Standard 4 – Faculty
Teaching at Evergreen, from the recruitment and socialization of new faculty members, to curriculum planning and evaluation, is guided by our mission as a public, interdisciplinary, liberal arts college. While all elements of our mission are important for the faculty, it is our commitment as a liberal arts college to interdisciplinary studies that makes teaching at Evergreen so distinctive, and offers the most challenging and transformative experiences for faculty members.
What makes interdisciplinary teaching in a liberal arts college so powerful for faculty members comes only in part from the range of areas of study team members bring to their programs. The crucial attraction lies in the inquiry – the creation of new understanding – by faculty with students as they bring together disciplinary and critical perspectives on genuinely important issues. In summer 2007, a group of faculty began meeting to work on the academic standards of the self-study. In their initial conversation, one of the college's original fifty faculty members defined interdisciplinary in the following way: “Interdisciplinary means, in its clearest formulation, a kind of inquiry that looks into the structure and internal logic of the various disciplines and seeks to transcend them in the interest of knowledge through inquiry that is believed to be superior to disciplinary-based inquiry.” He went on to say that such teaching is more aptly described as “transdisciplinary,” where disciplinary-based knowledge provides not only pertinent content but also perspective to query all the fields of study within a program.
There is no single approach to interdisciplinary teaching and learning among faculty members at Evergreen. There is agreement about the essential conditions for such studies in the full-time curriculum: team teaching with colleagues from different fields; collegial teaching where teaching partners collaborate to design, plan, and teach a substantively integrated program; and year-long, or multiple-quarter, full-time study. Faculty members teaching in the part-time curriculum, some of whom team-teach, have worked very successfully to develop inquiry-based learning communities in their classes and half-time programs.
Looking empirically at what has evolved at the college in the name of “interdisciplinary studies,” we have developed a shared approach to teaching and learning that promotes an integration of knowledge and modes of inquiry. Faculty members seek to establish a critical relationship to the academic material fostered by the multiple perspectives offered by the fields of study, and the ongoing and challenging dialogue among faculty and students.
At the inception of the college, such programs were called "coordinated studies" and are now also described as "learning communities." Both phrases are useful to speak to the distinctive qualities of our academic programs. In content, we design programs that integrate and coordinate disciplines and fields of study into well focused explorations of ideas and questions. Such explorations, when done within a community of learners, are strengthened by the mutual interests and interactions of faculty and students.
By their nature, interdisciplinary learning communities invite faculty members and students into unfamiliar areas of study. They can lead to unexpected and surprising new learning. Interdisciplinary teaching can change what faculty members know and how they think. Their interdisciplinary and disciplinary knowledge and insight can expand, and their skills of inquiry can sharpen. Students make it abundantly clear, in their evaluations of their own learning, that faculty members who are engaged in such genuine and collegial inquiry are key to their learning.
A graduating senior put it this way:
- Everyone in the program, including the faculty, said this book is so difficult, none of us will be able to understand this book fully. So the professors and the students were in the same boat: we were all learners together. And that’s something Evergreen believes in. We were forced by the enormity of the text to really come together, and the faculty members were leading examples because they were exhausted, too. But they also were showing us the light at the end – not because they knew the end of the book but because they were all people who respect it, because of the sensitivities they had brought to the table. If students don’t respect their faculty, if there’s not a model in the classroom, then I don’t think students are going to get anything out of it.
In both internal and external measures of learning and satisfaction, students rank their relationships with faculty as the most significant factor in their education at Evergreen. In the 2006 Evergreen Student Experience Survey, students were asked about their level of satisfaction on a number of variables. The highest ranking variable for Evergreen students was with their relationship with their faculty: 47.5% of the students ranked their relationship with faculty members as “very satisfying” and an additional 42.6% ranked it as “satisfying.” The second highest ranking variable was “overall quality of instruction": 43% of the students ranked that as “very satisfying” and an additional 48% ranked it as “satisfying.” One more variable that stood out was “availability of faculty outside of class”: 33% ranked this as “very satisfying” and an additional 53.4% ranked it as “satisfying.” (See the Evergreen Student Experience Survey 2006 – Satisfaction of Olympia Campus Students). The Alumni Survey has comparable results.
There were similar high levels of satisfaction with student interactions with faculty members in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) where Evergreen students are compared to those at other schools nationally (see the NSSE 2007 Benchmarks Report).
The engaging and rigorous inquiry essential for interdisciplinary study originates in the academic relationship faculty members establish with one another, students, and the material. In other words, what and how faculty members design and teach is manifest in the academic community created. Evergreen faculty members William Ray Arney and Donald L. Finkel made a very helpful distinction between “team teaching” and “collegial teaching” in their book Educating For Freedom: The Paradox of Pedagogy (Rutgers University Press, 1995.) Team members choose the nature of the relationship they will establish with one another and the material; collegial teaching reflects a decision to teach where the faculty are actively inquiring with one another and their students into compelling questions and themes:
- What is crucial to collegial teaching is that the two (or more) teachers join together out of a common intellectual interest. What brings the colleagues together must be a genuine interest, not an interest invented as a pretext for creating a course. And there must be some common ground in their intellectual interests so together they can formulate a question or project the joint pursuit of which will be genuinely interesting to each – though not necessarily for the same reasons.
They go on to argue that collegial teaching is “…the central supporting, determining, and founding fact of pedagogy.” Based in both genuine difference and genuine equality, it is the fundamental “social pedagogy” essential for interdisciplinary studies. The capacity of the faculty to sustain interdisciplinary studies resides in a network of relationships – among academic disciplines, among the team members and students, and between each faculty member and the unfamiliar new knowledge and assumptions he or she encounters. It is within these relationships, experienced simultaneously, that the nature and experience of interdisciplinary studies is best understood.
It is useful to think of interdisciplinary studies at Evergreen not so much as a model, but rather as a relationship created by members of a program between knowledge (as it is formalized in disciplines) and inquiries into that knowledge. As a dialectical process, knowledge and insight evolve as members of the program simultaneously challenge one another as they integrate program material. This process is aimed toward the development of reflexive thinking. This is learning that is integrative and through which learners acquire a perspective on themselves, become informed of the array of knowledge in the world, analyze the historical and political origins of knowledge, and recognize the function of knowledge in the public world. Learning, understood in this way, helps make clear the centrality of our five foci as the guiding principles of teaching and learning at the college.
What it Means to Teach at Evergreen
Teaching at Evergreen places faculty members in a number of paradoxical situations. For example, our best teaching requires the feeling of letting go of expertise (authentically and not simply a posture the faculty assume) while also calling on one’s expertise to judge and guide inquiry within the program. In addition, teaching partners must seek others who share enthusiasm for a question or theme while being genuinely different – in background and approach. That difference, felt unfamiliarity, is essential as a basis to generate authentic critique and questions, and to aim toward new interdisciplinary learning. Finally, while program content must acknowledge current knowledge and formal educational paths organized around disciplines, a thematically organized interdisciplinary study transcends the constraints of disciplines. In this, faculty members are in a complex relationship with their primary fields of study – as insiders knowledgeable of the content and methodology, and simultaneously skeptics and critics. These paradoxical realities of teaching at Evergreen speak to important academic approaches as well as qualities of curiosity and risk taking.
A new faculty member at the college described one such paradoxical situation:
- My preparations are really different than they used to be [before coming to Evergreen]. I used to write a paper so that I could provide a strong framework for a discussion. Now I am writing down passages and page numbers, and a few notes. I trust that these things will come out as we talk. I am able to let go, trusting that I can maintain my wits… Working too hard on what I want students to know doesn’t allow the material to open up to them…I am less worried…We have a nice faculty seminar every week so I don’t worry.
