Conducting Annual Reviews

Faculty Review Application Guidelines

Purpose of Faculty Reviews

Annual reviews are required of all probationary- tenure-track, clinical-track, research-track and instructional-track faculty members - during the initial term of their contract. Additional annual reviews are required for tenure-track faculty members until tenure is awarded, and for clinical-track, research-track, and instructional-track  faculty as dictated by university and collegiate policies. Annual reviews are also required for all tenured faculty members (see: Annual and Five-Year Review of Tenured Faculty (below) for related guidelines).

Annual and reappointment faculty reviews have two interrelated purposes. The first and generally more important purpose is developmental: to provide faculty members with substantial feedback and guidance regarding their progress toward meeting departmental and collegiate expectations for success. The second is evaluative: to provide an assessment of faculty members’ status for administrative decision-making. The evaluative component is most prominent in reappointment reviews and when important administrative decisions (e.g., discretionary tenure-clock extension) are being considered.

The process and timing of faculty reviews differ based on the type of appointment (e.g., tenure-track, research-track, clinical-track, instructional-track) and the length of service. The guidelines below are provided to assist you in preparing annual and reappointment reviews of all probationary tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members in your college.

  1. Conducting Probationary and Non-Tenure Track Faculty Reviews,
  2. Tenure-Track Faculty,
  3. Clinical-Track Faculty,
  4. Research-Track Faculty,
  5. Instructional-Track Faculty,
  6. Completion of the Probationary Faculty Annual Review Form, and
  7. Monitoring Compliance.

1) Conducting Probationary and Non-Tenure Track Faculty Reviews

The following guidelines shall be followed in conducting reviews of all tenure-track, clinical-track, and research-track faculty:

  1. Each academic unit is expected to develop detailed review criteria and processes consistent with the qualifications established in Section 10.4b and c of the Operations Manual.
  2. It is the responsibility of the Dean and the DEO (when applicable) to ensure the completion of the review process. It is expected that the annual review will be performed in consultation with the individual faculty member.
  3. The review of probationary and non-tenure track faculty faculty should be as complete and detailed as possible in order to provide sufficient feedback and guidance to the faculty member being reviewed. See below for Best Practices and Common Problems in conducting faculty reviews.
  4. If there are secondary/tertiary appointments, the review process should be guided by the original offer letter and/or the MOU, and evidence or description of the participation in the review by the department(s) must be provided and signatures obtained.
  5. Upon completion of the review process, the faculty member should be informed of the results of the review in the following ways:
    • Receive a written summary of the review, including documents sent forward by the DEO to the Dean for subsequent review by the Provost.
    • Be given the opportunity for a one-on-one meeting with the DEO or designee responsible for the review process.
    • Be informed of their right to respond in writing to the review. This response will then become part of the official record (see Faculty Review Application Guidelines).
  6. The form will automatically route to the faculty member being reviewed after being entered by the Initiator in the Faculty Review application. This will enable the faculty member to “approve” the form, which will serve as an electronic signature to acknowledge that they received the results of the review. The electronic signature will serve as documentation that the faculty member has been informed of the results of the review and was offered the opportunity to respond. The faculty member can upload a response as an attachment while the form is in their inbox, but will not be able to edit the form, nor remove or edit other attachments. 

