Periodic Review of Individuals with Administrative Appointments in IANR

July 2018, Updated June 2021

It is the policy of IANR to regularly review and evaluate individuals with administrative appointments. Review and evaluation are important elements to administrator success and to the success of the unit.

Review should include an evaluation of performance informed by documentation of achievement using agreed upon metrics and in light of the administrator’s position description. It should also include input from multiple sources who are familiar with the administrator’s work, achievements, and impact.

The systematic review of administrators includes:

  • The annual evaluation that includes feedback from members of the faculty and staff
  • An evaluation in preparation for renewal of the contact.

The timing and process of these elements are designed to maximize the developmental trajectory of the administrator.

Developmental trajectory graphic.

As elements in support of professional development, evaluations should be seen in light of a constellation of other elements designed to facilitate the development of leadership skill and acumen. Although not all of these apply to every leadership position in the Institute, these other elements include:

  • New leader onboarding
  • Professional leadership coaching
  • Formal and informal mentorship by leaders both within and outside of IANR
  • Opportunities to mentor other unit leaders
  • Monthly and quarterly meetings with IANR senior leadership team members
  • Department Executive Officer (DEO) workshops and activities provided by UNL
  • Participation in professional development training such as LEAD21, Food Systems Leadership Institute (FSLI), North Central Administrators Boot Camp, among others.
  • Regular attendance at monthly IANR Leadership Council and IANR Department Heads’ meetings
  • Attendance and participation at the annual IANR Leadership Advance
  • Other leadership trainings and opportunities

Used in concert with these other elements, evaluation should facilitate professional development and enhance administrator performance.

With the exception of associate deans, engagement zone coordinators, and program leaders each person with an administrative position in IANR is appointed by the IANR Vice Chancellor (VC). While the VC designates others as liaisons to regularly meet with, coach, and conduct evaluations of those with administrative appointments, the VC is ultimately responsible for the professional development, evaluation, and reappointment of these administrators.

Annual Evaluation

Everyone with an administrative appointment must be evaluated annually. This evaluation normally occurs early in the calendar year (see schedule in Table A) and consists of an evaluation of the previous calendar year’s performance. The evaluation consists of:

  • a self-appraisal,
  • if relevant, results of a survey completed by the members of the unit’s faculty and staff (for department heads, school directors, engagement zone coordinators, program leaders, and others as appropriate or as requested)
  • a meeting with the person conducting the evaluation, and
  • a written summary of the evaluator’s appraisal of the administrator’s performance.
Table A: Schedule of Annual Reviews
Person to be reviewed Timing Person conducting the review Clarifications
(if any)
IANR Vice Chancellor and NU Vice President Chancellor and NU President
Associate/Assistant Vice Chancellors April IANR Vice Chancellor
Deans April IANR Vice Chancellor
Center Directors March Deans of ARD and/or Extension
Associate Deans March Dean
Heads/Chairs and School Directors January Senior Associate Vice Chancellor
Directors of REECs January Dean, Extension
Engagement Zone Coordinators January Dean of Extension
Program Leaders January Dean of Extension or Senior Associate Vice Chancellor

Prior to the review, the individual responsible for conducting the evaluation provides a written request to the administrator specifying the nature of the self-appraisal and any other information being requested to conduct the annual evaluation. For administrators who supervise faculty members, the individual responsible for conducting the evaluation solicits feedback about the administrator’s performance through a survey to be completed by the administrator’s unit faculty and staff. The person conducting the evaluation schedules an annual evaluation meeting with the administrator. In this meeting, the administrator and evaluator discuss the administrator’s previous calendar year performance, goals for the future, professional development, and any other relevant issues. The person conducting the evaluation will follow up with a letter to the administrator summarizing their evaluation. This letter is documentation of the annual review and becomes part of the administrator’s personnel file.

Evaluation in Preparation for Contract Renewal

A comprehensive evaluation of the administrator’s performance must be completed prior to contract renewal. Reviews of deans and associate vice chancellors should be completed 6 months prior to the end of the contract date. Reviews of department heads, school directors, engagement zone coordinators, program leaders, directors of Research, Extension and Education Centers, directors of centers, associate deans and others with administrative appointments can be determined, by mutual consent, in light of other reviews happening within the unit (e.g., APR, accreditation, center reviews) so that multiple reviews are not happening simultaneously to the detriment of the unit or the functioning of the administrator.

Given that most administrator contracts are for a period of 5 years, the following is a guide for when these reviews and evaluations should be completed. The timeframe should be adjusted accordingly for contract periods that differ from the 5-year standard.

