Faculty and Academic Staff Annual Evaluation Guidelines During COVID-19

The year 2020 brought with it many unforeseen COVID-related challenges that have greatly impacted the workload of College faculty and staff in all areas. The current situation will continue at least through 2021. Given the need to reduce the service load to free up time for those with increased teaching/mentoring/advising demands, caregiving responsibilities, and
other COVID-related duties, departments/centers are interested in streamlining their annual review processes. The College supports these efforts and also recognizes the necessity for annual review for both tenure system, fixed-term faculty as well as academic specialists as outlined in the MSU Faculty Handbook. Further information is available at the links below.

Faculty Review

All units must have procedures for written evaluation of tenure system faculty at all ranks to support the annual merit process and to provide a basis for a clear statement of performance expectations and accomplishments. It is recognized that provisions and practices in units may vary; however, all evaluation procedures must incorporate, at the
minimum, the principles included in this model policy for regular faculty review, and must be applied uniformly to all faculty in the unit.

Annual Performance Review for Fixed Term Faculty and Academic Staff

All units must have procedures for annual written evaluation of all fixed term faculty and academic staff to support the annual merit process and to provide a basis for a clear statement of performance expectations and accomplishments.
For annual review of Chairpersons and Directors see: https://hr.msu.edu/policiesprocedures/faculty-academic-staff/faculty-handbook/annual_evaluation.html

When revising criteria for evaluating faculty and academic staff, it should be recognized that the impact of COVID-19 on all aspects of their work and life has been beyond their control and that a burden of proof should not be put on the individual. A COVID impact statement may be included, but is optional. When revising annual review procedures as a result of the impact of the novel coronavirus, departments/centers should consider the following guidelines:

  1. Any changes to the annual review process in the unit bylaws must be voted on according to the procedures outlined in those bylaws. For instance, a department may agree on the addition of a sentence or two that points to a new procedure for the year 2020 only. That new procedure must be clearly outlined in an addendum to the bylaws
    and voted on. This addendum does not need to be lengthy, and the procedure needs to be transparent. Note: simply suspending the bylaws should be avoided, as there is no transparent procedure in its place.
  2. While some processes might be streamlined, it is essential that special attention be paid to the following:
  • all non-tenure stream faculty or academic staff cases in which there are performance issues.
  • all pre-tenure faculty members who need to receive documented feedback of satisfactory or unsatisfactory progress in each area (research, teaching, service/outreach) towards reappointment and or promotion and tenure from the chair.
  • anyone who is progressing towards a Designation B review or is probationary in the Academic Specialist Continuing System who needs to receive documented feedback of satisfactory or unsatisfactory progress from the chair/director.
  • FAIS can be suspended with the expectation that all College units will be moving to Academic Profile over the course of 2021. Please coordinate with Scott Schopieray to set up a timeline for each department.

At several points over the past year, the College has provided guidelines pertaining to workload expectations and a culture of care during COVID-19. In addition, the Provost provided guidance in her COVID-19 impact statement memo of December 2.

Note: Faculty/staff should be discouraged from including any medical information in annual review materials. Any medical information that is included as part of annual review materials should be redacted or omitted, and put in a separate file that contains medical information. This information should not be considered as part of the personnel record.

Last edited 12/16/20