Peer-Faculty Annual Review (P-FAR)

Approved:  November 24, 2014  Revised October 26, 2015
Download PDF here


Goals of annual performance reviews:

  • To provide individual faculty members with feedback on their performance for the past year and to set goals for the coming year
  • To assist in the growth and development of the faculty member
  • To encourage the promotion of excellence in scholarship, teaching, outreach and service
  • Creating a broad sense of community and increase awareness of fellow faculty members’ work appreciation
  • When applicable, to assist in the assignment of merit ratings and in the identification of potential nominees for awards and/or special recognitions at the school, campus, and/or national levels.
  • Make the process consistent and uniform across units in the SoHE
  • Create clear, objective criteria for performance review
  • Provide individual faculty members with developmental and candid feedback
  • Be more effective in achieving departmental and SoHE human capital goals
  • Achieve a more efficient and fair process

Structure and Terms of the P-FAR Committee:

The committee shall be composed of a faculty representative from each department; at least one member of the committee shall have an extension appointment. Extension faculty shall be represented on the committee in one of two ways:  if a department chooses to forward a faculty member to the committee who is an extension faculty, the committee will accept that faculty member as representing Extension OR a separate election amongst all Extension Faculty will be administered with support from the Dean’s office. The terms of elected members will be 2-3 years (an effort will be made to rotate members off such that they are staggered for continuity).  Each year, the P-FAR Committee will choose a Chair and in addition a Vice-Chair who will serve as P-FAR Chair the following year.

Process for determining the P-FAR Committee:

Each department will elect a representative to the committee by blind ballot. All departmental faculty (tenured or tenure-track) are eligible to vote and to serve.

The Reviewer Model:

All committee members will read each faculty’s submitted materials. The P-FAR chair will assign a primary reviewer from the committee to present the faculty case to the committee.  The P-FAR chair will assign a secondary reviewer from the committee but not from the faculty member’s department to attend faculty member’s meeting with the Department Chair.

Steps in the process of conducting annual performance reviews:

  1. Each faculty member completes the P-FAR form (Digital Measures), providing documentation on their research/scholarship, teaching, outreach, and service accomplishments for the calendar year. In addition, the faculty member provides the nature of the appointment, teaching load, and a brief personal narrative (goals achieved, special efforts, and/or special circumstances) to frame their dossier, and goals for the following year.  Teaching and outreach teaching evaluations should be included.
  2. For Extension faculty, the Extension Program Area Director will provide a copy of a letter summarizing the annual meeting with the Extension faculty member to the P-FAR Committee by no later than February 1st in order to deliver an overall assessment of whether the individual has met or exceeded the responsibilities of their Extension role.
  3. Faculty with a joint appointment or administrative responsibilities in another campus unit may add feed-back from that campus unit as part of the P-FAR package (amendment approved 11/24/2014 Faculty meeting)
  4. Similarly, Department Chairs submit a letter for each department faculty providing an overall assessment of the individual’s strengths and weaknesses
  5. P-FAR Committee members read dossiers prior to meeting and record preliminary score. Following presentation of the case and discussion, committee members record their final scores.
  6. At the conclusion of the review, the review committee will send a brief assessment to the faculty member and department chair.
  7. The assessment will include a numerical rating representing the performance evaluation in each of the three categories of scholarship, teaching and service. A five point scale will be used with the following anchors:  (5) Truly Exceptional; (4) Exceeds Expectations; (3) Meets Expectations; (2) Needs Improvement; (1) Unsatisfactory Performance.
  8. If P-FAR committee feels that their collective expertise is not sufficient to assess a particular dossier, the committee can solicit additional input from another faculty member.
  9. Department chairs shall meet with each faculty member to discuss the review, professional development opportunities and plans for the coming year.
  10. Each year committee will review process and recommend changes if they feel warranted. Any recommendations for change will be brought to the full faculty for approval.

P-FAR Timeline:

  • November 1 – Department committee member election
  • December 15 – The committee meeting schedules confirmed (Generally less than a 6-week of time span, beginning February)
  • Mid-January (Tuesday after MLK holiday) – All faculty submit their P-FAR report using Digital Measures
  • February 1 – Extension Director and Department Chair letters to the P-FAR Committee
  • February 1-Early March (6 weeks) – The P-FAR Committee Deliberation
  • Mid-March – Deadline for the P-FAR Report to All Faculty
  • Late March/Early April – Individual meeting (highlights, feedback and developmental)
  • Mid-April – Committee Chair’s Report to the Dean
  • Fall 2015: Full faculty review of the P-FAR process after its pilot year and hold another faculty vote for final approval (amendment approved 11/24/2014 Faculty meeting)



The criteria and rubric are intended to support a holistic evaluation of effort and effectiveness across the three categories of scholarship teaching and service. The inclusion of multiple criteria in each category reflects the range of dimensions to be evaluated in each area.  The assumption is that there can be multiple ways to demonstrate excellence in a category – sometimes by depth in one or few criteria, other times by breadth across criteria.  At the same time, some criteria within a category are particularly important, and that is noted in the guidance for evaluation for each category.

