Kenyon faculty recently took the extraordinary step of approving changes to their own tenure and promotion criteria to better affirm their commitment to cultivating inclusive and engaging learning environments.
Revisions were introduced at an April 2018 faculty meeting and approved in September 2018. Changes to the criteria include the addition of specific language regarding diversity and inclusion in two of the three categories of evaluation, “Teaching Excellence” and “Collegiate Citizenship.” Other components of the criteria for evaluation include scholarly competence, active participation in one’s field, development of interdisciplinary research and leadership in departmental or College governance. The revised guidelines go into effect July 1, 2019.
The revised criteria are the result of an effort started in 2017 by the Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC), led by Professor of Art Marcella Hackbardt. Committee members aimed to encourage and reward faculty involvement in inclusion efforts while also providing more consistency and clarity in the criteria for evaluation as presented in the faculty handbook — criteria which were last updated in March 1999.
“From the start, FAC was interested in articulating more specifics about teaching excellence and advising, and in articulating more examples that would verify the valuable work already being done at Kenyon in teaching and advising areas such as diversity and inclusion initiatives, interdisciplinary teaching, community-engaged learning, team-teaching and high-impact practices,” said Hackbardt, who is currently serving as chair of the faculty.
As part of their work, Hackbardt and FAC consulted extensively with faculty across the College, as well as members of the Board of Trustees and Provost Joseph L. Klesner. They also collaborated with a committee associated with Kenyon’s HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative, which had been examining ways to boost inclusion in teaching in the Science Division and also had well-informed suggestions for the college-wide tenure and promotion criteria.
“FAC aspired to have the revised criteria capture the sense that creating and nurturing a caring, collaborative and inclusive working, living and learning environment is an important part of a successful campus community,” Hackbardt said. “Conscious awareness of and knowledge about strategies for inclusion are a marker of teaching excellence, necessary to effectively educate learners. FAC wanted to make it possible for each faculty member to work toward that goal, thereby promoting a classroom environment that values diversity, and challenging students to their best efforts.”
Additional FAC members involved in this work included Associate Professor of Biology Chris Bickford; Assistant Professor of History Anton Matytsin; Associate Director of Faculty Grants and Fellowships Jami Peelle; Associate Professor of German Leo Riegert; Professor of Physics Tim Sullivan; and Senior Advisor for Community Relations Jan Thomas, who had served as associate provost during the committee’s efforts.
Read the revised criteria here.