By now, most campuses are well into their faculty evaluation cycles. If your review was due during the Fall 2023 term, you should be expecting the report from the first level of review, from peers in your department, any day now. Campus calendars vary, and management should post the review calendar for Academic Year 2023-24 in an accessible place (such as a faculty affairs website), so that faculty members can know exactly when to expect each report from the various levels of review.

Some CSU campus administrations adopted “do no harm” policies to lessen the stress of this evaluation cycle at the height of the pandemic, which may have implications for faculty undergoing cumulative reviews.

Check with your local faculty affairs office and contact your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights advocate to learn about any campus-specific modifications to evaluation procedures – past or present – that intersect with your period of review (which, for assistant professors being evaluated for tenure and promotion, encompasses the peak pandemic years).

If you disagree with the evaluation you receive, you have the right to issue a rebuttal, for consideration at the subsequent level of review. The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) provision below applies to all faculty undergoing any form of evaluation, but it is especially timely for probationary faculty applying for tenure, any faculty member applying for promotion, and lecturer faculty who are eligible for range elevation.

The CBA’s Article 15.5 states that:

“At all levels of review, before recommendations are forwarded to a subsequent review level, faculty unit employees shall be given a copy of the recommendation and the written reasons therefore. The faculty unit employee may submit a rebuttal statement or response in writing and/or request a meeting be held to discuss the recommendation within ten (10) days following receipt of the recommendation. A copy of the response or rebuttal statement shall accompany the Working Personnel Action File and also be sent to all previous levels of review. This section shall not require that evaluation timelines be extended.”

Moreover, as part of our efforts to transform our CBA in the direction of antiracism and social justice, our 2022-2024 agreement addresses the well-researched ways in which faculty who are oppressed by the dominant culture routinely face bias in student evaluations (e.g. students may view and evaluate Black women faculty as “angry” and Latinx women faculty as “passionate” rather than as experts in their fields, respectively).

Therefore, it is important to know that our CBA includes the following language in 15.17c:“Faculty unit employees may submit written rebuttals to student course evaluations pursuant to Provision 11.2 when it is believed that additional information is needed or in the case of student bias. Evaluators must review such written rebuttals when reviewing underlying student course evaluations.”

Consider the following when drafting a written rebuttal to an evaluation: You have 10 calendar days from the date you receive the review. This is not necessarily the date posted on the written review but rather the date that you actually receive it. See Article 2.11 for more details about counting the days.

A few tips on writing an effective rebuttal:

  • Be brief and directly responsive to issues raised in the evaluation; match up evaluation comments with your rebuttal or responsive statement. Be respectful and keep the tone objective.
  • Stay focused on correcting facts, including omissions of your documented accomplishments, that may have been misinterpreted by that level of review.
  • While your rebuttal may be addressed to the level of review immediately completed, your intended audience should be those who have yet to read the file (at the next level of review).
  • Ask someone to proofread your rebuttal for tone and brevity before you submit it.

If you need help or have questions about responding to a faculty review, do immediately contact your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights advocate.

Want to learn more? Become active with your local CFA chapter Faculty Rights team. Find your representative here.

  • Browse the faculty contract here.
  • See an archive of Faculty Rights Tips.
  • If you have questions about a faculty rights tip or would like to suggest a tip, please write us with the subject line “Faculty Rights Tip.”
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