Standard 5: Faculty

Faculty are qualified and model best professional practices in scholarship, service, and teaching, including the assessment of their own effectiveness as related to candidate performance; they also collaborate with colleagues in the disciplines and schools. The unit systematically evaluates faculty performance and facilitates professional development.

The School of Leadership and Education Science ensures that its faculty contribute to the preparation of effective teachers by ensuring that those faculty are themselves good teachers, and that they are vital and engaged professionals who make significant contributions to their fields through their scholarship and their professional service.

University criteria for initial appointment, retention, tenure and promotion require that tenure/tenure track faculty demonstrate a record of solid effectiveness in their academic
assignment as well as a clearly articulated and increasingly developed record of scholarship and service. (See USD’s Rank and Tenure Policy and SOLES Appointment, Reappointment, Rank, and Tenure Policy.) At the end of the six-year probationary period, faculty submit elaborate professional portfolios that include peer and student ratings of their teaching, samples of instructional materials they develop and use, examples of fruits of their research endeavors and of their contributions to their professional communities. Compiling professional dossiers provides an opportunity for faculty to reflect on their professional trajectories, on their accomplishments and their strengths and on areas in need of improvement. They receive feedback from multiple perspectives, as their dossiers move through departmental, college and university levels of review.

Faculty scholarship and service is encouraged not only through the tenure process but also in public recognition of their achievements and support for travel to present at conferences.  The recognition is provided in the publication of a report entitled Scholarly Review.  The report is reviewed by both the dean and the provost and is the bases for awards and public acclaim.  The report is also mailed to a distribution list composed of other schools, public institutions, and alumni.  Faculty achievements, both scholarly and
service oriented, are also published on the school’s website annually.

University policy requires that all faculty secure official evaluations of their teaching through the course evaluation instrument. This instrument includes both Likert-type items and open-ended items inviting students to provide anonymous comments about key strengths of their instructors as well as comments about ways to improve the course. Department chairs and program directors examine these materials carefully and review them with individual faculty members.

Resources are available to support faculty who experience difficulties with their teaching. Within SOLES, faculty are often assigned a mentor from among the more expert teaching faculty; this mentor observes and guides the other professor’s growth. USD’s Center for Educational Excellence hosts workshops that enable faculty to acquire pedagogical skills appropriate for working with the School of Leadership and Education Sciences’ diverse student population.

Our faculty strive to model best practices in teaching. Course syllabi reflect the breadth and depth of content covered and the expectations faculty have for their candidates’ mastery of that material. Course reading assignments reflect a balance of seminal and more recent writings, of pedagogical theory, and practical strategies and suggestions. Readings and assignments are designed to prompt students to reflect deeply about foundational constructs undergirding teaching and learning in contemporary and diverse settings. They are designed to entice students to examine their views about fundamental beliefs about equity and social justice, and about the roles they might play in advancing the mission of ensuring access to education for every child and every family in our diverse community. Faculty identify the expected student learning outcomes (and identify each outcome’s relationship to the PEU’s ACE conceptual framework in their syllabi.
Descriptions of assignments and grading rubrics explain criteria and methods faculty will use to assess students’ mastery and performance. In this way, faculty help students to understand the principles of teaching and learning and assessment that shape their instruction as well as the very deliberate choices they make about how best to work toward their instructional objectives.

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