2) Tenure Track Faculty

  1. First Year’s Annual Review: All probationary faculty members shall receive annual reviews; in their first year the review is conducted in the Spring semester (April 15th of each year). This review may be abbreviated and based on the faculty member’s limited record to date, but the first review should be used as an opportunity to introduce the process and criteria of annual reviews, review the faculty member’s goals, and develop a plan for achieving those goals in her/his probationary period.
  2. Reappointment Review: Most reappointment reviews are conducted during the third year (for colleges having a collegiate norm of a six-year tenure clock) or fourth year (for colleges having a collegiate norm of an eight-year tenure clock). This is a substantial review that takes “into account the faculty member’s proven teaching effectiveness and research productivity and potential. It also should include an evaluation of departmental, collegiate, and university educational goals and a determination of the likely role of the faculty member in achieving those goals” (Operations Manual, III-10.1a(4)(h)).
    1. If the reappointment review yields a decision to reappoint, that appointment should be for a time that will enable a tenure review, most usually three or four years, depending on the collegiate norm.
    2. If the review results in a decision that the faculty member is not performing satisfactorily, then a terminal appointment is given. For faculty whose current appointments end in the next fiscal year or for whom a one year terminal appointment is being recommended, the collegiate dean must provide each faculty member a written notice of intent to terminate no later than one year prior to the termination date. Such written notice must be given prior to the Deadline for Notice of Non-renewal. See "Notice of Non-renewal" in section III 12.2 of the Operations Manual. The HR transaction form does not constitute notice of non-renewal. The Office of the Provost should be notified as soon as possible if a recommendation not to reappoint is forthcoming.
    3. A Faculty Review Form must be submitted with the reappointment review, whether there will be reappointment or terminal appointment, unless exempted per policy guidelines.
  3. Tenure Review: For the tenure review, the probationary faculty member undergoes a comprehensive review of teaching, scholarship or creative work, and service from the time of initial appointment. This review typically occurs in a faculty member’s final year of their pre-tenure appointment, unless extensions have been granted that have reset the tenure review date. For information about conducting tenure reviews, see the Office of the Provost’s Procedures for Tenure and Promotion Decision Making at The University of Iowa.
  4. All Other Years:- An annual review is required for all tenure-track probationary faculty in non-reappointment or tenure consideration years, as cited in the Operations Manual citation at the beginning of this section. 

3) Clinical-Track Faculty

  • Policy Guidance: Operations Manual, III-10.9
  • See college-specific guidelines for departmental and/or collegiate timelines and requirements
  1. Annual Reviews: Initial appointments for clinical-track faculty are one to three years in duration.  Annual reviews are required for all clinical-track faculty members until the final year of the initial appointment. 
  2. Contract-Renewal Review: Reappointment reviews are conducted in the final year of the appointment. As stated in the Operations Manual, this is a substantial review that takes into account “the faculty member's demonstrated effectiveness in fulfilling teaching and service missions.” It should also include “evaluation of the departmental, collegiate, and University educational and service goals and the likely role of the faculty member in the future in achieving those goals” (Operations Manual, III-10.1a(4)(h)).
    1. If the reappointment review yields a decision to reappoint, the clinical-track faculty member will receive a one- to seven-year appointment.
    2. If the review results in a decision that the faculty member is not performing satisfactorily, then a terminal appointment is given (see Operations Manual,III-10.9h for notice of non-renewal requirements). The Office of the Provost should be notified as soon as possible if a recommendation not to reappoint is forthcoming.
    3. A Faculty Review form must be submitted with the reappointment review, whether there will be reappointment or terminal appointment, unless exempted per policy guidelines.

4) Research-Track Faculty

  • Policy Guidance: Operations Manual,III-10.10d
  • See college-specific guidelines for departmental and/or collegiate timelines and requirements
  1. Annual Reviews: Initial appointments for research-track faculty are one to three years in duration. Annual reviews are required for all research-track faculty members until the final year of the initial appointment. 
  2. Contract-renewal Review: During the third year of service, or prior to that if a promotion is contemplated, a full-scale, departmental-collegiate review will be made. According to the Operations Manual,“[t]his review should take into account the research-track faculty member's effectiveness in fulfilling the research mission and the ability of the research-track faculty member to obtain and sustain extramural salary support. It also should include an evaluation of the departmental, collegiate, and University research goals and the likely role of the research-track faculty member in the future in achieving those goals.” “Research-track faculty will be reviewed on a schedule commensurate with their appointments, according to written standards of competence and performance defined by their college and departments.  Reappointments are to be made only if the research faculty member has a demonstrated record of successfully obtaining external support to fund the research-track faculty member's research.”
    1. If the reappointment review yields a decision to reappoint, research track faculty may be reappointed on a “schedule commensurate with their appointments, according to written standards of competence and performance defined by their college and departments”.
    2. If the review results in a decision that the faculty member is not performing satisfactorily, or for changed economic circumstances or program needs such that the position itself is terminated, then a terminal appointment is given (see Operations Manual, III-10.10h for notice of non-renewal requirements). Non-renewal for changed economic circumstances or program needs may only occur at the conclusion of an appointment and must carry appropriate notice. The Office of the Provost should be notified as soon as possible if a recommendation not to reappoint is forthcoming.
    3. A Faculty Review Form must be submitted with the reappointment review, whether there will be reappointment or terminal appointment, unless exempted per policy guidelines.

