Faculty Merit Rankings

6.0 Faculty Merit Rankings

6.1 INTRODUCTION

For purposes of simplicity we use the term “department” to refer to all academic units in which faculty hold full or partial appointments and the term “chair” to refer to the heads of these units.

The purpose of the university-mandated annual Faculty Merit Ranking is to evaluate how well faculty have carried out their academic responsibilities, including research and scholarship, undergraduate and graduate teaching, and service to the department and the university.  This review is especially critical for tenure track faculty who need to receive regular, detailed, and meaningful feedback about their performance.  The review also forms the basis for determining annual salary increases.

Salary increases are funded out of the Annual Merit Increase (AMI) pool which is a percentage of funds calculated based on the Arts & Science faculty salary budget.  It is the practice of Arts & Science to divide the AMI pool into a Departmental Pool and a Dean’s Reserve.  The majority of the AMI pool is apportioned to the Departmental Pool and is managed by departments; the remainder is apportioned to the Dean’s Reserve and used to respond to extraordinary salary needs such as cases of promotion and retention that cannot be adequately addressed within the Departmental Pool.

There is a good deal of flexibility in managing Departmental Pools.  As noted above, a department must demonstrate that the overriding factor in allocating the Departmental Pool is merit, but within this framework departments have freedom in managing the funds. Each continuing full-time faculty member should be evaluated on his or her activities during the previous calendar year based on the following criteria:

  • research and scholarship
  • teaching and development of curricula
  • awards, grants, fellowships
  • service to the department and university

The faculty merit ranking process is managed within Arts & Science and involves a formal submission by the chair to the divisional dean.  The merit ranking should consist of a formal, collegial process in which the chair receives the guidance of an Advisory Committee duly appointed according to procedures made available to the department’s faculty members.  Chairs are free to record their own independent judgments, but when their judgments diverge from those of the Advisory Committee, this should be explicitly noted.  Annual merit increases require the approval of the President’s office and involve a formal recommendation made by the chair to the divisional dean and, in turn, a recommendation made by the dean of the faculty to the President’s office.

6.2 GUIDELINES & PROCEDURES

6.2.1 Merit Rankings

  1. University policy requires that dean’s offices review and document all procedures regarding the determination of merit and the allocation of the Annual Merit Increase pool.  We therefore need to review and approve the procedures used on an annual basis and have these procedures on file.  

In particular, the following must be on file:

  • a description of how the advisory committee is to be formed (with a list of names)*
  • a description of the evaluation process
  • a description of the method used to quantify merit (see #2 below)

*Please note that the chair of the advisory committee must be a tenured faculty member.

The deadline for submitting the Faculty Merit Ranking Procedures memorandum is January 31, 2014.

  1. Units may propose their own method for quantifying merit. Two standard methods that are commonly used for quantifying merit are described below:
  • Method A:  Faculty members are ranked into quintiles (i.e., equal fifths).  This results in uniform percentage raises within each merit rank and fixed intervals between ranks.
  • Method B:  Faculty members are ranked by scoring performance using a fixed number of points  for each criterion of merit using a scale of 100 points, (e.g., scholarship, 50 points; teaching, 35 points; service, 15 points).  Method B allows for finer distinctions and may be better suited to smaller departments in which the number of faculty is insufficient to achieve any reasonable distribution using broad rankings.

Please note that units may choose to allocate up to one third (1/3) of the departmental pool as a cost of living allowance.

The relevant divisional dean will review the “Faculty Merit Ranking Procedure” memo, discuss any issues regarding the review process with the chair as necessary, and then issue a written approval of the department’s procedures triggering the merit ranking process to begin.

  1. The Faculty Merit Ranking Worksheet listing all of the continuing full-time members will be available to the chair via the ASIS (or paper-based upon request) system. The information should be immediately reviewed. If corrections are warranted, you should alert FAS HR by e-mailing fas.hr@nyu.edu and corrections will be made promptly. The Faculty Merit Ranking Worksheet will be used to submit your merit rankings.
  2. Faculty with joint appointments will be listed on the Faculty Merit Ranking Worksheet of each unit in which they hold an appointment.  The percentage of effort allocated to each unit is based on previously agreed upon splits.  Each unit is obligated to make its own comprehensive judgment of performance using the same objective ranking scale as that used for fully appointed faculty members.  If there is a substantial divergence between the units’ recommendations, the chair will be invited to discuss the differences with the divisional deal.
  3. Faculty merit rankings must be entered on the ASIS worksheet (by no later than March 7, 2014).  A copy of the Calendar Year 2012 Faculty Personnel Record Supplements and/or updated C.V.’s must be uploaded in ASIS along with the Faculty Merit Ranking recommendations.  The department chair or administrator will send a letter instructing faculty to submit the Faculty Personnel Record Supplement and updated C.V.’s in January (See 6.3 below).
  4. The divisional dean will review the Faculty Merit Rankings to determine that both the unit’s procedures were followed and that all categories of faculty performance (research, teaching, and service) were considered in the review.  If the Faculty Merit Rankings are accepted, the divisional dean will issue a memorandum approving the ranking.
  5. Each faculty member should be notified in writing about their merit ranking with a copy to the divisional dean. 
  6. The chairs should also meet with faculty members, especially assistant professors, to review the results of the department’s evaluations.

