Departmental Service — A 360º Review

nebraska_amish_barn_raisingThe UCLA CALL specifies that all promotions and merit increases should be evaluated on the basis of 3 criteria: Research, Teaching, and Service; with a 4th criteria of Professional Competence added for certain professional schools.  We are called upon by CAP to be much more specific in our documentation of performance in these areas.

Because there is a lot of service work in the Department, and because we all benefit when this work is done well and done on time, it is important that the work be shared equally, so that a small number of faculty do not become overburdened with service.  Besides, many hands make light work.

At our November 3rd faculty meeting, it was agreed that we will explicitly and carefully consider Departmental Service as part of the Service criterion.  I agreed to have the Chair’s Office keep track of Departmental Service contributions, to provide feedback on these contributions to individual faculty members on a regular basis, and to make this assessment available as part of the dossier when it is time for a promotion or merit increase.

We will assess Departmental Service in three domains:

  • Willingness
  • Timeliness
  • Quality

As I mentioned in the faculty meeting, this issue arises because I have found that there is wide variation in the willingness, timeliness, and quality with which faculty respond to staff requests to help with their Service obligations. Such obligations include grading doctoral exams, serving on curriculum review committees, serving on ad-hoc committees, preparing their own dossiers, and so on.  Because such requests typically come from staff, I have asked Pat Ritter to coordinate a staff-led evaluation of the three criteria for Departmental Service.

Of course, I will also be heavily involved in assessing the quality, and I invite all faculty members to weigh in proactively when they feel a colleague has been particularly helpful–or unhelpful–in a given Service obligation.

The involvement of Departmental Staff in evaluating one component, however narrow, of a faculty’s dossier is a new development as far as I know.  I learned today that this approach has a name.  It is called a “360º review,” and it is considered a helpful adjunct to traditional assessment systems.  I am optimistic that it will work well in our Department as well.


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