E07.0 Annual Review of Faculty

I. Preamble

Rochester Institute of Technology is committed to promoting academic excellence. As stated in our mission, teaching, scholarship, and service are our central enterprises, and effective teaching continues to be the hallmark of RIT. This policy assumes the dignity and academic freedom of individual faculty members and its implementation shall be guided by mutual trust.

This policy establishes guidelines for the evaluation of the performance of each full-time faculty member against established university criteria and in accordance with the mission and goals of each faculty member's department and college. The results of the review will be used to:

  • encourage and foster continued professional development;

  • provide part of the required documentation as specified in other policies;

  • promote the improvement of individual performance; and,

  • inform annual merit increments.

An underlying principle of this policy is that faculty review and development are closely related and work in concert to help faculty meet individual and institutional goals.

II. Review Process

  1. The immediate supervisor of each full-time faculty member shall ensure that an annual written evaluation is placed in the employee's record. This expectation applies to all full-time faculty job categories, including instructional, research, and administrative faculty. Those who are eligible for contract renewal shall participate in the annual performance review process as described below.
  2. The areas on which performance is rated include teaching, scholarship, and service. The inclusion of an area of performance and the expectations within these areas will differ among faculty classifications (E01.0) and ranks (E06.0), and may vary among colleges and among academic units. Expectations for each faculty member shall be consistent with the performance criteria in the university and college policies for tenure (E05.0) and promotion (E06.0). The weighting of criteria may vary among academic units and among faculty members. The provost will oversee the consistent application of the performance criteria and the annual increment associated with the performance criteria.
  3. The expectations for a faculty member shall be reflected in the faculty member's plan of work; and the plan of work is an important element of the annual evaluation (see Section F. below).
  4. faculty member receives a performance evaluation for each area as appropriate and according to one's plan of work, and an overall evaluation. The performance categories for evaluating all faculty members with respect to their annual plans of work shall be: Outstanding, Exceeds Expectations, Meets Expectations, Does Not Meet Expectations, and Unsatisfactory.
    • Outstanding reflects performance that represents a truly exceptional level of accomplishment.
    • Exceeds Expectations reflects performance that exceeds the level of accomplishment in relation to the expectations for a given faculty member.
    • Meets Expectations reflects the performance that meets the level of accomplishment in relation to the expectations for a given faculty member.
    • Does not Meet Expectations reflects performance that does not meet the level of accomplishment in relation to the expectations for a given faculty member. This rating indicates a deficiency beyond what can be considered the normal range of year-to-year variation in performance.
    • Unsatisfactory reflects performance that repeatedly fails to meet the level of accomplishment in relation to the expectations for a given faculty member in a way that reflects disregard of previous reviews or other documented efforts to provide correction or assistance.
  5. The time frame for the period of review shall be January 1 through December 31. Each college shall provide a published timeline to ensure that the overall process is completed by April 15 or the next business day.
  6. Each college's review process must include the following elements:
    1. Plan of Work

