Promotion & tenure tips: Evaluating your own performance

“You are the designer of your destiny; you are the author of your story.”

Lisa Nichols

Every spring, faculty are evaluated on their performance. In theory, your immediate supervisor evaluates you, but in most cases you are evaluating yourself. Although performance evaluations can be stressful, think of your annual self-evaluation as a multipurpose tool. A tool that allows you to reflect on: 1) your recent accomplishments and review your progress toward longer-term goals; 2) how your work fits into the scholarly and educational missions of your academic unit or the broader context of your discipline; and 3) honestly assess areas you need to improve.

Self-evaluations, however, can be tricky- especially for marginalized groups. We walk the fine line of highlighting everything we have accomplished OR not highlighting enough. So how then do we self-evaluate in a way that is productive and empowering?

Faculty members have multiple areas of performance and each will need to be evaluated. Departments and units expect faculty to make significant contributions as research scholars (creative artists) and instructors. Areas outside these two categories may include service to the institution, community, and profession. For the major categories, use the “standards” of excellent, good, marginal, inadequate, or poor and align definitions to determine where your efforts land. For example, excellent = nationally/internationally recognized scholarship; sustained and focused research program; marginal = active but limited research program; internal funding; inadequate = emerging research program; no funding; limited scholarship.

Taking the time to self-evaluate is equally as important as the work you have performed. Why? Your self-evaluation enables you to participate more constructively in the evaluation meeting with your supervisor and serves as a way to increase your commitment to goal setting, competency development, and “next-step” career planning.


OBN #12: Evaluating your own performance | graphic via

Pamela Leggett-Robinson

Pamela Leggett-Robinson is the CEO and Executive Director for PLR Consulting in Atlanta, GA. PLR Consulting is a boutique Program Development, Management, and Evaluation firm that works with organizations and institutions that seek to address multi-faceted obstacles confronting historically and presently marginalized groups in STEM environments and optimize current STEM...