Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support: Core Component 3.C


3.C - Core Component 3.C

The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.

    1. The institution has sufficient numbers and continuity of faculty members to carry out both the classroom and the non-classroom roles of faculty, including oversight of the curriculum and expectations for student performance; establishment of academic credentials for instructional staff; involvement in assessment of student learning.
    2. All instructors are appropriately qualified, including those in dual credit, contractual, and consortial programs.
    3. Instructors are evaluated regularly in accordance with established institutional policies and procedures.
    4. The institution has processes and resources for assuring that instructors are current in their disciplines and adept in their teaching roles; it supports their professional development.
    5. Instructors are accessible for student inquiry.
    6. Staff members providing student support services, such as tutoring, financial aid advising, academic advising, and co-curricular activities, are appropriately qualified, trained, and supported in their professional development.


3.C.1  ASU is dedicated to building an institution that supports and demands performance at the highest level by its faculty and staff, as they develop and implement academic programs, research and student services. The performance review, promotion, and (for faculty members) tenure processes are carefully specified to require that each individual remains knowledgeable of the current state of their areas of responsibility.

ASU provides a wide variety of programs and services in support of student learning and effective teaching for all its academic offerings, including the development of innovative approaches to teaching, collaboration, and interdisciplinary engagement; ASU has a steadfast commitment to hiring as new faculty only those scholars with the ability to become or who are among the best faculty members in their fields. ASU ensures high-quality instruction in its courses by hiring only faculty and instructors with appropriate educational qualifications.

In Fall 2016, ASU employed 3,439 faculty members for ~72,000 FTE students, corresponding to a student to faculty ratio of approx. 21:1. 

Oversight of the curriculum (described in 3.A.1) is provided directly by faculty members, with full participation by faculty members in all processes and stages related to curriculum, program and course development, beginning at the level of the academic unit and proceeding through the university-level approval by the Curriculum and Academic Programs Committee (CAPC). CAPC meets on a regular basis and minutes are kept for each meeting.

Faculty members also participate fully in the assessment of academic program performance and student learning (see also 4.A). The extensive involvement of tenure-track and tenured faculty in the oversight and assessment activities ensures continuity and enhancement of the standards of excellence expected for ASU’s academic programs. Faculty members within ASU academic units are solely and entirely responsible for the content of the academic programs, including all course content.

ASU academic units review and verify the required academic credentials for instructors, perform the recruitment and hiring of those individuals, and coordinate all course activities at the unit level, following policies and guidelines established by the Provost. The recruitment process is the same with campus-based, face-to-face programs and when hiring faculty members to teach online courses. Thus ASU is able to ensure that every instructor is appropriately qualified for the course taught. 

3.C.2 The ASU hiring process ensures fair and ethical recruitment practices for hiring the most qualified applicants consistent with ASU’s Core Values and Mission. The ASU Hiring Handbook provides guidelines for all Faculty.  All full-time, tenure-eligible faculty, continuing-status-eligible faculty, and academic professional positions must be advertised nationally, while non-tenure-eligible faculty or year-to-year academic professionals may be advertised nationally, regionally, or locally, depending on which type of recruitment assures affirmative efforts to recruit diverse applicants. Recruitment activities are undertaken for those positions that are identified in the hiring plan for each academic unit; those unit-hiring plans are developed specifically to advance the ASU Core Values of excellence, access, and impact for each academic unit and to enable progress towards the goals established for the institution as the New American University.   

To conduct a search for a position, each academic unit hiring authority (the unit director or chair) is responsible for organizing a search committee with at least half the committee drawn from the faculty of the academic hiring unit. Training on effective search practices and diversity recruitment  is provided. Typically, the search committee reviews the pool of applicants for the position and selects finalists for interview; the interview list then must be approved by the dean and the Executive Vice President and University Provost. When all interviews have been completed, recommendations for hiring (including strengths and weaknesses) are provided by the search committee to the hiring authority. All tenure, tenure-eligible, and multi-year appointments must be approved by the hiring authority within the academic unit, the appropriate dean, and the Executive Vice President and University Provost. This extensive multi-level review ensures that those hired are capable of meeting the expectations of excellence for faculty members to provide effective, high quality academic programs and to carry out excellence in research and creative activity.

