Dimensions of faculty performance as perceived by faculty



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The first part of this two part methodological study of the university faculty member utilized the Critical Incident technique, in slightly modified form. Fifty-four faculty members at the University of Houston were interviewed by means of a structured interview form; which resulted in the collection of 567 critical incidents concerning six areas of faculty behavior. The areas are: teaching, research, publication, contribution to department or university, contribution to community, professional development. The incidents were coded in a classification system developed inductively. In 'teaching,' Presentation of material-Content structure and scope. Presentation of material-instructor style. Teacher-student rapport and interaction. Evaluation of students, were the four classes of behavior which emerged. There was also a miscellaneous class. In 'research,' the two classes of behavior were Preparation for research, and Carrying out research. 'Publication' incidents were coded in two classes also. Preparation for writing, and Process of writing and securing publication. In 'contribution to department or university,' two classes were used-- Developmental/administrative, and Personal characteristics. Incidents related to 'contribution to community' were coded either in 'University-based activities' or 'Extra-university activities.' 'Professional development' critical incidents were separated into seven somewhat specific categories. In the second part of the study, a questionnaire developed from the incidents was responded to by eighty-seven faculty members. Responses to the questionnaire were factor analyzed, resulting in the identification of five factors descriptive of the faculty member's role as faculty members see it. In order of the percentage of the variance for which they account, the factors are: Classroom teaching skill, Research and writing competency, Responsible cooperation, Community involvement, Orientation toward improvement. The first two factors were remarkably similar to the two factors cited by Knapp as principal functions of the college professor--information, and research. Other factors are suggestive of areas that might be investigated further in future research. One conclusion is that future research should be expanded to cover more observers, both in total number and in representativeness of the sample. It was concluded also that the Critical Incident approach seems to be a valuable tool for the identification and description of the role of college professor. In addition, it seems capable of generating items which ultimately might be used for the purpose of faculty evaluation, primarily for the feedback that could be provided to the professor for self-improvement. Another conclusion recommended additional studies for the purpose of checking the reliability and objectivity of the questionnaire. One conclusion of the study was in the form of an observation that factor analysis can take as input, relatively categorized data, take it apart and put it back together in a form more basic than it was originally. A final conclusion concerned the fact that the study supported the findings of other studies that there are positive and negative uni-directional behaviors as well as bi-directional behaviors related to faculty performance. The positive factors are related primarily to success, while the negative factors are related mainly to failure. The bi-directional factors are capable of leading either to success or failure. It was concluded, finally, that if the evaluation of faculty members is to emerge from the inadequacy of its present state, definite steps must be taken. It seems particularly important that critical faculty behaviors be described (or evaluated) by those in the best position to observe the behaviors. For example, the student is the most logical person to describe teaching. Second, systematic means by which the descriptive-evaluative process is to take place must be established. Only after these points have been accepted and changes implemented can constructive change take place.



College teachers--Rating of.