The authors of the Documenting Effective Educational Practices (DEEP) Report used the phrase “positive restlessness” to describe Evergreen as an institution and its faculty. It is useful to think about “restlessness” as a key factor sustaining the paradoxes involved in teaching at the college. It is also critical, as an institution, to think well about the structural and organizational conditions that provide the continuity and support for the academic and personal vulnerability to sustain this restlessness.
Interdisciplinary study at the college varies a great deal. It can take the form of a simple clustering of traditional disciplines in a program as a means of better integration for students, or a thematically designed program where disciplinary distinctions recede and transdisciplinary questions and problems are at the center of inquiry. While every program includes both emphases on subject matter content and modes of “inquiry,” they are distinguished by the relative priority given these two elements.
The kind of interdisciplinary program faculty teams design is based on the intended learning in a program, and the team members’ backgrounds and teaching preferences. Some areas of the curriculum at the undergraduate level, by tradition, are more inquiry-based (e.g. humanities, some areas of the social sciences) while others, again by tradition, are more content focused (e.g. sciences, social sciences). Thus there are a number of variables – the intended learning in a program, the disciplinary biases of the faculty team members, and the degree of academic risk-taking team members are willing to assume – that affect the decisions that go into the kind of interdisciplinary programs offered. All faculty teams have both matters of content and inquiry on their minds. They constantly negotiate a balance between the two throughout the duration of a program.
Whatever the interdisciplinary nature of a program, learning evolves as the program moves along. Faculty teams provide a syllabus with readings, program activities, and assignments, but what students and faculty make of that (the learning) comes out of the thinking, discussion, and processing that occurs over time. As such, faculty members do not know at the beginning everything that will be learned. Teaching at Evergreen, thus, means simultaneously remaining knowledgeable of one’s field of study and authentically pursuing new and previously unaddressed questions and knowledge. In other words, faculty members inhabit an academic space between what they know well and what is unfamiliar.
Interdisciplinary teaching, as it is being described here, requires distinctive supportive structures and work conditions:
- Team teaching in interdisciplinary studies programs can create a sense of vulnerability and uneasiness for faculty members. The college must provide explicitly articulated and tangible practices to support the risk taking and experimentation crucial for such teaching.
- The teaching team – the backgrounds, modes of inquiry, and sensibilities of its members – is at the heart of successful interdisciplinary programs. Teaching teams not only determine the curricular content offered at the college, but also the quality and depth of student learning. The college must maintain, and ideally expand, the opportunities for faculty members to form new and interesting teams where members have overlapping interests while being academically challenging colleagues for one another.
- Faculty members develop an intellectual identity that grows out of their teaching, scholarship, and artistic work. These are not static and often change as faculty members explore new academic areas. An intellectual identity provides a frame of reference and functions a bit like a rudder for faculty members as they navigate options for future teaching and other academic projects. The college must provide opportunities for teaching and professional development, for faculty members to explore their intellectual interests, take on relevant academic identities, and develop confidence and mastery of each one's expanding fields of study.
Evergreen Faculty Members
There are 232 faculty members teaching at the college; 70% teach full-time while the remaining 30% teach part-time. There is almost an equal number of women and men, and a quarter of the faculty members are faculty of color.
During this period of review, the college created a new category of regular faculty appointments for Evening and Weekend Studies. Twelve of the current 179 faculty members teach primarily in EWS and are on continuing half-time appointments.
We are a different faculty group than we were at our last reaccreditation. Almost 50% of our current faculty members have been hired in the last ten years; 21% in the last five years. An additional 14% have been here for fifteen years or less; and the remainder have taught at the college since its earlier years. Many of the faculty in this latter group will be retiring within the next five years.
The current faculty has a different disciplinary distribution than at our last review. Most notably we have hired more faculty members for our professional programs, both graduate and undergraduate. We have fewer faculty members in the humanities (21% of the faculty in 2005, down from 25% in 1997) and greater numbers in the sciences (35% in 2005, up from 26% in 1997). The following shows the number of faculty members hired and those that retired by planning unit over the last ten years.
CTL = Culture, Text, and Language; EA = Expressive Arts; ES = Environmental Studies; SI = Scientific Inquiry; SPBC = Society, Politics, Behavior, and Change; NAWIPS = Native American and World Indigenous Peoples Studies; GRAD = Graduate Programs
The regular faculty has grown by 16% since 1997 – from 153 to close to 180. Of those, 51% are women and 49% men, and 25% are persons of color. In terms of age distribution, the following shows numbers and percentage (based on 180 regular faculty members in spring of 2007) in five major age categories.
|Age Range||Number of faculty||Percentage of faculty|
|30 - 39||22||12%|
|50 – 59||64||35%|
|60 – 69||52||28%|
|70 – 79||1|
The majority of our faculty members are mid-career; we have a very small percentage in their thirties. We expect high rates of retirement over the next fifteen years. The turnover we have already experienced will continue, and will make our processes of socialization and orientation to the college a very high priority for us.
|Years of teaching at Evergreen||Number of faculty||Percentage of faculty|
|1 – 5 years||38||21%|
|6 – 10 years||51||28%|
|11 – 15 years||26||14%|
|16 – 20 years||34||18%|
|21 – 25 years||14||7%|
|26 – 30 years||6||3%|
|31 – 33 years||11||6%|
Faculty interests, issues, and concerns
The following are issues and concerns that have emerged for faculty during the period of this review. Each of these issues requires further discussion by the faculty and possible changes in our practices.
The faculty maintains a solid commitment to creating a community of creative, diverse, and academically accomplished colleagues. Our success has been greater with some of these goals than others. For example, while 25% of the faculty are faculty of color, many of those faculty members are on the Tacoma campus or teaching in the reservation-based program.
The diversity of the faculty on the Olympia campus is not as great as we want. We continue to address this concern through our recruitment and hiring process. Over the years, we have learned the necessity of achieving "critical mass" for faculty of color to experience sufficient presence and agency in their work at the college.
One of our younger Native American faculty members made the issue of "critical mass" clear to the Hiring Office when she was hired two years ago. She described how she perused the faculty directory before she accepted her position. She not only found a larger number of other Native faculty members, but also that many had been at the college for years. This gave her some assurance that other Native faculty found the college a good environment in which to teach and work.
In contrast, the number of African-American faculty members on regular appointment on the Olympia campus has only grown from three at our last review to eight now. Further hiring will not only increase the overall diversity of our faculty, but also help create a sense of critical mass for these faculty members and their colleagues.
With a 25:1 ratio in the beginning of the academic year and given the array of activities faculty want to include on a weekly basis in programs (e.g. seminars, lectures, field trips, workshops, labs, studios), many faculty report that it is difficult to offer large programs with more than one or, at most, two other colleagues. Since our last reaccreditation we have seen an overall decrease in the size of teaching teams and program participants. We have also seen a reduction in the length of programs. The majority of programs are now two quarters (typically offered in fall and winter quarters), and many are single-quarter, one-faculty programs are offered in the spring. Thus, unlike ten years ago, a faculty member is interacting for shorter periods of time with twice as many students within a single year. This has posed tensions and constraints for the faculty who attempt to create supportive conditions for engagement and complex learning.
