Updated 22 June 2016

Annual Merit Evaluation

The annual merit evaluation of faculty is first conducted in the individual departments or programs by the chairs/directors and the appropriate departmental/program committees. Each regular (tenured/tenure-track) and full-time instructional faculty member is evaluated in each of the categories of teaching, research and service. An overall evaluation rating is also determined. The evaluation ratings are:

  • Far Exceeds Expectations
  • Exceeds Expectations
  • Meets Expectations
  • Below Expectations
  • Unsatisfactory

For tenured faculty, an overall rating of “below expectations” or “unsatisfactory” triggers a posttenure performance review and plan according to the University of Colorado requirements (see Procedures for Post Tenure Review).

Of course, the good work performed by faculty members in each area (teaching, research and service) is appreciated and important. Thus, starting with 2011 performance evaluations, engineering faculty rated “below expectations” or “unsatisfactory” in any category will be asked to develop an improvement plan in that category. If the improvement plan in not successful in the next two annual reviews, then an overall rating of “below expectations” or “unsatisfactory” may result, even if the faculty member’s performance in the other areas meets or exceeds expectations, especially in light of the expectation that tenure-line faculty members should have meritorious or excellent contributions in all areas.

For the purposes of annual merit evaluation, the efforts and accomplishments of tenure-track faculty are normally assessed according to a standard formula of 40% teaching, 40% research and 20% service. An exception is that a faculty member on leave, sabbatical or faculty fellowship primarily related to research for one semester in a calendar year is normally assigned weightings of 10% teaching, 80% research and 10% service for that semester, or 25% teaching, 60% research, and 15% service for the entire year when combined with a standard semester. Changes by not more than 15% in teaching or research, or 10% in service, may be negotiated with the Department Chair. Larger changes in weightings require a written or email request, with justification and approval by the Chair and the Dean. These larger changes are generally restricted to special administrative appointments such as Department Chair, Faculty Director, or Associate Dean, or to faculty with a short-term emphasis on teaching, research or service to meet a particular need or for career development. In all cases, proportionate adjustments in performance expectations will be made when a faculty member’s weightings for evaluation are different from the standard. Similarly, increased teaching loads may be provided for faculty members who have lower research activities or evaluations.

The merit evaluations of the faculty are reviewed by the Dean and Associate Deans, and changes may be recommended to ensure fairness for each individual and consistency with college-wide standards. The Dean then meets with each Chair and Program Director to review and finalize the ratings.

Annual Merit Increases

Each department and academic program is provided a raise pool by the Dean. The unit raise pool reflects the overall performance of the unit. The overall merit rating, which may be averaged over two or more years, is used by the department or program to determine a general-merit salary increase for each faculty member in the unit, using the constraint that the total raise pool for the unit is fixed.

Career Merit Equity Adjustments

The College has an annual career-merit equity evaluation and salary adjustment process that compares the salary of each faculty member with others in the College with similar career merit and experience. The process is based on a curve fit of all salaries to career merit (the average of the five most recent annual merit ratings) and professional experience (years since PhD degree, with adjustments for nontraditional careers approved by the Dean). Once the curve fit has been done, any faculty member whose salary is below the predicted salary by more than 5% has a salary equity adjustment calculated that is up to 25% of the difference between 95% of the predicted salary and the actual salary. A discipline-specific factor may also be introduced to adjust the predicted salary for disciplines with national average salaries that differ from the average of other college disciplines. The salary equity adjustment is added to the annual merit raise.

The process is designed to bring the salary close to a 5% bound of the predicted salary over multiple years. A sample of data points on the curve fit to the salary data for the current year is provided in Table 1. No more than 10% of the general merit raise pool is generally used to make the career merit equity adjustments.

Once the total raises have been determined, they are reviewed by the Dean to ensure overall integrity of the results. The raises are then reported to the Provost’s Office.

