Some information about Oregon State University faculty, including salary and rank, are part of the public record. Other data such as social security number and birth year are confidential. This chapter provides an overview of the guidelines and policies that pertain to faculty records and periodic evaluations.
Personal and personnel records are limited to those records that are directly related to the individual’s conditions of employment, or to his or her periodic evaluation. They include:
". . . records containing information kept by the institution, school, division, or department concerning a faculty member and furnished by the faculty member or by others, including, but not limited to, information as to discipline, counseling, membership activity, other behavioral records, professional preparation and experience, professional performance (e.g., assignment and workload, quality of teaching, research, and service to the institution), personnel data relating to such matters as promotions, tenure, leaves, retirement credits and the like, and professional activities external to the institution, including, but not limited to, awards, recognition, research activities, and travel." (OAR 580–22–065).
Other records (which cannot meet the definition in OAR 580–22–065) are maintained elsewhere, e.g., general correspondence written by the faculty member does not belong in his or her employment record.
Location of Personnel Files. Oregon Revised Statutes limit evaluative files to three. At OSU, one personnel file is kept by the college or department in which the faculty member is employed; one in the office of the faculty member’s dean, director or vice president; and one in the Office of Human Resources. The head of the academic unit maintaining the files is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality and security of the records.
In those instances when a faculty member is appointed in two or more academic or administrative units, the faculty member’s major administrative unit shall maintain the personnel file. All other departments or units which maintain records of a faculty member shall use such files for fiscal and administrative purposes only and shall not use such files for evaluation of performance.
General Personnel Data. Certain information about the faculty member may be released upon request without the consent of the faculty member:
Public Only if in Staff Directory. If the faculty member is listed in the Staff Directory, the following information may also be released upon request without the consent of the faculty member:
All other information contained in faculty employment records is considered confidential and may not be released to any person or agency without the faculty member’s written consent or prior approval by the University legal adviser. This includes:
Confidential information may not be released to the faculty member by telephone unless the faculty member’s identity has been positively confirmed by the department chair or head.
Exceptions to this policy are limited to:
Faculty members are allowed full access to their own personnel records files kept by the University, college, or department, except for the following records:
The faculty member may review his or her personnel records file with the supervisor or in the Office of Human Resources. The file may be reviewed in the office in which it is maintained and may not be removed from that office.
To provide a faculty member access to information and evaluations submitted in confidence, the University, college, or department official shall disclose to the faculty member upon request the substance of the confidential items in the personnel records file (keeping the name and content that would reveal the source confidential).
The faculty member shall have the opportunity to enter into the file a rebuttal, refutation, or explanation of any materials in his or her personnel file. As described in the University Promotion and Tenure Guidelines (Chapter 8), department supervisors are expected to include in their letters of evaluation a summary of all solicited evaluations –– confidential and non–confidential –– received as part of a promotion and tenure review. The faculty member may enter into the dossier a rebuttal, explanation, or comment for these or any other evaluations in the dossier. Should the faculty member request it, a faculty committee appointed and authorized by the Faculty Senate shall examine the contents of the faculty member’s file or dossier to verify that all statements therein have been provided or summarized.
Evaluations of teaching by faculty peers and by students provide invaluable information and direction for faculty members to improve their own teaching. Peer evaluations, arranged with a colleague, include review of lecture notes, reading materials, and examinations; observation of several lectures; and a signed written evaluation by the peer.
Anonymous evaluations by all students in the class are required each term for each class the faculty member is teaching. A copy of tabulated results must be provided to the faculty member; a duplicate copy shall be placed in the faculty member's personnel records file. Students may also be solicited by department chairs or heads or deans for signed letters of evaluation to be used in assessing the faculty member's performance. Unless the faculty member has signed a "Voluntary Waiver of Non-Confidentiality" such solicited letters may not be confidential.
The University will not solicit nor accept anonymous oral or written evaluations from students or other reviewers, except a) tabulated student evaluations, and b) solicited promotion and tenure evaluations for faculty who have signed a "Voluntary Waiver of Non-Confidentiality" for a particular promotion and tenure review year. All requests for evaluation of a faculty member sent without a waiver shall be accompanied by a statement that the faculty member shall have access to the evaluation.
Any evaluation received by telephone shall be documented in the faculty member's files by means of a written summary of the conversation, with the names of the conversants identified.
Faculty members have the right to decline a response to requests for information pertaining to race, religion, sex, political affiliation, or sexual preference unless such information is required by state statute or federal law, rules, or regulations. Any request must stipulate the purpose for the information and the individual's right to decline.
Data about faculty members may be provided for research, providing:
A regular review of faculty can improve the quality of the teaching, research, and service functions of the University. In addition, it will benefit individual faculty members by assuring that they are regularly informed of their status. Such a review shall include input from colleagues and students from the faculty member’s own administrative unit as well as from other appropriate units. The written summary of the review shall be provided to the faculty member, and the faculty member shall have ample opportunity to add written rebuttals or explanations.
Administrative faculty shall also be reviewed in terms of their administrative function.
