State of the Department – Further information

Posted on behalf of Elliot Berkman (Psychology)

Ulrich Mayr from my department presented an idea for presenting narrative information alongside quantitative metrics with an annual State of the Department report. In a recent CAS Heads meeting, Ulrich brought up the idea of having a template for the SOTD report to introduce some standardization across departments. A template would also save departments some work by providing an outline of the kinds of content that the Provost is looking for.

I put together the draft template below. Departments could fill in the following sections then provide a full list of books, chapters, articles, grants, etc., in an appendix. In the end, the SOTD would resemble a kind of annotated departmental CV for each calendar year. (It seems like calendar year would be the easiest time frame given that most publications are dated by the year.)

Executive Summary

  • A paragraph or two written by the department head that highlights key successes and activities
  • After the first year, this section should include an evaluation of the progress toward the previous year’s goals

Contextualizing Information

  • A brief summary or disclaimer about interpreting the mission metrics with respect to other activities
  • Important info to include might be: # of faculty / total TTF FTE, avg effective teaching load / TTF, quantity of service / TTF, budget / TTF
  • See this post for further thoughts on this.


  • Qualitative / quantitative summary of peer-reviewed or otherwise juried scholarship, including why it is important
  • The main question being addressed here is: How has your department advanced the research mission of the University this year?


  • Qualitative / quantitative summary of impact on society and the research community.
  • Can include things like citations and awards, and also outreach activities, community involvement, etc.

Grants and Fellowships

  • A summary of external funding sought and received
  • This includes funding for research projects and also fellowships to support faculty time


  • Qualitative / quantitative summary of graduate and undergraduate student mentorship that is not captured by teaching metrics.
  • Can also include research mentorship of postdocs and junior faculty.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • List concrete contributions to equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Consider describing outreach efforts as well as indices about current diversity

Other Relevant Information [OPTIONAL]

  • Additional information or narrative content related to research that is noteworthy but not covered in the other sections.

Goals for the coming year

  • Specific, measurable goals for the following year
  • Do not need to present goals in all categories – can be focused on specific areas (e.g., increase outreach activities by 10%)

Then the appendix would be a complete list of the activities and products related to each of these categories. I created a Google Doc of this template for easy sharing. One way to do this would be to have faculty copy-paste info from their CVs into the appropriate section of the appendix, then the Head and chairs of relevant committees would fill in the narrative components.


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