In addition to hiring into tenured and tenure-eligible positions, fixed-term appointments can be made for a specified period of time; such appointments do not lead to consideration for tenure. Such appointments must follow Provost Guidelines to ensure that the necessary academic credentials are required for those with instructional duties. Renewal beyond the term of appointment is conditional upon satisfactory job performance, availability of funds, needs of the academic unit and the university, and approval of the college dean. In addition to a one-day ASU New Employee Orientation, guidance for on-boarding new ASU Employees is provided in the Supervisor’s Checklist: Orient and Onboard New Employees.

3.C.3  Five types of assessments of faculty performance are performed at ASU: 

Student evaluations of instructor performance are a valuable source of information concerning the quality of instruction received, and ABOR and university policies require provisions for those assessments. ABOR Policy 6-211, “Evaluation of Faculty,” requires that “a systematic assessment of student opinion shall constitute one, but not the only, component of [teaching] evaluation.” University policy ACD 304-09 “Evaluation of Teaching” also requires that every instructor in every class every semester administers an academic-unit approved course evaluation. To ensure a confidential assessment that protects students, policy requires that these evaluations must be administered by someone other than the instructor, and that results from evaluations are not reported to the instructor until after final grades have been entered for all students. ASU colleges and academic units are responsible for the administration of student evaluations of courses and instructors every semester using a university-wide online system. Per ABOR and ASU policy, results of student evaluation of instruction are included in the faculty performance assessments made through the annual performance evaluation of faculty (discussed in the following paragraphs) and promotion and tenure reviews (discussed below); these performance assessments all consider the results obtained by student evaluations, but also rely on data and assessments about teaching performance provided through portfolios, syllabi, and peer evaluations of teaching performance.

Annual performance reviews of faculty are required by ABOR and ASU policy. These policies provide ongoing assessment of performance and encourage faculty members to perform at levels beyond merely satisfactory; the results are also considered for salary adjustments based on performance. The review covers the previous 36-month period, with emphasis on the current year. The results of the review are communicated to the faculty member in writing by the academic unit chair or director. The results can be appealed to the next higher administrative official, though some units also have internal appeals consideration processes. Grievances regarding discrimination are handled through the process described in Criterion 2. Promotion and tenure reviews at ASU are governed by policies ACD 506-04 and ACD 506-05, respectively. Tenure is a property right authorized by ABOR, and through ABOR’s delegation of authority, tenure is granted by the President to individual faculty members based on a thorough review process. At ASU, an individual faculty member’s tenure is located in a specific academic unit. Faculty appointments with tenure are those with a legitimate claim of entitlement to continue employment unless the tenured faculty member retires, resigns, or is dismissed or released in accord with ACD 501, the Conditions of Faculty Service. Evidence for Criterion 2 established that the processes used for ASU’s decisions are both ethical and responsible.

The promotion and tenure processes provide a series of in-depth reviews at multiple levels within the institution: the academic unit personnel committee, academic unit chair/director, college personnel committee, supervising dean, university tenure and promotion committee, Executive Vice President and University Provost, and the President. A candidate for tenure prepares a portfolio of materials documenting performance in research, teaching (including a tabulation of student evaluation of instruction ratings compared with academic unit norms), and service since appointment (or since last tenure or promotion personnel action). The review criteria for the unit, approved by the appropriate dean and the Executive Vice President and University Provost based on established guidelines (ACD 506-04 and ABOR 6-201), are used at each level of review to determine if the performance during the probationary period has been sufficient for promotion or tenure, and if the candidate shows continued promise for further achievement. A set of external scholar reviewers with in-depth knowledge of the candidate’s field and with no professional or personal ties to the candidate also participate in the evaluation. Reviewers provide confidential assessments of the candidate’s accomplishments and promise based on the review criteria for the unit. These expert assessments are available for consideration by each level of review.

