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Annual Performance Reviews of Faculty

Policy Information

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Last Revised Date: 
June, 2022
Policy Number: 
UHAP 3.2
Responsible Unit: 
Faculty Affairs

Policy

This Section applies to annual performance reviews of career-track and tenure-track faculty.

This Section applies to annual performance reviews of all faculty members, except those faculty members who are appointed with an “Adjunct” or “Visiting” title on their Notices of Appointment or Reappointment and/or those faculty members whose Notices of Appointment or Reappointment provide a short-term appointment period of six months or less. Tenured faculty members are also subject to the procedures set forth in ABOR-PM 6-201(H) on Post- Tenure Review.

Faculty members of the University are reviewed with respect to all personnel matters on the basis of excellence in performance. Annual performance reviews are intended:

  1. To involve faculty members in the evaluation of their performance and professional growth;
  2. To recognize and maximize the special talents, capabilities, and achievements of faculty members;
  3. To provide feedback on performance and accomplishments in the areas of teaching, inclusive scholarship (UHAP 3.3.02B), and professional service through the use of peer review;
  4. To remediate ratings of “unsatisfactory” in one or more areas of responsibility through specific improvement plans;
  5. To fulfill ABOR-PM 6-201(H) post-tenure review for tenured faculty members; and
  6. To fulfill ABOR-PM 6-201(D)(4) and (D)(5) review for renewal requirements for career- track faculty members with multiple-year appointments.

Faculty members with an overall annual performance review rating of “meets or exceeds expectations” may be eligible for salary increases and other awards that exist at the unit,  college, or University levels.

3.2.01 Annual Performance Review Process

In accordance with University and ABOR Policies, each faculty member’s performance will be reviewed in writing on a scheduled basis at least once every 12 months. This review is designed to assess the faculty member’s annual activity consistent with their unit’s annual review criteria, as well as their workload responsibilities.

The evaluation will include peer review by faculty on an annual basis for career-track, tenure-eligible, and tenured faculty in the department, program, or instructional unit and a review by the immediate administrative head. Regardless of peer review method, a peer review committee must oversee the peer review process. The committee will oversee the process and advise the immediate administrative head on any individual reviews that require remediation or other action. A diversity of faculty representation from all ranks and all tracks in the peer review committee is encouraged. The peer reviewers are elected unless decided otherwise by the faculty of the unit. The peer review committee deliberations, evaluations, and recommendations are confidential, except that peer review recommendations are shared with the faculty member and the immediate administrative head.

Annual meetings with the immediate administrative head are required for tenure-eligible faculty in order that they receive written formative feedback on their progress towards tenure and promotion. A rating of “meets or exceeds expectations” in an annual performance review does not necessarily indicate successful progress toward promotion and tenure. Criteria and decisions regarding promotion and tenure are detailed in UHAP 3.3.

Annual meetings with the immediate administrative head are encouraged for academic professionals at the associate rank in order to provide feedback on their progress toward promotion.

The following procedures are involved in the annual performance review of faculty members. Within these general policies, departmental faculty and the immediate administrative head will set the schedule and procedures for annual performance reviews. Units will put out the call for annual review information no later than 30 days prior to the deadline.

  1. The faculty member must provide annual information on all areas identified in their workload. The type and format of the information will be indicated by the Office of the  Provost and the unit level annual review criteria. In the area of teaching, student evaluation of faculty classroom performance in all classes is required. Periodic peer observation for teaching is recommended as part of the annual review process.
  2. The faculty member must provide information to the immediate administrative head and identified peer reviewers in a timely manner based on the deadline determined by the unit.
  3. Peer reviewers will consider departmental criteria and will provide written formative and summative feedback for faculty. They will indicate if the faculty member “meets or exceeds expectations” or “does not meet expectations” for each workload category, as well as overall. A brief written summary describing the rationale and results of the peer review are transmitted confidentially to the immediate administrative head and the faculty member.
  4. The immediate administrative head makes the final decision on the annual review rating based on information provided by the faculty member, peer reviewers, students, and such other information as is available, including findings that the faculty member has violated codes of professional conduct, as detailed in the Statement on Professional Conduct in UHAP 7.01.01. If the immediate administrative head determines that one or more areas of performance “do not meet expectations”, they will further distinguish by assigning a rating of “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory.” They may also further distinguish between performance that “meets/exceeds expectations” and performance that is “truly exceptional”.  The immediate administrative head then provides the faculty member with their preliminary decision in writing. No in-person meetings are required for faculty who receive a “truly exceptional” or “meets/exceeds expectations” in all categories. In-person meetings are only required for the following:
    1. Annually for all tenure-eligible faculty, regardless of rating;
    2. Annually for all career-track faculty who are at their initial rank (e.g.,  Assistant Professor, Lecturer);
    3. When the rating in any category is “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory” for tenured or career-track faculty;
    4. As requested by the faculty member.

