2007 Reaffirmation Teams
3.7.3 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams
The institution provides evidence of ongoing professional development of faculty as teachers, scholars, and practitioners.
The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) provides faculty members with numerous opportunities to enhance their teaching, research, and service through participation in institutional programs that promote professional development. UT Dallas’ support of professional development and growth is expressed through a variety of programs and policies that encourage faculty members to add to their knowledge, to contribute to the expansion of understanding in their academic fields, to become more effective teachers, to acquire the specific skills that enable them to function effectively in the regulatory environment of contemporary research, and to enhance their pedagogy by making use of advanced technologies. The decision to support faculty and to provide ongoing professional development is an important consideration in the annual budget process as can be seen in the executive vice president and provost’s (provost) instructions to the deans that $1000 per tenure-system faculty member be allocated for “research support .” This support may come in the form of travel grants, conference attendance, infrastructure needs (although there are additional monies available for such needs), field work, and other professional development activities. Additionally, new faculty members traditionally receive a reduced teaching load for the first year and startup packages (where appropriate, especially in the laboratory sciences) to help develop their careers.
Section 51.942 of the Texas Education Code (TEC) requires that the performance of all tenured faculty members be reviewed and that the reviews should “be directed toward the professional development of the faculty member .” Specific faculty professional development opportunities available at UT Dallas include special faculty development assignments (SFDA), faculty leaves of absence, the faculty mentoring program, the new faculty orientation, the university compliance program, programs sponsored by the Office of Research Administration, faculty resources for distance learning, learning opportunities facilitated through the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), dual appointments, and collaborative seed grants to enhance the development of faculty as practitioners. These programs address various aspects of the professional development of tenure-system as well as nontenure-system faculty.Special Faculty Development Assignments
UT Dallas, through the special faculty development assignment policy (SFDA) , provides faculty with the opportunity for a release from teaching obligations for an academic year or a semester to pursue major research or development opportunities that will benefit the individual and the university. Faculty members who have completed six regular semesters of full-time duty at UT Dallas are eligible to apply for an SFDA. Assistant professors should have successfully passed the third year review to be eligible. The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost (Provost’s Office) distributes an annual memorandum to the deans soliciting SFDA applications. The memorandum outlines the policy and describes the program: “The Special Faculty Development Assignment allows faculty members to be temporarily released from regular classroom teaching responsibilities in order to accomplish a major project that has exceptional benefit to UT Dallas. These projects may be development of new or enhanced teaching methodologies, techniques, curricula or resources; development of new or enhanced research or creative capabilities or programs; and provision of unique and important service to the university, the profession, or to a government agency .” The deans call for proposals from the faculty. A faculty committee within each school reviews and evaluates the received proposals, and the proposals are forwarded, with the documentation, to the provost who makes the final decision concerning the awards. Over 120 SFDA requests have been approved for fall 1998 through spring 2007 .Faculty Leave of Absence
The faculty leave of absence policy provides faculty members the opportunity to be granted a one-year leave of absence without pay. Furthermore, a faculty member may receive a second consecutive year leave of absence without pay for unusual circumstances such as for graduate study, public service, or other activities that enhance the individual’s abilities to contribute to the university. UT Dallas faculty development leave policies are fully described in Policy Memorandum 79-I.3-35, Faculty Leaves of Absence Without Pay .Faculty Mentoring Program
The faculty mentoring program allows for all tenure-system faculty members to be assigned a mentor who will provide guidance and support to aid a colleague in developing both teaching and research skills. The Committee on Faculty Mentoring is charged with providing junior faculty members with a list of potential UT Dallas faculty contacts who have agreed to provide advice and counsel. Mentors typically have achieved the rank of full or associate professor. The faculty mentoring committee also evaluates the success of the mentoring program at the end of each academic year . Policy Memorandum 04-I.2.89, Committee on Faculty Mentoring , provides a full description of UT Dallas’ faculty mentoring program.New Faculty and Teaching Assistants Orientation
At the start of each new academic year, all new faculty members are invited to attend a two-day orientation session. At each session, faculty members are provided with information concerning resources that are available at UT Dallas to help them be successful and productive researchers and educators. During each orientation session, faculty members have the opportunity to network with other faculty members and administrators. Faculty in attendance receive valuable information that includes printed material regarding assessment and evaluation in the classroom. The agenda incorporates introductions to the academic and support programs at UT Dallas that will enrich and enable the first efforts of new faculty members to become effective in the classroom and in the university community . A similar session is held each fall and spring for teaching assistants to guide them in assuming their new responsibilities as assistants to the faculty and as teachers .Committee on Effective Teaching
UT Dallas has established a committee to promote effective teaching. The Academic Senate’s Committee on Effective Teaching is charged with the development of tools and facilities to promote excellence in teaching within the university. As specified in the committee’s charge , the committee is to refine the definition and measurement of excellence in teaching and to advise the university and Academic Senate on the availability of new technology and training for teachers. All of the schools sponsor their own teaching effectiveness committees; these school committees mentor and advise full-time and part-time faculty regarding their teaching performance.
