Annual Performance Review Tenure System Toolkit

Resources for Faculty and Unit Administrators

Resources for Unit Administrators Resources for Faculty

Examples of Faculty Annual Self-Review Forms

 

MSU Policies and Procedures for Annual Faculty Performance Review
(from MSU Faculty Handbook)


From the Faculty Handbook

http://www.hr.msu.edu/documents/facacadhandbooks/facultyhandbook/facultyreview.htm
All units must have procedures for written evaluation of tenure system faculty at all ranks to support the annual merit process and to provide a basis for a clear statement of performance expectations and accomplishments. It is recognized that provisions and practices in units may vary; however, all evaluation procedures must incorporate, at the minimum, the principles included in this model policy for regular faculty review, and must be applied uniformly to all faculty in the unit.

I. Principles

While some variation may occur in the approach to reviews, the following principles as implemented by unit procedures are to be followed by unit administrators (i.e., Deans, Chairpersons and Directors) and faculty. In the case of faculty with joint appointments, a lead unit administrator shall be designated. The process should be clearly defined by the bylaws or established personnel policies and procedures of each academic unit.

A. Each tenure system faculty member shall be evaluated on an annual basis and informed in writing of the results of his/her review by the unit administrator.

B. Each unit shall have clearly formulated and relevant written performance criteria and shall provide these at the time of appointment, and subsequently as necessary, to all faculty to clarify expectations.

C. Faculty shall be informed of all factors used for evaluation, the evaluation of their performance on each of these factors and the relationship between their performance and decisions on merit salary adjustments and, if appropriate, on reappointment, promotion and tenure. Faculty are entitled to have all of their assigned duties considered in the evaluation.

D. These annual assessments of faculty reviews shall be reflected in recommendations to the Provost's Office regarding reappointment, tenure, and promotion.

II. Guidelines for Implementation

A. Units should initiate the annual performance review process early enough so that the full process, including feedback to faculty, may be completed before the beginning of the fall semester.

B. Each faculty member shall submit a written summary of activities for the appropriate period of time to the unit administrator in a timely manner prior to the review. These materials will be shared with the faculty in accordance with unit bylaws and procedures.

C. If unit bylaws or procedures provide for performance evaluation by peer review committees, unit administrators shall rely on the advice of this designated group, in addition to their own judgment.

D. Unit administrators or their designees, no later than 3 months after completion of the evaluation, shall provide to the faculty member a written evaluation of her/his overall performance. Whenever appropriate, such evaluations shall contain constructive and explicit recommendations and clarify expectations of what is needed to make additional scholarly progress in the tenure system.

E. If, after receiving the written review, the faculty member disagrees with its content or chooses to provide additional documentation or comment, the faculty member shall have an opportunity to respond to the review by submitting these materials in writing or meeting with the chair or director. Any additional written faculty comment and/or documentation which are submitted within one month of receipt of the written review shall become part of the documentation for the review.

F. The full documentation for this written review, including the faculty member's response, shall be placed in the faculty member's unit personnel file.

G. Meetings between faculty members and unit administrators are encouraged prior to the written summary to provide feedback about expectations and evaluation. Each faculty member shall have the right to meet in person with the unit administrator or designee after the written review is received.


Overview of Resources and Policies on Annual Performance Review 

  1. MSU’s Policy on Faculty Review: in the MSU Handbook:
    http://www.hr.msu.edu/documents/facacadhandbooks/facultyhandbook/facultyreview.htm
  2. Conducting and Writing Faculty Performance Reviews from the MSU Faculty Handbook:
    http://hr.msu.edu/performance/facacadstaff/format.htm
  3. Annual Evaluation of Chairpersons/Directors from the MSU Faculty Handbook:
    http://hr.msu.edu/documents/facacadhandbooks/facultyhandbook/annualeval.htm
    The policy states that a copy of the evaluation instrument (criteria) currently used by each dean (director) in annual evaluations MUST be filed with the Office of the Provost prior to each annual cycle of evaluations.
  4. Post-Tenure Review policy from the MSU Faculty Handbook:
    http://hr.msu.edu/documents/facacadhandbooks/facultyhandbook/posttenure.htm
    Michigan State University has not adopted a distinct separate policy on the review of faculty following the award of tenure. Post-tenure review is implemented through several existing policies and procedures (contained in the Faculty Handbook), including a clarifying interpretation by the University Committee on Faculty Tenure on the meaning of the term "incompetence" in the disciplinary and dismissal policies. Performance is monitored through the use of annual written performance evaluations as required by the policy on "Faculty Review." Work performance, as determined in such reviews, is to be reflected in annual merit salary adjustments and as a basis for advice and suggestions for improvement. Although not triggered by a fixed number of years of low performance, discipline in a variety of forms may be invoked under the "Policy for Implementing Disciplinary Action where Dismissal is Not Sought." In more serious cases, "the Dismissal of Tenured Faculty for Cause Procedure" can be invoked. This procedure involves notice and a formal hearing involving review by peers. Interpretation of the term "incompetence" by the University Committee on Faculty Tenure includes an expectation for professional development support and review by peers before disciplinary or dismissal action is contemplated. More information is available on the history of post-tenure review deliberations.

