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Appendix 5: Instructions to Review & Appraisal Committees

Synopsis of Academic Personnel Manual Section 210 (pdf)

Issuance of Revisions to APM Section 210

Instructions to Review Committees which advise on actions concerning appointees in the Professor and corresponding series.

I. Policy

In their deliberations and preparations of reports and recommendations, academic review and appraisal committees shall be guided by the policies and procedures set forth in the respective "Instructions" which appear below.

The following instructions apply to review committees for actions concerning appointees in the Professor series and the Professor-in-Residence series; and, with appropriate modifications, for appointees in the Adjunct Professor series.

II. Purpose and Responsibility of the Review Committees

The quality of the faculty of the University of California is maintained primarily through objective and thorough appraisal, by competent faculty members, of each candidate for appointment or promotion. Responsibility for this appraisal falls largely upon the review committees nominated by the Council on Academic Personnel and appointed by the Chancellor or a designated representative. It is the duty of these committees to ascertain the present fitness of each candidate and the likelihood of the candidate’s pursuing a productive career. In judging the fitness of the candidate, it is appropriate to consider professional integrity as evidenced by performance of duties. (A useful guide for such consideration is furnished by the Statement on Professional Ethics issued by the American Association of University Professors. A copy of this Statement is appended to these Instructions for purposes of reference.) Implied in the committee’s responsibility for building and maintaining a faculty of the highest excellence is also a responsibility to the candidate for just recognition and encouragement of achievement.

III. Maintenance of the Committee’s Effectiveness

  1. The membership, deliberations, recommendations and report of the review committee are strictly confidential. The Chairperson of each such committee should remind members of the committee of the confidential nature of the assignment. This should be kept in mind in arranging for all written or oral communications; and when recommendations with supporting documents have been forwarded, all copies or preliminary drafts should be destroyed. Under the provisions of Section 160 and 220 of the Academic Personnel Manual, after the administrative decision, the candidate is entitled to receive from the Chancellor a copy of the ad hoc review committee’s report (without disclosure of the identities of members of the review committee), as well as copies of the reports submitted by the Council on Academic Personnel and the pertinent administrative officers.
  2. The whole system of academic review by committees depends for its effectiveness upon each committee’s prompt attention to its assignment and its conduct of the review with all possible dispatch, consistent with judicious and thorough consideration of the case.
  3. The Chairperson of the review committee has the responsibility of making sure that each member of the committee has read and understands these instructions.

IV. Procedure

A. General

Recommendations concerning appointment, promotion, and appraisal normally originate with the Department Chair. The letter of recommendation should provide a comprehensive assessment of the candidate’s qualifications together with detailed evidence to support this evaluation. The letter should also present a report of the Department Chair’s consultation with the members of the department, including any dissenting opinions. In addition to the letter of recommendation, the Department Chair is expected to assemble and submit to the Chancellor an up-to-date biography and bibliography, together with copies of research publications or other scholarly or creative work.

B. Appointments

The Department Chair should include in the documentation opinions from colleagues in other institutions where the nominee has served and from other qualified persons having firsthand knowledge of the nominee’s attainments. Extramural opinions are imperative in cases of proposed appointments to tenure status of persons from outside the University.

C. Promotions

Promotions are based on merit; they are not automatic. Achievement, as it is demonstrated, should be rewarded by promotion. Promotions to tenure positions should be based on consideration of comparable work in the candidate’s own field or in closely related fields. The department and the review committee should consider how the candidate stands in relation to other people in the field outside the University who might be considered alternative candidates for the position. The Department Chair shall supplement the opinions of colleagues within the department by letters from distinguished extramural informants.

D. Assessment of Evidence

The review committee shall assess the adequacy of the evidence submitted. If in the committee’s judgment the evidence is insufficient to enable it to reach a clear recommendation, the committee Chairperson, through the Chancellor, shall request amplification. In every case all obtainable evidence shall be carefully considered.

If, in assessing all obtainable evidence, the candidate fails to meet the criteria set forth in Section 210-1-d, the committee should recommend accordingly. If, on the other hand, there is evidence of unusual achievement and exceptional promise of continued growth, the committee should not hesitate to endorse a recommendation for accelerated advancement.

Contributions to teaching, research and scholarship, and service that promote equity, diversity, and inclusion are encouraged and should be given due recognition during the faculty merit and promotion process as outlined in Appendix 41.

