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February 15, 1999


XTI.99.02 Tenure Issues Committee Update and Draft Recommendations

Introduction and Update of Committee Activities:

This information report provides an update on activities of the ad hoc Tenure Issues Committee since it last reported to the Senate on September 14, 1998. That earlier report, XTI.99.01, identified the following remaining tasks for the committee: developing better information about the annual review process at UIUC and developing recommendations regarding faculty review at UIUC.

The committee has now completed a survey of units regarding their processes for annually reviewing faculty. The survey responses suggest that

Thanks to those who took the time to complete the survey instrument. The responses provided valuable insights to the committee regarding existing faculty review mechanisms.

The committee is also nearing completion of its final report which is expected to be included in the packet for the March senate meeting. This report will include a set of recommendations and their rationale. The committee has agreed on the concepts to be included in its recommendations as reflected in draft language developed on January 20, 1999. These recommendations, in draft form, follow for the preliminary information of the Senate and the UIUC academic community.

Draft Recommendations of the UIUC Tenure Issues Committee:

I. Mandated Annual Reviews of Faculty

A. Because of widely different unit missions, and in fairness to the faculty, every academic unit must document clearly its mission and its expectations as to faculty contributions to that mission. (Note: the word "unit" used throughout these procedures is envisioned to be the department, or other primary locus of a faculty member's appointment)

B. A unit's detailed Procedure for Annual Faculty Reviews should be a written document, approved by the unit's faculty, thereafter supplied to all new faculty, and filed with the College, or with the Provost's Office in the case of units reporting directly to that office.

C. Each year, every unit is required to review the contributions of its tenured faculty to the mission of the unit and of the campus.

D. The annual review of a faculty member must then include at least the following components:

  1. Each faculty member must provide in writing a statement of accomplishments during the past year (or other time period specified by the department), plans for the future, and a self-assessment of how well departmental expectations are being met.
  2. All faculty should be provided feedback as to the Unit Executive Officer's (UEO's) perceptions of how well the faculty member is meeting expectations. In appropriate circumstances, the UEO should meet with each faculty member concerned to discuss the faculty member's statement.
  3. For each faculty member, a permanent file will be maintained to contain the annual statements, copies of any written feedback, summaries of any discussions, and the report from any broader review (described below). The contents of this file will be open to the faculty member.
  4. If, in the view of the UEO, a broader review of the faculty member should be undertaken, a reviewing committee shall be appointed to carry out this review. Such a broader review could also be initiated by the faculty member, if he or she feels that the UEO is not correctly assessing his or her contributions (as evidenced, for example, by salary increments).
  5. The reviewing committee's exact size and composition shall be determined by the unit's elected faculty advisory or executive committee, but it must include at least three tenured faculty. The faculty member under review and the UEO shall have an opportunity to suggest or to object to names of potential members before the reviewing committee members are selected.
  6. In the case of a broader review, the reviewing committee should have access to the faculty member's file of past reviews, may meet individually with the faculty member and the UEO, and shall provide in a report its judgement as to whether the faculty member is exceeding, meeting, or falling short of expectations. This committee could also be involved in developing a remediation plan (e.g., providing advice on teaching improvement or encouraging new research directions), if appropriate. The report of the reviewing committee shall be distributed only to the UEO and the faculty member.

E. Unit executive officer follow-up to the annual or broader review.

  1. A UEO should consider if any steps are warranted in response to the reports, carrying out such further consultations as might be appropriate. These steps should be discussed with the faculty member and, as may be appropriate and warranted, also with the unit's elected executive or advisory committee and the dean before any action is taken.
  2. If a case has been made for more substantial recognition of merit, the executive officer should explore ways in which this might be accomplished.
  3. If a faculty member's performance is deemed by the review committee to depart from the unit's performance criteria, the circumstances should be explored with the faculty member. If problems have arisen because of inadequate institutional support for the faculty member's teaching or research, ways of addressing these problems should be explored. When appropriate, the executive officer will work with the faculty member to create an agreed-upon plan to take into account changes in interests or activity or to address any specific deficiencies. The plan will be explicit with respect to both expectations and the time in which these are to be met. The plan will be in writing, signed by both parties, placed in the faculty's member's personnel file, and monitored as an explicit part of future annual or broader reviews. Additional forms of monitoring also may be included in the plan.
  4. If a plan cannot be agreed upon, or if such plans have been ineffective, the UEO, in consultation with the reviewing committee, the unit's elected executive or advisory committee, the dean, and others as may be appropriate (e.g., legal counsel), should take steps to explore the situation more thoroughly. If appropriate, mediation may be considered. If a mutually agreeable resolution cannot be achieved, other outcomes may be pursued, including reassignment of duties or the initiation of sanction proceedings. Any such action must conform to the standards and procedures of applicable University Statutes and General Rules.

II Periodic Review of Faculty Evaluation by Units

A. Every academic unit's system of annual reviews of tenured faculty should be evaluated every five to seven years to assure that: (1) it has conveyed a clear sense of its expectations for faculty performance; (2) it has conducted its annual reviews (and follow-up) in conformity with policy governing the manner and content of such reviews; and, (3) it has applied its standards fairly and evenhandedly.

B. Procedure for Review

  1. The Dean of the College or other appropriate administrative officer (e.g. the Provost for units that report directly to that office) will administer this policy.
  2. Within the time periods set out, an ad hoc committee will be appointed by the Dean or other appropriate administrative officer and charged with conducting the unit evaluation. The ad hoc committee will be composed of faculty a majority of whom will normally not be members of the unit to be inspected.
  3. The ad hoc committee will review the dossiers compiled in the unit's annual evaluations over the period of time in question. It may inspect other relevant documents and conduct interviews it deems appropriate.
  4. The committee will prepare a report for submission to the appointing authority on whether or not the unit is in compliance with University policy on the conduct of faculty evaluation. It should identify any deficiencies that it believes should be addressed. A copy should be supplied to the UEO and elected faculty advisory body.

C. This procedure may be incorporated into a more general review of the unit.

III Implementing these policy recommendations

The Provost should implement these policy recommendations through appropriate communications with Deans, Directors, and Department Heads/Chairs.

Respectfully submitted by the chair in behalf of the committee,

Geneva Belford
Renee Clift
Elizabeth Delacruz
Matt Finkin
Fred Giertz
Michael Grossman
Ward Henson
Keith Hjelmstad
Carl Jones
Susan Larson
Edward Shoben
Ron Sousa
Don Uchtmann, Chair