Statement of Faculty Expectations

Virginia Military Institute - Approved by the Academic Board, May 2002

The quality of the Institute's academic program rests largely on our ability to attract, develop, and retain a faculty of the highest caliber. VMI seeks to cultivate an intellectually vibrant, cohesive, and giving faculty that is committed to delivering a challenging undergraduate experience designed to develop cadets' abilities to anticipate, respond, and lead in a complex and changing world.

We value faculty who are interested not only in promoting mastery of a subject but also in nurturing in cadets a love of learning itself, and who actively seek opportunities to extend the boundaries of “teaching” beyond the formal classroom setting and into the realm of mentorship. We expect faculty to engage their disciplines in vital ways and to apply that engagement through innovative teaching and scholarly activity, including research conducted with cadets. We expect faculty to model good professional citizenship through service; through collegiality, cooperation, and respect for their colleagues; and through upholding the standards of the special military framework within which the VMI academic program exists. We expect faculty to participate in the full range of cadet development, providing experiences that enable cadets to synthesize, comprehend, and begin to make use of the array of experiences they accumulate in their four years at this special college.

In sum, faculty at VMI are recruited, developed, and rewarded on the basis of their performance (or potential performance) in four primary domains that express the core values of the Institute’s academic program: teaching, scholarly engagement, professional citizenship, and cadet development. Encouraging superior performance in these four areas strengthens the faculty and bolsters the overall quality and reputation of the academic program our cadets experience.

For full-time faculty, these domains are monitored and developed through four institutional systems: 1) the tenure and promotion process; 2) a faculty development program; 3) post-tenure review; and 4) the merit pay process. Adjunct faculty are encouraged to observe the requirements of the four domains, although expectations and evaluations of their work will be scaled appropriately, according to their contractual responsibilities.

Standards for Evaluation:

This section describes generic institutional thresholds of excellence in the four domains. In turn, individual departments will detail specific requirements in consultation with the Dean of the Faculty. To enable adequate planning and balance in faculty workload, department heads may recommend cycles of up to two years for considering comprehensive achievement in these areas.

It is worth stating directly that the Dean does not intend, and will discourage, any attempt by departments to render these requirements as mere "checklists" of activities to be completed in order to achieve a certain rating or evaluation. The goal of this section--indeed, the purpose of the entire document--is to describe the essential types of work that the Institute seeks to encourage and reward in its faculty.

  1. Teaching: Teaching is the primary function of faculty at VMI. Teaching means not only providing opportunities for cadets to learn, but also enabling their intellectual, moral, and ethical development through instruction, guidance, and mentorship.

The quality of teaching should be measured by a variety of means, including, in any combination: student evaluations; class observations; peer evaluations; self-evaluations; portfolios of materials for new or existing courses; supervision of undergraduate research; and other measures agreed upon by individual departments in consultation with the Dean of the Faculty.

A. Assistant Professor. The assistant professor presents evidence of enthusiasm for developing teaching ability through adherence to departmental goals, standards for courses, and criteria for evaluation; careful preparation of course materials, including the utilization of appropriate technology; development of a reasonable range of courses; and participation in relevant workshops. The assistant professor acts appropriately to address suggestions for improving teaching.

B. Associate Professor. In addition to continuing to fulfill the basic expectations of the assistant professor, the associate professor contributes substantively to curriculum and program development, either within or outside the department at VMI, and applies research and/or consulting to teaching, particularly in advanced courses.

C. Professor. In addition to continuing to fulfill the basic expectations of the associate professor, the professor mentors assistant and associate professors on topics of teaching excellence.

  1. Scholarly Engagement: Scholarly engagement informs excellent teaching and enhances both the quality and the reputation of the academic program.

    Scholarly engagement may be measured by a variety of means, including, in any combination: published articles or books; presentations at local, regional, national, and international conferences; consulting; research conducted with undergraduates; and other measures agreed upon by individual departments in consultation with the Dean of the Faculty.

A. Assistant Professor. The assistant professor presents evidence of scholarly engagement through pursuing and sharing the results of scholarly inquiry in his or her field(s). The assistant professor participates in local, regional, national, or international conferences in his or her field(s).

B. Associate Professor. The associate professor presents evidence of scholarly engagement through a more consistent pattern of scholarly activities in a field or fields than is expected of the assistant professor, possibly including the scholarship of teaching.

C. Professor. The professor presents evidence of scholarly or professional stature and distinguished contributions within a field or fields of expertise, possibly including the scholarship of teaching.

  1. Professional Citizenship: Faculty are expected to contribute meaningfully to the development of the Institute's programs and operations, to interact with all members of the VMI community in ways that are professionally productive, and to support the special military framework within which our academic program exists.

    Professional citizenship may be measured by a variety of means, including, in any combination: quality of service on committees; evidence of success in chairing or initiating projects; evidence of success in organizing academic and co-curricular activities for cadets or faculty; quality of service within professional organizations or professionally relevant community activities; attention to military protocols; or other measures agreed upon by individual departments in consultation with the Dean of the Faculty. Personal community service--that is, service not directly related to a faculty member's area(s) of professional expertise--is encouraged, and may enhance review of performance in the domain of professional citizenship, but will not substitute for activity in the recognized areas of professional service.

    A. Assistant Professor. The assistant professor demonstrates an ability to work on tasks productively and presents evidence of service, especially activities at the department level.

    B. Associate Professor. The associate professor demonstrates an ability to work on tasks productively and presents evidence of service and leadership, including activities at both the department and Institute levels.

    C. Professor. The professor demonstrates an ability to work on tasks productively and presents evidence of service, leadership, and initiative in program or project development, including activities at both the department and Institute levels. The professor mentors junior faculty in matters of professional development.
     
  2. Cadet Development: Faculty participation in the development of the whole cadet is essential to fulfilling the Institute's mission to produce educated and honorable citizens of character for service to the nation. Faculty actively seek opportunities to mentor cadets in their intellectual growth and to participate in activities that encourage and develop qualities of citizenship and character. Faculty may also find appropriate ways to participate in cadets' physical and military development.

    Contributions to cadet development may be measured by a variety of different means, including, in any combination: advising; work with cadet organizations; professional mentorship, including contributions to cadet leadership and character development; or other measures agreed upon by individual departments in consultation with the Dean of the Faculty.

    1. Assistant Professor. The assistant professor demonstrates a commitment to cadet development through evidence of attentive academic advising and involvement in activities especially at the department level.

    2. Associate Professor. The associate professor demonstrates excellence in cadet development through evidence of attentive academic advising and involvement in activities at both the department and Institute levels.

    3. Professor. The professor demonstrates excellence in cadet development through evidence of attentive academic advising and initiative in creating programs or opportunities to promote cadet development at both the department and Institute levels.