Evaluation of faculty

Each year, one quarter of the faculty is considered for reappointment, tenure, promotion, or an increase in salary. This evaluation is conducted by the faculty Committee on Advancement and Tenure (CAT), which makes recommendations to the president. One important part of the process is a request for letters from students about members of the faculty. Such letters are welcome at any time, but they are actively solicited at least once each year in a memo to students from the dean of the faculty. The memo contains a list of all faculty being evaluated at that time.

The criteria for academic faculty appointment and advancement are listed below, in rank order of importance. All of the criteria below require performance conducted in a professional manner.


  1. Effectiveness of teaching, including, as appropriate, conference leadership, lecturing, laboratory teaching, studio teaching, curriculum development, thesis advising and general academic advising.
  2. Scholarship, defined as knowledge and understanding of, and active engagement with, the materials of one's discipline and, where appropriate, of related disciplines.
  3. Service to the Reed community (and to external communities where relevant) through department and committee work, or through activity that fosters and enhances the quality of the intellectual community.

Student letters are given careful consideration by the CAT in every personnel decision.  Student letters are most useful when they present concrete examples to support a judgment and are written as concisely as possible. All such letters are retained in the faculty member's file and must be signed. They are not routinely distributed to the faculty member. If a faculty member wishes to look at the comments, he or she must ask. CAT will provide copies from which student signatures and other identifying references have been removed. All letters should be sent to the dean of the faculty’s office (Eliot 318).

Another component of the evaluation of faculty is the student evaluation of teachers, conducted in each course at the end of the semester or for yearlong courses, at the end of the year. At that time students are given an opportunity to write comments that will be read only by the instructor, as well as an opportunity to write letters directly to the CAT, as mentioned above. Also, students are asked to complete a questionnaire evaluating their instructors; these responses are processed by the registrar, tabulated by the office of institutional research, and given to the CAT.

Student input is also encouraged during the selection process for prospective members of the faculty. Each faculty search committee is required to provide an opportunity for students to meet with candidates, and the committee subsequently takes students’ views into consideration.

(Page last modified: November 29, 2023)