COVID-Related Considerations for Reviewers

COVID-Related Considerations for Reviewers in the Faculty Evaluation Process, Fall 2020 and Beyond

The disruption caused by COVID-19 in spring 2020 totally changed faculty work. In response, the Commissioner of Higher Education issued a one-year extension on the tenure clock for all faculty in probationary, tenure-track positions at UM in 2020. (Individuals may opt out of this extension if they wish.)

In addition, the Office of the Provost encourages reviewers to give special consideration to IPRs submitted in fall 2020 and in subsequent years, given the barriers that faculty face in continuing some activities listed in unit and university standards. For example,

  • Shelter in place orders have prevented us from traveling to professional conferences or to conduct field work.
  • The abrupt switch to remote instruction may have decreased teaching effectiveness for some.
  • Course evaluations were suspended for spring semester in recognition of this, and the fact that many units on our campus continue to use a paper-based course evaluations.
  • Furthermore, we have learned that working from home when everyone is sheltering in place (including roommates, children, etc.) is not the most productive work environment for anybody. One source [1] indicates a significant decrease in publications submitted by women, and in some cases a noticeable increase in submissions from men, a reflection of the uneven distribution of domestic work among men and women. 

The effects of COVID-19 in our lives are undeniable and we recognize that they will persist, to some degree, until the virus is no longer a threat and faculty can return to their work spaces and take up their habits and rhythms once again. We ask the individuals who play a role in faculty evaluations to consider these unexpected circumstances when reviewing faculty IPRs not only in fall 2020, but for years to come.