Standard 4.B.1 - Scholarship, Research and Artistic Creation
Cutting-edge scholarship is very important to this University, and is supported by the University to the highest degree possible. The University encourages all full-time faculty to actively engage in scholarship. The University embraces the proposition that scholars who delve deeply into their disciplines are more effective in the classroom, and teaching is the primary responsibility of faculty at MSU Billings. In the CBA, the University and the faculty exhibit mutual recognition of the vitality of professional research.
While all faculty are encouraged to carry on research, only tenure-track faculty are evaluated for their scholarly production during performance reviews. Lecturers and part-time faculty are not required to conduct original research in their fields, although they may do so at their discretion. Fixed-term and adjunct faculty are accountable for scholarly development and contribution to the extent that their individual Position Descriptions indicate.
Throughout the institution, faculty scholarly development and contribution are consistent with the mission of MSU Billings and appropriate for the specific field of study. East Campus science faculty regularly secure grant funding for basic research. CAS faculty conduct research and create works in their areas of expertise. Faculty in business and education engage in applied research with the potential for positive impact on the respective professional field. CAHP faculty have secured grants and conducted research related to health issues such as substance abuse. West Campus faculty engage in project research that has direct application to their technical area of expertise. In many cases, research done by faculty throughout the University receives notice throughout the community and state and leads to expanded relationships. In 2007, faculty in biological sciences filed for the University’s first patent.
Evidence: 4.6 Examples of Faculty Scholarly Development and Contribution exhibits, performance and basic/applied research
Research integrity is primarily the purview of the Research and Creative Endeavors (RACE) Committee and the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Office of Research Compliance. The RACE Committee’s members are appointed by the Academic Senate’s Committee on Committees from among faculty in the Colleges of Allied Health Professions, Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Technology, and ex-officio representatives of the administration and the Office of Grants & Sponsored Programs.
The IRB includes the following members: one faculty member from each of
the Colleges Arts and Sciences, Education, Business, Technology, and Allied Health Professions, at least one member whose primary concerns are in scientific areas, and at least one member whose primary concerns are in nonscientific areas. In addition, the IRB includes one member who is not otherwise affiliated with the institution, and is not part of the immediate family of a person who is affiliated with the institution and the Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs.
- 4.11 Institutional Review Board Policies and Record of Decisions;
- 2.23 RACE Committee Decisions
The RACE Committee reports directly to the Academic Senate. All proposals are peer reviewed by the RACE Committee to assure that proposed research projects demonstrate sufficient rigor and are in keeping with the University’s strategic plan.
The IRB supports the ethical conduct of research that involves human participants in ways that improve the quality of research, increases awareness of ethical research, supports obtaining external support for research, promotes the University’s responsibilities for education, service, and leadership, and conforms to appropriate federal guidelines. The IRB reviewed 63 protocols in 2004-2005, 83 and 71 in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 respectively, and 128 in 2007-2008. The significant increase is a result of efforts to inform all faculty members and their students about the requirements for human subjects research compliance.
Evidence: 2.23 RACE Committee Decisions
Professional travel is essential for affording faculty the opportunities they need to remain at the cutting edge of scholarship in their fields. To facilitate these professional opportunities, the College Travel Committees have established clearly identified criteria and an application process for all fulltime faculty, whether tenured, tenure-track, or other type of appointment. Of continual concern for faculty is balancing the allocation of travel funds to allow junior faculty the opportunity to present their work at national conferences as they move toward tenure with allocation for senior faculty to insure that they have the opportunity to continue their scholarly agendas. The faculty recognize that adequate funds are necessary to support the development of the faculty in particular and the maintenance and expansion of academic programs in general.
Although faculty travel money is available and RACE funding has been increased, the 2007 employee surveys indicated faculty perceptions that more would be preferable.
- 4.13 Individual College Travel Committee Criteria;
- 2.23 RACE Committee Decisions
East Campus faculty, through their Departmental Rank and Tenure Committee (DRTC) guidelines approved by the University Rank and Tenure Committee, determine the types of scholarly development and contribution recognized by the department. These guidelines are used by review committees throughout the faculty review process — DRTC, dean, URTC, provost, chancellor — to evaluate an individual in this area of responsibility. There is considerable variety across departments and colleges in the types of scholarship and contribution (e.g., exhibit, performance, basic/applied research, presentation, publication, grant procurement), but this variety is controlled by faculty at the program level.
West Campus faculty develop projects applicable to their technological fields. These projects have direct applicability to industry (e.g., construction, bio-diesel fuel development, auto body repair).
Performance Reward. On both campuses, faculty are recognized for their scholarly development and contribution through annual performance reviews of untenured faculty and post-tenure reviews of tenured faculty. Until the fall of 2007, post-tenure reviews occurred every three years, but this review schedule was pushed out to five years beginning in 2008. Faculty hired under a Position Description work collaboratively with their faculty mentor, department chair, DRTC chair and dean to delineate a research agenda. In post-tenure reviews, faculty who have consistently demonstrated excellence in the three areas of evaluation (teaching, scholarship, and service) receive recognition for meritorious effort by way of monetary awards. Continued faculty excellence will be facilitated through the successful People, Pride & Promise capital campaign.
Opportunities. Faculty have opportunities for a professional travel allowance, financial assistance with research, achievement recognition through the MSU Billings Foundation, annual awards for meritorious performance and semester/AY sabbaticals. The 2007 Employee Survey indicated lack of faculty satisfaction with monetary amounts associated with each of these individual opportunities for professional development support.
