Standard 5: Faculty
The academic divisions at Keene State College to which the faculty are assigned are Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Professional and Graduate Studies, and the Mason Library. During the 1999-2000 academic year, the College employs 179 full-time teaching faculty and 186 on an adjunct basis, creating a total faculty of 269 FTE (full-time equivalent). Full-time faculty include sixteen Wheelock School faculty and three librarians. Non tenure-track faculty appointments include faculty in residence (FIR), resident artists, faculty fellows, adjuncts, and visiting faculty. Based on the total faculty count of 365, full-time faculty teach 63% of the student credit hours. In 1999-2000 the ratio of students to instructional faculty was eighteen to one, calculated according to AAUP standards. (Instructional faculty does not include librarians or faculty at the Wheelock School. It does include the FTE teaching by adjunct faculty.)
Faculty appointments reflect standards consistent with other four-year colleges offering liberal arts, science and technology, and teacher education programs. Of the 179 full-time faculty, 142 or 79% hold terminal degrees. The doctorate is required for all new faculty appointments except for those in the library and fine arts, where the M.L.S. and M.F.A. are accepted as terminal degrees. The master of education degree is considered the terminal degree for Wheelock School faculty.
The number of full-time faculty has been limited by a cap, in effect through fiscal 2000, which trustees placed on the number of benefited positions for College faculty and staff. According to the 1995 NEASC Self-Study Report,
Overall, adjunct faculty teach 37% of student credit hours and 39% of KSC's courses. At the 100 level, 175 of the 335 courses are taught by adjuncts (52%). They are hired to replace faculty on leave or on sabbatical, to provide temporary staffing in programs where future enrollment trends are uncertain, when special expertise is desired to enhance a program, when a shortage exists in the availability of doctoral-level applicants, to increase availability of lower level courses, or when we are unable to hire full-time faculty on short notice. Keene State College believes that the use of adjuncts increases the diversity of its faculty, brings a variety of viewpoints to the classroom, and in some cases provides expertise which full-time faculty do not possess. The use of adjuncts also provides release time for full-time faculty to pursue their sabbatical projects, helps to lower overall class size, and increases the numbers of courses available so that students can complete degree programs on time. Adjunct faculty are normally expected to hold graduate degrees.
The chart in Appendix F details the distribution among departments and divisions of 160 full-time and 186 adjunct faculty present and in teaching fall 1999. The actual number of budgeted lines is higher than the number of full-time faculty, ten of whom were on sabbatical, three on unpaid leave, and two assigned to non-teaching roles during fall 1999. As the chart shows, the use of adjunct faculty varies widely among departments and divisions. The large numbers of adjuncts in Arts and Humanities teach primarily English Composition and provide music instrument lessons. Because most incoming students take English Composition in their first semester, the College employs more adjuncts in the fall than in the spring. In areas such as Art (Graphic Design) and Communication, the high number of adjuncts reflects recent growth in student demand. In areas such as Health Science and Computer Science, adjuncts are practicing professionals who bring workplace experience into the classroom. They also teach in disciplines where market demand makes it difficult for us to offer competitive salaries. Some departments hire adjunct faculty to teach specialized courses and others employ them mainly for lower level and/or service courses. Of course the primary reason for employing adjuncts is cost effectiveness. Keene State College's revenues are limited by the lack of state support for higher education. Revenues from increases in our enrollment must also fund increases in salaries, a necessity which competes against the need to hire more full-time faculty.
The process of recruiting, appointing, and retaining tenure-track faculty proceeds according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the University System of New Hampshire (USNH), Keene State College, and the Keene State College Education Association (KSCEA). Faculty are recruited through a competitive search process drawing from national and international applicant pools. The process begins at the departmental level with the identification of specific needs. The request then moves forward for approval to the divisional dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Due to financial constraints and changing enrollment patterns, vacated positions are no longer considered permanently assigned to the department in which the vacancy occurred. Instead, the Vice President for Academic Affairs approves searches after a review of the department's needs as balanced against those of other departments. Once approval to recruit for a position has been received, the department organizes a search in cooperation with the divisional dean, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Office of Human Resources. A faculty search committee is convened to further define the position, to review the applications, and to rank qualified candidates for subsequent on-campus interviews. Positions are advertised as widely as possible in appropriate newspapers, journals, and various employment sources on the Internet. At each stage of the process, attention is given to generating a diverse pool of applicants that contains women and minority candidates, thus ensuring that affirmative action guidelines are followed.
