See also:  Conducting Probationary and Non-Tenure Track Faculty Reviews

Report Guidelines 

Annual Review:  Probationary Faculty (non-tenured, tenure-track faculty) are to be reviewed on an annual basis in accordance with guidelines from the University Operations Manual and the Policy on Annual Review developed by the University Faculty Senate. The annual review is to be as complete and detailed as possible in order to provide sufficient feedback and guidance to the faculty member being reviewed. The review is not, however, to prejudge the review for promotion and tenure.

Initial Appointments:  Most initial probationary appointments at The University of Iowa are for three years. Typically, the progression involves a second three-year appointment with the tenure decision falling at the end of that appointment, during the sixth year of probationary service. In some cases, prior related experience coupled with excellence in teaching and research will warrant a shorter probationary period. The six year norm is intended to permit a thorough evaluation and to give a faculty member sufficient time to establish a strong record of performance. Given this progression, there are three critical decision times in the tenure track: the initial appointment, the three-year review and the tenure review, typically during the sixth year.

The DEO and departmental faculty must review all probationary faculty members for promotion, tenure, or reappointment during the third and sixth years of service or, when the appointment or reappointment period is for less than three years, one year prior to the termination of the appointment.

Reviews during intervening years are less intensive but are intended to facilitate development by providing faculty with an assessment of their performance. These reviews may be done by the DEO or by a departmental review committee, depending on departmental policy. DEO's are expected, however, to provide a review statement for all probationary faculty in conjunction with the completion of the University's Annual Review of Probationary Faculty form.

The annual review of probationary faculty is a progressive process. Each annual review should address issues raised in previous reviews in an effort to provide the faculty member with meaningful guidance in the progression toward the promotion and tenure review. If deficits are identified in an annual review, status reports should be provided in subsequent reviews.

First year review - The first year review is an abbreviated review but it should be completed during the spring semester to allow as much time as possible for the development of meaningful feedback. The first year review must include an evaluation of teaching performance.

Second year review - The second year review is a more comprehensive review based on the faculty member's record in teaching and scholarly/creative work since the beginning of the appointment. The primary purpose of the review is to advise the faculty member on progress toward meeting tenure guidelines. As such, the review should provide substantive suggestions and specific expectations for teaching, research and service.

Third year review - The third year review is a full-scale departmental-collegiate review that takes into account the faculty member's proven teaching effectiveness and research productivity and potential. Reappointment for a second three year period is to be made only if the faculty member's teaching effectiveness and research productivity and potential are deemed of such a quality that an affirmative tenure decision is likely to be made at the end of the second three year appointment.

The third year review should be based on the collegiate criteria established for promotion to Associate Professor. The report is to provide an informative and useful evaluation of progress made to date and should describe work that remains before the candidate reaches tenure review. The report should also offer advice on how to improve any areas of deficit or how to prioritize activities.

If the third year review conveys concerns or reservations about the promise of promotion, the department should recommend non-renewal of the contract. The faculty member then receives a notice of non-renewal and a one-year terminal appointment.

Fourth and fifth year reviews - The fourth and fifth year reviews concentrate on the previous year's activities and assess the progress towards the tenure review. Continued substantive evaluation and feedback related to teaching, research and service is to be provided to the faculty member.

Sixth year review - The sixth year is generally the review for promotion and tenure and it occurs in accordance with the College of Education Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.

Suggested Format for Annual Reviews

Typically, the review is summarized in a letter from the DEO to the Dean in the following format. Please keep in mind that the faculty member's record does not accompany the review as it is forwarded through the system. It is important, therefore, that the review provide a summary of the faculty member's accomplishments in conjunction with the evaluative statements.

  1. The first section includes Identification of the faculty member including the current status on the tenure track system, e.g. … "Dr. X is completing her fifth year and will be due for review for promotion and tenure during the next academic year." This paragraph should also indicate any unusual circumstances surrounding the faculty's member tenure track status such as an extension of the tenure clock or credit for previous experience elsewhere.
  2. The second section includes the Description of the Evaluation Process. This summary should clearly outline the review process utilized including the names of the committee members (if one was used), the materials reviewed, the dates and circumstances of classroom observations, etc. This paragraph should also outline the procedures used to inform the faculty member of the contents of the review, including the fact that the faculty member was given a copy of the review and informed of their right to reply to the review in writing.
  3. The third section is an Evaluation of Teaching. This summary should provide a substantive analysis of the classroom observations, course materials, and student evaluations.
  4. The fourth section is an Evaluation of Research. This summary should address both the quality and quantity of publications and should provide an evaluation of both the career and annual record.
  5. The fifth section is an Evaluation of Other Professional Contributions. This section should provide a substantive analysis of the faculty member's service contributions.
  6. The last section is a Summary. The summary should provide an analysis of the faculty member's progress during the past year and it should incorporate comments and suggestions from previous reviews. While annual reviews are not intended to prejudge the review for promotion and tenure, the summary should comment on the faculty member's progress toward that goal.

(September 2000)