image of wilson complex basketball courtbackground image of pine treependant background imageheader image of librarypurple background imageimage of stair wellimage of student union builingimage of gutterImage of ceilingImage of ceiling of the wilson complex buildingimage of wall in Tech buildingimage of swimming poolimage of ceilingimage of window at Studnet union buildingWall imageImage of window at science buildingImage of window at science buildingImage of stairs in science buildingImage of interior of science buildingImage of science buildingImage of science buildingImage of library buildingImage of buildingbackground image of ceiling

Probation Area 3.C: Contingent Faculty Evaluation and Orientation

Task: As stated in the HLC action letter, Highlands must provide evidence that the institution has ameliorated the findings of non-compliance identified in this action that resulted in the imposition of Probation, Core Component 3.C:

  1. formal approval of an institutional process and policy for evaluation of visiting/adjunct faculty; and
  2. a coherent plan for orientation and professional updating of visiting/adjunct faculty along with evidence of implementation of the plan;

More information was provided in the HLC Action Letter:

The University is out of compliance with Criterion Three, Core Component 3.C, “the institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services,” for the following reasons:

  • The University has not demonstrated that its faculty provides effective, high-quality programs as required by this Core Component because formal processes for evaluation, orientation and professional development of visiting and adjunct faculty are not in place; although the institutional response indicated that such processes have been designed, they have yet to be implemented; and
  • While the University in its August 2016 response provided a copy of its new handbook for visiting and adjunct faculty members, it has not yet demonstrated that this document has been accepted, and is being used, by the faculty.

Resolution: Highlands needs to accomplish things to resolve Probation Area:

  1. Formally approve an institutional process and policy for evaluation of Contingent Faculty by the Faculty Senate, General Faculty, Administration, and Board of Regents.
  2. Create a plan for orientation and professional updating of Contingent Faculty.
  3. Implement the evaluation process.
  4. Implement the orientation and professional updating process.

Background: Prior to the creation of the Faculty Association and the ratification of their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in 2007, all Faculty—tenured, tenure-track, contingent—were covered by the evaluation and orientation procedures in the Faculty Handbook. Once the CBA took effect, tenured and tenure-track Faculty were covered by the evaluation and orientation procedures in the CBA, and there was an increasing lack of clarity as to how contingent faculty were to be evaluated and oriented. While most of these faculty were evaluated and oriented at the department level, the NMHU Faculty Senate worked for several years, through its Faculty Affairs sub-committee, to draft a Contingent Faculty Handbook that would regularize orientation, evaluation, and other policies for these Faculty. Highlands was cited by the HLC for our lack of consistency and inability to produce evidence that all contingent faculty were being evaluated and oriented.

Overview of Status: The Contingent Faculty Handbook was complete and approved in Spring 2016 and approved by all governance groups. The first cycle of implementation for orientation and evaluation is taking place in Fall 2016, and we’ll have moved through the complete 2016-2017 cycle of orientation and evaluation by the time of the HLC’s visit, thus meaning we’ll be able to show ample evidence we have successfully resolved this probation area.

After the first cycle, we’ll need to repeat the following actions every Fall and Spring Semester: 

  Milestone Completion Responsibility Evidence
 ✓ Approval of Evaluation and Orientation Process, found in the Contingent Faculty Handbook, by Faculty Senate March 9, 2016 Faculty Senate Faculty Senate Minutes
 ✓ Approval of Evaluation and Orientation Process, found in the Contingent Faculty Handbook, by General Faculty March 23, 2016 General Faculty General Faculty Minutes
 ✓ Approval of Evaluation and Orientation Process, found in the Contingent Faculty Handbook, by Administration April 1, 2016 President, VPAA-Provost, VPFA, HR Director Contingent Faculty Handbook Timeline
 ✓ Approval of Evaluation and Orientation Process, found in the Contingent Faculty Handbook, by Board of Regents April 8, 2016  Board of Regents Board of Regents Minutes
 ✓ Dissemination of Contingent Faculty Handbook to all Contingent Faculty at Time of Signing Contract for Fall 2016 Hires Summer-Fall 2016 Provost-VPAA Acknowledgement form; E-mail; Fall 2016 Contingent Faculty List (CFL)*
 ✓ Hold Contingent Faculty Orientation Fall 2016 during Fall 2016 Professional Development Week, August 8-12, with a One Day Orientation for Per-Course Faculty Fall August 11, 2016 August 8-August 12, 206; August 11, 2016 Provost-VPAA, Center Teaching Excellence (CTE) Director Professional Development Week and Contingent Faculty Orientation Agendas; Global E-mail 
 ✓ Finalize Fall 2016 Contingent Faculty List (CFL) October 2016 Provost-VPAA Fall 2016 CFL*
 ✓ Distribute Memo on CF Orientation and Evaluation to all Deans and Chairs October 2016 Provost-VPAA, Faculty Senate Executive Committee Memo on CF Orientation and Evaluation
 ✓ Hold Meeting with Deans and Chairs on CF Orientation and Evaluation October 21, 2016 Provost-VPAA, Director of HLC Accreditation, FS Chair Meeting E-mail and Agenda
  Use CFL list to enroll new faculty in D2L orientation October 2016 Provost-VPAA, CTE Director Fall 2016 CFL*, D2L Online Orientation**
  Departments Perform Observations and Evaluations of all CF and Submit Completed Forms to VPAA-Provost’s Office Fall 2016, with Final deadline for all forms of February 15, 2017 Department Chairs and Deans Contingent Faculty Classroom Observation FormContingent Faculty Semester Evaluation Form, 2016-2017 CF Evaluation and Observation List*
  Online Orientation Module Created November 21, 2016 CTE Director D2L Online Orientation**
  CF Who Did Not Attend Orientation Informed of Online Module Via E-Mail December 1, 2016 CTE Director Fall 2016 CFL*, D2L Enrollment**
  Survey of Contingent Faculty for Feedback and Improvements on Contingent Faculty Handbook and Evaluation Process March 2017 Faculty Senate Faculty Senate Minutes, Survey Results, Updated Contingent Faculty Handbook
  Cross-checking of CFL for 2016-2017 Evaluations and Observations Summer 2017 VPAA-Provost 2016-2017 CF Evaluation and Observation list*
  Hiring Decisions for Fall 2017 Based on CF Evaluation and Orientation and Completion Summer 2017 VPAA-Provost Evaluations*, Observations*, Fall 2017 CF Contracts*
  Develop Professional Updating Plan for 2017-2018 CF Cohort Summer 2017 CTE Director 2017-2018 Professional Development Week Agenda
  CF Handbook Distributed to Faculty at Time of Signing Contract Summer 2017 VPAA-Provost Acknowledgement Form
  CF Attend Orientation (Online or In-Person) if New; CF Complete Professional Updating Activities if Returning August 2017 VPAA-Provost Online Orientation**, Professional Development Week E-mail
CF List for Fall 2017 Created August 2017 VPAA-Provost September 2017 VPAA-Provost Fall 2017 CF List*
New CF Who Did Not Attend Orientation Informed of Online Module Enrolled in Online D2L Orientation September 2017 CTE Director D2L Enrollment**
Finalize observations and evaluations of 2016-2017 CF Faculty; synchronize CF evaluations with tenured and tenure-track timeline October 2017 VPAA-Provost E-mail; 2016-2017 CF Evaluation and Observation List*
Retained term faculty take part in annual evaluation October 2017 VPAA-Provost E-mail; 2017-2018 CF Evaluation and Observation List*
Distribute Memo on CF Orientation and Evaluation to all Deans and Chairs Fall 2017 VPAA-Provost E-mail
Departments Perform Observations and Evaluations of all CF and Submit Completed Forms to VPAA-Provost’s Office Fall 2017-Spring 2018 VPAA-Provost 2017-2018 CF Evaluation and Observation List*
Future Hiring Decisions Based on CF Evaluation and Orientation and Completion Fall 2017-Spring 2018 VPAA-Provost 2017-2018 CF Evaluation and Observation List*
CF Attend Orientation (Online or In-Person) if New; CF Complete Professional Updating Activities if Returning Fall 2018 VPAA-Provost Online Orientation**, Professional Development Week E-mail

* = not linked, confidential information; available in the Assurance Argument.

** = not linked, online D2L module.