Review of Department Members

Revised (2/12; 04/11; 03/04; 03/96; 5/91; 12/86; 5/84; 7/76)

Evidence for Review



Each time a department member is reviewed, a portfolio will be compiled including the following evidence supplied by the Department Program Assistant.

I. Activity Sheet

All department members are required to submit an annual activity sheet of no more than one page describing how they are satisfying the Job Description.

II. For Teaching

Probationary Faculty

  • First-year probationary faculty will be assigned three peer observations (by the Dept. Chair or designate or Staff Committee member) during their first year of hire, with two of those peer observations being in fall semester. Additionally, those who teach composition will have a required mid-term formal meeting in the fall with the Director of First-Year Composition to review assignments, syllabi, and teaching generally. Student evaluations must be submitted for all courses during the academic year. Individuals may also include a reflective narrative to help explain and contextualize student evaluations. 
  • Second-year and continuing probationary faculty will be assigned one peer observation per year (by the Dept. Chair or designate or Staff Committee member) and must submit student evaluations for all courses each fall semester. Individuals may also include a reflective narrative to help explain and contextualize student evaluations.
  • Probationary faculty will keep all peer and student evaluations in their annual review folder until tenure so that trends can be observed over this period of time.
  • For the semester prior to the tenure vote for a probationary faculty member, two peer observations (one by the Dept. Chair and one by a Staff Committee member) and students evaluations for all courses must be submitted.

Academic Staff

  • Academic staff will be assigned one peer observation for each of their first and second semesters of hire (by the Dept. Chair or designate or Staff Committee member). Additionally, those who teach composition will have a required mid-term formal meeting during their first semester of hire with the Director of First-Year Composition to review assignments, syllabi, and teaching generally. Student evaluations must be submitted for all courses during the first two semesters of employment. Individuals may also include a reflective narrative to help explain and contextualize student evaluations.
  • Third-semester and continuing academic staff will be assigned one peer observation during semesters 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 of hire (by the Dept. Chair or designate or Staff Committee member) and must also submit student evaluations for all courses during each of these semesters. Individuals may also include a reflective narrative to help explain and contextualize student evaluations.
  • Academic Staff who have served for twelve semesters or more will be assigned one peer observation every five years (by the Dept. Chair or designate or Staff Committee member) and must submit student evaluations for all courses every Fall semester. Individuals may also include a reflective narrative to help explain and contextualize student evaluations.
  • Beginning, continuing, and long term academic staff will keep all peer and student evaluations in their annual review folder for five years  so that trends can be observed over this period of time. New materials for the present year will replace the materials for the year that is furthest back, every year when annual performance evaluations are conducted.

Tenured Faculty

  • Tenured faculty will be assigned one peer observation every five years (by the Dept. Chair or designate or Staff Committee member) and must submit all student evaluations from one semester (their choice) every five years. Individuals may also include a reflective narrative to help explain and contextualize student evaluations.
  • Tenured faculty will keep all peer and student evaluations in their annual review folder for five years. New peer observations and student evaluations will replace the existing materials when a new tenure review is conducted. Tenured faculty should continue to submit activity sheets highlighting their progress in teaching, service, and research every year.

All faculty and Academic Staff          

  • The Staff Committee, staff member or Chair of the Department may request additional student evaluations or peer observations, at any time if it is considered necessary. These additional student evaluations or peer observations will be included in the department member's file. 
  • All faculty and academic staff may submit supplementary materials to be considered for evaluation decisions. Along with activity sheets and course syllabi, examples of such materials may include but are not limited to sample assignments or descriptions thereof; curriculum development; participation in teaching improvement workshops and conferences, examples of commentary on student papers. For academic staff and tenured faculty, these materials will be kept in annual evaluation folders. For probationary faculty, these materials should be included in tenure portfolios.
  • The Department Chair and Staff Committee chair will meet at the beginning of each academic year to determine peer observation assignments.