The reappointment review is both a summative and formative evaluation of the administrator’s performance. It is summative in that it is an evaluation of the administrator’s cumulative performance and accomplishments since the contract period began, and is used to inform the decision about contract renewal. It is formative in that the evaluation will provide the administrator with feedback on past performance that can influence future performance and continued functioning within the role (if a decision is made to renew the administrative appointment).

Recognizing flexibility in the timing of this review, the following timeline serves as a standard for conducting the reviews in preparation for contract renewal. The following illustrates the principles that should be followed when conducting reviews for those with administrative appointments. The review may differ depending on the unique characteristics of the position and the leader. For example, reviews of deans, department heads and school directors may look most similar to this review process, while reviews of those with other administrative appointments may differ substantially. This process assumes satisfactory performance to-date, and that the hiring authority has an interest in the person continuing in the administrative role.

A checklist of those activities described below is found in Appendix A.

12 months prior to the end of the contract period

As appropriate, the IANR senior leadership team (or appropriate subgroup of the same) discusses the degree to which it is in the best interest of the unit and IANR for the leader to be reappointed. If it is agreed that reappointment is in the best interest of the unit and IANR, the VC, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor (SAVC) or cognizant dean meets with the leader to ascertain their interest in continuing in the position. If the leader expresses interest in continuing for an additional term, the VC informs the IANR Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty and Academic Leader Success (AVC FALS) that the review process should be initiated. AVC FALS meets with the leader to discuss the nature and timeframe of the review. The AVC FALS asks the leader and others to prepare materials, including a self-appraisal that will facilitate the review. This request for materials will be made in writing. Materials should include:

  1. The leader’s self-appraisal (provided by leader)
  2. The leader’s reflection on their leadership journey (provided by leader)
  3. The unit’s strategic plan (provided by leader)
  4. The unit’s by-laws, policy, and/or other guidance documents (provided by leader)
  5. Documentation of the leader’s management of the fiscal, physical, and personnel resources of the college or division (provided by IANR Office of Business and Finance)
  6. Documentation of the leader’s attention to diversity and inclusiveness (provided by Director of IANR Analytics and leader)
  7. Documentation of the leader’s attention to the culture/climate of the unit (provided by leader and, as appropriate the AVC FALS)
  8. Documentation of the leader’s attention to accomplishing strategic goals (provided by leader)
  9. Other materials deemed appropriate by the dean, and/or requested by the Vice Chancellor (provided by leader and others as appropriate)
  10. A list of individuals/groups outside the college/division who the leader feels could comment on his/her performance and contributions (provided by leader and supplemented by others as appropriate).

The leader and others should be given sufficient time to prepare these materials. The guideline is that the self-appraisal and other materials facilitating this review be due to the AVC FALS 9 months prior to the end of the contract period (approximately three months from the date of this meeting).

The VC sends an email to the faculty and staff associated with the leader’s unit to let them know that the leader is being reviewed in anticipation of contract renewal.

11 months prior to the end of the contract period

The AVC FALS proposes a timeline informed by conversations with leader and the VC, cognizant dean, and/or senior leadership team. The template for the timeline is found in Appendix A of this document.

The AVC FALS requests that the leader provide recommendations for the reappointment review committee1. These recommendations are considered by the VC, cognizant dean, and/or senior leadership team when identifying individuals to serve on the reappointment review committee. It is up to the individual or group responsible for the review to select those to serve on the reappointment review committee. This committee should consist of the AVC FALS, someone who has a similar position to the one occupied by the person being considered for reappointment, and two or three faculty or staff members with appointments in the unit that the leader oversees2. Given the small number of individuals serving on the reappointment review committee, there is no expectation that all aspects diversity within a unit be represented. However, the committee membership should reflect the diversity within the unit, with particular attention to underrepresented groups or individuals. Areas of diversity to consider might be gender, race/ethnicity, faculty rank, apportionment of responsibilities, etc.

AVC FALS sends an email to the IANR Financial Director (Bryan Areman) and IANR Operations Director (Lauren Madsen) with a copy to the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Finance and Personnel (Jeff Bassford) requesting that documentation of the leader’s management of fiscal, physical, and personnel resources be provided to the Dean and the AVC FALS.

10 months prior to the end of the contract period

The AVC FALS forms the reappointment review committee from the approved list of potential members.

9 months prior to the end of the contract period

The AVC FALS3 sends an email to faculty and staff members in the unit letting them know that the review is occurring, the names of the members of the committee, and a summary of the process that will be used in conducting the review.