5) Instructional-Track Faculty

  • Policy Guidance: Operations Manual, III-10.11
  • See college-specific guidelines for departmental and/or collegiate timelines and requirements
  1. Annual Reviews: Annual reviews are required for all instructional-track faculty members. 
  2. Contract-Renewal Review: Reappointment reviews are conducted in the final year of the appointment. Terms of appointments vary, based on rank and individual employment agreements. 
  1. Reappointment following a positive review may be possible at the discretion of the college.
  2. Notifications of nonrenewal and/or termination will be consistent with the University's policies and procedures (see Operations Manual,III-10.11(g)(3)  for notice of non-renewal requirements). The Office of the Provost should be notified as soon as possible if a recommendation not to reappoint is forthcoming.
  3. A Faculty Review form must be submitted with the reappointment review, unless exempted per policy guidelines.

6) Completion of the Probationary and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Review Form

For information about initiating and processing a Faculty Review Form in the UI workflow system, please see Faculty Review Application Guidelines.

  1. As a reminder, the Probationary and Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Review Form does not constitute notice of non-renewal. Such written notice must be approved by the Office of the Provost prior to notifying the faculty member. For policies on non-renewal see:
  2. Departments are not required to maintain a paper copy of the documents attached in UI Workflow. If these documents are needed in the future, a print-out from the HR systems will be sufficient.
  3. Annual reviews of probationary faculty members must be completed and received by the Office of the Provost via UI Workflow no later than April 15th of each year.

7) Monitoring Compliance

To run customized compliance reports in the "Faculty Review Application," see the Faculty Review Application Guidelines for more information. The Office of the Provost will use the "Faculty Review Application" to monitor the completion of all faculty reviews, including tenured faculty reviews.

Any questions regarding the review process please contact Debbie Millsap, Office of the Provost, by email at deborah-millsap@uiowa.edu or by phone: 335-1187.

The Faculty Status Report: The database from which the report is drawn is available electronically through the Office of the Provost Web Applications Portal. Deans, DEOs and collegiate administrators automatically have access to this report with their HawkID and password. Access for other individuals may be requested by contacting Kris Yows at kristina-yows@uiowa.edu.

According to the OM III-10.7 Review of Tenured Faculty Members policy, all tenured faculty members shall receive

  • an annual review conducted by the faculty member’s DEO or equivalent, and
  • a five-year review conducted by her/his peers.

Reviews of tenured faculty members shall include an evaluation of research/scholarship, teaching, and service.  Each college has unique procedures for conducting these reviews, so please see the respective Dean’s office for additional procedural guidance.

Exemption to Five-year Peer Reviews

All tenured faculty members will undergo a peer review once every five years subsequent to their most recent tenure or promotion review, unless:

  1. they are being reviewed for promotion to a higher rank during the year of the scheduled review,
  2. they are within one year of announced retirement or are on phased retirement, or
  3. they serve as DEO, assistant dean, associate dean, or dean.

Exemptions can be noted in the Faculty Review Application in the Employee Self-Service Site.

