Ms. Pettus and Dr. Reifschneider are Assistant Professors, and Ms. Burruss is Associate Professor, Bellin College of Nursing, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Address correspondence to Sarah Pettus, MSN, RN, IBCLC, Assistant Professor, Bellin College of Nursing, 725 S. Webster Avenue, P.O. Box 23400, Green Bay, WI 54305-3400; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accreditation is an important aspect of nursing education. Faculty achievement and scholarship are widely accepted as important criteria for helping nurse educators become increasingly skillful in classroom, laboratory, and clinical teaching. Major accrediting organizations use criteria that address faculty achievement, development, and scholarship. A faculty achievement tracking tool (FATT) was developed to facilitate documentation of accreditation criteria attainment.
At a single purpose, medium-sized midwestern college undergoing three accreditation visits in the past few years, this tool served as a preparatory guide for the accreditation reports. Undergoing reviews from different accrediting organizations, the FATT has been used once for accreditation of the undergraduate program and once for the graduate program. The FATT has proven to be user friendly for faculty in preparation of the self-study documents. This article describes a tool that incorporates the criteria and definitions from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Higher Learning Commission, and the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (Table 1).
Table 1: Criteria from Accreditation Organizations
Discussion of faculty development, achievement, and scholarship from a variety of perspectives has appeared in the literature. Several studies discussed the expectations that faculty will engage in teaching, creative activity, service, outreach, and research (Diamond, 1995; Jones & Geis, 1995; Valiga, 2003). Language related to these activities includes role modeling, competency assessment, performance, clinical specialization, and expertise (National League for Nursing, 2002; Redman, Lenburg, & Walker, 1999; Valiga, 2003). Many studies focused on faculty development programs (Diamond, 1995; Hewson, Copeland, & Fishleder, 2001; Jones & Geis, 1995; Shillito & Wiggenhorn, 1993) and the need for continuous achievement (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2004; Bellack, 2005; Kelly, 2006).
Expectations for faculty performance have been categorized into the activities of teaching, research, creative activity, service, and outreach. However, there is no tool for quick documentation of these expectations (Montana State University, 2002). Thus, a tool that would help faculty record and track individual achievement against stated college and accrediting expectations would help facilitate a dynamic and systematic growth process. Such a tool can foster active participation and ownership by all faculty members when preparing for the accreditation visit.
Whatever the system, a tool that demonstrates faculty achievement, professional development, and scholarship is needed. It is probable that most faculty maintain their own curriculum vitae in which progression is documented. Currently, guidance for addressing how to track faculty performance in the noninstructional aspects of their role is limited. Therefore, a tool was developed to facilitate this process.
Accrediting bodies such as the CCNE, Higher Learning Commission, and National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission require documentation of faculty credentials to determine if they meet the accrediting organization’s standards. In preparation for one accreditation visit, faculty realized that collecting and collating the data on faculty achievement can be a major task. Subsequently, it was decided to address this problem by developing a tool to document faculty development and scholarship and to emphasize the relationship of research and scholarly work.
Initially, the standards and criteria for faculty qualifications from each accreditation organization were examined. The FATT (Table 2) was developed to demonstrate scholarship and achievement based on performance criteria. The subcategories under the respective headings of scholarship, practice, and service were then defined (Table 3). In addition, the CCNE expects that benchmarks will be established to evaluate the performance standards. Faculty are required to meet each expected benchmark, or, if not, a plan is developed to insure that criteria are met.
Table 2: Faculty Achievement Tracking Tool
Table 3: Faculty Achievement Tracking Tool Definitions
After a small workgroup developed the first draft of the FATT, the tool was introduced to the faculty at large for comment and feedback. Faculty discussed, amended, and voted on the expected criteria, definitions, and benchmarks. The FATT became part of the evaluation process. Using the FATT, faculty qualifications may be addressed both individually and as an aggregate. In addition to current curriculum vitae and performance reviews, the tool highlighted individual as well as composite views of faculty achievement. The tool has enabled the college to identify faculty strengths on a yearly basis. Individual faculty members may use the criteria and benchmarks to set yearly goals (Table 2).
Process for Documentation
The majority of faculty’s workload is devoted to teaching; however, other key categories include practice, service, and scholarship. Each faculty member is able to access the tracking tool online to document their achievements. Throughout the year, individual faculty can monitor progress toward the expected benchmarks. The tool may also be used to document achievement required for the annual performance review. The expected benchmarks reflect expectations for the faculty as an aggregate for one calendar year (Table 2). For example, the category of practice indicates that 50% of the faculty is expected to be certified in a nursing specialty. For service, 25% of the faculty will hold a leadership position in a professional organization, and for scholarship, 20% of the faculty will have published an article, a chapter, or a book.
For each accreditation visit, a bar graph was included in the self-study materials (Figure). The tool was able to showcase the kind and number of achievements that faculty accomplished. During the most recent accreditation review, all but one of the benchmarks were achieved. Under the category of scholarship, conference and workshop attendance was achieved by 80% of the faculty, as opposed to the expected benchmark of 100%. In this case, one faculty member was not able to attend and thus, the benchmark was not achieved. This deficit highlighted the importance of facilitating faculty’s attendance at conferences.
Figure. Faculty Achievement Tracking.