 Probationary, Promotion, and Post-Tenure Reviews

Although the P-FAR review criteria are and should be highly correlated with the criteria for tenure, promotion and post-tenure review, the University and the SoHE tenure criteria will be used for tenure-related reviews. The main difference between the P-FAR criteria and the aforementioned review criteria, is that the former is based on annual accomplishments, while the latter is based on cumulative accomplishments and national/international reputations that are expected to be attained for associate and full professors.

Weighting of Categories: Overview and Rationale

All faculty are expected to contribute to scholarship, teaching and service. The categories are given equal weight for tenured faculty (33.33% each); for untenured faculty the weights are 40% scholarship, 40% teaching, 20% service.  Weighting is different for untenured faculty consistent with our commitment to protecting probationary faculty from heavy service loads that may impede their success in laying the groundwork for a successful research and teaching pipeline.

Other than the tenured/untenured distinction, weights are consistent across faculty because they are intended to reflect the importance of each category to our Mission, and not the percent of time devoted to each category – where the latter varies across faculty and over time.  It is assumed that differences in how faculty allocate their time will provide opportunities for comparatively higher scores in areas of greater concentration.  At the same time, it reflects the assumption that all faculty are expected to be substantively engaged in research, teaching, and service.  The opportunity to be acknowledged and rewarded for concentrating more heavily in a given area does not require that it be weighted more heavily, but simply that one’s investment translates into demonstrated effort and effectiveness in that area.

Allowing the relative weights to fluctuate based on % effort tremendously complicates the task of assigning a rating in an area. If categories were weighted by percent of effort, it would be appropriate to also use a higher standard for areas with greater effort – in which case there would need to be shifting criteria depending on what amount of effort one commits.  For instance, if people were asked to report their percent effort on service (or research), the review committee would then need to differentiate between what constitutes exceptional service (or research) for somebody who commits 20%, 30%, 40%, or 50% of their time – an exceedingly difficult task, and one that does not lend itself to the use of a standardized rubric and guidelines.  At a practical level, somebody who concentrates in an area might find that their investment is not acknowledged with higher ratings, if instead the bar is simply raised to reflect the greater effort.

In each category, the ‘meets expectations rating’ indicates that, given their contracted position and any course releases or other approved changes, the faculty member has completed the requisite work at an appropriate level and quality.  Across categories, the ‘exceeds expectations’ and ‘truly exceptional’ categories may be comparatively easier to achieve among people who devote more versus less time to an area, such that faculty have an opportunity to achieve high ratings by greater effort and effectiveness in any of the areas.   A person who takes on a heavy service load, for instance, may find it easier to be ranked outstanding in service than a person who takes on an average load, even as she/he may have fewer opportunities to excel in other categories to which she/he has devoted less effort.  Likewise, a person who has no course releases and is heavily involved with graduate advising may find it easier to achieve an outstanding score in teaching than somebody with course releases and less graduate advising, even as she/he may have fewer opportunities to excel in other areas to which she/he has devoted comparatively less effort.  However, nothing in this system precludes a faculty member from excelling in multiple areas in a given year, regardless of how she/he allocates her/his time, if her/his documented effort and effectiveness warrant it.

The “Meets Expectations” Rating

‘Meets Expectations” is intended to be reflective of the high standards of UW-Madison; performing ‘as expected’ in a category is not intended to convey a negative assessment, nor can it be achieved by only minimal or token effort in an area. It indicates that one has met one’s contracted obligations at an appropriate level given the high standards and expectations of the institution.  Likewise, ratings of ‘exceeds expectations’ or ‘truly exceptional’ are benchmarked against the high standards expected for all UW-Madison faculty.  In general, the distinction between meets expectations and exceptional performance depends on both the amount/nature of commitment and the nature and quality of the accomplishments achieved.  Additional guidance on the application of the rating scale is provided for each category.

