Performance Review Preparation Guidelines
Beginning with the 2000-01 academic year, the college extended its faculty review policy to cover adjunct faculty and faculty on administrative contracts. Once every five years you'll be asked to participate in the same sort of review that has long been required for the tenured and tenure-track faculty. Performance reviews will differ from tenure reviews, however, as they will be aimed at helping the Faculty Welfare Committee better understand the achievements as well as the special circumstances and challenges faced by faculty and at helping the faculty member become more effective.
Faculty members on term contracts are invited to participate but are not required to do so. Please notify your division chair of your decision.
What we are asking you to do
As a general matter, you'll be asked to do three things: provide a short report about how things have been going, provide some supporting materials and meet with the Faculty Welfare Committee for half an hour. Here are some suggestions about how you might prepare. These are based on the suggestions that Faculty Welfare offers to faculty coming up for other reviews, but are a bit less directive.
Tips on preparing a self-study report
The report should include a personal statement and a current curriculum vitae. Faculty Welfare also encourages inclusion of summary IDEA/SRI data and grade tendencies data, if applicable and available.
Three (3) hard copies of your report should be provided to the Dean's office. An exception to this rule occurs in years in which you are applying for promotion in rank, in which case you should provide seven (7) copies of the report. In addition, please provide the following components of the report in electronic form in separate, clearly titled files, to the Dean's Office, preferably in PDF format: a copy of your personal statement, c.v., summary data reports for student evaluations (if any), your grade tendency report (if applicable) and any other optional available documentation you would like to include. Please provide Jennifer Moon (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Dean of Students Office with these electronic documents either via email or on a flash drive. While the vita is probably self-explanatory, we have some suggestions about the writing of the personal statement. Your statement should talk about three things: your responsibilities, your goals and your achievements.
The "responsibilities" section should explain your job: what courses or lessons you teach and what non-course activities you handle. It can be a paragraph or two.
The "goals" section should address what you try to achieve as a teacher and as a professional. You would probably want to talk about your teaching philosophy, strategies and objectives. You should also talk about your goals for the next five years, though you might want to do that after the "achievements" section. After you talk about your teaching, you should address those same considerations as they relate to your professional development.
The "achievements" section should explain how you're doing. As it relates to teaching, that means how you monitor your own work (through course evaluations, classroom visits by colleagues, and so on), what you've learned through that monitoring and what steps it has led you to take to make your teaching stronger. This is also where you could talk about notable student achievements (e.g., papers accepted at honors conferences or acceptances into graduate programs) and recognition of your own work (e.g., awards, invitations to guest lecture or to teach summer institutes and workshops). And, again, you should address those same considerations as they relate to your professional development.
Some practical guidelines for preparing this report:
- don't make a big production out of it. This should not take hours to prepare. It should not look like a book. You don't need to use flashy bindings, graphics or covers. Think plain white paper with a staple in the upper-left corner. Think "term paper," not "dissertation." Think 5-7 pages of text.
- don't solicit letters of support. If there are students or faculty who have relevant observations, tell them to speak with your department chair. Their observations can then be incorporated into the department chair's report.
- limit the number of appendices to your report. Think of your curriculum vita and personal statement as the basic report. Your course evaluation summary sheets are your first appendix. One or two syllabi are your second appendix.
- organize your statistical data. The student evaluation summary reports should be arranged by course (all of your 101 sections, then all of your 102 sections . . .).
Tips on providing supporting materials
The Dean's Office will accept files of supporting material and will make this material available for review by the members of the committee. Generally, the files contain any material that you think is relevant but that doesn't need to be duplicated for everyone on the committee. Among the materials that you might consider submitting:
- all of the original student evaluation forms for your courses. It would be extremely helpful if you wrote the course name and term on the front of each folder of forms.
- a representative sample of your professional work. This might include book chapters, articles, convention presentations, or reproductions of creative work.
- reviews of your professional work or other evidence of its quality.
- copies of syllabi and other class material.
You need to strike a delicate balance. On one hand, the quantity of supporting materials should be great enough to give an educated outsider the ability to draw an accurate picture of your performance. On the other, you need to avoid burying the Committee: too much material will make it much harder to give thoughtful attention to all the material and might well reflect poorly on your ability to judge between important and peripheral material.
Tips on preparing a spoken statement
You'll have a chance to talk with the members of the Faculty Welfare Committee. Typically, you'll be with them for around thirty minutes. At the outset, you'll be given the opportunity to make a spoken presentation. These presentations are optional. They typically take about five minutes. If you choose to speak, you may wish to:
- draw attention to things of which you are particularly proud, especially something significant that might not be immediately grasped by someone from outside your field.
- talk about things which might be worrisome to a sympathetic outsider (e.g., you might not have had many opportunities for professional involvement or your teaching evaluations for some particular class might be out of line with your norm).
- discuss your role in the future of your discipline, department and College.
You should avoid:
- reading a text to the Committee. Think of this as the start of a conversation. Jot some notes to yourself - say a half page of reminders - and then just talk to the Committee.
- recapping your written statement. The Committee has already read it. If you don't have anything to add, just say that.
After your talk, members of the Committee will raise questions with you for a few minutes concerning your time at and experiences with the College. After that, you leave and the Committee will talk with your department and division chairs.
What we are asking your department chair to do
Each department chair is expected to:
- periodically, observe teaching, lab, or clinical experiences, as applicable
- provide timely feedback based on the observations
- encourage colleagues to use an evaluation form for student input
- examine student evaluations to which your faculty colleague has given you access prior to the review and share your impressions with that colleague
- prepare a brief report for the Faculty Welfare Committee and share the report with the colleague prior to the review
- offer advice on how to shape the materials submitted for a performance review
- offer advice on the five minute spoken statement that the colleague may make at the onset of the performance review
- request the most recent chairperson to also prepare a report if he/she had significant interaction with the candidate
- attend the performance review
- prepare to speak briefly after the colleague has left the room if you would like to add to your written report
- be prepared to answer questions by the Faculty Welfare Committee.
The best way to estimate the scale of these matters is to read the suggestions and keep in mind that this enterprise encompasses less than tenure-track reviews and yet something more than a casual and mechanical exercise.
What you get out of this process
You'll have a chance to acquaint the Faculty Welfare Committee with your work and gain useful insights from the experience. Afterward, the Committee will write a one or two page letter to you. In it, an attempt will be made to balance a desire to recognize what you've done well - and to express our appreciation for it - with the need to try to help identify and address professional challenges. Try to take the letter for what it is - a good faith effort by some of your peers. Try not to read too much into the letter; our intent is to be forthright, not to make you read between the lines. If you read something that you don't understand or would like to discuss, please talk with your Division Chair or the chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee.