Communication #22: Annual Review of Academic Professional Employees (AY2023-24)

Last revised January 2011


Our excellence as a University is grounded in our ability to attract and retain the best possible students and staff.  To do that, we must provide a working environment that provides support and guidance for our staff.  Therefore, the campus has a policy requiring that all academic professionals be evaluated, in writing, at least once a year.  We do this to provide an opportunity for a review of the employee’s goals and accomplishments, and for a discussion of suggestions for improvements in the employee’s current job as well as his or her career aspirations. 

Goals and objectives for academic professionals should be derived from their department’s mission, which in turn support the mission and goals of the campus.  Thus, evaluating the performance and providing for the development of academic professional employees contributes to their support of the academic excellence of this institution. 

The structure of such reviews may be chosen to meet the particular needs of the unit.  Some units will prefer formality while other work styles and relationships are better suited to a more informal approach.


The guidelines for review of academic professional employees and a set of alternative evaluation instruments ranging from very structured to minimally structured are provided as attachments to this policy.  Each unit may choose the review instrument which best suits its management style and goals. Many units choose to develop their own review instruments that correspond to their unit’s mission and will make request to use the alternative instrument.  Such a request should be forwarded to the Office of Illinois Human Resources, which will approve the review instrument before it may be used.  Units using an instrument other than those attached must have a copy of their current instrument on file in the Office of Illinois Human Resources.  Please note that only one format may be used within a unit to assure that fair comparisons are made. 

The annual review should be conducted on a schedule that accommodates the work cycle of the unit.  The recommended practice is to undertake the evaluation well in advance of the determination of the annual salary adjustment.  While performance will be a factor for salary decisions, the annual review should focus on things such as performance progress and any needed improvements, along with the goals of the unit and the employee.  It should also be noted that factors other than performance, such as budget, may override even outstanding performance and could also result in a decision not to reappoint an academic professional. While not required, it is encouraged that units provide feedback to newly appointed academic professionals within six months of their start date. 

The required components of the review are the following:

  1. A written understanding, between supervisor and employee, of the major duties and responsibilities of the job held; i.e., a job description. 
  2. An agreement on priorities of the duties of the position. 
  3. A supervisor’s written statement evaluating current performance compared to expected performance. 
  4. A discussion between supervisor and employee of the evaluation statement including an understanding of plans and goals for the coming year. 
  5. A final written record by the supervisor of the review, together with any written employee comments, to be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

Performance review documents are to be maintained at the departmental unit level.  To assure compliance with this policy, review documents will be included as a customary part of departmental audits conducted by the Office of University Audits and inquiries from the Office of Illinois Human Resources. 

Training to assist in conducting academic employee reviews will be provided to supervisors by the Office of Illinois Human Resources.  Providing the annual performance review is a responsibility of each supervisor as an expected part of sound human resources management.  Failure by a supervisor to provide a review will be considered a shortcoming on the part of the supervisor but will not create a presumptive right by the employee to continued employment.


Questions regarding this policy should be addressed to Office of Illinois Human Resources (333-3101).