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Annual Performance Reviews of Faculty

Policy Information

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Last Revised Date: 
August, 2018
Policy Number: 
UHAP 3.2
Responsible Unit: 
Faculty Affairs


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 also will be subject to the procedures set forth in ABOR-PM 6-201(H).

Faculty members of the University are evaluated 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 design and evaluation of objectives and goals of their academic programs and in the identification of the performance expectations central to their own personal and professional growth;
  2. To assess actual performance and accomplishments in the areas of teaching, research, and professional service through the use of peer review;
  3. To promote the effectiveness of faculty members through an articulation of the types of contributions they might make that enhance the University;
  4. To provide a written record of faculty performance to support personnel decisions;
  5. To recognize and maximize the special talents, capabilities, and achievements of faculty members;
  6. To correct unsatisfactory ratings in one or more areas of responsibility through specific improvement plans designed to correct the deficiencies in a timely manner;
  7. To fulfill ABOR-PM 6-201(H) post-tenure review for tenured faculty members; and
  8. To fulfill ABOR-PM 6-201(D)(4) and (D)(5) review for renewal requirements for career-track faculty members with multiple-year appointments (such as assistant, associate, or full clinical or research professors; assistant, associate, or full professors of practice; and other such titles approved by the Provost).

All faculty members who are found to be performing overall as meeting expectations in the annual performance review may be eligible for salary increases and other awards that may exist or be established at the unit, college, or University levels.

To audit the annual reviews conducted within departments, colleges will have their own faculty status committee that is either elected or appointed according to provisions approved by the faculty in the college.

3.2.01 Annual Performance Review Process

Each faculty member's performance will be evaluated in writing on a scheduled basis at least once every 12 months. The annual performance review will evaluate the faculty member's performance in the faculty member's department or unit consistent with that unit's responsibilities and University and ABOR policies. Every annual review of teaching will consist of peer and student input, including student evaluations of faculty classroom performance in all classes, and other expressions of teaching performance.

The assessment of performance will include a peer review by faculty in the department, program, or instructional unit and a review by the immediate administrative head. If peer reviews are conducted by all members of the faculty or by peer reviewers specifically selected because their expertise is relevant to the individual faculty member, a peer review committee must still be in place in order to oversee the review process and advise the head or director on any individual reviews that require remediation or other action. The peer reviewers are to be elected unless decided otherwise by the faculty of the unit, and their deliberations, evaluations, and recommendations, as well as any evaluations or recommendations received by them, are confidential. However, the immediate administrative head will provide the faculty member with a summary of the peer evaluation upon request.

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:

  1. The first step is information gathering. The faculty member must provide information to the immediate administrative head and identified peer reviewers in a timely manner. In the area of teaching, student evaluation of faculty classroom performance in all classes is required.
  2. Peer evaluation, through procedures and criteria determined by the faculty and head, is required. With career-track faculty, peer review may be conducted by other career-track faculty in the department, program, or instructional unit. The information gathered in the first step, and any other materials that may be deemed relevant, are utilized in the peer review. Results of the peer evaluation are transmitted directly to the immediate administrative head confidentially.
  3. The immediate administrative head, working with the peer reviewers, evaluates the faculty member on the basis of information provided by the faculty member, peer evaluators, 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. The unit head then provides the faculty member with a preliminary written evaluation.
  4. The administrative head and faculty member meet by March 31, if possible, to discuss the head's written evaluation, assignments, and expectations for the next annual review. The discussion at this meeting will also include a summary of the results of the evaluation conducted by the peer review committee, if requested. If the faculty member is tenure-eligible, then this meeting will include a discussion of the faculty member's progress toward tenure and promotion.
  5. Other tenure-track and career-track professors and lecturers should be advised on how their contributions align with the expectations for promotion set out in their unit’s criteria. If such faculty members are making exceptional contributions, they should be encouraged to apply for promotion. As soon as possible thereafter, the faculty member will receive the final written evaluation. The faculty member provides comments as desired, signs the final written evaluation, and returns it to the administrative head within 10 days of the meeting described in step 4 above. The final written evaluation will become a part of the faculty member's departmental records.
  6. If the faculty member disagrees with the evaluation, the faculty member may appeal within 30 days of receipt of the final written evaluation as detailed in Section 3.2.03.
  7. 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 administrative head, the faculty member will receive an overall unsatisfactory performance rating unless the administrative head determines that good cause exists for an exception.
  8. When a faculty member holds an appointment that involves an administrative assignment, the related duties will be assessed by a supervising administrator, while the faculty member’s teaching, research, and other service duties will be considered through appropriate peer review.

