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Faculty Evaluations

Janet Mertz Mertz at oncology.wisc.edu
Mon Feb 19 13:17:43 EST 2001

>My university is attempting to foist a corporate model for performance 
>evaluations on the faculty.  This involves identifying our 
>accountabilities, setting goals and objectives and the like.  Now I agee 
>that some of this is useful and those of us that are or were on the 
>tenure-track are very familiar with this stuff. As faculty we all probably 
>do this almost all the time without thinking too much about it or even 
>writing it down. But we are not selling x widgets in y amount of time or 
>bringing product a to market by date z.  It's the corporate contex and 
>language that is so disturbing.  Another problem is that the executive on 
>loan from a major US corporation probably never read the faculty 
>handbook.  Have any of you out there, especially in North America, 
>encountered this before?  If so what did you do about it?
Yes, corporate models are occurring here at the University of Wisconsin as 
well. Annual "merit raises" (which are actually our real raises since "base 
adjustments" for inflation rarely keep pace with inflation) are determined 
based upon a variety of quantifiable factors including number of 
publications, amount of extramural funding, number of students in lab, 
number of invitations to speak at meetings, etc. Note that most of these 
factors favor men: women on average publish only 2/3rds as many papers as 
men even though their total impact is as great, women tend to request less 
money on grants, women tend to prefer smaller size research groups, women 
are grossly underrepresented as speakers at meetings because of the "old 
boys" network, etc. Then, people wonder why women end up with significantly 
lower salaries!

The UW-Madison Medical School has also adapted a corporate-based model for 
allocation of funds back to departments. Again, the criteria used are 
highly biased - in this case in favor of clinicians at the expense of basic 
researches. M.D.s are given lots of credit for bringing in patient fees and 
teaching residents and medical students. Ph.D.s are given little credit for 
bringing in extramural grants and teaching and mentoring graduate students. 
Undergraduate teaching and research isn't even included in the formula! 
Where do they think their future medical students and clinician-researchers 
are going to come from? With medical schools having to compete with HMOs, 
things are likely only going to get worse in the future. Suggestions welcome.

Janet Mertz
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