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Senate agrees to plan assess faculty productivity

The University Faculty Senate agreed Tuesday to work with the provost's office to increase faculty productivity by using the annual reports submitted by each faculty member to identify those who need further encouragement.

In a letter to deans and chairs earlier this semester, Provost Mary Ann Swain had asked departments and schools to establish written criteria by which she and other members of the University's administration could judge whether a faculty member is under-productive.

Swain had asked departments to develop guidelines for expectations for both 'moderate' and 'substantial' scholarly/research/creative productivity and levels of supervisory responsibility for theses and dissertations, as well as various applicable service activities.

Upon the recommendation of its Executive Committee, the Senate argued that establishing such written criteria would be difficult, possibly divisive and time consuming. Also, members said each department's situation would have to be examined by United University Professions to ensure any proposed solutions to problems would not violate union contracts.

The Senate determined that a simpler and more effective approach is already available. Annual faculty reports can be accessed ; allowing an initial list of under-productive faculty to be compiled. Cases could then be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Vice Provost Stephen Straight commended the Senate's support of increasing faculty productivity and said that Swain looks forward to working to solve the issue.

"We are trying to maximize productivity in every area of the University," Straight said. "The Senate gave a helpful and honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal made."

In other business, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution opposing a plan by the SUNY Board of Trustees to develop a system-wide assessment, using common measures, of students' attainment in general education. In finding the Trustees plan unacceptable, the Senate said it supports campus-based assessment as it is currently undertaken at Binghamton.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08