In 2014, Wake Tech began offering traditional professor ranks to its faculty members. This certainly opened the playing field for the school and also set the stage for our college to stand out. For each rank within the faculty professor ranking system, an increasingly difficult and more comprehensive set of benchmarks are required. This evolves over time so that the accomplishments which may have been sufficient in the past are often increased and embellished. In addition to meeting a set pattern of goals, accomplishments and recognitions, faculty ranking members must be deemed to have retained and continued performing at their previous level for several years with backing evidence before being allowed to proceed in ranking again.
In 2017, I took part in the Reviewer training and faculty application review process. Beginning with an online component, we (each reviewer and I) learned about the materials, methods and processes used to determine the likelihood of rank success. We were then given a set of ranking criteria for the level we would be training. This material was/is available to all faculty members to understand their requirements and plan.
It should be noted that the beginning step in this process is a number of years with the college in longevity at full-time (9m or greater) paid time. The individual factors are made available as well as a rubric which will be used to score materials. Faculty members need not only to meet the goals and exceed them, but also to present their stories in a fashion reflecting excellence in academics, professional demeanor, and with backing evidence. These items are then investigated and approved by their departments heads, as well as reviewed and approved at a Divisional Dean level before being presented to the committees. The committee reviews each application in turn, providing their assessment and notes as well as an annotated rubric to the VP. The VPs make decisions based on committee feedback and notify faculty on a yearly basis.
As part of this training, we used our document to find ourselves prepped to the requirements. The easiest part of this was to read the materials provided, but then we had to see the drill down on the point system used for scoring. Looking at this score it was clear to see how much the college places an emphasis on pushing the envelope for success, multiple working solutions for rising status, and how simply meeting minimum expectations are noted as a failure to excel, and not rewarded. We were given this list and requested to come to our meeting with questions or notifications which would help to clarify or streamline this service.
Our first meeting occurred on a day with a snowstorm in North Carolina, so I was late. That was very depressing. Worse still, my list was not in the car, so I was in a particularly bad shape. When I arrived, they were discussing certain entries on a paragraph by paragraph basis to ensure that the materials made sense. While some items were raised, it was easily decided that current materials were on point with only minor vagaries.
After viewing several full reviews and discussing the process, we ran down through the materials and gave arguments about our findings.
Later in the semester, we were given a load of reviews to grade and package. Honestly, the materials were very easy to follow. From start to finish, the process went very smoothly. It was interesting to catch the different department and divisions in the school, and see what is truly important to each of them.
Ensuring the viability of candidates was very clear. The rubric is clear. Its states what you have to do, and it is verified and vetted by multiple individuals prior to being placed in our hands. That said, there were some individuals who were clearly unfit and others who were. Failing to meet the minimum specifications or creating documents which were painful to read and woefully inadequate is a clear indication that you are unready.
Some examples are clear: If you MUST be a conference organizer, keynote speaker, or hold a leadership position in a national organization- you will not meet the minimum requirements if you failed to hold one of these positions.
I found the work to be easy, but academic. It was easy to find myself in the groove where I could sit down with a few of these in a quiet moment when alone and move through the pages quickly. After looking over 3 documents, it was also easy to revisit the first file and see if the numbers still made sense. In this way, I could see every piece multiple times and ensure that I was accurate in my intent and consistent in my work.
I’d do this again in a heartbeat.