Questions about Performance Counseling answered
What is Performance Counseling?
- Purpose of counseling sessions is to establish close working relationship with faculty and to encourage actions that will benefit both the faculty member and the department;
- Is a regular activity that focuses on faculty member’s successes and failures; not just an activity that occurs when problems exist;
- Provides a channel for two-way communication so both parties have a better understanding of each other; and
- Is a valuable tool for rank and tenure discussions.
When is Performance Counseling Needed?
- Talking with faculty member whose teaching performance is unsatisfactory;
- Dealing with faculty member whose scholarly output is inadequate;
- Talking with a faculty member before preparing a R & T letter;
- Informing a faculty member (either adjunct or full time) that his contract is not being renewed;
- Dealing with a productive faculty member whose morale is low because she was denied a promotion;
- Dealing with a faculty member who is productive in areas not related to the department’s mission;
- Meeting with a faculty member after she has received outstanding student evaluations;
- Counseling with a faculty member who has been the subject of inappropriate behavior but there is no real evidence;
- Rewarding the high performer who sees others performing at less than acceptable standards.
How to Deal with Unsatisfactory Performance?
- Is often the most unpleasant and difficulty duty of a chair, but must be dealt with and dealt with early;
- Prior to meeting, prepare a mental script that you will use in a meeting, Be sure to identify what the performance problem specifically is and against what standard it was assessed:
- Is best to set up an appointment through personal contact – not an e-mail or voice message;
- Should be based on clear, definite assignments and on acceptable standards of performance for teaching, scholarship, and service;
- To minimize defensiveness, is important to approach the interaction as a dialogue, not an indictment or lecture;
- Should focus on how best to problem solve, not who to blame; works best if can be framed as a challenge or problem to be solved, not a character failing
- Be open-minded and encourage faculty member to express his point of view;
- Should include comments on successful and outstanding accomplishments as well as problem areas;
- Be descriptive and specific rather than ascribe a blanket negative value to performance;
- Develop a plan of action with follow up specified;
Document performance counseling activities as accurately and as quantitatively as possible; and Records should be made available to the faculty member.