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5 tips for acing your performance review in higher education


Employee performance reviews can be stressful. Even if you’re not a professor, you may feel like the tables have turned and the educator is the one being tested. Well, dread no more. We’ll show you how to prepare for a performance review to ace that test and use it to advance your career.

Two co-workers in a meeting performance review_man_woman_conversation

1Doing your

You won’t need to memorize any special performance review phrases if you just take some time to prepare. Like a student studying for a test, you need to give yourself plenty of time to prepare. Avoid a last-minute cram session.

Consider your performance review goals, what questions you’re going to ask, and what topics of discussion you want to cover. For example, what do you see as the future of education at your institution, and what role will you have in guiding it there? What challenges does it face, and how do you think it can best overcome them?

By working insightful questions and discussions into the conversation, you can develop a closer relationship with your supervisor and show that you’re thinking about the bigger picture.


Everyone around you wants to do their part to make your college or university a great place to learn, but what makes you stand out?


Storytelling isn’t just for Intro to Creative Writing. You have to be your own advocate, and that requires a little bit of nonfiction homework. Here’s the prompt: everyone around you wants to do their part to make your college or university a great place to learn, but what makes you stand out? Think about what sets you apart from the others and why this is important to your institution.

A little bit of data can go a long way to back up this story. Just ask the journalism professors. Rather than simply telling your boss what makes you unique, take the time to catalog and quantify your milestones and accomplishments. Go over notes from last year’s work performance review and show how you’ve grown since. Gather feedback from students and colleagues. Strengthen your story with cold, hard facts that demonstrate your impact.

tenuretrack_group of people_working_graphs


What has you stumped? Everyone has obstacles in their path to improvement, whether they’re internal or external. Be honest when identifying yours, and think about ways your institution can help you clear them. Your boss might even be impressed with your problem-solving skills.

4Listening to
the lecture

You’ve made a strong case that you’re pretty great, you’ve already identified your own challenges and how to beat them, but you’re still going to get some criticism during this performance review.

Your first response to feedback should be a simple thank you. If you don’t quite get it, ask some questions to clarify. Make sure you understand the take-away. This is a chance for you to see your blind spots and improve.

lesson plan

You do what you do to help shape young minds and give people the intellectual tools they need to succeed. What do you need to advance that goal? Even if your institution is short on cash, how can it help you grow and improve? How can you help it grow and improve? Put your academic research skills to good-use and investigate budget-friendly projects, trainings, and professional development opportunities that will help you achieve your career goals while furthering the institution’s goals.

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Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America has created and the information within it for informational purposes only. Many of the experts featured in the content are unaffiliated with Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, College Retirement Equities Fund, and their affiliates and subsidiaries (collectively TIAA), and TIAA makes no representations regarding the accuracy or completeness of any information on the posts or otherwise made available by the individuals. Statements of external featured individuals are solely their own and are not endorsed or recommended by TIAA. Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America and LinkedIn Corporation are independent entities collaborating to bring you
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