In cases where the performance is “unsatisfactory” in any category, the immediate administrative head and faculty member must meet within 30 days of the written evaluation date. The discussion at this meeting will include the evaluation of the immediate administrative head as well as that of the peer reviewers. As soon as possible after meeting with the immediate administrative head, the faculty member will receive a final written evaluation. The faculty member may provide comments, and must sign the document and return it to the immediate administrative head within 10 days of the meeting. The final written evaluation is a part of the faculty member’s departmental personnel record.

  1. If the faculty member disagrees with the evaluation, the faculty member may appeal  within 30 days of the final written evaluation date as detailed in Section 3.2.03.
    1. If the faculty member fails to provide annual performance review information to the immediate administrative head for peer review by the deadline established by the immediate administrative head or if they fail to sign the review document, the faculty member will receive an overall “unsatisfactory” performance rating unless the immediate administrative head determines that good cause exists for an exception.
  2. When a faculty member holds an appointment that involves an administrative assignment less than 1.0 FTE, the related duties will be assessed by the faculty member’s supervising administrator, while the faculty member’s teaching, research, and other service duties will be considered through appropriate peer review. The supervisor for the majority of FTE will finalize the review (or the unit head in case of an even split), taking peer review into consideration. The final review will be made available to both supervisors.

3.2.02 Annual Performance Review Criteria

Written evaluation criteria for the annual performance review will be developed by faculty of the department or unit, together with the unit head, to document the performance expectations for faculty members. These criteria will differentiate between performance in all four categories. The stated criteria must align with the mission of the department or unit, the college or division, and the norms of the discipline. These expectations must be approved by the college dean and the Provost.

Criteria for reviews of performance must consider each portion of the faculty member’s workload, which may include: teaching, inclusive scholarship and creative activity, service, clinical work, etc. Evaluation criteria may provide for recognition of long-term faculty activities and outcomes. Guidelines and evaluation procedures within departments shall be flexible enough to meet the particular objectives of the department without undermining the uniformity of the APR process as described herein.

3.2.03 Appeals of Annual Performance Reviews

Faculty members who disagree with their performance review may appeal the review to the next administrative level, ordinarily the dean of the appropriate college. Such appeals must be made in writing to the next administrative level within 30 days from the date of the written annual performance review and must state with specificity: (a) the findings to be appealed; (b)    the points of disagreement; (c) the facts in support of the appeal; and (d) the corrective action sought.

The administrator reviewing the appeal will consider the facts in support of the appeal and develop any additional facts deemed necessary. The decision on the appeal will be completed in writing within 30 days, with copies provided to the faculty member and the unit or other immediate administrative head involved in the initial annual performance review. This decision is final and not subject to further appeal.

General grievances, including matters beyond the scope of the performance evaluation process, are addressed under the procedures set forth in UHAP Chapter 6.

3.2.04 Career-Track Faculty Unsatisfactory Review Ratings 

If a career-track faculty member receives an overall annual performance review rating of unsatisfactory, the faculty member’s immediate administrative head, in consultation with the peer review committee, may either develop a remediation plan for the faculty member, which includes specific benchmarks to improve the faculty member’s performance over the next review period, or may consider non-renewal of the faculty member’s appointment. A remediation plan will include the objective, process, and outcomes.

3.2.05 Tenure-track Faculty Unsatisfactory Review Ratings

Tenured faculty members who receive an annual performance review rating of “unsatisfactory”  in any area of responsibility are required to enter one of two processes, either the Faculty Development Plan (FDP) or the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), depending upon the extent of the deficiency or deficiencies.

  1. The Faculty Development Plan

A tenured faculty member who receives an annual performance rating of “unsatisfactory” in any single area of performance (for example, teaching, research or service) will enter into a FDP at the unit level, except as set forth in Section 3.2.05.2 below.

  1. Objective and Process
  1. The objective of the FDP is to address an “unsatisfactory” rating in a single area of performance before it becomes sufficiently serious to impair the faculty member’s overall performance.
  2. Corrective action outlined in the FDP can involve a plan to improve the performance and/or to redirect the faculty member’s work responsibilities to areas of particular strengths.
  3. The plan, developed at the unit level in collaboration with the faculty member, may have a maximum of one-year duration and will include appropriate interim monitoring and feedback. The plan should include the following components:
  • Describe specific reasons for not meeting expectations;
  • Provide a list of reasonable outcomes needed to meet expectations in the future;
  • Describe the process to be followed to achieve outcomes;
  • Provide the timeline for accomplishing the process, including at least annual or more frequent reviews;
  • Describe benchmarks and expectations;
  • Describe the criteria to be used in evaluating progress in the FDP;
  • Address the resources needed to facilitate the FDP; and
  • Describe any alteration in job responsibilities that may be necessary to implement the FDP.

