Evaluating Faculty Performance

Program Director’s Corner – October 2018

Evaluating Faculty Performance

Dr. Christopher McCartney
Program Director, Endocrinology and Metabolism
University of Virginia

Annual faculty evaluation is required by the ACGME. According to the Revised Common Program Requirements effective July 1, 2017: [1]

V.B. Faculty Evaluation
V.B.1. At least annually, the program must evaluate faculty performance as it relates to the educational program. (Core)
V.B.2. These evaluations should include a review of faculty’s clinical teaching abilities, commitment to the educational program, clinical knowledge, professionalism, and scholarly activities. (Detail)
V.B.3. This evaluation must include at least annual written confidential evaluations by fellows. (Detail)
V.B.3.a) Fellows must have the opportunity to provide confidential written evaluations of each supervising faculty member at the end of each rotation. (Detail)
V.B.3.b) These evaluations must be reviewed with each faculty member annually. (Detail)

There are a number of complimentary ways that programs can evaluate its faculty members, but as described in V.B.3., the evaluation must include confidential written evaluations by fellows. However, some fellows may not feel at complete liberty to provide all relevant feedback (e.g., negative feedback).

Over the years, our program has primarily relied on structured faculty evaluations submitted anonymously by fellows via an online platform (New Innovations) after each rotation. These evaluations routinely suggested that faculty teaching and supervision were very good. However, circa 2015, informal fellow comments suggested to me that their views on one faculty member’s general endocrine abilities (i.e., his ability to guide fellows in areas unrelated to his specific expertise) was insufficient for the fellows’ needs on the general endocrinology inpatient consult service.[2]

Despite this perception, the faculty member had routinely received good written evaluations.

Based on subsequent discussions with fellows, I learned that some fellows worried that it could be very easy for faculty members to determine who wrote a particular evaluation. Since fellows “must have the opportunity to provide confidential written evaluations of each supervising faculty member at the end of each rotation” (italics mine), the timing of the evaluation could implicate a specific fellow. In addition, some fellows seemed reluctant to provide any negative feedback of faculty members in writing, even if completely anonymous.

To help address these issues, we initiated two program changes circa 2016.

1. In accordance with ACGME regulations, we continue to use written evaluations after each rotation with a faculty member. However, we do not immediately release these evaluations. We only release evaluations once a year as a batch, and the evaluations do not disclose the timing of the rotation. Since a faculty member receives all of the year’s evaluations at once, it is more difficult to guess which fellow submitted a particular evaluation.

2. We started asking the fellows meet alone as a group once a year (e.g., mid-academic year) for the express purpose of faculty evaluation. Such meetings are organized and moderated by a senior fellow. During these meetings, the fellows discuss and provide a summary evaluation for each faculty member. Specifically, fellows assess the following faculty characteristics using a scoring system (NA = cannot assess, 1 = poor, 2 = fair, 3 = good, 4 = excellent):

1. Possesses expertise in field of practice (clinic)
2. Possesses expertise in general endocrinology (consults)
3. Applies basic and clinical sciences relevant to patient care
4. Allows you to independent formulate your own clinical opinion and allow for academic discussions
5. Aids in your critical assessment of patients
6. Helps to develop and implement patient management plans
7. Establishes and models an environment of professionalism
8. Apparent degree to which faculty member values fellows and their education

The fellows are also invited to provide additional feedback in narrative form. Evaluations of each faculty member are then submitted to me as Program Director. After review, I share each faculty member’s evaluation with that faculty member in addition to the Division Chief (see example in appendix ).

Although group feedback has been uniformly positive for most faculty members, the fellows have recently provided important constructive feedback (i.e., minor suggestions for improvement) for a minority of faculty members—the sort of important feedback we’ve not seen in other written evaluations. Overall, we trust that program quality can be improved by facilitating constructive criticism of teaching faculty by those who can best provide it—the fellows—and we believe that these two changes have enhanced our fellows’ ability to freely evaluate our faculty members.


[1] https://www.acgme.org/Portals/0/PFAssets/ProgramRequirements/143_endocrinology_diabetes_metabolism_2017-07-01.pdf

[2] In partnership with the Division Chief, the program rectified this situation by excusing the faculty member from inpatient consult duties.


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