Policies for Teaching, Scholarship, and Service

Approved by the Promotion and Tenure Committee Dec. 7, 2004

Preamble

The Faculty of the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law adopts the following policies for teaching, scholarship, and service. The policies apply to all full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, excluding library faculty. These policies are divided into three sections: Goals, Standards, and Commentary.

Goals are aspirational and represent the highest objectives that the faculty should strive to achieve.

Standards establish minimum levels of performance for teaching, scholarship and service that must be satisfied by all full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty, excluding library faculty. The Standards will be used to conduct annual reviews, set salary raises and guide the post-tenure review process. Satisfying the Standards ensures a satisfactory evaluation but does not signify excellent performance. With the prior written approval of the Dean, the Standards in any area may be reduced for a significant project or assignment that is anticipated to consume an extraordinary amount of the faculty member’s time. The Dean and the faculty member, after consultation, will agree which if any of the Standards will be reduced.

The Commentary provides guidance and examples for meeting and exceeding the Standards. This Commentary is not intended to be exhaustive. Other sources, including the AALS Statement of Good Practices by Law Professors in the Discharge of Their Ethical and Professional Responsibilities, provide examples for meeting and exceeding the Standards. The Statement of Good Practices, as promulgated on Nov. 17, 1989, is incorporated by reference into the Commentaries for teaching, scholarship, and service.

Teaching

Goal: The law school faculty, individually and collectively, strives to achieve excellence in teaching.

Standards

  1. Law school faculty members must be effective teachers.
  2. Each faculty member must teach a full load. A full teaching load for a full-time faculty member includes four courses comprising not less than twelve credit hours in two semesters, two courses in the day division and two in the evening division.

Commentary on standards

  1. Law school faculty members must be effective teachers. Effective teaching includes four different components: knowledge of the subject matter, presentation, interpersonal relations and assessment and evaluation.
    1. Knowledge of the subject matter.
      1. An effective teacher knows the subject matter of the course. Faculty members gain knowledge by practice, reading, research and attending programs and CLEs.
      2. An effective teacher promotes professional responsibility by including ethical issues in the subject matter of the course.
    2. Presentation of the subject matter. Effective presentation of the subject matter includes:
      1. Effective organization of course materials.
      2. A structured approach to the presentation of the subject.
      3. Clear explanations of basic course concepts.
      4. Intellectually stimulating classes.
      5. Teaching by “active learning” techniques. Active learning is learning by involvementā€”by the solving of legal problems. Some examples of active learning include engaging students in classroom dialog, or requiring students to respond to hypothetical fact situations, or to draft instruments to meet certain requirements, or to role play in class.
      6. Enthusiasm about the subject matter.
    3. Interpersonal relations: an effective teacher maintains an appropriate level of interpersonal relations with students.
      1. An effective teacher models and defines respect in the classroom.
      2. An effective teacher displays interest in students’ learning, professional development, and well being.
      3. An effective teacher expects students to attend class, to arrive prepared for class, to master the course material, and to participate effectively in the intellectual exchange within the classroom.
      4. An effective teacher is available to students, during office hours, at law school functions, and through law school organizations.
      5. An effective teacher serves as a role model, particularly for ethical issues, both inside and outside of the classroom and within the legal community.
      6. An effective teacher demands a high level of student engagement with the course material and assists students in developing mental discipline and analytical skills.
    4. Assessment and evaluation: an effective teacher accurately gauges students’ mastery of the subject matter. Some aspects of effective assessment and evaluation are:
      1. Comprehensive tests, accurately reflecting the concepts covered in class.
      2. Fair tests, containing well-written questions, graded in a consistent manner.
      3. Prompt assessment and evaluation.
      4. Ongoing assessment opportunities, in a variety of forms.
  2. Each faculty member must teach a full load. A full teaching load for a full-time faculty member includes four courses comprising not less than twelve credit hours in two semesters, two courses in the day division and two in the evening division.
    1. This standard does not apply to faculty who teach research, writing and advocacy; lawyering skills; and clinic courses.
    2. With the approval of the Dean, a faculty member’s load may be reduced under the circumstances described in the Preamble for reduction of standards.
    3. Faculty members are expected to teach bar and required course offerings in both the day and evening divisions each academic year. Excluding the clinical faculty, faculty members teaching a full load are expected to teach a minimum of one bar or required course every year.
    4. Although twelve credit hours per academic year is the minimum standard, it may not always be met in the case of faculty members who teach two-hour courses. Faculty members teaching eleven hours are expected to supervise student research projects, advise law review case note writers, or coach moot court teams during the semester that their teaching load is less than six credit hours.