     B. Outcomes

  1. Improvement to a level that “meets or exceeds expectations” in the “unsatisfactory” area within one year will make the faculty member eligible for consideration for any awards that become available during that year.
  2. If the immediate administrative head and the peer review committee determine in the next evaluative period that sufficient progress in the “unsatisfactory” area has not occurred within the terms of the plan, a “unsatisfactory” rating will be assigned to the faculty member’s overall performance for that evaluative period and the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) process described below will apply.
  3. If the faculty member refuses to participate in developing the FDP, an “unsatisfactory” rating will be assigned to the faculty member’s overall performance for that evaluative period and the PIP process described below will apply.
  4. The faculty member may appeal a finding that the faculty member failed to meet the  requirements of the FDP. See Section 3.2.03 for appeal process and timeline.
  1. The Performance Improvement Plan

A tenured faculty member who receives an overall rating of “unsatisfactory” will enter directly into the PIP process. A PIP may result from (a) an overall rating of “unsatisfactory”; (b) two or more areas of performance rated as “unsatisfactory”; (c) the faculty member’s failure to provide annual performance review information to the immediate administrative head and peer review committee by the established deadline (unless the administrator extends the deadline for providing that information based upon good cause); or (d) the faculty member’s failure to achieve a satisfactory outcome in a FDP or failure to participate in the FDP.

A. Objective and Process

The objective of the PIP is to enable the faculty member to resume the faculty member’s place as a fully contributing member of the faculty. The faculty member must take responsibility for meeting to develop the PIP and submitting any necessary materials in a timely manner, and for  following the PIP once it is developed.

  1. Within 30 days of receiving the annual performance review rating or the outcome of an appeal of that review, the faculty member and the immediate administrative head will develop the PIP in consultation with the peer review committee and with approval by the dean.
  2. The PIP will specify its anticipated duration and will be implemented as soon as possible after it has been developed but no later than the semester following the overall “unsatisfactory” annual performance review rating. For “unsatisfactory” ratings in any area (teaching, service, or research), the PIP will generally be effective no longer than one year. In those rare circumstances where the nature of the issue cannot be fully remedied in one year, the PIP may extend beyond one year but in no event will a PIP exceed three years in duration. The Provost must approve any PIP that exceeds one year in duration. The PIP will generally:
  • Describe specific reasons for not meeting expectations;
  • Provide a list of reasonable outcomes needed to meet expectations in the future;
  • Describe the process to be followed to achieve outcomes;
  • Provide the timeline for accomplishing the process, including at least annual or more frequent reviews;
  • Describe benchmarks and expectations;
  • Describe the criteria to be used in evaluating progress in the PIP;
  • Address the resources needed to facilitate the PIP; and
  • Describe any alteration in job responsibilities that may be necessary to implement the PIP.
  1. The College and unit will make reasonable efforts to coordinate appropriate resources to facilitate the PIP’s implementation and success. The faculty member’s performance within the context of the PIP will be evaluated as early as possible, but no later than one year after the PIP is put into effect. This special evaluation will be carried out by the immediate administrative head and the peer review committee in place at the time of the evaluation with the “unsatisfactory” rating, and must  be approved by the dean.

B. Outcomes

The PIP concludes when any one of the following occurs:

  1. The faculty member achieves overall “meets or exceeds expectations” performance as required by the PIP and as documented by the special evaluation and approved by the dean.
  2. The faculty member fails to demonstrate adequate progress relative to the PIP’s benchmarks and performance goals, which will constitute just cause for dismissal, and result in a recommendation for dismissal, in accordance with ABOR-PM 6-201(J).
  3. The faculty member fails to participate in the PIP process or fails to submit required materials when requested, which will lead to a recommendation for dismissal, in accordance with ABOR-PM 6-201(J).

3.2.06 Post-tenure Audits and Reporting

In order to audit the annual performance review process, the dean of each college and an elected faculty committee convened by the dean will review a sufficient number of tenured  cases each year to ensure that over a maximum of five years every tenured file is reviewed.

Accordingly, every tenured faculty member will have their annual reviews and curriculum vitae reviewed by this elected, college-level peer review committee no less than once every five years. The college-level peer review committee will provide a brief write up of progress to the  immediate administrative head who will meet in person with the tenured faculty member to discuss feedback. For associate professors, particular focus will be provided on feedback on their progress toward promotion.

This dean’s-level audit will determine the adequacy, fairness, and integrity of the process. If deemed appropriate as a result of the audit, the dean may refer files back to unit-level peer committees.

The Provost will review the annual review process and the dean’s-level audit outcomes, and from that review will report on the number of “meets or exceeds expectations” and “unsatisfactory” ratings of annual performance reviews, by unit, to the Faculty Senate each year.

Revision History*

06/2022: All Sections revised.

08/13/2018: Peer review process adjusted.

06/21/2017: References to nontenure-eligible removed.

08/23/2016: Revisions approved.

07/2014: All Sections revised.

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions, Sources, Related Information, and Revision History are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.

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