Processes & Criteria to Evaluate Faculty

Professional Track Faculty

The review of professional track faculty takes place at their initial appointment, or whenever they request promotion to a different title. The process is outlined in the UMIACS Appointment, Evaluation, and Promotion policy for professional track faculty.

Core/joint Tenure Track Faculty and Adjunct/Affiliate Faculty

Except for a few legacy permanent faculty appointments, all faculty in UMIACS are evaluated when they request the renewal of their affiliation with the institute. All faculty with payroll appointments in the institute are also evaluated annually as part of the merit review process described in more detail below.

General Criteria for Evaluation

The primary mission of UMIACS is to foster and enable cutting-edge interdisciplinary research that is grounded in computer science and that addresses pressing scientific and societal challenges. In support of this mission, UMIACS is committed to fostering, on campus and beyond, a community that includes participation by people of diverse backgrounds, genders, identities, upbringing, and scientific knowledge.

All faculty in UMIACS are expected to demonstrate strong scholarship, service to the institute, as well as to adhere to institute, campus, state, and federal regulations, policies, and laws. In addition, the UMIACS community in 2021 chose to implement a Code of Ethics that mirrors the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Specific Criteria

The expectations from faculty are commensurate to the academic rank of the faculty involved.

Appointments in UMIACS will be continued, if requested, if a faculty member’s activities and interests remain consistent with this broad mission. In concrete terms, the UMIACS APT committee will consider the following criteria:

  • Evidence of active positive engagement within the UMIACS community in support of the mission of the institute. Examples include active participation in standing and ad hoc committees, participation in UMIACS meetings and seminar series, active support and mentoring of junior members of our community, outreach on behalf of UMIACS to the broader scientific community, both on campus and beyond.
  • Evidence of scientific impact as measured through recent (prior 5 years) publications as well as overall publication record. Examples of concrete metrics include the quality of publication venues, number of publications, number of citations, etc.
  • Evidence of fundraising efforts, as measured through number and dollar amounts for awarded grants routed through UMIACS.

The expectation is that faculty will make major contributions in at least two of the three of the criteria described above.

For senior faculty the evaluation specifically focuses on activities that demonstrate scientific leadership, such as serving as PI on major grant proposals, the organization of conferences and workshops, etc.

Since the goal of UMIACS is to promote interdisciplinary research, the evaluation will specifically focus on publications and grants that include multiple faculty members from different fields, both from within and outside UMIACS and/or the university.

Process for the Initial Appointment or Renewal of Faculty Members

UMIACS appointments are only made or renewed at the request of the faculty member, and, in the case of joint appointments, with the explicit approval of the chair of the tenure home department. All appointments that entail a financial commitment from UMIACS are contingent upon an agreement between UMIACS, the tenure home department, and any other units in which a faculty member may have a payroll appointment. Such agreements usually specify the fraction of the 9-month salary, FTE contributed by each unit (note that the two fractions are not necessarily equal), as well as the proportion of credit and DRIF to be allocated to each unit for the externally funded projects associated with the faculty member.

If the initial appointment occurs when a faculty member is hired into the university, the request for UMIACS affiliation is typically made by the candidate during the interview process, and the possibility of an affiliation with the institute is typically included in the offer letter and employment contract. The hiring department provides an application package for the faculty member that is then made available to the UMIACS Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure (APT) committee.

A faculty member who is already appointed on campus must request a UMIACS appointment from the chair of their tenure home department as well as from the UMIACS director. The evaluation of the appointment may only proceed if both units agree to the financial terms described above.

For faculty who are already members of UMIACS, during the last year of their appointment term, UMIACS will inform the chair of their home department that the appointment is ending and will invite the submission of a renewal package. It is the prerogative of the chair of the home department to decide whether to allow the joint appointment to lapse, or to forward the request for a renewal package to the faculty member.

For initial appointments, the faculty member will provide to the UMIACS director a package that contains:

  • The recommendation/support of the tenure home department chair. For affiliate/adjunct appointments this item is optional.
  • A biosketch formatted according to the University of Maryland requirements covering the prior five years, or the period the candidate has been employed at the University of Maryland, if this period is less than five years.
  • A one-page statement outlining the faculty member’s proposed contributions to UMIACS during the period of their appointment.

The renewal package must include the following elements:

  • A biosketch formatted according to the University of Maryland requirements, or a confirmation that the faculty member’s information in the Faculty Success system is up to date for the preceding period of appointment in the institute.
  • A one-page statement outlining the faculty member’s contributions to UMIACS during the prior period of appointment.
  • A one-page statement outlining the faculty member’s proposed contributions to UMIACS during the future period of appointment.

For both initial and renewal appointments, the director of UMIACS will review the package provided by the faculty member and decide whether an appointment is warranted. If the director decides to proceed with an evaluation of the appointment, the director will forward the package to the UMIACS APT committee, which will then provide an independent assessment of the request. The UMIACS director will then make the final decision about the appointment based on the minutes of the APT committee meeting and the results of the secret vote taken at that meeting.

In instances where an appointment is denied, the UMIACS director will communicate this decision to the faculty member requesting the appointment, and (in case of joint appointments) the chair of the tenure home department.

Timeline for initial and renewed appointments

Initial requests for an appointment in UMIACS may occur at any time during the year and will typically be considered at the subsequent APT committee meeting, assuming a financial agreement (if necessary) has been completed between UMIACS and the tenure home department.

UMIACS typically informs tenure home departments of appointments ending during the current academic year in the fall semester and evaluates renewal packages at one of several APT committee meetings during the spring semester. Decisions are typically communicated to faculty and their tenure home chair before the end of May.

Most appointments are effective July 1, and typically extend for three years (assistant and associate professors with joint appointments as well as affiliate/adjunct appointments of all ranks) or five years (full professors with joint appointments).

Merit Review

According to the University of Maryland and UMIACS merit review policies (see UMD policy here, and UMIACS policy here), all faculty with a paid appointment in the institute are reviewed annually. The review process proceeds as follows:

  • UMIACS faculty will elect a merit review committee, typically before the end of the prior academic year.
  • UMIACS faculty are invited to provide to the merit review committee and the UMIACS director information about their activities during the prior three years. This information may consist of an appropriately formatted biosketch or be provided through the Faculty Success system. An optional one-page statement may also be provided by each faculty member.
  • The UMIACS merit review committee reviews all faculty members according to the evaluation criteria described above, as well as additional criteria that may be requested by the UMIACS director to incentivize or reward certain activities supporting the mission of the institute. The merit review committee assigns each faculty member in one of five categories, ranked from 1 (low performance) to 5 (high performance) according to a rubric determined by the members of the committee. Members of the merit review committee as well as their relatives are excluded from the evaluation and are ranked by the UMIACS director according to the rubric created by the committee.
  • The chair of the merit review committee meets with the UMIACS director and presents the ratings as well as the rubric used in the evaluation. If necessary, the UMIACS director may request that the committee re-evaluate certain faculty, for example to correct inconsistent ratings.
  • The UMIACS director assigns ratings to members of the review committee and their relatives.
  • In years when merit funds are available, the UMIACS director, together with UMIACS and college financial administrators, assigns a dollar amount for each rating category. The merit pay amount received by each faculty member corresponds to the dollar amount associated with the rating they received, prorated by the percent of the 9-month salary contributed by UMIACS.
  • The UMIACS director informs the members of the merit review committee about the dollar amounts assigned to the different ratings and about any changes in ratings made by the director.
  • The UMIACS business office coordinates with the other units in which a faculty member is appointed to determine the overall merit pay, and a salary letter outlining the salary increase is prepared by the tenure home department and shared with each faculty member.