V. Criteria for Appointment, Promotion and Appraisal (APM 210-1-d)

The review committee shall judge the candidate with respect to the proposed rank and duties, considering the record of the candidate’s performance in:

1. teaching;

2. research and other creative work;

3. professional activity; and

4. University and public service.

In evaluating the candidate’s qualifications within these areas, the review committee shall exercise reasonable flexibility, balancing when the case requires, heavier commitments and responsibilities in one area against lighter commitments and responsibilities in another. The review committee must judge whether the candidate is engaging in a program of work that is both sound and productive. As the University enters new fields of endeavor and refocuses its ongoing activities, cases will arise in which the proper work of faculty members departs markedly from established academic patterns. In such cases, the review committees must take exceptional care to apply the criteria with sufficient flexibility. However, flexibility does not entail a relaxation of high standards. Superior intellectual attainment, as evidenced both in teaching and in research or other creative achievement, is an indispensable qualification for appointment or promotion to tenure positions. Insistence upon this standard for holders of the professorship is necessary for maintenance of the quality of the University as an institution dedicated to the discovery and transmission of knowledge. Consideration should be given to changes in emphasis and interest that may occur in an academic career. The candidate may submit for the review file a presentation of his or her activity in all four areas.

The University of California is committed to excellence and equity in every facet of its mission. Contributions in all areas of faculty achievement that promote equal opportunity and diversity should be given due recognition in the academic personnel process, and they should be evaluated and credited in the same way as other faculty achievements. These contributions to diversity and equal opportunity can take a variety of forms including efforts to advance equitable access to education, public service that addresses the needs of California’s diverse population, or research in a scholar’s area of expertise that highlights inequalities. Mentoring and advising of students and faculty members, particularly from underrepresented and underserved populations, should be given due recognition in the teaching or service categories of the academic personnel process.

The criteria set forth below are intended to serve as guides for minimum standards in judging the candidate, not to set boundaries to exclude other elements of performance that may be considered.

A. Teaching

Clearly demonstrated evidence of high quality teaching is an essential criterion for appointment, advancement, or promotion. Under no circumstances will a tenure commitment be made unless there is clear documentation of ability and diligence in the teaching role. In judging the effectiveness of a candidate’s teaching, the committee should consider such points as the following: 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. The committee should pay due attention to the variety of demands placed on instructors by the types of teaching called for in various disciplines and at various levels, and should judge the total performance of the candidate with proper reference to assigned teaching responsibilities. The committee should clearly indicate the sources of evidence on which its appraisal of teaching competence has been based. In those exceptional cases when no such evidence is available, the candidate’s potentialities as a teacher may be indicated in closely analogous activities. In preparing its recommendation, the review committee should keep in mind that a redacted copy of its report may be an important means of informing the candidate of the evaluation of his or her teaching and of the basis for that evaluation.

It is the responsibility of the Department Chair to submit meaningful statements, accompanied by evidence, of the candidate’s teaching effectiveness at lower-division, upper-division, and graduate levels of instruction. More than one kind of evidence shall accompany each review file. Among significant types of evidence of teaching effectiveness are the following:

  1. 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 pre-requisite to those of the informant;
  2. opinions of students;
  3. opinions of graduates who have achieved notable professional success since leaving the University;
  4. 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
  5. 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.

All cases for advancement and promotion normally will include:

  1. evaluations and comments solicited from students for most, if not all, courses taught since the candidate’s last review;
  2. a quarter-by-quarter or semester-by-semester enumeration of the number and types of courses and tutorials taught since the candidate’s last review;
  3. their level;
  4. their enrollments;
  5. the percentage of students represented by student course evaluations for each course;
  6. brief explanations for abnormal course loads;
  7. identification of any new courses taught or of old courses where there was substantial reorganization of approach or content;
  8. notice of any awards or formal mentions for distinguished teaching;
  9. when the faculty member under review wishes, a self-evaluation of his or her teaching; and
  10. evaluation by other faculty members of teaching effectiveness. When any of the information specified above is not provided, the Department Chair will include an explanation for that omission in the candidate’s dossier. If such information is not included with the letter of recommendation, and its absence is not adequately accounted for, it is the Review Committee Chairperson’s responsibility to request it through the Chancellor.

B. Research and Creative Work

Evidence of a productive and creative mind should be sought in the candidate’s published research or recognized artistic production in original architectural or engineering designs, or the like.

Publications in research and other creative accomplishment should be evaluated, not merely enumerated. There should be evidence that the candidate is continuously and effectively engaged in creative activity of high quality and significance. Work in progress should be assessed whenever possible. 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 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 provide outside opinions based on observation of the work while in progress. Account should be taken of the type and quality of creative activity normally expected in the candidate’s field. Appraisals of publications or other works in the scholarly and critical literature provide important testimony. Due consideration should be given to variations among fields and specialties and to new genres and fields of inquiry including work that advances the scholarly understanding of equitable access and diversity.

Textbooks, reports, circulars, and similar publications normally are considered evidence of teaching ability or public service. However, 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 as creative work when they present new ideas or original scholarly research.

In certain fields such as, but not limited to, Art, Architecture, Dance, Music, Literature, 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 the 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. Such evidence may be presented wherever appropriate, as in various professional or emerging academic fields.

