Essential Guides

Evaluations, Promotions, and Leaves

Merit and Mid-Course Reviews

Merit and Mid-Course Reviews

  • All faculty undergo an annual review which serves as the basis for merit increases.
    • The annual review is a particularly important opportunity for feedback for untenured, tenure track faculty (also called "probationary faculty").
    • Policies on annual faculty merit evaluations are set out in the Faculty Handbook
    • Merit evaluations influence the Dean's recommendations to the Provost on salary, as do considerations of equity, market, promotion and similar matters
    • Each school inputs salary recommendations and any changes in status into the Faculty Salary Management System for Provost Office review and approval.
  • New tenure-track Assistant Professors undergo a mid-course review (typically at your third year) as described in the Faculty Handbook
  • If a faculty member’s work is unsatisfactory, the dean is required to work with the individual on a development plan.
  • The Faculty Handbook provides for the possibility of a notice of non-reappointment for any probationary faculty member (someone on the tenure-track who has not yet achieved tenure) as well as any non-tenure-track faculty member. Such decisions are made by the dean; in the case of a full-time faculty member, there is prior advice by a faculty committee. Non-reappointment is to be distinguished from dismissal for cause: the reasons are different and the process is different.


  • The criteria and process for promotion and tenure are described in the UCAPT Guidelines. Examples include the discuss of guages of quilaity and expectations for promotion and tenure.
  • When you arrive on campus, make sure you have a copy of the Faculty Handbook and the UCAPT Guidelines.
  • Take some time to meet with your mentor and/or department chair to go over the guidelines for promotion and tenure. Feel free to take time to ask any questions you might have about this process. For authoritative answers on doubtful points, contact the Provost's office through the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.
  • Make sure that you are clear about the expectations for promotion and tenure. Have on-going discussions about what the top half dozen peer programs expect and look at the online c.v.'s of people recently tenured in such positions.
  • Make sure you are aware of deadlines for submitting your dossier as specified in the UCAPT Guidelines Assistant professors in many departments are expected to submit by the end of year five of the probationary period such material as c.v.'s (including publications, grants, and teaching, personal statement, sample publications, and suggestions of a few referees. If you have any questions about these deadlines, ask your Department Chair or dean's office.

Leaves and Deadline Extensions

  • USC recognizes the importance of balancing work and family responsibilities. For provisions about excluding time from the probationary period ("stopping the clock" on tenure decision) because of childbirth, parenting responsibilities, or other good reason, see the Faculty Handbook Documentation should be submitted by the individual, through the chair and dean, for Provost's consideration as soon as possible.
  • The Faculty Handbook also documents provisions for parenting leaves, unpaid Special Leaves, and other types of leaves and special arrangements. You should make requests through the chair and dean for Provost's consideration.

Disclaimer: This guide is for information only and is intended as a helpful set of links to the Faculty Handbook and other University Policies. It does not constitute official University policy, nor do linked pages, except for the Faculty Handbook and the Policies web page. Send suggestions for additional resources you would like to see listed to the Office of Faculty Affairs.