This briefing is intended primarily for department chairs and other unit administrators responsible for regular faculty performance reviews. It offers an overview of faculty performance reviews in the broader context of faculty development at the unit level and provides guidance for academic administrators on conducting reviews and writing appraisals.
The role of the faculty performance review has been elevated in recent years for a number of reasons. Increasingly, colleges and universities award salary increases on the basis of merit or performance, which requires an accurate assessment of performance relative to some standard. In a resource-challenged environment, aligning the efforts of faculty with unit and institutional goals becomes more critical; performing well in important areas becomes more important. Standards for earning tenure and promotion seem to rise constantly. A record of excellent performance is usually necessary for a favorable tenure and/or promotion decision. In the face of public criticism and/or institutional self-examination, many institutions have initiated post-tenure review to ensure that tenured faculty are performing at acceptable levels. The annual faculty performance review, especially when it has a developmental component, helps to ensure that faculty perform at high levels year in and year out.