Evaluation Model

Ghent University is switching to a new evaluation model for professors where instead of being evaluated every year on what you’ve actually accomplished, you will be “coached” by 5 colleagues for five years and then evaluated at the end of those five years based on how well you fulfilled your “holistic hopes and dreams.”

To me, this sounds worse than the model we currently have. The linked article goes on and on about how time-consuming and onerous the traditional merit report is but that’s silly. It’s all computerized nowadays. It takes me 15 minutes, if that, to do my merit report because everything goes into the system and it generates the report. I barely have to do anything.

I also don’t get this constant harping on how stressful it is to fulfill publication requirements. It’s supposed to be fun. If it’s not fun, then why are you in this profession at all?

And the coaching committee just freaks me out. I can do great with clear numerical requirements, no matter how high. But I’m not winning any popularity contests and I’m not coachable because at this stage in my career I don’t take advice unless I have sought it myself from people of my choice.

Again, we all know I’m rigid but I don’t like this.

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9 thoughts on “Evaluation Model”

  1. “how stressful it is to fulfill publication requirements”

    I have a colleague who’s stressed out because an article was accepted for publication…. then they threw a bunch of last minute new requirements at them (with very little time, basically a weekend) and after the colleague heaven and earth to get those done…. threw a bunch of other stuff they decided need to be in the article (not closely related to the topic of the article at all) again within two days. I told my colleague that I suspect they’ve simply decided not to publish the article (despite previous acceptance – it’s a political thing) and are just making up these new requirements to encourage them to withdraw so… fulfilling publication requirements is not always an unalloyed joy.

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    1. I just submitted the 7th round of revisions on an article I wrote when I was pregnant with Klara. At this rate, Klara will get published before this article sees the light of day.

      Coincidentally, the article is about torture. And justice delayed for 40 years (for victims of Franco). So I get your colleague’s pain.

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      1. “I just submitted the 7th round of revisions ”
        I’m assuming they gave more time than two or three days for each revision… It’s the time factor that’s most stressful (esp at the end of the semester…)

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        1. The sixth round they sent out on December 20 and asked us to be done before the end of the year. Which is ridiculous but it makes sense be a we don’t want to give the third publisher time to go out of business on us. It’s truly an accursed piece.

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      2. Yikes. Is this kind of glacial time frame normal for the humanities? My longest gap between initial submission and final acceptance was about 1 year, and I’ve never submitted anything to that particular journal since.

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        1. It’s an edited collection and we’ve been particularly unlucky. The first publisher we were going to publish with went bankrupt. The second closed down. We finally went with a really big publishing house that’s not supposed to close. But who knows with the kind of luck we’ve been having.

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        2. I wouldn’t say normal, but I’d almost say common.

          Stress of revisions like what Cliff is talking about is just like other work stress, it’s a drag if it’s important and you get these short deadlines.

          But I think the actual stress people talk about is the stress of having written under threat for so long. I love to write and think but have been castigated a lot about how all the time it takes to do that is time I could be spending on “our bread and butter” (how I dislike that phrase) which is the other things we do in our job. It’s not that that stuff needs more time, it’s about identity, peoples’ identities. To write and enjoy it, you have to have a certain sense of research identity, legitimacy, authority. A lot of people, I have discovered, always dreamed of teaching, whereas I like that but take it for granted, and dreamed of research (and didn’t know they were just getting through that as a means to an end). I, because of the history of writing under threat (“this is not about your topic, it is to be approved of and prove you exist”), have an eroded sense of identity, legitimacy, authority and this is why writing is no longer something I just do, as in the past, but involves invoking my author-identity that gets hammered at every day at work. So the stress isn’t about the projects or the activity, it’s 100% neurotic stress.

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  2. Evaluation model. It used to be, just your CV updates for the year, your teaching evaluations, a teaching observation and I guess syllabi, and a list of service activities. This was easy to do.

    Then, here, we got this long very complex form that isn’t about your achievements but how you spent your time. There are all these percentages, tracks, etc., very complex and frustrating and designed I think for administrators and not faculty, really. It takes forever unless you’re on 100% research and can just list publications, and somehow seems designed to make everyone look bad.

    Now we are going to go computerized. It is said to be a great improvement. However, I am told by those at the university down the road, that already has the instrument, that we have not in fact bought the fancy version of it, and that it is therefore hell to use. These guys in science, the type who have like 300 papers because they generate so many all the time, had hoped it would just suck up all their references the way ORCID does, but it turned out they were supposed to type their whole vita in manually. So they decided not to do their annual reports, which means among other things not being in the pool for raises.

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    1. We have a computerized system and it is really annoying to use. It’s actually worse than just having to type everything in manually. It has all sorts of fields and categories and giant drop-down menus. Many things are easy to enter, but everyone seems to do at least one thing a year that doesn’t exactly fit any of the fields and categories, so you spend a huge amount of time trying to figure out the best way to enter it so that it’s clear what you did when they print the reports.

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