15 September 2020
The CAP recognizes the increased burdens that COVID-19 has placed on our tenure-track colleagues, both in terms of additional time commitments necessary to reimagine pedagogical approaches for the 20/21 academic year, and the challenges posed by COVID-19 to research programs and creative projects. The CAP has already made a provision that all tenure-track colleagues may delay their reappointment and tenure decisions by one year. The CAP has been discussing how to best address the disruption caused by the pandemic and plans to continue this conversation with assistant professors and unit/evaluation committee chairs. However, we are writing today with some additional information about the evaluation of teaching and scholarship/creative work.
Where possible, assessment of teaching this year should follow our regular procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook. For example, as described in the Faculty Handbook, a tenured faculty member should be assigned to observe classes taught by an assistant professor, even if the observation is a recording. However, given the new ways in which we are teaching, there may be changes to how units will assess teaching this coming year. For example, it may be appropriate to define more concretely what counts as a class session during this unusual teaching semester. Units/evaluation committees should modify their evaluation procedures document to acknowledge any substantive changes. These modifications to procedures should be clearly articulated in a new section entitled COVID Teaching Assessment in the teaching section of the document. We ask that you submit this updated document by October 9, 2020, at the latest, and the CAP will review submissions on a rolling basis. If no changes are needed, please do let us know that as well.
We invite all assistant professors to describe the impact of COVID-19 on their teaching and research/creative work, as they reflect on the current academic year. Assistant professors may wish to describe this impact in their annual self-evaluation letters submitted at the beginning of the 21/22 academic year. In addition, in their personal statements at the time of reappointment and tenure, candidates are invited to describe the cumulative impact of COVID-19 on their teaching and research/creative work trajectories.
Likewise, in the 21/22 academic year, staffing reports submitted by units/evaluation committees should address the effects of COVID-19 on the assistant professor’s teaching and research/creative work. These reports should describe any impact of the pandemic on research in the candidate’s subfield, including on research, creative work, and published scholarship. The reports should also describe the challenges of teaching in the discipline during the pandemic, as well as how the candidate responded to those challenges by, for example, devising new pedagogies and teaching strategies.
Additionally, in the year of the tenure decision, academic units and evaluation committees should solicit information on the impact of COVID-19 on a candidate’s subfield from the chosen external reviewers. This information will allow the unit/committee and the CAP to situate the candidate’s progress in research, publishing, and/or creative work within their field in these uncertain times.
Please reach out to any of us if you have questions about these requests.
With all best wishes,
Safa, on behalf of the CAP