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Faculty Handbook

2.4. Faculty Performance and Assessment

Teaching, Supervising, and Mentoring Effectiveness
The faculty and administration of Kennesaw State University are committed to quality instruction. The primary purpose of university faculty is to engage students, colleagues, and others in activities that facilitate learning and contribute to learner development and educational advancement. In order to help faculty capture and document their work, KSU provides the following descriptions of instructional activities and basic expectations of faculty effort.

Institutional Objectives for Teaching, Supervising, and Mentoring
Highly effective teaching and learning are the central institutional priorities of Kennesaw State University. In addition, service and research/creative activity that strengthen teaching and address community interests play important supportive roles. In both undergraduate and graduate programs, faculty, staff, and administrators are committed to providing a challenging and facilitative collegiate environment that fosters high-quality academic preparation, critical thinking, global and multicultural perspectives, interpersonal skills, leadership development, social responsibility, and lifelong learning.

In order for students to achieve these goals, KSU faculty strive for excellence through integrity and flexibility in their teaching. Because the institution serves a wide population of students with diverse backgrounds, needs, goals, and schedules, faculty are committed to developing diverse means and methods of helping these students learn. KSU faculty recognize diverse student learning styles and situations and strive to improve and expand teaching strategies to address student needs.

KSU believes that teaching can take many forms, including but not limited to lectures, interactive discussions, small group work, laboratory and creative work, supervising of research, original projects, internships and assistantships, private lessons or tutorials, distance education, asynchronous learning opportunities, mentoring, and advising. Within these multiple and flexible forms, KSU holds to a high standard of academic integrity. KSU expects its faculty to be current and well-qualified in their disciplines; to model and maintain the professional standards of their disciplines through research/creative activity; to inspire excitement for learning; to help students make connections among individual courses, their major areas of study, the general-education program, and lifelong learning; and to evaluate regularly the effectiveness of their teaching.

Primary Instructional Activities
Faculty engage in a variety of instructional activities that facilitate learning. The three most common activities are teaching, supervising, and mentoring, which are not mutually exclusive categories.

Teaching involves the development of knowledge, understanding, and application in an environment where the instructor must monitor, manage, and facilitate the learning process. An instructor should provide a rich learning environment that allows for a range of individual learning styles. Following a syllabus designed by the instructor, specific topics in a discipline are presented through various forms of teaching and discovery based on a selection of reading materials and other resources. The learning outcomes and expectations should be identified in the syllabus and formally assessed.

Supervision occurs in situations where a learner is engaged for a fixed period of time in a structured academic experience for credit or pay with specified learning outcomes. These experiences often take place outside of the classroom in a job setting. The learner is expected to demonstrate competence in performing the learning outcomes, and the purpose of supervision is to improve the quality of that performance by guiding, monitoring, and providing feedback. The supervisor observes, evaluates and provides feedback about the quality of the performance of tasks and appropriate professional behavior. Although a faculty member may be responsible for supervising a group of students, actual observation and conferences typically occur in a one-to-one relationship between learner and instructor.

The purpose of mentoring is to facilitate and enhance the academic and professional success of an individual. Mentoring may take many forms, ranging from providing resources for learning and development to forming professional relationships with students and colleagues. Faculty mentor students in order to attract them to a discipline, retain them in degree programs, and enhance their professional success. Faculty mentor colleagues in order to retain them at KSU and help them develop professional expertise. A primary focus of all mentoring is the development of ideas and an understanding of a discipline. Mentoring activities challenge both the mentee and the mentor to consider new ideas and construction of knowledge and encourage both to engage in reflection and scholarly activities. Frequently, in mentoring relationships, faculty challenge the mentees by setting high expectations for the quality of the mentee’s work and the development and achievement of their long-term goals. Although the mentee ultimately selects the mentor, faculty invite students and colleagues to engage in a mentoring relationship through their actions during teaching, supervising, and other professional activities. For example, faculty can directly initiate contact and conversations; be available, open, and receptive; nurture potential by providing messages of encouragement and support of scholarly efforts; provide resource information and materials for professional development; and invite students and/or colleagues to engage in collaborative endeavors.

Institutional Resources for Faculty
Because of the primacy of teaching at KSU, all levels of the university should provide resources and support for the development of highly effective teaching and instructional leadership. The university, primarily through departments and colleges, will be responsible for providing and encouraging development opportunities for its faculty.

Basic Expectations and Responsibilities
Individual faculty are hired for specific instructional responsibilities, which may vary with their discipline and as determined by the faculty member’s FPA. Typically these include teaching specific courses, and, in some disciplines such as teacher education and nursing, supervising student teaching and clinical experiences. Although mentoring of students and colleagues is an important ancillary activity for most faculty, KSU holds no specific expectation that faculty will engage in explicit mentoring activities unless that expectation is established in the faculty member’s FPA.

Regardless of a faculty member’s specific instructional responsibilities, there are basic expectations of professional faculty performance:

  • Be on time. Faculty should start and end their classes and appointments at the scheduled time.
  • Provide feedback to learners in a timely manner (e.g., returning graded papers and evaluated materials or responding to messages). Learners need feedback about the quality of their performance in order to understand what they do well and in what ways they need to improve.
  • Relate instructional methods to learning objectives.
  • Respect and maintain confidentiality (e.g., grades, personal information, incidences of alleged academic dishonesty, advising or special needs).
  • Apply stated standards and expectations of the instructor, department, college, and university consistently, regularly and objectively to all learners.
  • Communicate and enforce KSU’s policy with respect to academic integrity.
  • Provide a syllabus for each course at the beginning of the term.
  • Provide written expectations/contracts for individualized learning experiences (e.g.” clinical experiences, internships, cooperative learning courses, and directed studies”). Be accessible to students - faculty should provide and publicize multiple means of contact for students and colleagues.
  • Respect religious, cultural, and gender differences.
  • Adhere to KSU’s policy prohibiting sexual harassment both in and out of the classroom.

Faculty Availability to Students & Colleagues
KSU is proud of its reputation of faculty being available to students and colleagues outside of class time. To ensure this positive reputation continues KSU expects its faculty to use a variety of means to be available for student questions or conferences as well as consultation with colleagues, whether in person or electronically. Departments must establish guidelines that establish a minimum number of hours during each week that faculty should be available on campus beyond scheduled classes. Faculty should be flexible, within reason, in making appointments with students and colleagues. As a professional courtesy, faculty should reply to phone calls, e-mails, and bulletin board questions from students in a timely manner.

Course Syllabi
The syllabus helps both faculty and students accomplish the primary mission of teaching and learning. The Criteria for Accreditation, published by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, states that faculty must provide students with written information about a course including course goals, requirements, content, and methods of student evaluation. Further, the goals requirements for each course should be tied to the learning objectives and instructional methods. With this in mind, faculty acknowledge that it becomes important for them to enhance the understanding of what is being taught by developing and listing clear learning objectives. For additional information and recommendations on syllabus construction refer to the materials provided by CETL at the following link: http://www.ipr.sc.edu/effectiveness/syllabus.htm.

Faculty teaching general education course(s) should use the general education course syllabus template and include this information in their syllabi (http://www.kennesaw.edu/curriculum/gened-program-info.html).