Faculty Performance Evaluation Guidelines: 2023-2024


Probationary Faculty and Definite Term (January to December – 2023 and January to December 2024)
Tenured Faculty and Continuing Lecturers (January 2023 to December 2024)


Faculty members are encouraged to review Waterloo’s Policy #77 (Tenure & Promotion of Faculty Members) and Memorandum of Agreement (Section 13.5: Member Evaluation).

Evaluation Process

Frequency of Evaluations: 

Faculty with probationary appointments and definite term contracts will be evaluated annually.  Tenured faculty and continuing lecturers will be evaluated every two years.  For the 2023 evaluation year, only probationary and definite term faculty will be required to provide annual activity reports.  All faculty will be required to submit activity reports on their 2024 activity.  Tenured and continuing faculty will report on 2023 and 2024 activity.  Probationary and definite term faculty will report on 2023 activity AND the following year will report on their 2024 activity.  Please refer to 13.5.2(a) and (b) of M.O.A.

Faculty members who are awarded tenure or hired with tenure in an even year will require an extra one-year evaluation to transition to the biennial schedule.

Faculty Member: Faculty members will be evaluated based upon documentation (Annual (Biennial) Activity Report) that they submit in the format and by the deadline specified by the Department/School. A member who does not submit the required documentation by the specified deadline normally will receive an overall rating of, at most, 0.5 as specified in 13.5.2 of the M.O.A.

Chair/Director: The Chair/Director has the responsibility for ensuring that Annual (Biennial) performance evaluations of all members in the Department/School are conducted. Chairs/Directors and advisory committees are provided with relevant information and faculty member’s weightings by the Dean of Science.

Larger departments/schools (more than 15 Members) are to conduct evaluations by means of an elected committee (of no more than five Members) that is advisory to the Chair/Director. Smaller Departments/Schools (of 15 or less Members) may decide by majority vote whether to elect an advisory committee of no more than five Members to assist the Chair/Director in carrying out this responsibility. However, smaller units are encouraged to consider an advisory committee because of its significant advantages.

Dean: The faculty member’s Annual (Biennial) Activity Report, together with the Chair’s/Director’s numerical evaluation, forms the basis for review with the Dean. If material, other than the documentation provided by the faculty member, was used for the evaluation, the Dean should be so advised.

The Dean may modify the ratings for a Member or Members of a Department/School, if necessary, to maintain consistency of standards across the Faculty. This is done following consultation with the Chair of the Department or Director of the School in that Faculty. When the Dean’s review is completed, the Chair/Director should then inform faculty members of their proposed individual and overall ratings.

Vice-President, Academic and Provost: Ratings remain proposed ratings until reviewed by the Dean together with the V.P. Academic and Provost. Following the Dean’s meeting with the Vice-President, Academic and Provost, the Dean shall inform the Chair/Director, in writing, of the final individual and overall ratings, together with reasons for any changes.

Unless advised otherwise, the faculty member’s proposed ratings become final ratings following the meeting with the Vice-President, Academic and Provost.

Faculty members who disagree with their performance evaluation should proceed first to their Chair/Director, typically within 2 weeks of notification, and then, if not resolved, to the Dean of the Faculty for disposition.

Performance Expectations

To the extent that it is possible and reasonable, faculty members should provide the Chair/Director with concrete evidence of performance in each area of evaluation.

It is recognized and accepted that an individual’s level of performance in an area may vary considerably from year to year. For example, a faculty member who accepts a heavy administrative load may suffer a temporary drop in scholarly output, and do less teaching. A faculty member who embarks on a major change in research area may also incur a temporary reduction or lapse in scholarly output, and/or may have less than the usual amount of time available for other activities.

Scholarship shall be assessed on the total evidence from a window of two years. Teaching and service shall be assessed on the evidence from the year(s) under evaluation.  The remaining documented years shall provide context to the assessed evidence.


