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Report from Faculty Rewards Exploratory Group, Robert Hull

Working Group Members: Robert Hull (Convener), Rich DeMong, Betsy Flanagan, Jim Kennan, Marcus Martin, Bob Novak, Kathy Thornton

Goal: To develop a set of recommendations for ensuring appropriate faculty recognition and reward for public service activities.

Four Critical Elements of a Successful Strategy

  1. Strong and visible commitment to public service and outreach from the University leadership
  2. Wide acceptance and approval of these measures from the faculty
  3. Promoting the message that public service activity represents an additional professional opportunity for faculty
  4. Ensuring appropriate reward and recognition structures, both in annual evaluation and promotion and tenure procedures.

Public Service as an Opportunity for Faculty

  • No requirement for a particular individual - choice
  • An additional opportunity for contribution and reward
  • Need to establish public service as a contribution on a par with teaching and research

School-by-school process
Example: Dual ladder (Public Service, Teaching, Research or Public Service, Research, Teaching vs. Research, Teaching, Service)

Reward Structures

  • Provide "enlightened self-interest" for faculty, departments and schools
  • Public service as successful component of promotion and tenure evaluation
  • Public service as a successful component of annual performance evaluation
  • How will public service contributions be evaluated?

Enlightened Self Interest for Faculty

  • Recognition
  • Confidence in P&T and annual evaluation processes
  • University chairs in public service (rotating ~ 5 years). On average 1 -2 per school
  • Sabbaticals for public service activities (in addition to research, teaching sabbaticals?)
  • Annual public service awards - of a value and prestige comparable to existing teaching awards
  • Public service award banquets / functions

Enlightened Self Interest for Departments, Schools

  • A significant component of each chair’s/dean’s evaluation based on contributions his/her department/school making to public service
  • Each school P&T committee required to show that slate of recommended candidates have, as a group, made substantial contributions to public service.
  • Additional faculty positions for hires with substantial track-record or interest in public service (~ 5 years, renewable by justification) On average 1 -2 per school
  • Each school should establish a Assistant or Associate Dean for Public Service


  • Public service contributions defined by "forward looking" or "backward looking" appraisal? - a role for both (emphasis on latter - faculty freedom + creativity)
  • For those faculty in a given school who choose public service as a primary activity (e.g. via dual ladder), these contributions will be evaluated and compared by a school committee. Merit raises for this group will be equivalent to the faculty as a whole

Process - Building Consensus

Time sequence:

  • Input from this commission
  • Discussion with university leadership
  • Input from faculty

Informal discussion groups within departments of working group members
Formal questionnaire to faculty of selected school?
Presentation to Faculty Senate

Summary: Advantages

  • Increased public awareness of the contributions of the university to the well-being of the community
  • Enhanced visibility, recognition and ranking of the university nationally.
  • Opportunity for increased funding of university programs:
  • External foundations and agencies
  • More diverse options for Capital Campaign donors
  • Opportunity for faculty to extend range of professional contributions - new activities and challenges
  • Experience in public service activities will provide new perspectives, and thus enhance creativity, in research and teaching
  • Increased faculty involvement will lead to increased opportunities, appreciation and support for student activities in public service.

Discussion of Faculty Rewards Report

  • Demonstrating the service achievements of the slate of candidates recommended for promotion/tenure goes against current norm that people are considered individually and that the group doesn't/shouldn't impact the rewards of one person.
  • Someone observed that if we want to be a nationally or internationally recognized institution, it's research that garners this kind of attention, not teaching or service. We have to be consious of a larger culture. It's not just U.Va.'s culture that de-emphasizes public service. This is also of concern as we think about requiring junior faculty to spend substantial amounts of time engaged in service activities that may not be recognized at other institutions. Someone mentioned that in the College, only one in five candidates for tenure is successful. For those four who have to go elsewhere to earn tenure, are we putting them at a disadvantage if we were to encourage or mandate service in any systematic way?
  • Should service be encouraged only among tenured faculty? Would it be satisfactory that only tenured faculty are asked to weight how they will be evaluated on teaching/research/service?
  • Rather than trying to create a university-wide system for evaluating individuals (such as the multi-track system mentioned in the report), perhaps another approach would be to clarify the University's larger commitment to public service, then charge deans with developing a strategic plan for their school that articulates how the school contributes to the larger university mission. Then that school can determine how the various contributions of individual faculty or departments mesh with that larger school plan.
  • Past attempts to evaluate service have been limited to a "time served" model. If we're going to make service an important part of P/T, we need more sophisticated forms of evaluation that can recognize and reward excellence. This may involve external review from audiences other than faculty, the results of which could then be considered by P&T committees.
  • Is internal service (serving on U.Va. committees, etc.) a satisfactory substitute for external service? Or are we really talking about four criteria for faculty evaluations: teaching, research, service to state/nation/world, and service to the institution?
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