When an administrator or other individual holds more than one appointment involving administrative, professional, or other faculty assignments, the annual performance review will address contributions under each of these assignments.

Annual performance reviews may be considered in the promotion and tenure process, but such evaluations are not determinative on promotion and tenure decisions. Satisfactory ratings in the annual performance reviews do not necessarily indicate successful progress toward promotion and tenure. Progress toward promotion and tenure requires scholarly accomplishment over a period of years in the broader range of faculty responsibilities, and includes evaluation by external referees, which is not a part of the annual review process. Criteria and decisions regarding promotion and tenure are detailed in Section 3.3.

3.2.02 Annual Performance Review Criteria

Written evaluation criteria will be developed by faculty of the department or unit, together with the unit head, to document the performance expectations for faculty members. The recommended categories for evaluation are truly exceptional, exceeds expectations, meets expectations, needs improvement, and unsatisfactory. The stated expectations will differentiate between satisfactory and unsatisfactory performance and 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 annual performance must consider teaching effectiveness, research and scholarly growth, creative activity, service, and outreach. Evaluation criteria may provide for recognition of long-term faculty activities and outcomes. Concentration of effort in one of the three major areas of faculty responsibilities (teaching, research, and service) is permissible, and may even be encouraged. Guidelines and evaluation procedures within departments will be flexible enough to meet the particular objectives of the department without undermining the uniformity of the whole system. When teaching effectiveness is evaluated, a systematic assessment of both student and peer opinion will constitute one component of the evaluation.

Each annual review will emphasize performance in the current year, while also considering teaching effectiveness, service contributions, and research productivity over the past three to five calendar years. Reviews will consider performance patterns over the entire period of review, which will be determined by the unit. For example, previous ratings of needs improvement that have not been redressed may justify an unsatisfactory rating.

3.2.03 Appeals of Annual Performance Reviews

Faculty members who disagree with their annual performance reviews may appeal their reviews 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 administrative head involved in the initial annual performance review.

3.2.04 Unsatisfactory Ratings of Career-Track and Tenure-Eligible Faculty

If a career-track or tenure-eligible faculty member receives an overall annual performance review rating of unsatisfactory, the faculty member's immediate supervisor or department 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 choose to initiate other actions in accordance with University policy, which could include termination.

3.2.05 Post-tenure Reviews of Unsatisfactory Ratings

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

A. The Faculty Development Plan

A tenured faculty member who receives an annual performance review rating of overall satisfactory but with an unsatisfactory rating in any single area of performance (for example, teaching) will enter into a Faculty Development Plan (FDP) at the unit level, except as set forth in section 3.2.05.b below. The faculty member's administrative head, in consultation with the peer review committee, also may develop a Faculty Development Plan as set forth below for a faculty member who receives a rating of needs improvement in more than one area.

1. Objective and Process

a. 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.

b. Corrective action can involve a plan to improve the unsatisfactory performance and/or to redirect the faculty member's work responsibilities to areas of particular strengths.

c. 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.

2. Outcomes

a. Improvement to a level that meets 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.

b. If the administrative head and the peer committee determine in the next evaluative period that sufficient progress in the unsatisfactory area has not occurred in one year within the terms of the plan, an 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.

c. 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.

d. The faculty member may request a review of the finding that of failure to achieve a satisfactory level of performance in the FDP to the next administrative level.

B. The Performance Improvement Plan

A tenured faculty member who receives an annual performance review rating of overall unsatisfactory will enter directly into the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) process. An overall unsatisfactory rating may result from (a) two or more areas of performance rated as unsatisfactory; (b) one area of performance rated as unsatisfactory, depending on the emphasis assigned to that area or the extent of the deficiency; (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.

1. 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.

a. 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.

b. 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 deficiencies 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 deficiency 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 deficiencies;
  • Provide a list of reasonable outcomes needed to correct deficiencies;
  • 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.

c. The University will make reasonable efforts to provide appropriate resources to facilitate the PIP's implementation and success.

d. 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 department or unit head and the peer review committee in place at the time of the evaluation, and approved by the dean.

2. Outcomes

The PIP concludes when any one of the following occurs:

a. The faculty member achieves overall satisfactory performance as required by the PIP and as documented by the special evaluation and approved by the dean.

b. 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).

c. 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 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. 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 the unit peer committee.

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 satisfactory (or better) and unsatisfactory ratings of annual reviews, by unit, to the Faculty Senate each year.

Revision History*

Peer review process adjusted 8/13/18

References to nontenure-eligible removed June 21, 2017

Revisions approved 8/23/2016

All sections revised July 2014

* 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.