Faculty Evaluation Task Force Final Report : Annual Evaluations of Smathers Libraries Faculty

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Faculty Evaluation Task Force Final Report : Annual Evaluations of Smathers Libraries Faculty
Physical Description:
Report
Language:
English
Creator:
Aufmuth, Joe
Carrico, Steve
Keith, Brian
Outler, Elizabeth
Reakes, Patrick
Simpson, Betsy
Tennant, Michele
Walker, Ben
Widmer, Lois
Publisher:
George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
Publication Date:

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Applicable rights reserved.
System ID:
AA00013087:00002


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 1

1 Review and Recommendations for Annual Evaluations of Smathers Libraries Faculty Joint Task Force for the Annual Evaluation of Smathers Libraries Faculty July 16, 2012 The joint LFA and Library Administration Task Force for the Annual Evaluation of Smathers Libraries Faculty, respectfully submits the following report detailing our recommendations and we express our thanks for being asked to serve. The Task Force members are: Joe Aufmuth (Chair), Steve Carrico, Brian Keith, Elizabeth Outler, Patrick Reakes, Betsy Simpson, Michele Tennant, Ben Walker, and Lois Widmer. Introduction The Task Force charge was formed based upon the Libraries’ objective to maintain an annual faculty evaluation design that promotes and recognizes professional accomplishment, growth, engagement, and enrichment of library faculty through the utilization of fair, meaningful, and distinguishable rating levels that are applicable to the wide variety of professional endeavors in which library faculty are active. Specifically the group was charged to: 1. Examine the evaluation levels and level descriptions of peer groups (in the Libraries, elsewhere on campus, and nationally) to identify and assess alternatives or refinements to our current levels. 2. Review relevant UF policies and regulations. 3. Report findings to LFA officers, Library Council and library administrators and solicit their comments. 4. Recommend a series of evaluation levels and descriptions that would best serve the Libraries and faculty. The Task Force held its final meeting July 9, 2012 at 9:00am. The group determined that it had met the requirements of the charge and finalized its consensus concerning evaluation levels and descriptions. Task Force Process In initial meetings, it became clear that the current 3 tier system, based upon the evaluation outcomes, did not offer sufficient differentiation between levels of performance amongst successful and highly successful faculty. To address the specific charges the Task Force held 4 group meetings, met with Branch Chairs and TSS Heads, conducted a faculty poll, and presented poll results to the Library Faculty Assembly. The Task Force initially agreed that the current 3 evaluation levels should be eliminated in favor of either a 4 or 5 tier system. The Task Force collected and reviewed the following documents: Smathers Libraries career development handbook, Article 18 of the UFF bargaining agreement, the Rules of UF, evaluation levels

PAGE 2

2 from other colleges and departments within the University of Florida including IFAS, CISE, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Art & Art History, Linguistics Department, Mathematics Department and the Political Science Department. Faculty evaluation criteria from ARL institutions including Duke University, University of Missouri, University of Georgia, University Colorado, College of Charleston, and the University of Chicago were also reviewed. After reviewing the materials the Task Force met to discuss the rationale behind using a 4 or 5 tier system and how that system would impact the current evaluation culture, morale, and merit pay, as well as tenure and promotion. After considering the evaluation materials, individual Task Force members generated their own proposed 4 or 5 tier evaluation levels and met again to discuss the rationale and potential language to describe the tiers (see Appendix C). Initially some members favored 4 levels and other members favored 5. Intense discussion focused on how many positive and negative rating levels were necessary, particularly in a 4 level system. One issue that that particularly dominated discussion of both a 4 and 5 tier system was how to distinguish between levels of performance that are very high, and whether there could be sufficient difference between “exceptional” and “excellent” in order to justify 3 positive levels. Another important issue was whether two levels at the bottom of the scale were helpful or necessary to describe poor performance and give appropriate feedback. In order to engage faculty in the process, a faculty poll was conducted based on the Task Force’s discussions. The poll was conducted via email to faculty with an attachment that included the words developed by the Task Force. Faculty members were asked to reply with their preference for a 4 or 5 level scale. Some Faculty also included preferred words for their choices. The results were presented at the June 18th LFA meeting. The faculty evaluation poll results included comments from 38 individuals that included faculty at large, TSS Heads, and Branch Chairs. The responses were (4) 3 tier, (18) 4 tier, (17) 5 tier, (1) no preference. Task Force members were not included in the above poll results. Initially 5 Task Force members favored a 4 tier system and 4 members preferred a 5 tier system. The poll revealed faculty are split between a 4 and 5 tier system. Comments included with evaluation scale preferences were varied. Concerns expressed mirrored those already discussed by the Task Force, including the need for change, the effect on the T&P process, the use of evaluations in merit pay awards, and adopting a new evaluation culture. Several individuals recommended an evaluation level (“exceeds”) that tied the old language to a new system. Some expressed a preference for a scale with a neutral value and a singular negative value. A few individuals were concerned with the implementation time frame and the need to have the new scale implemented at the beginning of the evaluation cycle. Generally, individuals appreciated the opportunity to comment. Twenty faculty members provided lists of preferred terms. From the poll comments and the Task Force’s proposed list of terms, 19 unique evaluation terms were generated (see Appendix D). Prior to the final meeting all members were emailed and asked if they wanted to reconsider their preference in light of the faculty poll. At the Task Force’s final meeting, seven members attended and 2 had excused absences. One vote was changed at the meeting, overall resulting in 5 members voting for a 5 tier system and 4 members voting for a 4 tier system. Further discussion about the merits of each