Recommendations at each level of review are passed to the subsequent stages for further review; the final decision is made by the University President. Each level of review involves an independent recommendation that is informed by feedback from preceding level of review. In those cases where a faculty member believes denial of tenure was in violation of ASU policy, the faculty member may file a grievance in accord with ACD 509-02, the same grievance process is used for all faculty personnel actions. When needed, an expedited review process exists for both tenure and promotion, spelled out in the same policy documents that describe the usual process for those actions.

Post-tenure reviews: When identified in the annual performance review described above, unsatisfactory performance for tenured faculty members is addressed through the post-tenure review process in accord with principles and procedures provided by the Provost’s office. A series of individualized annual improvement plans are implemented for a period not exceeding three annual review cycles until the performance returns to satisfactory levels. These plans specifically detail the elements of unsatisfactory performance, provide written targets and criteria for achieving and assessing satisfactory performance, and identify deadlines for when those targets are to be achieved. Should appropriate progress toward those targets as measured by the specific criteria not be met, the dean may exercise the option to initiate the dismissal for cause process.

Non-Tenure Eligible Faculty Review: For Non-Tenure eligible faculty (fixed-term appointments) there are promotion reviews and reviews for multi-year appointments that provide ongoing assessment of performance. Performance criteria are defined by each unit following policy and guidelines set by the Provost Office.

Through the Graduate Faculty Initiative, qualified faculty engage in graduate education and mentoring opportunities across the university. This initiative allows doctoral programs to expand their Ph.D. faculty membership beyond a single academic unit and to broaden their educational experiences by including Ph.D. faculty with appropriate research and mentoring expertise from other programs, colleges, schools, and campuses. Prior to serving as chair on dissertation committees, faculty must meet specific endorsement criteria created by each program, as well as the following general criteria:

  • Research, Scholarly, and Creative Achievements: demonstrate currency and an on-going record of expertise in research, scholarly, and creative achievements in the related discipline.
  • Graduate Education and Mentoring: individuals should have the expertise and capability for, or have been involved in, teaching graduate courses, serving as a research mentor, advising Ph.D. students, and serving on Ph.D. student committees.

3.C.4  As described in 3.C.3 faculty receive annual feedback on their teaching through their performance review. ASU also offers a variety of professional development opportunities to enhance the knowledge bases and skill sets for faculty and staff members both in their disciplinary currency and application of technology to teaching. A sample of these opportunities are provided below:

  • Academic units may provide funds for tenured and tenure-track faculty members to travel to      meetings and conferences for communicating results of their scholarly work, as well as for professional development and continuing education. In addition, faculty are eligible for a sabbatical leave after six years of continuous service.
  • The Provost Teaching Academy (in the process of being updated) provides a university-wide central resource to support faculty teaching and mentoring. The Academy Wiki provides Videos and tutorials related to teaching trends or hot topics such as flipped classrooms, large lecture teaching, teaching controversial subjects, etc. A small cohort of faculty appointed as Provost Teaching Fellows serve as a mentoring resource for other instructional faculty.
  • In addition to the Provost Teaching Academy, Academic colleges provide their own teaching      resources, e.g., Liberal Arts and Sciences, and/or support and recognition to encourage teaching excellence, e.g., Tooker Professors Program, in the Fulton Schools of Engineering.
  • University Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness provides instructional faculty and staff with training and resources related to educational effectiveness, such as course evaluations and learning outcomes assessment.
  • The Dean of Students office provides a range of resources to help instructional      faculty support students who may experience problems that interfere with their learning or the class environment. 
  • The ASU Online Faculty Center offers tutorials, tools, and discussions for faculty who use technology in their classrooms.
  • As discussed for Criterion 2, the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance, in collaboration with other offices, provides workshops on such topics as the use of human subjects, research administration, lab/biosafety, animal care, and responsible conduct in research. Here is the 2017-2018 Workshop Schedule.