III. For Professional and Public Service

All department members should provide evidence on their activity sheets demonstrating how they are satisfying Category II of the Job Description (e.g., list of department or university committees served on, etc.)

IV. For Research and Scholarly Activities


All faculty should provide evidence on their activity sheets demonstrating how they are satisfying Category III of the Job Description (e.g., list of publications, conference presentations, or work in progress, etc.)

V. For Progress Towards Tenure

Beginning with the fall retention and performance evaluation of a probationary faculty’s second year and for each retention and performance evaluation thereafter, the faculty member will maintain and make available to the Chair and Staff Committee a tenure portfolio documenting accomplishments within the four criteria for tenure (see the tenure policy). The tenure portfolio should contain any supporting materials that the candidate wishes to include addressing the areas of teaching, research, and service to the department, university, profession, or community. For example, the candidate may wish to include examples of her/his use of technology, interesting assignments, new course proposals, publications, manuscripts, conference programs, explanation of service activities provided to the department or university, notices of readings organized for the campus, etc. The portfolio need not contain activity sheets, peer observations, student evaluations, or syllabi since these should be available in the candidate’s department file.

Collecting Evidence

  • No later than the end of spring semester, the department chair is to notify the members that the evidence collecting period is drawing to a close. At the same time he or she will call attention to 1) the job description, 2) the evidence, and 3) personal performance objectives and development plan.
  • Student evaluations must be taken directly to the English department secretary by a designated person other than the evaluated person. It is the responsibility of the chair to see that the evidence collected in this manner is not tampered with in any way.
  • The department chair will keep all evidence, including student evaluations and peer evaluations, in special files (one for each member). In the case of untenured members and members who might possibly apply for promotion, the evidence will be kept on file by the department chair for at least three years. All department members will have access to their own files.
  • The contents of the file are confidential. Other than the person evaluated, only the department chair and the Staff Committee will have access to an individual’s file. A record should be kept of anyone who has viewed the file’s materials and of the portion of the materials viewed.

The Use of Evidence



Category II

According to University of Wisconsin Board of Regents policy (as circulated 24 September 1974):


Student evaluation of instruction as information used in actions on promotion, retention or the awarding of tenure.


Each Institution of the University Systems shall adopt such policies for instructional faculty as will insure (a) that evaluation of the instruction of each faculty member being considered for promotion or tenure shall be undertaken; (b) that the faculty body which initiates recommendations for promotion or tenure shall consider, in addition to independent peer judgment of teaching effectiveness, student evaluation data, taking into account existing limitations in validity and reliability of the evaluation methodology employed; and (c) that the faculty body initiating the recommendation shall include both its explicit evaluation of the teaching effectiveness of the person for whom the recommendation is made, and shall include a summary of information provided by student evaluation as part of the supporting evidence for its recommendation.

Each Institution shall develop systematic and firm procedure(s) for the manner and form of presenting student evaluation material for administrative purposes. Faculty members being evaluated should be informed of have the right to respond to any summaries of student evaluations to be submitted for administrative use.

Student evaluation of instruction as information used in actions on merit salary increase.

All faculty members being considered for merit salary increases shall be evaluated by their peers as to their instructional ability, using information from student evaluation of their instruction, as well as other information relevant to assessment, at least once every three years. The intent of this policy is to delegate to the Institutions and their faculties decision as to the minimal frequency with which full assessment of teaching performance should be undertaken and does not, however, imply that more frequent student evaluation might not be wise or desirable in order to provide the most substantial basis for the formal assessment of teaching performance.

Peer evaluation is the Staff Committee’s judgment after the Committee has carefully reviewed evidence submitted under Categories I, II, and III and evidence offered by Staff Committee members.

Each year, the Chair with advice form the Staff Committee, will determine on the basis of submitted evidence the rating (above, within, or below the job description) of each staff member.

Categories III & IV

The Chair of the department with advice from the Staff Committee will determine the ratings in these categories. No one may be rated below under Categories IIB and III.