    Note that information concerning the Post-Tenure review policies and practices can also be found in the Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Resource Guide.
  5. Faculty Career Advancement and Professional Development: A Special Affirmative Action Responsibility
    http://hr.msu.edu/documents/facacadhandbooks/facultyhandbook/careeradvance.htm
  6. Programs and Workshops on Faculty Performance Evaluation and Faculty Orientation –
    Offered by the Office of Faculty and Organizational Development
    http://fod.msu.edu/

Check List of Best Practices for Faculty Annual Performance Review

For Unit Chairs & Directors

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The critical prerequisites for effective faculty evaluation are:

  • Unit goals and objectives related to University and college goals,
  • A fair and equitable faculty workload policy,
  • Performance standards that define excellence in teaching, research/creative activities, outreach, and service,
  • Performance expectations for each faculty member consistent with unit goals and objectives,
  • An effective annual activity reporting method.

More specifically, chairs should consider the following:

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Develop a written set of unit goals to be used in annual performance evaluation that are shared with and made readily available to all faculty members.
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Consider having the faculty (or a subgroup) review and update these goals annually.
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Develop a faculty workload policy that is communicated to all faculty members.
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Communicate the workloads for annual evaluation to the faculty prior to submission of materials and make them readily available to all faculty members.
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Establish a set of performance criteria and standards for teaching, scholarly output, service, and outreach and engagement (where appropriate) that are clearly communicated to each faculty member.
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Consider the value and level of involvement in disciplinary/professional societies or organizations (e.g., research presentations, committee and/or leadership roles) that is appropriate for the faculty member’s career stage.
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Disseminate clearly described methods for evaluating excellence to the faculty prior to the submission of annual performance review materials.
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Involve faculty members in setting expectations for themselves during performance reviews.
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Discuss prior year performance review and goals with the faculty member during the annual performance review process.
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Use performance evaluation results in determining merit raises and indicate the relationship between performance evaluation results and a merit salary increase in the raise letter.
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Involve the faculty, directly or through department/school faculty advisory committee
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Utilize annual performance evaluations to develop career development plans (3 – 5 years) for all faculty members.
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Utilize annual performance evaluations to develop a program for career development for and with for a subset of the faculty.
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Provide guidance on progress toward reappointment, promotion and/or tenure where appropriate.
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Provide guidance related to expectations for RPT decisions in annual performance evaluation and clearly state these suggestions in the review letter where appropriate
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Use annual performance evaluations to identify training and mentoring opportunities to help faculty members reach career goals.
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Include sabbatical leaves in discussions of career planning and development during the review process, as appropriate.
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Encourage faculty members to self-appraise during the annual performance review process.
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For faculty members with a joint appointment in another unit(s), seek input from the other unit(s) in the annual performance review and in performance management. Expectations of jointly appointed faculty provided in the Multiple Appointment Memorandum should be reviewed and applied during the performance evaluation. (see: http://www.hr.msu.edu/documents/facacadhandbooks/facultyhandbook/facultyStatus.htm, and http://www.hr.msu.edu/hiring/facultyhiring/facultyhiring_docs/MultipleAppointmentMemo.pdf, and http://www.hr.msu.edu/documents/facacadpolproc/JointAppts.htm#BestPractices.
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As relevant to your unit, have the performance review committee or chair review the following materials (as relevant to your context):
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Career development plan or other statement of goals
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Annual activity report
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Updated Curriculum Vita
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Input from teaching and/or research mentors
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Other supporting documentation
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When finalizing the appraisal, the primary evaluator should:
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Review the prior year's performance
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Indicate areas needing improvement
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Updated Curriculum Vita
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Indicate progress toward reappointment/promotion/tenure when relevant
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Indicate other developmental issues and identify opportunities and directions important in light of department needs and/or faculty performance.
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Performance feedback meetings should be held with all faculty members.
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In performance feedback meetings, include discussions of the following (as relevant to context):
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Draft letter of appraisal that is provided before or at the beginning of the meeting
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Faculty performance (rather than personality)
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Specific issues
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Questions from the faculty member
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Coaches/mentors/ helpers, as necessary
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A positive plan for future development including leadership development, opportunities for new faculty members.
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Final performance review letters should include the following (as relevant to context):
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An overview of the unit’s evaluation process
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Assessment of teaching
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Assessment of scholarly output
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Assessment of service and outreach
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A summary of the evaluation
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An overall or general classification or rating of performance
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Progress toward RPT as appropriate
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A list of next steps
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Performance review results should be used to (as relevant to context):
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Recognize and reward exemplary performance with merit raises and reappointment or promotion consideration
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Recognize and reward exemplary performance with differential assignments
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Address the needs of the underperforming faculty members and develop a plan for improvement
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Help with faculty development and with concerns about teaching, scholarship, service, and outreach and engagement, where appropriate.
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Develop and refine a request for a sabbatical leave
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An overall or general classification or rating of performance
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Progress toward RPT as appropriate
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A list of next steps

