March 27, 2000
Professional Development Services
for Faculty Now Available
After several years of reading promotion, tenure and reappointment
files, Vice Provosts Bob Smith and Susan Steele concluded that
there was a need for more services to support faculty development
and that the University needed to adopt a coordinated approach.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education
and the Office of Undergraduate Education and Instruction have
responded by putting in place and coordinating a number of support
The following document, provided to the Advance by Smith and
Steele, outlines the professional development services the two
vice provosts have identified as necessary and which of these
services each unit now offers in response to perceived needs.
"The support services we identify are in place now," says Steele,
"and we would like faculty to know that they're available and
are a package, not just scattered offerings."
Smith and Steele invite faculty and others to respond to the
document via e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Smith at (860) 486-3621 or Steele at (860)
In past years at the University of Connecticut, the development
of faculty members, encompassing the role of the individual,
his/her mentors and the institution, has not been well codified.
The purpose of this document is to affirm the university's responsibili
ty to the development of faculty members and graduate students,
to list the types of developmental support available, and to
improve the understanding by new faculty members of the expectations
for continued growth.
The development model identifies four distinct populations,
the full range of which is a fundamental attribute of research
universities: untenured tenure-track faculty members, post-tenure
faculty members, graduate students, and non-tenure track faculty,
both temporary and long-term. In one respect, this is still
a simplification, since the post-tenure stage for a faculty
member is by no means a steady state, comprising many changes
and potentially one major promotion.
Untenured Tenure-Track Faculty Members: The years between entry
and tenure are devoted primarily to
establishing scholarly credentials through a national reputation
for outstanding research and a campus reputation for superb
instruction. Although service obligations are generally secondary,
the untenured tenure-track faculty member should not ignore
the possibility of making important contributions to the health
of the departmental and university communities, as well as to
Post-Tenure Faculty Members: The University recognizes that
there can be an ebb and flow to a faculty member's career. Thus,
while individual excellence in teaching and research remains
essential, the roles of individual tenured faculty members within
the departmental obligations may be differentiated and may change
over time, as negotiated with the department head in collaboration
with the dean. Critical always to a research university is the
necessity of creative activity and of making the results of
the creative activity widely known, regardless of the faculty
Non-Tenure Track Faculty Members, Adjuncts and Temporary Faculty
Members: Many UConn departments hire on a temporary basis individuals
to teach one or more courses; many also depend on individuals
with long-term but not tenurable contracts. Because of their
instructional role, it is critical that these individuals understand
our institution, its expectations and its policies.
Graduate Students: Many graduate students resemble untenured
faculty members in that they must develop promise in both research
and instruction. However, while their research potential can
be nurtured one-on-one, at least at the beginning of their graduate
work, many graduate students also serve a very public instructional
role. It is incumbent upon the university community, therefore,
to prepare them for both their present and future responsibilities.
Institutional Structures for Support
The departments, the colleges or schools and the central administration
are jointly responsible to members of the four populations
identified above for the construction of effective support and
the evaluation of progress. Just as important, however, is what
the individual brings to the process. In other words, faculty
members and graduate students must be proactive members of a
team - deeply interested in their own success toward tenure
Although we believe that each department should have a plan
to provide guidance and mentoring to untenured faculty, to support
the continued vitality of post-tenure faculty members, and to
integrate adjuncts and temporary faculty into departmental culture,
we focus here on the institutional support structures for these
three populations. The support provided for untenured tenure-track
faculty members is necessarily the most elaborate, because of
the demands of the tenure cycle. Central support includes the
- The central administration will offer an orientation session
for all new faculty members, introducing them to the available
resources, as well as to some of the issues they face. The Office
of the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Education will
annually offer a series of workshops on scholarly writing and
grantsmanship, aimed specifically at honing the skills of new
- The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate
Education will assist in the development of extramural support
for graduate assistantships and fellowships, endowed professorships,
faculty fellowships, joint research grants, exhibit and artistic
performance opportunities, and patenting and licensing agreements,
when mutual benefit can be derived without compromising UConn's
dedication to intellectual integrity and autonomy.
- The Institute for Teaching and Learning will assist in the
development of education, instructional and evaluative proposals
to be submitted to external granting agencies.
- The Institute for Teaching and Learning will annually offer
workshops that will include topics such as the
development of teaching portfolios, understanding student ratings,
assessment procedures and classroom management.
- The Institute for Teaching and Learning will, upon request,
work confidentially with individual untenured faculty members
to assess their teaching strengths and weaknesses, to develop
a plan to improve their teaching, to develop documentation of
progress, and to guide them to institutional resources for instruction.
- The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate
Education and the Institute for Teaching and Learning, in addition,
will work with departments as requested to construct departmental
development structures for untenured faculty.
The structures described in all but the first of these paragraphs
are also available to tenured faculty members. In addition,
adjuncts and temporary faculty should be included in the new
faculty orientation, as should newly hired non-tenure track
faculty members. The Institute for Teaching and Learning will
offer a workshop at the beginning of each semester for adjuncts
and temporary faculty on syllabus construction, classroom management
and instructional methodology.
The department and the faculty advisors are best placed to support
a graduate student's development in research. The Office of
the Dean of the Graduate School is willing to assist departments
and faculty advisors in how best this can be accomplished. Also,
the Graduate School will offer workshops and seminars on scholarly
writing and grantsmanship, open to graduate students.
A collaboration between the department and the Institute for
Teaching and Learning supports instructional development for
graduate students. The instructional roles assumed by graduate
students are varied, but fall into four general categories:
instructional support without direct student contact (e.g. graders);
instructional support with direct student contact (e.g. laboratory
assistants); secondary instructional responsibility (e.g. laboratory
or discussion leader); and primary instructional responsibility.
- From Fall 2001, the University is obligated to provide instructional
training for all graduate students who have instructional responsibili
ty or provide instructional support with direct student contact.
In collaboration with the Institute for Teaching and Learning,
departments may construct their own training program; they may
also use the training program offered by the Institute; or they
may elect a combination of both.
- Any graduate assistant with direct student contact must be
proficient in written and spoken English, as ensured through
compliance with the international teaching assistant policies.
Evaluation & Documentation
Documenting an untenured faculty member's progress in achieving
excellence in research and instruction is essential to the success
of the process. Research documentation is provided through an
enumeration and assessment of publications, public presentations
and grants acquisition. The central issue for the documentation
of research is to ensure that the departmental review involves
a measure of the quality of the work and the faculty member's
promise rather than a simple enumeration of faculty member's
Good documentation of effective instruction is a work in progress.
Too often a set of sometimes sporadically collected student
course evaluations is the only evidence offered. While good
student feedback from the course evaluation process is important
to improving instructional quality, it alone does not constitute
a summative evaluation. Documentation of effective instruction
requires a more complete picture, accompanied by some form of
Vice Provost for Research and Graduate
Education & Dean of
the Graduate School
Vice Provost for Undergraduate
Education & Instruction