April 2014 Advocate – Performance Evaluation Task Force

Performance Evaluation Task Force’s revision of faculty evaluation documents almost complete

by Elizabeth Terzakis, PETF representative, AFT Local 1493 Cañada Chapter Co-Chair

elizabetht-webThe Performance Evaluation Task Force (PETF) is entering the home stretch of its efforts to revise Appendix G, the evaluation portion of AFT 1493’s contract with the San Mateo Community College District.

Much of the work that we have done has involved creating entirely new documents, rather than just revising old ones. After polling our online faculty and studying the evaluation procedures and documents used to evaluate online learning used by other colleges and organizations, we designed an online observation form and decided to incorporate online learning into the same student questionnaire that we hope the faculty will vote to use for face-to-face classes.

Librarians from all three colleges met, produced, and generously turned over to the PETF observation and assessment tools that we are currently vetting and that will also represent a totally new section of Appendix G when they are finalized. Also brand new are tools for evaluating counselors and the growing number of faculty coordinators and evaluation summary forms.

In addition to creating these new sections, we have spent a great deal of time revising existing documents and forms to reduce redundancy, enhance clarity and consistency, and respond to faculty concerns as expressed to us through surveys, focus groups, and faculty meetings. The Classroom Observation form has been completely revised, the ratings scale adjusted to allow for more specificity, and follow-up steps clearly laid out to help remove ambiguity and confusion around which form to use for whom, what the outcome of the evaluation is, and what future actions are needed. As mentioned above, the student questionnaire has also undergone major changes. Specific references to online education have been added, outdated questions have been removed, and criteria for evaluation have been clarified. 

We are currently revising and editing the overall narrative of evaluation procedures and assessing the efficacy of past and current practices: How does the timeline work? Are committees effectively constituted? Who is responsible for orienting new faculty around evaluation procedures and making sure that the process is followed over time? Once again, the results of faculty surveys have been crucial to our discussion of these questions. 

Simultaneously, we are addressing the formatting and appearance of the documents with an aim toward increasing professionalism and ease of use: removing typos, rationalizing the numbering system for easy reference, converting forms to fillable PDFs, and adjusting the overall layout to increase consistency and, in general, make it look nice. We hope to make the student questionnaire available online and on paper.

Our overarching goal for all revisions has been to take out guesswork, to make sure that there is a clearly designated form for every required process, to make sure that there is no unnecessary redundancy, and to produce a professional-looking and error-free document, and I am happy to say that the end of the Task Force’s work is in sight. We plan to present the new and improved Appendix G to AFT leadership and the District Academic Senate before the end of this semester and to vet it with the faculty as a part of the flex days opening the Fall 2014 semester.