Writing the Self-Evaluation

The following advice is offered by Sal Meyers, Director of Faculty Development, in an attempt to be helpful to faculty undergoing a summative review process.  The information in this document has not been approved by the Faculty Personnel Committee nor the dean and is not official College policy.  There is no guarantee that following this advice will lead to reappointment, tenure, or promotion.


I recommend that you write a new self-evaluation; don’t just update the review you turned in the previous year.  In addition, I recommend that the self-evaluation you write for mid-probationary and tenure reviews differ from the yearly formative evaluations.  One of the main differences is that in the yearly formative evaluations, you are only focused on one year.  For the mid-probationary and tenure reviews, you should be writing about how you’ve grown since you started at Simpson.  For the review to be promoted to full professor, write about how you’ve grown since you were tenured.

I also recommend that before you submit your self-evaluation, you ask several colleagues to read your self-evaluation and provide comments.  Don’t just rely on my advice in this document, solicit advice from your colleagues on your first draft.

I strongly encourage you to reread Section 7 of Part II of the Faculty Handbook about Personnel Policies.  This section provides examples of the kinds of materials that should be included in each of the four sections:  teaching; advising; professional development, scholarship and achievement; and service to colleagues and the College.  The best self-evaluations include reflection and avoid using bulleted lists.  What follows is advice regarding what “include reflection” means in each of the four areas.

Teaching

Consider starting the section on teaching with a paragraph or two that overview your philosophy of teaching.  Highlight the three to five main elements of your philosophy of teaching.  I have a helpful activity you can use to help you initially write your philosophy of teaching.  Contact me and I’d be happy to provide you with the materials and instructions.  The University of Minnesota also has a tutorial on writing a philosophy of teaching statement.

Consider using the main elements of your philosophy of teaching to organize sections of your self-evaluation.  For example, if one of the elements of your philosophy of teaching is that you believe that learning requires students to be actively involved with the material, you could include a section that discusses how you go about getting students actively involved.  Draw on examples from a variety of courses.  Providing a few concrete examples from specific classes helps the review committee better understand how you teach.

Consider focusing on how you’ve grown as a teacher.  You may want to provide an example of something that happened in class, reflect on what that event meant and how you responded to it.  Alternatively, consider addressing how your teaching has changed and why.

Advising

Consider including a philosophy of advising statement in the same way I recommended using a teaching philosophy statement above.

Consider using the College’s advising mission statement to organize your discussion of advising.  The advising mission statement can be found online.

Professional Development, and Scholarship and Achievement

This is one of the sections in which it’s particularly tempting to just list the conferences you’ve attended, your presentations, and your publications.  Keep in mind that the reflective comments you include are really more informative than the list alone.  Think about why you did a particular project or attended a particular conference.  Think about what you got out of that project or conference.

Think about how you keep up in your field and use that to organize your discussion of professional development.

Don’t forget to discuss conference you’ve attended to strengthen your teaching.  This is also an appropriate place to mention on-campus professional development activities you’ve done:  GIFT sessions, Faculty Development Day sessions, etc.

Service to Colleagues and the College

Again, this is a section that is tempting to do as a list, and again reflecting on that is more effective than just listing.

Consider connecting your unique abilities to the ways you decided to serve the community.  Did you decide to serve on a particular committee because you had a particular skill to offer?

Consider what you have learned and how you’ve changed as a function of the service you offered.

Future Goals

No one ever stops growing or changing.  One helpful way to communicate that to FPC is to identify specific goals you have for the future.  I know some people who have added an additional section at the end labeled Future Goals in which they summarize their goals for the period until their next FPC review.  You could also end each of the four other sections with comments about goals in that area for the future.