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Evaluation of Professional Personnel (EOPP) in Sociology

(Approved April 18, 1986)

(Amended May 1, 1987, October 21, 1988, October 17, 1997, and January 21, 2000)

I. Introduction

It is the responsibility of every academic unit to evaluate its professional personnel on an annual basis.  These evaluations are intended to serve two purposes.  First, they provide a basis for recognizing and rewarding differential levels of overall professional performance.  Second, they provide an important source of feedback for faculty who desire constructive information they can use to improve their contributions to the university and to the professional community.

The procedures described below have been designed to serve these purposes, and to honor (to the extent possible) three additional desirable characteristics.  They are intended to be relatively simply to apply.  They are intended to be sufficiently specific to provide prospective guidance to faculty.  And they are intended to allow the responsible exercise of professional judgment by those conducting the evaluations.

II. Procedures

A. In January of each year, each member of the permanent faculty (except those retiring or resigning at the end of the current academic year) completes a faculty service report, describing his/her accomplishments and activities in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and service during the preceding twelve months.  The faculty member may also submit any supplementary material which he/she considers professionally relevant.  A copy of any published material to be considered by the Personnel Committee must be supplied.

B. The Personnel Committee consists of three members, chosen as follows:  From the permanent faculty (tenured and tenure-track), a panel of six is chosen by a random process.  Three of these six are then elected by the permanent faculty via secret ballot.  A new faculty member is ineligible to serve on the Personnel Committee during his/her first year.

C. All evaluations are to be made using the five-point scale below.  No decimal-point or between-category distinctions are allowed, either by individual raters or by the Personnel or Appeals Committee.

  1. Outstanding
  2. Excellent
  3. Productive
  4. Acceptable
  5. Needs Improvement

Most ratings are expected to fall in the range of "1 (Outstanding)" through "4 (Acceptable)."  A rating of "5 (Needs Improvement)" should be accompanied by a statement of possible improvements recommended by the Chair and/or Personnel Committee.

D. In addition to the above scale, a "Bonus" rating may be given, if recommended by both the Chair and the Personnel Committee.  A "Bonus" rating is rewarded by an increment to the base pay in an amount comparable to a promotion increment taken from the departmental increment fund before other increments are allocated. A "Bonus" rating may be earned in one of two ways:

  • Truly exceptional performance in a single area within a single year.  Examples would include such things as winning the university's Excellence in Teaching Award, publishing a major research or theory book through a university press, or exemplary service as president of a major professional association.
  • Outstanding performance in all three areas within a single year.  This would be indicated by a rating of "1 (Outstanding)" in each of the three areas within a single year, provided that a "Bonus"  rating was not awarded in any of the three areas that year.

E. Each member of the Personnel Committee, and the Chair, develops his/her preliminary ratings for each faculty member privately.  These preliminary ratings are then shared with the other members of the Personnel Committee and the Chair prior to these four individuals meeting.  In consultation with each other, the Personnel Committee and the Chair attempt to arrive at a consensus rating in each area for each faculty member.  If the Personnel Committee is unable to reach a consensus rating, its rating will be determined by majority vote.  The Personnel Committee must arrive at a single rating in each area for each faculty member, but the Chair's ratings may differ from those of the Personnel Committee.

F. Following receipt of his/her ratings from the Personnel Committee and the Chair, a faculty member may request a specific statement of the reasons for one or more ratings.  If requested, this information must be provided to the faculty member prior to the due date for filing appeals.

This is not intended to create an extra level of appeal; no rating should be changed at this stage.  Rather, the purpose of this is to enable the faculty member to ascertain whether all relevant evidence submitted was fairly considered, so the faculty member can make an informed decision on whether to submit an appeal.

G. Appeals of the Personnel Committee's ratings in each area may be submitted to the Appeals Board.  Requests for reconsideration of the Chair's ratings are submitted to the Chair.  All appeals and reconsideration requests must be submitted in writing.  Evidence which was not made available to the Personnel Committee may not be introduced in support of an appeal.  An appeal must be based on both of the following grounds:

  • That the appellant's performance surpassed the minimum standards for a category higher than the category into which his/her work had been classified by the Personnel Committee, and
  • That the appellant's performance was more comparable to those of individuals rated in the higher category than to those of individuals in the category assigned by the Personnel Committee.

