The most important task of the chair is to submit annual reviews of all returning faculty in your department. The annual review is your summary and evaluation of the teaching, scholarship, and service of each of your department’s faculty members, based on their annual reports, teaching evaluations, and class visitations by colleagues. The annual reviews are the fundamental instrument of mentorship, the means by which all faculty get feedback on all aspects of their work for the College. The annual reviews become a part of reappointment, tenure, and promotion files, and are used by the Dean in determining salary (merit) increases. Faculty Annual Reports are based on the calendar (and not the academic) year, and are due on February 1. The Chair’s Annual Reviews are due April 1. More information, and the report and review forms themselves, are available on the DOF website.
For reviews of senior colleagues in a department that is chaired by an associate professor, the chair can recruit another senior colleague in the department (or, in consultation with the Dean of Faculty, a full professor from a closely-related department if necessary).

To complete each review, you should carefully read and assess the faculty member’s annual report. You should also read through their teaching evaluations and any visitation letters that have been completed, and look at their publications. Your comments should draw attention to the faculty member’s successes and achievements, note problems where they exist, and give clear advice about progress towards reappointment, tenure, or promotion. Note that in your evaluation of progress you should refer explicitly to your department’s guidelines on tenure and promotion posted on the Dean of Faculty website. Also, remember that in reappointment, tenure, and promotion cases a candidate’s annual reviews will be read together and most probably in sequence. It is therefore helpful to the prospective candidate and reviewers to offer perspective on the candidate’s development from one year to the next. Note whether or not your colleague has followed through on plans for scholarship or has responded constructively to particular challenges observed in a previous annual review. Above all, do not hesitate to give your colleague critical feedback and advice that is necessary to that colleague’s success in reappointment, tenure, and promotion. If there is a problem in the colleague’s teaching, scholarship, or service, address it in the annual review so that your colleague has an opportunity to resolve it.

The purpose of a personnel review is to help a person improve performance. It can be an anxiety-producing event for the person being evaluated; however, focusing the conversation on what a person needs to do and what resources or assistance the College might provide to help that person meet expectations can help to reduce anxiety. Be helpful and positive about the person’s ability to meet expectations in the future, but do not provide inaccurate assessments or make predictions about future success or failure.  Constructive criticism about behaviors that need to be improved is very helpful.  Giving a false sense of security is not helpful. 

To help reduce anxiety and provide constructive criticism in the most effective way, be sure to:

1.  Evaluate behavior, not attitude or an assumed level of effort.  Positive or negative comments should be grounded in specific observations about the individual’s behavior or achievements relative to expectations as articulated in departmental guidelines.

2.  Focus all comments on the individual, not the evaluator.  For example, write that a person has achieved specific expectations, but don’t write about the evaluator’s emotional reaction to the performance (e.g., that the evaluator is “encouraged/discouraged” or “pleased/displeased” by an individual’s performance.)  Delivering constructive criticism is much easier when you have set up a dynamic in which individuals expect observations about behavior that they have the ability to change.

3.  Allow all senior department members to have input into reviews of tenure-track assistant and associate professors.  This eliminates the need for the person being evaluated to have multiple reviews by different department members.

4.  Provide guidelines that will be used to evaluate a faculty member well in advance of any review to avoid surprises during the review.  Ideally, they should be provided to faculty at the time of hire.

5.  Make an appointment with the person being evaluated in advance of the evaluation.  Do not surprise a person with a personnel review.  Send the written comments in advance to the individual. 

When you have completed your review, the faculty member must sign the form to acknowledge having read it. The faculty member then has the opportunity to add comments to the review form. Those members of the department who will be voting on the reappointment, tenure, or promotion of the faculty member should also sign the report to indicate that they have seen it and have been consulted about its contents. These signing members may consult the instructor’s student teaching evaluations and other supporting documents for the previous calendar year.

At the end of the academic year, Department Chairs and Program Directors should fill out the annual report for their department or program. This is a fairly simple form used mostly for gathering information about changes in personnel and/or curricula. Accordingly, after the Dean reads it, she passes it on to CAP and COA.


All Departments and Programs need to be fully reviewed every seven years to help ensure their long-term vitality. The review allows a department to assess its strengths and weaknesses and is an opportunity for long-term planning. The reports produced by this process will be used by the Dean and the CAP in their long-term planning, including in the allocation process and in facilities planning.

Periodic reviews involve several steps: the self-study, the visit by external reviewers, the delivery of the external report, and the follow-up. The process is coordinated jointly by the CAP and the Dean of Faculty’s Office. The Chair of the Department is responsible for putting together the self-study, which involves both a written self-assessment, and other supporting documents. The self-study should be begun early in the process, the semester before the arrival of the external reviewers. Departments may wish to request funds from the Dean in order to hold a retreat in which to complete the major work of the self-study.

More information about the process can be found on the CAP website

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