Size of Teams
The faculty have identified a number of changes over the years that have led to smaller teams. These include changes in student preparation, more activities (labs, field trips, and studio) that are time intensive for the faculty, and more time spent on faculty governance. In order to preserve close faculty involvement (e.g. responding to student writing, time spent one-on-one with students, time for faculty seminar, evaluation conferences) faculty have tended toward smaller teams and shorter programs than was the case at our last reaccreditation. This tendency was noted in the last planning unit reviews by Expressive Arts, Environmental Studies, and Scientific Inquiry.
Effects of Planning Units
In the winter of 2006, the faculty began a serious review of our current planning unit structure. That work has been conducted by the Curricular Visions DTF that was jointly charged by the provost and the Faculty Agenda Committee. Based on the 1995 Long Range Curriculum DTF recommendations, we have planned the full-time curriculum within our most traditionally defined planning units (e.g. Environmental Studies, Expressive Arts, Scientific Inquiry). Many faculty members are experiencing an unintended consequence of that structure: an organization of the curriculum in more traditional departmental ways that tends to pull faculty members back into their disciplinary origins. The Curricular Visions DTF members have generated three curricular changes (First-Year Cohort, Thematic Planning Units, Fields of Study) that remain under consideration by the faculty.
New Faculty Orientation
We are a very different faculty than we were at our last reaccreditation. More than 50% of the current faculty has been hired within this period, the distribution of primary fields of study has shifted toward more professional and scientific areas, and new faculty come with strong disciplinary backgrounds along with an interest in teaching in interdisciplinary programs. The orientation of new faculty members is an especially high priority for us. For many years, we could be confident that new faculty members’ teaching partners could provide the most critical orientation for them. By experience, though, we found new faculty orientation to be uneven. In the late 1990s, the deans instituted a more comprehensive orientation for new faculty that included a week-long summer retreat and monthly meetings during their first year of teaching.
New faculty members, as they go through orientation activities together, function as a cohort; they gather regularly around professional and social interests. There are monthly meetings throughout the first year in which new faculty members gather with the dean responsible for faculty development to share and process their teaching experiences with one another, and to be introduced to key features of academic programs. The more formal part of new faculty orientation is organized around the faculty portfolio. The elements of the portfolio (e.g. self-evaluation, evaluations of students, program documents) provide the foci for the meetings. New faculty members receive formal information on each topic covered and are encouraged to make their own judgments on their particular approach and style. New faculty orientation is meant to be informative and useful, but conducted in such a way that new faculty members know that they must make choices about how best to teach.
The importance of such orientation has changed as the college has grown in size and years. We now understand that orientation is not only a practical matter, but has the effect of a re-articulation and re-affirmation of key college values and principles. Through this regular process of welcoming new members, the college is compelled to be explicit about the mission of the college and to allow our newest members to be part of that process. There will be more discussion of this in the section following regarding faculty development.
Most new faculty members are attracted to teach at Evergreen because of the creativity and collegiality of teaching, and less so because of their own experience with educational reform. In contrast, many of the original faculty were seasoned in the protests on college campuses in the 1960s. The planning faculty settled on interdisciplinary studies as our pedagogical innovation as both more educationally sound and better suited to develop the insights and skills useful for participation in a democratic society. In other words, Evergreen was meant to be a better and more civic-minded education. While most faculty members share those values, the depth of experience is now more varied. The college's philosophical origins should remain as an explicit thread woven throughout the orientation of new faculty members.
Relationship of the Full-Time And Part-Time Curriculum
With the growth and success of the Evening and Weekend Studies area, questions have arisen about the coordination of the part-time and full-time curricula, and the degree of interaction among the faculty members who teach in these different areas. The college recognizes the need for greater coordination and interaction, and will focus future faculty discussion on these issues.
Standard 4.A – Faculty Selection, Evaluation, Roles, Welfare, and Development
All of the practices discussed in this section are done collaboratively, calling on the involvement and judgment of many faculty members at the college. Our primary goal is to deepen the interdisciplinary understanding and sensibilities of our faculty through the following institutional processes: recruitment and selection of faculty members; the orientation and support provided in their first years in both their teaching assignments and development opportunities; their participation in the planning and teaching of the curriculum; ongoing and extensive review and evaluation of their teaching; governance and scholarly work; and their involvement in ongoing faculty development events. It is both through whom we hire and then through the conditions within which they work that we sustain a faculty capable of the meeting the challenge of providing an innovative liberal arts and interdisciplinary education for students.
4.A.1 The institution employs professionally qualified faculty with primary commitment to the institution and representative of each field or program in which it offers major work.
The qualifications for each teaching position are determined by our best judgment of required academic background and relevant experience, and the desired qualities of our applicant pool. The review and selection process for hiring new faculty members is involved and in-depth, thus assuring the college and prospective new faculty members that we will attract high quality faculty who are well suited for the engaged and collegial nature of teaching and learning at the college. With very few exceptions, we are able to hire our first choice finalists.
Our process assures us that we hire very good faculty members. We also know that new faculty members need assistance and support as they become good Evergreen faculty members. Thus new faculty orientation is critical to maintain high quality faculty members at the college. New faculty orientation spans the first year of new faculty members' teaching at the college. It begins with an intensive week-long retreat in mid-June that includes new faculty members, deans, provost, academic support staff, and other faculty members. The focus is on interdisciplinary teaching and the elements that go into creating and sustaining a learning community. This has been a very successful event; new faculty members report that they learn much about the college, meet many support staff and learn about the support services available to students and faculty, and establish friendships with other new faculty members and others at the college.
4.A.2 Faculty participate in academic planning, curriculum development and review, academic advising, and institutional governance.
At any one time, a faculty member is in three phases of “program planning”: their immediate program, their program for the next year, and their program for two years hence. Planning, as both a process of curricular design and inquiry, is inextricably linked to teaching at the college.
Assuring innovation and collaboration requires genuine and open inquiry as a basis for planning; and it must be supported by opportunities for rethinking and redesigning curriculum. (This means that the college’s catalog is rewritten every year.) Currently those opportunities include the weekly faculty seminar, two annual faculty retreats, summer program planning institutes, and an annual September Symposium. While the scale of participation in these opportunities varies from immediate team members in a program to the whole faculty, they all present opportunities for faculty members to articulate the substance and goals of their teaching, to listen and learn from one another, and to have an inclusive process of curriculum planning in which faculty members can draw from this wide array of input. This allows the faculty to provide not only a foundation and progression in our fields of study, but also a responsiveness that is key to relevant and thoughtful learning experiences. Collegial interaction and dialogue are the basis for rethinking and redesigning curriculum, and call upon the most thoughtful and collaborative skills of the faculty. This process is intended to provide a process of planning curriculum that is disciplinarily substantive and promotes genuine, engaged teaching and learning.
There are a number of ways in which faculty members participate in curriculum planning. It may be useful to think about these ways as concentric rings. At the center, and the work that is most compelling, is the planning each faculty members does with his/her teammates for the program they will teach. At any one time, a faculty member is involved in planning three such programs:
- Within their current program, faculty team members meet at least weekly and many are in touch more often by e-mail to do the ongoing planning of their programs. While the major elements of the program were determined before the program started, there are ongoing refinements and changes that must be done as the substance and issues of the program emerge. For this kind of planning, all faculty members are expected to participate in their team faculty seminar. There is wide variation in how the faculty do this kind of planning. Many teams do schedule these seminars, but not all.