Faculty assessments include a performance evaluation for the purpose of professional improvement and contract renewal and an evaluation for promotion and tenure. In both cases, faculty must demonstrate teaching effectiveness, productivity in scholarship and related professional activity, and service to the College and wider community. Faculty research encompasses a wide variety of outputs and contributions to intellectual, public, and cultural life in New Hampshire, New England, the United States, and internationally. Faculty scholarship includes a vast range from scientific and applied research to artistic and literary productions to consultations with local, state, and federal agencies and businesses.
An annual review is mandatory for all untenured faculty in a continuing position. For faculty in the first year of appointment, an evaluation is conducted at the end of the first and second semesters. Tenured assistant and associate professors who plan to apply for promotion are evaluated every two years. All other tenured faculty are evaluated once every five years.
Faculty assessments include written course evaluations by students, faculty self-evaluations, assessments by a departmental committee, and an evaluation by the divisional dean. The evaluation process (for contract renewal or for the review of fully promoted faculty) begins with the individual faculty member who is responsible for maintaining a complete account of all activities related to professional growth and development. Each department selects a peer evaluation committee (DPEC) for each faculty member to be evaluated. The members of each department determine the size and composition of the committee and the manner of selection of the members and chair. Departments operate under Guidelines and Procedures for DPEC Evaluations issued jointly by the College and the KSCEA (see documents in the workroom). The DPEC report is then submitted to the divisional dean who also writes a report. Before submitting this report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the dean apprises faculty members of their evaluations.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs informs those faculty eligible for promotion and/or tenure by June 30. In making their recommendations, the DPEC and the divisional dean consider: (1) the faculty member's self-evaluation report; (2) all DPEC letters since the last personnel action; (3) all dean's letters since the last personnel action; (4) any prior FEAC letters; (5) course syllabi; and (6) the candidate's narratives for each of the three evaluation areas of teaching effectiveness, scholarship and related professional activity, and service to the College and community. These documents are gathered into a file that the candidate presents to the Faculty Evaluation Advisory Committee (FEAC), which consists of eight tenured faculty members from the upper three ranks elected by the entire faculty. Candidates then select five FEAC members to serve on their individual committees. Each FEAC operates under Guidelines and Procedures issued by the College and the KSCEA. The FEAC report is then submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who makes recommendations regarding promotion and/or tenure to the president for review before transmittal to the Board of Trustees for final consideration.
The faculty union offers a mentoring program to assist junior faculty preparing for the promotion and tenure process. Its collective bargaining agreement also outlines grievance procedures to be followed by those dissatisfied with the outcome of the process.
Specific faculty duties and assignments are outlined in the initial appointment letter, the collective bargaining agreement, and the Faculty Manual. Faculty are expected to distribute efforts among the three areas of teaching, scholarship, and service. Institutional policy requires a typical teaching load of twelve credit hours per semester, twenty-four credit hours per academic year. However, reassignments are made for activities such as serving as department chair, supervising student teachers, or chairing a major College committee. In addition to a regular teaching load, faculty may elect to supervise independent and directed study courses. No more than three course preparations per semester are assigned to a faculty member. Appropriate adjustments are made for laboratory, studio, clinic, performance groups and team-taught courses that are offered for only a portion of a semester or are related to other lecture preparations.
Faculty are required to schedule at least three regular office hours per week for out-of-class consultation with students. Academic advisement and participation in department and division meetings and at two general faculty meetings each year are expected of all full-time faculty. Faculty members are encouraged to serve on college-wide, divisional, and departmental committees. Attendance at Commencement and the Honors Convocation, as well as serving on departmental peer evaluation committees, are required of all faculty members.
Reasonable and appropriate job security for tenure-track faculty has been ensured with the signing of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, which provides a description of policies and procedures governing dismissal and non-reappointment, and a grievance procedure. As a Master's I comprehensive college, Keene State College's faculty salaries are roughly comparable to those at national baccalaureate institutions, but on the average they remain slightly lower than those at other comprehensive institutions (Chronicle of Higher Education, April 23, 1999).
Faculty members are strongly encouraged to develop the knowledge and skills needed to stay at the forefront of their respective disciplines. Research and other professional development activities are supported by sabbatical leaves, professional enhancement funds, Faculty Development Grants, the TALENT Grant Program (funding the application of technology to teaching), and on-site training opportunities.
