Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies Addendum

Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies Addendum to the Applied Health Sciences Performance Review Guidelines for Faculty

Approved by the Department September 6, 2019

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies follows the Applied Health Sciences performance review guidelines for faculty in evaluating faculty performance. This addendum provides additional information on how the various aspects of teaching, scholarship and service are valued and evaluated during the performance review process.

Teaching

Introduction

It is well understood that no single definition or set of criteria can fully and accurately characterize the complexity of teaching and learning within higher education. However, given the inadequacy of student perception surveys as the sole mechanism for assessing teaching quality, this addendum establishes a shared definition of teaching excellence within the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Recognizing that, in a given year, faculty teaching loads and responsibilities will vary, faculty members in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies may demonstrate teaching excellence in one or both of the following categories:

  1. undergraduate and graduate teaching and supervision
  2. educational leadership.

Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching and Supervision

Faculty members demonstrate excellence in course planning and design by clearly articulating learning outcomes, developing a meaningful assessment strategy, ensuring course alignment, creating a strategy for communicating clear expectations to students, including learning material that is relevant and/or current scholarship from the field, including course components that address professional and transferable skills, planning for experiential learning and community connections, and designing a variety of teaching/learning strategies to promote student engagement and deep learning.

Faculty members demonstrate excellence in course delivery by employing innovative and appropriate methods of course delivery and new learning technologies; providing performance feedback in a timely manner; demonstrating intellectual rigour and integrity in the interpretation and presentation of subject matter; contributing to the development of student-citizens who are versed in issues of social justice and power imbalances; utilizing teaching strategies that empower students to be agents in their own learning; being aware of, and responsive to, the diverse political and philosophical perspectives that students bring to the classroom; working effectively with the teaching team; productively managing conflict and mediating course-related disagreements; demonstrating awareness and application of best practices and policies related to the inclusion of all students; integrating research and the process of research into course activities; demonstrating sensitivity to the needs of students and a sincere concern for their overall learning, and academic and personal growth; demonstrating a commitment to students’ welfare and providing a caring atmosphere to students; and demonstrating educational impact beyond the classroom.

Faculty members demonstrate excellence in supervision and mentorship by providing effective guidance and planning of student research as evidenced by achievement of relevant milestones; establishing an effective mechanism for ongoing interaction and communication with students; promoting dissemination and presentation of student's research results; providing additional (i.e., not related to course work or direct supervision) theoretical and methodological support to students; and demonstrating a willingness to provide guidance which may not be related to academic matters, including guidance related to student career goals.

Educational Leadership

Faculty members demonstrate excellence in educational leadership by participating in the continuing efforts of the Department, Faculty, or University to improve the quality of instruction it offers to its learners; assisting colleagues, either formally or informally, in efforts to improve their teaching, for example through mentorship or peer consultation; organizing or participating actively in workshops, symposia, or conferences on university instruction; participating in collaborative efforts to develop innovative methods of teaching; being actively involved in curriculum development or program renewal, within and/or outside of the Department; contributing actively to Departmental, Faculty, or University committees whose work has created or influenced policies and practices related to teaching, learning, or assessment; serving in leadership roles on regional, national, or international organizations dedicated to teaching; and earning or maintaining membership, certification, or other qualifications in relation to university instruction.

Performance Evaluation

Faculty members are encouraged to provide brief supplementary details in their evaluation document as needed to assist reviewers in understanding their contributions to teaching across these two categories. Members of the performance evaluation committee are encouraged to consider any supplementary information provided, as well as consulting the following list of questions to better contextualize each faculty member’s teaching:

  • How many courses did this faculty member teach?
  • What course level(s) did this faculty member teach?
  • What class size(s) did this faculty member teach?
  • How many times has this faculty member taught their course(s)?
  • How many undergraduate students is this faculty member supervising?
  • How many graduate students is this faculty member supervising?
  • In which career stage is this faculty member?
  • If teaching an online course, did this faculty member develop the course?
  • Did this faculty member include experiential learning or design some other component that represents a significant amount of instructor effort/innovation?
  • Did this faculty member take a risk or try something new?
  • Did this faculty member seek funding to support their teaching? (e.g., LITE grant, Teaching Fellows funding, ExL grant, etc.)
  • Did this faculty member participate in training or workshops related to instruction?Did this faculty member’s teaching demonstrate impact beyond the classroom?
  • Was this faculty member’s teaching excellence recognized through internal and/or external teaching awards?
  • What was the student course perception survey response rate?

Scholarship

The Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies (RLS) is committed to excellence in research and scholarship. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members demonstrate excellence through the development and maintenance of high quality research programs that contribute to: the generation of knowledge (in its many forms); the enhancement of research and professional practice; the development of policy; the enrichment of individual lives, communities and broader society; and/or other related impacts. The following addendum represents a values-based statement intended to guide the evaluation of research and scholarship in RLS.

RLS values and celebrates the diverse research and knowledge mobilization approaches that are necessary to understanding and responding to the complex and ever-changing issues in our society. These include philosophical and theoretical contributions; diverse quantitative and qualitative approaches, including community-based and participatory research; and arts-based and other creative methodologies and representations.

