Faculty Development Awards: General Principles

Department and Faculty Assistance

The University of Iowa's Faculty Development Awards Program depends on faculty cooperation, program planning, and judicious use of limited funds. Departments and faculty should recognize developmental activities as a normal part of a productive faculty member's academic work that enhances instructional and general academic effectiveness. Faculty development activities presume a commitment on the part of all faculty and departments to coordinate their instructional, departmental, and developmental activities to optimize the allocation of departmental and university resources.

Preservation of Instructional Programs

To endure, a system of developmental activities must preserve and enhance the integrity and strength of instructional programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Ensuring that students' needs are met fully and that their programs of study are not diminished, obstructed, or delayed is a primary objective and responsibility of faculty and departments. Faculty developmental activities, if planned appropriately, assist rather than conflict with this objective.

Eligible Participants

All regular faculty (i.e., tenure- or clinical-track assistant, associate, and full professors with part- or full-time appointments) are eligible to participate in the University's development programs. Special eligibility requirements associated with the individual programs are described with each program. If there is a question about eligibility, faculty are encouraged to seek clarification from the Office of the Provost.

Required Approvals

Applications for all Faculty Development Awards require departmental executive officers' (DEOs') (for departmentalized colleges) and deans' signatures. These signatures certify that (1) the applicant meets the requirements for the given program, (2) the proposal merits support, (3) acceptance of the award in an individual case will not impair the instructional activities of the department, (4) the proposal is consonant with the University’s strategic plan, and (5) the application follows the requested format.

Merit Considerations

All faculty development programs are competitive, with recipients chosen on the basis of the quality of their proposals. Because funds for faculty replacements and other needs related to the Faculty Development Awards Program are extremely limited, the determination of fund recipients is based strictly on considerations of the applicant's achievements and the potential promise of the proposed activity. Purely mechanical considerations such as faculty rank, length of service, and number of publications will not be used to define merit. When merit considerations yield more potential recipients for an award than is feasible, the degree to which the project furthers the strategic plan of the University (e.g., increasing interdisciplinary interaction) and considerations to distribute awards across colleges, departments, and programs will be primary in determining the final selection of candidates.

General Criteria for Evaluating Faculty Activities

Proposals for University-supported faculty development awards are evaluated by advisory committees appointed by the College or by the Provost. In every case, the evaluation focuses on the quality and potential of the proposal and on the past productivity and achievements of the applicant, taking into account both years of previous academic experience and practices characterizing the applicant's field of study. Proposals will be evaluated against the criteria listed below. Therefore, faculty are encouraged to consider these criteria when developing proposals and preparing applications for developmental activities.

1. Scholarly, artistic, or clinical/technical merit of the activities proposed.

  1. Value of the project, including its originality and potential contribution.
  2. Adequacy and feasibility of the project in relation to the length of the developmental award period.
  3. Clarity and completeness of the proposal, including readability by a layperson and references to relevant scholarship.
  4. Project's potential for contributing to the faculty member's professional development.
  5. Potential for disseminating and/or applying anticipated achievements through publications, presentations, and development of curricular and instructional activities.
  6. Likelihood the project will contribute to the quality of the University and to the implementation of departmental, collegiate, and University strategic plans.

2. Scholarly, artistic, or clinical productivity of the applicant.

  1. Quality of professional products, in relation to field and years of academic service.
  2. Quantity of professional products, in relation to field and years of academic service.
  3. Consistency of professional productivity, in relation to years of academic service.
  4. Quality and quantity of work supported by previous UI developmental awards.

3. Other academic achievements and contributions.

  1. Awards, fellowships, grants, offices, and other honors earned.
  2. Consultantships, editorial assignments, review assignments, and other invitations that imply peer recognition.
  3. Conferences, displays, guest lectures, and other professional contributions.
  4. Special assignments, offices, and services performed for The University of Iowa and other outside agencies and associations.

In evaluating proposals and applicants, evaluation committees and administrators also (1) consider the professional practices and traditions of each applicant's field, (2) treat applicants from fields with earlier or later promotion and tenure practices neither less nor more favorably than other faculty, and (3) recognize that the relative value of a smaller number of comprehensive and lengthy publications compared to a larger number of relatively brief, narrowly focused publications is a matter determined in part by the traditions of the field of study.

Components of Instruction

In evaluating proposals for improving instruction, the University recognizes the following as major components:

  1. Instructional content, materials, and procedures.
  2. Procedures for evaluating student learning.
  3. Departmental support of and expressed need for curriculum development.
  4. Relationship between proposed projects and courses currently or formerly taught.

Announcements of Opportunities and Award Recipients

The Provost annually announces the developmental opportunities available to faculty along with the procedures and deadlines governing each such opportunity. These announcements are circulated to all faculty through DEOs and deans, and are published in Iowa Now. This information also is continually available on this web site, which is updated on a regular basis. Following the review and evaluation of proposals submitted for each developmental program, the Provost forwards recommended proposals to the Board of Regents and notifies recipients following Board approval.

Departmental Support for Faculty Development Awards

In addition to the University-wide awards programs for faculty development, each department contributes to the professional development of its faculty. Departments budget funds to enhance faculty inquiry, instruction, and creative activity not associated with leaves of absence. Materials, supplies, clerical assistance, travel, and visiting lecturers are some of the ways departments provide developmental support to faculty.

Assistance in Obtaining Non-University Support

The Division of Sponsored Programs provides a variety of facilities to aid faculty members in acquiring financial support from foundations, government agencies, and other non-University sources. That office provides consultative services, a resource library of information about research grants, and application forms for such grants.

Faculty are advised to seek assistance from their DEO and the Division of Sponsored Programs when preparing proposals and related budgets for non-University agencies. This consultation is necessary (1) to ensure that proposed costs are accurately determined and (2) to obtain required University approval before a proposal is submitted to an agency.