The College provides time for research through its sabbatical leave program; after six years of employment, a faculty member with the rank of assistant professor or higher may be granted a sabbatical leave of one year at half salary or half a year at full pay. Such leaves are granted for the purpose of professional study and research in keeping with the College's mission to support "a faculty of active scholars and effective teachers." A Sabbatical Committee, whose membership is elected annually by the faculty, reads the applications and forwards its recommendations to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. At the same time, the divisional deans read and evaluate the applications. The Vice President for Academic Affairs then submits sabbatical recommendations to the president for action.
According to Article XIX of the collective bargaining agreement, each full-time, tenure-track faculty member is allotted a specific amount of money per annum for professional enhancement. The allocation for these professional enhancement funds for the fiscal years 2000-2001 is $725. This amount increases to $775 for the next year. The contract further specifies that "Appropriate use of professional enhancement funds shall include professional travel and/or materials used in research or teaching."
In addition, Faculty Development Funds are set aside each year and faculty are invited to apply for support for projects and activities. A joint faculty-administration committee is established yearly to interpret the guidelines, evaluate proposals, and recommend grant recipients to the president. Applicants for funding submit proposals for research, education, travel, equipment costs, program development, or professional activities. For the fiscal year 2000, a total of $25,645 was awarded. Eighteen proposals (ten from Arts and Humanities, one from Professional Studies and seven from Sciences) were selected to receive full or partial funding.
Faculty members may also submit funding applications to the TALENT Grant program, which provides funding and technical assistance in the development of curriculum-related projects and prototypes that apply technology to instruction. For the three-year period from 1997-2000, awards totaled $41,918. In summer 2001, TALENT funds will be used to support faculty workshops on information technology and its integration into the curriculum.
Standards for the responsible and ethical conduct of faculty are outlined in the College's mission and values statement. More specifics, such as the policies on sexual harassment, research with human subjects, computer and network use, treatment of people with disabilities, and USNH personnel policies, appear in the Faculty Manual and on the College and USNH web pages. The collective bargaining contract summarizes the 1940 AAUP Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and states that the College and its faculty abide by these principles and "maintain and encourage full freedom, within the law, of inquiry, teaching, research, and publication." "Our Plan" further states that faculty have the right to choose their own pedagogy.
Academic support staff who are not members of the faculty are usually considered Professional, Administrative and Technical (PAT) Staff, and include directors, supervisors, managers, library and media specialists, and professional staff such as computer technicians. Their conditions of employment are outlined in the PAT Handbook and College personnel policies. Several people in these positions also teach one or more courses. While they are not required to hold the terminal degree, their students fill out course evaluations each semester to assess the quality of their teaching. They are eligible for staff development money and may apply for professional development leave. They bring diverse interests, backgrounds, and expertise to the campus and enhance the institution's services.
The recently revised statement of Keene State College's mission describes it as promoting and sustaining "strong relationships among students, faculty, and staff that emphasize creative and critical thinking, scholarship and research, and a passion for learning." KSC faculty are conscientious educators and participants in College and public service activities and are fully qualified to carry out the College's stated mission. They display a strong commitment to student success and students view them as very approachable. Promotion and tenure standards, also recently revised in line with the College mission, contribute to improve faculty quality.
The College increased the number of full-time faculty positions from 181 in 1995 to 184 in 1999. For fall 2000 we were able to add three more positions in high-demand disciplines. Four library positions were converted from professional administrative and technical staff (PAT) to faculty status. Not all of these positions are filled at any one point in time. We have made a concentrated effort to recruit new faculty with experience in interdisciplinary programs and to hire others with joint appointments. Thus, shared positions have been established in areas such as Film and Women's Studies, as well as in Chemistry/science education and Geography/social studies education.
Although Keene State College takes affirmative action very seriously, it has not been very successful in recruiting minority faculty, perhaps because, historically, New Hampshire has not attracted large numbers of minorities. Keene State College does support and promote campus-wide diversity and multicultural activities, as described in Standards Four and Six. Furthermore, if we go beyond the identification of race and include ethnic origin, religion and sexual orientation in our definition, we perceive considerable invisible diversity among our faculty. Some freely identify these factors as part of their professional persona, while others do not.
