Third-Year Review

This procedure is for tenure stream faculty covered under the 2003 Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments.

General Third-Year Review Process Overview

Step 1

Read relevant policy. Begin to gather documents for the dossier (see the 2003 Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments, Section II: 8 and 9).

Step 2

Ensure correct timing of Third-Year Review for each of your Assistant Professors.

Step 3

No later than 1st May, inform candidate of upcoming review and appoint committee.

Step 4

Establish review committee and set meeting dates.

Step 5

Assist candidate in preparation of dossier.

Step 6

Conduct review and gather any additional materials that may be required.

Step 7

Committee prepares written report for the Chair or Dean with recommendations regarding a second probationary appointment, and where appropriate, areas requiring improvement.

Step 8

Dean or Chair notifies faculty member in writing no later than September 25.

Step 9

Where reappointment is recommended, follow up to ensure candidate receives appropriate support to act on feedback from the committee.

Guidelines for the Third-Year Review Process

Relevant Policies

The information in this manual provides guidance on implementing policy but in all instances, the policies are binding and take precedence over the information provided in this manual.

See Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments 2003, Section II: 8 and 9.

Timing of the Third-Year Review

Sample Letter Notifying Candidate of their Third-Year Review

See Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments 2003, Sect II: 8.

Tenure stream contracts normally begin on July 1 and the initial contract is three years. Appointees to tenure stream positions must receive their Third Year Review between May 1 of the second year of their contract and September 25 of their third year. Although termed the “Third-Year Review,” the gathering of documentation and preparation for the review should be well underway by the end of the second year of the appointee’s contract.

For example, May 1, 2013 begins the four-and-a-half-month period during which the Third-Year Review for tenure stream Assistant Professors appointed on between January 1 and July 1, 2011 must take place. By September 25, 2013, tenure stream Assistant Professors appointed between January 1 and July 1, 2011 must be informed in writing of the outcome of the Third-Year Review.

The results of the Third-Year Review are either:

  • a new two-year contract beginning July 1, 2013, or
  • notice of termination effective June 30, 2013 of their current three-year contract.

Composition of the Third-Year Review Committee

The Third-Year Review Committee should be appointed by the Unit Head but the committee itself should be chaired by a designate (in general, the Unit Head is seen to have a mentoring role with new faculty and the practice in most divisions is to have the Committee chaired by someone else). It is recommended that the Committee be made up of at least three members who are tenured. In the case of cross-appointed individuals, the Review Committee will be appointed jointly by the respective unit heads. Where the budgetary Chair and the Graduate Chair are not the same, the Graduate Chair should provide input on the faculty member’s role as a graduate supervisor/teacher.

Documentation Required

At a minimum, the Unit Head should arrange to have the following documentation made available to the Review Committee:

  • An updated CV (to be supplied by the candidate).
  • An account of the scholarly work or creative professional activity which has been completed or undertaken since the initial appointment (to be supplied by the candidate).
  • Student evaluations of all courses taught by the candidate.
  • Where available, signed opinions of individual students are preferred. In their absence, individual emails can be included.
  • Written comments from colleagues acquainted with the appointee’s teaching or scholarship.
  • Other materials as required by the committee (e.g., a teaching statement).

Conducting the Review

The Committee should consider all the documentation before it and may choose to obtain more information, (e.g., comments from co-authors or from colleagues who have co-taught with the candidate, if these are not included in the documentation supplied; a teaching statement). The Committee should be satisfied that it has enough information to make a recommendation to the Unit Head on the following basis:

  • Has the appointee’s performance been sufficiently satisfactory in the areas of scholarship, teaching and creative professional achievement for a second probationary appointment to be recommended?
  • If reappointment is recommended, what counselling should be given to the appointee to assist him or her to improve areas of weakness and maintain areas of strength?

See Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments 2003, Sect 2:8.

The Committee’s report to the Unit Head should focus on these two questions and should make a recommendation based on the evidence provided either to renew or not to renew the faculty member’s contract and advising the faculty member on their performance since the time of their appointment to the tenure stream.

After the Review

After considering the Third-Year Review Committee’s report and recommendation, the Unit Head should notify the faculty member in writing no later than September 25 that their contract is to be renewed for another two years or that their contract will not be renewed and will end on the following June 30, providing reasons and feedback on the decision.

Further discussion of the Unit Head’s role in mentoring and counselling the faculty member is provided below.

In either case, the rationale for the recommendation should be given based on the criteria above. Evidence in support of the recommendation should be cited. If the contract is being extended, the Unit Head should carefully review the counselling or advice that the Committee is recommending the faculty member be given (i.e., (ii) above) and add their comments or suggestions to ensure that the faculty member receives the best advice the unit can provide. Where it might be helpful, excerpts from the Review Committee’s report could be included in the letter to the faculty member. If the counselling recommended involves followup on the part of the department, it is the responsibility of the Unit Head to see that this is done.

Better Practices in Conducting a Third-Year Review

Third-Year Reviews are conducted at the unit level and will be tailored by divisional and disciplinary practices. As a result, many of the better practices which occur will be specific to a particular division or unit. Unit Heads are encouraged to speak with their colleagues about successful approaches to conducting third-year reviews in order to develop their own list of better practices. More generally, the following suggestions can be applied:

Mentoring of the Faculty Member

  • Assign all new faculty a mentor prior to their arrival at the University.
  • Make mentoring of new faculty a regular part of their early years in the division. Provide them with a sense of the divisional culture and expectations for performance.
  • Start early in assisting the new faculty member to gather appropriate materials and provide them with clear guidelines about what should be included and how to frame their research and teaching statements.
  • Clarify for the new faculty member the relationship between the Third-Year Review and the Tenure Review. The Third-Year Review assesses whether a candidate has performed sufficiently satisfactorily to be given a further probationary contract. It also provides advice to the candidate about strengths and weaknesses. However, it should not predict or comment on the tenure review.
  • Ensure that the new faculty member is meeting regularly with their appointed mentor and that a beneficial relationship is developing.

Documentation Required

  • Units should begin to gather the materials for the Third-Year Review early. This may be particularly important in relation to getting signed statements from students.
  • In regards to statements from undergraduate students, if it is difficult to receive signed statements, emails can be included.
  • In regards to statements from graduate students, it is important to make every effort to obtain these in writing from the students directly supervised by the faculty member.
  • Statements from colleagues, familiar with the candidate’s teaching and/or research, should be included.
  • Although not required by the Policy, a teaching statement from the candidate can be helpful for the Committee.

After the Review

  • In the event of a decision by the Review Committee that a faculty members contract should not be renewed, the Unit Head should continue in their role as mentor, providing career advice and alternatives for the faculty member.
  • In the event of a positive decision by the Review Committee, the Unit Head should take a significant role in ensuring that the suggestions of the Committee are clearly conveyed to the faculty member and are acted upon. Regular review meetings may be an effective way to help the faculty member work towards their goals.
  • Involve their appointed mentor in helping the faculty member to establish some goals and to consider their career development.