Annual Review of Faculty: A Memo to Deans (April 27, 1999)


To: Members of the Council of Deans

From: James V. Maher

Date: April 27, 1999

Re: Annual Review of Faculty

We have been working collaboratively for some time now to improve the written annual review of faculty members throughout the University of Pittsburgh, as mandated by our Board of Trustees.

Our efforts have included your affirming every mid-September that annual reviews had been completed and that written copies of the reviews were on file in an appropriate administrative office. For the last two years, I have requested your submission of annual evaluation letters that had been sent to a randomly selected group of 10% of the faculty at each rank. The Provost's Office conducted a review of these samples, which were discussed extensively at the March 24, 1998 Council of Deans' meeting.

As you know, the Council of Deans and the Senate Tenure and Academic Freedom Committee have jointly constructed a list of issues to be addressed in the annual review of faculty (attached). This document should be viewed as a set of guidelines for the evaluator and not as a rigid schedule for the submission of documentation by faculty members. In particular, the evaluator should use his or her current knowledge of the information available about the faculty member's activities to inform a judgment as to what other elements of the enclosed list might need to be supplied by the faculty and then to ask for faculty reporting in a given year, as needed. Therefore, this list signals a clear direction to the evaluator as to the materials which can very reasonably be requested and which should also be taken into account in the evaluation of a faculty member. Similarly, meetings with individual faculty members may not be required unless there is disagreement as to either the substance of the evaluation or the mutual expectations for the coming year.

I appreciate your cooperation as we work to make more meaningful our annual review process. As you know, this activity remains a key element in maintaining and improving the quality of our academic offerings and the reputation of the University of Pittsburgh.

Suggested Documentation for the Annual Review of Faculty

Developed by the Senate Tenure and Academic Freedom Committee
in conjunction with the Council of Deans

The following is a list of the appropriate documentation that faculty members should submit as a prelude to the annual review process:

  1. A statement of goals and objectives for the upcoming academic year. The statement of goals and objectives should be congruent with the mission, goals, and objectives of the academic unit.
  2. A summary of how goals and objectives from the previous academic year were met.
  3. A summary of teaching activities with selected supporting material such as course syllabi, student evaluations, peer review letters, graduate student mentoring, undergraduate student mentoring, faculty mentoring, and sponsoring of internships.
  4. A summary of research activities with selected supporting material such as reprints, letters of acceptance from editors or publishers, grant proposals, research mentoring, and conference papers.
  5. A summary of service activities such as membership on department of school committees, University committees, service to professional organizations, public service activities that relate to academic expertise.

The following is an appropriate list of expectations that faculty members should be able to assume about their annual review process:

  1. That clear and specific criteria were used in determining the annual evaluation and salary increase determinations.
  2. That a summary of agreements (or disagreements) reached on the faculty member's statement of goals and objectives for the coming academic year will be recorded.
  3. That the faculty member will receive the annual review in a timely fashion with exact copies placed in departmental or school files. Procedures for appealing annual review assessments should be clearly defined.
  4. That when changes are made in goals and objectives because of departmental or school needs or emergencies during the academic year, changes should be submitted to the faculty member in writing with copies placed in departmental or school files.
  5. That for faculty in the tenure stream, annual letters should define in clear and specific terms the evaluator's judgment of the faculty member's progress towards tenure or promotion: for Full Professors where tenure or promotion is no longer a question, letters would express the evaluator's judgment of their continued contributions at a level appropriate to their rank; for faculty members in the non-tenure stream, annual letters should explain in clear and specific terms expectations for the coming year.

Endorsed by the Council of Deans April 22, 1999