- 4.13 Travel Committee Criteria;
- 2.3 RACE Committee Decisions 4.4 DRTC/URTC research criteria;
- 4.4 CBA(§11.000)/VTEM (http://mus.edu/hr/cba/collbarg.asp)
Sponsored research and programs funded by grants, contracts, and gifts are consistent with the institution’s mission and goals. (Please see 4.B.3, Research Policies and Shared Governance above.)
- 2.3 RACE Committee Decisions;
- 4.6 Examples of Faculty Scholarly Development and Contribution exhibits, performance and basic/ applied research
Faculty are accorded academic freedom to pursue scholarship, research, and artistic creation consistent with the institution’s mission and goals.
Evidence: 4.4 CBA (§3.200) Academic Freedom; (VTEM § 4.15) (http:// mus.edu/hr/cba/collbarg.asp)
Policy 4.1 - Faculty Evaluation
MSU Billings recognizes the value placed on regular, thorough, and transformative evaluation of its faculty to assure the effectiveness and quality of the institution’s educational programs. The University clearly articulates its faculty evaluation processes and procedures in its CBA §9.000 Professional Evaluation of Faculty and VTEM contract §7.1 Faculty Member Evaluations.
a. and b.
Evaluation of East Campus faculty begins in the disciplinary departments, each of which is guided by its collaboratively developed Department Rank and Tenure Committee (DRTC) Guidelines. These criteria are produced by those who know the expectations of the discipline. DRTCs comprise the department chair, tenured faculty members of the department, a representative of another academic discipline and a student representative. In departments/ programs with few faculty numbers, faculty who have not yet achieved tenure or full professor rank may serve on the committee. All members have full voting rights.
Beyond the DRTC, faculty evaluation is carried on by the University Rank and Tenure Committee (comprising tenured full professors from each college and one at-large member). The URTC sends its recommendations to the Academic Vice Chancellor/Provost. The CBA requires the administration to provide for full due process in all decisions concerning reappointment, rank advancement and/or tenure.
The West Campus faculty review process is less formally outlined in the VTEM contract and is currently being reexamined by the VTEM Union Management Committee through the appointment of an ad hoc committee to review faculty evaluation, promotion and tenure review. Evaluation is a cooperative effort between the faculty member and immediate supervisor which includes a self-evaluation focusing on teaching, service, and scholarship, review of all syllabi, student evaluations, goals and the establishment of future goals. Tenured faculty are evaluated every three years, tenure track faculty are evaluated annually. RNTTA faculty are evaluated annually, and temporary one-year appointment faculty are evaluated at the end of their contract year. VTEM Union Management Committee involvement occurs only for changes in the evaluation instruments or processes.
Evidence: 4.4 CBA/VTEM (http://mus.edu/hr/cba/collbarg.asp)
The DRTCs, URTC, and administration on the East Campus use multiple indices in the evaluation of faculty performance. The multiple indices are described as General Criteria in the CBA. The General Criteria are meant to reflect the University mission in Teaching, Scholarly Development and Contribution and Service to the University and to the Public. The DRTC Guidelines indicate how faculty from a specific department or program within a department are expected to address the institutional mission. Individual faculty Position Descriptions are, according to the CBA, collaboratively developed between the individual faculty member, the department chair, and the dean. They are intended to add specificity to expectations so that the path to tenure progresses as seamlessly as possible. While administration does have a management right to suggest ways in which a faculty member can improve performance in any of the three areas, these are suggestions only and may be included in a revised Position Description at the discretion of the department in collaboration with the faculty member.
The CBA outlines a regular schedule of evaluation for faculty. Probationary faculty (tenure-track faculty on their way to tenure), adjunct faculty, fixed-term faculty and University lecturers are evaluated annually. A combination of abbreviated (years one, three, and four) and extended reviews (years two, five, and six) are used for probationary faculty. For university lecturers and adjunct faculty, the schedule for reviews is adjusted, based on the nature of annual reviews. Following five successive positive annual reviews, the review cycle in subsequent reappointments takes place every three years. Negative reviews of performance by lecturers or adjuncts prompt a return to annual reviews.
Evaluation of West Campus faculty for promotion and tenure are guided by the VTEM contract. As the West Campus evolves its mission from a technical college primarily focused on vocational education to a one with the greater breadth found in a comprehensive community college the recent work of the VTEM Union Management Committee will become even more important. The Union Management Committee’s efforts are underscored by the commitment of the Chancellor and Academic Vice Chancellor to participate. In addition to the current efforts of the Committee to revise the COTs faculty evaluation, promotion and tenure review processes, the Committee will likely be exploring the possibilities for eventual merger of the two contracts. Faculty are experiencing the COT’s transition from a stand-alone vocational-technical institution to a part of the MSU University System.
Evidence: 4.4 CBA(§9.310; §9.500 to § 9.636/VTEM (§10.1.I.11 and §10.1.J.12)
In instances where the standard evaluation process identifies some perceived shortcoming in a particular faculty member’s performance, the CBA outlines specific steps the University, the URTC, the deans, and the DRTC must use to bring the faculty member’s performance up to standard. The key element of this remediation process is a plan-of-improvement as outlined in a Position Description (CBA § 9.710.G).
In the case of an unsatisfactory evaluation or at the request of a faculty member, on the West Campus the VTEM Contract calls for a conference between the faculty member, the dean and the evaluator to discuss evaluation issues. Supervisors assist faculty with development and provide suggestions for improvement in areas of need. Faculty may request review by the next level of supervision if they feel their evaluation contains inaccurate or misleading information.
- 4.4 CBA/VTEM Contracts;
- 4.14 DRTC Guidelines