Faculty Review Application Guidelines

A Faculty Review Form must be completed through the Faculty Review Application in the Employee Self-Service for all annual and five-year peer reviews by June 30th of each year.  For instructions on how to process Tenured Faculty Reviews and upload review documents please see the Faculty Review Application Guidelines.  The "Workflow Status" drop-down in the "Faculty Review Application" will allow colleges, departments and the Office of the Provost to monitor review completion.

In order to recognize faculty effort and achievement, all review procedures for joint appointments, both within and across colleges, should be carried out with attention to the following guidelines. These guidelines are supplemental to other University polices regarding review procedures, including the Procedural Guidelines for Promotion and Tenure Decision Making.

The core of the joint appointment is the letter of agreement, detailing the expectations, privileges and responsibilities among the appointing units and the faculty member, including the specific details of review procedures.

Promotion and Tenure Reviews

  • The participating units form a joint internal review committee, roughly proportional in its makeup to the percentage of faculty effort in each unit for all annual, reappointment, tenure and promotion reviews. Units or the faculty member may seek approval of the Dean(s) for an alternative structure in exceptional circumstances, including cases of marked discrepancy between percentage effort and percentage salary support across the two units. This committee report is submitted in writing to each of the departmental consulting groups.
  • The participating units may form a joint consulting group, if mutually agreed upon by the faculty member and the units. In such a case, the units may submit either joint or separate votes and reports.
  • If a joint consulting group is formed, the executive officers may submit either a joint letter or separate letters reporting the deliberations and making the recommendation(s) for promotion and tenure.
  • When standard review procedures differ between units (e.g., delegation of review of teaching, research and service to separate subcommittees vs. using a single internal review committee for all three areas), a joint decision shall be made establishing procedures that are mutually acceptable to the faculty member and the units in advance of deliberations of the review committee[s].
  • When a faculty member holds a 0% joint appointment in a unit, that unit may take a subordinate consultative role in the tenure and promotion process, as mutually agreed upon in a letter of agreement.

Appointments

  • A letter of agreement between the faculty member and the participating units concerning terms of appointment, and approved by the dean(s) shall specify review procedures. The letter shall specify, at a minimum, the faculty member’s privileges and responsibilities with respect to the units and the expected activities in each unit in teaching, research, and service. Differences in unit policies and procedures should be recognized and resolved in the letter of agreement.
  • For appointments new to the University, an agreement about review procedures shall be made either in the offer letter, or as part of a more comprehensive letter further detailing the terms of the appointment within the first year of the appointment.
  • For appointments from within the University faculty, review procedures shall be included in the letter of agreement concerning terms of appointment.
  • The letter of agreement should be reviewed at each reappointment. It may be revised at any time by mutual consent of the faculty member and the participating units, and with the approval of the dean(s) and Office of the Provost.

Annual, Reappointment, and Post-Tenure Reviews

The same procedures described above shall be followed for annual and third-year reappointment reviews with the one exception that written report(s) from the internal review committee and unit consulting group(s) are optional. Absent a written report from the internal review committee, at least one member of each unit must participate in the oral committee report to each unit consulting group.

Timetable

No later than the end of the academic year before a promotion and tenure review, an appropriate timeline should be established to enable gathering of information, reasonable committee review, the faculty member's response to the committee report, and consulting group deliberations.

Exception

In the unusual case in which two units are contemplating a joint but non-interdisciplinary appointment, such that joint review may be inappropriate, the units may petition for an alternative review structure. Such a petition should be presented to the Dean(s) who will seek final approval from the Provost.

  • Comprehensiveness: Begin with a brief description of the review process. This may be somewhat "boilerplate," but should be modified as needed for each individual review. Address all aspects of the faculty member's performance from a range of viewpoints:
  • Teaching: Include both student and peer evaluations, as well as a review or critique of course materials. Include information provided by senior faculty who actually have visited each of the faculty member's classes or observed the faculty member in clinical teaching. Discuss the "mix" of courses taught. Address graduate student research supervision if applicable.
  • Scholarship or Creative Work: Review/critique not only numbers of publications or creative works, but also quality of journals, presses (for books), or creative outlet; order and number of authors and, optionally, quality of work as reviewed first-hand by departmental colleagues; grant-seeking activity (effort and scope, range and appropriateness of funding sources sought) and success at grant attainment. This may be discipline-specific and should include information that explains as well as describes (e.g., is 3 articles in a year a lot or a few in the field?)
  • Service: Heavy departmental service burdens should be ameliorated and, in extreme cases in which the service burden was actually an impediment to the faculty member’s progress in teaching or research, may be compensated for by a tenure-clock extension. Any request for a tenure-clock extension must be initiated by the faculty member, not the DEO or Dean. The faculty member makes a request of the DEO, who makes a recommendation to the Dean. The Dean, in turn, makes a recommendation to the Provost, who makes the decision to grant or deny the request.
  • Problem-Solving Orientation: Suggest concrete and workable solutions for problems noted; cite the departmental, collegiate, or University resources that are available or will be provided to the faculty member to help address problems. For example, a faculty member with poor teaching evaluations could be encouraged to utilize the Center for Teaching or a faculty member who experienced significant delay in setting up his/her lab (especially if the department / college / University contributed in any way to the delay) might be provided with an RA for a semester to make up for the lost time.
  • Positive Recognition: Congratulate faculty on notable achievements in teaching, research, and service, including the achievement of recognizing a problem and working to improve the deficiency.
  • Convey Expectations: The faculty member should receive from the annual review a clear sense of the extent to which s/he is making progress towards meeting departmental and collegiate expectations for a positive reappointment, tenure, and/or promotion decision. Expectations can be communicated directly (e.g., "Professor G needs to be more active in writing up completed research for publication.") but also indirectly through expanded description. For example, "Professor W’s published papers and those s/he plans to write do not duplicate each other, which is an important consideration in developing a body of research that will make a significant contribution to the field." OR "Professor B has assumed responsibility for a desirable mixture of courses during the two years at the University of Iowa, both required classes and electives drawing on his/her areas of expertise."
  • Balance: The review should be a balanced appraisal, including description, critical evaluation, advice, and praise.
  • Recognize International Research: To meet the objective of higher international engagement among UI faculty, it is crucial that faculty be given proper credit for international scholarship and that there be a general understanding in UI departments that international and globalized research will be considered an asset in evaluations for Promotion and Tenure (P&T). Best practices for consideration when evaluating the portfolio of a faculty member for promotion may be reviewed in the document, Recognizing and Rewarding International and Globalized Research for Promotion and Tenure.

