seal Faculty Development

Recruitment, Retention, and Renewal

Excellence in all areas of teaching and research is an unattainable goal unless Western is able to attract and retain outstanding faculty members. Recruitment speaks to our ability to compete successfully for the very best new members of faculty, particularly those in the early stages of their career. Retention refers to the challenge of keeping these individuals at Western as their success makes them attractive targets for alternative employers. Renewal refers to the challenge of maintaining the highest standards of teaching and research in the face of an unprecedented wave of retirements that will see 60% of Western's current faculty retire over the next 15 years.

As important as are the distinctions between faculty recruitment, retention, and renewal, a number of issues are common in meeting the challenges in all three areas. Western must maintain salary levels which allow us to compete with other universities for the best faculty. Meaningful merit-based salary increments are an essential element of the reinforcement of outstanding performance at all career stages, but are particularly important for faculty early in their careers. A salary structure with insufficient discretionary merit component fails to reward outstanding performance and is seen as indicative of a lack of commitment to excellence. Also, start-up research funds are often required to attract outstanding new members of faculty and to ensure a program of scholarship which becomes productive and attracts external support.

During the past three decades, a growing proportion of PhDs in Canada have been awarded to women. To maintain and enhance Western as an outstanding academic institution, the University must be fully competitive in attracting female graduate students and professors. Our policy at Western is to seek out and encourage female applicants and then to make the final appointment decision solely on the basis of academic merit. For the three years from 1991-92 to 1993-94, at Western, the percentage of initial probationary appointments at the Assistant Professor level awarded to women averaged 41%. Western must continue to ensure that it is a welcoming environment for female students and faculty.

Similarly, Western must also make every effort to be a welcoming environment for students and faculty from the other designated groups, including visible minorities, people from the First Nations/Aboriginal community, and persons with disabilities. Given the demographic trends in Canada, it is vital to Western's mission of excellence that we be competitive in recruiting students and faculty from the designated groups. From the national point of view, increasing the pool of members of the designated groups who can apply for faculty positions requires recruiting these students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


Effective selective investment, whether through reallocation of resources among academic units and programs or through selective salary allocations and workload adjustments for individual members of faculty, cannot be achieved without systematic, equitable, and meaningful evaluation. The University currently has evaluation procedures in place in many areas which are responsive to these needs, but a consistent and effective system of evaluation is necessary across the University.

An annual evaluation signals the value that the University places on the faculty member's contributions to teaching, research, administration, and professional activity. The absence of such an evaluation is incompatible with a recognition of the primary relationship between faculty activity and pursuit of the University's Mission.

Evaluation should explicitly involve a consideration of workload at the level of the individual and academic unit. Such consideration is essential for at least two reasons: 1) members of faculty or academic units carrying a relatively light workload are underutilized as academic resources; and, 2) substantial workload inequities are unacceptable in principle and have a negative impact on faculty morale.

An effective system of evaluation should include a clear, agreed-upon set of criteria that is both sensitive to discipline-specific characteristics and consistent with the University's expectation of the individual or unit. Evaluation should include candid, constructive feedback and logical consequences that are meaningfully related to performance.

Universities and their faculty must be accountable. While it is essential that we maintain our autonomy, both as an institution and as individual teachers and scholars, the reasonable price of this autonomy is that we maintain a demonstrably effective process of evaluation of individuals, programs, and academic units. If we fail to do so, we can anticipate that far less acceptable constraints will be placed on our activities by those who control our funding but who may have a limited understanding of the University and its functioning.

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4.1 Faculty salaries must enable Western to attract and retain the most outstanding academic faculty. An ideal salary structure would address a number of vital goals in the area of faculty development:
i. The largest portion of annual salary increments would be selective and based on performance in teaching and research. Merit-based salary increases would be assigned by Chairs and Deans according to a distribution that results in meaningful distinctions between members of faculty.

ii. Salary would be related significantly to promotion with restrictions on salary increases in the absence of promotion from the Assistant and Associate Professor ranks.

iii. The salary structure would offer meaningful, merit-based salary increases for junior members of faculty and avoid the anomalies that could develop between the salaries of those hired pre- and post-Social Contract.

4.2 Prior to July 1, 1996, each Department should establish a set of annual evaluation procedures for individual members of faculty which include the identification of activity indicators that are appropriate to the discipline. Department evaluations should also include consideration of a set of common activity indicators to be developed by the Provost in conjunction with the Deans.

The annual evaluation process should involve an annual meeting between the Chair or Division Head and each member of faculty to discuss the evaluation outcome, including selective salary increments and possible adjustments to the range and distribution of activities assigned to the individual by the Chair or Division Head. Specific distribution of responsibilities (i.e., undergraduate and graduate teaching, research and scholarship, administrative duties) will vary among individuals within a unit and for an individual during the course of a career. Where such consideration reveals the need to reduce the undergraduate teaching responsibilities of those most involved in graduate supervision and research, classes should be reassigned to those less involved in these activities, thus resulting in a more equitable overall distribution of responsibilities.

Where there is an indication of performance difficulties in classroom instruction or graduate supervision, remedial action should be specified. Such steps might include consultation with peers within the Department or referral to the Educational Development Office's courses or peer consultation services.

Options for responding to annual evaluations that reveal a repeated failure to maintain a record of satisfactory performance should be clearly specified. Such options include consideration of dismissal, as outlined in sections B and C of Conditions of Appointment.

4.3 Each Faculty should develop, prior to July 1, 1996, a set of procedures for the annual evaluation of its Departments including discipline-appropriate activity indicators. These indicators should be supplemented by a set of University-wide measures to be developed by the Provost and the Deans. Similar to procedures described for individual members of faculty (see Recommendation 4.2), Deans and Chairs of departmentalized Faculties should review and, as necessary, make adjustments in teaching responsibilities differentially across Departments.

4.4 Prior to July 1, 1996, the Provost should develop, in consultation with the Deans, a set of activity indicators to be employed in the annual planning process. The annual planning review will include a consideration of the procedures and outcome of departmental and individual evaluations within each Faculty.

4.5 The University should continue the selective allocation of special funds for the appointment (including "bridge" funding) of new members of faculty in areas of priority and strength at both the junior and mid-career levels through programs such as the Academic Development Fund category "B" and the Academic Redistribution Fund. Such allocations should be supported by specific rationale for each new appointment. These decisions will be made as a part of the annual planning process and be brought forward as recommendations of the Provost to the Senate and Board of Governors through their appropriate committees.

4.6 The fact that nearly 60% of the current tenured and tenure-track faculty at Western will reach age 65 within the next 15 years provides an unparalleled opportunity for the use of early retirement packages to assist with faculty renewal planning. The Provost should develop a proposal by July 1, 1996.

4.7 Given the significant role of part-time faculty at Western, the Provost should review the University's part-time faculty employment policies and practices.

***UWO, "Leadership in Learning", November 1995***