PAGE 3

3 ensued with no clear consensus. However, 3 of the 4 members preferring a 4 tier system expressed that a 5 tier system would be acceptable and should be proposed to the faculty as a whole for a vote.(I think this paragraph misrepresents the number of members in attendance.) Task Force Recommendations Based on the foregoing, the Task Force recommends with reservations a 5 tier evaluation scale. The 5 recommended rating levels and descriptors are attached (Appendix A). The majority of the task force felt this system provided the following: useful distinction between levels of performance that were not successful – differentiating between a need to improve and notice to the employee that their performance was subject to corrective action establishes a series of distinguishable performance levels for the vast majority of library faculty whose performance is successful or highly successful Due to the evenly split results of the faculty poll and the opinions of the Task Force members, it is appropriate to include with this report the reservations some members had concerning a 5 tier scale. Additionally, the Task Force decided that the final choice of which system to present to faculty was a decision to be made by the LFA and Library Administration. Task Force Comments A new evaluation culture will need to accompany any change. Evaluators should be trained to use any new system and evaluators need to be consistent in their method of assessment. Since evaluations apply to the Tenure and Promotion process, the new evaluation culture needs to reassure tenure track faculty that the first positive or “Successful” level is compatible with the attainment of tenure and/or promotion. Further, the Tenure and Promotion Committee will need to review any new evaluation system as it relates to a determination of distinction by the committee. Faculty concerns about using evaluations for merit pay consideration will need to be addressed. The Task Force makes their recommendation based on the assumption that the need for a new evaluation scale was not motivated by merit pay distribution issues. The recommended rating levels were not primarily identified in order to support a merit pay distribution situation but it might well serve such a function. However, confirmation of that depends on too many speculative assumptions about possible future circumstances and decisions. Minority Position 5 Tier Scale Reservations • If it is expected that the “exceptional” (highest positive level in a 5 level system) be a very rare occurrence (as proposed by the task force), it is unclear how this level contributes to professional development, a major focus of the evaluation process. Such performance would be difficult to plan or strive for, or to develop a career strategy around. How would we counsel the merely “excellent” to improve to “exceptional”?

PAGE 4

4 • It is unclear how the “exceptional” level would relate to the tenure and promotion process. If the middle level (“success”) is actually enough to get someone tenure (as proposed by the Task Force), a level “exceptional” level two degrees higher appears to be superfluous to the T and P process. • Having an “exceptional” level will require that supervisors be able to separate “excellent” from “exceptional” accomplishments. For example, is a $20,000 grant “exceptional”? How about only a $10,000 one? Do three peer reviewed journal articles equal one book chapter? • Having an “exceptional” level requires fine distinctions among accomplishments, and some supervisors may resort to improperly comparing people to people, rather than people to the criteria. • If the “exceptional” level really is a rare event that is not meant to be sustainable, it has the potential to depress rather than increase morale among high achievers. People who currently are star performers and are used to evaluations appropriately filled with “exceeds” will no longer routinely receive the highest evaluation scores (by definition rare and unsustainable). • Adding an “exceptional” level that is difficult to achieve and more difficult to sustain may provide the seeds of completion rather than collaboration among our faculty. Our greatest strengths are our faculty and the teamwork and synergy that they exhibit. A decrease in collegiality and increase in competition (the unhealthy kind) would be detrimental to our mission. • Level 5 accomplishments may well be as much a product of luck, assignment, or supervisor provided opportunity as initiative or skill of the recipient. In summary, although the intent of three positive levels (“success”, “excellent”, “exceptional”) is to provide the ability to better distinguish performance levels, if the “exceptional” is expected to be rare and unsustainable, it is effectively taken off the table for the majority of evaluations. In effect, we are left with a two negatives, two positives scale (identical to the proposed four level system). The addition of this fifth “exceptional” level may have little benefit to the library or our faculty while providing at the minimum unwarranted complexity and uncertainly. An alternate 4 tier scale is presented in Appendix B. Further Implementation Considerations During the faculty poll a question was raised by a faculty member concerning how the final evaluation scale would be adopted and whether or not there would be a vote by faculty. As the vote question relates to Charge 2, Review relevant UF policies and regulations, an opinion was asked of the Libraries union representative. Interpretation of the contract and handbook led to the conclusion that a secret ballot vote of the faculty must be taken in order to amend the current evaluation system based on the following: Article 18.4 “Each faculty member’s performance of assigned duties shall be evaluated according to rating categories defined by the chair and the faculty of the department….”