Scholarship

Goal: The law faculty, individually and collectively, should aspire to produce a body of scholarship that is well-written, useful, and well-regarded by its audience. The potential audience for the total spectrum of law faculty scholarship is academicians, legal professionals and the public, at the international, national and state levels.

Standards

  1. Each law faculty member must be an active scholar. An active scholar has at least one publication “in progress” at all times.
  2. Each law faculty member is expected to produce one law review article of publishable quality or its equivalent for each summer research-only grant received, or, in the absence of such grants, one law review article of publishable quality of its equivalent every two years.
  3. Recipients of summer research grants and off-campus duty assignments will make presentations about their research to the law school community. Holders of named professorships will make annual presentations about their research to the law school community.

Commentary on standards

  1. Each law faculty member must be an active scholar. An active scholar has at least one publication “in progress” at all times.
    1. An active scholar maintains an ongoing scholarly agenda by:
      1. Developing a plan for scholarship; and
      2. Working on scholarship throughout the academic year.
    2. An active scholar stays abreast of developments in his or her field by:
      1. Reading recent scholarly articles, court decisions and similar sources; and
      2. Attending scholarly conferences, symposia, colloquia, etc.
    3. An active scholar shares his or her work. Examples of sharing include but are not limited to:
      1. Circulating drafts and soliciting criticism from colleagues and experts in the area; and
      2. Presenting the work at scholarly conferences, symposia, colloquia, etc.
    4. Where possible, an active scholar integrates scholarship with teaching. Methods of such integration include but are not limited to:
      1. Including cutting-edge issues in the course coverage;
      2. Developing specialized seminars around the scholar’s research areas; and
      3. Supplementing course materials with materials from his or her scholarship.
  2. Each law faculty member is expected to produce one law review article of publishable quality or its equivalent for each summer research-only grant received, or, in the absence of such grants, one law review article of publishable quality or its equivalent every two years.
    1. “Equivalent” scholarly work may include long-term research projects extending over the course of more than one year that will result in significant publications.
    2. Further guidance as to the nature of “equivalence” and “scholarship” can be found at the law school Policy on Publication Requirements for Promotion and Tenure.
    3. “Article” is to be construed flexibly. It is to be construed in an inclusive manner. It includes published work which contributes to legal knowledge and learning.

Service

Goals:

  1. The law faculty serves the public interest through a wide range of discipline-related public service activities for the citizens of Arkansas generally, the members of the legal profession, government officials, and the national and international legal education community.
  2. The law faculty governs the law school and participates in the governance of the university.
  3. The law faculty participates in organizing and attending programs and other nonĀ­academic activities that make up the life of the law school.
  4. Law faculty members provide an example to our students of commitment to service to the profession and to the public.

Standards

  1. Each law faculty member regularly attends faculty meetings and serves on at least one law school or university committee. Tenured faculty members serve on at least one major law school committee each year as appointed or elected. “Major committees” are those with a significant workload.
  2. Each law faculty member engages in at least one professional service project each year.

Commentary on standards

  1. Each law faculty member regularly attends faculty meetings and serves on at least one law school or university committee. Tenured faculty members serve on at least one major law school committee each year as appointed or elected. “Major committees” are those with a significant workload.
    1. Attendance at faculty meetings is altered with respect to faculty members on leave or off-campus duty assignments as indicated in the Constitution of the School of Law at Part II, Section 3d.
    2. Obvious examples of major committees are the Admissions Committee and the Faculty Appointments Committee. In addition, from time to time other committees may be given special charges which require significant time commitments on the part of committee members.
  2. Each law faculty member engages in at least one professional service project each year.
    1. Professional service activities are intended to stimulate serious discussion and consideration of the law, to educate the public regarding the law, and to share information with the legal profession, public officials, and the community regarding law related matters and issues.
    2. Such activities include, but are not limited to, service to the Journal of Appellate Practice & Process; assistance to the General Assembly and other governmental bodies; educational programs aimed at the bar, the public, school children, and other groups; service to bar associations and similar groups; pro bono services to groups or individuals; and other activities.