3.C.5  The majority of instruction at ASU is classroom-based with direct contact hours between faculty, instructors, and students. ASU policy (ACD 305-05) requires faculty members to hold office hours (with those hours publicly posted) to ensure students have access to faculty, instructors, and teaching assistants. This policy applies to both graduate and undergraduate instruction.

Classroom-based courses also incorporate digital technology to extend (but not replace) the connection between faculty and students and to engage students in further inquiry. TeachOnline is a resource that supports faculty using LMS systems and Social Media to support student inquiry.

  • As another example, Adaptive Learning being used to replace the common lecture in ten lower division general education classes. Instead of attending a lecture, students study content online demonstrating their mastery. This technology-based approach adapts and personalizes instruction according to individual student responses. Students then attend a flipped classroom in which they engage in inquiry-based learning using their mastery of the learning objectives gained in their adaptive learning assignments. As two examples:
    • In the general education biology course, the pass rate improved from a norm of mid 70's to a norm of low 90's; and the withdrawal rate declined from over 10% to an average of 5%. During the pilot phase, students in the adaptive learning courses also had substantially larger knowledge growth in a pre-post test compared to students who only attended the conventional lecture hall course as a controlled experiment.
    • In college algebra, the pass rate improved from a norm of 60% to 79% when new adaptive learning courseware was installed in fall semester 2016. Moreover, this success was achieved in spite of having students who would have previously placed into foundational math main-streamed into this course. Beyond the higher success rate, this saved students time and money since they no longer took the non-credit foundational math course. As further evidence of this gain, students who used to take foundational math because of low placement scores subsequently passed college algebra only about 45% of the time. Under the new system, they passed at a 74% rate. Students with placement scores sufficient for college algebra used to pass in the mid-60 percent range. They passed at 83.5% with the new courseware. Finally, proficiency on all 390 or so learning objectives in the course can be assessed. Students who completed the course achieved 95.6% mastery on the learning objectives using a definition for mastery as 90% proficient.

3.C.6  ASU is diligent in hiring sufficient numbers of top-quality student support personnel, and encourages each employee to further their professional development within the New American University model. ASU fosters a climate that encourages and rewards ongoing growth and professional development by individual staff members and ASU Policy allows up to 16 hours release time annually to support learning in work-related areas.

While there are thousands of development opportunities outside of the university setting, ASU also provides an outstanding network of opportunities available to staff members on campus. The ASU Learning Management System (LMS) offers classes and training on safety, ASU specific software systems, and university processes and expectations. The ASU University Technology Office (UTO) training system offers a wide range of courses including Adobe technologies, podcasting, MS Office, and Blackboard.

The Council of Academic Advisors (CAA) is a professional organization available to Arizona State University employees who are involved in or connected with the academic advising field. CAA’s primary purpose is the improvement of academic advising at ASU. It pursues this purpose through initial advisor training and professional development for its members. CAA also encourages members to participate in university-wide activities that have a potential effect on academic policies and procedures, and activities that contribute to the recognition by the university community of the importance of academic advising, and the professional nature of that activity. The Provost's Advisor site provides additional resources for advisors. 

ASU’s Office of Human Resources offers the Leadership in the New American University (LINAU) series, including the Supervisor Development and Mastering Leadership programs that provide an opportunity for ASU leaders to capitalize on their leadership strengths and competencies.

ASU staff members are also further supported in their professional development through the tuition discount program. Established by ASU and ABOR policies, this professional development program allows all eligible ASU staff members (50 percent FTE or higher) to take up to 9 credit hours each semester for a small fee. The tuition discount program provides employees a low-cost, high-quality professional development option or continued pursuit of an academic degree.