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BUS 660Decision Analysis Case Study-Valley of the Sun Reviews

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Decision Analysis Case Study: Valley of the Sun Reviews

Valley of the Sun Academy (VSA) is an online school specializing in GED programs for the Phoenix area. Valley of the Sun Academy enrolls 813 students and has a part-time faculty pool of 65 online instructors.

Online faculty are reviewed annually and provided with feedback about their facilitation techniques, content expertise, engagement, and classroom management. If necessary, remediation and additional support are provided by the Faculty Advisory Board (FAB). The online faculty reviews are one factor used to determine overall performance, teaching status, and potential performance appraisals.

Recently, the FAB submitted a proposal for a new approach for the next fiscal year, the Peer Faculty Performance Review (PFPR). Human Resources (HR) and the school’s chief financial officer are evaluating the suggestion against the current design, described by VSA’s director. Both review processes are outlined below.

Current Design

Valley of the Sun Academy uses an external firm, TeachBest Consulting, to conduct annual reviews for online faculty. The review team is composed of faculty members at other online institutions, including universities and high schools. Valley of the Sun Academy faculty are not part of the review process, and TeachBest Consulting handles hiring and training internally. Valley of the Sun Academy’s HR department assigns completed courses to review, and VSA’s Technical Support team is responsible for providing access.

Once completed, the TeachBest consultant submits the review form to VSA’s HR department, and HR submits a payment for each review. In addition, VSA has an annual contract with TeachBest Consulting.

The overall contract is $2,500/year. If VSA’s enrollment reaches 1,000 or more students or their faculty pool expands to 75 or more instructors, the contract amount will increase to $5,000/year. There is a 75% chance the student enrollment will reach 1,000 students within the next 18 months and a 25% chance enrollment will not increase. During the next nine months, Human Resources anticipates hiring at least six math instructors.

Individual reviewers are paid $75 for each review. Reviews are conducted in March, July, and November, with all faculty reviewed by December 1.

Valley of the Sun Academy is responsible for disseminating the results of the review to faculty members. If questions arise about review results, the FAB is responsible for verifying the review and responding to the instructor. Periodically, the Faculty Advisory Board finds fault with the initial review and follow-up must be scheduled. Each year, about 5% of the initial reviews are found to be inaccurate and new reviews must be scheduled. Valley of the Sun Academy pays a discounted price of $50 for each follow-up review.

Peer Faculty Performance Review (PFPR) Proposal

The FAB proposes to conduct faculty reviews in-house and no longer contract TeachBest Consulting. Human Resources will review faculty files and invite the top three performing instructors in four disciplines (Literacy and Communication, Social Sciences, Math, and Science and Technology) to join the PFPR committee.

Initial responsibilities will involve creating a new review form and conducting a norming session for consistency. There will be ongoing technology fees of $20/month for each reviewer, to ensure access to create and complete the review forms. There will also be an initial cost to set up the norming session. The Faculty Advisory Board recommends one of three options:

  1. A $500 session that can be scheduled at any time with TeachBest Consulting.
  2. A $750 session offered monthly by an external employee development firm.
  3. A session designed by VSA’s HR and instructional design specialists, which would be free to attend but would require internal time and labor costs; HR anticipates a start of two months from implementation would prevent interrupting normal business practices.

Because the responsibilities are not included in current faculty contracts, FAB recommends stipends of $50 for each review completed. With the new internal PFPR process, FAB anticipates faculty reviews would no longer be overturned and there would not be a need to conduct secondary reviews. Additionally, FAB expects reviews to move to a 9-month rolling cycle rather than once every academic year.  

 

Decision Analysis Case Study: Valley of the Sun Reviews Valley of the Sun Academy (VSA) is an online school specializing in GED programs for the Phoenix area. Valley of the Sun Academy enrolls 813 students and has a part-time faculty pool of 65 onli
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