Recommendations for implementing law school policies on teaching, scholarship, and service

  1. To implement these policies, the Promotion and Tenure Committee recommends that:
    1. The Dean and Law School Administration create a work environment conducive to effective teaching, active and productive scholarship, and significant professional service.
    2. The Dean and Associate Dean will equitably assign teaching and committee loads among the faculty, taking into account such factors as a faculty member’s untenured status, scholarship commitments, and service obligations.
    3. The Dean will develop guidelines for teaching loads for clinical, writing and skills faculty.
    4. The Dean will review all foams used for teaching assessments, student evaluations, peer observations, professional activity reports, annual reviews, and post-tenure reviews to ensure that they accurately measure the performance of the tasks undertaken to fulfill these standards.
    5. The Dean will consider all appropriate data with regard to a particular faculty member as part of the annual review process, pursuant to the UALR Policy on Annual Faculty Review, including such factors as teaching load, student evaluations, scholarship produced and service completed.
    6. In circumstances where faculty members exceed the minimum standards in teaching, scholarship and service, the Dean will give substantial weight to scholarly production when giving annual reviews.
    7. The Dean will create a policy regarding off campus duty assignments, covering such issues as committee service, reporting responsibilities to the institution, etc.
    8. The Dean will provide new and tenure-track faculty members with faculty mentors who will guide and assist faculty members in meeting and exceeding the standards.
    9. The Dean will provide new faculty members with copies of the Law Faculty Handbook.
    10. The Dean will ensure that sufficient faculty members are employed, given a dual division curriculum, the need for low student-teacher ratios, and the need for increased scholarship and service.
    11. The Dean will ensure that the law school will create a positive and supportive work environment that facilitates the faculty’s active scholarship, effective teaching and significant service.
    12. The Dean and the administration will provide adequate qualified secretaries and support staff. The law school faculty will have input into the selection and evaluation of secretaries and support staff.
    13. The Dean will make available equipment and technology essential for effective teaching, as well as qualified staff who can assist in its operation.
    14. The Dean will provide financial resources to fund scholarly research, including funding for summer research grants and hiring qualified research assistants.
    15. The Dean will support the performance of professional service with appropriate resources.
    16. The Dean, with the advice and approval of the faculty, will reward the most productive faculty members with honorary titles.
    17. The Dean and administration will publicize the achievements of the faculty to audiences in and outside of the law school.
    18. The law school will sponsor an annual scholarly speaker, who will make a presentation to the public, participate in an informal discussion with the faculty, and publish an article in the Law Review.
  2. The Faculty Development Committee
    1. The Committee will compile and distribute to new tenure track faculty members a packet of informational resources on becoming an active scholar and effective teacher, and fulfilling professional service responsibilities.
    2. The Committee will continue to schedule sessions in which faculty report on their research grants and off-duty campus assignments, including presentations to students on faculty scholarship and service.
    3. The Committee will arrange informal faculty meetings to discuss the generation, evaluation and refinement of scholarship topics The meetings will also provide opportunities for faculty members to submit their own ideas for feedback.
    4. The Committee will sponsor an annual program for all faculty on the production of scholarship.
    5. The Committee will sponsor an annual program for all faculty (including adjuncts) on teaching for all faculty, addressing such topics as assessment, grading, and the interaction between scholarship and teaching.
  3. The Promotion and Tenure Committee
    1. The Committee will reconcile any inconsistencies among these standards; the Policy for Recommendations Concerning Rank, Tenure, and Renewal of Contracts; and the Policy on Publication Requirements for Promotion and Tenure, particularly in regard to what constitutes scholarship.
    2. The Committee will require annual reviews of professional service as part of contract renewal evaluations.
    3. The Committee will develop and present to the faculty for approval a reduced teaching load policy to assist the Dean in implementing these policies.
  4. Other Committees
    1. In conjunction with the Law Review staff, the Publications Committee will supervise and provide faculty input on an annual scholarly symposium, open to the public.
    2. For all faculty candidates invited for on-campus interviews, the Faculty Appointments Committee will make available to all faculty members their publications, teaching evaluations and service record to all faculty members. Committee members will make an effort to read the publications of all such candidates.
    3. The Curriculum Committee will explore the possibility of giving academic credit to students who perform a high level of research and/or writing for faculty members engaged in scholarship.