- During any year of teaching, faculty members have been assigned to their teaching teams for the following year. They may meet occasionally during the year for informal discussions or more formal planning. The spring of the year preceding this next program, there is a spring retreat where those team members prepare materials for students prior to registration. In the summer preceding this program, faculty members can attend one of five, four-day Team Planning Institutes where they meet intensively with team members to design their upcoming programs.
- In the fall of the year, all faculty members are invited to attend a Fall Faculty Retreat that occurs over a period of three days. During this retreat, faculty members take the first steps in proposing new programs and talking with potential team members for their programs two years hence.
One of the persistent tensions for the faculty around planning is between their interests in teaching within the curriculum generated by their planning unit and in new, inter-area programs. The faculty are very interested in teaching with new faculty colleagues and around new questions, but many feel they don't have sufficient opportunity to know more about the interests of other colleagues and the time to generate new program ideas.
While the current faculty retreats and summer institutes are excellent settings in which to get to know other faculty and start generating program ideas, it is critical to create more frequent venues for the faculty to meet face-to-face to stay abreast of one another's interests and teaching emphases, and generate program proposals.
Faculty members are in a position to advise the students in their programs throughout the time they have contact with them. Advising relationships between students and faculty are a natural outgrowth of the sustained connections that emerge from the learning communities created by interdisciplinary programs. Many faculty members will continue on as advisors for students doing advanced work in their field. All faculty members do some amount of advising through the larger process of reflection and decision making that is embedded in the narrative evaluation process. But many faculty teams do much more.
Many teams meet with students before the program begins (during orientation week) or shortly after the beginning of the year. They also will hold special advising meetings with students in their program, and invite professional advisors from the college’s Student Academic and Support Services to meet with students. We have had a longstanding practice of faculty members serving for a year in a rotation as the “faculty advisor.” That person is relieved of assigned classroom teaching duties for the year in which he or she serves as faculty advisor, and works in the Academic Advising office with the same roles as our professional academic advising staff. As a result of how long we have done this, we now have many faculty who have had extensive experience in advising and draw on their knowledge at faculty meetings and other discussions.
Many program teams have their students develop an academic plan at the beginning of the academic year. This practice, along with the college’s decision to make it a requirement for all incoming students to attend an initial advising workshop in which they begin the process of an academic plan, will help embed advising within the ongoing activities of a program.
The college has a longstanding program called "Core Connectors" in which each Core program (with 100% freshmen) and lower division program (with up to 50% freshmen) has an assigned student services professional to serve an advising role with the students in the program. The Core Connector, most often an academic advisor, visits the program at least weekly and works with the faculty to resolve student difficulties. This collaboration between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs serves not only to provide important academic advising to students, but it also strengthens faculty advising skills and their knowledge of college processes and resources.
There is further discussion of advising in Standards 2 and 3.
Faculty governance at Evergreen is divided into two major sections: control over the curriculum and the educational offerings of the institution, on the one hand, and advice to academic and college-wide administrators, on the other. The process of curriculum planning described above illustrates the intense and collaborative nature of the work of the planning units and the academic deans. Curriculum planning engages nearly all members of the faculty in any given year and is organized primarily through the planning units, their coordinators, and the curriculum deans. There is an extraordinary amount of creativity, autonomy, and negotiation in the process of creating the annual curriculum and recreating the elements (pathways) of the ongoing curriculum. Closely associated with this work is the college-wide process of determining hiring priorities, establishing hiring committees, and hiring new members of the faculty. In any given year this process, coordinated by the academic dean in charge of hiring and the faculty hiring coordinator, can directly involve as many as one hundred faculty members.
The other major faculty governance responsibility involves providing advice and recommendations from the faculty in a formal way to college administrators, in academics and college-wide. This advice is solicited by administrators or through the establishment of temporary committees called Disappearing Task Forces (DTF). These requests for faculty participation are channeled through the Faculty Agenda Committee of ten elected members plus the faculty chair and the faculty representative to the board of trustees. This committee is charged with organizing meetings of the faculty as a whole, soliciting and organizing (with the assistance of the Provost's Office) governance assignments for faculty, and organizing in conjunction with the deans and the provost the agenda for faculty retreats. The faculty meeting can and does conduct formal votes on policy recommendations made by DTFs dealing explicitly with academic policy, and offers advice and consent to major college-wide policy efforts. Faculty approval of changes in the Faculty Handbook has been a longstanding tradition at the college, but this will change as the faculty and the administration enter into a formal collective bargaining process in the 2007-08 school year.
Beyond the curriculum and hiring, and participation in formal policy advice, faculty members serve as part of their governance responsibility in a wide range of functions administering sponsored research funds, working with college recruitment efforts, serving in the formal governance structures, serving on faculty contract conversion panels, or assisting with a wide range of faculty-based or college-wide administrative tasks.
Historically, the faculty has had significant influence over the central academic policy decisions of the college. The college has evolved over the years from a widely egalitarian/communitarian structure and ethos, toward more formal governance structures. The growth of the faculty, the complexity of its membership, and the ever-increasing range of policies that are seen by faculty and administrators as affecting faculty, have put pressure on the faculty to make the Agenda Committee more of an advisory/representative body, and have created strains in the process. Nevertheless, the idea of DTFs has proved an important device for gathering views from a broad set of constituencies and the pattern of advice and consent in policy matters has been generally salutary. Clearly, issues of governance will be important in the coming decade as the presence of the union becomes regularized, as the college continues to grow, and as the external demands on the college multiply. Please see Faculty Governance Assignments 2007-2008 to understand the scope and level of faculty participation in governance and hiring, in particular.
4.A.3 Faculty workloads reflect the mission and goals of the institution and the talents and competencies of faculty, allowing sufficient time and support for professional growth and renewal.
Faculty members report heavy workloads. The normal ratio at the beginning of the academic year is 25:1. In addition to the number of students faculty work with, the heavy workload is also shaped by our pedagogy that rests on extensive contact with students and teaching partners. Most faculty members are in class fourteen to sixteen hours a week or more, and spend an additional two to three hours in faculty planning and seminar. New faculty, who tend to spend more time preparing for class and familiarizing themselves with the college, spend even more time on their teaching.
The Long Range Curriculum DTF of 1995 proposed a new time framework for programs. It urged more two-quarter and one-quarter programs, in addition to three-quarter programs. This had the effect of increased pressure for planning time, and doubled the number of students faculty engaged within any given year.
Professional Growth and Renewal
There are a variety of opportunities and resources to support faculty scholarship, artistic work, professional travel, participation in professional organizations, travel, and other activities related to research. All of these opportunities are meant to enrich the work of individual faculty members (and their success as teachers), but they are collectively designed to be shared with the college community. In this, we are promoting the quality of our faculty members and intending to maintain a vibrant academic community, one where the substantive work of its members can be shared in public ways.
- Sabbatical leaves. The award of sabbaticals is non-competitive and treated as an essential opportunity for all faculty to renew and deepen themselves as teachers. Faculty members accrue eligibility for sabbatical by teaching: it requires 5.33 years of teaching to be eligible for one quarter of sabbatical leave. The curriculum deans and provost determine the number of lines available for sabbatical and faculty are invited to apply. The lines are awarded in order of priority on the eligibility list. To apply, a faculty member submits a proposal with a description of his or her intended project. The faculty member is asked to clarify the contribution this project will make to his or her own learning, to his or her teaching and to the college more broadly. At the conclusion of the sabbatical, faculty members submit a report of their experiences.
- Professional Travel. Faculty members have an allocation for professional travel. Faculty members on full-time contracts have on average $750 a year; adjuncts may request a proportion of that dependent on percentage of their FTE. This fund covers all expenses if the faculty member is presenting at a conference, and travel if they are only attending.