Frequency of Review. The procedure for the actual review is best developed by the individual school, college, or division. Nevertheless, certain guidelines are appropriate for the University as a whole. All faculty with an FTE of 0.5 or more shall be reviewed as follows:
However, no periodic review is required for the following faculty members on fixed–term appointments:
Any faculty member eligible for review is entitled to a review at any time, upon the member’s request.
Each school, college, or division shall annually report those members of its faculty reviewed to the Office of Faculty Affairs.
Nature of the Evaluation. In each instance, the evaluation shall include
The sources of information used as the basis for the evaluation should be included. Sources to be used are current and former students, other faculty from this University or other universities, professional colleagues and, if appropriate, the public. In all instances, the evaluation shall be based only on material that is appropriate to the faculty member’s profession and the performance of faculty assignments.
The faculty member must be provided the opportunity of reading and initialing the evaluation and of furnishing written comments, explanations, or a rebuttal to the evaluations to be placed in the faculty member’s personnel records file. Disagreements on the contents of the file should be handled through normal University appeal procedures.
Initiation and Disposition. The initiation of the review, except one requested by a faculty member, is the responsibility of the department head or chair or the appropriate administrative officer. Principal investigators are reminded that all faculty on their projects, including Faculty Research Assistants, should be reviewed following the guidelines in this chapter.
The review and all related materials are to be placed in the faculty member’s personnel records file that is maintained by the department.
Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Department Heads/Chairs, and other major unit leaders will receive continuous counsel on their effectiveness, including specific suggestions when improvement is needed.
Evaluation of their performance shall be one element of their annual review with their supervisor. In addition, they will be formally reviewed at intervals not to exceed five years. Formal reviews will include a request for input from individuals internal and external to OSU.
No standard procedure for annual performance reviews will fit all cases because administrative positions vary greatly in scope and complexity. However, each performance evaluation shall be conducted personally by the administrator’s supervisor. This evaluation will be a part of the supervisor’s annual program/budget review and planning session. It is important that the process for annual reviews be transparent, including the time of year annual reviews are to be completed so that faculty, staff, and students may provide input should they wish to do so.
Annual evaluations may include the following and will provide opportunities for self-assessment:
The supervisor will meet with each direct report to discuss the accomplishments for the previous academic year and the goals for the current academic year.
The supervisor will write a memo summarizing the annual review meeting. The original will go to the unit leader, and a copy will be placed in the personnel file maintained in the supervisor’s office.
Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Department Heads/Chairs, and other major unit leaders will be formally reviewed at intervals not to exceed five years. The first objective of the five-year evaluation is to evaluate past performance of individuals in leading their academic units or divisions on factors such as achievement of unit's strategic goals, mentoring and development of faculty and staff, and developing relationships with appropriate external constituents that will help position the unit for success in external grants and contracts, private philanthropy, and legislative funding priorities. The second and related objective is to seek input to help those administrators to better perform their responsibilities and to help them succeed in the future.
Formal reviews will provide opportunities for substantive input from
Continuation of the incumbent's administrative appointment following the periodic performance evaluation requires a letter from the supervisor formalizing the action to continue the appointment. Should the supervisor wish to change any of the terms and conditions of the employee’s appointment, he/she is to contact the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs prior to issuing a letter to continue the appointment.
The supervisor requests the following from the incumbent:
Once the list of contacts is finalized, the supervisor will provide a copy of the position description to individuals from whom he/she wishes to receive input, and will ask that they respond to the following questions. (The unit leader may make suggestions for additional questions that might provide meaningful input.)
Input will be handled with the very strictest confidence, and assuming a Waiver of Access has been signed, the incumbent will see a summary of input, sans attribution.
The supervisor will provide the incumbent with a summary of the major themes from the input, and will meet with the incumbent to discuss the results of the evaluation, the incumbent’s goals, and any other issues.
This memo from the supervisor will become part of the incumbent’s official evaluation file in accordance with the Faculty Records Policy. The incumbent will be asked to sign the memo and add any comments, explanations or rebuttal they wish. A copy of the document will remain with the incumbent. The review and all related materials will be secured in the incumbent’s personnel records file maintained by the supervisor.
In addition to the annual Periodic Review of Faculty (PROF), all academic units will conduct mid-term intensive reviews for faculty on annual tenure-track appointments. The primary intent is to review progress toward indefinite tenure so that timely guidance can be extended to the faculty member.
Mid-term reviews are supplemental to annual PROF evaluations and to a subsequent formal promotion and/or tenure evaluation. The mid-term review provides opportunity for the Department faculty, Department Head, Dean and other supervisors to observe and comment upon an individual faculty member's performance relative to University and College promotion and tenure guidelines, and to offer appropriate advice and counsel on improving performance to meet promotion and tenure requirements. It also provides a forum for the faculty member being reviewed to ask questions about the process and criteria for granting indefinite tenure or promotion. This policy does not alter the probationary status of a tenure track appointment and the University’s rights to issue a letter of timely notice under State Board of Higher Education Rules, OAR 580-021-0110.
The following general University guidelines are to be used in conducting mid-term tenure reviews: