Merit Assessment

Academic Staff (TUCFA)


For the assessment reporting period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021 inclusive, the alternative COVID 19 Merit Assessment process will be implemented. If you have questions, please contact the HR Advisor, Academic in your Faculty/Unit.


The Full Assessment Year (biennial)

Academic staff members (Continuing, Contingent Term, and Limited Term) are expected to submit a performance report to the Department Head (or equivalent) on a prescribed schedule every two years. 

Academic staff members hired in the period January 1 through June 30 or who have announced their resignation or retirement from the university to commence by December 31 are not required to submit a report.

The Department Head reviews the report, provides a written assessment, and recommends a merit increment according to the performance of the academic based on standardized criteria.

The assessment and recommendation are subsequently reviewed by a Faculty Merit Committee (FMC), and a final recommendation is made by the Dean to the General Merit Committee (GMC). The GMC, composed of academics from across the university and chaired by the Provost, reviews appeals to FMC decisions, all recommendations of the Dean regarding Academic Administrators as well as appeals by Academic Administrators in the first instance. The decisions of the GMC are final and binding regarding appeals to the FMC decisions. Academic Administrators may appeal the decision of the GMC to the Academic Administrators Appeal Committee (AAAC) within 10 working days following the receipt of the written decision if the GMC denies the appeal or lowers a recommendation of the Dean.

The approved merit increase is paid in December, retroactive to July 1 of the assessment year.

Sessional Instructors are not reviewed through this process.

The Interim Year (second year)

Performance reports are not required in the interim year.

Academics receive the same merit increase as the previous year.

Non-tenured academic staff members (Tenure Track, Contingent Term or Limited Term) who have held such positions for five years or less are encouraged to meet with the Department Head and/or Dean in the interim year to discuss their career progress. The Head and/or Dean shall invite all such members to individual meetings during the period between July 1 and September 30 of the interim year. Academic staff are advised to avail themselves of this opportunity


Assessment Information

The GFC Academic Staff Criteria and Processes Handbook outlines the criteria for academic performance assessment in the areas of research, teaching and service. There is an expectation that all academic appointees (Teaching and Research) engage in these activities.

Individual Faculty Guidelines may include discipline-specific expectations, which amplify, but do not contradict the GFC Academic Staff Criteria and Processes Handbook. Ensure the current approved Faculty Guidelines are used. Any concerns regarding the Guidelines should be directed to the TD (Merit) Team at hrmerit@ucalgary.ca

  • Academics on an approved absence during the assessment process, such as parental leave or sick leave, are not expected to complete an Academic Performance Report while on leave but will be expected to complete their assessment upon their return. The exact timing and process will be decided on a case-by-case basis with the agreement of the Parties, the academic staff member, and Faculty leadership.

  • Academics on an extended sick leave or LTD (Long-Term Disability) will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Contact your HR Academic Advisor or the TD (Merit) Team.

  • Academics who take a short-term sick leave during the reporting period, but not at the time the evaluations are completed, will be expected to submit an Academic Performance Report.

  • Academic staff members who have announced their resignation or retirement from the university between July 1 and  December 31 in an assessment year will not be reviewed. Terminating academics will receive a default increment based on the average of the increments awarded in the previous two cycles. It will be applied to their final salary payment from the university.

 

Assessment Year

Prior to January 1 of the Assessment Year

Complete Assessment? Yes

Increment Awarded on July 1: Assessed increment

January 1 to June 30 of Assessment Year

Complete Assessment? No

Increment Awarded on July 1: Default increment of 1.2 minimum

 

Interim Year

July 1 Assessment Year to June 30 of Interim Year

Complete Assessment? No

Increment Awarded on July 1: Default increment of 1.2 minimum

The Academic Performance Report is the main document considered by the Department Head (or equivalent), Faculty Merit Committee (FMC), and the Dean to complete the academic performance assessment. The report is based on the two-year period from July 1, year one, to June 30, two years later (e.g. July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2021).

Where to Find My Report

  • All faculties except Cumming School of Medicine access the Academic Portfolio to complete an Academic Performance Report via the myUCalgary Portal > All about Me > My Job > Academic Portfolio.

How to Complete a Report       

What to Include in the Report

  • Only work and activities completed during the current two-year assessment period should be included in the report.

  • The report is auto populated with academic profile, research, and teaching information.

