[eDebate] Forensics Assessment, Evaluation, Tenure, Review and Promotion

Derek T Buescher dbuescher
Fri Nov 14 15:29:38 CST 2008

Apologies for multiple listing--I was using my gmail account which is not registered to the lists. This is also a slightly modified letter from the other version caught somewhere in the "tubes."



Dear Colleagues, 

At the annual Northwest Forensics Conference meeting held this last September at the University of Washington, I was placed in charge of a committee to plan a one day conference entitled: ?A Conversation about Forensics Assessment? which will take place on September 11, 2009 at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.  The immediate and prescient purpose of this conference is to examine educational assessment as it pertains to forensics and to assist forensics programs in meeting increasing demands for pedagogical assessment, professional development and review, and programmatic assessment and accreditation.  The issues before the conference are important issues to the future of forensics education and the continuing opportunities of students to participate in forensics as an educational enterprise.  Although there are many approaches and topics that the conference may cover, I am going to do my best to limit the day in order to provide both a fruitful conversation and generate substantive outcomes (or statements) about forensics education that may assist best our programs and our careers. 

I write to ask you both if you are interested in attending the conference and for some initial information, some basics for data collection, and your thoughts and feedback as we move forward. My goal is to collect this information from as many programs as possible and create a database of information that will assist our committee to create a useful assessment of current similarities and differences across participating programs, a collection of relevant information and models of evaluation and development, and, importantly, a productive conversation next September.  First, a list of items I hope to solicit:

?	The job title and description of your academic position (simple, no more than a paragraph) including information on your teaching load and requirements
?	A copy of the University/College and departmental criteria used to evaluate your position whether in the case of cyclic reviews and/or promotions and tenure
?	Your latest review statement (the forensics sections only) and only if willing
?	A brief description (narrative) of your forensics program?number of students, types of competition, number of tournaments, means of funding, relationship to an academic department, leadership (i.e. student run or faculty led), etc.
?	Any pertinent guiding educational documents--University/College/departmental/programmatic mission statements, philosophies, etc.
?	Any pertinent information regarding recent programmatic assessments including documents submitted for accreditation and/or review

If you wish to participate, please submit the above information no later than February 1, 2009. 

Second, I invite your comments and feedback regarding a few starter questions (while I also realize these are long and open-ended questions. Please respond as you see fit): 

?	In what ways, if any, has the role of forensics education relative to your university setting changed during the course of your involvement? (Has the program funding altered in any dramatic ways? Have new tenure lines been created or old ones eliminated? Has your program altered its participation in professional organizations and styles or practices of forensics competition and education?)
?	In what ways is your forensics program a professional program (that is, akin to or on par with other academic programs), or professionalized in its directing position? Has your institution?s forensics program had its professional status altered in any substantive ways? For instance, has it lost or created tenure line positions? Has its directing role been moved from tenure line faculty to graduate students, or is/has the program become student run?
?	In what ways do existing forensics organizations meet or fail to meet your professional development needs? Your program?s educational needs? Your institution?s educational needs? 
?	How best might this committee?s efforts serve your interests and needs regarding forensics education, professional development, and forensics assessment?
?	What other materials or assistance might you, your program, or your institution need for effective assessment and professional development?

As information becomes available and we are able to document our current status as forensics educators and develop helpful materials for forensics education and the educators of forensics relative to their professional and programmatic development we will make every effort to make this information accessible to all.  Most importantly, we hope to create a discussion ahead of the curve of contemporary models of educational assessment, to position forensics at the forefront of educational assessment models.  And, we hope to make this merely the beginning of an ongoing conversation. 

To facilitate the collection of this information I have created a new gmail.com account at forensicseducation at gmail.com. Please send all information to that account. If you are interested in attending the conference please let me know and I will provide information.


Derek Buescher
Associate Professor and Director of Forensics
University of Puget Sound

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