The Policies of the Board of Trustees (Policies) define expectations for faculty (and staff) of the State University of New York. Article X, “College Faculty,” describes the composition of college faculty, voting faculty, and the role of college bylaws. It specifically states, “The faculty of each college shall have the obligation to participate significantly in the initiation, development, and implementation of the educational program.” (Article X, §4)
The academic obligation for 2017-2018 at Buffalo State begins Monday, August 21, 2017 and ends on Thursday, May 31, 2018.
Faculty and librarians, as defined in Article II, “Definitions,” of the Policies are members of the “academic staff.” Academic staff is defined as “the staff comprised of those persons having academic rank or qualified academic rank.” [Article II, §1 (i)]
“Academic rank” is defined as “rank held by those members of the professional staff having the titles of professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, and assistant instructor, including geographic full-time faculty members having such titles, and rank held by members of the professional staff having the titles of librarian, associate librarian, senior assistant librarian, and assistant librarian.”
“Qualified academic rank” is defined as “Rank held by those members of the academic staff having titles of lecturer, or titles of academic rank preceded by the designations of ‘clinical’ or ‘visiting’ or other similar designations.” [Article II, §1 (k)]
Faculty: The professional obligation of faculty includes teaching, research, scholarship, and/or creative activity; student advisement, including posted office hours; and service to the college and community.
Librarians: Librarians are subject to the same general professional obligations as faculty, with the exception of teaching and student advisement. Librarians are expected to meet a calendar year obligation.
Buffalo State takes pride in its reputation for excellent teaching. Each faculty member is expected to strive to enhance teaching and to adapt teaching to the student body. Effectiveness of teaching is very important in all personnel reviews. Most departments have policies that require student evaluations of instruction. Classes may be visited by appointment by appropriate administrative officers and/or colleagues to evaluate teaching effectiveness. The individual instructor has domain over policies and procedures within the classroom. Instructional loads are dependent upon staff allocations, student enrollment, available staff and facilities, and other factors that will affect the specific teaching situation.
Instruction includes activities related to classroom teaching, laboratory study, studio guidance, intern and practica supervision, independent study, thesis guidance, assessment, advisement, maintaining records of student work, student and program evaluation, out-of-class conferences with students, and curriculum planning and development.
Faculty who teach online should review the DOPS Distance Education Policy.
Support for effective instruction is available the Professional Development Office, faculty development resources.
Faculty are expected to engage in assessment of student learning outcomes in courses, general education, and major programs.
Attendance at faculty meetings is required as evidence that faculty members take their professional obligations seriously. Each year an administrative calendar is distributed providing a schedule of campuswide meetings for the academic year. These meetings, which include the College Senate, UUP, and academic faculties, are held on Fridays at 3:00 p.m.; no classes or other meetings may be scheduled during this time. Faculty should refer to the specific bylaws of their respective schools for additional information concerning campuswide and special faculty meetings. Classes typically are not scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. This time period, called Bengal Pause, is designed to provide time for enrichment of the learning environment through open programs, as well as to allow student groups and campus committees the opportunity to convene. Department meetings are generally scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month, with other faculty groups and committees meeting on other Tuesdays, allowing for campus programs with combined student and faculty participation on Thursdays.
Regular office hours should be posted outside each faculty member’s office, with copies on file in the department office, the dean’s office, and Academic Affairs. At least three to five hours a week, at times convenient for students, is required, with additional appointments to be made as special needs require.
The curriculum of the college reflects the scope of human knowledge and achievement, the diversity of academic programs offered, and the graduation requirements established by the faculty. Scheduling of classes is carried out in such a way as to maximize efficiency by the judicious deployment of resources as we respond to the varying needs of our diverse student body. Accordingly, courses are scheduled throughout the day and evening. Class quota and enrollment reflect the curriculum, the needs of students, the nature and availability of teaching facilities, and pedagogical norms for the various disciplines. To maintain maximum flexibility and efficiency in responding to the multiplicity of student and program needs, class size is carefully monitored, both when initial quotas in classes are established and during student registration in classes. Courses, exclusive of required practica, enrolling fewer than 10 students on the undergraduate level and five students on the graduate level may be offered only upon the specific approval of the appropriate department chair and dean. On an annual basis the appropriate dean will review quotas and course enrollment levels with the department chairs as part of a planning and assessment process of departmental resources and needs. The goal of this activity will be the effective and efficient utilization of institutional resources in meeting campus missions and goals.
Scholarly ability involves research, scholarship, and creative activity. The Policies, Article XII, Title A, “Evaluation of Academic Employees,” identifies scholarly ability as “demonstrated by such things as success in developing and carrying out significant research work in the subject matter field, contributions to the arts, publications, and reputation among colleagues.”
This criterion is related to two others: mastery of subject matter and continuing growth. Together, the three underscore aspects of the intellectual life of the professor. Buffalo State, with its emphasis on teaching undergraduates, recognizes its serious responsibility to provide students with an education that is sound, current, and well conceived. A major goal of the college curriculum is to provide students with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to become lifelong learners.
