Merit and the assessment process

by Faculty Association | Filed under September 2015.

The assessment process is in full swing this fall meaning ongoing academic staff are receiving notification of what their Head is recommending their merit increment will be. But what a merit increment represents and how it is related to a faculty member’s every day work performance is often misinterpreted.

(Note that with the changes to the tenure and promotion process the title Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC) and Faculty Merit Committee (FMC) are being used interchangeably. Similarly General Promotions Committee (GPC) and General Merit Committee (GMC) mean the same committee for the purpose of assessment.)

The merit pool is established based on 1.2 increments per full-time equivalent academic staff member in the Faculty, and the Deans must fully distribute the entire increment allocation to academic staff in their respective Faculty or unit. This means that the arithmetic average for merit increments is 1.2. (As an aside, the Deans often hold back a small number of increments to deal with appeals and FPC/FMC discussions, so the amounts given to the Heads may not equal 1.2 per member.) However, receiving the arithmetic average increment does not necessarily reflect that “average” work has been performed.

If an academic staff member decides to appeal his or her assessed increment or language it is important to remember that this can only be appealed at GPC/GMC if it was first appealed at the FPC/FMC level, or if the FPC/FMC changed the increment amount. Also, the Department Head (or equivalent) is required to provide the appellant a copy of the assessment, including the merit increment and then allow for an opportunity to meet. Any assessed increment amount or language can be appealed to the FPC/FMC.

The Assessment process is currently an item of negotiation between the Faculty Association and the Governors.

For more information please consult the Appointment Promotion and Tenure (APT) Manual and Faculty Guidelines. If you require further information or assistance please do not hesitate to contact our office by email, faculty.association AT, or by phone, (403) 220-5722. It is important to remember that the tenure and promotion processes are now included as part of the Collective Agreement so most references to these processes in the APT manual are out of date. If you are looking for information on tenure and promotion please refer to the Tenure and Promotion Agreement available here:

(Note that references to “Head” above means the person who prepares the initial assessment of your performance report – it could be an Associate Dean, area chair, or some other individual. The above answers are the Faculty Association’s interpretation of how the process works based on our reading of the rules and the precedents established over the years.)

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