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VII. The Work of the Faculty

The College seeks to provide a liberal arts and sciences curriculum that is imaginative and evolving: imaginative, in that it makes an appeal to faculty members and students alike to engage in study that will take both beyond their current understanding; and, evolving, in that it is structured and regularly assessed to achieve the best environment in which the intellectual advancement of both faculty and students can be pursued and realized.

Such a curriculum is possible only if there is effective teaching of students, active scholarly engagement within academic disciplines, and conscientious service to the College community on the part of all faculty members of the College. These three activities are the basis of performance evaluations of faculty members at the College.

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A. Teaching

Effective teachers are enthusiastic about their disciplines and imaginative in presenting them. They work confidently in their discipline, and they are able to make sound professional judgments about it. They demonstrate their command of the discipline by presenting it systematically and coherently, by making important connections between their discipline and other related fields of study, and by actively probing the boundaries and limitations of their disciplines.

Effective teachers are committed to the intellectual development of their students. They accomplish this by encouraging the maturing of critical faculties, the cultivation of analytic and synthetic abilities, and the focusing of creative imagination. Effective teachers are attentive to the progress of each of their students and encourage each student to become seriously engaged with the subject of the course.

Effective teachers design and teach courses that challenge students to grow intellectually. They are demanding, set high standards, and make their learning objectives clear. Effective teachers seek to develop and improve their pedagogical skills.

Faculty work that is pedagogical is considered to be teaching. Mentoring student scholarship is also considered to be teaching. If such collaborative work results in a peer-reviewed publication, the outcome is considered to be scholarship.

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B. Scholarship and Other Professional Work

Faculty members at Rhodes are actively engaged with their academic fields as scholars and artists. They are confident exponents and interpreters in the practice of their disciplines. They have an abiding interest in and passion for their discipline.

Faculty scholarship is the development and use of skills and competencies, appropriate to one’s discipline, to address issues within and challenges of the discipline and to enrich the discipline by informed, critical study or performance. The expectation is that these skills and competencies will advance the discipline.

Faculty scholarship includes both research and creative activities. Faculty research refers to original scholarly activity that is intended principally for academic and professional peers and is subject to a peer review process. This research should culminate, where appropriate, in peer-reviewed conference presentations, articles, essays, monographs, or books. Such research may also generate external grants. Creative activity refers to work that reflects an active engagement with the discipline typically intended for an audience not limited to academic peers. Typical forms of creative activity are works of art, productions, compositions, and performances.

Some faculty investigate interdisciplinary research questions or explore issues in fields outside their discipline. Such work is expected to undergo the same rigorous peer review processes as work within a traditional discipline.

Invited expert testimony, consultant assignments, book reviews, participation in professional meetings in roles such as panel chair or discussant, non-peer-reviewed publications, review work for journals or book publishers, and outside reviews of the work of Faculty colleagues comprise professional citizenship activities. These activities are contributions to one’s discipline and valued as part of a faculty member’s professional life at, and on behalf of, the College, but do not substitute for faculty research/creative activity.

Academic Departments work with the Office of Academic Affairs to develop expectations for the assessment of scholarship, making clear how the forms of research/creative activity, appropriate to that discipline, are weighted in the evaluation process. The Office of Academic Affairs, in consultation with department chairs, regularly reviews  these departmental expectations in order to maintain a level of parity across departments.

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C. Service

Members of the Faculty serve Rhodes in many ways that go beyond formal teaching duties and scholarship. Faculty service is essential in creating the community within which our shared work is best accomplished.

Student advising is a critically important service activity. Faculty members will serve as advisors to students majoring in their disciplines, but will also regularly serve as advisors to entering first year students. Faculty members affilitated with master's programs will also serve as advisors for students in the relevant graduate programs. Academic advising includes the routine activities of meeting with advisees, monitoring academic progress, reviewing course grades, responding to notices of academic warning, making registration materials available, and reviewing petitions concerning academic regulations. However, academic advising is also an opportunity to help a student realize his/her academic potential and to utilize the resources at the College to assist a student in envisioning and shaping his/her longer term goals, and to counsel and nurture a student as he/she confronts the inevitable challenges of a collegiate environment.

The Faculty of Rhodes is given and carries out a major role in the planning and implementation of the academic program of the College. Faculty members must assume obligations within the governance structure of the College by attending Faculty meetings, serving on and providing leadership on committees, carrying out departmental functions, and other special assignments that work to ensure that the College provides an excellent educational program for its students. Faculty members demonstrate support for the intellectual life of the College by organizing and participating in events, such as guest lectures, symposia, workshops and seminars. In addition, faculty members serve in ways that develop and nurture a viable Faculty cohort, such as recruitment of Faculty and reviews of colleagues.

The College is an institution whose mission includes service within the greater Memphis community. The College, therefore, values the services rendered by faculty members who apply their professional skills to work that benefits the larger community.

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