Help from the Dean's Office

In addition to one's own faculty mentors and department chair/program director, members of the Dean’s Cabinet are available to meet with faculty to discuss ideas and resources for performance improvement.

  • Dean (Keith Molenaar)
  • Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education (Kurt Maute)
  • Associate Dean for Graduate Education (Charles Musgrave)

  • Associate Dean for Research (Michael Gooseff)
  • Associate Dean for Faculty Advancement (Penina Axelrad)

Recommendations from Faculty and Chairs

The following tips are compiled from the performance improvement plans previously prepared by faculty members in consultation with their department chairs and/or the dean’s office. Most of these recommendations have been made by more than one faculty member.

  • Ask to teach a graduate course in your specialty, to help interest students in your research program.
  • Participate in workshops and proposal review panels in areas of interest.
  • Visit the classrooms of several faculty in your department or others who are known to be excellent teachers to identify inclusive and effective pedagogical practices.
  • Dedicate time to write up completed scholarly/creative work and submit it for publication.
  • Seek to collaborate as a co-investigator on a large research initiative.
  • If regularly teaching large undergraduate courses, request a teaching assistant who also does their PhD project under your guidance (this approach helps overcome the chicken-and-egg problem of needing funds to support a graduate student and needing a graduate student to complete preliminary work to apply for funds).
  • Volunteer to be an associate editor or on a program committee in your field.
  • Identify something new that you are passionate about and pursue it.
  • Consider scholarly work on teaching, including the creation of educational materials that others can use.
  • Involve undergraduates in your research, which will contribute to both teaching and research. There are several opportunities (Independent Study, Senior Thesis, UROP) that do not require financial support from you.
  • Seek service and leadership opportunities that are in areas of your passions.
  • Ask the Center for Teaching and Learning or a colleague to conduct an observation and an interview of your class and then follow through on the recommendations for improvement.
  • Ask a member or colleague to review your course materials and exams and then follow through on the recommendations for improvement.
  • Volunteer to present a departmental research seminar to help recruit graduate and undergraduate students for your group.
  • Tenured faculty should be sure to take a sabbatical, for a full year if possible. It will provide an excellent opportunity to begin new projects, as well as complete old projects. The College of Engineering and Applied Science provides salary supplements for those who engage in full-year sabbaticals.

Professional Improvement Agreement

Updated June 2022

Faculty receiving an overall or component (research/teaching/service) annual performance rating of "Below Expectations" are required to prepare a Professional Improvement Agreement (PIA).

  • The PIA is an agreement between the faculty member and the Primary Unit head/chair or a review committee. The PIA details a plan which the faculty member and unit will follow to improve performance in the problem area or areas.
  • Usually, the PIA will be established for one year. But, if research deficiencies warrant a longer timeline, the PIA may be set for two years.
  • If the goals of the PIA are being/have been met, as evidenced in the next annual evaluation, the faculty member continues in the regular five-year post-tenure review cycle. If the goals of the PIA are not being/have not been met at the next annual merit evaluation, an extensive review process shall be initiated (see the Extensive Review section of the Post-Tenure Review website from the Office of Faculty Affairs).
  • Evaluations of "Below Expectations" may be appealed to an appropriate department review committee at the next administrative level. Appeals must be submitted in writing by the first day of the following fall semester (one week before classes begin). Appeals should be resolved by the primary unit by October 15.
  • Faculty members who have signed a formal and binding retirement contract shall not be subject to post-tenure review.