Rationale for new faculty review system

Here's some background and a more detailed rationale for why we need a new system of faculty review.

Over the years, faculty have commonly complained about our current system of review PDF Document Download, both as candidates and reviewers, highlighting problems that tend to fall into the following three categories:

  1. Misalignment of different reviews – The annual and peer review operate on different calendars, with different evaluative terms and scoring, and in different formats (digital vs. paper); this can be confusing, and inefficient to produce files according to different logics
  2. Lack of clarity and consistency – While unit criteria help establish what faculty need to do, the guidelines for building files and evaluating files are sometimes unclear or inconsistently applied, which also causes confusion, stress, and inefficiencies
  3. Time pressures – The various reviews require an enormous amount of time on the part of candidates (in producing files) and reviewers (in evaluating them); too much time is spent on minutiae/documentation of faculty work than on the work itself; also, current timelines compromise the quality of reviews

In addition to these persistent problems, a few developments over the past year have highlighted weaknesses in our review process and exacerbated some of the pressures on candidates and reviewers. These developments include (1) the reorganization of the academic units (CAS into two colleges, and Business and Education creating departments), (2) the movement toward putting the Promotion and Tenure process on-line, and (3) the initiative to make a new post-tenure review policy. Together, these developments and the recurring problems point to the need to look again at our system of review and consider making changes to it.

The Faculty Review Chapter introduces various ideas for mitigating the problems and pressures associated with our current system of review. It includes ways to align the peer review and annual review, so they potentially reduce the unnecessary work involved. It changes the level of the peer review committee, as a way to reduce pressure on units and individual faculty members. And, it proposes reducing the number of peer reviews in the probationary period to a single 3rd year review. There are many other ideas as well.

It is important to note that while the review chapter proposes many changes in the process and procedures for how faculty are reviewed, it does not alter in any way the unit criteria by which faculty are evaluated. 

The broad goal is to move toward a review system that results in more valid and higher quality evaluations while also reducing the time and stress associated with them.

The ideas were put together in chapter form in order to present the system as a whole, as well as to see how the various parts relate to each other and to the system overall. Here's the full text of chapter 5 PDF Document Download, as well as a more abbreviated summary list of the changes in the review system PDF Document Download.