Faculty and Administrator Annual Performance Review Process for Annual Review of 2020

Sept. 10, 2020


TO:          All Faculty and Academic Administrators

FROM:    Liesl Folks, Ph.D., MBA, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

DATE:      September 10, 2020

RE:           Faculty and Administrator Annual Performance Review Process for Annual Review of 2020

This year has been full of unexpected challenges for faculty which must be considered in workload assignments and in the annual performance review process, as described herein. In particular, I am writing to ask academic unit leaders to:

  1. Review individual faculty workload assignments for Annual Review of 2020 and adjust as needed in response to changes and challenges arising from the pandemic and from the furlough and furlough-based salary programs.
  2. Approach faculty 2020 annual reviews as a formative rather than evaluative process. The goal of formative review is to monitor progress and guide improvements moving forward, whereas evaluative review focuses on a summary of outcomes.
  3. Not use results from Student Course Surveys (SCS – the new version of the TCEs) for faculty annual performance reviews of 2020. Certain exceptions may be made for instructors whose on-line teaching was determined prior to the pandemic.

Work changes and challenges: All faculty have had to modify and adapt their efforts due to unanticipated changes and challenges associated with pandemic. Many have devoted additional time to restructuring in-person classes for remote learning formats. Planned research, service and extension activities have been upended in many cases.  Faculty who have important and valued caregiving responsibilities (for children and / or elders) have faced significant modifications to their typical schedules. The pandemic has disproportionately affected some groups more than others, in particular Indigenous, Black and Latinx communities. Moreover, these challenges may be of particular significance for early-career faculty. Despite these extraordinary circumstances, I note with deep appreciation the tremendous effort that our faculty has invested to provide quality instruction to students while often also juggling complex and shifting work and personal responsibilities.  These factors should be viewed holistically and compassionately within our faculty annual review process, recognizing that many ‘typical’ activities have been untenable during the pandemic, and that unplanned shifts in focus and emphasis have occurred for many.

Faculty annual performance reviews: Academic unit leaders are required by ABOR-PM-6-201 and UHAP 3.201 policies to complete faculty annual performance reviews on the regular timeline to complete meetings between faculty members and administrative head/director by March 31, 2021. As currently stated in UHAP policy, the focus of the faculty annual performance review is (i) to involve faculty members in the design and evaluation of their own objectives and goals; (ii) to assess faculty activity through peer review; (iii) to understand faculty activity that contributes to the university; (iv) to document faculty activity; and (v) to recognize and maximize special talents of faculty. I urge all faculty and supervisors to focus on these five goals as they reflect on the past year, with all its changes and challenges, to undertake a primarily formative review (to monitor progress and guide improvements), rather than the typical evaluative review (to assess outcomes).

Student Course Surveys (SCS) & Peer Observation:  The SCS were not collected in Spring 2020, and thus are not available. The SCS will be available in Fall 2020 on an opt-in basis by faculty members (through the department liaison), but not required. However, even if faculty receive SCS this Fall, they should be used for formative input, rather than evaluation. Separately, we encourage all faculty to regularly collect formative input from students at key points during the semester to ensure that the class format and strategies are well-received. Peer observation is still viable via remote learning; however, if it is conducted this Fall, it is recommended to choose only two or three areas to focus on for peer observation of teaching review this year given the COVID19 context.

UAVitae:  We recommend that faculty enter their recent awards, teaching and research/scholarly/creative activity into UAVitae in order to update their UAProfile page. In order to reduce faculty time burden, UAVitae automatically updates your classes, student credit hours, TCE/SCS, and many publications can be imported from public sources, such as Google Scholar. As in previous years, we ask that all peer review committee reports and department head reports be entered in UAVitae for transparency.

Administrator Annual Performance Reviews: All administrators must be evaluated in writing once every 12 months by their immediate supervisor with respect to their leadership in building trust, fostering collaborations, maximizing resources, achieving results and instilling inclusive excellence, according to UHAP 5.2. Input from faculty and staff will be required this year as part of administrator annual review; administrators’ supervisors can find the Qualtrics library survey here to view and copy the sample template. 

Possible Changes to the Faculty Annual Performance Review Policy:  In the past year, two taskforces with over 70 faculty members have developed recommendations for changes to the faculty annual performance review process, which we will shortly release for your review and comment. The changes will emphasize mentoring for long-term career success and progress. These changes would be implemented at the earliest for review of 2021 faculty activity.

I thank each and every faculty member for your continued dedication to UArizona’s extraordinary teaching, remarkable research/scholarship and creative activities, wide-ranging outreach and community service, and transformative extension activities.