Performance review preparation guidelines for librarians
Beginning with the 2000-01 academic year, the college extended its faculty review policy to cover adjunct faculty and faculty on administrative contracts. Once every five years librarians classified as administrators with faculty status will be asked to participate in the same sort of review that has long been required for the tenured and tenure-track faculty.
Performance reviews will differ from tenure reviews, however, as they will be aimed at helping the Faculty Welfare Committee better understand the achievements as well as the special circumstances and challenges faced by librarians and at helping the librarian become more effective.
What we are asking you to do
As a general matter, you'll be asked to do three things: provide a short report about how things have been going, provide some supporting materials and meet with the Faculty Welfare Committee for approximately one-half an hour. Here are some suggestions about how you might prepare. These are based on the suggestions that Welfare offers to faculty coming up for other reviews, but are a bit less directive.
Tips on preparing a self-study report
The report should include a personal statement and a current curriculum vitae. Three (3) hard copies of your report should be provided to the dean's office. An exception to this rule occurs in years in which you are applying for promotion in rank, in which case you should provide seven (7) copies of the report. In addition, please provide the components of the report in electronic form, preferably in PDF format. Please provide Erin Digney (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Dean of Students Office with these electronic documents either via email or on a flash drive.
While the vita is probably self-explanatory, we have some suggestions about the writing of the personal statement. Your statement should talk about three things: your responsibilities, your goals and your achievements.
The "responsibilities" section should explain your job: the instruction you provide and the activities that support instruction and learning. It can be a paragraph or two.
The "goals" section should address what you try to achieve as a teacher and as a professional. You want to talk about your instruction philosophy, strategies and objectives. You should also talk about your goals for the next five years, though you might want to do that after the "achievements" section. After you talk about your teaching, you should address those same considerations as they relate to your professional development.
The "achievements" section should explain how you're doing. As it relates to instruction, that means how you monitor your own work (through evaluations, visits by colleagues, and so on), what you've learned through that monitoring and what steps you have taken to make your teaching stronger. This is also where you could talk about recognition of your work (e.g., awards, invitations to guest lecture or to teach summer institutes and workshops). And, again, you should address those same considerations as they relate to your professional development.
Some practical guidelines for preparing this report:
• Don't make a big production out of it. This should not take hours to prepare. It should not look like a book. You don't need to use flashy bindings, graphics or covers. Think plain white paper with a staple in the upper-left corner. Think "term paper," not "dissertation." Think 5-7 pages of text.
• Don't solicit letters of support. If there are students or faculty who have relevant observations, tell them to speak with the director of the library. Their observations can then be incorporated into the director's report.
• Limit the number of appendices to your report. Think of your curriculum vita and personal statement as the basic report. Your evaluation summary sheets are your first appendix. One or two handouts used during group presentations are your second appendix.
• Organize any statistical or written data you might have by the type of group instruction you provided.
Tips on providing supporting materials
The dean's office will accept files of supporting material and will make this material available for review by the members of the committee. Generally, the files contain any material that you think is relevant but that doesn't need to be duplicated for everyone on the committee. Among the materials that you might consider submitting:
• The original student evaluation forms for your group instruction. It would be extremely helpful if you wrote the group name and term on the front of each folder of forms.
• Representative samples of your professional work. This might include book chapters, articles, convention presentations, or reproductions of creative work.
• Reviews of your professional work or other evidence of its quality.
• Copies of instructional materials (e.g., handouts, exercises, presentations).
• A portfolio of your accumulated yearly administrative reviews.
You need to strike a delicate balance. On one hand, the quantity of supporting materials should be great enough to give an educated outsider the ability to draw an accurate picture of your performance. On the other, you need to avoid burying the committee: too much will make it much harder to give thoughtful attention to all the material and might well reflect poorly on your ability to judge between important and peripheral material.
Tips on preparing an oral statement for the review
You'll have a chance to talk with the members of the Welfare Committee. Typically, you'll be with them for around 30 minutes. At the outset, you'll be given the opportunity to make an oral presentation. These presentations are optional. They typically take about five minutes. If you choose to speak, you may wish to:
• Draw attention to things of which you are particularly proud, especially something significant that might not be immediately grasped by someone from outside your field.
• Talk about things which might be worrisome to a sympathetic outsider (e.g., you might not have had many opportunities for professional involvement or your teaching evaluations for some particular presentation might be out of line with your norm).
• Discuss your role in the future of the library and college.
You should avoid:
• Reading a text to the committee. Think of this as the start of a conversation. Jot some notes to yourself — say a half page of reminders — and then just talk to the committee.
• Recapping your written statement. The committee has already read it. If you don't have anything to add, just say that.
After your talk, members of the committee will raise questions with you for a few minutes concerning your time at and experiences with the college. After that, you leave and the committee will talk with director of the library and the division chair with whom you most closely work.
What we are asking your library director to do
Your library director is expected to produce a brief report for the Faculty Welfare Committee and discuss its contents with you. In order to do that, the director should have actually observed your group instruction; it is helpful if the director has access to student evaluations. The Faculty Welfare Committee does not specify the number of observations that should be logged in, the scope of the coordinator's report, nor the appropriate degree of scrutiny when examining student evaluations. The best way to estimate the scale of these matters is to read the suggestions and keep in mind that this enterprise encompasses less than tenure-track reviews and yet something more than a casual and mechanical exercise. The director is to provide three copies of this report (or seven copies in the case of a promotion review year).
What you get out of this
You'll have a chance to talk with the Welfare Committee about your work and gain useful insights from the experience. Afterward, the committee will write a one or two page letter to you. In it, an attempt will be made to balance a desire to recognize what you've done well — and to express our appreciation for it — with the need to try to help you identify and address professional challenges. Try to take the letter for what it is — a good faith effort by some of your peers. Try not to read too much into the letter; our intent is to be forthright, not to make you read between the lines. If you read something that you don't understand or would like to discuss, please talk with the division chair with whom you work most closely or the chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee.