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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Professional Staff Annual Review Info > FAQ

FAQ

FAQs-Professional Staff Annual Review Process
 
FAQs on Beginning the Process
 
FAQs on the Next Steps (see also below)
 

1. Do we complete the goal setting form together with our supervisor or separately first, then meet with our supervisors?

A. Completing the form will vary by unit. Please complete the goal setting form prior to meeting with your supervisor.  Your supervisor may provide you with general goals of the office or similar direction for you to consider in developing your goals, but you should complete your part of the goals and provide to your supervisor well in advance of the meeting. In some cases supervisors may meet with their units in advance of the goal setting process to give general direction and scope to the coming year's work. The goal setting discussion will present an opportunity for collaboration and growth.

2. How do I know that goals will be discussed with me all year long by my supervisor and not just at the evaluation time in June?

A. The goals that are identified on your performance review by your supervisor should be the top three to five goals that s/he plans for you to achieve over the course of the year.  It is in everyone's interest and expected that these goals are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that you are on the right track to accomplishing them and that you have the necessary resources that you need for success. 

Supervisors have undergone training that emphasized that good leadership requires periodic check-ins with direct report and teams. Employees need to ensure that they are making adequate progress and if there are challenges you should bring to the supervisor's attention.
 

3. How do I develop my own goals when the goals of my area have not been shared?

A.  The supervisors understand their roles and their unit's function, but if you have not been provided goals or a direction from your supervisor, suggest goals that you would like to work on this year and which you feel are central to your general job responsibilities.  Through the process of reviewing your goals and the discussion with your supervisor, further clarity will generally develop as to the intended direction for the year.
 

4. Why do we have to undergo yearly performance evaluations?

A. Research has shown that all employees regardless of title or function perform and grow the most when they receive feedback. Performance reviews should happen regularly.  Ideally, conversations involving performance and direction are expected to happen more frequently, however at least one meeting per year should occur. 
 

5. Is this review form flexible and adjustable for different units? Academic departments? Programs? Centers & Institutes?

A. Yes, this review form is flexible. There is ample room on the form to tailor and add dimensions that are unit specific. However, at a minimum, the material listed on the form should be covered in the review process. Also note that the evaluation period as noted on the top of the form is left blank in the From and To time period. Bottom-line: the forms must be submitted by July 31st of each year.

6. What is the difference between goals and objectives?

A. For the purpose of this review process, the terms "goals" and "objectives" are synonymous.
 

7. How do you set goals if you are reliant on other units to accomplish your work?

A. For units whose work is established in part by goals of another department, the supervisor or head of the unit should work with the departments or units to establish the expectations for the year, including the timing of the projects or goals.  Once these are established, the employee's goals can be effectively identified. 

To start the goal setting part of this process, an employee should work with his/her supervisor to discuss with the client potential ideas or goals prior to the beginning of the review cycle.  In some cases, the employee may work with the client department directly, but this should be discussed with the supervisor first.
 

8. Am I only responsible for accomplishing my 3 to 5 goals? What about the rest of my job?

A. You will be reviewed on the three to five goals and you will receive an "overall rating" on all aspects of your job.  To be sure, the goals should be seen as a focus for your performance, but all aspects of your job must be maintained throughout the year.
 

9. Is this process linked to merit pay?

A. No, the performance review process is not linked to merit pay in the 2010-2011 academic year.  There is an intention to discuss how merit pay could be implemented in a future year.
 

10. Can this review form be used as a disciplinary tool? What are the steps involving discipline?

A. No, the review process and form are intended to contribute to a developmental process.  If discipline is ever required, it will be conducted separately from the annual performance review.  Discipline is covered in policy 308 of the professional staff policies, which indicate that ... "the supervisor will meet with the employee and establish an improvement plan to try to bring the employee's performance up to a satisfactory level. The plan will be placed in the employee's personnel file." 


FAQs on the Next Steps

1.        Can I use decimals in rating reviews?

A.       No.  The whole numbers that were described on the rating form should be used exclusively.  These ratings have been described in some detail and, while it is reasonable to assume that a number between the whole numbers provided would represent some performance indicator between the two whole number ratings that have been described, supervisors must use these whole number ratings because they have been described more completely than any other set of numbers which have not been detailed.

 

2.        Should employees sign their form?

A.       Yes, employees should sign the completed form, which would signify that the employee has seen the evaluation.

 

3.        If I object or have an issue with the ratings I've received what can I do?

A.       If you would like, you can add a letter to your file, via the online performance review system.

 

4.        Will professional staff have an opportunity to debrief the process and share their experience for how the process worked?

A.       Yes.  First, you should be able to provide feedback to your supervisor.  However, you can also discuss this with your HR representative and with the VP for Diversity and Community Affairs.

 

5.        Is my supervisor evaluated?

A.       All professional staff will be evaluated.  In addition, the College will be reviewing the extent to which forms are completed and submitted.  Supervisors are required to submit the annual review forms of their employees.

 

6.        What will be done with the areas of development checklist?

A.       The HR department will be compiling the results, to be used as a basis for future staff development opportunities.

 

7.        How early can review forms be completed?  How early can the forms be submitted?

A.       The forms can be completed now, if the review period has been determined to be complete.  The form is accessible via the TC HR website.  We are currently finalizing the development of an online method for the forms to be submitted to HR, which will be accessed via the TC portal.  We anticipate that the online process to submit the form will be available by the end of May.

 

8.        If I supervise other supervisors will I have access to my direct reports' reviews of those they supervise?

A.       Yes.

 

9.        If I manage many individuals how might I effectively manage completion of these forms?

A.       Some supervisors have found success in spreading the reviews out over a month or more so that the supervisor has enough time to devote to a thoughtful, quality review of each person.