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Faculty Development Committee

Ouachita Baptist University provides excellent opportunities for the professional development of faculty members. The Faculty Development Committee initiates, coordinates, and makes recommendations concerning all aspects of development at OBU.  The committee's responsibilities include:

  • reviewing and recommending policy concerning faculty development;
  • monitoring implementation of policy concerning faculty development;
  • authoring and reviewing the course evaluation instrument and procedures;
  • soliciting, receiving, reviewing, and recommending funding of faculty development proposals, including academic enrichment grants, growth plan grants, research grants, sabbaticals, and other opportunities that may arise; and
  • reviewing the progress of university-funded development opportunities, research, and sabbaticals.

The Faculty Development Committee consists of one faculty member from each of the seven disciplinary schools. The Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs serves ex officio without vote. The Director of Library Services serves when needed as liaison to the committee.

The Faculty Development Committee welcomes your input concerning existing opportunities and ways in which the entire program can be improved.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Thursday, March 3, 2022
Academic Advancement Grants
Growth Plan Grants
Research Grants

Thursday, April 7, 2022
Henry Academic Enrichment Grants

Course evaluations are conducted under the supervision of the Faculty Development Committee, which authors and reviews the course evaluation instrument and procedures.

Deans and/or supervisors determine which faculty are to be evaluated and submit the names to Academic Affairs.

Academic Affairs administers the course evaluation system by ensuring that the FDC’s course evaluation instrument is accessible in Moodle, uploading courses taught by faculty that deans request be evaluated, and generating course evaluation reports.

At minimum, course evaluations occur every semester for non-tenured faculty and every third semester for tenured faculty.

Courses with an enrollment of 5 or more are evaluated. Faculty who desire evaluation of courses with enrollments of 2, 3, or 4 must notify their dean. Deans must note these exceptions on their list of faculty to be evaluated. Courses with an enrollment of 1 are not evaluated.

Course evaluations are conducted in Moodle during the two weeks prior to final exams. Faculty being evaluated are expected to set aside class time to conduct the evaluations.

Course evaluation reports are distributed electronically to the faculty and their deans.

The administration takes these evaluations seriously and expects instructors to take them seriously as well. Faculty who are being considered for promotion or tenure are asked to summarize their scores over several semesters and explain how they have responded to the feedback they have received. However, those involved in promotion and tenure decisions are aware of the limitations of this evaluation instrument, and our evaluation process takes those limitations into account. The following points may help you keep these evaluations in perspective:

  • Your record of evaluations over several semesters is more important than your scores in a single semester.
  • Your interpretation of and responses to the evaluations are more important than the raw scores.
  • Student evaluations are only one of several types of evaluation used in promotion and tenure decisions. (See Faculty/Staff Manual, Section II.A.6.a-i.)

While no system of course evaluation is perfect, there is no substitute for direct feedback from those who sit in our classes. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, please consult your dean, department chair, division coordinator, or Faculty Development Committee representative.

The Faculty Development Committee oversees the following faculty grant programs. Choose a grant that seems appropriate for the envisioned activity and apply for that grant.

The committee discourages submitting multiple grant proposals for the same activity.

Faculty are welcome to submit multiple grant proposals for different activities in the same year.

Recipients must provide receipts for all grant expenses.

The following explains options for accessing Faculty Development grant funds. You may use any one or a combination of these methods. To avoid confusion and duplication, please submit all requests for payment, reimbursement, or credit card charges to the Academic Affairs Office. For additional information, contact Missy Lewis at 5196.

  • Direct Payments – Fill out a Check Request Form, attach appropriate documentation, and send it to the Academic Affairs Office. Academic Affairs personnel will code it with the correct account number, sign off on the expenditure, and send it on to Business Services for direct payment to the organization or vendor.
  • University Credit Card – Charge grant-related expenses to a university card if you have access to one. Print the card statement that lists the grant charges. If the statement includes charges other than the grant charges, code them with the appropriate account number(s). Attach all receipts to the statement and take it to Academic Affairs. Academic Affairs will code the grant transactions and deliver the completed card statement to Business Services.
  • Personal Check or Personal Credit Card – Submit the printable Expense Report Form (interactive or printable) for reimbursement. This would include mileage reimbursement and incidental out-of-pocket expenses. Please send the completed form and attached receipts to Academic Affairs.
  • Travel Advance – Email your request for a cash advance to Academic Affairs stating the purpose of the trip. Your request will be forwarded to Business Services with approval. Cash advances are charged to your employee account. When you return from the trip, you are required to submit receipts along with an Expense Report Form (interactive or printable) to Academic Affairs to cover the amount of the advance and/or reimburse OBU for any funds that you did not actually spend. Your Expense Report form will be forwarded to Business Services with the appropriate account number and approval.
  • Receipts – Recipients must provide itemized receipts for all grant expenses.

