Adjunct Faculty

IV-15. Adjunct Faculty

A.        Summary of University Policy

Section I.B.2 of the University of St. Thomas Policy Governing Rank, Tenure and Evaluation [University Policy] provides that faculty members appointed on a part-time basis are designated as either a Senior Member of the Adjunct Faculty or a Member of the Adjunct Faculty. A Senior Member of the Adjunct Faculty has ten years of teaching experience at the University of St. Thomas or a minimum of twenty courses taught at the University of St. Thomas. The University requires effective teaching for all adjunct faculty.

Section II.G of the University Policy provides that “At least once per year, the department chair/program director should evaluate the adjunct faculty member’s performance. This may be done in person or through technology. Courses taught by new adjunct faculty should be visited by an experienced faculty member at least once during the initial semester of teaching at St. Thomas, and annually thereafter.”

B.        Hiring Adjunct Faculty

The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall hire adjunct faculty as necessary to meet curricular needs, in consultation with the chair of the relevant department. The Associate Dean may seek the advice and assistance of the Adjunct Review Committee and Appointments Committee for the relevant department, and of faculty members in a subject area where an adjunct professor is needed. The Associate Dean should consider diversity and mission-fit in the hiring of the adjunct faculty. The Associate Dean has ultimate authority to dismiss or not to rehire an adjunct faculty member.

C.        Developing the Teaching Skills of the Adjunct Faculty

The Associate Dean and the Adjunct Review Committee for each department (the Committee) shall work together to develop the teaching skills of the adjunct faculty. The Committee for each department shall be chaired by the department chair. The departmental committee may include members of other departments.

The Associate Dean and the committees will organize training for adjunct professors at the beginning of each academic year, with special attention to the orientation of new adjunct professors.

The deans’ office will invite adjunct faculty to all speaker programs for the law school, and include the adjunct faculty in all brownbag lunches with the full-time faculty that discuss teaching. Adjunct faculty shall attend adjunct orientation and are strongly encouraged to attend one teaching development program or brownbag each academic year.

In the case of a new adjunct professor – defined as one who has taught three semesters or fewer – or one whom the relevant Committee judges needs greater assistance with teaching skills: 

  • A member of the Committee will visit one of the adjunct professor’s class meetings each teaching semester, review the student evaluations, and file a brief report. A Committee member will also meet and consult with the adjunct professor once a year to review the report and the student evaluations.
  • In addition, the Committee will assign a full-time faculty member to serve as a mentor for the adjunct faculty member. The mentor may be asked to visit a class meeting, review evaluations, meet or consult with the adjunct professor, or provide a written report, as appropriate.

In the case of an adjunct professor who has taught more than three semesters and is not judged by the Committee to need greater assistance with teaching skills: 

  • A member of the Committee will visit one of the adjunct professor’s class meetings every third teaching semester, review the student evaluations, and write a brief report. A Committee member will meet and consult with the adjunct professor once a year to review the report, if any, and the student evaluations.
  • The Committee may assign a mentor to provide informal input to the adjunct professor as needed.

The Adjunct Review committees will organize an appreciation lunch for adjunct faculty at the end of each year.

The deans’ office will be responsible for the logistics of and notice concerning orientation, brownbag lunches, and other events; the management of the adjunct files; and ensuring that a current contract, a resume, student evaluations, syllabi, exams, grades, and any reports from Committee members or mentors are in each file. The deans’ and students services office will also ensure that in each course having a final exam, the adjunct faculty member has an examination on file at least two days before the examination is given and that the adjunct faculty meet grading deadlines. The deans’ office will organize the distribution and the collection of student evaluations for adjunct faculty.

D.        Evaluating Adjunct Faculty Members

Adjunct faculty members will provide a syllabus to the Associate Dean, the relevant Committee Chair, and to their full-time faculty mentor if any.

The deans’ office will distribute and collect student evaluations of faculty at the end of each course taught by an adjunct professor, on the same terms as for full-time faculty.

Members of the relevant Adjunct Review Committee and mentors will visit adjunct professors’ courses and write reports as provided in section C above.

The written report may address the following criteria (from the UST Tenure Policy Section II.C.1.a.), or criteria from UST Law’s policy concerning teaching standards, section I-B.

  1. knowledge, accuracy, appropriateness and command of content;
  2. planning and organization;
  3. use of teaching strategies that create a learning environment;
  4. clarity and effectiveness of communication;
  5. appropriateness of syllabus and materials; and
  6. strengths and areas for continuing development.

The Committee Chair, the Committee member, or the mentor should review the report and student evaluations with the adjunct faculty member each year.

If a Committee member or mentor finds substantial problems with an adjunct professor’s teaching, the Committee should review the matter and report its findings and recommendations to the Associate Dean.

Adopted by the Law Faculty, July 31, 2002
Placed in catalog, August 7, 2002
Amendment approved by the Law Faculty, September 13, 2010

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