COVID Impact Statements Guidance for PTR Committees, Department Heads, and Deans
Faculty members have the option to submit a COVID-19 impact statement to document the effects of the pandemic on their professional activities. These statements will be included in files submitted for promotion, tenure, and reappointment reviews internally (i.e., by departmental and college PTR committees, along with Department Heads and Deans). They should not be shared with external reviewers.
Evaluators are asked to consider these impacts as they apply departmental and college standards in faculty evaluation processes. Evaluators are also reminded of the individualized impacts of COVID and should avoid universalizing any of the details within these statements; for example, the same factor that presents an opportunity for one candidate may have presented a hardship for another. Consider each impact statement in relation only to the faculty member who has submitted it. The decision to include an impact statement is left to the discretion of each individual faculty member; the absence or presence of such a statement should not be taken as prejudicial or invite comparisons amongst faculty within the cohort under review.
UConn has not changed the standards for holistic review and promotion on account of the pandemic, though we have provided the option for an additional year on the tenure clock for faculty who have requested it. We nevertheless recognize that in the short term the pandemic has had (and may continue to have) the potential to affect scholarly productivity and creative performance output. The constraints of the pandemic can also impact the amount of effort needed to carry out teaching and service responsibilities assigned to the faculty member. The COVID-19 Impact Statement offers the faculty member an opportunity to document the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has directly had on workload, productivity, performance, and trajectory. There are many different possible effects (both negative and positive) that may have resulted from the conditions created by the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic may have introduced changes in a faculty member’s amount and performance in terms of workload, responsibilities, and scholarly accomplishments. In addition, prospects for innovation and the availability of new opportunities may have been altered. Reviewers should consider how the COVID-19 Impact Statement summarizes and explains how the faculty member has addressed these challenges and how they plan to manage any ongoing effects of these challenges in the future.
While COVID-19 Impact Statements are not meant to be an explanation for not meeting promotion or tenure standards, they can provide important context about the faculty member’s efforts throughout and beyond the duration of the pandemic. Because these impacts may extend beyond the pandemic and not be immediately apparent to some, faculty may update these statements annually, if they choose, until they have been granted tenure.
Evaluators are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the guidance that has been provided to faculty for the composition of these statements, to be found at this link.