Academic Performance Review and Merit Process



The Dean holds the ultimate responsibility in the Faculty for the academic merit process and all recommendations of merit increments within their Faculty. The Faculty HR Academic Advisor may perform many of the tasks outlined below under the Dean’s authority.

Most essential is an in-depth knowledge of the Merit Assessment Article and Faculty Guidelines (the version last approved by the Provost’s Office).

The Dean typically chairs the Faculty Merit Committee (FMC), which is a Dean's advisory committee. The Dean is also responsible for the assessment of all academics holding administrative appointments (CA 29.1.3a) within their faculty.

Brief Department Heads on their responsibilities and the process for completing their assessments

  • Clarify reporting period dates and key dates in the merit process.
  • Emphasize that only accomplishments during the reporting period should be included. Clarify Faculty standards regarding when to recognize research (e.g. whether to recognize a publication when it is approved for publication or when it is actually published, etc.).
  • Leaves - How to handle sick leaves, parental leaves, those on partial (or returning from) Long-Term Disability (LTD).
  • Ensure there are no conflicts of interest.

Application of Merit Increments

  • Explain what constitutes unsatisfactory performance, implications of a zero increment award, and how sustained unsatisfactory performance brings with it serious consequences (refer to CA and CA 29.11).
  • Outline the proper process for assessment of academic staff members within the departments/units; ensuring there has been an equitable and consistent application of the assessment criteria.
  • Demonstrate how merit increments are interpreted and awarded.

The HR Talent Development (Merit) team notifies the Faculties via email when the Merit process begins and the Merit Pools are open in the first quarter of the assessment year. Working together with the HR Academic Advisorthe Dean is responsible for managing the merit pool allocated to the Faculty. 

Merit increments are distributed to each faculty based on the total FTE of academic staff members within the faculty. A small amount must be held back by the faculty for appeals to FMC (CA 29.3.8). The remainder is distributed to the Department Heads proportionally for their assessments.

Administrator increments are managed separately from regular academics

The Dean is responsible for the final approval of all recommendations made by FMC and ensuring all increments are entered into PeopleSoft correctly.

The Dean is required to use the full allocation of merit points for the faculty by the end of the process.

See "How Merit is Assigned" for more information.

The Dean is responsible to perform the regular assessment of administrators (CA 29.6.1) within the faculty

Administrators are assessed based on a combination of the following:

  • Criteria outlined in the GFC Academic Staff Criteria and Processes Handbook and the specific Faculty Guidelines for research, teaching and service for the portion of the reporting period they acted as regular academics.
  • The duties and responsibilities for their administrative appointment for that portion where they were administrators during the reporting period.
  • Assessment forms for administrators should include administrative title, release time for administration, size of department/unit, list of other administrators in department/unit and job profile.

The Dean shall complete the regular assessment of direct reports:

  • If academic staff report to the Dean directly and they are not the equivalent of an administrator, the Dean will write the assessment and forward it directly to the Faculty Merit Committee (FMC).
  • When writing these assessments, the Dean takes on the role of the Head and must not act as Dean (Chair of FMC) while these cases are reviewed by the FMC.
  • An approved alternate chair of the FMC must be in place for all assessments written by the Dean. In large faculties, this may be the Vice-Dean.
  • In the case of a tie, the chair will vote, therefore there must be no conflict of interest between the alternate and the academic staff member being reviewed.
  • The academic staff member affected by the change of chair will be informed in writing to ensure there are no conflicts with the new alternate.
  • In such cases, the FMC decision is forwarded directly to the GMC. The Dean may not change the FMC decision in these cases.
  • In a large faculty, if the alternate chair is the Vice-Dean, he/she will be considered the Dean for all purposes related to those cases and the FMC will be advisory to him/her. (CA 29.7.2a)

Responsibilities as Faculty Merit Committee (FMC) Chair:

  • Ensure adherence to the documented rules and criteria as outlined in the Collective Agreement and the Faculty Guidelines.
  • Ensure the Committee members did not sit on a Departmental Committee or have not accepted a position as a member on the General Merit Committee (GMC). Both would constitute a conflict of interest.
  • Ensure the FMC maintains quorum at all times.
  • If an FMC recommendation is modified, the Dean must advise the academic staff member in writing, (copying GMC, FMC, the Head), specify the change and reasons for the change, and provide the appeal deadline to GMC, if applicable. 

Committee Member Conflict of Interest

See Conflict of Interest Situations for more information.

Decanal Conflict of Interest (CA 29.7.2)

  • The Dean may delegate the Chair position to a Vice-Dean (Large Faculty) or an academic staff member in the Faculty for some or all the cases to be considered.
  • When the Vice-Dean (Large Faculty) is assigned the Chair, he or she shall be considered the Dean for all purposes related to those cases and the FMC shall be advisory to him/her.
  • When the chair is any person other than the Vice-Dean (Large Faculty), the committee shall not be advisory to the Dean or the Chair; the recommendations of the FMC shall go directly to the GMC unchanged.


  • Thank the Committee Members for agreeing to serve on this important committee.
  • Acknowledge the HR Academic Advisor for their work in facilitating the process and planning this meeting.
  • FMC is advisory to the Dean.
  • This is a peer-review process, specifically dealing with career progress and career development.