The AVC FALS convenes an organizational meeting of the reappointment review committee in which the charge to oversee the collection and summary of evaluation data is issued, and information about the process and how it will unfold is communicated. The AVC FALS underscores the importance of confidentiality, fairness, and objectivity in examining materials and data. The leader’s self-appraisal is shared with the committee members and reviewed during this meeting. If it makes sense to review data provided by the IANR Financial Director, IANR Operations Director, and Director of IANR Analytics prior to receiving the leader’s self-appraisal, then those reports are reviewed during this meeting. The AVC FALS may choose to invite the IANR Financial Director, IANR Operations Director, and the Director of IANR Analytics to the meeting to present data and answer questions. The committee also reviews the survey template and makes recommendations to survey items to collect feedback that will facilitate the review. A survey template exists that includes standard/core questions related to the Core Expectations of unit administrators. The committee may add questions to this template, but the standard/core questions must be included. The survey template will be shared with the leader for their review. The committee will review the list of individuals provided by the leader (item j above), and suggest others who also might be able to contribute information contributing to a comprehensive evaluation of performance4. Other potential mechanisms for collecting feedback may include interviews with faculty, students, peers, supervisors, and others who could contribute information contributing to a comprehensive evaluation of performance . If interviews are conducted, the committee will work with the leader to develop a list of faculty, staff, and others who will be invited to participate in the interviews. The committee will develop an interview guide for each interview that consists of a small number (3-6) well-crafted questions. The AVC FALS will facilitate interviews. Normally, group interviews are sufficient, although there may be occasions where individual interviews are desired.

8 months prior to the end of the contract period

Written surveys are deployed that request feedback on the leader’s performance and accomplishments. Surveys will be sent to all faculty and staff within the unit and those outside the unit identified by the leader, the reappointment review committee, and the appropriate individual or group overseeing the reappointment. Included in the survey will be questions related to the core expectations of all academic leaders in IANR as well as other questions related to unique aspects of the leader’s job responsibilities.

The IANR VC administrative associate creates the Qualtrics survey and the Director of IANR Analytics, Jennifer Muller5 extracts and summarizes the data. Surveys should be deployed for a minimum of two weeks to ensure sufficient opportunity to respond. Weekly reminders will be sent through Qualtrics.

7 months prior to the end of the contract period

The AVC FALS convenes the reappointment review committee to review the survey results and the results of interviews and other mechanisms for receiving feedback. The Director of IANR Analytics prepares data for evaluation by the oversight committee. Qualitative data should be minimally redacted to protect the confidentiality of the respondent. The committee provides a written summary and interpretation of the survey results and materials that is submitted in letter-format to the individual or group responsible for reappointment. The letter should also contain a recommendation about reappointment. The AVC FALS meets with the leader to review the draft report and raw data. The AVC FALS provides a hard copy of the data and other materials deemed appropriate to the leader for review in advance of the scheduled meeting.

6 months prior to the end of the contract period

The individual or group responsible for reappointment meets with the leader to discuss contract renewal. AVC FALS works with the AVC for Finance and Personnel in drafting a reappointment letter. AVC FALS drafts thank you notes for all those participating in the review. The individual responsible for reappointment informs the AVC FALS when the reappointment letter has been signed and inform faculty and staff of the contract renewal. Once the reappointment letter is signed, AVC FALS works with IANR Communications Director to develop a reappointment announcement.

Summary of Timeline for Evaluation in Preparation for Contract Renewal. View Timeline Larger

Appendix A: IANR Administrator Reappointment Checklist

Guiding principles:

  • Fairness: leaders will be evaluated in light of their position description, known expectations for performance, and documentation of accomplishments.
  • Equity: leaders will be held to similar standards of performance as those with similar job responsibilities, and will be evaluated similar to those with similar job responsibilities.
  • Transparency: leaders will know the processes that will be used to evaluate them, how information about their performance is being collected, what information is informing the evaluation, and the criteria against which they are being evaluated.
  • Intentionality: The evaluation processes will be systematic and intentional.
  • Timeliness: Evaluations will be conducted in a timely manner.
Date completed Timing Description of what is needed Person responsible
12 months prior to end of contract Administrator responsible for reappointment meets with the leader to ascertain interest in continuing in the position. Administrator responsible for reappointment
12 months prior to end of contract Administrator responsible for reappointment informs AVC FALS that the review process should be initiated. Administrator responsible for reappointment
12 months prior to the end of the contract AVC FALS meets with the leader for discussion about the nature and timeframe for the review, and the request for materials and suggestions for reappointment review committee membership. AVC FALS
11 months prior to end of contract AVC FALS requests that documentation of the leader’s management of fiscal, physical, and personnel resources be provided to the leader and AVC FALS by the IANR Business Office Request from AVC FALS to IANR Financial Director, Operations Director, and AVC for Finance & Personnel
11 months prior to end of contract AVC FALS requests that documentation of diversity among faculty, staff and students, and the culture and climate of the unit be provided to the leader and AVC FALS by Director of IANR Analytics Request from AVC FALS to Director of IANR Analytics
11 months prior to end of contract AVC FALS proposes a timeline for the review and reappointment review committee membership to the administrator responsible for reappointment AVC FALS
10 months prior to the end of contract AVC FALS forms a reappointment review committee. AVC FALS
9 months prior to the end of contract Leader submits materials to AVC FALS that includes:
  1. The leader’s self-appraisal of their cumulative accomplishments since contract initiation.
  2. The leader’s reflection on their leadership journey.
  3. The unit’s strategic plan.
  4. The unit’s by-laws.
  5. Documentation of the leader’s management of fiscal, physical, personnel and other resources. (High level summary provided by Office of Business and Finance)
  6. Documentation of the Dean’s attention to diversity and inclusiveness. (Audit information provided by Director of IANR Analytics)
  7. Other materials deemed appropriate by the leader, and/or requested by the administrator responsible for reappointment.
  8. A list of individuals/groups outside the unit who the leader feels could comment on their performance and contributions.
Leader submits materials to AVC FALS
9 months prior to end of contract AVC FALS convenes an organizational meeting of the reappointment review committee. AVC FALS
9 months prior to the end of the contract AVC FALS sends an email to faculty and staff in the unit letting them know that the review is occurring and the timeline. AVC FALS
9 months prior to end of contract The survey and interview questions are shared with the leader for feedback. Other mechanisms for collecting feedback on the leader’s performance (if any) that have been proposed by the committee are also shared with the leader. AVC FALS
8 months prior to end of contract Survey is created on Qualtrics, deployed and is available for at least two weeks. Other mechanisms (e.g., interviews) for eliciting feedback (if any) are also used at this time. Director of IANR Analytics extracts, organizes and summarizes the survey data. Director of IANR Analytics, and IANR VC Administrative Coordinator
7 months prior to end of contract Reappointment review committee meets to review survey results and other feedback received. The committee provides a written summary of the feedback and their own assessment to the administrator responsible for reappointment. The letter should include a recommendation from the committee about reappointment. AVC FALS & Oversight Committee
7 months prior to end of contract AVC FALS schedules a meeting with the leader to review the draft report and the raw data. Copies of data summaries and other materials deemed appropriate to the review are provided prior to their scheduled meeting. AVC FALS
6 months prior to end of contract Administrator responsible for reappointment and AVC FALS meet with the leader to discuss contract renewal. Administrator responsible for reappointment and AVC FALS
6 months prior to end of contract AVC FALS works with AVC for Finance and Personnel to draft a reappointment letter. AVC FALS and AVC for Finance and Personnel
6 months prior to end of contract AVC FALS drafts thank you notes to those who participated in the review AVC FALS
6 months prior to end of contract Administrator responsible for reappointment informs AVC FALS when letter has been fully executed. Administrator responsible for reappointment
6 months prior to end of contract Faculty and staff are informed of the decision about contract renewal. Administrator responsible for reappointment
6 months prior to end of contract AVC works with IANR Communications Director to develop a reappointment announcement. AVC FALS & IANR Communications Director

1A committee will be used for the contract renewal review of Associate/Assistant Vice Chancellors, and Department, REC, and Center leaders. In the case of Associate Deans, the Dean will determine if a committee will be used, and if so, who will serve on the committee.

2In the case of a department head/school director, another head/director serves on this committee. In the case of an REEC director, another REEC director serves on this committee. etc.

3In the case of Associate Deans, if a committee is used, the Dean will appoint a convener from among the committee members.

4Note that it is a best practice to provide the leader an opportunity to examine the survey and list of interview questions in advance of deployment and to ask if there is specific additional information that they would like to have collected. This can be done prior to the reappointment review committee seeing the survey or afterwards.

5The Director of IANR Analytics, Jen Muller, will deploy and manage the survey for those who have a direct report in the Vice Chancellor’s office. In the case of an Associate Dean or REEC Director or another administrator that reports directly to a Dean, the survey will be deployed and managed by someone from the Dean’s office. The Dean’s office will be responsible for organizing and summarizing the data.