- Leave Without Pay (LWOP). Faculty members apply for leave without pay for any number of reasons. Some have a research grant and intend to work full-time on that project. Others request leave for personal reasons or other professional reasons. This leave allows faculty more flexibility than is available in other colleges. LWOP leaves are awarded when the faculty member’s absence will not undermine curricular offerings, and we are assured of being able to fill their assigned position.
- Summer Sponsored Research. Every summer eight to twelve faculty members are awarded sponsored research grants for a wide range of proposed projects. Some faculty members use the funding to begin a new project. For others, it allows the faculty member to finish up a manuscript or the final details on a project. Faculty members submit a proposal in the preceding fall quarter. The proposals are read by members of the Sponsored Research DTF and awards made based on the quality of the proposal and the history of past awards. We tend to be able to support 50-75% of the proposals submitted.
- Faculty Foundation Grants. This is a new source of funding provided by the The Evergreen State College Foundation Board of Governors. Faculty members can submit proposals to fund research activities; this includes travel, supplies, transcription services, and other resources necessary for a project. The proposals are read and awards made by the Sponsored Research DTF.
- Fund for Innovation. Faculty and staff can apply for funds from this source for collaborative new projects. Each year the fund has approximately $60,000 to award and does so through a review process.
There are other opportunities funded for the faculty that support events, workshops, institutes, and symposia in which faculty integrate their research, scholarly interests, and teaching.
- Summer Institutes. The college currently offers twenty to twenty-five workshops and institutes for the faculty over the summer months. Faculty members not on contract are paid a stipend of $125 a day to participate in these events. One category of these institutes is focused on program planning. These include six Team Planning institutes, the New Faculty and Their Teams institute, the Core Colloquium, and an Evening and Weekend Studies institute. The primary focus in these institutes is on preparation for upcoming teaching. Faculty members prepare for these institutes with short readings focusing on priority issues in the curriculum (e.g. diversity, assessment, etc.), begin each planning day in a discussion of that issue, and generate ideas about how to address it within their program design. In addition to these planning institutes, there are many other institutes that provide exposure to or training in topical areas or skills. For example, every summer we offer five to six institutes in instructional technology. In summer 2007, we had a number of very topical institutes dealing with sustainability, teaching climate change, and innovative approaches to teaching quantitative material.
In all of the institutes, whether the focus is on planning or accruing new knowledge and insights, the emphasis is on improving teaching. And there are many other additional values that come from this time the faculty spend together. There are many informal discussions of what people are teaching and their interests and concerns. Faculty members have a chance to meet many more faculty and establish personal relationships. Since many of the institutes are convened by academic support staff, faculty also become much more knowledgeable about the depth of expertise of support staff at the college.
Summer institutes have grown steadily in the number of offerings and participants. The following table does not include the program planning institutes (six offered each summer), and does include those institutes having to do with instructional technologies. These institutes are some of the most popular, often having waiting lists that cannot be accommodated.
|Number of institutes offered||Number of participants||Number of IT related institutes|
Summer institutes are one of our primary means of linking research and assessment back into teaching. In the process of program planning, the faculty are exposed to new research and skills meant to be directly relevant to their upcoming programs. The primary emphasis in all the summer institutes is on improving teaching. How can faculty incorporate new material and insights into their teaching? What new learning, from their previous teaching and current institute material, can they use to inform upcoming teaching?
- September Symposium. In fall quarter of 2001, then Dean Nancy Taylor hosted the first faculty September Symposium. The event preceded the beginning of classes and spanned two days. There were formal presentations of research and innovative curriculum; there were literary readings; a gallery was set up to display a wide array of faculty artistic work; and the skippers on the faculty hosted others on the college’s teaching sailboat.
Since 2003, the college has sponsored a September Symposium. It may be safe to say that this is now an anticipated part of the beginning of our academic year. We have expanded participation to more staff and students, and for the first time in 2007 included it in orientation week to allow students to attend.
- College Speaker Series. We are inaugurating this yearlong series of speakers and other events this fall. We believe that events that allow faculty members to learn more about one another’s interests and work are directly useful in the process of selecting teammates and helpful in creating a more vigorous academic culture on campus for everyone. There is much vitality within programs; these events are ways to generate such vitality for the college as a whole.
4.A.4 Faculty salaries and benefits are adequate to attract and retain a competent faculty and are consistent with the mission and goals of the institution. Policies on salaries and benefits are clearly stated, widely available and equitably administered.
The college, in its origin, rejected market-driven or disciplinary-based salaries in the interest of a non-stratified and egalitarian faculty. It was assumed that the challenges inherent in team teaching would be undermined with any of the traditional relations of power or prestige present in most colleges and universities. Currently all full-time and visiting faculty members are paid on the same scale, and income increases with each additional year of experience. Adjunct faculty members are paid at 80% of the scale. See Faculty Salary Grid 2007-08 for the rationale and basis of computation of experience years. There are two exceptions to this practice. Adjunct faculty members, if they participate in college governance, are paid an additional hourly wage for that work. And faculty members who serve as academic deans make an additional 5%, and a yearly increase beyond this of 1% for each year they continue to serve.
Our salaries are not competitive in some academic areas, notably in areas of professional studies and fields where market forces drive up salaries at other universities (e.g. engineering, sciences, business). We are as competitive or more so in other areas traditionally paid less (e.g. humanities, arts).
Faculty salaries are based on a nine-month contract, with payment spread out over ten months. Many faculty members, especially those lower on the salary scale, depend on the opportunity to teach summer school to augment their annual income. Because summer contracts are not guaranteed (classes that do not fill are canceled), this is a concern for some faculty members.
We make information available about salaries in our advertising and the hiring process. Most candidates find the values regarding salary attractive, appealing to values of equity in contrast to the overly hierarchical nature of faculty relations at other colleges.
4.A.5 The institution provides for regular and systematic evaluation of faculty performance in order to ensure teaching effectiveness and the fulfillment of instructional and other faculty responsibilities. The institution’s policies, regulations, and procedures provide for the evaluation of all faculty on a continuing basis consistent with Policy 4.1 faculty evaluation
Evergreen originated with and has continued a culture of evaluation and reflection. Our evaluations are narrative, and are shared and discussed in face-to-face conferences. While there are conditions and expectations that provide a framework for faculty evaluations (see Faculty Reappointment), faculty members also use their evaluations to address personal interests and insights about the college and their teaching. We intend the faculty evaluation process to be both developmental and supportive of genuine inquiry into teaching, and essential to adequately evaluate faculty members on the quality of their teaching and participation in the college as a whole.
Faculty members hired into regular positions go through two three-year term contracts before being reviewed for a permanent continuing appointment. Each year of the term contract, they are involved in reciprocal and comprehensive evaluations that focus on their teaching and the other conditions for reappointment. The evaluation process is based on the following evaluations:
- Faculty member’s self-evaluation
- Faculty member’s evaluations of his/her teaching partners for that year
- Teaching partner’s evaluations of the faculty member
- Faculty member’s evaluations of students
- Faculty member’s students’ self-evaluations
- Student evaluations of the faculty member
- Dean's evaluation of the faculty member
Faculty members on term contracts have an annual evaluation with an academic dean. The dean does not write an independent evaluation, but rather one based on the comments found in all the above evaluations. The dean meets with the faculty member for a conference in which key patterns and outcomes are discussed. If there are any problems noted, they will appear in the dean's evaluation for that year with direction for satisfactorily addressing the problem. In some situations, the dean will suggest that the faculty member go through a "developmental review” with the dean responsible for faculty development (who does not evaluate faculty members).
