Addressing Unsatisfactory Performance


[Approved by the Board of Visitors May 16, 1997.]

Should any faculty member receive a rating of “does not meet expectations” (failure to meet minimum performance expectations) in any one of the three areas (teaching, professional activity, service) on the annual performance evaluation (described in §§6.3), the evaluator (the department chair, with the concurrence of the dean, or the dean, if the latter is overruling a satisfactory recommendation from the chair) will notify the faculty member in writing of the rating and of the factors on which it is based. The faculty member and department chair will agree on a plan to improve the faculty member’s performance in that area. The faculty member may appeal the evaluation to the provost. Per section 6.2, a rating of “does not meet expectations” in the category of teaching will result in an unsatisfactory overall performance rating.

Should the faculty member receive a rating of “does not meet expectations” in any one area for two years in a row, or an overall rating of unsatisfactory that is not overturned on appeal by the Provost, it will have the following consequences:

6.9.1  Unsatisfactory Performance Rating for Untenured Faculty  One or more overall unsatisfactory performance ratings may result in non-renewal of the faculty member’s contract.

6.9.2  Unsatisfactory Performance Rating for Tenured Faculty

Upon the receipt of one unsatisfactory performance rating, the faculty member will be invited to submit to the dean a development plan which addresses the shortcomings identified in the performance evaluation, sets forth specific goals for performance improvement, and suggests ways and means of achieving those goals. The plan (and any other modifications to it) becomes part of the documentation in subsequent annual performance evaluation(s) until the faculty member’s performance is rated as satisfactory. The dean may authorize special resources called for in the plan, in support of a return to satisfactory performance. In any event, the plan is advisory in nature, not prescriptive; it is the performance of the faculty member that is always the basis for subsequent evaluation, not the plan itself or its execution. In drawing up and pursuing his or her development plan, a tenured faculty member is entitled to the assistance of an advisory panel, which shall consist of the dean (who convenes the panel), the department chair, and one or two tenured faculty peers chosen by the faculty member. The faculty member may continue to seek the advice of the panel until a satisfactory rating is achieved or until unsatisfactory performance review (§6.9.3) is mandated.

6.9.3  Unsatisfactory Performance Review  Should a tenured faculty member receive an overall unsatisfactory rating in the subsequent two years, or two such ratings in the subsequent three-year period, he or she will participate in unsatisfactory performance review. Unsatisfactory performance review consists of an in-depth examination of the teaching, professional activity, and service record of the faculty member over the last five years, conducted by the Promotion and Tenure Committee of the faculty member’s college. The faculty member submits to the committee a performance review credentials file for those years, the contents and organization of which address the three areas (teaching, professional activity, service), with emphasis on the area(s) found unsatisfactory in previous performance evaluations. Included in the file is the written performance evaluation documentation for the five years and any documentation regarding development plans (see §6.9.2) undertaken during that period. Following a careful review of the materials, the Promotion and Tenure Committee of the faculty member’s college shall report its findings in writing to the provost, along with one of these recommendations:

  • no additional sanction (meets basic responsibilities and minimal performance expectations as set forth in §6.3);
  • sanction other than dismissal for cause; and
  • dismissal for cause (professional incompetence, neglect of duty, misconduct, or lack of teaching effectiveness) — see also §4 of the Handbook.

6.9.4.  Action Taken on Unsatisfactory Performance Review Recommendations  The provost will then make the final decision concerning what action, if any, is to be taken. If the President’s decision is no additional sanction, the process ends. (Should the faculty member receive a subsequent performance rating of unsatisfactory, that rating would be counted as the first of three before that faculty member would again undergo Unsatisfactory Performance Review.) If the President’s decision is discharge for cause, the case shall be dealt with according to the provisions specified in §4.3.

6.9.5  Commitment to Academic Freedom and Tenure  Nothing in this policy on unsatisfactory performance review is to diminish the commitment of the University to academic freedom and tenure, as set forth respectively in Appendix C and §§5.1 and 5.4.4 of this Faculty Handbook, nor does this policy limit, constrain, or supersede the provisions of §4.3 with respect to discharge for cause.