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Post Doctoral

Handling Annual Evaluations

For departments employing Postdoctoral Fellows in Job Code 1438

Faculty:  First and always, make sure to confer with your department administrator regarding internal deadlines and processes that assist you in meeting campus requirements.

Annual Postdoctoral Performance Reviews are required.

Starting with the spring of 2009, implementation of the newly-vetted campus policy on Postdoctoral Fellows/Trainees came into force.  Annual Performance Reviews (APR) for Postdoctoral Fellows/Trainees are a required element of the campus’ policy on postdocs (See section “I” fifth bullet), a formal part of the feedback that is so vital to the training our Postdoctoral Fellows receive.  

Postdoc APRs are due in conjunction with the cycles for performance evaluations for other job classifications at the University.  Deadlines and specifics are announced each year in the spring by the Postdoctoral Office.    

Interim evaluations are also highly encouraged, and in some cases, required.  (Scroll down to section below.)

Completing the Annual Performance Review


  • Primary mentor meets with the postdoc to discuss performance for past year and to plan for coming year.
  • Mentor/dept uses whatever evaluative tools are deemed useful.  This assists in the selection of a rating on the APR form.  Here are some options and guides: 
      • Perhaps the postdoc has prepared the IDP/APR form.  You can request it prior to the meeting.
      • National Postdoctoral Association Core Competencies  and  Checklist
      • National Postdoctoral Association Career Planning Resources
      • Performance Review Pitfalls.pdf
      • AAMC Mentor/Mentee Compact
      • FASEB Individual Development Plan
      • Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions, Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies (2000)
      • Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy (COSEPUP)
  • The PDO would appreciate receiving faculty input on good resources to add here.
  • All written evaluation materials shall be kept in department personnel files and retained in accordance with University policy on retention of personnel records.
      • These may also be copied and pasted into the comments section of the APR form.
      • Such documents may be requested by the PDO and must be forwarded via scanned email file attachments.  


  • Electronic APR “public record” form is completed and submitted by the primary mentor.
      • In early February, an email notification sent directly to the mentor launches the process.
          • Ex subject line:  Annual Postdoc Review Form:  ACTION REQUIRED
          • Link to website form and step-by-step instructions contained in email
      • Mentor does about six clicks of a mouse:
          • One:  Select rating level
          • Two:  Choose to award salary increase or not
          • Three:  Give dollar amount of salary increase and start date
          • Four:  Select reason for salary recommendation (choices pop up)
          • Five:  “sign”
          • Six: Hit “Save & return” OR “SUBMIT”
              • “Save & Return” allows you to get needed info and come back to complete.
              • “SUBMIT” locks the form to you and routes it to the postdoc via auto-generated email.  
  • Postdoc acknowledges having been informed of the rating by “signing” and  SUBMITTING.
  • Form is routed to designated departmental reviewer/authorizer to confirm data.  Hitting SUBMIT at this step sends it to the PDO as the final version.     
  • The Postdoctoral Office reviews form and either accepts and records data or communicates with department regarding needed additional information and corrections.   

Here is a sample of the former paper form (for viewing only):  2013 POSTDOC Annual Performance Rating Sheet - Copy.doc  The on-line form includes the same information.

Interim evaluations are encouraged.*

As with any employee classification, frequent informal or formal evaluative sessions are beneficial for employee understanding and confidence in the supervisor’s viewpoint on performance. Any formal notes from such conversational sessions should be dated and filed in the department’s employee files. 

*Interim evaluative discussions are required BEFORE dismissal in the case of poor performance. 

  • Before a postdoc is terminated for poor performance, campus HR protocol dictates that documentation of prior meetings be kept, where undesirable performance is discussed and verbal notification is given that unless performance is improved termination is forthcoming. 
      • The Postdoctoral Program Manager is available to assist with any questions or concerns about the process, or advise on content. 
  • Clear expectations need to be communicated, in writing, giving a target date by which measurable performance improvement needs to be exhibited. 
      • A signed copy of this “letter of expectation” is to be sent to the PDO. 
  • If performance is still not meeting expectations, then a termination notice letter should be generated (template from PDO must be used). 
      • This letter needs to be forwarded to HR for review BEFORE it is issued to the employee. 
      • Once approved by HR, the letter is routed for signatures.  The PDO is the last approval routing before issuing to the postdoc employee.