Criteria, performance expectations, and procedures relating to MERIT AWARDS | Stark Faculty Handbook | Kent State University

Criteria, performance expectations, and procedures relating to MERIT AWARDS

In conformity with the tenure-track Collective Bargaining Agreement, the University will sometimes establish an additional salary increment pool for recognizing documented Faculty Excellence in achievement, performance, and contribution. “Merit” is performance above and beyond job expectations for faculty at Kent State Stark.

  1. General Principles

    In conformity with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, three broadly-defined areas of demonstrated faculty excellence, consistent with the mission of Kent State Stark, are to be recognized through Merit Awards: (1) Teaching, (2) Research, and (3) Service.

    When Merit Awards are to be made, a pool for this purpose shall be established for Kent State Stark. The expectation is that forty-five percent (45%) of the pool will be used to recognize contributions in Teaching including student advisement and efforts in support of student recruitment and retention activities; thirty-five percent (35%) of the pool will be used to recognize demonstrated productivity and substantiated achievement in Research, including appropriate and substantiated professional development; and twenty percent (20%) of the pool will be used to recognize contributions in Service, including campus, university, professional, and appropriate community service.

    Procedures, allocations, and timelines for determining Merit Awards for any given year shall be conducted in accordance with guidelines issued by the Office of the Provost.

  2. Criteria for Determining Merit Awards

    Because of the significant variation in the roles and responsibilities, disciplines and departments, as well as college or school expectations, the formulation or application of one specific, narrowly circumscribed definition of “Merit” is inappropriate in the determination of Merit. However, a more general and useful conception of “Merit” can be applied, which is based on a few guiding criteria and certain identifiable qualities, activities, and issues common to all excellent faculty members, regardless of their varied roles and responsibilities. Thus, the following guiding criteria shall apply in determining “Merit.”

    “Merit” is demonstrated by the following:

    1.    The evident performance by a faculty member in Teaching.

    2.    The evident performance by a faculty member in Research (including creative productivity) above and beyond expectations of standard, acceptable faculty performance.

    3.    The evident performance by a faculty member in campus, university, professional, and appropriate community Service that is above and beyond time commitments and contributions usually expected of faculty members.

    In determining the extent to which the performance, contributions, or achievements of a faculty member satisfy these guiding criteria for “Merit,” it is useful to consider some examples of (1) expected or “baseline” faculty performance, and (2) meritorious faculty performance.

    1.    Being mindful of the significant variation in faculty roles and responsibilities, disciplines and departments, as well as college or school expectations, examples of expected or “baseline” faculty performance during the “merit period” may be evidenced by:

    a.    Average classroom performance teaching 24 load hours/year as evaluated by student surveys;
    b.    Regular attendance at office hours;
    c.    Writing student recommendations;
    d.    Some effort to remain current in pedagogy;
    e.    Some participation in campus service activities, e.g., service on a campus, department, or university committee or two;
    f.    Some effort to remain current in the area of expertise, e.g., a conference attendance or two.

    2.    Being mindful of the significant variation in faculty roles and responsibilities, disciplines and departments, as well as college or school expectations, examples of meritorious faculty performance during the “merit period” may be evidenced by:

    a.    Consistent above-average classroom performance as indicated by student surveys and/or peer reviews;
    b.    Teaching independent studies or overload teaching;
    c.    Assisting students with publications or presentations;
    d.    Recruitment and retention activities;
    e.    Classroom pedagogical and technological innovations;
    f.    Teaching or service awards;
    g.    Extensive, positive contributions of time and effort to campus, department, university, professional, and public service;
    h.    Significant scholarly or creative contributions as determined by the faculty member’s discipline;
    i.    Efforts in campus or university outreach;
    j.    Bringing recognition to Kent State Stark.
     

  3. Campus Procedures for Determining Merit Awards

    1.    Forms, deadlines, and instructions for application will be made available by the Dean and the Council Chair when Merit Awards are to be made.

    2.    Tenured and tenure-track members of Council will carefully read each file, with each person forming his or her independent evaluation.

    3.    Tenured and tenure-track Council members will meet in executive session to consider each applicant’s file. This session is solely for appraising each applicant’s record, asking questions of constituency members, and clarifying information. This session is not for explicitly comparing the performances of colleagues in open discussion. Each Council member is responsible for making those kinds of judgments independently after the meeting concludes. Council members will not be present for the discussion of their own files or for the discussions of the files submitted by their spouses or significant others.

    4.    Each Council member shall assign to each file a score between 0 (low) and 10 (high) in each category for which the faculty member has applied. Scores will be submitted electronically and will remain anonymous at every stage of the process. The scores will be tallied and the median computed. Then all applicants will be ranked per the median score for each faculty member.

    Council members are not allowed to assign scores to themselves, their spouses or significant others, so not everyone will have the same number of total votes. However, the median score should reflect the correct ranking.

    The integrity and fairness of the process demands that the scoring by Council members be done without consultation with other Council members or non-Council members of the faculty.

    5.    The Council Chair and Secretary shall submit the median rank score for each category for each applicant, as well as the original data the medians were based upon, to the Dean. The Chair and Secretary shall keep all the scores confidential.

    6.    The Dean will make a preliminary determination of the Merit Awards and notify individual faculty members, the Council, and the Provost. Faculty members who wish to know their discrete ranking in each category by the Dean or by Council may request that information from the Dean.

    7.    A faculty member shall have the right to request reconsideration of the preliminary determination. The procedure for making such a request is as follows:

    a.    The request shall be made, in writing, to the Dean for transmission to the Council for its review and recommendation on reconsideration.

    b.    A necessary condition for Council review of a written request for reconsideration is that the request must give an informed and substantive reason for reconsidering the preliminary determination. An informed reason is based upon at least as much information as was available to Council. Thus, the expectation is that any faculty member requesting reconsideration will have reviewed the documentation submitted by all applicants for Merit Awards who would be affected by a revision of the preliminary determination. A substantive reason discloses a significant misinterpretation or a real and verifiable error in the preliminary determination. Thus, disappointment about the size of an award alone is insufficient reason to request reconsideration. Those appealing may request to present their reconsideration rationale to the Council.

    c.    After evaluating all requests for reconsideration, the Council will make a final recommendation to the Dean.

    d.    The Dean will make a final determination of Faculty Excellence Awards and notify affected individual faculty, the Council, and the Provost.