Remind members that items discussed in this meeting are not to be shared with others outside of the committee. Confidentiality is of the utmost importance

Review of Agenda

Review the meeting agenda and request input on any changes resulting from conflicts of interest or unplanned absences which were not recognized prior to the FMC meetings. 

Conflict of Interest

Actions resulting from additional conflicts being disclosed:

  • Remove any applicant’s documentation that is in the hands of the person with a conflict of interest and if time allows, recuse in Academic Portfolio.
  • Committee members must leave the room while their own case is being considered.
  • Check for quorum if members recuse themselves for a case.


Remind the Committee that they will take into consideration all three components of academic work – research, teaching, and service (as applicable) based on the academic’s rank.

Deliberations are based on only the documents provided for each case. Information cannot be introduced to which the academic staff member is unable to respond.  Discussions of other activities and/or circumstances not presented will be inadmissible. Members may have knowledge of activities and/or circumstances outside of this forum, but such information is not to be included in the deliberations. 

Discussions should be informed academic reflection. While discussions may become lively, they should be respectful at all times.

Encourage committee members to seek to understand before they settle on final decisions/vote even though it may difficult to assess outside one’s own department.

The assessment is for the current reporting period only.

  • Work in progress is to be acknowledged, but not rewarded until claimed for credit.
  • Work completed in a prior reporting period may be mentioned to provide context, but the previous Academic Performance Report is not to be considered. Anything credited in the previous period should not be recognized a second time unless major changes were made.
  • New academics may report, in their first assessment, activity that occurred between their time of hire and the beginning of their appointment.

Ensure the Committee does not refer specifically to a person being on sick leave, LTD, returning LTD, etc. The Head can simply explain that the person is on an “approved leave”.

  • Performance is evaluated for the portion of the reporting period when the academic is actively working.
  • Consideration must be made for all situations that may have affected the academic’s ability to perform their work at a normal level.

The student members' role is to give best insight on teaching aspects; not personal experience.

Motions and outcomes are recorded, but not full minutes.

Attendance of Committee Members

  • Remind the members that this is an important committee and they should arrange to cover any appointments or teaching that are scheduled at the same time. Quorum is of the utmost importance to the meeting.
  • Distribute a list of the Committee Members to each member and indicate whether they are voting or not.


  • The performance of each academic staff member must be compared against the Faculty Guidelines and the performance of others. The goal is to be rigorous and fair in recognizing performance.  As a result, merit increments may be adjusted. 
  • The committee must make recommendations that use ALL of the merit increments available in the pool.
  • If the committee is considering recommending an increment of zero to an academic staff member whose Head or equivalent did not recommend a zero increment, the proceedings of the committee will be paused and the academic staff member and the Head will be invited to respond to the concerns of the committee (CA 29.7.7).

Pauses for Clarification

Should issues arise in the course of discussion for which either the Faculty Association representative or HR representatives will need to verify information, the meeting will be paused. This pause in proceedings will be brief and to problem solve issues of process. 


  • For appeals of merit recommendations, appellants and Heads may respond to questions to provide clarification on the information already made available, not to introduce new information. 
  • The appellant may be accompanied by an advisor for this meeting. 
  • The appellant, Head, and advisor must leave while the committee deliberates and votes.
  • If the appellant does not attend, the Head will also be excluded from all discussion. More details will be shared on this matter before the appeals are considered.


  • Each voting member of the Committee has one vote.
  • Decisions are by majority vote. 
  • The Chair does not vote, except to break a tie.
  • Members may vote on a particular candidate only if they have taken part in the Committee's deliberations on that candidate.
  • All votes will be recorded (numbers only) – for/against/abstained.
  • Votes must be through public display of hands.



  • washrooms locations
  • coffee/tea/water (where to find)
  • lunch break – bring your own/supplied, etc.
  • It is the responsibility of the Dean to communicate timelines for receipt of appeals and to ensure that all academic appointees are aware of the procedures and deadlines for filing appeals to the various merit committees. These timelines must comply with those set out by the university.

  • A list of final merit recommendations for all academics in each faculty/area will be forwarded to GMC. Should the GMC desire to clarify information on an appeal of a recommended merit and/or the wording of an assessment, or if the Committee is about to change the increment for an Administrator or increase a zero recommendation for an academic, they will invite you to defend your recommendation. You must make yourself available to attend a General Merit Committee (GMC) meeting during the dates that the GMC meets.
  • Contact your Academic HR Advisor for GMC meeting dates.

As per the prescribed timeline, notify all academics, in writing, of the FMC recommendations going forward to GMC.

Cases with negative outcomes

If a recommendation of FMC is modified, advise the academic staff member in writing, (copying GMC, FMC, the Head) and specify the change, giving reasons for the reduction of merit increment or any changes made to the Head’s assessment.  Include the appeal deadline to GMC, if applicable. The academic may then appeal to GMC according to the normal deadlines (CA

The applicant must be notified a minimum of one week (five working days) prior to the GMC appeals deadline to submit their appeal.

Academic Portfolio

Academic Portfolio is the University of Calgary’s tool to support the Academic Career processes.

Learn more

TUCFA Collective Agreement


June 2021 GFC Academic Staff Criteria & Processes Handbook


April 2019 GFC Academic Staff Criteria & Processes Handbook

For use only under the transitional provisions of the June 2021 GFC Academic Staff Criteria and Processes Handbook (Part A, Section 4.2)