CRITERION III: Accomplishments


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E. Effective teaching characterizes the University's courses and academic programs

The University of Northern Iowa historically has characterized itself as a "teaching university." This does not mean that research, creative activities, and public and professional service are unimportant, but rather that teaching is the primary role of the University and responsibility of the faculty. How, then, does UNI evaluate effective teaching in all of its courses and programs? This question is addressed in the context of the Master Agreement, particularly student assessment of teaching, preceded by a brief sketch of UNI's orientation to teaching.

A motto closely associated with the University of Northern Iowa is "Great Teaching Makes the Difference." Excellence in classroom instruction has always been and will continue to be a fundamental characteristic of UNI. It is one of our core values. Faculty and administrators agree that teaching is the most important component of a faculty member's duties at UNI. This is reinforced during new faculty orientation and through annual merit pay evaluations, promotion and tenure decisions, and faculty awards for outstanding performance.

The University of Northern Iowa has always prized great teaching, evidenced in student course evaluations, peer reviews of faculty teaching during PAC assessment processes, faculty awards for excellence in teaching, University alumni surveys, and the employment records of students graduating with teaching degrees. Additional confirmation of teaching excellence comes through successful external fund raising efforts.

At UNI, quality teaching is particularly important because a large proportion of our graduates become teachers in the public and private schools of Iowa and elsewhere. For the academic year 1999-2000, 27 percent of bachelor's degrees granted were teaching BA's. Our faculty serve as role models for prospective and current teachers at all levels of education.

In general, all departments follow the same systematic approach in their periodic assessment of instructors' teaching as outlined by the Master Agreement between the Board of Regents and the UNI-United Faculty (July 1, 1999 - June 30, 2001), Article Three, Evaluation Procedures, available at http://www.uni.edu/vpaa/faculty_contract/ and Appendix D of this report.

In its subdivisions, Article Three defines the scope and timing of student assessment of the instructors' teaching. Evaluation processes for academic appointments are prescribed, including how the results of the assessment should be reported and filed.

Subdivision 3.21‹Assessment Procedure
The Department Head or her/his designee shall administer student assessments. Individual Faculty Members may assist and cooperate in the administration of the student assessment but a Faculty Member shall not be required to do so involuntarily. In no case may the Faculty Member, when assisting in the administration of the student assessment, administer the instrument in her/his own class. The Faculty Member will leave the classroom when the instrument is administered to her/his class.

Subdivision 3.22‹Probationary, Term, and Temporary Faculty Student assessments shall be administered for each probationary, term, and full-time temporary Faculty Member during the spring semester of each year.

Subdivision 3.23‹Tenured Faculty Tenured Faculty Members shall be assessed by students during the spring semester each fifth year, not counting years on leave or non-teaching assignments.

Subdivision 3.25‹Additional Assessments
Additional student assessments may be conducted as determined to be appropriate by the Department Head, as required by procedure, or as requested by the Faculty Member.

It should be noted that some departments evaluate all faculty every semester. Also, many faculty use student assessment more often than required by contract.

Further guidelines for the evaluation and reporting of a faculty member's teaching, research, and professional service by other faculty members, department heads, and administrators are specified in these subsections of Article Three:

Section 3.3‹Professional Assessment Committee (PAC
Section 3.4‹Evaluation by Department Heads
Subdivision 3.42‹Evaluation of Candidates for Promotion
Subdivision 3.43‹Evaluation for Merit Increases
Subdivision 3.44‹Other Evaluations
Section 3.5‹Evaluation by Dean or Vice President and Provost
Subdivision 3.51‹Evaluation Report
Subdivision 3.52‹Evaluation Evidence

Several departments have augmented their evaluation of teaching performance by conducting exit interviews with graduating students, surveying graduate students one year after graduation, holding pre-semester workshops for all graduate teaching assistants to prepare them for their responsibilities, providing feedback from student evaluations and observation by peers and department head. As discussed in the following section (IIIF), many faculty regularly participate in professional development activities offered through the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching.

UNI remains fully committed to the fundamental belief that students deserve experienced, high-quality faculty in the classroom. The objective at the top of the list in the 2001-2006 Strategic Plan calls for the University to provide instruction to students from tenured or tenure-track faculty in at least 75 percent of all classes and 80 percent of major classes, while maintaining a personalized learning environment.

Introduction

Criteria I
Criteria II
Criteria III
Criteria IV
Criteria V
Summary &
Recommendations
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