PAGE 5

5 Article 18.6 “…discipline specific written clarifications [of the University criteria for annual performance evaluations, which includes in the libraries’ case the CDH Section III.A.2. detailing the ratings for the Annual Performance Evaluations as “achieves,” “exceeds,” and “needs improvement in (one or more areas)”] shall be approved in a secret ballot vote by a majority of all affected department faculty and shall be included in the department’s bylaws according to the provisions of Article 9”: Article 9.1 (a) Faculty members shall have the right to participate in the development of, and vote by secret ballot on, such bylaws (and subsequent revisions). If the bylaws are developed by means of a committee, such committee shall be comprised of faculty members elected by the faculty members of the unit. Article 9.1 (c) The Trustees and the UFF have agreed by the express terms of the Agreement to delegate to the faculty of appropriate units, in specific instances and within specified parameters, the development of discipline specific [i.e., librarianship] clarifications of University criteria for…performance evaluations. Article 9.2 (c) Faculty Proposal. The faculty members in each unit, in conjunction with the Chair or equivalent…shall develop and maintain bylaws. Provisions in the bylaws (and revisions thereto) relating to…performance evaluations must be approved in a secret ballot vote….The proposed bylaws shall be forwarded for approval to the dean.

PAGE 6

6 Appendix A, 5 Tier Evaluation Scale Exceptional This level is reserved for employees who exceed expectations during the year in all areas with an outstanding additional contribution that deserves special recognition. Outcomes of this kind are of such quality that they occur among only a small number of employees. The standards for earning an evaluation level of “exceptional” are as follows: The faculty member achieved extraordinary results that have readily demonstrable benefits to the Libraries. The faculty member made contributions which expand or consistently go beyond the scope of the position. Accomplishments might include: • assumed major added responsibility or assignment beyond current position which requires extraordinary commitment of time, energy and other resources • provided leadership or major contribution to activities which result in a significant impact on efficiencies or effectiveness, or have a broad impact beyond the individual’s unit • received an honor or had an award for conduct in area of responsibility The individual assumed a very high level of responsibility for his or her own performance, or contributed to the articulation and definition of new programs or services. Faculty member demonstrated role model behavior for others to emulate. Excellent This level is reserved for faculty members whose performance or service was at a very high level and who consistently and substantially exceed overall expectations and goals, or demonstrate unusual success in carrying out their areas of job responsibility and/or accomplishing annual goals during the year. Excellent performers worked with little or no supervision and generated output that is especially high in quality, quantity, and timeliness. The standards for earning an evaluation level of “excellent” are as follows: The faculty member frequently made contributions over and above those associated with his or her position and rank in several areas of job responsibility. These additional contributions are evaluated for their quality, innovation and initiative and might include the following: Contributed to an important or sustained enhancement of service in the librarian’s area of job responsibility Contributed through leadership or technical expertise, to the introduction of significant new service in librarian’s area of responsibility

PAGE 7

7 Accepted and performed substantive temporary assignments in addition to current job responsibility The faculty member demonstrated exceptional depth and breadth of position knowledge, and is highly recognized by others within the University community or beyond. Successful Employees rated at this level regularly met and occasionally exceeded the high expectations and goals of a library professional during the year. A fully successful employee consistently met expectations within specified time and cost limits, understands and supported library wide goals and priorities, and contributed innovative and creative approaches to meeting and furthering achievement of the University Libraries' mission. A rating at this level indicates the employee possessed full depth and breadth of role knowledge and is a competent, productive, and valued member of the team. The standards for earning an evaluation level of “successful” are as follows: The faculty member demonstrated knowledge of library policies and procedures and the interrelationships of various departments; and furthered the department and library’s goals and objectives through active participation. The faculty member is perceived by peers, managers, students and other customers as collaborative, skilled and reliable. The faculty member consistently interacted effectively with patrons, peers and/or management. The faculty member completed assignments on time and met annual goals. Needs Improvement Employees rated at this level did not consistently meet overall expectations during the year. Employees rated at this level may regularly meet or exceed job performance expectations in some areas, but did not consistently meet expectations in other performance areas. Employees in this category need improvement to reach the SUCCESSFUL level. The standards for earning an evaluation level of “needs improvement” are as follows: The faculty member inconsistently demonstrated the required role knowledge and did not fully perform all requirements and duties. In some instances faculty members may be learning new roles and may have not yet completely mastered the required competencies.

PAGE 8

8 The performance issues may include inconsistent interactions with patrons, peers and/or management. The faculty member demonstrated a willingness or an ability to improve performance and resolve deficiencies. When performance is at this level, counseling and coaching is warranted. Unacceptable Employees at this level clearly and consistently failed to meet all or a significant portion of the performance expectations of a library professional in the past year. Their work product was regularly incomplete and/or did not meet the minimal standards for quantity or quality, or the faculty member often missed deadlines. The employee may have shown either unwillingness or an inability to improve. The characteristics of UNACCEPTABLE performance could include but are not limited to: Took little to no initiative, even with prompting Exhibited inappropriate or unprofessional interactions with patrons, peers and/or management Required more than the expected level of supervision due to lower quality work or level of learning required to complete role successfully • Refused to accept or fulfill work assignments • Failed to work towards improving problematic performance • Did not work effectively with colleagues or patrons • Performed without conforming to library mission, policies or procedures Performance at this level requires corrective action.

PAGE 9

9 Appendix B, Alternate 4 Tier Scale Exceptional Faculty rated at this level demonstrated unusual achievement during the year. The faculty member’s contribution greatly expanded or consistently went beyond the scope of the position and offered significant benefits to the Libraries. Accomplishments might include: • assumed major added responsibility requiring an extraordinary commitment of time and energy • provided leadership or made a major contribution to an initiative with broad impact • received an honor or award for conduct in area of responsibility Successful Faculty rated at this level regularly met and occasionally exceeded the high expectations and goals of a library professional during the year. As a fully successful employee, the faculty member supported library wide goals and priorities, contributed innovative and creative approaches to meeting and furthering achievement of the University Libraries' mission, and exhibited full depth and breadth of role knowledge as a competent, productive, and valued member of the team. The faculty member demonstrated knowledge of library policies and procedures and the interrelationships of various departments and furthered the department and library’s goals and objectives through active participation. The faculty member consistently interacted effectively with patrons, peers and/or management. Needs Improvement Faculty rated at this level did not consistently meet expectations during the year and inconsistently performed the job requirements and duties. The faculty member failed to anticipate or respond to problems adequately and lacked initiative. The performance issues may include unsatisfactory interactions with patrons, peers and/or management. However, the employee demonstrated a willingness and ability to improve performance and resolve deficiencies. Performance as this level warrants counseling and coaching. Unacceptable Faculty rated at this level clearly and consistently failed to meet all or a significant portion of the performance expectations of a library professional during the year. Their work product was incomplete and/or did not meet the minimal standards for quantity or quality. The employee may have shown either unwillingness or an inability to improve. Performance at this level requires corrective action. The characteristics of UNACCEPTABLE performance could include but are not limited to: took little to no initiative, even with prompting exhibited inappropriate or unprofessional interactions with patrons, peers and/or management required more than the expected level of supervision refused to accept or fulfill work assignments failed to work towards improving problematic performance performed without conforming to library mission, policies or procedures

PAGE 10

10 Appendix C, Initial Task Force Comments Not to reinvent the wheel, I took bits and pieces from the other institutions to come up with brief descriptors. I lean toward a four point scale, but am also open to a five point scale. I’d prefer that the same ratings be applied across the criteria – seems simpler that way. Exceptional Demonstrates unusual achievement Assumes major added responsibility Provides leadership in area with significant impact Receives notable honor or award Successful Carries out duties independently and thoroughly Accomplishes goals Takes on additional duties and performs well Works effectively with others Needs Improvement Performs unreliably or inconsistently Takes little or no initiative Fails to anticipate or respond to problems Uncollaborative Unacceptable Negligent in performing duties Requires substantial monitoring and assistance Interacts poorly I think there should be four categories. If we had a fifth category, I don’t think it would be used. I could see an argument to include it, just for that extra utility as a manager, but don’t believe it is really necessary. However, I could be talked into it. As I have said in a couple of meetings, I really think this won’t mean much unless we make significant efforts to change perceptions. My levels are: Exceptional : a star performer, someone working at a peak level, clearly outperforming the expectations of the position

PAGE 11

11 Successful : regularly meeting and sometimes exceeding expectations; still very high level of performance, but not quite exceptional Adequate : meeting expectations of the position, but not excelling in any area Needs Improvement : more than one area that is below work expectations Regarding the evaluation levels I would like to see… I will vote for four. Five provides more flexibility for supervisors and arguably would provide opportunities for a more informative rating to faculty being evaluated, but I cannot imagine anyone using the middle level…. So merely “meeting departmental standards” or whatever the level three, middle level, would be – is really not sufficient for someone on tenure track and means they should understand they’re in danger. Which means improvement is required. So below are the four levels I would suggest and the labels I like: Superior? Exceptional ? Successful Improvement required Unsatisfactory? Unacceptable? My recommendations for annual evaluation ratingsRating Description / examples Exceptional Significantly, consistently and in a sustained manner exceeds requirements and job duties with little supervision Consistently demonstrates lead ership and a high level of initiative Highly self-motivated Effectively manages multiple priorities or projects Exceeds Meets all requirement s of succeeds plus… Occasionally exceeds quantity and quality of duties or Occasionally volunteers for extra responsibilities or Excels on a specific project, ta sk, or special assignment. Succeeds Reliably and consistently meets re quirements and job duties in a way that colleagues can count on Exercises good judgment independently Makes effective decisions in keep ing with the Libraries’ policies and practices Is flexible and able to adapt to change

