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Rating myself

I turned in my report for my faculty salary review yesterday. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. And it feels good to get it out of my hands. Amazingly enough, I won’t hear what the decision is on my salary for more than six months [1]. In the interim, I decided it would be a good idea to rate myself. Fortunately, the rubric is available online.

In case you’ve forgotten, our salary process involves the Faculty Salary Committee assigning a whole-number score between 1 and 5 for each of the three major components of our work (teaching, scholarship, and service). They then scale each appropriately (0.45, 0.25, and 0.2, respectively) and then add a slush factor [5].

So, let’s start with the numbers.


We don’t receive our individual scores. However, given my overall merit scores and the accompanying commentary, I don’t think I have ever received a teaching score of less than 4. That will change this year. My ratings in CSC 151 are excellent; I get high scores while teaching one of the largest classes at Grinnell. However, my ratings in CSC 321 and CSC 322 are atrocious [6]. I managed to blank out how atrocious they are until I reviewed them as part of writing the statement. They are really bad. Since there’s such a discrepancy, I’d say that my base score should be 2, for good teaching, which the rubric describes Mixed EOC evaluations relative to Grinnell averages with good peer evaluations [7,8].

But that’s the base score. One can move up one level by doing 2 or more additional factors the College values. There appears to be a partial list of such factors in the rubric. At least I think it’s partial; they don’t make it clear. Here are the ones I think I meet.

C. Advising an especially large average number of students per semester, during the semesters in which the faculty taught) [9]. That seems fairly obvious, particularly in the last year of the three years.

D. Teaching classes outside of core competencies, especially service courses like tutorial and statistics. While I did not teach tutorial or statistics, CSC 321 and CSC 322 are outside of my core competencies, as is the new online Art of Code course.

E. Teaching independent studies, guided readings, and for-credit internships. I don’t know how they credit MAPs, but I did teach a lot of MAPs and MIPs during this period. I also ran a few independent studies.

There’s one more that might apply.

F. Honors or awards for teaching. I was elected as an honorary member of the class of 2017. I consider that an honor. But is it a teaching honor? It likely honors my informal teaching, rather than my classroom teaching.

I would also hope that they give me some credit for the large number of students taught.

So, I’m going to be be optimistic and say that I get a 3 for teaching.


With my students, I had one refereed SIGCSE paper (30% acceptance rate, published as a six-page paper), and three refereed posters (35% acceptance rate, abstracts only). That’s less publication than I’d like, but enough to show that I’m active. My rubric free estimate is that this work should represent a low 3. But let’s see what the rubric says.

The most relevant entry under 3 seems to be Peer-reviewed article or articles in second or third tier journals. But SIGCSE is not second-tier. It’s top-tier. On the other hand, the most relevant entry under 4 seems to be An article or articles published [in] highly competitive peer-reviewed journals. With an acceptance rate of 30%, I wouldn’t call SIGCSE highly competitive. And I’m not sure how the posters fit. They aren’t articles at all, but they are peer-reviewed work.

It’s clear that a score of 2 is too low. All of the items suggest that the work is not subject to peer review. Mine is clearly peer reviewed.

Let’s say 3. It seems most appropriate. One could argue for a 4, but I think that’s pushing it.


I whined about this already. I was chair during seismic upheavals in our department and (mostly) guided us through them. I also did significant service to my discipline during the time period. And I’m on a half dozen or so boards or task forces at the College. If I don’t get a 5 for service, there’s something wrong with the system.


Here goes. 3*0.45 + 3*0.25 + 5*0.3 = 3.6. We round to the nearest half, and that’s 3.5. I now have a number that represents my value to the College. I expect that 3.5 is either average or slightly below average [10]. It’s the lowest score I’ve received in however many years I’ve been receiving scores. C’est la vie. Given my EOCEs in CSC 321/22, it’s an appropriate score; the stress overload should incur a bit of compromise, but not too much.

I look forward to seeing what number I end up with at the end of the year. Fortunately, I’ll have this somewhere on the Interweb to compare my score to.

If I count correctly, I only have to do this process two or three more times [11]!

[1] We get our raise letters on graduation day. That’s May 21, 2018. I turned in my materials on November 3, 2017. So it will be six months and 18 days between when I turned in my materials and when I receive a report back. I understand the reasons for the delay [2], but it feels like a really long time.

[2] My chair needs time to review what I’ve submitted and to write some additional paragraphs. The Faculty Salary Committee needs to read about forty of these reports [3], which means that they have to do them during winter break. Then they need to hear back from the budget committee about how much has been allocated to raises and decide how to distribute that based on points. I don’t think that happens until April or so. Then the overworked staff in the Dean’s office need to put things together.

[3] If I understand the process correctly, about 1/3 of tenured faculty get a salary review each year. It’s probably a little less than that, since the Personnel Committee handles the salary ratings for folks up for promotion to full. I’m comfortable with 40 as a rough estimate [4].

[4] I do feel sorry for the Faculty Salary Committee. That’s a lot to read and discuss during Winter break.

[5] 10% times the highest of the three scores.

[6] Once students have recovered from the class, many realize that they learned more than they’d thought. But the course still needs to be improved.

[7] I am hopeful that the committee does not focus only on the low EOCs.

[8] I expect that Jerod will see good things when he visits my classes.

[9] The un-matched close parenthesis is in the original.

[10] I found some data in the spring 2016 report from the chair of the faculty. That year, the average faculty merit score was 3.55.

[11] Assuming they don’t make me undergo a salary review the year I move to Senior Faculty Status.

Version 1.2 of 2017-11-04.