Once the faculty member has taught nine quarters and with six colleagues (four of whom are on continuing contracts), the faculty member goes through a cumulative review. The evidentiary base is the faculty member’s portfolio, which includes all evaluations and other relevant material and documents from teaching and research. The review panel is made up of the faculty member’s teaching colleagues and two other faculty members. An academic dean facilitates the review.
The faculty evaluation process, while it includes as evidence a range of evaluations, rests on peer review. For example, the faculty member as well as his or her teaching colleagues is expected to interpret and make sense of evaluations from students or student self-evaluations. The faculty, in its review, also maintains internal standards for reviews of such reappointment criteria as “professional development” or “intellectual vitality.” In this, our review is meant to be rigorous yet non-competitive, and with the frame of reference for judgment determined by the faculty member’s immediate colleagues.
4.A.6 The institution defines an orderly process for the recruitment and appointment of full-time faculty. Institutional personnel policies and procedures are published and made available to faculty.
The provost is the faculty hiring authority and delegates the coordination of that process to an academic dean. That dean, informally known as the “hiring dean,” works in partnership with the faculty hiring coordinator. They are responsible for implementing the college’s policy regarding the qualifications and experiences determined for each position, and assuring continuity in the hiring process.
The hiring dean works with the curriculum deans and Hiring Priorities DTF members (representatives from all the curricular planning units) to select positions necessary for a comprehensive curriculum. The process for determining required qualifications is consultative involving the provost, deans, and faculty members in the field. They determine the requirements for each position based on their best judgment of an expected applicant pool, and the particular background and experiences necessary for each position. Thus our qualifications can vary from position to position (see the Regular Faculty Application Process). Our usual qualifications, unless there are other considerations, are the following:
- Terminal degree
- College teaching experience
- Interdisciplinary teaching and/or research
- Intellectual and artistic vitality
- Ability to teach writing (and for some positions, quantitative reasoning)
Common “desirable” qualifications often include:
- Work with underrepresented student populations
- Work with community organizations
We assure faculty commitment to the institution in a number of ways. In our recruitment materials and when candidates are on campus for interviews, we stress the primacy of teaching. Candidates meet with faculty members in their same field, specifically to discuss the time spent teaching and the ways in which faculty balance scholarly and artistic interests with teaching.
Establishing qualifications, and selecting new faculty members, requires striking a balance between disciplinary expertise and interdisciplinary breadth. The college’s Hiring Priorities DTF, which includes members from all the planning units, determines the positions to be hired. Then another small group, including members from across fields and working with the hiring dean, writes the final job description. A good job description makes clear that we seek both depth and breadth, and that both sets of criteria have equal weight.
Key to this process is the language we use to announce positions and describe the qualities in successful candidates. We craft job announcements that articulate the required areas of expertise and qualifications, and that also convey the qualities of our work and teaching relations. Using language like “collegiality,” “diversity,“ “innovative and engaging pedagogy,” and “intellectual and artistic curiosity,“ we hope to catch the attention of potential applicants for whom teaching, interdisciplinary studies, inclusiveness, and collaboration are strong priorities.
To convey our commitment to diversity, we ask applicants to submit a statement of their multi-cultural experiences and the impact of those experiences on their teaching. To deepen the diversity in our applicant pools, we have as a preferred qualification experience working with students from "underrepresented populations." We continue to refine our recruitment language and strategies, as well as the hiring process, to attract a highly qualified and diverse applicant pool.
The college has developed a core set of publications and other channels for advertising all faculty positions. That list has been determined by feedback from candidates (the majority of candidates say they find our advertisement in the Chronicle of Higher Education, for example) and our interest in recruiting diverse candidate pools. Included in our core list of sites is The Chronicle of Higher Education, Academic Careers Online, Black Issues in Higher Education, Hispanic Perspectives, The Women’s Book Review, Indian Scholar, and Indian Country Today. We also advertise in regional metropolitan newspapers including The Seattle Times, The Portland Oregonian, The Daily Olympian, and the Tacoma News Tribune. For some positions we also advertise in the San Francisco Chronicle. Most candidates report that they learn about our positions from either the Chronicle of Higher Education or the college’s Web site.
For each position, we consult with faculty in the area to find out the important journals, Web sites, professional organizations, and conferences where we should advertise and recruit. These two approaches assure us that we are advertising broadly and reaching target audiences, including those in specific disciplines.
We believe that we hire qualified and compatible new faculty members because the hiring process is based in extensive community participation. Beyond the provost, deans, and faculty hiring coordinator, many people are involved in reviewing, interviewing, and then selecting new faculty members. For each position, there is a subcommittee that includes faculty, staff, and students. The campus-wide Hiring DTF is also made up of faculty, staff, and students. Candidates meet other faculty members and students at presentations, class visits, and over lunch and dinner. Everyone who has contact with the candidate is asked to review and advise the subcommittee and Hiring DTF. The procedures involved in hiring continuing faculty members is stipulated in the Faculty Handbook (see Faculty Recruitment and Appointment).
Faculty hiring is a very involved and labor-intensive process. Members of the subcommittee thoroughly read each application. They are charged, in consultation with the Hiring DTF, to make the first cut of semi-finalists. Once candidates come to campus, they spend two days being interviewed by a number of groups and having the opportunity to observe and ask questions of faculty members, deans, provost, and students. Once it comes time to discuss and compare qualities and qualifications of candidates, we have much material to consider.
Recommendations for hiring are put forward by the subcommittee to the Hiring DTF. In consultation with the deans, the Hiring DTF members and subcommittee members ideally reach consensus on the preferred candidate. That recommendation, along with a summary of references, goes to the provost for the final decision.
In a faculty poll conducted a few years ago about faculty governance, serving on hiring subcommittees and the Hiring DTF ranked the highest in terms of value. In spite of the very large amount of work involved, the faculty find this very satisfying work and readily agree to serve when asked. When you add up the number of faculty, staff, and students on the Hiring DTF and the varied subcommittees, it is not uncommon to have well over 100 community members involved. Thus faculty hiring is also the largest governance activity at the college.
What follows is a schema that lays out the progression of the hiring process and the key groups involved in the process.
Steps in the Hiring Process
- Members of the six planning units generate position proposals.
- Members of the Hiring Priorities DTF are charged by the provost to select positions to be hired. These recommended positions are discussed by the faculty as a whole.
- Hiring dean meets with representatives from Hiring Priorities and planning units to write job descriptions.
- Hiring coordinator and hiring dean finalize position descriptions and develop plan to advertise and recruit applicants.
- Hiring dean, in consultation with planning unit coordinators, invites members from across the college (faculty, students, staff) to serve on the position subcommittees.
- Faculty members volunteer or the hiring dean invites members from across the college (faculty, staff, students) to serve on the Hiring DTF.
- Subcommittee members for each position review and select semi-finalists. In consultation with the Hiring DTF they then select finalists.
- Candidates are on campus for a two-day interview process. The groups involved in the interviewing process include the following: members of the subcommittee, members of the Hiring DTF, two deans, community members, and the provost. Candidates also make a public presentation and often teach a class.
- The review and recommendations from these groups are discussed at a “decision meeting” facilitated by the hiring dean. Members of the subcommittee, Hiring DTF, and deans make up this group.
