Documenting COVID-19 Impact in Merit and Promotion Files

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The Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and the Council on Academic Personnel (CAP) recognize the significant impact of COVID-19 on the ability of faculty to perform all aspects of their work, including research, teaching and service.

In this and coming years, we strongly encourage faculty to document COVID-19 related issues with regard to their professional achievements in their academic review files. While faculty are not expected to provide personal details about difficult individual circumstances, the impact of these circumstances can be included. Some examples of the types of non-confidential information that might be provided are listed below:

    • Changes in teaching workload relative to department or school norms, or teaching overloads undertaken due to impacts on other faculty;
    • Negative impacts due to diminished available resources (lack of lab equipment, course software, or TA support);
    • Additional efforts required for student advising and mentoring beyond the regular expectations (e.g., support provided for emotional or mental health, or economic and social issues);
    • Contributions to initiatives for mitigating the impact of the pandemic, both within one’s own discipline and in the community at large;
    • Lost opportunities for scholarly and professional recognition both on campus and professionally, including invited lectures, plenary sessions at meetings, etc.;
    • Additional work required to maintain operation of research labs or other facilities, including implementation of disinfection and distancing protocols;
    • Loss of specific scholarly activity or funding opportunities (e.g., performances, fellowships, sabbaticals, field trials, collaborations) due to restricted travel, closed facilities, lack of access to research subjects, or other pandemic-induced influences;
    • Delays due to increased time required for reviews and publication of books and articles.

The type of information listed above will be critical in enabling all levels of review including the department, school and CAP, to conduct equitable evaluation of merit and promotion cases for faculty during this pandemic and future years. Thank you for your continuing efforts during this difficult time.


Diane O’Dowd
Vice Provost, Academic Personnel
Lee Swindlehurst
Chair, Council on Academic Personnel

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