New tenure-track faculty participate in a mentoring program to learn about Ouachita’s traditions and culture and to build relationships outside the department and school during the first year of employment. It is also a means for developing a broader network of colleagues on campus and a better understanding of the university as a whole. Cultivating such relationships is one way to help sustain the sense of community and collegiality among all faculty.

Based on consultation with deans and department chairs, new tenure-track faculty are matched with a current faculty member who has agreed to serve as a mentor during the new tenure-track faculty member’s first year. Both the mentor and new tenure-track faculty member agree to participate in the following events and activities:

  • Attend two luncheons sponsored by the Academic Affairs Office, one per semester.
  • At least once a month, the mentor will invite the new faculty member to attend a faculty gathering such as Faculty Colloquium, Faculty Forum, or the Gutenberg Conspiracy book discussion.
  • Mentors will be available to respond by email, telephone, or in person to questions the new faculty member may have during your first year at Ouachita. These may range from teaching and learning issues, academic policies, governance, as well as information about the surrounding community.
  • At the end of the year, mentors and new faculty members will be asked to provide feedback to the Academic Affairs Office regarding the mentoring program.

In addition, the following activities may be conducted on a voluntary basis, depending on the interests, availability, and needs of both the new faculty member and mentor. These activities should be considered voluntary on the part of both individuals.

  • The new faculty member may invite a mentor to observe a class and offer suggestions.
  • A mentor may invite the new faculty member to attend other university events, such as recitals, plays, athletic events, lectures, etc.
  • The mentor may invite the new faculty member to lunch or dinner or to visit in the mentor’s home.

The Faculty Development Committee organizes and hosts the following orientation sessions for new faculty:

Fall 2021

Making it Through the First Semester
Thursday, September 2 at 3:30 p.m.
McClellan 104

Library Resources
Thursday, September 9 at 3:30 p.m.

The Liberal Arts Tradition and Academic Freedom
Thursday, September 16 at 3:30 p.m.
McClellan 104

Faith in the Academy
Thursday, September 23 at 3:30 p.m.
McClellan 104

Spring 2022

Faculty Development, Tenure, Promotion
Thursday, January 27 at 3:30 p.m.
Location TBD

Peer observation occurs every third semester for non-tenured track faculty and every third year for tenured faculty. See the Peer Observation Schedule to determine when you should arrange a peer observation for your classes.

A peer observation panel consists of three individuals: the department chair of the faculty member being assessed, a colleague from the faculty member’s school, and a colleague from another school. Individuals being assessed should consult with the department chair about the two colleague selections. During the assessment of department chairs, their deans serve on the panel.

Faculty being evaluated choose the class and time for observation. The particular course chosen should vary in subsequent years.

Within two weeks of the classroom experience, each panel member shall write a response describing observed strengths and suggestions for improvement, sending copies to the observed colleague and to the applicable chair and dean.

In addition to panel observations, faculty may submit visual records of classroom performance.

Sabbaticals give eligible full-time faculty the opportunity to take leave from instructional duties and engage in professional development activities.

The Faculty Development Committee awards sabbaticals on a competitive, academic-year basis with the approval of the university president. Six semesters of sabbatical leave may be awarded each year (one-semester sabbaticals at full pay and one-year sabbaticals at three-quarters pay).

Applicants must be full-time faculty in at least the fifth or sixth year of full-time service. Tenured faculty members may apply for a sabbatical after 4 ½ years of continuous service since their last sabbatical or since they were hired. (Example: A faculty member who began in Fall 2017 and now has tenure or a faculty member who took a sabbatical during 2016-2017 is eligible to apply during the Spring 2022 semester for a sabbatical in the 2023-2024 academic year.) Untenured faculty may apply for a sabbatical after 5 ½ years of continuous service, in the same academic year in which they apply for tenure. (Example: An untenured faculty member who began in Fall 2016 is eligible to apply during the Spring 2022 semester for a sabbatical in 2023-2024.) A sabbatical may not be awarded prior to tenure being granted and all recipients must have tenure at the time they take their sabbatical. For additional clarification regarding sabbatical eligibility, contact the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The department and Interdisciplinary Studies must be able to serve students in the absence of the faculty member. The applicant’s chair and dean must complete the required form. Criteria for awarding sabbaticals include: (a) overall seniority; (b) time since last sabbatical; and (c) the worth of the proposed sabbatical activity to the faculty member, department, and university.

Sabbaticals are awarded only to faculty members who will agree to return to teaching at Ouachita Baptist University the following year. The financial support which the university provides shall be in the form of a loan repayable within one year following the sabbatical. The interest rate shall be the lesser of seven percent per annum or the maximum allowable by Arkansas law, and a legally binding note shall be properly executed. The loan shall be forgiven in its entirety following one year of satisfactory post-sabbatical service.

Sabbatical Application 

Sabbatical Load Coverage Form (The applicant’s chair and dean fill out this form and send it to FDC chair.)

Sabbatical Evaluation Rubric

Past Recipients

Next Steps