- The recommendation to hire for the position is sent forward to the provost who makes final decision in consultation with the president.
4.A.7 The institution fosters and protects academic freedom for faculty
Please see Standard 9 of this report for a description of the college’s position protecting academic freedom and inquiry.
4.A.8 Part-time and adjunct faculty are qualified by academic background, degree(s) and/or professional experience to carry out their teaching assignment and/or other prescribed duties and responsibilities in accord with the mission and goals of the institution.
The dean of Evening and Weekend Studies, often in consultation with the members of the EWS planning unit, determines the adjunct positions to be hired and the required qualifications. Prerequisites for each position are determined by the field of study and the scope of desired qualifications and experiences.
Adjunct faculty members are hired through an interview process that involves a review of their resume or Curriculum Vitae and a formal interview, usually with the dean of EWS and faculty who understand the area of expertise for which the adjunct is being hired. Specific attention is paid not only to their academic background and professional experience, but also to their potential to teach in Evergreen's somewhat unusual environment. Over time, we have developed a large and experienced pool of potential adjunct faculty members. The dean works closely with adjuncts and is able to call on this experienced pool of faculty as needs arise.
Adjunct faculty members maintain a portfolio of teaching materials and evaluations. The dean of Evening and Weekend Studies formally evaluates them once within their first year of teaching and approximately every three years after that.
4.A.9 Employment practices for part-time and adjunct faculty include dissemination of information regarding the institution, the work assignment, rights and responsibilities, and conditions of employment.
Employment practices regarding work assignment and conditions of employment are spelled out in the contract letter. In that letter, new adjunct faculty members are directed to the formal Faculty Handbook for more specific information on employment policies and responsibilities.
New adjunct faculty members receive the Evening and Weekend Faculty Guide that provides information about the college, teaching and learning expectations, and clarification of the contract and other working conditions for adjuncts. New adjunct faculty members are invited to participate in the broader new faculty orientation meetings scheduled throughout their first year of teaching.
4.A.10 The institution demonstrates that it periodically assesses institutional policies concerning the use of part-time and adjunct faculty in light of the mission and goals of the institution.
There is periodic review of policies relevant to part-time and adjunct faculty members. The most recent review began in 2006-07 and addresses the question of whether long-term adjunct and visiting faculty members should have a process for review in order to move to a regular contract. Those deliberations are still in process and may very well be affected by the pending union contract. The faculty, through meetings in fall 2007, has agreed to a procedure and formally forwarded it to the administrative and faculty bargaining teams as of April 2008.
Standard 4.B – Scholarship, Research, and Artistic Creation
4.B.1 Consistent with institutional mission and goals, faculty are engaged in scholarship, research and artistic creation.
One of the very distinctive sources for faculty research and creative work emerges from teaching. Because faculty members teach with others from varied fields, and have the opportunity to include new areas of inquiry into their teaching, many find teaching to be a constant source of creative inquiry. Faculty development, research, and artistic work are top priorities for fund raising in the academic division. Additional funding and resources are critical for the ongoing vitality and learning for faculty members.
Funding for faculty research falls into two broad categories: internal sources of funding and external sources. The Office of Academic Grants coordinates both areas of funding, and provides guidance and information to faculty about opportunities, procedures, and legal policies including human subjects review and ethical considerations.
The internal sources of funding include a non-competitive sabbatical program (faculty accrue time towards sabbatical leave by teaching), professional travel, summer sponsored research, Faculty Foundation Grants, the Harvill Award, the PLATO Award, and mini-grants for assessment from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. Examples of projects funded through these sources in the past can be viewed in Supporting Documents for Standard 4 (see Sponsored Research History 2000-present).
Faculty members at the college are currently conducting research with grant support from a number of public and private organizations, including: Murdock Foundation, Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Lumina Foundation. To review procedures and guidelines regarding college support of grants, see Sponsored Research Guidelines.
In addition to research and artistic work, some faculty members are involved in funded community projects. The college’s Center for Community-Based Learning and Action helps coordinate such projects for academic programs and provides a home base for faculty members doing such projects. An example of one such academic project, supported with funds from several public and private sources, is the Gateways Project.
4.B.2 Institutional policies and procedures, including ethical considerations, concerning scholarship, research, and artistic creation, are clearly communicated.
Faculty members are bound by all federal, state, and college policies regarding the funding and conduct of research. These policies are found in the federal, state, and college administrative codes on the college’s Web site (see Ethics Policy and Faculty Development Policy. The Academic Grants Office directs prospective recipients of research and artistic funds to review this information during their preparation of grant proposals.
Research or scholarly projects that involve the use of human subjects must be conducted according to the college’s human subjects policy (section 7.700 of the Faculty Handbook). Human subjects reviews of proposed projects are coordinated through one of the academic deans, and proposals are reviewed by faculty members with backgrounds in the areas under review.
At the time of this self-study, a work group comprised of the academic grants manager, representatives from the Student Affairs and Advancement divisions, and the college’s internal auditor are reviewing the college’s grant policies and procedures in order to provide greater services, training, and management tools for grant recipients.
4.B.3 Consistent with institutional mission and goals, faculty have a substantive role in the development and administration of research policies and practices.
The award of internal grants and other funding is determined by measures of eligibility as set out in the Faculty Handbook. All faculty are eligible for professional travel funds, as long as they are in good standing. Likewise, all faculty on regular appointments are eligible for sabbatical leave. Faculty eligibility is calculated each year and that information made available to the faculty as a whole. Other awards are determined by peer review. These include Sponsored Research, the Harvill Award, the Fund for Innovation, Faculty Foundation Grants, and PLATO Awards. Faculty volunteer to serve on these review committees. Final membership is determined by the Faculty Agenda Committee. The director of the Academic Grants Office works closely with all review committees to assure compliance with college policies and practices.
4.B.4 Consistent with its mission and goals, the institution provides appropriate financial, physical, administrative, and information resources for scholarship, research, and artistic creation.
The Academic Grants Office collaborates closely with the provost’s staff, the academic deans, and faculty committees to ensure that all internally and externally funded scholarship, research, and creative work are consistent with and supportive of the institution’s mission and goals, and to ensure that the college has adequate resources to meet the project’s needs. Only those projects that fit within the college’s mission and goals, and for which the college can provide the necessary resources, receive college support to pursue grant funding. Similar care is taken with college grants providing programmatic support to students or services to the public.
4.B.5 The nature of the institution’s research mission and goals and its commitment to faculty scholarship, research, and artistic creation are reflected in assignment of faculty responsibilities, the expectation and reward of faculty performance, and opportunities for faculty renewal through sabbatical leaves or other similar programs.
Consistent with the college’s commitment to alternative pedagogies and professional development, faculty members are encouraged to exercise their judgment in the choice and focus of their research and artistic creations. The application process for internal funds always includes a discussion of the relevance of the proposal to the faculty member’s teaching and the curriculum as a whole. Being able to clarify that contribution contributes to the likelihood of being funded.
In the early 1990s, the faculty decided to make the award of sabbatical leave non-competitive. Until that time, faculty members submitted proposals and they were reviewed competitively. Now faculty members accrue time toward sabbatical through teaching. In the fall of each academic year, there is a list of leave eligibility circulated among the faculty. Quarters of sabbatical leave are awarded until funds for that year are expended.
In making sabbaticals non-competitive, the faculty recognized that all faculty members require regular periods of rejuvenation. They also honored the range of interests and methodologies among the faculty, opting to support the development opportunities proposed by each faculty member.
