Faculty performance evaluation and principal-agent concerns at Texas state-supported universities



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Texas Tech University


This dissertation examined faculty performance goals and evaluation strategies for teaching, research, and service in Texas state-supported university and college systems, within the context of principal-agent concems developed in economic theory. The study utilized a case cluster approach to evaluate the similarities and differences in faculty promotion, tenure, and merit evaluations between and within eleven research/doctoral-granting and comprehensive universities in Texas. A survey was made of faculty and administrators from departments within eight academic disciplines regarding their perceptions and opinions about their evaluation processes. The results of the survey (with a response rate of over 50%) were analyzed using parametric and nonparametric statistical methods. The findings were further clarified by 47 on-campus interviews of faculty and administrators. The last source of data included an examination of the faculty handbooks and evaluation policies. The results of the survey and interviews showed that there was variation in how information is conveyed to faculty concerning evaluation practices. Discrepancies between faculty and administrator responses, especially regarding the criteria used to evaluate teaching and service, indicate that faculty may not be knowledgeable about the practices, or altematively that procedures are not always followed as stated. Because research is the more highly valued and rewarded activity and because there is a lack of tmst in the most common methods of evaluation of teaching, teaching did not receive much weight in evaluation or development on many campuses. Support was found for an individualized approach to evaluation rather than a department-wide set of objectives. Other findings included major distinctions between the categories of universities based on mission and size. In spite of the differences in perceptions, the faculty and administrators were satisfied with "most" of the policies and procedures, and the interviews supported the position that, while not perfect, the practices were perceived to be as good as they could be. No principal-agent "problem" was foimd between faculty and administrators due to vii the dual line of authority found in higher education. However, a conflict of objectives definitely existed between the taxpayer and the university. Suggested improvements included the use of formative evaluations and incorporation of developmental activities.



Universities and colleges -- Faculty -- Promotions -- Texas, College teaching -- Texas -- Evaluation, Universities and colleges -- Faculty -- Tenure -- Texas, Universities and colleges -- Faculty -- Rating of -- Texas