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Performance Development Plans

Reference:  REG 05.20.05 Post Tenure Review of Faculty

Every faculty member found to not meet expectations as a result of post-tenure review must have a Performance Development Plan (PDP). PDPs can look quite different depending on the realm(s) of concern, the specific improvements needed, department standards and more. For that reason, NC State does not have a standard PDP template.  

The following tips can assist faculty and department heads in crafting clear, agreeable PDPs.


The Department Head should develop the PDP in consultation with the faculty member and relevant peers in the department(s) or program(s) participating in the review. There are no hard and fast rules as to how many relevant peers should be consulted. Remember, this is a personnel matter, so consulting as few as necessary is best.

Here are some examples of relevant peers and why the Department Head might consult them:

  • Every faculty member on a PDP is assigned a peer mentor. The Head may ask the peer mentor for input on the whole plan or to suggest strategies or activities, per the mentor’s strengths or knowledge, that the faculty member could pursue during the PDP.
  • If the faculty member on the PDP is part of a subdiscipline or interdisciplinary focus, the Head may ask a senior colleague in the subdiscipline or interdisciplinary focus to help ensure suggested goals or strategies are specific and meaningful.

Recommended Good Practice: 

List in the PDP the name of the assigned peer mentor and of any other relevant peers consulted.

Areas of Improvement

The PDP must specify areas of improvement by realm and what the faculty member must do to meet expectations. The SMART goal framework may help ensure that goals and expectations are clear and agreeable to all.  

Recommended Good Practice:

Write expectations that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.


  • “publish more” vs. “author or co-author with graduate students at least three articles in (name several target journals) in the next three years”
  • “Improve your teaching” vs. “Show up for class on time for every class period when teaching a course; if extenuating circumstances beyond your control will cause you to miss a class, then you must contact the….”

The PDP can also include supportive strategies, whether optional or required, identified to help the faculty member achieve the expected improvements. For example, the PDP might name specific on-campus training or development opportunities that could facilitate the faculty member’s progress.


The PDP must specify the consequences of failing to make the required improvements.  In some cases, specific consequences may be known (i.e. “if peer and teaching evaluations for X course do not improve in Fall 20XX, then you will be reassigned to Y course for Spring 20XX”).  In other cases, specific consequences may become more clear closer to the end of a multi-year PDP. For example, if progress is made but expectations are not met at the end of a three-year PDP, then another PDP could be reasonable. Or, other actions may be necessary if little or no progress is made.  

Recommended Good Practice:

Address this requirement by including the language of Sections 6.6.5 and 6.7 of REG 05.20.04 Post Tenure Review of Faculty directly in the PDP.


Individual items in the PDP can and may have timelines (i.e. “attend [name] training during Spring 20XX”), but the overall PDP must also have a clearly defined timeline. PDPs are typically multiple years in length, often 2-3 years. A faculty member may be expected to show improvements in an area where some aspect of timing is outside the faculty member’s immediate control (e.g. manuscript submission reviews, grant cycles and reviews, etc.).

Acknowledgement and Authority

Recommended Good Practice:

Ask the faculty member to sign the PDP in acknowledgement that he or she read and understood the PDP.

If the faculty member found to not meet expectations refuses to consult on or acknowledge understanding of the PDP, then the ultimate authority for the content of the PDP remains with the Department Head. The same can be said of Statements of Faculty Responsibility.

Procedures While on a PDP

A faculty member with a multi-year PDP will undergo post-tenure review annually and be evaluated against progress on the PDP each year until either a) the plan is met or b) the plan expires. The faculty member will also meet with the Department Head and the peer mentor at least twice a year each year the PDP is in effect.

The materials that the faculty member submits to the Department Head for annual post-tenure reviews while on a PDP are not the same as materials for five-year post-tenure reviews (defined in PTR REG Section 5.2); instead, the faculty member will submit evidence of progress towards meeting the PDP expectations. In addition to the evidence the faculty member submits, the Department PTR Committee will also receive previous post-tenure review report(s) and the PDP.

Recommended Good Practice: 

When drafting the PDP, discuss what is acceptable evidence of progress. Document those choices and decisions in the PDP.

During the annual PTR of a faculty member on a PDP, the evaluators are assessing whether the faculty member is making expected progress, or whether the performance meets expectations.

If the faculty member is making progress, but does not yet meet the expectations of the PDP, then the finding remains “does not meet expectations.” The faculty member continues on the PDP and will be evaluated again the next year.

If the faculty member is found to meet expectations prior to or at the conclusion of the PDP period, then the faculty member’s next PTR will be in five years.

If the faculty member’s PDP ends before expectations are met, then the next steps will vary by case, but options include creation of a new PDP or imposition of sanctions.


Please contact Kim Grainger, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Personnel and Policy.