Guidelines for the Periodic Evaluation of Faculty

Policy number: 2.10

Policy section: Academic Affairs

Revised Date: December 16, 2019

1.  Policy Statement

It is the policy of the University to conduct annual reviews of all full-time faculty. The criteria used for evaluation in the annual review process should be based on recognized standards for SMU and the discipline with respect to teaching, research/creative activity, and service.

2.  Purpose

The purpose of annual reviews is to monitor faculty performance and development closely and work with individual faculty members to identify appropriate programs or actions to address professional development goals.

3.  Principal Assumptions

  1. Evaluation of professional performance includes, as an important element, faculty participation in the life of the University, and administrative judgments about individual faculty are normally based on it.
  2. The faculty of a unit (generally the department or in the case of the Schools of Business, Law, and Theology, the faculty of the School) establish the criteria used for evaluation, subject to the endorsement of the Dean and the Provost. Changes to these criteria may only be made by the faculty of the unit, subject to the endorsement of the Dean and the Provost. These criteria, although based on those stated for the University as a whole, make reference to the "recognized standards for the discipline with respect to teaching and to scholarship." Each faculty member receives a copy of these criteria, as specifically applicable. Letters of appointment and reappointment set forth clearly and comprehensively the institutional expectations for the faculty member in the areas of teaching, research/creative activity, and service.
  3. In those instances in which variations in "recognized standards of the discipline with respect to teaching and scholarship" come into play or in which variations in the activities of the individual faculty member are pertinent (e.g., University service may be unusually heavy at one time and research at another, or multi-year research may yield publication only in final stages), it is important that the faculty member bring such considerations to the attention of the appropriate administrative officials.
  4. Accountability both to the University and to the individual faculty member must underlie any system of evaluation. Accountability can best be ensured by the formal requirement that each faculty member be evaluated periodically and that assessments by the head of the unit be based on specific documentation.
  5. The head of a unit functions in the dual role as the administrative representative in the department and as the representative of individual faculty.

4.  Procedures for Implementation

  1. The head of the unit establishes, in consultation with the faculty of the unit, a formal system for collecting data on each faculty member's teaching, scholarship, and service, including the requirement that each faculty member submit annually by February 15 a report of all professional activities of the previous calendar year (January 1 - December 31). The faculty member may include his/her own evaluation of teaching, research, and service activities as well as the requisite factual information in these areas. In addition, information may be collected from other available sources, such as evaluations of performance by peers based on the criteria established by the faculty, and broad-based and representative student evaluations. These materials are deposited in a personnel file which constitutes the documentary basis for any evaluation and/or recommendation made by the unit head. A faculty member has the right to examine this file to insure its accuracy and completeness.
  2. Upon the completion of the data collection and prior to any recommendation about salary, the head of the unit has an evaluative conference with the faculty member. This conference consists of a review of the report provided by the faculty member, and has as its primary objective the assessment and the enhancement of the professional development of the faculty member.
  3. The outgrowth of this conference is a written evaluative statement prepared by the head of the unit (as defined by each school) and submitted to the Dean and Provost. Such evaluation must be confidential pursuant to University policy and must be based on recognized standards that are flexible enough to acknowledge the full range of academic disciplines, relevant circumstances, and stages of a professional career (see Sections 3.b and 3.c, above). Such evaluation shall include not only an assessment of accomplishments but, if appropriate, suggestions for improvement. To ensure openness and accountability, the faculty member must be provided with a copy of the evaluative statement. The faculty member has the right to submit a direct statement to the Dean, with a copy to the head of the unit (if other than the dean).

5.  Salary Adjustments

  1. In the context of the general professional evaluation of the faculty member, the unit head will also apprise the faculty member, in whatever form is deemed appropriate, of the recommendation made about salary adjustment.
  2. Once the decision with regard to salary has been made, the unit head is available to faculty members to discuss the general salary adjustment principles that were followed and shall provide information, without impinging on the confidentiality of other salaries, about the average increment in the unit.
  3. If the faculty member is dissatisfied with the salary adjustment, he/she may ask the Dean to reconsider the matter. In those instances in which the Dean finds no justification for changes in the salary assigned and in which the faculty member believes that there are exceptional circumstances, the faculty member may request that the matter be reviewed by the Provost, who may then wish to consult with the Dean, the unit head, and/or an appropriate group of faculty. The Provost's determination shall be final.
  4. If a full-time faculty member believes that discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, sex, national or ethnic origin, or disability affected the salary adjustment, he or she may request the Provost's Office to review the adjustment and the alleged basis of discrimination. If, after an initial review, the Provost finds sufficient justification to have the case examined more fully, the Provost shall assemble a committee of the following persons: (1) a representative of the Provost's Office; (2) a tenured faculty member, appointed by the President; (3) a tenured faculty member, preferably a member of the Commission on the Status of Women, appointed by the Faculty Senate; and (4) a faculty member chosen by the faculty member whose case is to be reviewed. This committee will investigate the allegations of discrimination and will present an advisory opinion to the Provost. The Provost will make a final decision in the matter.

Full-time faculty who believe that they have been the victims of illegal discrimination, which over time has affected their base salaries, may use this procedure to contest their base salaries.

6.  Amendments

Amendments to this policy must be discussed and approved by the Faculty Senate.

7.  Questions

Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Office of the Provost.

Revised: December 16, 2019

Adopted: June 15, 1998