Check List of Best Practices for Advancement of Mid-Career Faculty (Associate Professors)

RESOURCE For Unit Chairs & Directors

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Discuss faculty members' plans and goals and approaches for reaching the goals
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Determine if working toward promotion to full professor.
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Define clear expectations for achieving rank of full professor.
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Review current projects and whether these projects will help with promotion.
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Consider providing mentoring to assist in meeting expectations for promotion.
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Develop a plan that is reviewed annually or more frequently.
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Discuss and provide in writing specific performance expectations for the next academic year.
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Consider having the mid-career faculty member join a new research team or collaboration.
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Provide faculty member with a coach to assist with networking or with needed skills.
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Encourage faculty member to participate in development workshops.
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Nominate faculty member for professional development opportunities, e.g. CIC ALP, Disciplinary Fellowships, etc.
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Encourage and promote opportunities for less productive faculty members to interact with higher performing faculty members.
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Encourage sabbaticals when appropriate to "retool".
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Consider course releases to allow faculty members to retool or refocus.
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Consider new course assignments or adjusting teaching schedule to allow for retooling.
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Encourage mid-career faculty members by nominating for awards and other recognition.
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Consider providing bridge funding if a clear program for refocusing has been developed.
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Provide incentives and additional resources for refocusing [new teaching assignments (e.g. online courses, clerical support, undergraduate assistants) as a way of helping faculty retool].
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Provide opportunities for involvement in disciplinary societies, including leadership opportunities.

Check List of Best Practices for Constructive Feedback During Performance Review

RESOURCE For Unit Chairs & Directors

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Provide DESCRIPTIVE (vs. evaluative) feedback. Avoiding evaluative language reduces defensive responses.

EXAMPLE:

Example of non-evaluative feedback: "You had a very poor connection to the students in the graduate class you taught last semester". More appropriate: "In your graduate class last semester, students indicated that you did not give them a chance to ask questions about the materials being presented and you were unavailable after class for clarification. What can you tell me about that perception?"
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Provide SPECIFIC feedback.

Example of vague feedback: "Your publication record was below what was expected for promotion."

More appropriate: "As noted in our Annual performance review last year, you anticipated that three articles would be published in peer reviewed journals this year, but only one has been submitted and it has not yet been accepted for publication. We had discussed that, for promotion, you would be expected to publish two papers per year, on the average, over your first four years at MSU."
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Focus feedback on BEHAVIOR, not personal traits. Use terminology that indicates behavioral traits that could change and NOT personal traits that might be more fixed.

Example of behavioral feedback: "It has been noted that you have not shown up for meetings that your student advisees have scheduled with you. In addition, it has been reported for the two courses you taught this last year, you were often late in arriving for the class. It is important that you manage your schedule and commitments better to meet the needs of our students."
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Use feedback that addresses both the needs of the unit/university and the needs of the faculty member receiving feedback. The feedback needs to be bi-directional and the faculty members receiving feedback needs to be able to address his/her issues.