6.2.2 Annual Merit Increases

  1. After the University announces the AMI pools, the rankings will be calculated and converted to percentages for each faculty member in ASIS according to the merit rankings and the department’s stated method of allocating the department pool. Faculty should not be notified of their recommended Departmental Pool allocation. As a general reminder, Chairs are the only party privileged to converted ranking data (salary details). This information is not to be shared with any other party – including the advisory committee as salary information is personal/ confidential and should remain so.
  2. Allocations from the Dean’s Reserve will be added to allocations from the Departmental Pool to determine the Annual Merit Increase recommendation being made to the President’s office.  The Annual Merit Increase will be recorded in the Faculty Salary Worksheet in ASIS and the chair will have one final opportunity to review the information.  At this point, the chair will be omitted from the Worksheet.  Faculty should still not be notified of their recommended Annual Merit Increase.
  3. The Dean of the Faculty will notify each faculty member in writing of their recommended Annual Merit Increase and their new salary level for the following year (see 6.4 below).

(**Please note that rankings are the mechanism by which salaries should be derived and the need for adjustments are therefore expected to be minimal)

6.2.3 Appeals

According to Arts & Science guidelines,  faculty members  are free to appeal their merit ranking to the divisional dean.  They may only appeal their merit ranking on the claim that the department’s advisory committee did not fully weigh their achievements and contributions for the period under review.  The appeal should include whatever information the faculty member feel necessary to support his or her case and should be accompanied by any documentation that is relevant.

Faculty members may not use the appeals process to seek response to competitive salary offers, to seek reconsideration of a prior salary commitment, to appeal salary levels, or for any other reason that is not based on the most recent merit ranking.  All appeals submitted for any reason other than a reconsideration of the merit ranking will be returned.

  1. Faculty will be given the opportunity to appeal their merit ranking to the divisional dean within five days subsequent to their receipt of the dean’s letter notifying them of their recommended Annual Merit Increase.
  2. For all appeals received, a notification letter will be sent by the divisional dean to the appellant with a copy to the chair to confirm receipt of the appeal.
  3. The divisional dean shall read the relevant materials, consult with the chair and make independent inquiries as needed.
  4. If the divisional dean judges that the appellant has been incorrectly judged, the divisional dean will consult with the chair to determine what adjustment to the merit ranking is warranted.
  5. Based on the adjustment of the merit ranking, FAS Fiscal Services will calculate what the Departmental Pool allocation would have been based on the revised merit ranking.  An adjustment will be made to the faculty member’s recommended Annual Merit Increase and a revised notification letter will be sent by the dean of the faculty.

6.3   EXAMPLE OF LETTER INFORMING FACULTY TO SUBMIT A FACULTY PERSONNEL RECORD SUPPLEMENT

Dear Professor,

Please incorporate the information requested in the Faculty Personnel Record Supplement found on the Arts & Science web site and update a copy of your current C.V.  Please date your C.V. to insure we are referencing the most current information.

The Faculty Personnel Record Supplement and updated C.V. will be used by your department’s Faculty Merit Ranking committee in evaluating your performance.

Please submit your C.V. and Faculty Personnel Record Supplement to your department chair by February 4, 2014 or by the date specified by your department.  Copies will be forwarded by your chair to the divisional dean as part of the Faculty Merit Ranking submission.

6.4  EXAMPLE OF LETTER INFORMING FACULTY OF MERIT RANKINGS

Please note that the letter below is only a sample.  The phrases in bold are those elements that must be included in your letter as follows: (1) description of Advisory Committee and procedures; (2) weights assigned to each faculty performance area; (3) notification of right to appeal.

Dear Professor,

The department’s Advisory Faculty Committee, which is charged with making recommendations regarding merit rankings, met to review faculty performance for calendar year 2013.  (1) The committee followed procedures adopted by the department faculty and used the information provided by you in the departmental form distributed for this purpose.

Three areas of performance were evaluated:  (2) research and professional activities (accorded xx& of the final evaluation score), teaching (xxd%) and department and university service (xx%).  These weighted evaluations were used to derive an overall measure of performance.  Your rankings in each of the areas were as follows:

Research and Professional Activities

Teaching

Service

Overall

To give you a point of reference in terms of how you compare to your departmental colleagues, the average ranking in the department was XXX.

Please feel free to see me concerning the evaluation or recommendation.

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the department over the past year.

6.5  DEAN’S SALARY NOTIFICATION LETTER

At the conclusion of the merit ranking process,  each faculty member will receive a salary notification letter.
Updated on 12/17/2014