H. The Appeals Board must consider each appeal in comparison with the service reports of all individuals classified by the Personnel Committee in the category into which the appellant was initially classified and all individuals classified in the category in which the appellant believes he/she should have been classified.  The Appeals Board may increase an appellant's category rating or leave it unchanged, but it may not lower a rating.

I.  The Appeals Board consists of three members (and one alternate) chosen by a random process from the permanent faculty, with the first person chosen by this process serving as Chairperson of the Appeals Board.  Appellants and members of the Personnel Committee may not serve on the Appeals Board.

J. Further appeals of the Personnel Committee/Appeals Board's and Chair's evaluations may be submitted to the College Council and the Dean, respectively.  An appellant to the college is expected to have exhausted the opportunities for appeal and/or reconsideration at the departmental level first.

K. The overall rating for each faculty member is obtained by a weighted average of his/her ratings in the three areas, rounded to the nearest whole number.  The weights are chosen to maximize the total score for each individual, within the following limits:

  • Teaching:  30% - 60%
  • Scholarship:  30% - 60%
  • Service:  10% - 30%

When a faculty member is given a special work load reduction to perform some specific service, the weight allowed for service may be increased commensurate with the release time provided.

L. Both the Personnel Committee/Appeals Board's ratings and the Chair's ratings are reported to the College.  When they differ, the merit increment the individual receives is the average of what he/she would receive based on the Personnel Committee's rating and what he/she would receive based on the Chair's rating.

M. Prior to submitting the Department's EOPP ratings to the College, the Personnel Committee and Chair consider whether there are any individuals who should be recommended for an additional salary increment (usually called an "inequity adjustment").  Generally, such recommendations should meet two criteria.  First, there should be some identifiable, historical incident which caused the recommended faculty member's salary to be out of line with other salaries in the department (when seniority and merit ratings are taken into account).  Second, the faculty member should have a history of above-average merit ratings, at least in recent years.

N. Salary increments shall be allocated on a percentage basis consistent with the merit evaluations.  The distribution will be linear, with the intercept set at the across-the-board percentage for those faculty with an overall rating of "5 (Needs Improvement)."

III. Criteria

A. Teaching

1. Evaluations of teaching are based on the course evaluation instrument (particularly the items soliciting the overall instructor evaluation and the overall course evaluation), students' written comments on evaluations (to the extent allowed by university policy), students' comments which have been brought to the attention of the Chair, a variety of informal cues based on collegial interaction (e.g., colloquium presentations, guest lectures, etc.), and any supplementary material provided by the individual faculty member (including, but not limited to, syllabi, exams, videotaped lectures, invited classroom observations, and so forth).  In evaluating teaching, the Personnel Committee will give some consideration to the number of courses taught, the number of different preparations, and similar indications of differential load; however, indications of the quality of teaching are given much more weight than indications of the quantity of teaching.

2. The evaluation process should not discourage faculty from periodically undertaking new preparations or major revisions of courses they have taught previously.  Therefore, a faculty member is allowed to exclude a new preparation or a major revision of a course (not just a change of textbooks) from the calculations which determine the presumptive ratings (discussed below), subject to the following constraints:

  1. This exclusion is not available to faculty teaching fewer than four courses per year.
  2. This exclusion is limited to one course per year for two years for new faculty, and one course every three years for other faculty.
  3. The faculty member must notify the Chair in advance of any new preparations or major revisions to be considered for possible exclusion.

Each faculty member is initially assigned a presumptive rating based on his/her average score on the "Overall, Instructor" item and a presumptive rating based on his/her average score on the "Overall, Course" item of the course evaluation instrument, as follows:

  1. Presumptive Instructor Rating based on Average Score on "Overall Instructor" Item:
    • 1(Outstanding)  1.00 - 1.70
    • 2(Excellent) 1.71 - 2.20
    • 3(Productive) 2.21 - 2.70
    • 4(Acceptable) 2.71 - 3.50
    • 5(Needs Improvement)  3.51 - 5.00
  2. Presumptive Course Rating based on Average Score on "Overall Course" Item:
    • 1(Outstanding)  1.00 - 2.10
    • 2(Excellent) 2.11 - 2.50
    • 3(Productive) 2.51 - 2.80
    • 4(Acceptable) 2.81 - 3.60
    • 5(Needs Improvement) 3.61 - 5.00

Based on the course evaluations for sociology faculty from 1981-1986, these cutting points were chosen to approximate the following distribution:  10% "Outstanding," 30% "Excellent," 30% "Productive," 30% "Acceptable."