In all aspects of scholarly ability, there is the critical element of peer review—the practice of sharing ideas, works, and theoretical constructs with members of our own faculty and colleagues in the national and international professional community in order to test those ideas and hypotheses and to evaluate those works. Testing and evaluation validate, strengthen, and stimulate further development of the faculty member.
Many different forms, activities, and events are evidence of research, scholarship, and creative activity. Given the diverse collection of disciplines at the college, a wide variability in acceptable activities will have the end result of maintaining the intellectual and professional vitality of our faculty. For example, scholarship includes activities such as data collection and analysis, library research, laboratory study, studio work, performances, professional development and travel, writing and administration of grants, publications, and presentations.
A vital faculty is the key to a solid, comprehensive, and well-conceived curriculum. To this end, each department has a prepared statement elaborating on the criteria for scholarship in that department. The goal is to assist members of the department in focusing on the activities and evaluating the products of scholarly work.
Faculty members are encouraged to attend and participate in recognized professional meetings. If attendance at such meetings necessitates absence from class or other responsibilities, faculty members must clear this absence in advance with the department chair and indicate the steps taken to ensure classes and duties will be covered appropriately.
Faculty are expected to perform service to the college, the region, and in the professions. The college relies on faculty committees for policy guidance, program formulation, and a host of other functions. Faculty members serve multiple college governance structures, all of which contribute to the mission and goals of the college. These may include departmental and faculty committees; College Senate committees; special committees, task forces, and policy boards; and commissions and campuswide committees. Involvement in committee work, college governance, administrative assignments, and work with students outside the formal student-teacher/adviser relationships is expected.
Faculty with special assignments in collaboration with professional staff might contribute to one or more of the following: institutional planning and supervision; budget maintenance; data collection and information services; alumni affairs and fund raising; instructional computing; academic support; and special programs for students. Faculty provide leadership and consultation in the public and private sector. They enhance the cultural life of the campus and community. They are encouraged to share their professional competence in the form of service to their professional associations in significant ways. Contribution of a faculty member’s professional expertise to community agencies, schools, and organizations also is encouraged and is a vital part of the Buffalo State partnership with the larger community. Long-term commitments, however, should be discussed with the department chair before acceptance. Faculty members also participate in regional and national professional organizations.
All faculty are expected to engage in teaching, scholarship or creative activity, and service. The specific mix of these various components is determined by the needs and policies of the institution, the needs of the students, the interests and skills of the faculty, the availability of resources and facilities, and various programmatic requirements. The teaching responsibilities for a department may vary from semester to semester. The numbers of courses taught on an annual basis is based on interrelated factors: programmatic requirements; availability of faculty and laboratory support staff; pedagogical norms of the discipline; importance of studio or laboratory experiences; level of instruction; and demand and historical patterns within the area. The expectation for teaching is six to eight courses each academic year. In addition, faculty members may be reassigned to other professional activities: research or scholarly activity that is expected to result in significant products in their field, significant administrative assignments or extraordinary service, or externally-funded projects that benefit the department and/or the college. Decisions on reassignment from teaching are reached by department chairs and deans in consultation with faculty members.
All full-time faculty are required yearly to submit an Annual Report to the department chair summarizing their accomplishments from the current year and indication of plans for the coming year in the areas of scholarship or creative activity, teaching, and service to the college.
Faculty appointment types:
Prior service credit may be used in determining eligibility for continuing appointment. A maximum of three years’ credit may be granted for full-time prior service in academic rank at any other accredited academic institution of higher education. Prior service credit must be requested by the employee upon initial appointment; it is granted at the discretion of the provost. Waiver of all or part of this service credit shall be granted upon written request of the employee to the provost no later than six months after the date of initial appointment. In computing consecutive years of service for the purposes of appointment or reappointment to the academic staff: (1) periods of leave of absence at full salary shall be included, (2) periods of leave of absence at partial salary or without salary and periods of part-time service shall not be included, but shall not be deemed an interruption of otherwise consecutive service.
Official personnel files are maintained for each employee of the college. Personnel files are available for the faculty member's review by appointment during normal business hours in the Academic Affairs Office, Cleveland Hall 519. Generally, at least a 24-hour notice is required for a personnel file review. Content and examination procedures are included in the Agreement, Article 31.
It is the policy of Buffalo State to maintain and encourage full freedom, within the law, of inquiry, teaching, and research. In the exercise of this freedom faculty members may, without limitation, discuss their own subject in the classroom; they may not, however, claim as their right the privilege of discussing in their classroom controversial matter that has no relation to their subject. The principle of academic freedom shall be accompanied by a corresponding principle of responsibility. In their role as citizens, employees have the same freedoms as other citizens. However, in their extramural utterances employees have an obligation to indicate that they are not institutional spokespersons.
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