Merit Awards | Kent State University

Merit Awards

Merit Awards are established pursuant to the tenure-track Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Procedures and timelines for determining Merit Awards for any given year shall be conducted in accordance with guidelines issued by the Office of the Provost.  When provided for in the tenure-track Collective Bargaining Agreement, the University will establish an additional salary pool for the purpose of recognizing documented faculty excellence in achievement, performance, and contribution.

  1. Campus Procedures

    The Campus Dean will call a meeting of all tenured and tenure-track Faculty to discuss the procedure for submission of dossiers and timelines as well as consultation on the amount of money to separate each tier as defined in the following procedure.  One-third (1/3) of the merit   award pool will be used to support awards in research/creative activity, one-third (1/3) of the merit award pool will be used to support awards in teaching, and one-third (1/3) of the merit award pool will be used to support awards in service. Eligible Faculty wishing to be considered for Merit Awards shall submit a brief dossier describing the basis for such awards to the Merit Committee.  A Faculty member may apply for merit in all three categories, in only two of the categories, or in only one category. The Merit Committee will consist of all tenured and tenure-track faculty who have submitted a dossier for merit. However, Faculty members that do not apply for merit in a particular category will not rank the applicants in that category.   Prior to the submission of dossiers, the Faculty Chair will call a meeting of all tenured and tenure-track Faculty to review the criteria for dossier evaluations.  The dossier is limited to five (5) pages (one (1) printed side per page, 10-point font or larger) per section and must be submitted according to the timelines recommended by the Office of the Provost.

    The Merit Committee considers the submitted materials and makes recommendations to the Dean.  Each portfolio is scored using a 1 - 5 scale for each category of assessment as defined in the tenure-track Collective Bargaining Agreement.  A score of one (1) constitutes the recognition that a candidate is performing according to his/her contractual obligations; whereas, a score of five (5) represents a performance well-above the campus expectations.  An unsigned score sheet from each member of the Merit Committee scoring each applicant shall be submitted to the Faculty Chair in a sealed and signed envelope. A ballot must have a rating for every candidate to be valid.  Each candidate must give himself/herself and his/her spouse or significant other, if appropriate, a ranking of five (5) which will be subtracted later.  The Faculty Chair will select three (3) members of the Merit Committee, in consultation with the Merit Committee, to consist of the committee responsible for opening and tallying the score sheets.  This committee must maintain confidentiality of all procedures. In order to maintain confidentiality, envelopes containing the ballots are first checked for signatures and printed names on the front of the envelope.   Any envelope not signed remains unopened and is not included in the tally.  Next, the envelopes are placed face down, shuffled, opened, and ballots are separated from the envelopes.   The ballots are then shuffled once more before separating the individual ballots according to the categories of Teaching, Service/Citizenship, and Research/Creative Activity.   Finally, before tallying the scores, each group of ballots is shuffled one final time.   The scores are then entered into an Excel file with one member of the group reading the scores, another member entering the data into Excel, and the final member watching the screen for accuracy.  Immediately after entering the scores for each ballot, the numbers are double checked by one member reading the scores entered into Excel while the other two members review the scores on the ballot.  

    The committee then begins the task of assigning monetary amounts for each candidate in each category.   To accomplish this each of the three categories is averaged by the Excel spreadsheet from the ballots that are submitted after removing a score of 5 if the candidate submitted a ballot.  An additional score of 5 will be removed if the candidate’s spouse or significant other submitted a ballot.  Note that the spreadsheet formula for the average for each candidate needs to be altered for those submitting ballots and those not submitting ballots. 

    To determine the monetary amounts, the Teaching averages are listed from highest to lowest in one list, the University Service averages are listed from highest to lowest in a second list, and the Research/Creative Activity averages are listed from highest to lowest in a third list.  The committee looks for obvious breaks in the averages to determine the different tiers.  A linear equation is used to determine the monetary amount for the candidates in each tier based on the amount of money available for each award category and the amount of money used to separate each tier.   

    The Faculty Council Chair will report the results of the scoring along with the initial recommendation of awards to the Campus Dean for processing as described in the tenure-track Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The Campus Dean will notify each candidate of their preliminary determinations as well as the preliminary determinations for all Faculty members who applied.  If a candidate is dissatisfied with his/her award, the candidate may appeal the case to the Dean who will transmit the request to the Merit Committee.  The Merit Committee then reconsiders the candidate’s merit application and new ballots are distributed for evaluation.    After all appeals have been determined, any money set aside for appeals will be distributed proportionately to those who were awarded merit.  All envelopes, ballots, and Excel spreadsheets will be retained by the Faculty Chair until completion of the appeals process and then destroyed according to the University’s records retention policies.  

  2. General Criteria for Evaluation

    The following descriptions of performance in teaching, research and/or creative activity and service/university citizenship is intended to serve as a general definition of the performance expected of Tuscarawas Campus Faculty.  Different fields and academic disciplines may vary in their interpretations of scholarship.  Tables included in this Handbook and used for evaluation of probationary Faculty in the reappointment, tenure and promotion process shall serve as a guide in the evaluation of accomplishments for the distribution of Merit Awards.