Examples: "It was noted that over half of the lectures in your 401 course last semester were given by your senior research associate, Dr. Smith. I assume that you were closely mentoring him. Was this to give him experience in teaching?", "I know that you were out of town quite a bit last semester and many of these trips were to present papers and visit with your collaborators, and I support those activities. I assume you remained in close contact with Dr. Smith while you were away?", "I want to point out that you were responsible for this course – that the syllabus was followed and that the students enrolled received quality instruction. So, I wanted to discuss how you worked with Dr. Smith in this course."
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Use feedback to both share information and solicit input from the faculty member receiving feedback.

Example: "Based on SIRS forms from your XXX 101 class, students indicated that you did not give them information about how the course would be graded. Was the grading scheme in the syllabus and discussed early on in the class? Did you provide this information on the Web? I should point out that, according to the code of Teaching Responsibility, the course syllabus should include the grading criteria and methods used to determine the final course grade."
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Provide the appropriate amount and level of feedback. For example, there can be too much feedback at one time, so there may be a need to prioritize and schedule follow up sessions.
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To ensure clear communication, explain or restate the feedback in multiple ways to make sure what you express is understood by the receiver to reduce chances of disagreement with the message you intended.

Example: "Are you providing sufficient time to the graduate students in your lab to help guide them in their research projects? Because you have been out of town a significant amount of time during this last year, have you set up a mechanism to communicate with your students? Do you have a senior research associate who is overseeing some of the junior graduate students?"
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Discuss the consequences of the feedback with the faculty member.

Examples: "I am concerned that you have not submitted a grant for external funding over the last three years to support your research program, and you have not had external funding for the last 5 years.", "I note that you are a very good teacher, and your innovative techniques in the classroom are valued and appreciated. Thus, if you do not secure a grant this next year, your teaching load will go up by one course, and if you do not secure external funding within the next three years, your teaching load will be increased by an additional second course and your research space will be decreased in size. This decrease in research productivity and increase in teaching activity will be reviewed and reevaluated every year during the annual performance evaluation process".
Adapted from A Handbook for Faculty Development Volume I
The Council for the Advancement of Small Colleges, 1975, pp. 224-225

 

Check List of Best Practices - Annual Performance Review Process

RESOURCE for Individual Faculty Members

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After Initial Appointment at the University

  • Upon initial appointment, if you are not provided with then, you should ask for information on the performance review process, including criteria that will be used in the annual review process and what materials must be submitted to evaluate performance.
  • Make sure the expected workloads are clearly communicated to you prior to the start of the evaluation period.
  • Make sure you are informed of the methods for evaluating excellence prior to the evaluation process.
  • Make sure you are informed of any performance appraisal tool used during the annual performance evaluation process, including the expectations measured by the tool.
  • Ask clarifying questions to ensure that you understand the evaluation criteria and take the time to restate the criteria you have heard in your own words to check that you have heard and understood the key information.

Prior to faculty review:

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If not scheduled by the chair/director, arrange a meeting to discuss performance evaluation with the department chair or unit head (or appropriate review committee).
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Update and submit an updated copy of CV prior to review meeting. Take copy of updated CV to the meeting.
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Review Annual performance review documentation submitted at time of the request for review materials.
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Review last written performance evaluation.
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Review the Unit bylaws.

Items to discuss during faculty review

Use annual meeting to ask questions about the review process. The faculty member may want to consider questions similar to the following during review:

Scholarly Output (STEM example):

  • What is expected in terms of scholarly output? (examples include numbers of papers, books, performances, grants proposals submitted, grants awarded etc.)
  • How is the quality of scholarly work evaluated? (examples include: quality of journals published, critical reviews of books or performances, awards received, invitations to speak at meetings/other universities, awarding of external grants, etc.)
  • How is this work evaluated in relationship to other faculty members in the unit? (examples include: average number or range of proposals accepted; average dollar amount of each proposal)
  • What will be expected of me regarding scholarly output in the next year and at the time of reappointment or for promotion? Scholarship quality? As compared to others in the unit?

