Academic Policy  1407.20

Guidelines for Fifth-Year Review of Deans

The original PDF version of this policy is linked from the revised date below.

The dean of each academic unit shall be reviewed periodically, not more than five years after the initial appointment or latest reappointment. In addition to the periodic review, each dean shall be reviewed whenever in the judgment of the provost such a review is deemed necessary. While administrative staff members are evaluated annually by their supervisors, the five-year review (commencing in the fall of the fifth year) will constitute a broader and more formal review. These guidelines are intended to provide procedures whereby an assessment can be made of the accomplishments of the dean and the unit led by the dean and balance the assessments of past performance with recommendations that may improve the quality of administration or the unit.

Prior to commencing the review process, the provost and chancellor will inform the dean if they are interested in considering the dean for reappointment. The dean should also inform the administration if he or she is interested in reappointment. If the answer is no to either proposition, then a review for reappointment is not needed.

Prior to an agreeing to a review, the provost will meet with the dean to clarify procedures and answer questions the dean may have about the impending review. The provost will subsequently develop a plan for the review, which will take one of three courses: 1) a limited review with selected key constituent groups conducted by the provost, 2) a more formal process as outlined below, or 3) a combination of the two aforementioned reviews. The choice of options one, two or three is not meant to signal a specific anticipated outcome or concerns about the operation of the academic unit. Rather, review options will be invoked based on the best interests of the unit and the University.

Regarding review option two, the provost will form a review committee with a membership usually in the range of seven to nine members. The provost will solicit nominations from the Academic Deans and from the faculty and staff of the unit for membership on the committee. The chair, appointed by the provost, will hold a position outside the unit. The committee shall include at least one department chair (when relevant) and one student from the unit of the dean under review and at least one faculty/staff member from outside the unit.

The provost will ask the dean to prepare a statement for the committee with the following items: a description of her or his responsibilities, a summary of the principal accomplishments over the period since the last review or initial appointment and a description of how these accomplishments mesh with the University’s and the unit’s goals, a brief report on major plans and challenges for the next several years, and a list of names (not to exceed ten) of individuals both local and national who are familiar with his or her work as dean. Additional items may be added if needed. This document will form the initial working document for the committee. Unit annual reports submitted for each of the five years will constitute appendices.

The committee will meet initially with the provost to review the charge. The dean’s statement will be provided to each committee member and copies of the annual reports will be provided in a place convenient for committee members to consult either in the provost’s office or the reserve desk in the Mullins Library. The principal charge to the committee will be to prepare for the provost a report on the performance of the dean and of the unit under his or her leadership. The report should not be lengthy and should be designed to address three questions: (1) What accomplishments, administrative or programmatic, over the past five years are most significant? (2) What present challenges to the unit appear most significant or deserving of attention? and (3) What recommendations can be offered to the dean and provost in regard to administrative style, policies, or procedures to improve unit performance and administration?

Although the committee will develop its methods, the process followed must include input from the following: 1) chairs of departments (when relevant), 2) the dean’s immediate staff (whether as a group or individually), 3) university administrators who have working relationships with the dean, 4) a sample of faculty/staff leadership in the unit, and 5) student groups affiliated with the unit. The committee shall also establish some form of reporting from chairs of unit committees, faculty, staff and, when appropriate, external constituencies and alumni. Individual forms, surveys, letters, notes, and other raw data should not be part of the report. Within 90 days from its initial meeting, the committee shall submit a concise and focused report addressing the three questions identified above and making such recommendations as the committee considers appropriate. Strict confidentiality will be observed.

The committee will meet with the provost to review and clarify points in the report, as needed. Following the meeting with the review committee and a follow-up session with representative faculty—to discuss the dean’s and unit performance during the past five years—a copy of the report will be provided to the dean. The provost will meet with the dean to discuss the contents of the report and consideration of changes, if any, to be made. Written response to the report by the dean reviewed and the review committee’s report will be used to consult with the chancellor regarding reappointment. Reappointment or alternative decisions (e.g., reappointment for a shorter term, or non- reappointment) shall be the collective decision of the provost and the chancellor, following possible consultation with the review committee. The provost will report to the faculty of the unit involved, summarizing the results of the review, within 30 days of receiving the report.

Reformatted for Web October 2, 2014