College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences Policy on Professional Responsibilities of Professorial Faculty

Preamble: The Coupling of Teaching and Research in Science Departments

This document is meant to set forth in broad measure what is expected of the professorial faculty within the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences in the way of their professional responsibilities as members of the UMCP faculty. While it is referred to as a workload policy, it should be recognized that expectations for faculty members, the direction and emphasis of their efforts, necessarily vary over time, as personal and university priorities change. This policy is designed to provide flexibility in setting expectations sufficient to ensure a stimulating and sustaining atmosphere for both faculty and students. While all of our activities in the (traditional) areas of teaching, research and service are carried out by individuals, we realize that any policy addressing expectations must abet the existence a company of scholars with a "corporate" life.

At a research university such as ours, it is important to recognize and ensure the link between research and teaching; and that teaching occurs in many forms both inside and outside of the classroom. Because student research often requires the faculty to seek financial support beyond that which the university can supply. This activity should be recognized as a part of the professor's educational responsibilities.

As we consider what we expect of our faculty, it is important to recognize that we reside in a larger value system determined by university, state and federal priorities. While this is decidedly true of research directions and graduate education, it is uniquely present at the level of undergraduate education in a state university where we have entered into an implicit agreement with society to provide an educated workforce. This value-system is constantly undergoing change and so the balance of expectations may shift from one activity to another but must do so in such a way as to guarantee the fundamental nature of a research university. At the same time, each of our units seeks to place itself within some ideal set through comparability of student and faculty performance. This "competitiveness" should be encouraged. Rather than taking refuge in it, we recognize it as a means of improvement and a benchmark against which we will be measured.

What follows then is a statement of citizenship, a guide to our faculty about what is valued, how it is to be evaluated, and an articulation of what is expected of the faculty--a level which all need meet or exceed.

General Expectations for College of CMNS Faculty

It is expected that professorial faculty in the College of CMNS will devote the majority of their time to: (1) Teaching and advising, (2) research, scholarship and creative activities and (3) service. This listing is in order of priority for College activities as a whole. More detailed statements follow.

Teaching and Advisement

Teaching at various levels and in various forms is one of the central functions of the University. While teaching can take many different forms, all CMNS professorial appointments include the requirement that faculty teach regularly and the expectation that they will teach effectively.

Faculty should be capable of demonstrating they:

  • Have a command of the subject;
  • Develop the ability to arouse curiosity in students and to stimulate independent creative work;
  • Be able to design and plan courses, laboratory exercises, seminars and programs;
  • Create an academic environment that is open and encouraging to all students.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

Research, scholarship and creative activity allow for a broad interpretation of contributions to the development of knowledge. Rather than try to determine the precise meaning of each of the words, we take the work scholarship to cover a list of activities, all of which are to valued. Scholarship can be viewed as an integrated process of reasoning, reflection and communication that leads to new knowledge, insights, methods or modes of thought. Indeed there is every reason to include many aspects of teaching in the category of scholarship. A list of relevant activities includes:

  • Basic research that leads to new concepts, insights, discoveries, structures or conjectures;
  • Applied research that leads to the development of new techniques or new applications of known techniques for solving problems in other fields;
  • Research in teaching and learning that leads to new insights into how knowledge and skills are effectively taught and learned;
  • The synthesis or integration of existing knowledge such as surveys and book reviews;
  • Exposition that communicates science with improved clarity or development of new courses, laboratories, or instructional materials;
  • The development of software, hardware, and techniques that provide new or improved tools for supporting scientific research or its applications.

Whatever form of scholarship is pursued, to be of value it must be communicated to others by publication and other means. This could include journal articles and other peer-reviewed publications, books or monographs, colloquia, and invited talks at scientific meetings.

Excellence in disciplinary or cross-disciplinary research, based on favorable comparisons with the achievements of faculty in corresponding departments at peer Universities, is the sine quo non for professorial faculty in the College of CMNS. The caliber of scientific research can be recognized by such criteria as:

  • Such forms of recognition as selection for service on national or international scientific committees or the number of citations of an individual's papers;
  • The award of prizes by scientific societies and honorary degrees by universities, membership in distinguished scientific societies such as the National Academy of Sciences or the Royal Society
  • Receipt of peer reviewed competitive grants or other forms of financial support for the work.

While activities in support of scholarship such as the administration of grants and the gathering of funds to support same are not truly a form of scholarship, it needs to be recognized that the creation of a suitable infrastructure is critical to the scholarship itself and so much be valued.

Professional Service

Professional service by faculty includes: serving as a full-time or part-time administrator for the University, a college, a department, or a research unit; service in University, college and departmental councils, committees and advisory boards; serving as a reviewer of academic units, programs or administrators within or outside the University, serving as an editor or referee for a press or professional journal; serving as an officer or committee member of a professional organization; organizing professional conferences or colloquia; serving as an advisor to public or private organizations at the local, state, national or international level. It is expected that professional service will not have a deleterious effect on teaching or research activities.

College of CMNS Policy on Teaching

This College of CMNS policy provides guidelines for the development of departmental policies for standard expectations for teaching, consistent with UMCP policy. The faculty teaching expectations are understood in the broad sense discussed in Sections I and II.

More specifically, CMNS departments are to ensure that undergraduate students should receive the majority of the instruction in their major field of study from tenured or tenure-track faculty.

In general, when making instructional assignments, Chairs and Directors should consider the particular strengths of individual faculty as well as reflect the needs of the students and the physical resources available.

The respective departments in the College of CMNS will develop faculty workload guidelines which incorporate an overall classroom teaching requirement consistent with the teaching standards in practice at corresponding departments at peer universities. These guidelines should be defined relative to a normal level of other activities such as research and service. However, these guidelines should include the expectation that academic department faculty will teach no fewer than one classroom or laboratory course each semester the faculty member is not on leave. The remainder of the overall teaching requirements in the respective departments may be made up by additional classroom or laboratory teaching, or activities which are equivalent to teaching courses, such as individual instructions of graduate students, including such activities which do not take place in a formal classroom setting. Indeed the full range of instructional activities would certainly include:

  • Teaching assigned classes
  • Working one-to-one or in small groups with undergraduate and graduate students
  • Developing curricula
  • Working on educational outreach activities

The corresponding departments at peer institutions used for determination of the overall teaching requirement in a discipline will be selected based on the national rankings, bearing in mind that UMCP is designated by law as the "State's flagship campus", with the obligation that "programs and faculty be nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in research and knowledge".

Departmental policies should provide criteria for permitting reductions to the standard expectations for individual faculty members. A mechanism for evaluation reductions of the standard expectations for specific individuals should be included in the policy. The approval of the Dean will be required for exceptions to the departmental policy.

Each departmental policy will become effective upon approval by the Dean.