Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Performance Funding

In light of the new emphasis on performance funding, it’s likely that NSHE institutions will soon begin reviewing their internal faculty evaluation polices.  The intention will be to ensure that each policy is rigorous and accurately measures individual faculty performance.  Some may even try to slip in collegiality clauses.  How would a collegiality clause improve performance?  It could encourage faculty resistant to change to comply.  Yet, it also could become a tool for resistant chairs, deans, and vice presidents to punish faculty who wish to act in accordance with the legislative mandate for change.  The result will vary between institutions, but there is a high likelihood that at some institutions some reactionary chairs will use collegiality as a cudgel to attack anyone who supports upsetting the apple cart.  How can this happen?  First, at many NSHE institutions department chairs are never evaluated to ensure they know and follow policies and procedures and to examine each chair’s competence.  Second, as department members elect chairs, those who reject change, who are still in the majority in many departments, will be able to stop others from innovating by voting a colleague from their ranks into the chair position.  These administrators will then use things such as a collegiality to punish faculty who advocate for doing things differently.  Under such circumstances, the likelihood that NSHE will see improved outcomes in these departments is almost zero.  Ultimately, if NSHE really wants to become something better, the System needs to start by ensuring that all administrators are formally evaluated by independent evaluators, and that each be judged on his/her performance in guiding NSHE into a new model of outcome-based operations.  If this doesn’t happen the days of obstruction will not end.

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