Criteria, performance expectations, and procedures relating to Merit Awards

In conformity with the tenure-track Collective Bargaining Agreement, the University will sometimes establish an additional salary increment pool for recognizing documented Faculty Excellence in achievement, performance, and contribution. “Merit” is performance above and beyond job expectations for faculty at Kent State Ashtabula.

  1. General Principles

    In conformity with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, two broadly-defined areas of demonstrated faculty excellence, consistent with the mission of Kent State Ashtabula, are to be recognized through Merit Awards: (1) Teaching and Service (2) Research / Creativity


    Procedures, allocations, and timelines for determining Merit Awards for any given year shall be conducted in accordance with guidelines issued by the Office of the Provost.

  2. Criteria for Determining Merit Awards

    Because of the significant variation in the roles and responsibilities, disciplines and departments, as well as college or school expectations, the formulation or application of one specific, narrowly circumscribed definition of “Merit” is inappropriate in the determination of Merit. However, a more general and useful conception of “Merit” can be applied, which is based on a few guiding criteria and certain identifiable qualities, activities, and issues common to all excellent faculty members, regardless of their varied roles and responsibilities. Thus, the following guiding criteria shall apply in determining “Merit.”


    “Merit” is demonstrated by the following:


    1. The evident performance by a faculty member in Teaching.
    2. The evident performance by a faculty member in Research (including creative productivity) above and beyond expectations of standard, acceptable faculty performance.
    3. The evident performance by a faculty member in campus, university, professional, and appropriate community Service that is above and beyond time commitments and contributions usually expected of faculty members.


    In determining the extent to which the performance, contributions, or achievements of a faculty member satisfy these guiding criteria for “Merit,” it is useful to consider some examples of (1) expected or “baseline” faculty performance, and (2) meritorious faculty performance.


    A.  Being mindful of the significant variation in faculty roles and responsibilities, disciplines and departments, as well as college or school expectations, examples of expected or “baseline” faculty performance during the “merit period” may be evidenced by:


    1. Average classroom performance teaching 24 load hours/year as evaluated by student surveys;
    2. Regular attendance at office hours;
    3. Writing student recommendations;

    Some effort to remain current in pedagogy;

    1. Some participation in campus service activities, e.g., service on a campus, department, or university committee or two;
    2. Some effort to remain current in the area of expertise, e.g., a conference attendance or two.


    B.  Being mindful of the significant variation in faculty roles and responsibilities, disciplines and departments, as well as college or school expectations, examples of meritorious faculty performance during the “merit period” may be evidenced by:


    1. Consistent above-average classroom performance as indicated by student surveys and/or peer reviews;
    2. Assisting students with publications or presentations;
    3. Recruitment and retention activities;
    4. Classroom pedagogical and technological innovations;
    5. Teaching or service awards;
    6. Extensive, positive contributions of time and effort to campus, department, university, professional, and public service;
    7. Significant scholarly or creative contributions as determined by the faculty member’s discipline;
    8. Efforts in campus or university outreach;
    9. Bringing recognition to Kent State Ashtabula.
  3. Campus Procedures and Process for Determining Merit Awards

    General Guidelines


    1. Forms, deadlines, and instructions for submitting a merit file will be made available by the Dean and the FC Chair when Merit Awards are to be made.
    2. The Faculty Merit Review Committee consists of all faculty applying for merit in a given review period.
    3. Merit is awarded in two distinct categories: 
      1. Teaching and Service Merit
      2. Research/ Creative Activity Merit
    4. Faculty can apply for merit consideration in either category or both categories.
    5. The Faculty Merit Review Committee when considering candidates only seek to review completed ballots and an abbreviated CV.  An abbreviated CV contains only the accomplishments for the time period under review.  Any CV submitted as part of the merit process with accomplishments achieved outside the review period will not be considered for merit.
    6. Merit files and materials submitted after established deadlines will not be considered.
    7. Members of the Faculty Merit Review Committee cannot vote or rank themselves when reviewing files.  They should only vote /rank the other applicants.


    Ashtabula Campus Merit Review Process:

    1. The Dean in conjunction to with FC Chair notify the tenure, tenure-track faculty of the merit process, provides instructions, forms, and deadlines.
    2. Files will be submitted to Dean’s Office by 5:00pm on the established submission deadline.
    3. The Dean will provide the Faculty Merit Review Committee electronic and hard copies access to merit files within three business days of the submission deadline.
    4. The FC will construct and provide an electronic ballot form for everyone to use to rank candidates.
    5. Each member of the Faculty Merit Review Committee will review and rank each file in the merit categories in which they also submitted a file.  In ranking the files, faculty must list reasoning behind rank (strengths and weaknesses of files).
    6. Faculty will NOT vote for themselves.
    7. Electronic Ballots must be received by the established deadline.
    8. All those who submit files must be involved in the voting.
    9. If someone does not vote/ rank the files, their file will be removed from consideration.
    10. The Deans office will compile casted ballots such that:
      1. Track who voted
      2. Separate comments and ranking by assigning random letters to each faculty
      3. Create a ranking order (without names attached).
      4. Compile Comments for review (without names attached)
    11. Committee will meet to review rankings with comments attached (without names attached) and recommend preliminary monetary figures to the Dean.
    12. After the committee meets they will send a summary letter of merit recommendation to Dean.
    13. The Dean will make a preliminary determination of the Merit Awards and notify individual faculty members, the Council, and the Provost. Faculty members who wish to know their discrete ranking in each category by the Dean or by Council may request that information from the Dean.
    14. A faculty member shall have the right to request reconsideration of the preliminary determination. The request for reconsideration shall be made, in writing, to the Dean for transmission to the Council for its review and recommendation on reconsideration. A necessary condition for Council review of a written request for reconsideration is that the request must give an informed and substantive reason for reconsidering the preliminary determination. An informed reason is based upon at least as much information as was available to Council. Thus, the expectation is that any faculty member requesting reconsideration will have reviewed the documentation submitted by all applicants for Merit Awards who would be affected by a revision of the preliminary determination. A substantive reason discloses a significant misinterpretation or a real and verifiable error in the preliminary determination. Thus, disappointment about the size of an award alone is insufficient reason to request reconsideration. Those appealing may request to present their reconsideration rationale to the Council.   After evaluating all requests for reconsideration, the Council will make a final recommendation to the Dean.
    15. The Dean will make a final determination of Faculty Excellence Awards and notify affected individual faculty, the Council, and the Provost.