UT Dallas also has recently established CELT to promote effective teaching; CELT seeks to promote effective learning through excellence in teaching. CELT focuses on developing innovative teaching and learning methods; this information is then communicated to the faculty in a collaborative workshop or mentoring session. CELT also facilitates new faculty and teaching assistant orientations, sets up brown-bag discussion groups, and invites guest speakers . Additionally, the Office of Human Resources Management provides training for faculty and staff that focuses on useful software programs or interpersonal communications .University Compliance Program
To ensure faculty are aware of the laws and regulations by which they are expected to abide, UT Dallas provides compliance training for all faculty employed at 50% time or more . Since 2000, compliance training has been conducted through a web-based system called the Training Post . UT Dallas faculty members are required to complete compliance training every academic year. Currently, UT Dallas is poised to move toward an updated tool, Breeze, for this compliance training; however, enterprise resource projects have taken priority over the implementation of the Breeze program. Once the PeopleSoft migration begins to make progress on the student system, the project management team will review the implementation of Breeze to facilitate the compliance training and improve delivery of it to the faculty.Office of Research Administration
The Office of Research Administration  provides support for UT Dallas researchers  and consists of two components: The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) and the Office of Research Compliance. The OSP provides researchers with information regarding funding opportunities, sponsor policies and procedures, technical assistance in drafting, reviewing, and processing of proposals, awards and contract negotiation, award maintenance and account establishment, and post-award administrative duties such as re-budgeting, time extensions, and tracking of technical reports . UT Dallas researchers can find information on how to obtain external research funding in the Researcher’s Guide provided by the OSP . The Office of Research Compliance provides information on research activities that are governed by federal and state laws . OSP and the McDermott Library provide training for and access to the Sponsored Programs Network (SPIN) and The Global Expertise Network for Industry, Universities, and Scholars (GENIUS) subscription databases to assist faculty and staff to find money to support their research .Faculty Resources for Distance Learning
UT Dallas offers distance education courses via the internet through the Global MBA Online program and The University of Texas TeleCampus (UTTC). The Global MBA Online program provides faculty with resources on instructional design , media integration , legal issues , WebCT , and distance education . The Global MBA program’s Online Teaching Handbook for faculty  provides faculty members with resources that will guide them through the processes and procedures for creating and managing an online course. The Global MBA Online program also provides faculty with individual and group training on topics such as online course creation and WebCT. Other distance education courses at UT Dallas are offered through the UTTC. The UTTC provides funding through a competitive process for distance education course development in The University of Texas (UT System) component institutions. The UTTC also provides faculty support through partnership with the UTTC , as well as specific assistance in course development  and course management . The training is free and open to any UT System faculty member. Participants learn through a videoconference, online courses and a two-day face-to-face session. UTTC staff also visits campuses to meet the needs of faculty at the campus. One-on-one phone or web training is provided to faculty “just in time” on the use of Blackboard and other technologies and services. Additionally, UTTC has partnered with Embanet to provide 24x7 help desk and technical support to faculty and students. Embanet assists with problems and provides instructions on use of technology. Each day, UTTC staff members follow up on all Embanet inquiries from faculty members or from students who are referred to faculty. Campus e-learning specialists also provide assistance and training for faculty engaged in or interested in online learning programs. Regular workshops provide faculty members opportunities to learn the basics (and beyond) of WebCT .Faculty Dual Appointment
UT Dallas allows faculty to obtain or enhance practitioner skills by permitting a full-time faculty member to accept employment of a consultative or advisory nature with governmental agencies, industry, or other educational institutions. As required in Policy Memorandum 79-I.3-29, Dual or Outside Employment , prior approval by UT Dallas must be obtained before a dual appointment may be accepted.Collaborative Seed Grants
The first days of President David Daniel’s tenure as president of UT Dallas were spent on the campuses of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) and The University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington) in order promote collaborations between the faculty of these institutions and the faculty at UT Dallas. These exchanges among the three institutions resulted in a series of seminars in nanomedicine, imaging, and biotechnology . Moreover, $250,000 was set aside by the presidents of UT Arlington and UT Dallas ($125,000 per institution) for a Presidential Joint Research Funding Program . The program awarded funding for twelve projects from 32 proposals submitted by 76 faculty members from both institutions. Similar collaborations have been fostered between UT Dallas’ Center for BrainHealth® and UT Southwestern Medical Center . In January 2007, a joint UT Southwestern/UT Dallas “Grants for High Impact Collaborative Research” came into effect, with awards totaling up to $100,000 per year . UT Dallas is in the process of extending these collaborations throughout the UT System.