4. These presumptive ratings may be modified by the Personnel Committee and the Chair, using their professional judgment, based on consideration of the supplementary information described above.  Normally, these modifications will be limited to a shift of one category.

5. A final rating of "Bonus" or "1 (Outstanding)," or any upward change from the presumptive ratings, must be based on evidence from at least two of the following evaluative domains.  The lists following each domain are suggestive rather than exhaustive, and are not to be used as mere checklists.  That is, the faculty member must provide evidence not only that certain items on the list were performed, but also evidence that enables the Personnel Committee and the Chair to evaluate the quality of that performance.

a. Supplemental Evaluations by Students

  1. Written comments supplied by students in conjunction with the statistical evaluations
  2. Unsolicited letters or comments submitted by students to the Chair
  3. Receipt of the S.A.C. teaching award
  4. Systematic interviews of students
  5. Analysis of other items on the student survey instrument

b. Peer Evaluation

  1. Classroom observations by colleagues or consultants
  2. Presentation of a colloquium
  3. Guest lecturing in a colleague's class
  4. Videotaped lectures
  5. Teaching-oriented publications
  6. Review of syllabi, exams, or other instructional materials

c. Working with Students outside the Classroom

  1. Service on thesis or dissertation committees
  2. Independent studies or other guided research
  3. Coauthored publications with students

d. Learning Outcomes

  1. Student paper competition entries
  2. Students' performance in subsequent classes
  3. Standardized testing of students
  4. Student paper presentations

e. Efforts at Improvement of Instruction. (Evidence from this domain may not be used to support raising a presumptive rating of "2 (Excellent)" to "1 (Outstanding).")

  1. Working with the University Teaching Consultant or the Committee on the Improvement of Undergraduate Education
  2. Developing teaching innovations to improve students' learning.
  3. Major revisions of courses taught

6. We should all aspire to be more than "acceptable"  teachers. Consequently, if a faculty member earns a rating of "4 (Acceptable)" for two years in a row, he/she should be expected to engage in a critical self-examination of his/her teaching, seeking ways to become "productive" or "excellent" in the future.  This critical self-examination might include classroom observations by colleagues, participation in teaching improvement workshops, consultation with the university's Teaching Consultant or the Committee for the Improvement of Undergraduate Education, or other similar efforts.  Failure to engage in this critical self-examination could provide a basis for a rating of "5 (Needs Improvement)."

B. Scholarship

Scholarship is the production and dissemination of knowledge. Although there are numerous kinds of outlets for the dissemination of knowledge, the most universally recognized media for dissemination of scholarship in sociology are refereed articles and authored books.  For this reason, these media serve as reference categories, against which other scholarly activities are compared.

An initial, presumptive rating of scholarship is made on the following basis:

Presumptive Rating: Standard Criterion

  • 1.  (Outstanding + bonus):  An authored book, or 3 articles published in refereed journals.
  • 1.  (Outstanding): Two articles published in refereed journals.
  • 2.  (Excellent): One article published in a refereed journal.
  • 3.(Productive): Multiple conference papers and/or articles submitted.
  • 4. (Acceptable): A paper presented at a scholarly meeting, or other demonstrated evidence of work in progress.
  • 5. (Needs Improvement)

These presumptive ratings may be modified by the Personnel Committee and the Chair, using their professional judgment, based on the quality of the work.  Normally, these modifications will be limited to a shift of one category.

The following comments provide further clarification of the presumptive ratings associated with various activities:

  • Textbooks usually represent a synthesis of knowledge rather than a production of new knowledge, and as such are valued somewhat less highly than research or theory monographs.  However, they still represent substantial scholarship, and carry a presumptive rating of "1 (Outstanding)."
  • Chapters in edited books are sometimes subjected to rigorous screening, but sometimes not, and are therefore valued somewhat less highly than refereed articles.  However, they still carry a presumptive rating of "3 (Productive)."
  • The presumptive rating for an article published in American Sociological Review or American Journal of Sociology is "2 (Excellent)."
  • The presumptive rating for an edited book is "3 (Productive)."


    e. The presumptive rating for having a sabbatical proposal approved is "4 (Acceptable)."