  • New academic staff members may include in their first report, any academic accomplishments which were completed prior to the date they began working at the university but were not reflected in the Curriculum Vitae or considered at the time of hire.

Additional supporting documentation may be submitted per the specific Faculty Guidelines. This may include:

  • Relevant research/publication materials
  • Materials related to service performed internal and/or external to the university community, faculty, department, or unit
  • Teaching dossier
  • Universal Student Rating Instrument (USRI) used for rating academic teaching.

How to Delegate Access to Academic Portfolio

Academics may request that a support account be added to Academic Portfolio for a delegate to enter data on their behalf. The delegate must be an employee of the University of Calgary.

To request a support account in Academic Portfolio or delegation, contact:

with the following information:

  • Academic’s UCID number
  • Delegate's full name, UCID number, faculty/unit and email address

Once the account has been added to the Academic Portfolio, the academic will add the emulation access to their account for a specific time period.

Editing an Academic Performance Report after the deadline

  • In the event that changes to a report are required after the deadline has passed, please submit a request to the Faculty HR Academic Advisor to re-open the report.

Completion of the assessment process is a requirement for academic staff members at the University of Calgary. If there are extenuating circumstances which prevent completion of a performance report, contact your HR Academic Advisor.  


How Merit is Assigned

A merit increment is a numerical value assigned to each academic based on their performance of the duties assigned during the assessment period. (CA 14.3) 

A merit pool represents the total number of merit increments allocated to the Dean of each faculty. A merit increment of 1.2 is allocated for each 1.0 Full-time Equivalent (FTE) position within a faculty. Where an academic is less than full-time, the increment allotted will be proportionately reduced.

The Dean is authorized to distribute these increments to individual departments/units within the faculty. The Head assigns increments to the academic staff members within their department.

Merit pools are set in May and are affected by terminations, retirements, leaves, and changes in FTE. These changes are handled manually. Notify your HR Academic Advisor when you become aware of any changes affecting the pool.

The increments awarded may be 0.0 or in multiples of one-fifth, beginning at 0.4 (e.g. 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, etc.) to a maximum of 2.4. (CA 29.3.9.1)

Performance expectations increase as the academic staff member proceeds through their career and the evaluation criteria are therefore applied more rigorously.

The award of increments shall be interpreted in the context of the following (CA 29.3.9.2):

Increment Unit 0.0: Performance Assessment: Unsatisfactory

Increment Unit 0.4 - 0.6: Performance Assessment: Satisfactory

Increment Unit 0.8 - 1.4: Performance Assessment: Meritorious

Increment Unit 1.6 - 2.4: Performance Assessment: Outstanding

A merit increment of 0.2 may not be awarded but may be the result of a pro-rated increment in the case of an academic reaching the ceiling salary for their rank, being on leave for a portion of the reporting period, or holding an appointment that is less than full time.

Zero Increment for Unsatisfactory Performance

If the FMC recommends an award of a zero increment for unsatisfactory performance and the Dean agrees, or if the Dean changes the FMC recommendation to a zero increment for unsatisfactory performance, the Dean shall consider whether the unsatisfactory performance was substantially caused by non-culpable or mitigating circumstances. (CA 29.11.1)

Dean's Zero Increment Meeting

  • Prior to determining if the unsatisfactory performance was substantially caused by non-culpable or mitigating circumstances, the Dean shall offer in writing to meet with the academic staff member at least five (5) work days prior to the deadline for submitting his/her recommendation to the General Merit Committee.(CA 29.11.2)

  • The academic staff member may be accompanied by an advisor from the Faculty Association at this meeting.(CA 29.11.3)

  • In determining whether the unsatisfactory performance was substantially caused by non-culpable or mitigating circumstances, the Dean may reasonably request supporting documentation, and the academic staff member shall reasonably supply such information. (CA 29.11.4)

Zero–Mitigating Circumstances Increment (0-M)

  • If the Dean determines that the unsatisfactory performance was substantially caused by non-culpable or mitigating circumstances, the Dean shall recommend a Zero–Mitigating Circumstances Increment (0-M). The file will not proceed to GMC for review unless the academic staff member appeals the zero increment. The Dean will, however, submit a report to GMC of all 0-Ms given, for information purposes only. (CA 29.11.8)

  • If the final recommendation is a 0-M, the Dean shall send a support letter to the academic staff member, describing support and assistance available. The support letter is copied to the Faculty Association and may be used by the Dean in subsequent assessment cycles. (CA 29.11.10)