Rating and recommendations

Final review will include:

  • Single rating for each area of review (Scholarship, Teaching, Service)
  • Comments for each review area
  • A combined score that adds single scores and divides by 3
  • If an individual fall below satisfactory performance, the department chair and dean should follow through with specific professional development plan
Appeals Process

If an individual is dissatisfied with P-FAR’s review, they can write a letter to the P-FAR committee summarizing their concerns or objections. P-FAR Committee will read letter and write a response.


(Approved by Faculty Committee:  October 26, 2015)


Each faculty member will ‘contextualize’ her/his p-far packet by:

  • Providing brief statements reflecting on her/his annual performance in each of the three areas, highlighting relevant information about the amount, caliber, impact, quality of the past year’s work in each of the three areas. This is an opportunity for each faculty member to articulate the impact of their work in the framework of their particular field. N.B. The p-far takes into account the fact that pre-tenure faculty are not expected to fulfill the same service obligations as post-tenure faculty.
  • Noting extenuating circumstances if any (e.g., illness, delay in getting new project going, etc.) to provide a context for the committee’s deliberations. In cases where there were particular extenuating circumstances, not only the individual but also the Chair could provide this information to the p-far committee.

When completing the P-FAR it is imperative that the format adopted by the SoHE is used so that the committee has a standard set of inputs for their deliberations.

In cases of jointly authored publications or works, a simple statement of the % of the total work contributed by the individual will assist the committee in its deliberations.

URLs to articles or exhibitions and books published or presented in the past year should be embedded into the p-far so that committee members can click on them.


  • The integrity of the p-far review should be maintained as a PEER review. The p-far committee will continue to be composed of one representative from each of the four departments. In the coming year, one of these members will be elected to chair the committee.
  • Review committee should meet three times for three hours each meeting to provide ample time for discussion of each faculty member’s p-far materials. Prior to the committee meetings members will review each faculty member’s p-far materials, provide numerical ratings, and reflective notes about the basis for their ratings. When the group meets, time will be allocated for a group discussion of each faculty member’s p-far prior to writing the final narrative and numerical summary. N. B. The p-far document spells out the metrics underlying the ratings and the committee members will continue to use this document as their guide.
  • As part of the peer feedback, a short narrative will provide qualitative feedback about the faculty’s: 1: strengths and accomplishments 2. areas to consider further development/ improvement. This short narrative will be based on a summary of the explicit input of the full committee discussion of 1 and 2 above and will be based on the committee’s collective decision. The narrative will be recorded by Sue Bruns during the committee meeting and reviewed by the department representative to the committee.
  • For pre-tenure faculty, p-far feedback will be shared with the individual’s mentoring committee as well as with the department Chair


  • Chair would write letter to each faculty member interpreting and embellishing the p-far feedback in the context of Chair’s knowledge of department and of individual faculty member
  • The review process will incorporate the Chair’s assessment along with the p-far review as a feedback packet to each faculty member.
  • The Department Chairs should build in time to meet with each of their faculty members and discuss the p-far committee review and their letter.
  • Each of the Chairs should meet with Soyeon to discuss their reflections on the p-far feedback. This discussion should focus on faculty professional development and growth in the SoHE – i.e., how to use p-far process to build capacities at the individual, department, and school level.
  • Chair’s job should be to identify strengths, talk about areas of improvement, offer problem solving in those areas that need improvement. This discussion also should be an opportunity for the faculty member to note areas where s/he, the department, and the SoHE could improve.


In the Scholarship category, 7 criteria should be considered in assigning a performance rating.

Scholarship criteria:

SCH1. Effort and effectiveness in peer-reviewed scholarship output including refereed journal articles, books, and/or book chapters, exhibitions, shows, catalogue essays, creative works.  Include only those publications, exhibitions, or creative works that were published/presented or that are in press or accepted for exhibition during the past year.  It’s incumbent upon each faculty to provide evidence of quality.

SCH2. Effort and effectiveness in other (non peer-reviewed) scholarly output including Extension publications, chapters in non-peer reviewed edited books, creative works, scholarship for public audiences, websites, any and all scholarship and creative work that does not meet the

SCH3. Effort and success in obtaining grants (particularly competitive grants) and commissions to support scholarship

SCH4.  Effort and effectiveness in scholarship in progress.  Examples include data collection, data analyses, manuscripts submitted or in revise and resubmit status, exhibition preparation, project reports, etc.

SCH5. Laying the ground work for scholarship.  Examples include development of collaborative and/or multidisciplinary projects or work with regional, national, or international groups, extension, community organizations/groups, government agencies, industry, etc., grants under review, grants in progress

SCH6. Recognition by peers/juries/public of scholarly and professional contributions related to research through honors and awards (i.e., design project and competition awards, book awards, best article awards, honorary doctorates, early career awards, contribution to the field awards, delivering an invited plenary or keynote address, etc.).

