Performance reviews

Performance reviews are used to determine your annual merit pay increase, and form a critical part of your candidate brief for the probationary renewal and tenure processes. They're largely based on an annual activity report that you submit to your chair.

What you need to know

What it includes

Your performance review covers your scholarship, teaching, and service activities over the previous calendar year (or two years). Please note that students’ written comments from teaching evaluations should not be seen by chairs or be used for performance reviews. These comments are for your eyes only.

The timing

Reviews are conducted around the end of every calendar year. In most departments, documents are due at the end of the year or early in the next year and reviews are conducted in January. Some departments may have earlier deadlines.

For pre-tenure and definite-term faculty, the review is done around the end of every calendar year.

For tenured faculty and continuing lecturers, the review is done every second year (in odd years). You still get a merit rating every year, it's just identical two years in a row. If you are awarded tenure (or hired with tenure) in an even year, you'll have one more one-year evaluation to transition to the biennial cycle.

Faculty and departmental guidelines can be updated every two years, so make sure you have the most recent version.

What happens if you've been on leave

The expectations for the quantity of activities are adjusted based on the type and length of the leave (see section 13.5.4 of the MoA). In any category where assessment is not possible at all over the evaluation period, you'll get the average of your ratings in the previous three years.

FAUW's advice

  • Remember that what is considered a “good evaluation” varies across units—and that a “1.00 Satisfactory” on a performance review does not mean that a satisfactory standard for tenure or promotion has been met.
  • Respond to feedback: If you receive warnings or encouragement to focus more on a particular aspect of your evaluation, pay heed.
  • Document any professional development or training you complete, including Centre for Teaching Excellence workshops—especially in areas you've been encouraged to improve.
  • Seek advice from FAUW if you receive a score below 1.00 in any area, notice a downward trend, or have consistently low scores in any area. Lecturers are also welcome to consult with the FAUW Lecturers Committee at any point in the process.

Where to find information

What is fair?

This guide from the Canadian Association of University Teachers provides general guidance on the procedural components of peer review as well as the ethical and professional obligations of those who participate in peer evaluations. What is Fair? (PDF)

Who to talk to

Your chair/director and the departmental assistant, for questions about your faculty activity report and other expectations.

Your colleagues: You might find it helpful to talk to colleagues in your unit or in similar positions outside your unit.

If you don’t agree with your evaluation, the first step is to discuss this with your chair or director. If you have further questions, then make an appointment with FAUW.

Questions to ask

Things you might want to clarify at the department level:

  • What do I put on my annual activity report form? Specific requirements and conventions vary by department or school—and also by the type of appointment you have (e.g. research-track vs lecturer). Be sure to ask your chair or director if guidelines are unclear.
  • What am I being evaluated on? This will depend on what the weighting is for your position (40/40/20, etc.). You can change these weightings with your chair or director (note that changing your weightings doesn't necessarily change your workload, just how much each component counts toward merit).
  • What is the department/school average? Departmental averages are usually around 1.50 in each category. Ask your chair for your own departmental/school averages from past years. Faculty-level histograms are available in Workday.
    • To access 2019 and 2020 histograms, go to the Cloud icon and select View Profile, then click Personal under your Worker Profile and then click the Documents sub-tab.
    • Starting in 2021: Select the Pay application from the main screen, then scroll down to the Salary Increase section. When you click on the Faculty Histograms item, you'll be prompted to log into Power BI with your UW credentials.