Appendix 4: Suggestions for Department Letters of Evaluation

UCSC:APO:CAPM rev:07/01/10


An analytical letter with examples of evidence to support the assertions is more persuasive than one which only praises or condemns. Remember that the dossier will be reviewed by individuals not in the same discipline who may be unfamiliar with the discipline's conventions. Brief explanations may be helpful.

Opinion, unsupported by evidence, does not carry much weight. It is most important to know how the opinion came to be held and to present an analysis of the evidence. The department should provide its own substantive analysis of the evidence.

The Committee on Academic Personnel's "Annual Report" typically contains substantive information and suggestions about documenting performance, and includes advice on the form of departmental letters.



  1. In the evaluation of teaching such points as the following should be considered: "The candidate's command of the subject; continuous growth in the subject field; ability to organize material and to present it with force and logic; capacity to awaken in students an awareness of the relationship of the subject to other fields of knowledge; fostering of student independence and capability to reason; spirit and enthusiasm which vitalize the candidate's learning and teaching; ability to arouse curiosity in beginning students, to encourage high standards and to stimulate advanced students to creative work; personal attributes as they affect teaching and students; extent and skill of the candidate's participation in the general guidance, mentoring, and advising of students; effectiveness in creating an academic environment that is open and encouraging to all students, including development of particularly effective strategies for the educational advancement of students in various underrepresented groups." (ref. APM 210-d).

  2. Subsequent reviewers need the guidance of the department about the amount and kind of teaching which is normal for the discipline, and explanation for abnormal course loads.

  3. More than one kind of evidence shall accompany the review file. Among significant types of evidence of teaching effectiveness are the following: (a) opinions of other faculty members knowledgeable in the candidate's field, particularly if based on class visitations, on attendance at public lectures or lectures before professional societies given by the candidate, or on the performance of students in courses taught by the candidate that are prerequisite to those of the informant; (b) opinions of students; (c) opinions of graduates who have achieved notable professional success since leaving the University; (d) number and caliber of students guided in research by the candidate and of those attracted to the campus by the candidate's repute as a teacher; and (e) development of new and effective techniques of instruction, including techniques that meet the needs of students from groups that are underrepresented in the field of instruction. (ref. APM 210-1d). Whenever possible, the comments of those who view the teaching should form part of the file, thus course evaluations and/or other evaluative records are to be forwarded with the file for all, courses taught in the review period.

  4. Whenever possible and applicable, the department letter should comment on such items as the following:

    • a. The role of the candidate in the instructional program including such items as the amount, variety and difficulty of the teaching assignments and the preparation and attention given by the candidate to teaching responsibility.

    • b. Out-of-class teaching: directed research, special studies, help given to students, office hours with students, contributions to the teaching of other faculty, etc.

    • c. Distribution between lower division, upper division and graduate teaching.

    • d. Quarter by quarter enumeration of the number and types of courses and tutorials, including level, enrollment, percentage of students represented by course evaluations for each course.

    • e. Development of new and effective techniques of instruction; writing of teaching materials, manuals, textbooks.

    • f. Evaluation of teaching as judged by colleagues, particularly if based on class visitations, on attendance at public lectures or lectures before professional societies, or on the candidate's results in courses prerequisite to those of the informant.

    • g. Number and caliber of graduate students guided in research by the candidate and those attracted to the campus by the candidate's repute as a leader.

    • h. Supervision of Teaching Assistants (TAs) and analysis of evaluations from TAs of supervision received.

    • i. Description of courses taught, including information such as whether course is required, a new preparation, assigned with little preparation time, team taught, etc.

    • j. Any awards or formal mentions for distinguished teaching.

    • k. Analysis of course evaluations from students.

    In those exceptional cases where no such evidence is available, the candidate's potentialities as a teacher may be indicated in closely analogous activities. In preparing the evaluation, keep in mind that a summary of the report may be an important means of informing the candidate of the evaluation of teaching and the basis for that evaluation.


Research and other creative accomplishment must be evaluated, not merely enumerated, and should be considered in terms of the contribution that the work makes to the given scholarly field.

  1. Promotion Reviews: The entire research/creative record of the candidate from the previous promotion (or appointment) will be reviewed. A tenure review may include research/creative activity from the entire academic career.

  2. Merit Reviews: Research/creative record since the most recent advancement will be reviewed.

  3. Appraisal: The candidate's record, since appointment, will be reviewed. However, work done since the faculty member submitted their application may be included to provide context.

  4. There should be evidence that the candidate is continuously and effectively engaged in research and creative activity of high quality and significance.

  5. Work in progress should be assessed when appropriate.

  6. When published work in joint authorship (or other product of joint effort) is presented as evidence, it is the responsibility of the department chair to establish as clearly as possible the role of the candidate in the joint effort. It should be recognized that special cases of collaboration occur in the performing arts and that the contribution of a particular collaborator may not be readily discernible as his/hers by those viewing the finished work. When the candidate is such a collaborator, it is the responsibility of the department chair to make a separate evaluation of the candidate's contribution, and to obtain outside opinions based on observation of the work while in progress.

  7. Account should be taken of the type and quality of creative activity normally expected in the appointee's field. Reviews of publications or other works in the scholarly and critical literature provide important testimony.

  8. Chairs should indicate the standing of the journals in which publications appeared; in particular the chair should state whether or not the journals are refereed.

  9. In certain fields such as art, dance, music, and drama, distinguished creation should receive consideration equivalent to that accorded to distinction attained in research. In evaluating artistic creativity, an attempt should be made to define the candidate's merit in light of such criteria as originality, scope, richness, and depth of creative expression. It should be recognized that in music, drama, and dance, distinguished performance, including conducting and directing, is evidence of a candidate's creativity.

  10. Contributions by faculty members to the professional literature or to the advancement of professional practice or professional education, including contributions to the advancement of equitable access and diversity in education, should be judged creative work when they present new ideas or original scholarly research.


  1. The department letter should specify and evaluate the candidate's service within the department and college, on campus, within the university, and the community, schools, state, and nation. This evaluation should include an analysis of the difficulty, complexity, time involved, and effectiveness of the service.

  2. The department letter should also indicate whether the candidate holds appointed or elective office in professional organizations, or on professional publications, or within the community, state, national or international organization where professional standing has been a prime consideration in such appointment.

  3. Activities related to the improvement of elementary and secondary education represent a form of public service.

  4. Contributions to student welfare through service on student-faculty committees and as advisers to student organizations should be recognized as evidence, as should contributions furthering diversity and equal opportunity within the University through participation in such activities as recruitment, retention, and mentoring of scholars and students.

  5. Departments may request an evaluation of the candidate's service contribution from others involved in the activity. Any such request must include the confidentiality paragraph for solicited letters. Any response is considered confidential and is redacted for the candidate.