Academic Policies

AC40 Annual Evaluation of Faculty Performance (Formerly HR40)

Policy Status: 


Policy Steward: 

Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs




  • Purpose
  • Responsibility for Conducting Review
  • Rationale
  • Scope of Review
  • Responses to Review
  • Updates

    This policy provides the process for an evaluation of the performance of each member of the faculty at least once each year. Each tenured faculty member will be evaluated with an extended review every fifth year after the most recent promotion decision.


    Responsibility for the faculty performance evaluation review rests with the department/division heads or school directors or, where appropriate, campus chancellors and campus directors of academic affairs. Evaluations are coordinated by the appropriate administrator at the location of the faculty member's academic assignment, with input from the department or division head of the disciplinary unit.


    Critical review is a natural element of a productive academic career. A faculty member's work is reviewed regularly in many different ways. Teaching is evaluated by peers and students; proposals for funding are evaluated by individual reviewers or panels of specialists; papers and books submitted for publication are reviewed by authorities in the field; published books are reviewed by other scholars; a faculty member's contributions in teaching, research and scholarship, and service are carefully scrutinized when the individual is considered for hiring or promotion.

    Performance reviews are not only necessary for the process of determining merit salary increases; they also provide occasions for self-evaluation and reassessment of the role a faculty member is playing, which may evolve significantly during the course of a career. Reviews offer an opportunity to acknowledge and recognize good work, point out areas for improvement, and, in a few cases, identify productive new uses of a faculty member's talents. They are a means of ensuring that the diverse talents of the entire faculty are productively applied to the many responsibilities of the University. In addition, performance reviews can help identify resource targets -- places where additional resources could re-energize a faculty member whose energy or morale has run low or could lift an already productive member to new levels of achievement.


    Annual Review

    All faculty must be reviewed annually by the appropriate administrative officer. Each review should include the faculty member's written annual report and evidence of teaching effectiveness, and should involve thorough one-on-one discussions with the administrative officer of the faculty member's teaching, research, service, future plans, assignments, and salary.

    The evaluations are made by using elements listed in AC21, Definitions of Academic Rank, and AC23, Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations, and are conducted in accordance with procedures developed independently within each College. Each faculty member's evaluation is related to their area of assignment and responsibility, with maximum weight given to the area of major emphasis in the individual's assignment. The disciplinary head or comparable administrative officer will provide written documentation to the faculty member of the results of the annual review that is separate from the salary notification.

    Five-year Extended Review

    To promote further professional development, the annual reviews should be supplemented every five years by an in-depth evaluation of a tenured faculty member's accomplishments, future goals, and progress towards those goals. The five-year interval will begin with the year of the most recent promotion decision (exceptions to this schedule for individual faculty members require approval by the Dean). The extended review process may, if unit guidelines so permit, include peer review by Penn State faculty and must involve one-on-one discussion with a supervising administrator.

    As the basis for the review process, the faculty member will submit a narrative statement, a curriculum vitae, and other documentation of performance not covered by the CV. Unit guidelines will specify documentation of performance appropriate to the particular responsibilities assigned to faculty members over five-year review periods.Teaching performance, for example, may be evaluated with SRTE ratings, peer teaching evaluations, and/or a teaching portfolio. The narrative statement should outline the faculty member's goals for professional development and describe past accomplishments and future objectives specific to those goals. The narrative may also describe additional accomplishments not apparent in the CV. The narrative will not exceed three pages in length. These items - narrative statement, CV, performance documentation - and copies of the past annual review letters by the supervising administrator for the evaluation period comprise the evaluation materials.

    To provide adequate preparation time, faculty members should be given notice at least two semesters in advance of the submission deadline. The department or disciplinary head, director of academic affairs, dean, or comparable administrative officer will be responsible for supervising the peer-review process. This individual will meet with each faculty member under review. Discussion during this meeting will focus on the peer review of evaluation materials, the faculty member's goals and accomplishments, and means by which the goals will be realized. Written documentation of the results of the extended review will be provided by the administrator to the faculty member by the end of the academic year in which the review takes place.

    General guidelines for five-year extended reviews, consistent with this policy statement, must be established with the approval of the unit's faculty by each college or school--which may in turn ask for more precise guidelines from departments or other similar faculty units, while keeping the responsibility of oversight. Unit guidelines will establish at what level (department or college for example) peer evaluation if any will occur, the process for selection of peer committees if applicable, and whom the evaluating administrator will be. The peers and administrator may be at the department, division, campus, school, or college level. Units may also set guidelines that involve more than one level (such as both a head and dean) in the extended review process. The results of the review must be forwarded to the relevant academic dean or campus chancellor if that individual is not directly involved in the process.


    In the event that improvements in performance are necessary, as evidenced by the annual and five-year extended reviews, the faculty member and their administrative officer should work on an appropriate response, the implementation of which should be monitored by the administrative officer. Finally, a clear link must be established between the annual performance review and faculty rewards.

    Responsibility for overseeing the implementation of AC40 rests with the Executive Vice President and Provost.



    12/7/21 - Updated to include gender-neutral language

    1/29/08 - Minor revisions; Added Five-year Extended Review section

    Date Approved: 

    December 7, 2021

    Date Published: 

    December 7, 2021