PAGE 12

12 Needs improvement Inconsistent in performance of requirements and job duties Does not demons trate initiative Inconsistent in interactions/service level with colleagues or customers Unsatisfactory Work is regularly incomplete Fails to meet minimal standards of quality and work quantity Is unreliable in performance of responsibilities and duties Having five levels is my first choice. I could live with four but, looking at it from the Chair perspective … a more effective way to differentiate them. Suggestions for terminology: To me, the best of all of them we looked at for examples was the U of Chicago Superior Excellent Effective Less Than Satisfactory Unsatisfactory *I kind of like the Duke terminology of “Successful” for the midpoint, rather than “Effective” though (I also like their definition of that level = regularly meet and sometimes exceed expectations and role requirements). I don’t think the bottom two ratings take a lot of thought as far as the names. The IFAS “Improvement Required” and “Unacceptable” or the U of C “Less than Satisfactory” and “Unsatisfactory” would both seem to work OK. For the top two I think the U of C “Superior” and “Excellent” work as well as any of them but I’m not married to that. As a member of the Task Force to review and recommend a new annual evaluation scale/criteria for faculty, my vote is the following: o Unacceptable – poor overall performance and does not meet expectations or standards of the position o Needs Improvement – performance is effective at times but inconsistent o Effective –performs consistently and thoroughly at a high professional level o Excellent – performance often exceeds expectations or standards of the position Exceptional – outstanding performance and noteworthy success in the profession

PAGE 13

13 Based on definitions in the dictionary I have chosen the following. Using 4 or 5 criteria is a difficult decision because the scale is used for merit. In the case of merit perhaps an outstanding achievement within the evaluation period could be used as part of the merit criteria, i.e. a book chapter published, articles written, national/state association governing board membership, etc. Exceptional : Exemplary Needs Improvement Unacceptable Outstanding Reserved for employees who exceed expectations in all areas with an outstanding additional contribution that deserves special recognition. Outcomes of this kind are of such quality that they occur among only a small number of employees. The faculty member achieves extraordinary results that have readily demonstrable benefits to the Libraries. The faculty member's makes contributions which expand or consistently go beyond the scope of the position. Accomplishment might include: • assuming major added responsibility or assignment beyond current position which requires extraordinary commitment of time, energy and other resources • providing leadership or major contribution to activities which result in a significant impact on efficiencies or effectiveness, or have a broad impact beyond the individual’s unit • receiving an honor or award for conduct in area of responsibility The individual assumes a very high level of responsibility for his or her own performance, contributes to the articulation and definition of new programs or services. Faculty member demonstrates role model behavior for others to emulate. Excellent Reserved for employees whose performance or service is at an exceptional level and who regularly and substantially exceed overall expectations and goals, or demonstrate unusual success in carrying out area of job responsibility and/or accomplishing annual goals.

PAGE 14

14 The faculty member frequently makes contributions over and above those associated with their position and rank in several areas of job responsibility. These additional contributions are evaluated for their quality, innovation and initiative and might include the following: Contributing to an important or sustained enhancement of service in the librarian’s area of job responsibility Contributing, through leadership or technical expertise, to the introduction of significant new service in librarian’s area of responsibility Accepting and performing substantive temporary assignments in addition to current job responsibility The employee demonstrates exceptional depth and breadth of role knowledge, and is highly recognized by others within the University community or beyond. Outstanding performers work with little or no supervision and generate output that is exceptionally high in quality, quantity, and timeliness. Successful Employees rated at this level regularly meet and occasionally exceed the high expectations and goals of a library professional. A fully successful employee consistently meets expectations within specified time and cost limits, understands and supports library wide goals and priorities, and contributes innovative and creative approaches to meeting and furthering achievement of the University Libraries' mission. A rating at this level indicates the employee possesses full depth and breadth of role knowledge and is a competent, productive, and valued member of the team. The faculty member demonstrates knowledge of library policies and procedures and the interrelationships of various departments; and furthers the department and library’s goals and objectives through active participation. The employee is perceived by peers, managers, students and other customers as collaborative, skilled and reliable. The faculty member consistently interacts effectively with patrons, peers and/or management. Below Expectations Employees rated at this level do not consistently meet the overall expectations; or regularly meet or exceed job performance expectations in some areas, but do not consistently meet expectations in other performance areas.

PAGE 15

15 The faculty member inconsistently demonstrates or may be learning the required role knowledge and does not yet fully perform all requirements and duties. The performance issues may include inconsistent interactions with patrons, peers and/or management. The employee demonstrates a willingness or an ability to improve performance and resolve deficiencies. Employees in this category need improvement to reach the SUCCESSFUL level. When performance is at this level, counseling and coaching is warranted. Unacceptable Employees at this level clearly and consistently fail to meet all or a significant portion of the performance expectations of a library professional. Their work product is regularly incomplete and/or does not meet the minimal standards for quantity or quality, or the faculty member often misses deadlines. The employee may have shown either unwillingness or an inability to improve. The characteristics of UNACCEPTABLE performance could include but are not limited to: Takes little to no initiative, even with prompting Exhibits inappropriate or unprofessional interactions with patrons, peers and/or management Requires more than the expected level of supervision due to lower quality work or level of learning required to complete role successfully • Refuses to accept or fulfill work assignments • Fails to work towards improving problematic performance • Does not work effectively with colleagues or patrons • Performs without conforming to library mission, policies or procedures Performance at this level requires corrective action.