Teaching

  • What is the average SIRS score for a same level course in this department (i.e. 200 level, 300 level, graduate level)?
  • Where can I obtain assistance to help develop my teaching skills?
  • How is the quality of my teaching evaluated?
  • What changes are expected in my teaching load and quality of my teaching in the future?
  • Would you be supportive of me attending courses to develop my teaching, such as those sponsored by FOD? Ask about other opportunities for development of teaching skills.
  • Ask about department and college views regarding teaching with technology.
  • Ask about goals for student learning, how they are valued by the unit and how they are supported.

Service and Outreach:

  • What are the expected unit/departmental service and outreach activities from a faculty member at my level and in my type of position?
  • What type of service or outreach outside the department is expected?
  • How is service as reviewer of papers or grants viewed in providing service?
  • How are different forms of service in the discipline such as organizing a regional meeting, serving as a journal editor, etc., viewed in evaluating my overall performance?

Clinical Activities

  • For clinical faculty what are the expectations related to my clinical activities and how will they be evaluated?

Leadership

  • What are the expectations for faculty members to pursue leadership within the discipline and/or within academia and how are they evaluated?
  • What opportunities are there to develop leadership skills and would they be encouraged and supported?

Areas for improvement

  • Do you have suggestions for how to improve in specific areas that were identified as needing improvement?
  • Can we discuss a plan for professional development?
  • What are your future expectations of me? (Make sure you provide input into setting future expectations.)
  • How might we continue these discussions throughout the year to make sure I am on track?

Does your evaluation letter include:

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a discussion of professional development or leadership issues?
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a summary of the prior year's performance?
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indications of areas needing improvement?
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comments on progress toward reappointment/promotion/tenure, if appropriate?
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a specific assessment of teaching?
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a specific assessment of research and scholarship?
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a specific evaluation of service and outreach?
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an overall or general classification or rating of performance (i.e. at departmental average with regard to research, above average with regard to publications)?
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recommendations and areas for improvement and/or specific changes in responsibility during the next year?
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an invitation to respond to the review letter?



After reviewing the evaluation letter:

If you believe that the letter does NOT reflect all the items addressed in the review, then immediately contact the evaluator via e-mail, note the areas of concern, and arrange a meeting to discuss these specific concerns with the evaluator. As noted in the Faculty handbook:

"..if, after receiving the written review, the faculty member disagrees with its content or chooses to provide additional documentation or comment, the faculty member shall have an opportunity to respond to the review. Any additional written faculty comment and/or documentation which is submitted within one month of receipt of the written review shall become part of the documentation for the review. The full documentation for this written review, including the faculty member's response, shall be placed in the faculty member's unit personnel file."

Suggested Annual Performance Review Checklist for Mid-Career Faculty

RESOURCE for Individual Faculty Members

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  • Develop career goals as well as plans and approaches for reaching the goals
  • Request from unit administrator or appropriate unit committee the expectations for achieving rank of full professor.
  • Meet with unit administrator(s) and review career plans and current projects; discuss whether these projects will help with promotion and with meeting career goals
  • Perhaps in consultation with unit administrator consider identifying mentor(s) to assist in meeting expectations for promotion
  • Consider identifying a coach to assist with networking or with needed skills
  • Participate in development workshops. Ask unit administrator for information about college and University workshops
  • Participate in other professional development opportunities, e.g., those offered by disciplinary societies, funding agencies, etc.
  • Consider department and college leadership opportunities
  • Consider joining a new research team or collaboration
  • Consider a sabbatical to "retool"
  • Request a course release to retool or refocus.
  • Request new course assignments (especially a graduate course to stay fresh or online teaching) or adjusting teaching schedule to allow for retooling.
  • Request bridge funding after developing a clear program for refocusing.
  • Request incentives and additional resources for refocusing (e.g., clerical support, undergraduate assistants)
  • Consider specific shorter term projects that will assist in reaching career goals (e.g., short courses, short visits with potential collaborators)
  • Evaluate priorities with increased demands made for university service and professional activities (e.g., service on editorial boards, offices in professional organizations, service on grant review panels, etc.)

Other advice:

  • Be open to new approaches – listen to graduate students.
  • Participate in unit/college/university committees
  • Pursue and/or request leadership roles and participate in leadership development opportunities, e.g., Workshops for Faculty Leaders, Academic Governance, Assistant/Associate Chair Roles, Task Force Activities, etc.

*Note that a sabbatical leave is intended for the mutual benefit of the university and the faculty member and is not granted automatically (see faculty handbook:
http://www.hr.msu.edu/timoffleave/facacadstaff/SabbImplementation.htm)