In addition to documentation for accreditation visits, these data can be used in other ways—for example, an individual faculty’s annual performance appraisal, determination of merit compensation, and evidence for promotion and tenure. The expected benchmarks can be established for a semester, a calendar year, or an academic year. It is possible that undergraduate faculty may have different expected benchmarks than graduate faculty.
The purpose of the FATT is to document and track faculty achievement, development, and scholarship. Using the same categories that the accrediting organizations use to evaluate faculty, the FATT is a simple method to document achievements for accreditation purposes and faculty yearly evaluations. Although each college is unique and programs may differ, the tool is adaptable to many different situations.
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing. 2004. Position statement on the practice doctorate in nursing. Washington, DC: Author.
- Bellack, JP2005. Developing ourselves. Journal of Nursing Education, 44, 391–392.
- Diamond, RM1995. Preparing for promotion and tenure review: A faculty guide. Bolton, MA: Anker.
- Hewson, MG, Copeland, HL & Fishleder, AJ2001. What’s the use of faculty development? Program evaluation using retrospective self-assessments and independent performance ratings. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 13, 153–160. doi:10.1207/S15328015TLM1303_4 [CrossRef]
- Jones, GA & Geis, GL1995. Faculty development structures and activities in Ontario’s colleges of applied arts and technology. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 25(1), 41–61.
- Kelly, RE2006. Engaging baccalaureate clinical faculty. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 3(1), Article 14. doi:10.2202/1548-923X.1186 [CrossRef]
- Montana State University. 2002. Faculty expectations and institutional accountability. Retrieved April 18, 2006, from http://www.montana.edu/wwwprov/workload.htm
- National League for Nursing. 2002. Position statement: The preparation of nurse educators. Retrieved April 20, 2006, from http://www.nln.org/aboutnln/PositionStatements/prepofnursed02.htm
- Redman, RW, Lenburg, CB & Walker, PH1999. Competency assessment: Methods for development and implementation in nursing education. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 4(2). Retrieved April 18, 2006, from http://www.nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ANAMarketplace/ANAPeriodicals/OJIN/TableofContents/Volume41999/No2Sep1999/InitialandContinuingCompetenceinEducationandPracticeCompetencyAssessmentMethodsforDeve.aspx
- Shillito, EM & Wiggenhorn, RJ1993. Procedure manual for the development of instructional and noninstructional faculty portfolios [manual]. Springfield, OH: Clark State Community College.
- Valiga, TM2003. Nursing education in the United States. Medical Schools & Nursing Colleges Worldwide. Retrieved April 18, 2006, from http://www.medical-colleges.net/nursing3.htm
Criteria from Accreditation Organizations
|Criteria||Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education||National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission||Higher Learning Commission|
|Faculty qualifications: Faculty are qualified, both academically and experientially, to fulfill the responsibilities and scholarly activities of the learning institution.||Standard II-E||Standard II; Criterion 5||Criterion 2-E|
|Faculty roles: Faculty maintain their expertise in teaching, scholarship, service, and practice.||Standard II-F||Standard II; Criterion 8||Criterion 3-E|
|Faculty performance: Effective teaching is demonstrated through achievement of the mission, program outcomes, and quality.||Criterion IV-D||Standard II; Criterion 8||Criterion 3-E|
|Faculty evaluation: Faculty performance and program effectiveness is evaluated for continued development and competence.||Criterion IV-D||Standard II; Criterion 7||Criterion 3-F|
Faculty Achievement Tracking Tool
|Category||Expected Benchmark||Faculty Member A||Faculty Member B||Faculty Member C||Faculty Member D||Faculty Member E||Total Faculty|
| Academic course work||5||4||40%|
| Conference or workshop attendance||100%||1||4||2||7||80%|
| Presentation at local and state conferences||30%||1||1||1||60%|
| Presentation at regional, national, and international conferences||10%||1||2||40%|
| Certification maintenance||50%||1||2||1||1||2||100%|
| Community service||80%||2||1||2||3||1||100%|
| Leadership position in nursing||25%||2||2||1||2||80%|
| Professional external service||25%||3||2||3||1||80%|
| Professional organization membership||100%||3||3||3||3||3||100%|
Faculty Achievement Tracking Tool Definitions
|Academic course work||Registered in a college or university for credit. Each course is considered a one-time occurrence.|
|Conference and workshop attendance||Attending a conference or a workshop that is relevant to your teaching or clinical practice. A conference or workshop is considered a one-time occurrence.|
|Presentation at local and state conferences||Presentations related to your nursing expertise, practice, or research at local or state level conferences in lecture, seminar, panel, or poster formats.|
|Presentation at regional, national, and international conferences||Presentations related to your nursing expertise, practice, or research at regional, national, or international conferences in lecture, seminar, panel, or poster formats.|
|Published||Publishing an article, a chapter, or a book that is related to the profession of nursing.|
|Certification maintenance||Faculty member is certified in a nursing specialty through an accrediting body, such as the American Nurses Association or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.|
|Community service||Activities outside the college in which you are a representation of the college or the nursing profession, such as service activities.|
|Leadership position in nursing||Leadership or administrative position within a professional organization related to nursing or health care.|
|Professional external service||Academic activities external to the college, such as item writer for NCLEX, consultant or reviewer for an evaluative process such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or reviewing a chapter or textbook for publication.|
|Professional organization membership||Membership in a professional organization related to health care.|