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Academic Views

Clarification on the Suspension of the 2021 Merit Assessment Process

As we and the Provost have reported previously, the Faculty Association and the Governors agreed to suspend the merit assessment process for the July 2019 to June 30, 2021 assessment period. Unfortunately, the Faculty Association has been hearing from members that some departments and faculties are giving information about the current situation and the next assessment cycle that is not consistent with what has been agreed between the Faculty Association and the Governors.

The Agreement eliminated the requirement to submit an Academic Performance Report (APR) this year and eliminated any assessment process, whether by the Head, Dean, or committees. The goal was to eliminate this work on all parties. All eligible academic staff members will automatically receive a full increment (1.2) for the July 2019 to June 30, 2021, assessment period. This increment will be applied to an academic staff member’s rank salary on July 1, 2021 and July 1, 2022.

The only agreed-to requirement for this assessment period is for academic staff members to provide a brief summary of activities on any teaching, research, service and other accomplishments during the 2019-2021 academic years in the format of their choosing to their Head or Dean.

We would like to emphasise that these reports are brief and in the format of the members’ choosing. If members are being told that they need to use the APR system or any prescribed template or provide any specific information, it is inconsistent with the Agreement. The intent was that members do not have to submit detailed reports or itemized lists (unless they choose to), but rather just provide some feedback to the Head to let the Head know that there is progress occurring.

The Governors felt it critical that a brief summary be provided by academic staff members to allow the Heads to check in with people who might be struggling or who may be coming up for tenure and promotion in the next year or two where the academic staff member may want guidance or where the Head might want to provide some feedback. However, it is not anticipated or expected that there will be any ‘assessment’ of the report, nor that the report will be used in any way for future processes.

Members may choose to use the APR system to make this report, but there is no requirement to do so; we want to avoid a make-work project for the academic staff members given that this report is not being assessed, will not be going “on the record”, and may never be read by anyone. Further, there is no guarantee that the current APR form will be used in the next cycle, so it may not be worth the time to use it. If changes are made to the APR form, any content input now may not be carried forward. So if you do use such a form, make sure to keep a separate copy. Likewise, if members are being provided alternative forms to complete, it is important to recognize that these forms are optional.

It is sufficient for a member to send an email to the Head that indicates they published a number of papers last year, were successful in teaching, and served on a number of committees. They do not need to itemize their accomplishments or even give a number if they don’t want to. It is to be a brief summary of their choosing, recognizing it will not be used in the future.

We have received questions about whether including items or not including items in this year’s report will affect whether the members can report on these accomplishments in the next cycle. How items from 2019 to 2021 will be brought forward to the next cycle has not been determined, but it will not be dependent on the summary report from this year.

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