You are one of a small group of approximately 100 employees who hold this type of appointment. The following information should be helpful to you as you work to achieve continuous status. Another document that you may also wish to consult is Appendix B: Administrative Guidelines, Criteria, and Procedures for Review of Probationary (H) Academic Professionals Considered for Continuous (G) Appointment.
- Section I. General Information
- Section II. Dossier Guidelines
- Section III. "The Candidate's Primer"
Section I. General Information
Appointment Letter and Position Responsibility
General position responsibilities and performance expectations should be included in your appointment letter or in a follow-up document. Reference should be made to the criteria by which you will be evaluated for continuous appointment. In the absence of this information, you should request it in writing from your responsible administrator.
Annual Performance Review
Each year you are to be given a review of your performance. The intent of this review is to assess for the past year your overall accomplishments and professional growth related to the established criteria for continuous appointment in the position you hold. Upon completion of the review, UM 26 "Appraisal of Probationary Academic Professionals" is to be completed and signed as required. The form is retained by the department. In the final review year, the form requires the dean's or vice president's signature and recommendation. It is then forwarded on to the executive vice president and provost for review and action.
Your job description and performance expectations should be consistent with established unit criteria for promotion to continuous status. It is expected that these criteria be kept up to date on a yearly basis, and are appropriate to discuss in your annual review.
Do not lose sight of the professional aspects of your job. Be certain, as your job evolves, that elements that make you a partner in the academic mission of the University are not overshadowed by supervisory or budgetary responsibilities.
Criteria for Promotion
It is important that you become familiar with your department's criteria for promotion of your position to continuous status. It is your responsibility, as a continuous appointment candidate, to understand the relative weight of different elements of your specific professional position. Consult with your responsible administrator to fully understand the expectations tied to each criteria.
The following resources will help your understanding of the criteria and the relative weight and expectations assigned:
- Your appointment letter (Refer to Section I. Appointment Letter and Position Responsibility of this document.)
- Discussions with your administrator. Discussions are a valuable way to test and update your understanding of the position responsibilities and performance expectations, and to get clarification when pressures arise, as they generally do.
- Discussions with colleagues in your unit. You might engage in informal discussions, or participate in any formal mentoring system that exists.
- Compare and contrast information from these sources with University policy to ensure that they are consistent, and that both job responsibilities and professional development are addressed in a way that is clear to you.
- Keep in mind that the University Continuous Appointment Review Committee will look for excellence in your professional growth, as well as in your job performance.
- Consider: How much time and effort should you expend serving on University committees? Sitting at your desk writing reports? Attending professional conferences? Forging links with other University departments? Writing journal articles?
- As you make choices about time and energy commitments during your probationary period, keep a balance. For example, weigh the importance of your service on a particular committee or task force before becoming involved. Will you learn something? Can you make a worthwhile contribution to the committee's work? Have you been on five similar committees in the past year (e.g., search committees)? Will service on similar committees be helpful? Is the work of the committee related to your job?
Professional vs. Administrative Responsibilities
At the time you were hired, your job reflected a professional position. Administrative duties sometimes overlap or are a part of a professional position, but be aware of the balance as you move through your probationary period. If the job description and performance documented reflect a preponderance of administrative duties, the appropriateness of continuous appointment for the position will be questioned. Continuous appointment is not awarded on the basis of administrative responsibilities.
Section II. Dossier Guidelines
In preparing a dossier for review, the evidence you collect should relate to your position description and standards. As a candidate for continuous appointment, you should participate in the preparation of the dossier to be reviewed. Preparation of the dossier and systematic collection of evidence, including solicitation of evaluations, is the responsibility of the responsible administrator.
Contents of Dossier
Every dossier should contain the following:
- current curriculum vitae;
- current position description;
- annual appraisals;
- documented evidence of professional development and growth;
- peer assessment of professional performance relating to the position; and
- evaluation of service contributions to the profession, the community (if appropriate to position), and to the University. Note: The performance of administrative duties cannot be used to support continuous appointment recommendation for professional staff.
Written or oral evaluations may be sought by the responsible administrator or review committee from internal and external peers, faculty, and students or other appropriate constituencies. Both the letter requesting evaluation and the entire response should be placed in the dossier.
Section III. "The Candidate's Primer"
Taking the Lead from the Beginning
- Take responsibility for your own professional development and preparation for the review.
- Obtain the specific job description (generic or personal) for your position and make sure you are doing that work within your individual responsibilities.
- Understand your specific unit's systems and standards for evaluation, as requirements will vary across the institution.
- If you are also an administrator, make sure you are developing a strong record as an academic professional, separate from any administrative responsibilities.
- Go to meetings, read materials, review successful dossiers, and talk to others experienced in the process in order to observe the system, the requirements, and changes, both stated and unstated.
- Seek support and opinions in and outside of your unit to help you develop a record and prepare for review. When possible, identify a mentor to help you throughout the process.
- In addition to the required form, UM 26 Appraisal of Probationary (H) Academic Professionals, ask for an expanded annual performance review or a more detailed periodic assessment of your progress toward continuous appointment review.
- Maintain a file with records of evaluations and contributions.
Establish a Record of Professional Development
- Regardless of what you have accomplished before coming to the University, you must establish a record of professional contributions and development while at the University.
- Establish patterns of professional contributions off-campus, locally, regionally, and nationally.
- Volunteer, both on and off campus, for a variety of professional activities; find a need and fill it.
- Try to present a diverse, yet balanced, record of contributions to the program, college, University, and professional community.
- Establish a pattern of professional involvement outside of the University that will give you: (a) contacts for evaluation from other institutions and (b) a sense of your profession outside the University.
- Produce tangible evidence of your expertise; develop work products that can be evaluated internally and externally.
- Negotiate sufficient time and realistic workload to undertake your professional activities.
Preparing for Your Review
- Consider doing a mock review at the unit level during the year prior to the official review.
- Exercise your prerogative to propose members for your review committee and suggest people with the following characteristics:
- strong writing skills (especially important for committee chair),
- history of fairness and supportiveness, and
- pattern of attention to details.
- Think carefully about whom you propose as members of the committee or as evaluators of your work.
- Use as evaluators those who can do the best job, even if you know them very well; balance them with objective experts who know you less well.
- As your review committee or administrator prepares to request evaluations, make sure that the requests clearly state what your evaluators are to address.
- Encourage your administrator to find a staff person to assist the committee in completing their tasks, e.g., keeping records, preparing materials, and providing information on past materials and methods.
- Examine dossiers from your unit and other units that have led to positive decisions in the past.
- Start preparing for the review process early, e.g., the review committee might be set up during the previous spring or the standing committee might be alerted that your review is about to be initiated.