PAGE 16

16 Appendix D, Faculty Evaluation Poll Results Faculty Evaluation Task Force Poll Results on Evaluation Levels. June 18, 2012. The faculty evaluation poll results include comments from 38 individuals that includes faculty at large, TSS Heads, and Branch Chairs. The responses were (4) 3 tier, (18) 4 tier, (17) 5 tier, (1) no preference. Task Force members were not included in the above poll results. Initially 6 Task Force members favored a 4 point system and 3 members preferred a 5 point system. The poll revealed that faculty are split between a 4 or 5 point system. Comments included with evaluation scale preferences were varied. Concerns expressed mirrored those already discussed by the taskforce, the need for change, the effect on the T&P process, the use of evaluations in merit pay awards, and adopting a new evaluation culture. Several individuals recommended an evaluation level (exceeds) that tied the old language to a new system. Some expressed having a scale with a neutral value and a singular negative value. A few individuals were concerned with the implementation time frame and the need to have the new scale implemented at the beginning of the evaluation cycle. Generally, individuals appreciated the opportunity to comment. Twenty faculty provided lists of preferred terms. From the lists and the Task Forces lists of terms, there were 19 unique evaluation terms used. The term count was as follows: unique count Achieves 3 Adequate 3 Below Expectations 1 Effective 8 Exceeds 10 Excellent 7 Exceptional 23 Exemplary 1 Extraordinary 1 Improvement Required 3 Less Than Satisfactory 2 Meh 1 Needs Improvement 21 Outstanding 2 Succeeds 5 Successful 12 Superior 5 Unacceptable 14 Unsatisfactory 11 3 Level Comments

PAGE 17

17 Frankly I fail to see the inadequacies with the current system: you're doing your job, your doing your job really well, or your not doing your job. …, the idea of using that (merit raise) as any justification for change is ridiculous. For starters, I’d like to know if and why the 3 point scale is problematic in the 1st place! We certainly don’t need 5 points. If someone “needs improvement” the extent doesn’t matter in the evaluation process. It is assumed that the supervisor is drawing up a plan, and the degree of improvement will be assessed the following year. I am concerned about the impact on the T&P process of moving from 3 points to more, and I think we need to deeply consider all the ramifications before making adjustments. For T&P, candidates need to show distinction in Criterion 1 and distinction in 2 or 3 (with strength if less than distinction). Adding more points to the evaluation process would muddy the distinction findings. For example, is it possible to show distinction if you are not rated at the very top category? We must proceed very cautiously when considering the delicate relationship between evaluation rankings and T&P considerations, and I don’t think an hour’s discussion or a brief task force’s assignment is sufficient for evaluating the unintended consequences of any changes. One option is to maintain the 3 point scale (needs improvement, meets/succeeds, exceeds) for individual criteria, and perhaps consider a 4 point scale for an “overall” (needs improvement, meets/succeeds, exceeds, super exceptional) judgment. This would help for merit (isn’t that what the exercise is about?) but would not negatively impact the T&P process. We must take great care when judging the criteria, since the 1st criterion is 80 90% of our jobs and therefore should carry a different weight from 2nd and 3rd. And we must always remember that the annual evaluations and T&P considerations are different animals, and their interplay must be managed very, very carefully. I think 5 is overkill. The current 3 levels are probably sufficient since the evaluator also should explain why they assigned that level (i.e., if you're on the cusp then you get Needs Improvement/Does Not Meet AND your supervisor explains why). I can see having 4 levels if some evaluators feel they really need to point out truly exceptional performance, but again I think this can be done using 3 levels plus the explanation. I don't envy you having to boil all of this down into one recommendation! I prefer the 3 point scale, but there is something to say for the four point one. 4 Level Comments I don’t know that it matters that much. Five does not necessarily provide more clarity than four. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s possible to come up with a “neutral” rating. (Is effective supposed to be neutral? It’s sort of neutral.) I lean towards four, but if you go with five I suggest the following: Exceptional Successful Effective Meh Unsatisfactory I believe a 4 tier scale (2 pos, 1 neutral, 1 neg) would be adequate Thank you for seeking the opinion of the faculty who will be evaluated. In accordance with the logical practices developed by the math department, an even numbered scale would be preferable. Statistically, even numbered scales remove the possibility for a neutral value and create more

