The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) is founded on three fundamental objectives: to teach, advance knowledge and provide patient care. A fourth activity inseparable from the other three is community service. Faculty is predominantly judged through his/her performance in these four fundamental areas. Because of the complexity and diversity of the various schools and departments, each individual faculty member must be judged in the context of the responsibilities assigned by the departmental chairs or division chiefs.
In accord with UTMBís Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures (IHOP), a written performance evaluation of all classified, faculty, and administrative personnel must be completed annually (1). Performance ratings for faculty members are based on meeting established goals, as reflected by the evaluation. While work outcomes may vary based on the specific job, there is consistency in the measurement of performance-related work outcomes and behaviors. The performance evaluation is used as a basis for decisions related to performance-based salary increases, promotions, and other conditions or privileges of employment.
The president of the university has delegated to the UTMB deans of the four schools the responsibility for establishing the annual procedures for their respective areas, subject to approval by the president. In most cases the written evaluations of the faculty will not be sent forward from the facultyís home department unless requested by the president or other appropriate UTMB executive officer.
In addition, and in compliance with rules established by the University of Texas System Board of Regents (2), tenured faculty must undergo a periodic comprehensive performance evaluation every six years by peer review in each of the schools of Allied Health Sciences (SAHS), Nursing (SON) and Medicine (SOM), with oversight by the deans of the respective schools (3). (The faculty members in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences all have their primary academic appointment in one of the other three schools. See discussion of Graduate School faculty below.) The evaluation shall again include review of the faculty memberís professional responsibilities and performance in teaching, research, patient care, community service, and administration. As with all performance evaluations, the possible uses of the post tenure review include salary adjustments, awards and other performance recognitions, adjustment of institutional support for current/future activities, and to the extreme, termination.
Faculty Performance Evaluation and Career Development
The university has a uniform policy requiring periodic evaluation of faculty performances. The actual details of the criteria used to evaluate faculty performance are delegated to the respective school deans, and eventually to departmental chairs, program directors or division chiefs. The professional activities of each individual faculty member vary based on the faculty memberís department and their individual responsibilities within that department. The weighting of the individualís activities is based upon goals and objectives previously agreed upon by the faculty member and departmental chair/division chiefs. While a goal of each faculty member is that their efforts lead to advancement and recognition (salary increases, advancement, promotion or tenure), it is the responsibility of the faculty member in his/her meetings with the leadership to agree upon activities which will lead to successful professional development.
In practice, all schools evaluate its faculty through similar means comprised of annual self-evaluations, self-reporting, documented proof of primary activities, updating of CV, and meetings with chiefs, directors or chairs to discuss the individualís productivity, performance, and setting of future goals. This is done for both on-site and distance learning classes. The actual mechanism for accomplishing this is quite varied according to the mission of the school, the diverse goals of its subunits, and the talents, skills and professional goals of the corresponding faculty.
Annual Faculty Evaluation Forms
Each evaluating unit provides a form(s) of varied length and complexity to be filled out by the individual faculty member on an annual basis. These forms include categories for contributions in teaching (contact hours, courses taught, number of students, evaluations, etc), research (paper, abstracts, grants submitted & funded, educational scholarly activity, etc), patient care (if applicable: procedures, visits, charges, collections), service (committees, study section membership, grants reviewed, community service) and administration (director of courses, administrator of programs, division chief, etc), and awards and recognitions (teaching awards, endowed chairs, academic prizes, medals, etc). These forms also provide an opportunity for the faculty member to list accomplishments for the past year and a plan to promote professional growth and development. The forms used by the SON and SAHS are uniform across all departments and programs within the respective schools, but differ between the schools (4) (5). Those used by the SOM are unique to each department (6).
Faculty Comparisons and Compensation
The state contributions to the departmental budgets are based in part on the level of teaching and educational related activities of the departments and its faculty. Because of this, the relative amount of time and effort dedicated by each faculty member to the various missions of the schools is tracked closely. Each faculty memberís performance is commonly fitted into a matrix of various indices, allowing comparative evaluations of performance. This process provides a quasi-objective means for assigning changes in such factors as faculty compensation, advancement, assigned space, support, and duties. The results of this analysis are part of the annual report of the departmental chairs to the dean of the respective school. This compilation also serves as a tool used by the Deans of each school to evaluate the chairs/chiefs and their department/division performance in general, further impacting departmental and eventually school budgets.
Graduate School Faculty
Qualifications for membership in one or more of the 11 graduate programs in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences are determined by criteria set by the dean of the GSBS and specific graduate program directors. Direct evaluation of graduate courses taught by the faculty populating the graduate program is through student evaluations of the specific courses. These evaluations are made available to the participating faculty, corresponding course directors and program directors. Future participation can be affected by these evaluations. In addition, graduate course evaluations, service and research productivity of the faculty through association with graduate programs is an integral part of the overall evaluation of facultyís annual performance in their home department or school.