College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Personnel Actions

Frequently asked questions


When is the deadline for my personnel action?

Departments must submit their completed recommendations and the personnel dossiers to the Dean's office by the date below.  Your unit deadline will be before this deadline.



Deadline date for 2011

Promotion to Full Professor

4th Friday in October

October 28, 2011

Contract Renewal

Thursday of the 6th week of Winter term

February 16, 2011

Tenure and Promotion

Thursday of the 7th week of Winter term

February 23, 2011

Promotion only

March 1

March 1


Where are the personnel materials such as policies, forms and guidelines?



What does the CLAS Personnel Committee do?

The CLAS Personnel Committee (CPC) reviews and recommends to the Dean on all contract renewals, promotion and tenure decisions, dismissal for adequate cause, as well as on personnel policies and issues.

The CPC came into existence in 2005. The numbers of personnel cases reviewed by year are:

2008-2009: 73
2009-2010: 96
2010-2011: 82

The Personnel Committee meets on Fridays from 3:00-5:00 p.m. They can extend into early evening during February and March when the workload is heaviest.

Sheldon Kopperl served as chair for 2005-2006. Charles Norris was chair for 2006-2008. Figen Mekik was the chair from 2008-2010. George McBane is the current chair.


What is the CLAS Personnel Committee View of Student Evaluations?

Student evaluations are present in all personnel dossiers at GVSU. All instructors, even the very best, get some complaints on these evaluations, and faculty naturally worry about how they will be interpreted during personnel reviews.

Chair George McBane explains:

The College Personnel Committee reads student evaluations carefully, looking for consistent patterns of student comments. When these consistent patterns appear, the committee members try to use the evaluations and the other information available in the dossier to place the evaluations in an appropriate pedagogical context.

The committee pays attention to positive evaluations as well as negative ones; if students consistently comment that the instructor has "contagious enthusiasm," the CPC reviewers will notice.”

One of the purposes of the student evaluation system is to give faculty opportunities to reflect on their teaching and improve it. When a consistent pattern of complaints appears, the CPC looks to see whether the applicant has recognized the pattern, offered an interpretation, and described a response if one seems appropriate.

For example, an applicant might write "In my first two semesters teaching this course, many students complained that I was too harsh grading their papers and that they couldn't tell what I wanted, despite extensive classroom discussions of the source material and its interpretation. In response, I have collected two examples each of A and C papers on a single topic, distributed them as a reading assignment, and spent half a class period in a discussion of what characteristics made the first pair better than the second. Since I introduced that exercise, student complaints of unclear standards have diminished to about one per semester.”

Student complaints of "the course is too hard," "the exams are too difficult," "there's too much reading," "the standards are too high," etc., appear frequently. In these cases the CPC looks for evidence in the file that the instructor is making a conscious effort to make sure the level of the course is appropriate, explaining to the students what the expectations are, and offering guidance about effective ways to meet those expectations.

Consistent student complaints that the instructor is unprepared for class, disorganized, or disrespectful to students elicit close attention. Sometimes these comments indicate a mismatch between the instructor's style and the behavior expected by the students; for instance, an instructor who heavily uses inquiry- or discovery-style instruction may appear unprepared to students who are accustomed to sitting and listening to lectures. Other times they may indicate genuine problems. Again, the CPC looks for interpretation and responses by the candidate in the integrative statement and supporting documents.

It is not necessary for faculty to lower their standards or pander to students out of fear of negative student evaluations. It is necessary for faculty to show that they take the evaluations seriously, reflect on what they have to say about the effectiveness of the instruction, and respond when changes are appropriate. The CPC looks for evidence of that reflection and pedagogical evolution, not for an absence of complaints.


Page last modified October 27, 2014