SCH7. Evidence of other substantive contributions to the field and/or recognition of one’s scholarly reputation other than those listed in SCH6.

General information:

  • Effort and effectiveness in scholarship is expected of all faculty.
  • Effort and effectiveness in scholarship cannot be fully measured by output within a calendar year since it is based on work conducted over time. Scholarship output is, nonetheless, an important indicator of effort and effectiveness, and is recognized in SCH1, SCH2 and SCH3.  Substantive ongoing accomplishments are recognized in SCH3 and SCH4.  Formative work is recognized in SCH5.   Finally, external recognition of one’s scholarly contributions is captured in SCH6 and SCH7.
  • In order to give faculty full credit for scholarly work at all stages, while avoiding double counting, SCH1 and SCH2 should be used for work that is published, in press, or presented, whereas SCH4 should be used for work that is not yet in press or published.
  • Exceeding expectations in scholarship can be achieved by substantial effort and effectiveness at various stages as per the criteria. While scholarship will be assessed holistically, the following general guidelines will be used to differentiate between meeting expectations, exceeds expectations and truly exceptional.
  • Scholarship output (SCH1 and SCH2) and grants to support scholarship (SCH3) are generally more important than other criteria.
  • High-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship (SCH1) is widely recognized as critical for faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and peer institutions, and as such, will be considered heavily.  Nonetheless, it is possible to achieve a rating of 4 or 5 in scholarship by substantial evidence and effectiveness in other criteria.  The assumption is that earlier-stage scholarship, while important in demonstrating effort and effectiveness, will ultimately lead to scholarship output.
  • Formative work (SCH5) alone, while it can be important to demonstrating satisfactory scholarship performance, is generally not sufficient to achieve a scholarship rating higher than “meets expectations.”
  • Examples to document effort and effectiveness in scholarship criteria are not meant to be exhaustive

Scholarship Performance Rating Scale and Descriptors:

5     Truly Exceptional:  Fulfills scholarship criteria with distinction as evidenced by a record of substantial and distinguished scholarship in several scholarship criteria (SCH) areas.  Exceptional scholarship is typically characterized by the quantity and/or the quality of very high quality peer-reviewed output (SCH1), as well as substantial other evidence of a vibrant and productive research pipeline.

4     Exceeds Expectations

3     Meets Expectations:  Fulfills scholarship criteria at satisfactory level as evidenced by having meaningful peer-reviewed scholarship output (SCH1), or alternatively, by substantive evidence of an active pipeline for upcoming work and evidence of effort and effectiveness in other scholarship criteria.  While faculty will not necessarily have peer-reviewed output in every year, in the absence of such output there should be clear evidence of significant effort and effectiveness as documented in the range of criteria available.

2     Needs Improvement

1     Unsatisfactory Performance:  Lack of substantive scholarship output, and minimal or no evidence of effort and effectiveness in other scholarship criteria.


In the Teaching category, 4 criteria should be considered in assigning a performance rating.

Teaching criteria:

T1. Effort and effectiveness in “for credit” teaching (face-to-face and online) including courses taught, evaluations of teaching, recognition of teaching excellence, and other evidence of teaching performance.

T2. Effort and effectiveness in outreach and continuing education teaching, including educational talks, workshops or programs delivered, development and dissemination of teaching materials through electronic formats, participant or stakeholder evaluations of outreach teaching, recognition of teaching, and other evidence of outreach teaching performance. (Extension outreach evaluations when available must be included)

T3. Effort and effectiveness in mentoring undergraduate students and the mentoring and advising of graduate students, post-docs, county Extension educators, other educators, including resident and non-resident advising and mentoring; evidence of mentored student or others’ success, recognition for other evidence of excellence in mentoring.

T4. Effort and effectiveness in contributions to the development of “for credit” teaching excellence and/or enhancement of graduate or undergraduate programs, including development of new or innovative pedagogical methods or instructional materials; innovation in courses offered, new course, significant revisions to improve learning, evidence of teaching scholarship such as publication of educational materials (e.g, text book, website) or articles related to teaching, grants related to teaching, advisor to student organizations, recognition for contributions to teaching, teaching scholarship or innovation in teaching.

