Communication #24: Five-Year Review of Administrators (AY2023-24)

Last revised November 2023


The University of Illinois Statutes mandates the review of unit Deans and Directors at least every five years (see Article III, Sections 3 & 5).  This document provides information to guide the process for five-year reviews of Deans and Directors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who report to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost.  Other Executive Officers may use this template to conduct the required five-year reviews.  Units should also consult their bylaws for specific requirements of this review.

Initiation of the Review Process

The review process begins with a discussion between the Dean or Director and the Provost.  This discussion can be used to raise any particular issues that the Dean or Director and/or the Provost would like to explore during the review and will also provide a forum for an overall survey of the process and timelines of the review.  This meeting takes place before the appointment of the Dean’s or Director’s Evaluation Committee (DEC).

Dean’s or Director’s Evaluation Committee

Academic units should specify the composition of the Dean’s or Director’s Evaluation Committee in the unit bylaws.  The Provost constitutes and charges each DEC in compliance with unit bylaws.  If bylaws do not specify the composition of the DEC, the Provost will determine DEC membership, ensuring general representation from diverse elements of the unit.  Following Senate guidelines, each DEC is chaired by an individual from outside the unit of the Dean or Director under review and is appointed by the Provost.

Public Good or Campus-Wide Units

Some units are housed within colleges but serve a broader campus-wide or “public good” mission for the University and/or the community.  Examples of such units include, but are not limited to, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, the Krannert Art Museum, and Spurlock Museum.  The reviews of directors for public good units and for campus-wide units will be facilitated by the Provost’s Office in consultation with the college in which the unit is housed.  The Provost, with guidance from the Dean, will determine the DEC membership.

Charge of DEC

The Provost, or a designee, charges the DEC and attends the first committee meeting.  During this meeting the Provost explains the charge, discusses the review process and expected timeline, and responds to questions from the committee. The Provost emphasizes the confidential nature of the process and presents a confidentiality agreement to committee members.

Participants in the Review Process

Unless specified in the unit’s bylaws, the DEC is responsible for identifying stakeholders and participants in the review process and for determining the optimal methods for engaging participants in the process.  Unit bylaws may provide guidance on participants, so should be consulted as the evaluation is designed.  The Dean or Director may request that the DEC seek input from particular individuals or groups.


A written self-evaluation from the Dean or Director is an important element in the review process.  This brief (usually 6 or fewer pages) report provides the Dean or Director’s perspective on his or her accomplishments and goals, as well as opportunities and challenges for the coming five-year period.  This report should be framed around strategic goals that have been developed for the unit.  The self-evaluation should focus on which goals have been met and what challenges remain in reaching stated goals.  It is recommended that the Dean or Director be invited to meet with the DEC during one of its initial meetings (an additional meeting can be scheduled if needed).  An early and open discussion with the Dean or Director provides a general framework to guide the review process.  The chair of the DEC may also meet individually with the Dean or Director at the beginning of the evaluation to gain perspective on the review and to identify specific areas in which evaluation information would be most useful for the Dean or Director.

Other Participants in the Review Process

Current faculty members, staff members, and students: Input from the current faculty and staff members of the unit is a critical element of the evaluation process.  Opportunities for broad faculty and staff participation in the process are essential. In addition, student input is beneficial to the review process, although students may or may not be well-informed about the activities of the unit and its Dean or Director.  Effort should be made to include students who are likely to have more significant engagement with the unit and/or its executive officer (e.g., graduate students, students who serve on advisory councils, students in leadership roles of student organizations).   

Campus colleagues: Selected peer Deans or Directors may be engaged in the evaluation process, in the event that focused or specific input from colleagues on particular issues or areas would be informative. 

External colleagues and/or stakeholders: In some cases, perspectives from relevant external colleagues or other stakeholders (e.g., advisory boards) may be useful.  It is important that individual members of these groups not be engaged independently in the evaluation process.  That is, it is acceptable to request input from an advisory board, but it is usually not appropriate to seek out the opinion of a single member.   

In some situations, the DEC may wish to collect information from former or retired faculty and staff members. Input and findings from these external colleagues should be appropriately attributed and distinguished from information collected from staff, faculty members, and students who are directly and currently associated with the unit.

Types of Information Used in the Review Process

The DEC is responsible for determining the methods of gathering information from the participants in the review process.  A variety of approaches may be useful in gathering the data for the evaluation, including written or electronic surveys, open meetings or meetings with specific subgroups, or interviews with key individuals.  Again, reports from external advisory groups or boards may be informative to the DEC, but advisory groups or board members should not directly be engaged as collaborators or partners in the evaluation process. Given the applicability and ease of use of electronic survey tools, such as Webtools, many DECs now incorporate electronic surveys as one way of gathering data for the evaluation process.  The Provost’s Office can work with the DEC to provide and develop evaluation surveys.

Report Summarizing the Review

Each DEC reports its findings to the Provost through a written summary.  Two versions of the written report are generally required: (a) a Full Evaluation Report, from the DEC to the Provost, and (b) a Brief Evaluation Report, designed for the Provost to share with the Dean or Director at the conclusion of the evaluation.  Both reports should be signed by all members of the Review Committee.  The Chair of the DEC should confer with the Provost or the Provost’s designee as the written reports are developed.  Templates for the Full Evaluation Report and the Brief Evaluation Report are provided below: 

Full Evaluation Report (to Provost) 

  1. Overview-summarizes key findings of the review. 
  2. Review Process-outlines the activities of the committee (e.g., survey, open meetings of the faculty, individual meetings with key individuals, etc.). 
  3. Interpretation of Data and Key Findings-summarizes themes that emerged in the evaluation data and process. 
  4. Opportunities and Challenges-highlights key issues and opportunities for the unit over the next five-year period. 
  5. Summary-overall assessment and impression of the evaluation committee. 
  6. Appendices-actual survey instrument and results, open-ended comments, other materials. 

Brief Evaluation Report (to Provost and to be shared with Dean or Director) 

  1. Overview-outlines the major activities of the review. 
  2. Interpretation of Data and Key Findings-briefly highlights the major themes that emerged in the evaluation data. 
  3. Opportunities and Challenges-highlights key issues and opportunities for the unit over the next five-year period. 
  4. Summary-summarizes key points of review.

Communication with Dean or Director

After the review process has concluded and the evaluation report(s) have been submitted, the Provost will meet with the Dean or Director to discuss the review.  The DEC chair should not meet with the dean or director to convey evaluation results.

Communication with Unit

After the conclusion of the review process, the Provost will communicate with the faculty and staff of the unit, in writing, to summarize key points of the review, to inform them that the process has concluded, and to convey whether the dean or director has agreed to continue leadership responsibilities for the unit.

General Timelines for the Five-Year Review Process

OctoberProvost meets with Dean/Director to discuss review.  Within two weeks after the meeting, the Provost forms, and charges DEC. 
October- DecemberDEC gathers and synthesizes information for the review.
December- JanuaryDEC finalizes review and prepares written report. 
FebruaryDEC conveys written reports to Provost. 
MarchWithin two weeks after the submission of the reports, the Provost meets with the Dean or Director and communicates the review findings.
March-AprilProvost completes process and communicates with Dean/Director and unit.


Questions regarding this policy should be addressed to the Office of the Provost (333-6677).