PAGE 18

18 meaningful data. In this case, I would vote for the 4 point scale with no neutral. However, if there is need for more differentiation of categories than a 4 point scale provides, a 6 point scale would be preferable to a 5 point scale. I really appreciate you seeking our opinions prior to the open discussion. I prefer a four point scale. The first scale on the document you sent out seems most reasonable. I favor the 4 tier approach. There needs to be an in between category above ACHIEVES and below EXCEEDS; however, I feel only one category below ACHIEVES is necessary. I think there are different levels of good (average, good, superior), but only one of bad. As for wording I think NEEDS IMPROVEMENT, ACHIEVES, EXCEEDS, EXCEPTIONAL (the last one – the highest category – might use a better word). I agree with… I prefer 4 with the following choice of wording: Exceptional, Successful, Adequate, Needs Improvement "Unacceptable" seems to reflect poorly on our hiring practices. "Superior" seems comparative: I believe evaluation is NOT meant to compare workers with each other as much as against an ideal or their previous performance. I think the 4 tier system sounds easier to manage then 5. 2 positives, a neutral, and a negative seems fine. However, I also believe that it will be difficult to quantify the difference between exceeding expectations and outstanding. If we are currently required to exceed expectations in 2 of the three categories in order to achieve tenure, will there be an effort to require outstanding performance in one area? Is the outstanding designation meant to ensure merit pay in the case of someone who has achieved a big win with a book or serious national recognition? Will Outstanding be the new exceeds? Will a neutral designation of “meets expectations” indicate someone on the cusp of failure rather than someone doing their job diligently, if not brilliantly? I guess what I’m saying is that I would prefer 4 levels over 5, but I’m not entirely sure that it is a particularly useful change and I believe it may generate difficulties and impact moral in a negative way. I prefer the 4 tier system. My vote is for 4 levels with 2 positive and 2 negative. I prefer 4 categories and that they be Supperior/Exceptional/ Exceeds Successful Improvement Required Unsatisfactory/Unacceptable. I expect that regardless of the category and wording, consistent definitions and training in the application of the terms by supervisors will be needed. I am always concerned that employees hear negative/ need improvement feedback throughout the year when there are concerns and not only at the time of evaluation. I would prefer the version with 4 categories Exceptional Successful Needs Improvement Unacceptable (i.e. 2 positive categories and 2 negative categories with the upper negative category being a warning). Also, your report indicated that the earliest this model could be implemented is in the 2012 2013 evaluation period. I don’t think it would be appropriate to implement it until the beginning of the next

PAGE 19

19 evaluation period – then people would know from the beginning of the evaluation period what the model is that they are being evaluated upon. My selection is below, Exceptional, Successful, Needs Improvement, Unacceptable. 5 Level Comments … expressed her preference for five categories with the following terms: Extraordinary, Outstanding (or Excellent), Effective, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory. My preference is for a 5 point scale. I would prefer a 5 point scale. Thanks for the work the committee is doing on this issue. I think I would prefer the five tier option: Superior, Exceeds, Effective, Less Than Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory. For some reason keeping “Exceeds” seems like it could add a comfortable familiarity to the qualifications but that’s just my two centimes. I prefer the 5 point scale and my 5 point scale preference is: Exceptional, Excellent, Effective, Needs, Improvement, Unacceptable. I prefer 5 tier scale: 3 positive, 2 negative. Based on the attachment, the 5 point scale looks most useful. I will be out for a conference on 6/18, so I look forward to the notes from the meeting. I think I prefer the 5 point scale. Here is the list I like: Exceptional, Excellent, Effective, Needs Improvement, Unacceptable. I’m a fan of the five tier approach. I think there are two levels of bad. Needs improvement, but there is hope and unacceptable, you should start looking around. Also, if we are hoping to move to a bell curve where achieves is the norm, exceeds is unusual, and exceptional is rare, I don’t think we can get there with a four tier system. With four tiers achieves is in the bottom half of the scale, and nobody wants to be there. I would like to see five categories Joe. Sometimes a person falls just below achieves, but is not “flunking.” I have mixed feelings about changing the current evaluation structure. However, if a change is required, I would choose a 5 pt. scale. From your list: Exceptional, Exceeds, Succeeds, Needs Improvement, Unsatisfactory. Thanks for sending a reminder—I have been meaning to respond, but hadn’t done so yet. My basic view is that 3 categories, as per current practice, does not offer enough fine grainedness. I have done a lot of grading, and I always appreciated having “+” and ” “ for two reasons. One, to characterize student

