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Dorothy -
 
My personal bias is toward a BARS (behaviorally anchored rating
scale) method of performance appraisal. In a BARS, specific behaviors
(i.e. instructor frequently 'checks for understanding') are identified
and rating points are related, or anchored, to those behaviors. It is one
of the few really criterion based methods.  You would design your own
based on the behaviors that your school expects faculty to exhibit.
 
Someday we may design one for faculty, but for the present, we use a
narrative format that includes questions about the instructor's
classroom style/effectiveness, the results of student evaluations, the
continued professional development of the instructor, etc.   The appraisal
requires annual classroom visitations by the chair or dean, for all
non-tenured faculty.  This generally provides most of the meat for the
appraisal sandwich, unfortunately.  Unfortunately, because the recency
error, and/or the critical event error are almost sure to be present.  What
if you are a superior instructor and have several students go berserk on
that particular day?  What if you have a bad cold?  What if you are
teaching a subject that day that is significantly difficult for your
students to comprehend and your efforts are met with lethargy?  Of
course, try as we may to avoid it, most supervisors will tend to evaluate
your entire year based on the classroom visitation.  Yet, it is better
than no visitation, THE KEY IS FOR THE EVALUATOR TO BE CONSTANTLY AWARE
OF THE INSTRUCTORS S/HE IS EVALUATING, AND KEEP CONTINUOUS NOTES AND
RECORDS OF POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE BEHAVIORS so that  the evaluation is
truly for the specified period.  Too often we forget to engage in what I
call MBWA, Management by Whomping Around.  Sometimes it is very effective
to catch an employee (faculty too) doing something right and
then, if appropriate, whomp him or her  on the back for
being so brilliant, or so sensitive, or so dedicated and loyal.
 
Likert scales (such as you mentioned) are great for rating hourly employees
or for occupations that have little task variety; not a good method for
college faculty.  Such scales are very susceptible to the most common
appraisal errors when used to evaluate diverse, autonomous occupational
clusters such as teaching, managing people, and doing research.
 
My advice?  Since you have this "window", do the BARS, then sell it to
the rest of us.
 
Pat Schutz
Mesa State College, Grand Junction, Co.
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