Annual Performance Review Tenure System Toolkit
Resources for Faculty and Unit Administrators
- MSU Policies and Procedures from the Faculty Handbook
- Overview of Resources and policies on Annual Performance Review
- Checklist of Best Practices for Faculty Annual Performance Review
- Checklist of Best Practices for Advancement of Mid-Career Faculty
- Checklist of Best Practices for Constructive Feedback
- Annual Performance Review Checklist for All Faculty
- Suggested Annual Performance Review Checklist for Mid-Career 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
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.
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.
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
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
MSU’s Policy on Faculty Review: in the MSU Handbook:
Conducting and Writing Faculty Performance Reviews from the MSU Faculty Handbook:
Writing Faculty Performance Reviews: General Guidelines
Writing Faculty Performance Reviews: A Suggested Format
Sample Performance Review Letters
Faculty Performance Reviews
Strategies for Faculty Development
Guidelines for Academic Unit Peer Review Committee Composition
- Writing Faculty Performance Reviews: General Guidelines
Annual Evaluation of Chairpersons/Directors from the MSU Faculty Handbook:
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.
Post-Tenure Review policy from the MSU Faculty Handbook:
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.
Faculty Career Advancement and Professional Development: A Special Affirmative Action Responsibility
Programs and Workshops on Faculty Performance Evaluation and Faculty Orientation –
Offered by the Office of Faculty and Organizational Development
Check List of Best Practices for Faculty Annual Performance Review
For Unit Chairs & Directors
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:
Check List of Best Practices for Advancement of Mid-Career Faculty (Associate Professors)
RESOURCE For Unit Chairs & Directors
Check List of Best Practices for Constructive Feedback During Performance Review
RESOURCE For Unit Chairs & Directors
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?"
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."
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."
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."
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."
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?"
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".
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
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:
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?
- 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?
- For clinical faculty what are the expectations related to my clinical activities and how will they be evaluated?
- 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:
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
- 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.)
- 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: