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3.7.3 Faculty development

The institution provides ongoing professional development of faculty as teachers, scholars, and practitioners. (Faculty development)

Judgment of Compliance

Sam Houston State University has a commitment to ongoing professional development of its faculty. The University provides numerous vehicles by which it encourages and rewards faculty professional development as outlined in the Texas Education Code, Title 3, Subtitle A, Subchapter C, Sec 51.102 [1].

The Faculty Development Leave Policy [2] as described in Academic Policy Statement 800328 and the Faculty Handbook [3] enables faculty to engage in study, research, writing and similar projects for the purpose of adding to the knowledge available to the faculty member, the students, and the institution. Faculty Development Leave is awarded on the basis of merit as determined by the Faculty Development Leave Committee. The Provost informs the tenure-track faculty of this opportunity every fall with a letter [4]. Ten faculty members were granted developmental leave for academic year 2007, four in academic year 2008, and six for academic year 2009 [5] [6] [7].

The Faculty Administrative Leave Program [8] as described in Academic Policy Statement 800215 and the Faculty Handbook [3] provides opportunities for members of the tenure or tenure-track faculty, through a reassigned time arrangement, to acquire administrative experiences and to contribute professional expertise by serving in a professional-level administrative staff capacity in a selected administrative area for a specified period of time. In fall 2006, thirty-three (33) tenure-track faculty received a fifty percent (50%) course reduction for administrative assignments. In addition, another thirty-one (31) faculty received a twenty-five percent (25%) release for administrative assignments. In fall 2007, an additional three faculty received a fifty percent (50%) administrative leave raising the number to 36. An additional sixteen (16) faculty received a twenty-five percent (25%) administrative leave bringing the number to forty-seven (47). These assignments are preparing the faculty for future advancement in administration.

The Reassigned Time for Faculty Members Pursuing Research and Artistic Endeavors Policy Statement (APS 900420) enables tenured and tenure-track faculty members to receive reassigned time for one course from the normal teaching load during a long semester in order to enhance their professional standing through academic research and artistic endeavor [9]. Prior to fall 2004, the normative teaching load was four undergraduate or three graduate level classes per semester. Reassigned time was used to grant course reductions to faculty pursuing productive research agendas. The University moved to increase research productivity from its faculty and from 2004-2007 phased in a nine-hour normative load for probationary tenure-track faculty as well as tenured faculty members pursing active research agendas. Tenured faculty members who wished to place greater emphasis on service and teaching opted for a twelve-hour normative load. To allow faculty the option of a normative nine-hour course load, the University allocated an additional $400,000 into the faculty salary for three successive years to fund hiring additional faculty to cover the sections formerly taught by faculty on the twelve-hour load. In some cases faculty were granted more than a one course release depending upon the complexity of their research. Other faculty members were allowed to buy out additional course with grant money. In fall 2006, 282 tenured or tenure-track faculty members out of 424 tenured or tenure-track faculty members were granted at least a one-course teaching reduction for research. This includes faculty reassigned from a normative 12-hour normative load to a nine-hour normative load as well as faculty who have received additional reassigned time for research. In fall 2007, 321 faculty were granted reassigned time for research.

The Office of Research and Special Programs provides services to faculty to assist them in obtaining external funding to support their creative and scholarly activities and thereby keep abreast of developments in their field of study [10]. Sam Houston State University also has two internal grants programs to support faculty development: Faculty Research Grants and Enhancement Grants administered by the Office of Research and Special Programs [11]. The Table below provides information on SHSU-funded grants over the past three years.

Faculty Research Grants
Enhancement Grants
Academic Year 2005-2006
Academic Year 2006-2007
Academic Year 2007-2008

Sam Houston State University is well aware of the value of professional meetings for the faculty and provides funds to support these activities. All travel is subject to the travel policies [12] for all employees and students of Sam Houston State University. The Faculty Handbook [13] also contains information regarding travel policy and procedures.  For each of the past two years, the University has spent over $900,000 each year on faculty travel to support faculty development.

In fall 2005, the University adopted the IDEA Center’s nationally standardized teacher evaluation system. A component of this system includes suggestions for improving classroom performance. Each professor receives a feedback on techniques to maintain or improve their teaching effectiveness. Specific suggestions are given to which activities need to be retained, improved or decreased [14]. In addition, the University has opened the Professional and Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) [15].  This Center, scheduled to move to expanded quarters, is intended to serve the campus as a resource for learning and teaching. By creating, coordinating, and maintaining a variety of materials, programs, and activities, PACE promotes excellence by equipping faculty, administrators, staff, and students with tools designed to enhance their abilities to fulfill their respective roles. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers an annual teaching conference, open to all faculty, which addresses teaching pedagogy [16] [17].

Sam Houston State University provides annual research, service, and teaching awards to encourage and support faculty excellence and development. The Excellence in Teaching Committee [18] oversees the yearly nominations and selection of this award. The Achievement Awards Committee oversees the yearly nomination and selection for the research and service awards [19] [20]. Each recipient receives a medallion and an honorarium of $5000.

Supporting Documentation
Documentation Reference
Document Title
[1] Texas Statutes Education Code, Chapter 51, Section 51.102
[2] Academic Policy Statement 800328 - Faculty Development Leave
[3] Faculty Development Leave Policy - Faculty Handbook
[4] Development Leave Letter from Provost to Full-time Faculty
[5] The Texas State University System Board of Regents - Meeting Minutes, May 17-19, 2006
[6] The Texas State University System Board of Regents - Meeting Minutes, May 17-18, 2007 - Developmental Leaves
[7] The Texas State University System Board of Regents - Meeting Minutes, May 15-16, 2008 - Developmental Leaves
[8] Academic Policy Statement 800215 - Faculty Administrative Leave Program
[9] Academic Policy Statement 900420 - Reassigned Time for Faculty Members Pursuing Research and Artistic Endeavors
[10] Office of Research and Special Programs, Webpage
[11] Office of Research and Special Programs, Internal Grants
[12] Travel Policies, SHSU
[13] Travel Policies - Faculty Handbook
[14] IDEA Diagnostic For Report - Excerpt - Improving Teaching Effectiveness
[15] Professional and Academic Center for Excellence (PACE), SHSU, Webpage
[16] College of Humanities and Social Sciences Fall Workshop 2005
[17] College of Humanities and Social Sciences Fall Workshop 2006
[18] Excellence in Teaching Committee, SHSU
[19] Achievement Award Committee, SHSU
[20] Achievement Award Winners, SHSU

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Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341
(936) 294-1111