    Any Teaching, Research, or University Service activities that were awarded a workload equivalency, payment/salary, or an honorarium included in the merit application must also include the amount of workload equivalency, payment/salary, or honorarium received.

  3. Assessment of Teaching

    A Faculty member normally teaches 24 credit-hours of courses unless he/she has been assigned workload equivalency hours to perform other instructional or service duties.   Since there is significant variation in Faculty roles and responsibilities, disciplines, and departments, the following list consists of teaching activities that are expected of all Faculty during the merit cycle:

    • Abiding by all University and Campus policies that define Faculty teaching responsibilities;
    • Writing student recommendation letters.

    Therefore, meritorious Faculty performance can be demonstrated in the act of teaching by:

    • Designing and teaching course curricula that fully reflect the department/school guidelines and learning outcomes for all courses;
    • Using appropriate assessment tools to measure student learning and to document the effectiveness of course curricula;
    • Using the results of teaching evaluations (e.g., SSIs and peer evaluations) to improve the effectiveness of course curricula and classroom teaching practices;
    • Keeping current with new knowledge and directions of inquiry in the discipline, learning about new teaching resources, and acquiring new skills;
    • Engaging in curricular review/revision and improving classroom teaching practices;
    • Fulfilling the terms of the workload equivalency policy, in cases when the Faculty member has received workload equivalency to perform other types of instructional service (e.g., service as coordinator), by making contributions that require an expenditure of time roughly equivalent to the time that would otherwise be devoted to teaching the course(s) and by demonstrating that these contributions are of a quality roughly equivalent to that expected of the Faculty member’s instructional responsibilities;
    • Teaching independent studies;
    • Assisting students with publications or presentations.

    Any Teaching activities that were awarded a workload equivalency, payment/salary, or an honorarium included in the merit application must also include the amount of workload equivalency, payment/salary, or honorarium received.

  4. Assessment of University Service/Citizenship

    All Faculty are expected to contribute some participation in service activities to the Campus including serving on one standing committee. A Faculty member demonstrates meritorious accomplishment in University Service/Citizenship by:

    • Participating on a regular basis in Faculty governance, at the Campus, department/school/independent college, academic college and/or University levels as appropriate with the Faculty member’s status and rank;
    • Providing significant service to the Campus, department/school/independent college, academic college and/or University, ordinarily by making several modest contributions to various projects that help the Campus to fulfill its educational and community engagement missions, or by making a major contribution to one (1) such project;
    • Demonstrating Campus leadership commensurate with rank, ordinarily by serving effectively as an officer or chair of a standing or ad-hoc campus committee, or by providing significant service to a department/school/independent college, academic college, Regional Campuses or University committee, on a consistent basis after tenure has been awarded;
    • Fulfilling the terms of the workload equivalency policy, in cases when the Faculty member has received a workload equivalency to perform University citizenship duties (e.g., service as Faculty Chair, Writing Coordinator), by making contributions that require an expenditure of time roughly equivalent to the time that would otherwise be devoted to teaching, and by demonstrating that these contributions are of a quality roughly equivalent to that expected of the Faculty member’s instructional responsibilities;
    • Participating in recruitment and retention activities.

    Any Campus or University citizenship activities that were awarded a workload equivalency, payment/salary, or an honorarium included in the merit application must also include the amount of workload equivalency, payment/salary, or honorarium received.  For example, load for Faculty Chair, coordinators, etc., must be listed.

  5. Assessment of Research or Creative Activity

    The Faculty member must be engaged in scholarly activity that meets the department/school/independent college standards for appropriate scholarship in the discipline, and must demonstrate an appropriate level of activity by:

    • Making significant progress on a scholarly project, such that a tentative target date for completion within a reasonable time period can be foreseen;
    • Completing and taking steps toward the dissemination of a scholarly project;
    • Disseminating a peer reviewed, scholarly project at the local, national or international level.

    Any Research and/or Creative Activities that were awarded a workload equivalency, payment/salary, or an honorarium included in the merit application must also include the amount of workload equivalency, payment/salary, or honorarium received.

  6. Evidence of Accomplishment in Teaching, Research and University Service

    Evidence of accomplishment in teaching, research and university service may be demonstrated by student evaluation, self-evaluation, peer evaluation, client evaluation, external colleague evaluation, and/or adjudication.  In addition, Faculty members who apply for Merit  Awards are expected to provide documented evidence, which may include:

    • demonstrated significant involvement in curricular development and/or review;
    • measures of student achievement such as student performance on nationally standardized examination(s), publications by students, student awards or other recognition, etc.;
    • seeking and securing professionally-reviewed research and/or service training grants, especially extramural awards;
    • professionally-reviewed and refereed articles such as, monographs, and books in the candidate's field;
    • invited participation in programs or presentations of papers at professional meetings at the state, regional, national, and/or international level;
    • significant creative activity, such as invited/juried exhibitions, performances, compositions, etc.,
    • participation and leadership in professional and learned societies;
    • significant public service to a Faculty member's profession;
    • evidence of outstanding achievement, such as awards, patents, and copyrights;
    • outstanding service to the University, department/school/independent college, academic college, Campus, and Regional Campuses System beyond the normal expectations for all Faculty members as evidenced by elected positions within the University, election as chair of councils, committees or task forces, or appointment to University-level committees.