The tenure question and answer session provided information to new faculty members who are in their first year of the tenure process. This session was designed to help new faculty in the tenure process prepare their required paperwork. Hosted in B201 by English instructor Gordon Leighton, dean of arts and humanities Maggie Harada, and Sue Miller of the executive committee of the faculty union, in order to get new candidate’s queries answered regarding their paperwork due in April.
During the session new changes in the evaluation process were discussed. When a teacher is hired at Bellevue College, they meet with three tenured faculty members who help guide them through the three year process. During this time, the committee works to mentor, observe, criticize and help them improve their teaching. Every year the committee assists candidates put together their documents. According to Leighton, “The documents cover four areas. It covers student evaluations, peer evaluations, administrator evaluations and self-evaluations.” Along with that, Leighton also mentioned that the first year of the tenure process is based on improving teaching ability. The second year is for working on governance. The third year is focused to improve both teaching and governance. First year candidates must be reviewed through peer evaluation, classroom observation and an administrator evaluation.
Another aspect of the discussion was how professors provide for student success. According to Leighton, the evaluation is based on whether the new candidate involves their students and engages them. The subcommittee works to mentor and show the candidate a variety of ways to engage their students. The candidate attends conferences, deliberates with other faculty and works to improve on their teaching in ways they can document in their self-evaluation.
Additional criteria added to the process was whether or not the new tenure participates in college governance. Faculty and administration share responsibilities that balances out their power. The administration and faculty combine their ideas and consult with students to provide what’s best for the institution together.
The tenure process is always being renegotiated due to the faculty and student population continuously changing. Leighton explained technology integration is also a factor to these changes, “when I was hired in 1989, there wasn’t a whole lot of technology to integrate in the classroom so we had blackboards and that sort of stuff but then, along came the internet and that changed the picture,” The Internet has changed the modern classroom tremendously, and the faculty must keep with the times.
The college is focused on student success and educational equity. The committee works to ensure that the tenure process reflects their expectations and ensures the college’s continued excellence.