Dear WVU Faculty:
In my last Friday email, I talked about doubling down on student success – the imperative we face as a university to teach our students relevant skills and knowledge while enabling them to graduate in a timely fashion.
In today’s message, I want to emphasize the importance of faculty success and to share our ongoing and new initiatives to support, recognize, and reward teaching, research, and service excellence.
Clearly, faculty play a vital role in the University’s academic mission, providing quality instruction to our students and engaging in research and outreach that positively impact the state and region. And it goes without saying that everyone did yeoman’s work during the COVID-19 epidemic to support our students and keep the University going during one of the most challenging times in recent history.
Despite financial constraints, this past spring the University committed to a 3.5% raise pool that resulted in meaningful raises for our productive faculty and staff. This year, we will continue to provide funding for faculty travel/development grants and to support sabbatical leaves. We’ll also continue to recognize outstanding faculty and staff through our internal awards programs and by nominating faculty for prestigious external awards. And we remain committed to efforts to diversify our faculty and create a more inclusive and family-friendly community.
As part of Academic Transformation, we’re also focused on improving our Faculty Rewards and Recognition processes. This includes creating a new University faculty workload document aimed at establishing greater consistency, clarity, and equity in faculty work assignments. We are also working with the Faculty Senate Teaching and Assessment Committee to pilot a new eSEI instrument designed to provide meaningful feedback that will enable faculty to make improvements to their courses.
A top priority this fall is to revise the University’s Procedures for Faculty Appointment, Annual Evaluation, Promotion, and Tenure document. This document – which governs the annual evaluation, promotion, and tenure processes – was last updated in 2014. Over the past year and a half, a Faculty Rewards and Recognition Committee provided feedback on the draft document.
One goal for making these changes is to expand the definition of what counts in teaching, research, and service – including such areas as public, community-engaged, and multidisciplinary scholarship and social justice work that impact and engage a variety of external audiences. Another goal is to ensure rigor and consistency in our faculty evaluation processes and provide greater transparency about ongoing University practices.
Currently, these proposed changes are being shared with our colleges, schools, and campuses in a series of “town hall” meetings. The purpose has been to highlight significant changes to the document and provide context before it is shared in its entirety. This has been an iterative process, and we are making additional changes based on the feedback we’ve received.
As of today, an annotated version of the draft document is available for faculty review. The document is available on the Academic Transformation website. Links are also available on the WVU Faculty and the Provost’s Office websites.
I encourage our faculty members to view both the current document and the new draft document to best understand where and why the changes were made. There is also a link to a Qualtrics form to submit your comments and feedback (anonymously, if preferred). The open comment period will run through Friday, November 11, 2022.
There is always more we can do to support our excellent faculty, and we will continue to look for opportunities to elevate your work, reward your efforts, and pave the way for your success. While higher education faces a number of challenges, there has never been a better time to engage in WVU’s purpose-driven mission and to make your mark on West Virginia – and the world.