures

The Provost, in consultation with the Faculty Senate, may designate a semester, academic year, or calendar year as an Affected Term.  All forms of Faculty performance evaluation that include an Affected Term within the review period shall be subject to the procedural adjustments described below, which shall be in effect until such time as this appendix is formally deactivated.

Annual performance evaluation (Policy 4290 and related policies)

Step 1: Post-hoc adjustment of assigned workload percentages by Faculty.

Working with their Department Chair or other appropriate Responsible Evaluator, Faculty members may implement the following actions, where applicable.

  1. Document the impact of furlough leave on their assigned workload. 
    1. Using the Furlough Workload Calculator, record the calculated workload percentage as Leave/Offset within Faculty 180.
    2. Reduce assigned workload in Teaching, Research, and/or Service to offset the percentage assigned to Leave/Offset.
  2. Document the impact of COVID-19 on their assigned Teaching load.
    1. Mixed-Workload Faculty:
      1. Using the Teaching Workload Re-Calculator, record the calculated percentage increase to assigned Teaching workload within Faculty 180 for any semester in the Affected Term.  
      2. Reduce assigned workload in Research and/or Service to offset increase to Teaching load.  
    2. Uniform-Workload Faculty:
      1. Characterize the additional challenges and investment of effort in teaching in the annual self evaluation.
  3. Quantify the impact of Compounding Factors on their entire workload.
    1. Mixed-Workload Faculty:
      1. Using the Compounding Factors Workload Calculator,  record the calculated workload percentage as Leave/Offset within Faculty 180, summed with any Leave/Offset recorded for furlough, during the Affected Term.  (Note: this is a matter for the faculty member to determine alone, and it is not appropriate for the Responsible Evaluator to question either the magnitude of the impact or the nature of the conditions that underlie the Compounding Factors for the Faculty member.)
      2. Reduce assigned workload in Teaching, Research, and/or Service to offset the percentage assigned to Leave/Offset.  
    2. Uniform-Workload Faculty:
      1. Characterize the impact of Compounding Factors on their assigned workload in the annual self evaluation.
  4. Using the drop-down options in Faculty 180, record the COVID impact on specific activities to indicate the type of disruption affecting the activity or product in question.

Step 2: Application of evaluative criteria by the Responsible Evaluator

Having worked with the Faculty member under evaluation to adjust assigned workload percentages as described above, the Responsible Evaluator shall implement the following actions.

  1. Explicitly acknowledge in the evaluation document/instrument that the Faculty member’s work was conducted in an Affected Term and that (for Mixed-Workload Faculty) their workload percentages were subject to post-hoc adjustment in conformity with the process outlined herein.
  2. Apply evaluative criteria to the Faculty member’s performance and productivity conditioned on the adjusted workload assignments.  (See §3.3 and §4.14 of Policy 4340.)  It is possible, for example, that the Faculty member under evaluation has a revised Service workload assignment as low as 0%; in that case, any Service productivity should be rated as Exceeds Expectations.  
  3. Acknowledge the COVID impact on specific activities and adjust evaluative criteria appropriately.  For example, a conference paper that was accepted but never delivered, due to the cancelation of the conference, should be given special consideration such that the faculty member is held harmless for factors beyond their control.

Annual evaluations conducted in accordance with the procedure described above are durable; no subsequent treatment of such an evaluation may re-evaluate according to different standards or “discount” recorded evaluative ratings on grounds that they were assigned during an Affected Term.

Annual or biennial progress-to-tenure review (Policy 4320 and 4340)

Within the departmental review process, the Faculty member may provide the Responsible Evaluators with information about any adjusted workload assignments for Teaching, Research, Service, and Leave/Offset, as well as information regarding the COVID impact on specific activities.  The Responsible Evaluators shall implement actions (a)-(c) described in Step 2 immediately above.  In addition, they shall:

  1. Treat any recorded evaluative ratings typically taken as input (e.g., annual evaluations or previous progress reviews) at face-value; there shall be no re-evaluation according to different standards or “discounting” of prior evaluative ratings on grounds that they were assigned during an Affected Term or under conditions of Residual Impacts.

Progress reviews conducted in accordance with the procedure described above are durable; no subsequent treatment of such an evaluation may re-evaluate according to different standards or “discount” recorded evaluative ratings on grounds that they were assigned during an Affected Term.

Tenure and/or promotion review (Policy 4340)

Within their tenure and promotion application materials,  the Faculty member may provide the Responsible Evaluators with information about any adjusted workload assignments for Teaching, Research, Service, and Leave/Offset, as well as information regarding the COVID impact on specific research activities.  The Responsible Evaluators shall implement actions (a)-(d) described above.  In addition, they shall:

  1. Ensure that the solicitation of external evaluation letters includes information describing adjustments made to the Faculty member’s workload assignments for Teaching, Research, Service.

Periodic review of tenured faculty (Policy 4380)

The prescribed procedure for this type of review requires nothing of the Faculty being reviewed.  Consequently, considerations of COVID-19 impact should enter the process when the Responsible Evaluator is preparing to record the outcome of the query of departmental tenured and tenure-track faculty.  In the event that a majority of respondents question the Faculty member’s tenure, it is incumbent upon the Responsible Evaluator to consider documentation of COVID-19 impact documented in annual evaluations or other evaluation instruments and to determine the appropriateness of that consensus in light of the documented impact.

Right and Basis of Appeal

Any Faculty member who believes that the principles and procedures above have not been implemented appropriately by the Responsible Evaluator has a prima facie reason to appeal the results in that instance of evaluation.  The appeal process shall be the standard process specified for the type of evaluation in question, and the Faculty member shall have access to the principles and procedures in this Appendix in framing their appeal.