Academic journal article Journal of Film and Video

Additional Thoughts

Academic journal article Journal of Film and Video

Additional Thoughts

Article excerpt


The Relationship between Annual Evaluation and the Promotion and Tenure Process

In most institutions with a formalized annual evaluation process, this process usually mirrors that described above for promotion and tenure, but it is, of course, considerably simplified. Often, each faculty member completes a form listing accomplishments in the areas of teaching, research/creative activity, and service. It is common for these forms to be similar to those used for promotion and tenure, but, of course, they cover only one year. In some schools it is required that supporting materials (teaching materials, completed research, evaluation letters, and so on) be appended; in others, this is optional. Annual evaluation forms, if any, are usually reviewed by a departmental committee, the chairperson, and the dean. At some point a recommendation regarding a merit salary raise is produced by one or more of the reviewers, and it is usually appended.

The annual evaluation can have, but does not necessarily have, an important relationship to the promotion and tenure process. If the forms used for annual evaluations are well designed and complete, and if the faculty member completes them with great care, and if the faculty member makes a point of assembling all manner of supporting material, whether required or not, the preparation of a promotion or tenure dossier several years later can be remarkably simplified. All the information and supporting material required for a dossier could be obtained with ease from the annual evaluations. The possibility of omitting something from a dossier because of faulty memory or faulty records would be greatly reduced. For this process to work, however, it is essential that annual evaluation forms include all the data required in promotion and tenure dossiers. A little time spent comparing the information required on the two forms will prove to be time well spent.

Most faculty members would like to believe that if they receive superior annual evaluations for the required number of years, their promotion or tenure is guaranteed. This is often not the case. A study of recent cases suggests at least two reasons why this might be so.

First, in many institutions, the annual evaluation process has an emphasis that is slightly different from promotion or tenure review. Annual evaluation often emphasizes teaching and service accomplishments. The most logical explanation for this is that work done on research/creative projects frequently extends over several years and it is extremely difficult to judge works in progress. At many institutions, however, the promotion and tenure process emphasizes research/ creative accomplishments. Thus, it is not completely illogical that one could have excellent annual evaluations and be denied promotion of tenure.

Second, the decision makers in the annual evaluation process are often different from those involved in promotion and tenure decisions. In some institutions, the chairperson's decision in an annual evaluation is final, subject only to a grievance. In other institutions, the college dean reviews the chairperson's decisions. Seldom, however, are annual evaluations subsequently reviewed by central faculty committees, provosts, and institutional presidents. But these individuals are involved in making promotion and tenure decisions and, in fact, many dossiers are rejected at these upper levels of an institution's administration. Also, lower-level decision-making bodies (departmental committees and the like) are less likely to be generous in a promotion and tenure case, knowing that their work will be reviewed carefully at higher levels.

To conclude, the young faculty member should use the annual evaluation process as a convenient way of gathering together information and supporting materials that will certainly be useful later Remember, however, that annual ratings should never be looked upon as a guarantee of promotion or tenure. …

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