C. Professional Competence and Activity

In certain positions in the professional schools and colleges, such as Architecture, Business Administration, Dentistry, Engineering, Law, Medicine, etc., a demonstrated distinction in the special competencies appropriate to the field and its characteristic activities should be recognized as a criterion for appointment or promotion. The candidate’s professional activities should be scrutinized for evidence of achievement and leadership in the field and of demonstrated progressiveness in the development or utilization of new approaches and techniques for the solution of professional problems, including those that specifically address the professional advancement of individuals in underrepresented groups in the candidate’s field. It is the responsibility of the Department Chair to provide evidence that the position in question is of the type described above and that the candidate is qualified to fill it.

D. University and Public Service

The faculty plays an important role in the administration of the University and in the formulation of its policies. Recognition should therefore be given to scholars who prove themselves to be able administrators and who participate effectively and imaginatively in faculty government and the formulation of departmental, college and University policies. Services by members of the faculty to the community, state, and nation, both in their special capacities as scholars and in areas beyond those special capacities when the work done is at a sufficiently high level and of sufficiently high quality, should likewise be recognized as evidence for promotion. Faculty service activities related to the improvement of elementary and secondary education represent one example of this kind of service. Similarly, 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.

The Standing Orders of The Regents provide: "No political test shall ever be considered in the appointment and promotion of any faculty member or employee." This provision is pertinent to every stage in the process of considering appointments and promotions of the faculty.


VI. The Report

  1. The report of the review committee forms the basis for further review by the Council on Academic Personnel (or equivalent) and for action by the Chancellor and by the President. Consequently, it should include an appraisal of all significant evidence, favorable and unfavorable. It should be specific and analytical and should include the review committee’s evaluation of the candidate with respect to each of the qualifications specified above. It should be adequately documented by reference to the supporting material.

    Each review committee member is not necessarily expected to evaluate each item in the total bibliography, and the review committee overall is not necessarily expected to appraise every such item as long as representative works are evaluated. In its report, the ad hoc review committee should provide its own independent analysis and assessment of the research and/or creative activity and should not merely summarize the opinions expressed in the letters of reference and by the department.

  2. The review committee has the responsibility of making an unequivocal recommendation. No member should subscribe to the report if it does not represent that member’s judgment. If the committee cannot come to a unanimous decision, the division of the committee and the reasons therefore should be communicated either in the body of the report or in separate concurring or dissenting statements by individual members, submitted with the main report and with the cognizance of the other committee members.
  3. Care should be taken in the preparation of the Ad Hoc committee report to preserve and protect the identity of those individuals who have submitted confidential evaluations. Reference to statements made by these individuals may only be included in a coded format, e.g., "letter writer #4 states...", or "the author of the August 1, 1994 letter acknowledges...."


* * * *

Appended for reference on the following page is the AAUP Statement on Professional Ethics referred to in the first section of these instructions.

American Association of University Professors Bulletin
Vol. 52, p. 290-291, 1966
(Reprinted) Vol. 55, p. 86-87, 1969


Statement on Professional Ethics
(Endorsed by the Fifty-Second Annual Meeting)

The Statement*

The professor, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognizes certain special responsibilities. The primary responsibility to the subject is to seek and to state the truth as the professor sees it. To this end the professor devotes energy to developing and improving scholarly competence; accepts the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge; and practices intellectual honesty. Although the professor may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise freedom of inquiry.

As a teacher, the professor encourages the free pursuit of learning in students; holds before them the best scholarly standards of the discipline; demonstrates respect for the student as an individual, and adheres to the proper role as intellectual guide and counselor; makes every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to assure that the evaluation of students reflects their true merit; respects the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student; avoids any exploitation of students for private advantage and acknowledges significant assistance from them; and protects their academic freedom.

As a colleague, the professor has obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars; respects and defends the free inquiry of associates; in the exchange of criticism and ideas shows due respect for the opinions of others; acknowledges academic debts and strives to be objective in professional judgment of colleagues; and accepts a share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of the institution.

As a member of the institution, the professor seeks above all to be an effective teacher and scholar. Although observing the stated regulations of the institution, provided they do not contravene academic freedom, the professor maintains the right to criticize and seek revision; determines the amount and character of the work done outside the institution with due regard to the paramount responsibilities within it; and when considering the interruption or termination of service, recognizes the effect of this decision upon the program of the institution and gives due notice of these intentions.

As a member of the community, the professor has the rights and obligations of any citizen; measures the urgency of these obligations in the light of the responsibilities to the subject, to students, to the profession, and to the institution; and when speaking or acting as a private person, avoids creating the impression that such action is on behalf of the college or university. As a citizen engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, the professor has a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

*This paraphrased version of the 1966 AAUP statement reflects University of California modifications to avoid gender-related terms.



Revised 4/3/24

Web page updated 9/9/19