  • Broadly defined to include research articles in refereed journals, research monographs, textbooks, expository articles at all levels, conference papers, reports, reviews, addresses to professional/learned societies, etc.
  • At its highest level, scholarship carries an inference of the creation of new knowledge and is best demonstrated through the publication of original works in top calibre, peer-reviewed journals.
  • Work presented in refereed journals is generally more highly valued than that in publications without peer review.
  • As a general rule, first/lead/corresponding author publications are weighted more heavily than other author positions. Author position may be discipline-specific. In instances where there are several collaborators (graduate students and other researchers) the position of last author represents the senior researcher leading the project and is appropriately acknowledged. In other cases, the onus is on the faculty member to explain his/her contribution, if desired. Trainees of the faculty member as feature/first author is another indication of significant contribution.
  • Quality of the contribution/s is more important than quantity; evidence of quality/impact might be commentaries or features on the work, immediate citations (if available), superlative comments in the review, etc. Journal impact factor, in itself, is not a measure of impact of an individual contribution but can be used to provide some indication of the importance of a contribution.   
  • Syntheses of existing knowledge for the purpose of educating others in the discipline (or the public) also constitutes scholarship. For example, invited chapters in major texts, invited addresses, review articles in refereed journals, and authoring of textbooks are all highly valued.
  • Scholarly work outside the usual peer reviewed venues is valued, and can include clinical case studies, CET/CPD presentations/articles. The faculty member will need to provide evidence of its quality, impact and relevance.
  • Evidence of innovative professional practice also constitutes scholarship (e.g., developing new clinical services & modes of service delivery).
  • Research funding records alone are not taken as direct evidence of scholarship. It is expected that, regardless of the source or type of funding (grants, contracts), the funding will lead to scholarly output that can be evaluated.
  • The Faculty of Science recognizes that both quantity and quality of supervision of all research personnel is important, and overlaps the Research and Teaching categories. Graduate training, specifically, is formally evaluated under Teaching. However, as graduate student supervision and training of other research personnel such as PDFs, Visiting Scholars, Research Associates and Research Technicians are inextricably linked to research, supervision of such personnel is also recognized as an integral part of Scholarship or Research activities.

It is recognized that the importance of individual contributions (publications) can be difficult for the APR committee to judge. The faculty member should provide whatever evidence/explanation possible to justify an important contribution. It can also be problematic for the committee to determine the faculty member’s role in collaborative papers on which they are not the responsible author. While these are certainly scholarly contributions, the expectation is that normally they will supplement contribution(s) from the independent research program.


  • Faculty members are required to describe the nature and scope of their service contributions including a brief explanation of the time and effort spent on each item.
  • Service includes meaningful contributions through participation on various committees at all levels within the University, such as P & T, undergraduate advising, graduate officer and related activities. “Meaningful” indicates that the effort expended and quality of the contribution will be taken into account.
  • Internal service to the University is an essential duty of faculty members. This category can also include “departmental citizenship” which includes, but is not limited to, mentoring new faculty members; contribution to internal review of grant proposals, manuscripts, etc.; being available in the Department/School; being willing to take on hard-to-cover courses or providing cover for clinic sessions; being available to students; and being willing to share research space.
  • Any service that enhances the reputation of the University or the Department/School will be valued, although service to the Department/School or University will normally be treated preferentially.  This category recognizes service such as serving on granting council committees, editorial boards, conference organizing committees, working committees of professional societies, executive positions in societies, etc. In general, external fee-paying consultancy arrangements (not executed through the Research Office) are not considered service activities.
  • The diligent and timely execution of service appointments, whether elected or assigned, is valued.
  • In light of the recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH) and the University of Waterloo’s adoption of the Okanagan Charter, each faculty will develop mechanisms for recognizing participation in events that promote department, faculty, school, and university community, including participation in mental health training in the service component of faculty performance evaluations. In addition, each faculty will use an appropriate, existing mechanism for mental health training, such as More Feet on The Ground, as part of the onboarding process for new faculty members.


  • Generally includes courses (undergraduate or graduate) registered as University of Waterloo credit courses. External training (workshops, short courses, etc.) would normally be considered service to the profession.  
  • Assessment of teaching includes consideration of:
    • Teaching activity (e.g., quantity, comparative information to other instructors, accessibility to students),
    • Teaching quality (e.g., student feedback, evidence of communicative or pedagogical techniques, teaching awards, peer review of teaching), and
    • Educational innovations (e.g., curricular development and design, contributions to external educational evaluations).
  • Course size does enter into the assessment of teaching activity. Undergraduate courses with fewer than 10 students do not normally count as teaching tasks.  Team-taught or shared courses are counted proportionately.
  • Submission of current course outlines as required by the Department/School and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies is an essential expectation.
  • Undergraduate teaching activity is evaluated, in part, by means of the Faculty of Science Course Evaluation Questionnaire. Responses to “Professor” questions are used for summative evaluation. Responses to other questions are used for formative purposes.
  • Unsolicited feedback from students received by the Chair/Director may provide additional context.
  • Mitigating factors that may be considered in weighing student evaluations are whether the instructor is teaching a course: 1) for the first time; 2) in an area not aligned with the instructor’s area of expertise 3) to a large group of non-majors students and 4) at short notice.
  • Completion of teaching-related duties in a timely manner is valued (e.g. providing evaluation of assignments, submitting course grades).
  • Supervision and mentoring of undergraduate students (co-op and project students) is assessed as teaching activity.
  • The intensity of graduate student teaching activity is assessed by the number of graduate students supervised (fractional component for co-supervision). Mentorship of other trainees (postdoctoral, etc) is also recognized as having a teaching component.
  • Membership on graduate student committees is normally considered under Service.
  • Graduate student attrition rates and length of time to completion, trainees as authors on publications, presentation/poster awards, etc. may be used for formative purposes to assess graduate student teaching.