      1. To support the annual evaluation, each faculty member shall submit a copy of his or her plan of work for the current and previous academic years. The plan of work is a document that faculty prepare in the spring of each academic year outlining the faculty member's expected work activities, anticipated outcomes, and specific performance expectations in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service for the following academic year's contract period. The plan of work should explicitly address any items of concern that emerge from the annual review process. The plan of work may also describe how work activities will fit with the faculty member's longer term performance or promotion aspirations.
      2. Each college or department may have its own published guidelines for developing a plan of work. At a minimum, the plan of work must be approved and signed by the faculty member, department head, and dean. The plan of work shall be available for inspection by members of the faculty member's department (or departments in the case of joint appointments).
      3. An approved plan of work shall be finalized after the annual review is complete, but no later than the beginning of the faculty member's contract period for the upcoming academic year. For faculty in their first year at RIT, their initial contract letters shall serve as their plans of work, unless superseded by an agreed upon plan of work.
    2. The faculty member's written self-evaluation and evidence of performance against the criteria specified above (II.B) and the elements of the plan of work that overlap with the review period.
    3. Faculty members may also submit an optional “Life Circumstances” Impact Statement. A Life Circumstances Impact Statement allows faculty to document the impact of significant life events during their annual faculty review which affected their productivity or balance of work responsibilities during the evaluation period. These significant events could include life-changing responsibilities such as providing elder care, caregiver responsibilities for an ill or injured member of their immediate family or a family disaster. Childbirth or adoption are excluded, as they are defined in E33.0 – Family Leave Policy.
    4. Evidence of performance should include at a minimum the following:
      1. Results from the core and college questions on the university-wide student rating of instruction survey for all sections assigned in the plan of work will be accessible through the RIT Student Rating System at a disaggregated level. If course sections are assigned to a faculty member for an academic term for which the RIT Student Rating System is not available as a tool to conduct a student rating of instruction survey, the college shall implement an equivalent instruction survey for students to complete and the results of which will be maintained in the faculty member's file in the Dean's Office. Student ratings shall not be the sole source of data used to evaluate teaching effectiveness. Response rates should be taken into consideration when reviewing student ratings. Other possible teaching effectiveness data may include alumni ratings; peer ratings; self-assessment statements; syllabi and other course documents; examples of student work; and teaching portfolios.
      2. Evidence of scholarly achievement and quality as defined by the faculty member's college and department for the review period.
      3. Written confirmation of participation on college and university committees and self-assessment of performance on those committees and professional service activities.
    5. An annual written evaluation from the department head based on the time period of January 1-December 31. The evaluation will entail assignment of one of the five performance categories to the faculty member's performance in each of the following areas: teaching, scholarship, and service. The evaluation will also assign one of the five performance categories to the overall faculty member's performance. Faculty shall be evaluated on the basis of objective criteria as applied to their own performance, expectations within their college and academic unit and not on the basis of their relative performance vis-a-vis the performance of others in their academic unit. This evaluation should include an indication of progress towards promotion and/or tenure when appropriate.
  7. A joint meeting between the faculty member and the department head to discuss the results of the annual review and the proposed plan of work for the next academic year contract period. Based on this meeting, the plan of work shall be developed in accordance with II.F above. In addition, the department head may choose to amend the annual review. The faculty member has the opportunity to include a response to the annual review that becomes part of the official documentation.
  8. The final annual review including amendments, when applicable, and proposed plan of work shall be signed by the department head and faculty member. The original documents shall be retained on file in the Office of the Dean and in accordance with C22.0 - Records Management Policy. A copy of the final documents shall be provided to the faculty member immediately upon completion of the process.
  9. Faculty members who believe that this policy has been unfairly or improperly implemented are referred to the policies on Faculty Grievance (E24.0), Appeal Committee on Faculty Salaries (E14.0), and Discrimination and Harassment (C6.0).

III. Faculty Development

  1. Tenure-track faculty who are rated as Does Not Meet Expectations or Unsatisfactory in either teaching or scholarship must work with their department head to develop and implement an appropriate plan of improvement. To facilitate improvement, faculty may be eligible for a Faculty Improvement Fund (FIF) grant to support the plan. These funds will be distributed by the dean.
  2. Each faculty member whose approved plan of work identifies areas of development which address the university's educational goals or department, college or university strategic plans shall be eligible to apply for professional development assistance from the university. Examples of assistance include but are not limited to collegial mentoring, opportunities to take courses, release time, financial assistance, tutoring, or supplies. Requests for such development assistance should follow the process outlined below in C.
  3. Tenure-track faculty, senior lecturers, principal lecturers, and lecturers with multiple year contracts are eligible for funds from the Faculty Education and Development (FEAD) fund. These funds will be appropriated by the university to each college in proportion to the number of tenure-track faculty, senior and principal lecturers and lecturers with multiple year contracts. Disbursement of these funds will proceed as follows:
    1. Each college will establish a FEAD Committee to consist of no fewer than three members, elected from and by the tenure-track faculty of the college. If a college has another committee whose membership complies with these specifications, the faculty of the college may designate it as the FEAD Committee.

    2. The FEAD Committee will initiate a request for proposals from eligible faculty members. Proposals will be due by a date to be established in each college.

    3. Proposals for FEAD funding must include a statement from the department head indicating support for the proposal.

    4. The FEAD Committee will review proposals and make funding recommendations to the dean of the college. If the dean of the college does not concur with the recommendations made by the college's FEAD Committee, the dean shall communicate this objection to the committee and an informal resolution shall be pursued. In situations where the dean and the committee cannot reach a resolution regarding a FEAD award, the provost will be the final arbiter.

    5. The dean of the college shall be responsible for the disbursement of faculty development awards.

Responsible Office:
Faculty Senate and Office of the Provost. Inquiries can be directed to:

Faculty Senate

Office of the Provost

Effective Date:
Approved October 24, 1996

Policy History:
Revised May 15, 1997
Revised October 23, 1997
Revised May 16, 2013
Revised April 17, 2014 to include new categories for assessing performance and a change in the time period of faculty plans of work.
Revised May 14, 2015 - Section II.A.
Revision approved April 28, 2022 - Section II.F