Zero - Unsatisfactory Performance Increment (0-U)

  • If the Dean determines that the unsatisfactory performance was not substantially caused by non-culpable or mitigating circumstances, or the Dean cannot make a determination, the Dean shall recommend a Zero - Unsatisfactory Performance Increment (0-U), and the staff member's file will proceed to the GMC. (CA 29.11.7)

  • The academic staff member may appeal the 0-U to the GMC on the merits of the zero increment through the normal process on the grounds that the performance was not unsatisfactory. If successful, the academic staff member will receive a higher merit increment.(CA 29.11.7a)

  • If the academic staff member does not appeal the 0-U to GMC on the merits of the zero increment, or if the academic staff member appeals to GMC but is not successful, the academic staff member may grieve the failure of the Dean to give a 0-M through the Collective Agreement process (Article 24). If successful in the grievance, the academic staff member will receive a 0-M, not a higher merit increment. (CA 29.11.7b)

  • If the final recommendation approved is a 0-U, the Dean shall meet with the academic staff member regarding his/her performance. A Faculty Association representative shall be invited to attend. Following this meeting, the Dean may issue a counseling letter or such other discipline appropriate as per Article 20. A discipline letter can be grieved as per Article 24.

Merit increases are applied to the academic's rank salary effective July 1. The dollar value of these increases is outlined in the in the Collective Agreement, Schedule “A”.

Full Assessment Year

The full assessment process runs from May through December.  The merit increase is added to the academic salary for the December 1-15 pay period, which is paid on the last working day before December 25, and is retroactive to July 1. This will show on the pay statement as follows:

Retroactive pay for July 1 to November 30 = Merit Increase /24 X 10 pay periods

Addition to regular pay for every subsequent pay = Merit Increase /24

For example, if the dollar value of the assigned increment is $2,000, the changes to the pay statement will be:

Retroactive pay for July 1 to November 30 = $2,000/24 X 10 =  $833.33 (before deductions)

Addition to regular pay for every subsequent pay = $2,000/24 = $ 83.33 (before deductions)


Interim Year

The academic will receive the same increase during the interim year as they received for the prior year assessment effective July 1 of the interim year, paid on the July 10 pay.

Pro-ration Based on FTE

  • An academic staff member may have his/her FTE pro-rated for leaves taken during the current reporting period. Not all leaves are treated in the same manner.

Maximum Salary for Rank

  • Academic staff members who have reached or are near the ceiling salary for their rank will be prevented from going over this maximum by the PeopleSoft system. The full increment awarded is entered into the system and the system will make the necessary adjustments. The Merit History will show the full increment awarded.
  • There is one exception as stated in the Collective Agreement, Schedule “A”, 1.1 e):
    “Any tenure track Assistant Professor, Assistant Librarian, Assistant Archivist, Assistant Curator or Instructor hired before June 1, 2014 whose rank salary reaches the maximum of the salary range for their rank prior to the end of the tenure track appointment shall be entitled to any across-the-board increase or merit increment awarded, to be added to the rank salary base.”

Moving to Upper Tier of Rank Salary

  • If the assessment year increase results in an academic moving from the lower to upper tier of salaries within their rank, the interim year increase will be calculated on the upper tier value and will be different from the assessment year increase.

Leaves With or Without Pay

  • Generally, academic staff members on paid leaves of absence are eligible to be considered for merit increases.
  • Academic staff members on unpaid leaves of absence for the entire assessment period will not be subject to assessment or be eligible for merit increments.

Parenting and Sick Leave

Leaves are described in detail in Article 18 of the Collective Agreement. For the merit assessment process, they shall be considered as described below.

  • Individuals on parenting leave (maternity, parental, partner, and adoption), sick leave, and WCB are not expected to complete an academic performance report until they return from leave – timelines to be adjusted by agreement of the Provost and Faculty Association.
  • These individuals are assessed as though they had performed during the full reporting period at the same level as before/after the leave. Productivity while on leave is included in the assessment. The final increment assigned will take into consideration all leaves taken during the reporting period.
  • Leaves totaling less than 60 working days (approximately three months) do not affect the assessment. These individuals are considered to have worked the entire assessment period.

Leaves with Special Considerations

  • Many leaves are unique and must be considered individually. Also, academics may require special consideration to accommodate a reduced level of performance. Contact your HR Academic Advisor for clarification on the handling of these situations.
  • Anyone on Long-term Disability (LTD) or recently returned from LTD will be discussed between the Parties prior to the evaluation and merit allocation.

Faculty Association Officer Release Time (CA 10.11.10)

  • Academics who are appointed as Faculty Association Officers are released from their regular academic duties in proportion to the amount of time allocated to the Association duties.
  • A merit increment of 1.4 is awarded for the portion of the reporting period that the academic serves the Association and is not funded from the merit increment pool of the academic’s faculty.
  • For the portion of time the academic is not released for service to the Association, the normal assessment and merit increment processes will apply.
  • The two increments are proportionally combined to calculate the full increment awarded.

How to Appeal My Assessment

Academic staff members are given opportunity to appeal the wording of the assessment by the Department Head and/or the increment assigned. (CA 29.9.3 )

Appeals and the grounds for appeal are submitted in writing to the Chair of the FMC and circulated to all FMC members and to the Head. Appeals of the Department Head recommendation must be heard by FMC first. The FMC will only address appeals that speak to factual information. 

At the FMC meeting:

  • the appellant may be accompanied by an advisor (CA 29.9.3.11) or name a representative from among the Continuing, Contingent Term, Limited Term, Special Limited Term, or Pre-Tenure Track Appointment academic staff to act on his or her behalf (CA 29.9.3.5).
  • the appellant and Department Head are asked to provide any clarification of factual information which members of the FMC may request.(CA 29.9.3.4)
  • the Department Head, academic staff member, and advisor are absent during deliberations and voting of the Committee.(CA 29.9.3.4)

If the academic declines to attend:

  • the Head will also be absent during any discussion of the appeal.
  • the FMC may proceed without the presence of the academic staff member and Head by reviewing any written materials submitted by the academic staff member and Head. If the FMC determines that it requires clarification of factual information, it shall be solicited from both the appellant and Head simultaneously in written form or by teleconference. CA 29.9.3.

Appeals of the Dean’s recommendation may be submitted to the Chair of the General Merit Committee only if

  • The Dean lowers the recommendation of the Department Head.

  • The Dean upholds the Department Head recommendation and the academic appeals the Department Head recommendation to FMC.

    Appeals and the grounds for appeal are submitted in writing to the Chair of the GMC and circulated to all GMC members and to the Dean.

  • The academic served as an administrator (CA 29.1.3.a) and was assessed by the Dean in the first instance (CA 29.6.6).

    If an Academic Administrator's appeal is denied by GMC, or in any situation where GMC lowers a recommendation of a Dean, the Academic Administrator may appeal this decision to the Academic Administrators Appeal Committee (AAAC) (See below) within 10 working days following the receipt of the written decision of the GMC (CA 29.6.7)

Where an appeal by an academic administrator is denied by GMC, or in any situation where GMC lowers a recommendation of a Dean, the Academic Administrator may appeal this decision to the Academic Administrators Appeal Committee (AAAC) within 10 working days following the receipt of the written decision of the GMC.

Committee Composition

  • Three academic staff members holding appointments with tenure, jointly appointed by the Vice - President (Research) and the Faculty Association
  • Including both genders
  • The Vice-President (Research) and the Faculty Association shall jointly designate one of the three academic staff members as Chair
  • One non-voting member appointed by the Faculty Association (required for quorum)
  • None of the committee members can be from the applicant’s Faculty or Unit

Document Review

  • The AAAC reviews the letter of appeal, the Academic Administrator’s academic performance report, all documentation considered by the GMC, the decision of the GMC, plus any additional material submitted by the appellant with the letter of appeal.
  • The Committee may also request that the Provost’s office produce comparative information regarding other Academic Administrators and/or other academic staff members in the same Faculty or rank.
  • The AAAC may request any additional information it deems appropriate.

Meeting Procedures

  • The AAAC interviews the appellant together with the Provost. Where the case is an appeal to the GMC that was denied, the Provost may delegate this role to the appropriate Dean.
  • At any meeting where the appellant is in attendance, the appellant may be accompanied by an Advisor (CA 29.6.12)
  • The decision of the AAAC is final and binding.

Notification of Salary Increases

Notification of increment awards and new salary rates shall be communicated via the My UCalgary portal.

Academic Portfolio

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

Learn more

TUCFA Collective Agreement

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June 2021 GFC Academic Staff Criteria & Processes Handbook

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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)

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