PAGE 20

20 performance in a highly accurate manner, and two, to distinguish students who were perhaps close in overall performance, but where one still deserved a bit better grade than another. Given the choice between 4 and 5 categories, I would choose 5. I can see the appeal of removing the middle category, and using 4 categories, but I kind of doubt that this would really work out as intended. My guess would be that supervisors, faced with a choice between giving a 2 or a 3, would tend to bump “average/meeting expectations” employees up to a 3. So 3 on a 4 point scale would come to approximate 3 on a 5 point scale—kind of a default value. And there would only be one category for high performance, which would leave things much as they are now. And while I can appreciate the argument that there only needs to be one designation for unsatisfactory, I still think having two categories would be better. I think supervisors would tend not to want to lump a slight underperformer with someone who is truly lagging behind (or to characterize a slight underperformer with a draconian sounding “unsatisfactory.”) So my $.02 would be a 5 point scale, with 3 as average/meeting expectations, and then two levels above and below that. I favor a five point scale with either of these two wordings: Exceptional Exceeds Succeeds Needs Improvement Unsatisfactory, Or Exceptional Excellent Effective Needs Improvement Unacceptable. I think that these two groups would show a candidate how they were doing in a more concrete way. For example, telling someone (like me) for example that they are effective at their job says that I’m doing my job, etc. But I’m not putting much effort into it (i.e. there’s room for improvement). Also, most people are more familiar with a five point scale, in terms of evaluation, that they are with a four point scale. I think it gives both the candidate more information and allows the supervisor and T&P more room to provide appropriate evaluation that is concrete. Seriously: I’d personally favor a 5 level scale tongue in cheek: exceeds all expectations, definitely meets expectations, kind of meets expectations but needs to step it up, not meeting all expectations and needs ALOT of improvement, does not come close to meeting any of the expectations and needs to update their CV. Thanks for the committee's admirable efforts on this tough project. I find the report helpful for organizing my own thoughts on this matter. I support a modified performance evaluation system rating library faculty that distinguishes 2 negative, one neutral and 2 positive categories. My understanding is that we need additional levels of rating employee performance in various aspects of the annual evaluations because there are a significant number of supervisors submitting evaluations with descriptive modifiers to the current 3 levels rating faculty performance. I don’t think we should get too caught up in specific terms, but should focus on distinguishing levels of performance. Training will have to focus on providing examples of what constitutes baseline (the neutral center point), above expectation (one point above the center), and top level, superior or outstanding levels of performance (referring of course in specific ways to the annual assignment/job description). Likewise, we may have to identify with specificity what kinds of performance exemplify a single level

PAGE 21

21 below the neutral baseline of minimally performing one’s job responsibilities, versus truly unacceptable performance that will take a significant effort to change enough to meet a supervisor’s expectations (the lowest possible ranking). My preference is for a system emulating the 5 point Likert scale, because that familiar template lends common ground to the process (it’s familiar and we all have a sense of how each choice on the scale is significantly different than the points to one or the other side of it). I believe we all can use the five point scale to distinguish when a given employee attains or meets our expectations (point #3 in the center), more than meets our expectations (#4), or is truly an exceptional performer with very unusual “star quality” (#5 on the scale). Example terms such as "performs above expectations" or “demonstrates adequate success” might be used at one level above the neutral center point. Likewise, there may be some faculty who aren’t meeting library expectations in one or more areas, but could raise their game a bit to do so (#2). I can imagine a situation where a librarian may have a good deal more work to do if they are to attain a level that their supervisor is even minimally satisfied with their performance (#1). One would hope that is a very rare case indeed, but if it is a realistic and fair assessment (something that the HR administration and perhaps even department or library peers should monitor in collegial fashion), then it seems to me that it is absolutely critical for us to have the case documented as soon as it presents itself. Again, I don’t believe the choice of terms is the most important point (as long as we adequately train supervisors and all employees what they mean). Once we select acceptable terms, we have to train library supervisors to use them as labels in as consistent a manner as we can. It will be a matter of building a new institutional culture around the new system. I understand and accept that supervisors will apply these appraisal categories in diverse ways—that is surely an important problem that the evaluation categories themselves can’t fix. We should set aside the problem of education and compliance among supervisors for now. I think the 5 point scale would work well for what we are trying to achieve. This would be my wording preference: Exceptional Exceeds Succeeds Needs improvement Unsatisfactory I favor a 5 pt scale. No Preference In the group’s report are you expecting to be recommending both the rating terms used (e.g. Exceeds, Exceptional, etc.) and a statement describing and showing what the progressive differences are between those rating terms? I’m thinking of something like what is now used for assigning an overall rating to TEAMS exempt employees. Their form is at http://hr.ufl.edu/emp_relations/for ms/performance_teams_exempt.docx, and here is what is available there: Exceeds Almost always exceeds performance standards. Consistently produces excellent quality work, is innovative, and demonstrates high level leadership qualities. Above Average Consistently meets and regularly exceeds performance standards. Able to work independently. Achieves, Generally meets performance standards. Seldom exceeds or falls short of desired results. Able to work independently, but sometimes requires direction. Minimally achieves, Frequently fails to meet performance standards. Requires frequent instruction and supervision. Below Performance Standards, Fails to meet performance standards. I’m not suggesting using these terms or descriptions; they are merely an illustration of an approach. I’m also wondering if there has been any discussion about maintaining the

PAGE 22

22 current 3 rating levels for assignment to each of the individual criterion, but then assigning a single overall rating (with 4 or 5 options) that would be used for merit purposes. I don’t know that I particularly like this idea – and it there might be other problems uncovered if it was discussed but the whole bell curve idea suggested concerns me as it may relate in the long term to the tenure and promotion process (and the potential disconnect that could exist in some cases between assessing that an individual has achieved “distinction”, but simply has a rating of “meets”). Besides, how do you create a bell curve using 3 separate evaluation ratings (and when the weighting of each separate criterion needs to be different).