4.B.6 Sponsored research and programs funded by grants, contracts, and gifts are consistent with the institution’s mission and goals.
As noted above, the Academic Grants Office collaborates closely with the provost’s staff, other administrative divisions in the college, the academic deans, and faculty committees to ensure that all internally and externally funded scholarship, research, and creative work are consistent with and supportive of the institution’s mission and goals. Internal grants are evaluated, in part, by their potential furtherance of the larger work of the college.
4.B.7 Faculty are accorded academic freedom to pursue scholarship, research, and artistic creation consistent with the institution’s mission and goals.
The academic culture and the nature of teaching at Evergreen are meant to promote creativity and free inquiry. Those principles are laid out in the college’s Social Contract as follows:
Intellectual freedom and honesty:
(a) Evergreen's members live under a special set of rights and responsibilities, foremost among which is that of enjoying the freedom to explore ideas and to discuss their explorations in both speech and print. Both institutional and individual censorship are at variance with this basic freedom. Research or other intellectual efforts, the results of which must be kept secret or may be used only for the benefit of a special interest group, violate the principle of free inquiry.
(b) An essential condition for learning is the freedom and right on the part of an individual or group to express minority, unpopular, or controversial points of view. Only if minority and unpopular points of view are listened to, and are given opportunity for expression, will Evergreen provide bona fide opportunities for significant learning.
(c) Honesty is an essential condition of learning, teaching, or working. It includes the presentation of one's own work in one's own name, the necessity to claim only those honors earned, and the recognition of one's own biases and prejudices.
Standard 4 Findings and Conclusions
1.) Evergreen has worked hard and effectively to identify and describe its hiring priorities and has been able to attract a large number of highly qualified applicants. In nearly 90% of its searches, the college has been able to hire its first choice.
2.) Diversity has steadily increased in the faculty as a whole and at the Olympia campus. In fact, Evergreen has the second highest percentage of faculty of color (25%) of four-year colleges in Washington state (Heritage University has 26%). The closest four-year baccalaureate is the University of Washington at 14% (see Chronicle - Faculty Race/Ethnicity at Washington Public Four-year Institutions). With greater diversity, increasingly sophisticated conversations about teaching and content have emerged.
3.) While the faculty/student ratio has remained stable over the period, the teaching workload of the faculty has continued to be substantial. The growth of one- and two-quarter programs has increased the amount of planning and evaluation time. Many faculty members find their work with students limited by high student/faculty ratios.
4.) The faculty continues to creatively teach important pathways in many fields. Program teams consistently design and carry out thoughtful, sophisticated, integrated programs. The college is home to a great deal of excellent teaching and important learning for both students and faculty.
5.) The college’s commitment to interdisciplinary liberal arts teaching and learning is what makes teaching at Evergreen so distinctive, offers the biggest challenges, and provides the most transformative experiences for faculty. Evergreen is distinctive for the high levels of student engagement with their learning.
6.) The college has increased support for faculty development and intellectual work by teams and individuals through increased support of summer team planning institutes, sponsored research awards, support for the Fund for Innovation by The Evergreen State College Foundation, foundation awards for faculty, PLATO Awards, and mini-grants from Institutional Research. The development dean has provided more explicit support for attention to pedagogy, and a sophisticated attention to the experiences of new faculty members through summer workshops, and ongoing orientation throughout the year. The freeing of sabbatical awards from competitive pressure has allowed these awards to be seen as grounded in faculty renewal. The college also provides some support for travel and has had a reasonably flexible leave without pay policy.
7.) The faculty is broadly engaged in academic planning, governance, and hiring and is involved in governance and policy across the institution.
8.) Interdisciplinary team teaching remains at the heart of Evergreen’s scholarly and pedagogical processes. The teaching team – the backgrounds, modes of inquiry, and sensibilities of its members – is at the heart of successful interdisciplinary programs. Teaching teams determine not only the curricular content offered at the college, but also the quality and depth of student learning. Ideally, a faculty member’s teaching and learning helps create his or her intellectual identity in combination with scholarship and artistic work.
1.) For interdisciplinary team teaching to be sustained and successful over the long term, Evergreen must ensure that:
a.) It supports the risk-taking necessarily involved as faculty move beyond the comfortable center of their scholarship to create new learning in the public arena of the programs.
b.) The college must maintain, and ideally expand, the opportunities for faculty members to form new and interesting teams where members have overlapping interests and are academically engaging colleagues for one another.
c.) The college needs to provide opportunities – through teaching and professional development – for faculty members to explore their intellectual interests, take on relevant academic identities, and develop confidence and mastery of each one's expanding fields of study.
2.) The faculty in general work in a variety of modes and configurations to create a genuinely exciting curriculum for faculty to teach and in which students may learn.
3.) The fact that the college has done so well in recruiting new faculty members is a testimony to the power of Evergreen’s vision of public, interdisciplinary liberal arts education, the genuine desire of faculty to undertake collaborative work, and the engaged and active interests of our students.
4). Evergreen’s ongoing commitment to diversity is reflected in its hiring of faculty and the inclusion of significant consideration of diversity within the curriculum.
5.) Evergreen faculty have a strong interest in issues of pedagogy and a genuine desire to learn through the process of teaching.
6.) The college has become more aware of, and has provided more support for, individual and team needs for time, research, pedagogy, and artistic work in preparing for teaching and sustaining intellectual vitality.
1.) The college has done excellent work in identifying, recruiting, and hiring new faculty members over this time period.
2.) Faculty have demonstrated a genuine desire to teach, to stay intellectually engaged with their fields and interests, and to be available to new combinations of faculty teams and new material for inquiry over this time.
3.) Faculty have demonstrated explicit interest in pedagogy in terms of approaches to materials and strategies for learning. They learn from each other in teams and through collaborative work at summer institutes dealing with writing, mathematics, and a wide variety of teaching and scholarly practice.
4.) The faculty have a genuine interest in the work of the college as a whole and have a willingness to be engaged in a wide variety of governance activities across nearly all aspects of the institution.
1.) The faculty and deans need to continue their thoughtful work in shaping hiring to maintain a strong interdisciplinary liberal arts center for the curriculum.
2.) The college needs to continue to effectively support new faculty at Evergreen as they come to find roles in the institution and continue to develop their intellectual identity and patterns of teaching and learning.
3.) The college needs to find ways to more systematically involve faculty in advising and to free time in the calendar for that to happen.
4.) Evergreen needs to maintain and increase opportunities for faculty to meet, converse, and work together in support of developing program ideas and identifying teams broadly across the college.
5.) The college should explore alternative calendar arrangements in order to find time for college-wide planning and advising work.
6.) The college should consider greater institutional support for individuals and groups of faculty to take the intellectual insights developed in team teaching forward into publications and articles.
7.) Evergreen should continue to develop funds to support the intellectual work of faculty members individually and as teams.
8.) Faculty role in governance is changing as the United Faculty of Evergreen negotiates the first bargaining agreement for Evergreen. The faculty needs to think through the role of the Agenda Committee and the Faculty Meeting, and focus faculty efforts in governance on central issues. Faculty and administration need to work together to find a way to effectively involve faculty views in response to external initiatives and demands.
1.) The faculty needs to continue to develop and work with the ideas that surfaced in the Curricular Visions process including implementation of fields of study, thematic planning, and continuing work on the first-year cohort.
2.) Issues about governance are on the agenda of the faculty and will be an item of concern in the coming year.
3.) Fundraising in support of faculty development funds is a high and continuing priority of The Evergreen State College Foundation.