  • The presumptive rating for submitting a grant proposal is "3 (Productive)"; if the grant is funded, the presumptive rating is "2 (Excellent)."
  • The presumptive rating for a published comment is "4 (Acceptable)."
  • The presumptive rating for a book review is "4 (Acceptable); for a review essay it is "3 (Productive)."
  • Normally, full credit is given for coauthored publications.  However, the number and order of authors is taken into account.
  • The initial scholarship rating is determined by the criteria above.  The annual scholarship rating, which is used in the calculation of the overall EOPP rating and reported to the College, is the higher of (a) the initial scholarship rating or (b) the average of the initial scholarship ratings for the current year and the two preceding years.

C. Service

Evaluations of contributions in teaching and scholarship are made in comparison to relatively fixed standards.  In contrast, evaluations of contributions in service are made in comparisons to the contributions of other members of the department.

Most ratings in service will be in the range of "1 (Outstanding)" through "4 (Acceptable)."  Mere attendance at faculty meetings, however, is not by itself sufficient for a rating of "4 (Acceptable)." 

Evaluations of service will be based on consideration of the effort (e.g., time) involved, the quality of the service, and the outcome of the service.  The quality and outcome dimensions should affect the service rating more than the effort dimension does.

When a faculty member is given a special work load reduction to perform some specific service, the Chair will specify the criteria on which the performance of that service will be evaluated.

It is not feasible to assign presumptive ratings to different kinds of professional service.  However, as a rough guide a number of common service activities can be categorized as usually involving relatively minor service, major service, or very major service.

Minor forms of service
  • Attending faculty meetings
  • Attending meetings of professional associations
  • Serving as a member of a departmental committee or a minor college, university, or professional association committee
  • Reviewing papers for journals, grant applications for funding agencies, or manuscripts for publishers
  • Presenting guest lectures, public addresses, or testimonies outside the university
  • Serving as an external consultant
Major forms of service
  • Serving on the Department Council, the College Council, or the University Council
  • Editing a journal
  • Serving as a departmental advisor
  • Serving on a major university committee
Very major forms of service
  • Serving as a major officer of a regional, national, or international professional association
  • Founding a professional organization
  • Founding a journal

6. When evaluating service, the Chair and the Personnel Committee will take into account any release time or other compensation provided.

IV. Evaluation of the Department Chair

A.Evaluation of the Department Chair will be conducted by the full Council, including ex officio members other than the Chair.  The evaluation will be based on the following criteria, optimally weighted within the specified ranges.  In unusual circumstances (e.g., exceptionally productive scholarship, unusually heavy involvement in external service activities, transition years), the Council may make exceptions to these ranges, but must state the reasons for doing so.

  • Leadership and departmental management (60-75%)
  • Scholarship (5-20%)
  • Teaching (5-20%)
  • Institutional service and other professional activities (5-10%)

B. Evaluations, both within categories and overall, may be integers or numbers using one decimal place.

C. In transition years, the Council will evaluate the incoming chair and the Personnel Committee will evaluate the outgoing chair.  These evaluation bodies may adjust the percentage weightings or make other adjustments in the procedures as they deem appropriate to conduct a fair evaluation of the incoming and outgoing chairpersons.

V. Special Cases

New faculty: If a new faculty member has a documented record of teaching, scholarship, and/or service which can be reasonably compared to those of other members of the department, and if the evaluation is "2 (Excellent)"  or higher, then his/her record will be evaluated on its merits.  Otherwise, a rating of "3 (Productive)" will be assigned, and the individual's merit raise will be set to the departmental average.

Faculty on sabbatical or leave: One's rating may not be decreased solely as a consequence of being on leave.  Normally in such cases, one's scholarship will be evaluated on its own merits as usual, and the ratings on teaching and service will be set to the average of the ratings received in those areas in the three rating years before going on leave.  The overall rating will not be less than the individual's average overall rating for the last three years (rounded off).

Split appointments: Split appointments involve both arithmetic and substantive considerations.  The arithmetic consideration is straightforward:  If one is assigned only 50% (say) to the department, then the department's evaluation affects only the merit increase based on 50% of one's salary.

The substantive consideration is more subtle.  While the quality expectations would not differ, the quantity expectations for a faculty member on a split appointment could very well be different from those of faculty on full-time appointments, in the areas of teaching, scholarship, and/or service.  There is no mechanical or automatic adjustment for this.  Rather, the Personnel Committee and Chair consider the nature of the split appointment, the level of activity in each area appropriate for such an appointment, and the performance of the faculty member as measured against that standard.

Other: In circumstances not covered by the above, the Personnel Committee and Chair attempt to make decisions which are consistent with the spirit of these procedures:  openness, objectivity, and opportunity for appeal.