We have also taken modest but significant steps to increase multicultural awareness through faculty exchanges. For the past decade, Modern Languages has employed visiting professors from Ecuador, France, or Mexico on one or two-year appointments. In addition to salary, we have supported these guests with housing and some transportation costs. This arrangement may serve as a model for bringing visiting faculty into other departments. Some of our own faculty in geography, sociology, and languages have made extended visits to Ecuador. The mathematics faculty includes a recognized specialist in multicultural mathematics. During the early nineties several Keene State College faculty members taught for a semester in Belgorod through our Russian exchange program. Others have participated in Fulbright or private exchanges to teach in Britain and Latvia.
The College has made great improvements in attracting and hiring women in tenure-track positions, especially in the sciences. While women are not yet equitably represented at the rank of professor, they are progressing for promotion in reasonable numbers. Since the beginning of the 1994-95 academic year, thirty-eight women have been hired into permanent tenure-track positions as compared with twenty-four hires in tenure-track positions for males. As evidence of its commitment to fairness and diversity, the University System recently decided to offer domestic partner benefits for faculty and staff.
The College's reliance on adjunct faculty remains a concern to administrators, full-time faculty, and some adjunct faculty. We acknowledge that maintaining the current number or allowing an increase in the number of adjunct faculty would be a significant threat to the goals and mission of Keene State College. Since 1997 the College has introduced several measures to improve its communication with and working conditions for adjunct faculty. Even before 1997 ID's were issued to adjunct faculty so they could access campus privileges, and they received campus computer accounts and voice mailbox numbers. They are invited to general faculty meetings; their participation in department meetings varies among individual departments. They are not at currently represented by the KSCEA, nor in the College Senate. The College is sympathetic to the need to improve compensation and has made modest increases for the last three years. Effective fall 2000 adjunct salaries have been raised to $525-775 per credit depending on length of service and terminal degree. Higher salaries are offered to adjuncts who teach a full load on a semester basis or to adjuncts in certain fields where market conditions dictate higher salaries. However, overall, KSC adjunct faculty remain dissatisfied with their circumstances. They would like stipends for serving on College committees and, especially for those teaching first-year students, for advising students. They would like job security, more integration into campus life, improved access to computers, greater consistency in their evaluation process, and higher pay.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs has initiated a more formal evaluation process for adjunct faculty, but it was halted while the unionization effort was going forward. However, the College does plan to resume work on adjunct evaluation once the issue of unionization is settled. The Adjunct Association would like to be an integral part of the implementation and assessment of the evaluation system. As of June 2000 the University System is appealing to the state Supreme Court the decision by the Public Employee Labor Relations Board that adjunct faculty do have the right to form a union. The outcome of this appeal may significantly change the working environment for adjunct faculty.
There are several other areas of concern to full-time faculty. One is the administration's process for deciding which positions to fill when they become vacant. This has been especially bothersome with the administration's decision to replace the full-time grants coordinator with a adjunct position. However, the administration is currently examining the most appropriate long-term solution to support the grants effort. A related area is the College's reassigning faculty to another department without a thorough discussion of the consequences of such moves and without following its usual procedures in establishing a need for the position and conducting a full search for the best candidate. The lack of flexibility to create faculty lines within departments whose enrollment is increasing is another concern.
As noted in the 1995 Self-Study, in general the faculty evaluation process works well. However, several concerns from the previous report remain. One involves the instrument that students use to comment on faculty performance and the quality of teaching, as described in Standard Four. Another area is the lack of clarity regarding the scholarship component of the promotion and tenure process. While varied departmental philosophies usually account for measurable differences in the ways that academic departments define scholarship and creative activity, these different definitions cause concern, especially in regard to expectations for promotion. In the bargaining process, the College and KSCEA did clarify the DPEC and FEAC processes with a new set of expectations describing the range and types of activities for promotion and tenure.
Another area of concern involves faculty workload. Faculty feel that more responsibilities are being placed on them without proper compensation. Independent and directed study courses represent valuable opportunities for students, but they do require a considerable amount of preparation by faculty. During summer school sessions, the Division of Continuing Education provides a stipend. During the fall and spring semesters, when there is a regular course that a student needs and such a course is not offered, the College will, by prior agreement, authorize a paid independent study arrangement. In such cases, the faculty member who supervises three credits of independent study for such a course shall receive $100.
Service on College committees has also emerged as a workload issue. The burden is not fairly distributed among junior and senior faculty, and the lack of senior faculty's participation on some governance bodies is a drawback. As part of faculty guidelines negotiated with the recent contract, a limit was placed on College service expectations for new faculty. But for faculty in general, service expectations are not clear, participation varies, and the workload is not equally shared. To compensate faculty with particularly heavy committee assignments, the chairs of the Academic Overview Committee, the Faculty Evaluation Advisory Committee, the Senate, and the Campus Commission on Diversity and Multiculturalism receive released time. Similar provisions are made for faculty engaged in special projects, for athletic coaches, and those who direct and supervise theater productions and student teaching. Of course provisions for re-assigned time increase our reliance on adjunct faculty.
The KSCEA conducted a survey of teaching assignments, credit for lab and studio courses, numbers of students taught, and number of advisees. This survey (available in the workroom) revealed that faculty workloads vary greatly among divisions and even within some individual departments. Variations may be caused by the lack of consistency in such items as a cap on course enrollments or the number of faculty contact hours taught by those with some re-assigned time. Similarly, the number of advisees ranges widely. These concerns, which some faculty perceive as considerable inequities, still remain an issue.
The use of technology for classroom instruction also has added to the faculty workload. For many departments, using the computer effectively requires more faculty preparation time to learn the software, search the web, and create classroom applications for specific lessons or projects. Although the College's commitment to upgrading technology needs is evident, many faculty view training as an equally important need. Learning new software requires time that is not built into a faculty member's schedule.
Some faculty lament that they have little input in technology matters, although faculty-wide elections for the College Information Technology Committee and the Academic Technology Committee are intended to encourage their participation. Some faculty have felt pressured to conform to one computer platform and prescribed software with little regard given to their specific academic programs and research needs. Keene State College had supported both a Macintosh and a PC platform. Four years ago, the College made the decision to switch to a PC platform for administrative applications, and shifted support for Macintosh users proportionally. This shift, necessitated by the new Datatel software, had ramifications for the current technology situation. Macintosh users feel that their platform should be fully supported by on-campus services. On-campus training is provided for widely-used software; however departments and sometimes individual faculty need to assume responsibility for funding purchases of, and training in highly specialized software.
In addition, campus-wide information technology resources, software, and expertise are unevenly distributed. The availability of computers for classroom demonstrations varies widely among academic divisions. Many faculty feel that in some departments the use of technology within classrooms needs greater support and development.
In summary, Keene State College faculty are rising to new challenges. Despite the concerns outlined above, we have taken many positive steps. The College has committed to provide faculty with grant-funding opportunities for professional development and with a substantial and continuing investment in computer hardware and software. Faculty enjoy the freedom to teach a variety of courses, to design new courses and programs, and to collaborate across department boundaries. The College encourages individual initiatives and creativity through re-assigned time and funding from a variety of sources. The quality of the faculty's work environment can be judged by how long many choose to remain here, and by the large numbers of highly qualified applicants attracted by our hiring notices. For those who value personal contact with colleagues and students, Keene State College is a good place to develop and sustain a love of teaching.
Keene State College has made substantial progress in recent years in improving faculty quality through good recruiting practices, in providing increased funding for faculty professional development opportunities, and in clarifying its promotion and tenure policies. The College is well situated to reinforce the best of its existing programs; to implement new strategies in its teaching, research, and service programs; and to continue to contribute to the local community as well as to the state of New Hampshire.
Based on current trends, the College will continue its policy of recruiting and appointing highly qualified candidates for faculty positions. To increase diversity and retain qualified faculty the administration will explore such possibilities as visiting minority faculty, non-tenure track appointments, shared appointments or accommodations for dual career families, and greater use of area graduate school minority students who may teach here to launch their careers.
The College will seek a modest growth in faculty size. The College does not anticipate any significant increase in the faculty/student ratio and remains committed to maintaining the personal interaction between faculty and students. The administration, the full-time faculty, and the adjunct faculty will work closely concerning adjuncts' integration into the campus community.
Overall, the College needs to improve its collegial atmosphere by providing more open communication among the administration, faculty, and support staff about how resource allocations and staffing decisions are made. Faculty are torn between their roles as teachers in a teaching institution and by what they perceive as peer pressure to increase research productivity. The administration and the faculty will seek to clarify these roles so they are not in direct competition with each other. Concerns raised by the KSCEA workload survey still need to be addressed. Discussions will continue at the Deans Council, within divisions, and within departments about class size, the equitable distribution of advisees, and other workload issues.
We will strive to improve communication with all campus constituencies concerning technology policy issues and decisions. Technology personnel must also be included in the dialogue so they can be made aware of the needs of specific academic programs, faculty research areas, and Keene State College's work with sources off campus.