Based on this diversity of research approaches used in the Department, sharing our research through diverse outlets and representational forms are appropriate and encouraged. In the spirit of sharing our research within the academic community, faculty members are encouraged to publish their work in peer-reviewed venues appropriate for their research, such as publications in journals or books, published conference proceedings, and presentations at regional, national and international conferences. What is most important is the quality of the research and outputs and not just the quantity of outputs.

We are also committed to influencing policy and practice through our research and, as such, we value contributions to agency and government documents (e.g., technical reports, policy briefs and documents, practice guidelines) and non-traditional, creative representations (e.g., art installations, theatre scripts and performances, documentary and other types of film, poetry, graphic novels, etc.). In these instances, it is important that faculty members clearly articulate the origin (who was the initiator), the aim of the research that led to the output, and the impact of the output (e.g., research report that has changed government policy, performance that is requested by diverse audiences, etc.). Faculty members should also note how the output has undergone some form of review (e.g., peer review; acceptance by a professional or community organization, government or group; sharing of the report on an institutional or community website or in professional guidelines or published documents by the organization).

Faculty members also demonstrate excellence in research by seeking and/or securing funding at a monetary level and from funding bodies appropriate for the aims of their research. Research funding not only funds the research activities but also is an important source of undergraduate and graduate student funding and travel support. Given the diversity of research conducted and the multidisciplinary and applied nature of our field, RLS recognizes that faculty research can be funded through a range of funding opportunities including: tri-council grants; grants and awards from provincial, national or international agencies; funding support from not-for-profit and other community groups, foundations, and organizations; and contracts from private organizations. All of these provide different yet important sources of support for our research activities.

Assessing the quality and impact of different outputs and representations can be extremely challenging. RLS recognizes the limitations of indicators such as citation counts or journal impact factors. These indicators may not be the most appropriate given the purpose of the research and the primary audience(s) targeted, and are not able to capture the broader social and policy impacts of the research. For these reasons the department does not rely on these as the sole indicators of quality and innovation. 

Rather, invitations to present at major professional and/or scientific conferences and meetings and at other research institutions are important indicators that a faculty member’s research is innovative, and/or is having an impact on influential stakeholders and decision makers. Other indicators of impact include awards and distinctions from professional and academic bodies, invitations for interviews about their research from the media, incorporation of research into policies and changes to practice, and invitations to review for major tri-council and other granting agencies. Invitations to collaborate on interdisciplinary research teams and/or with organizations or communities, and invitations to join expert panels or provide expert testimony may be other examples especially when these activities are directly connected to the on-going or current research program of a faculty member.

Context of the research is critical in its assessment. For example, participatory and indigenous research approaches are extremely time intensive and may require much longer periods of time before research gets to publication because of the required partner approvals necessary before research can be shared. RLS also recognizes that the separation of knowledge generation and knowledge mobilization is problematic in some research approaches (e.g., community-based approaches, participatory action research, arts-based methodologies) where knowledge generation and mobilization are and must be integrally linked. When part of community and participatory approaches, for example, community workshops are often an important space for both knowledge generation and mobilization but these workshops are often treated as Service. RLS understands the importance of these initiatives and values them as research. Again, it is incumbent on faculty members to clearly articulate the role of these initiatives in the research and the impacts of these initiatives for the research process and/or partnering individuals/communities.

With these values in mind, faculty members are encouraged to provide as much detail as necessary to assist reviewers in understanding the nature, context, and impact of their research activities.

Service

The Department values contributions to three types of service: (1) service within the Department, Faculty, and University; (2) service to one’s profession; and (3) public service to the community. 

Collegial leadership is a defining characteristic of successful academic institutions. To that end, all faculty members provide leadership through service to the University of Waterloo. This typically includes being assigned to committees equitably within ranks.

Faculty members are welcome to express their interest in serving on one or more committees; these expressions of interest will be taken into consideration in making assignments. Not all faculty will be able in any given year to serve on a standing committee; and their service may include ad hoc committees in the Department or committees at the level of the Faculty or University. This includes assignments to the university pool of chairs for doctoral defenses, and serving on Senate.

 All faculty members demonstrate commitment through their active involvement in the recruitment of high-quality students at the undergraduate and graduate level. Such activities may include attending recruitment events, seeking out and attracting strong students to our program areas, and responding to individual student enquiries. 

All faculty members help build a positive, collegial environment by attending convocation, and information, career, orientation, and/or social events for students, faculty, and staff.

Service to the profession may include professional organizations, journal reviewers, grant reviewers, conference organization, tenure and promotion recommendations, program reviews, and others.

Public service to the community may include opportunities where involvement is based on expertise to organizations outside the university. 

Effortful Commitment Table

Faculty are welcome to use the comments section of the service section of the faculty performance report to record commitment weightings.

Effort Commitment Table
Time and Workload Commitment Level Description
1 - High time and high workload

20+ hours commitment, e.g. 10+ hours meetings and 10+ hours additional activities; workload may include not only time investment but also effort of meeting preparation, follow-through, etc.

2 - High time and low workload, or low time and high workload high time (10+ hours) and low workload; or low time and high workload (10+ hours)
3 - Low time and low workload less than 5 hours total commitment

Possibility of faculty reviewing service commitments to determine if current commitment rating is accurate.