Table 1

5-Year Performance Rating Average

Years Since PhD 2.50 3.00 3.50 4.00 4.50
 ≤ 5 85,000 85,000 85,000 85,000 85,000
10 85,000 90,144 94,883 99,066 102,843
15 85,000 95,269 104,627 113,074 120,610
20 85,000 100,375 114,383 127,025 138,300
25 85,000 105,461 124,101 140,918 155,913
30 85,000 110,529 133,780 154,754 173,450
35 85,000 115,577 143,422 168,532 190,910

Salary Grievance Process

  1. A faculty member who wishes to file a salary equity grievance shall notify the supervisor (Department Chair or Program Director) in writing of his or her grievance and the basis for a claim of inequity. A valid grievance must satisfy the following criteria:
    • Grievances must be based on total salary, not annual raises.
    • The grievance must be based on a comparison between the salary of the grievant and the salaries of all other faculty members of comparable career merit and experience level in the same unit whose salaries are determined within the unit.
    • A grievant should compare his or her salary to the unit as a whole. A higher salary paid to one faculty member may not form the basis of a grievance, if the grievant is equitably paid in comparison to most other faculty members in the unit with comparable career merit and experience level. Nothing in this paragraph, however, should be interpreted as barring a grievance based on evidence of racial or gender bias within the unit.
    • A difference in salaries between two faculty members in the same unit may not, in and of itself, form the basis for a grievance, even if the two faculty members have been working in the unit for the same number of years.
    • The grievance may not be based on a comparison with faculty members in other units, unless other units are needed to provide a sufficient pool for comparison purposes and these other units are in fields similar to that of the faculty member as approved by the Dean.
  2. The Department Chair (or Program Director), in consultation with the Associate Dean for Education and/or the Associate Dean for Research, will develop a response to the grievance. The response must be in writing and include an explanation of the decision on whether or not the grievance is justified and a recommendation to the Dean on a salary adjustment, if any.
  3. Deadlines have been established to insure that all grievances filed be resolved expeditiously. Salary equity grievances must be filed in writing by September 15 for resolution during that academic year. The department or primary unit will complete its evaluation by November 1. If the grievant is not satisfied with the primary unit’s response, the grievant may appeal to the Dean no later than November 15. The Dean must complete his or her appeal by January 1. If the grievant is not satisfied with the Dean’s response, an appeal must be made to the Campus Salary Equity Appeals Committee no later than January 15. The Salary Equity Appeals Committee will complete its evaluation by April 1. A salary adjustment, if any, will not be retroactive but instead will be implemented in the subsequent raise cycle(s).
  4. The Salary Equity Evaluation System process is applicable only to career-merit salary grievances, and grievances may not be made solely on an annual raise or merit evaluation (see the following section for appeals of annual evaluations).
  5. The College shall maintain a salary equity electronic file that includes a copy of the campus policy, a copy of the College’s procedures for determining salaries, a copy of the College’s salary grievance procedure, the most recent college regression analysis of career merit and experience level, and career merit information (average of five most recent annual merit ratings, and years since PhD degree) for each faculty member. Data in the file pertaining to 5 faculty in the same department or primary unit are to be made available for inspection to any faculty member in the College upon request.

Appeal of Annual Evaluation

The College of Engineering and Applied Science has a formal process to appeal an annual evaluation of “Below Expectations” or “Unsatisfactory”, as described below. If a faculty member receives an evaluation of “Meets Expectations”, or above, and yet feels his/her rating does not reflect the contributions made during the past year, then s/he should discuss it with the Chair/Director, who, in turn, will discuss it with the Dean, if an adjustment may be warranted. Any changes in an annual rating will be made in the college records but will not lead to a change in salary during that year’s raise cycle (unless the adjustment is made prior to the finalization of the college raise data).

Evaluations of “Below Expectations” or “Unsatisfactory” (either for the overall rating or for a single category) may be appealed by sending a request and justification to the Dean and the Department Chair or Program Director. In consultation with the Chair or Director, the Dean will appoint a faculty committee to review the appeal. Appeals must be submitted in writing by the first day of the following fall semester (one week before classes start). A further appeal to the Dean may be submitted with additional justification by the faculty member or by the Department Chair or Program Director within one week of the decision of the faculty review committee. All appeals should be resolved by October 15. A successful appeal, in which the evaluation is changed to “Meets Expectations”, or higher, will not provide for a salary adjustment or remove the requirement for an improvement plan.