University of Delaware
Policy Guide for Department Chairs and Academic Program Directors

Evaluation Of Faculty


Annual evaluations provide administrators, faculty, professionals, and staff an opportunity to meet with their immediate supervisors for a personal review of activities and accomplishments and a planning session for future objectives and goals.  Leadership at the unit level can have a most direct and significant effect. 

Peer evaluations, which come less frequently, attempt to put wider resources into the review processes, resources that are represented by one's colleagues and their collective experience and wisdom.  Since promotion and tenure recommendations are
heavily dependent on peer evaluations, it is essential that candidates have early indications from their colleagues regarding their progress in the areas of teaching, research/creative/scholarly activity, and service.  The chair's role in these latter activities is to facilitate and coordinate the processes and to provide leadership wherever appropriate.

Categories of Faculty Activity

The three major areas of faculty activity are teaching, research/creative/scholarly activity, and service.  Defining precisely the three major areas is often difficult and sometimes impossible; in any case, all activities of a faculty member must be considered as an integrated whole. Faculty activity in each of the areas may vary from year to year, or even semester to semester, according to the interests and abilities of the faculty member, and according to the needs of the department, college, or the University as agreed to by the chair and dean.

Departmental chairs should refer to the approved departmental promotion and tenure policies for specific definitions of ctivities classified under teaching, research/creative/scholarly activity, and service.

Annual Evaluation of Faculty

The intent of the annual evaluation procedure is to:

  • provide the faculty member and the chair with an opportunity for personal review.
  • provide an accurate means of planning and evaluation of a faculty member's professional growth and development.
  • provide each faculty member and the University with timely and documented information concerning the faculty member's achievements and goals.
In addition to the above, these appraisals form the basis for merit pay increase.  Annual appraisals are not intended to take the place of either departmental or committee evaluations for promotion or tenure or of the periodic peer review of faculty.

Each year, the department chair (see Note #4) meets with every faculty member in the department, including permanent part-time faculty, to discuss the faculty member's development during that year and plans for the coming year.  The period covered in this meeting is the twelve-month period of time since the last appraisal.

Prior to their annual meeting, the chair and the faculty member complete a draft of the Faculty Appraisal and Planning Form.  During the discussion, the faculty member is shown a copy of the mid-ratings (median) for the entire department as established by the chairs preliminary evaluation of the departments faculty. In some cases the rating of an individual faculty member may be changed as a result of this discussion. After all faculty have met with the chair, final mid-ratings (median) for the entire department are calculated and recorded on each faculty member's form.  If the faculty member takes exception to any of the chair's ratings, the faculty member's rating for that item is also recorded on the form.  After the interview has been completed, the chair and the faculty member sign the final copy.  The faculty member's signature does not indicate agreement or disagreement with the appraisal, but simply that it was discussed in detail with the chair.

The data required at the top of the form are self-explanatory.  Full-time is checked if the person is full-time with the University and if all University responsibilities are being evaluated in the appraisal and planning form even though the individual may not be 100 percent funded by the department.  Part- time personnel, or personnel whose appraisal and planning form covers only part of their University responsibilities, are designated by indicating the proportion that is devoted to the department and is being appraised.  For faculty with joint appointments, their appraisal and plans are combined on one form, after the evaluating chair has consulted with the second chair. Otherwise, two separate forms, based on separate evaluations and requiring separate interviews must be prepared.

For each of the three areas, teaching, research/creative/scholarly activity, and service, the percent of the faculty member's effort assigned to that area is indicated. The manner in which these assignments are determined will vary considerably.  In some units it will be a matter of contract, in some it will be by formal or informal agreement between the faculty member and the chair, and in some it will simply be departmental practice applied to all members of the unit.  These percentages are very important because readers, in interpreting these appraisals, weigh each area according to the percent of effort assigned to that area for the individual faculty member.

For each area or item, the chair writes a narrative appraisal of the faculty member's relevant activities and then rates the person's performance on that activity.  The criteria to be used as the bases for these judgments are the criteria for performance of faculty members at each rank as codified under the promotion criteria accepted by the department, college, and University promotion and tenure committees, and by the provost's office, and should take account of the individual faculty member's particular responsibilities.

A 9-point scale for the ratings anchored at the end points with the terms unsatisfactory and outstanding is utilized.  N/A (Not Applicable) should be used only in those cases where there is no requirement for that individual to engage in that particular activity.  In other cases, N/R (Not Rated) may be used.  For example, a new Ph.D. might be given N/R in research/creative/scholarly activity because that individuals research program is too new to be evaluated meaningfully, but should not be given N/A because assistant professors, even new ones, are expected to engage in research/creative/scholarly activity.

