By now, many lecturers have received emails from Jim Glaser’s office informing us that we will undergo a Comprehensive Review. In fact, a majority of part-time faculty who have taught at Tufts for over six years have also been so notified. If you are one of them, you are clearly not alone.
Below, please find some important information regarding the history and nature of these Comprehensive Reviews.
OUR UNION POSITION
We do not agree with the choice the university has made in casting a broad net for evaluations.
In negotiation with the university, both sides agreed that student evaluations should not be the sole criteria for evaluating faculty, and that people with 6 to over 15 years of teaching at Tufts would be evaluated only if there was a “red flag,” indicating poor performance or complaints. We agreed that departments should retain individual flexibility where appropriate.
HOW THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED
The university has picked two questions from the student evaluation form (overall quality of instructor and overall quality of course), found an average, and decided that any faculty member with a score below that line would be evaluated.
This method identified nearly 60% of part-time faculty who have taught at Tufts six years or longer. Don’t take it personally!
Chairs are required to call a meeting with all part-time faculty to discuss the new evaluation procedures at the department level prior to implementing the review process. We envision that these meetings will be collaborative and participatory, providing an opportunity for part-timersto have input into the evaluative criteria for each department.
We encourage all part-time faculty to attend these meetings and weigh in on what the evaluative process will include. Also note that in Article 12, Section 2 of our Contract, part-time faculty may participate in the “peer review committee” conducting the comprehensive reviews.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PREPARE FOR A REVIEW
We recommend that you draft a short narrative (about 2 pages) responding to some of the points below. Specific references to courses that you teach and how you have continued to improve them will be helpful:
To provide context, you can cite the Faculty Handbook, which describes the criteria used to evaluate teaching among tenure-track faculty:
“In evaluating teaching, the Committee welcomes evidence beyond the results of student evaluations, including examples of creative pedagogy, supervision of students in individual research, evidence of dedication to and enthusiasm for teaching, and comments from fellow faculty who are familiar with the candidate’s teaching.”
Know that if anyone unjustly loses their job or is not offered the next step for which they are eligible, our union will initiate the Grievance and Arbitration process (Article 8).
A NOTE ON UNION DUES
We recently learned that in at least a few cases, Tufts Administrators are deducting dues from part-timers’ annual salaries, rather than only from their Spring semester salaries. The university has confirmed that this error was made and has agreed to look into the matter and tell us how widespread the problem is.
As soon as we learn more, we’ll come up with a plan to reimburse individuals for any amount they were overcharged.
Tufts Faculty Forward
P.S. Please continue to contact us with questions, concerns or other topics of particular interest. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The goal is for all of us to know and protect our rights!