  • Inconsistent Reports of Peer Observation of Teaching: Although not formally required by University policy, ideally peer observations would occur on an annual basis, not just during reappointment years. Some colleges have a requirement for annual evaluations, so DEO should consult their collegiate guidelines on this matter. Although the candidate should be involved in the process, the DEO is responsible for ensuring that the observations take place. (Some reviews have implied that it is the candidate's responsibility to initiate these evaluations, but that is not the case.)
  • Poor Timing of Comments: Professor Y should be first author of a majority of her/his publications" is a more helpful statement if it is introduced in the first few years of the probationary period than in the last year pre-tenure when there is little time for Professor Y to effect a change. In the final year pre-tenure, reference to previous statements about a problem may be warranted: "As has been stated in several past annual reviews, it is the department's expectation that Professor Y should be first author of a majority of her/his publications. While progress has been made, we continue to have concerns about the small number of first-authored articles.
  • Lack of Feedback / Input from Faculty of a Secondary Department: Both departments should provide written feedback annually when a secondary (joint) appointment is greater than 0% and for reappointment reviews in the case of 0% secondary appointments. Although the breadth of the review will vary depending on the faculty member’s activities and percent appointment, a signature alone is not sufficient for annual reviews of a real-time appointment. In the case of 0% re-appointments, the review does not need to be lengthy, but should include a brief description and evaluation of the faculty member’s activity in the department and, if appropriate, an explicit statement that the affiliation continues to be beneficial so that department wishes to renew the appointment. A signature alone is sufficient for "continuation" reviews of 0% joint appointees.
  • No Description of Evaluation Process: The relevant questions to be answered are on the Annual Review Form. As stated earlier, this section may be somewhat "boilerplate," but should be modified for each individual review. For example, a long statement that U, V, W, X, Y, and Z may have been part of the review process is not as informative to either the faculty member or those outside the department as a briefer statement that U, W, and Z occurred in this particular faculty member’s review.
  • Inadequate Reappointment Review: The University Operations Manual requires that the reappointment review (typically for 3 years at the mid-point of the probationary period) be "a full-scale departmental-collegiate review" (see OM Section III-10.1a(4)(b)). Whereas a faculty committee may conduct a continuation review, the departmental faculty as a whole should be involved in reappointment reviews, with a clear decision making process for renewal of the appointment. The OM states, "…only if the faculty member’s teaching effectiveness and research productivity and potential are deemed of such a quality that an affirmative tenure decision is likely to be made three years later, should something other than a terminal appointment be tendered." This is a heavy burden, and a reappointment review should be sufficiently comprehensive to enable departmental faculty to make an informed decision about whether a positive tenure decision is likely.
  • Failure to Include CV with Reappointment Reviews: When an annual review results in a faculty member being reappointed (typically for 3 years at the mid-point of the probationary period), a current CV must accompany the review.
  • Vague Exhortations to More or Better Work: It is important to inform faculty members of deficits. However, statements that could be made to all probationary faculty are not helpful; they do not convey whether a specific deficit is being addressed or whether the review simply is stating a general and obvious principle. For example:
    • Weak:
      • "Dr. K should endeavor to increase her/his number of peer-reviewed publications."
      • "It will be important for Dr. W to document a record of effective teaching."
    • Better:
      • “Dr. K has fewer peer-reviewed publications than expected at this stage; a significant increase in productivity will be needed for a positive tenure review."
      • “Dr. W has forgotten to collect ACE forms in some classes. Although peer observations of Dr. W’s teaching were positive, it will be important for him/her to document a record of effective teaching from the student perspective as well.”
  • Pure Evaluation without Description or Providing the Evidentiary Basis: Providing faculty members with information about how you arrived at your evaluation helps them to monitor future progress. For example:
    • Weak:
      • "You have done a very good job teaching in all of your courses"
      • "Your research is right on track."
    • Better:
      • "You have done a very good job teaching in all of your courses as evidenced by your excellent ACE scores and positive student comments" or "According to the faculty who observed your classes, you have done a very good job teaching in all of your courses."
      • "You have an appropriate number of publications in high quality journals for this stage of your career." or "Congratulations on your recent invitation to present your work in a national forum. This invitation indicates your work is beginning to receive wide recognition, which is an important element in a positive promotion decision."
  • Pure Descriptive without Evaluative Feedback: Description is important, especially for those outside the department to understand faculty member's activities. However, both those outside the department and the faculty member also need to know whether what they have done is adequate, below average, or stellar. For example:
    • Weak:
      • "Dr. J has done X, Y, and Z."
      • "Dr. M has taught A, B, and C, with ACE scores ranging from x.x to y.y."
      • "You are co-chairing two Ph.D. dissertation committees."
    • Better:
      • "Dr. J has done X, Y, and Z. This is an excellent (poor) record to date."
      • "Dr. M has taught A, B, and C, with ACE scores ranging from x.x to y.y. This is an appropriate range of classes and these are excellent (poor) ratings for these courses."
      • "You are co-chairing two Ph.D. dissertation committees which is appropriate for this stage of your career. Within the next year or two, however, you should seek to be the sole mentor for a Ph.D. student."