It is recognized that no chair or any single individual can duplicate the judgment of several committees, nor can performance during a single year determine one's promotion, nor can these procedures match the extensive and intensive evaluation that takes place when a person comes up for promotion. Faculty appraisal and planning sessions provide an opportunity:  1) for faculty members to inform their chairs more completely and accurately about their activities; 2) for chairs to give the faculty their best judgments on how well the faculty have fulfilled their responsibilities during the year prior to appraisal; and 3) provide an opportunity for the faculty member and chair to discuss the faculty member's plans for the coming year.  The intent is to determine mutually acceptable goals that develop the faculty member's strength or correct any weaknesses.

Faculty members may add other materials to support their ratings on their activities, especially where they believe that a different appraisal should have been given.  Chairs also may add materials they consider appropriate.  Along with a copy of the Faculty Appraisal and Planning Form, copies of additional materials should be provided to the faculty member, the chair/department, the dean, and the provost.

Peer Evaluation of Faculty Members


  • Faculty members at all ranks should be subject to periodic reviews at reasonable intervals of time.
  • Reviews of individual faculty members normally will originate with the department. Such reviews should involve a substantial  number of faculty members but not the chair.
  • Faculty members under review have the right to supply such evidence that they feel may be necessary to a fair evaluation of their merits.  This does not preclude departments or others properly involved in the review process from soliciting and using other evidence, but in every such instance the faculty member should be informed of the source of that evidence.
  • Appropriate administrative officers may make independent evaluations within the review process.
  • Upon completion of the review, the faculty member should be apprised of the results.
  • Faculty members are entitled to the rights of appeal.  Reviews of individual faculty are not a substitute for competency hearings of tenured faculty.  They may serve, however, as a basis for instituting such hearings.  In the event of a  competency hearing, due process is observed, with the burden of proof residing with those instituting the hearing.
  • Schedules for evaluation

    1. Instructors and assistant professors are reviewed at least every two years but normally no more often than once a year. Not later than the fall of the sixth year of service, assistant professors are reviewed for promotion.
    2. Tenured associate professors are reviewed at least once within every three- to five-year period of service, but normally not more often than every two years.  Non-tenured associate professors are reviewed in the year prior to their eligibility for tenure.
    3. Full professors are reviewed at least once every five-to seven-year period of service, but normally not more often than every two years.

  • Departmental Responsibilities

    1. The department chair organizes and coordinates reviews of faculty.
    2. Reviews of instructors and assistant professors are conducted with the participation of associate and full professors in the department.  In no case should faculty members be reviewed without the participation of at least two members of their department, one of whom, if possible, must be a rank at least one step higher than the person under review.
    3. Associate professors are reviewed by professors in the department.  In those departments where fewer than two professors are available to conduct such a review, the chair of the department may request professors from other related departments to serve on the review body.
    4. Full professors are reviewed by a committee of at least three of their peers.  In small departments, professors from other related departments may be asked to serve at the request of the chair.
    5. These provisions specify minimum requirements.  A department may choose to constitute the whole department, or any other designated authority, to serve as a review body.  A department may choose to include in the review body faculty members at the same rank or lower rank of the person being evaluated so long as such persons do not constitute a majority of the body.

  • Submission and Evaluation of Documents and other Evidence

    1. The faculty member under review assembles a dossier of materials that the faculty member regards as appropriate and convincing evidence of the individuals abilities in the three major areas of evaluation.  The faculty member is notified of the date that the dossier is required by the chair in sufficient time before the review date, which is also be specified.
    2. The review body and/or the chair of the department may request additional evidence from:  a) the faculty member under review; b) other sources within the University, such as experts  in related fields, committee chairs, and colleagues; c) similar sources outside the University.  In all instances under (b) and (c), the faculty member is informed that such evidence is being requested.  If any evidence is requested in confidence, the faculty member must be told the source of such confidential information.  The faculty member may then communicate to the review committee in writing his or her position as to the qualifications of that source.
    3. The review body makes an evaluation of all evidence and the candidate's abilities in each of the three major areas.  A report summarizing the reasons for or against a favorable judgment is then forwarded to the dean of the college along with the chair's independent evaluation.  A copy of the report of the review body, of the chair, and of any other administrator is delivered to the faculty member under review upon request.

  • Administrative Review of Evaluations

      Appropriate administrative officers, such as chairs, deans, provost, and president may review the dossier of each faculty member reviewed whenever a recommendation for sabbatical, promotion, and/or tenure is made by the department, or whenever there is a significant and substantial change in the status or conditions of employment of any faculty member.  Further evidence may be solicited in accordance with the same procedures stipulated above.
  • Reporting Results of Reviews 

      Each faculty member is entitled to a personal interview with the chair of the department and, upon request, a written report of the review.  Wherever possible, the interview and report should carry specific indications where evidence has been satisfactory or, when it has not been, specific recommendations for improvement before the next review.
  • Appeals

      A faculty member may appeal the decision of the review body by requesting another review within a semester of the first review. A new committee may be requested.  This request may be rejected by the department, but is subject to appeal to the appropriate college and University committees.

Note #4: In academic units that are not departmentalized, the word "chair" should be replaced by "dean" or "director," whichever is appropriate, throughout these documents.  Similarly the word "department" should read "college" or "division."

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