General information:

  • Effort and effectiveness in teaching is expected of all faculty, although the specifics may vary across appointments.
  • Teaching encompasses campus, online, outreach, credit and non-credit teaching.
  • Effort and effectiveness in teaching is assessed on the basis of quantity (relative to one’s position requirements), quality and impact.
  • Extension/outreach teaching takes many forms, and is not limited to classes and workshops.
  • Teaching is evaluated holistically. Student evaluations are one indicator of effectiveness, but are not, in and of themselves, either a sufficient means or the most important means of determining the performance evaluation rating.
  • Examples to document effort and effectiveness in teaching criteria are not meant to be exhaustive

Teaching Performance rating scale and descriptors:

5       Truly Exceptional:  Fulfills teaching criteria with distinction as evidenced by a record of substantial and distinguished teaching.  While excellence can potentially be achieved by distinction on multiple criteria or ‘over the top’ performance in a single criteria, excellence also requires at least satisfactory performance across T1, T2, and T3, to the extent that these are part of one’s contracted position.

4       Exceeds Expectations

3       Meets Expectations:  Fulfills teaching criteria at a satisfactory level as evidenced by effectively teaching one’s contracted number of courses (adjusted for approved buyouts or course releases) (T1); having substantive and meaningful involvement with student mentoring (T3); and sufficient and effective outreach teaching as warranted by one’s position (T2).

2       Needs Improvement:

1       Unsatisfactory Performance:  Lack of satisfactory effort and effectiveness as evidenced by not teaching one’s contracted courses or not fulfilling one’s basic Extension obligations or not extending the effort to improve one’s performance, or contribute to the teaching mission.


In the Service category, 4 criteria should be considered in assigning a performance rating.

Service Criteria

S1. Effort and effectiveness in service to one’s primary unit(s) through membership, leadership, and accomplishments on committees, task forces, and other governance groups at the Department, School (SoHE), SoHE Centers, and (for Extension faculty) Extension level and in contributions to the unit’s strategic priorities, team efforts, mentoring junior & mid-career faculty members and/or assisting others for the greater good of the department, and professional collegiality to achieve the unit’s positive work climate.

S2. Effort and effectiveness in service to campus and the university through membership, leadership, and accomplishments on committees, task forces, and other governance groups outside of SoHE – such as non-SoHE departments, inter-departmental centers, university-level committees, etc.

S3. Effort and effectiveness in service to one’s discipline/profession, through such activities as serving on grant review panels, organizing/chairing professional conferences or conference sessions, serving on editorial boards, conducting journal reviews, serving as conference discussants or jurors for exhibitions, administering grants programs, serving as an officer in professional organizations, etc.

S4. Effort and effectiveness in public service on behalf of the broader community via sharing and application of professional expertise, through such efforts as serving on advisory boards, Commissions, task forces, and coalitions; media engagement including presentations and interviews; planning conferences for community members, professionals, or policymakers; testifying or providing policy briefings; consultations or other substantive engagement with public/private/nonprofit agencies.  Clarification:  public/community service must be connected to one’s professional/academic expertise, as distinct from service related to personal interests.

General information:

  • Service encompasses activities designed to further the effective functioning of the university; the development of one’s professional/disciplinary fields; and the sharing of professional expertise with the broader community. Service also encompasses one’s overall contributions to achieving the unit’s strategic goals, mentoring, and positive work environment.
  • Effort and effectiveness in service is expected of all faculty members, although the specifics may vary across appointments. A rating of  3 or higher in the overall service category generally requires, at a minimum, satisfactory performance to one’s primary unit (department/SoHE/Ext.), regardless of one’s contributions in other services areas.
  • Service expectations are higher for tenured vs non-tenured faculty;
  • The distinction among performance ratings in all criteria depends on the amount/nature of commitment, the degree of leadership (vs participation), and the nature of the accomplishments achieved. Distinction in service can be achieved by substantial contribution across criteria or by over the top contributions within a criterion.
  • Examples to document effort and effectiveness in service criteria are not meant to be exhaustive.

Service Rating scale and descriptors

5    Truly Exceptional:  Fulfills service criteria with distinction as evidenced by a record of substantial and distinguished service.  The distinction between satisfactory and distinguished performance in any criteria depends on the amount/nature of commitment, the degree of leadership (vs participation), and the nature of the accomplishments achieved. Distinction in service can be achieved by substantial contribution across criteria or by over the top contributions within a criterion.  It does, however, require at least a satisfactory record of service in S1.

4    Exceeds Expectations

3    Meets Expectations: Fulfills service criteria at a satisfactory level as evidenced by sustained and meaningful engagement in service to the department, SoHE, and Extension (S1) and some level of engagement in one or more other service domains (S2,S3,S4).

2    Needs Improvement

1    Unsatisfactory Performance:  Lack of satisfactory effort and/or effectiveness in service; fails to fulfil the service criteria.