Tip 53: Annual Goals

by Dr Davis on July 9, 2011

Every year in full-time positions, teachers are asked to fill out goals. These goals are subdivided into different categories. Usually these are: teaching, scholarship, and service. How should these be filled out?

First, you should already be aware of the norm at your college. If you are going to a new college and they ask for your annual goals, ask if you might see two or three of the faculties’ goals from last year. This will help you figure out what you need to do.

At my last college, each section only needed three points and the chair advised that we only put down small things and that we make sure that we could absolutely meet/finish them before the March review. So that is what I did since that was the norm at that college.

Second, you should not put anything on the goals you do not expect to accomplish. These goals are sometimes used for promotion, tenure, and pay raises. You do not want to have put yourself in a position where the goals you have given yourself cannot be met.

Think big and small
Third, while it is perfectly fine to think big, also think small. What small changes can you make in your classroom or what things can you implement that will make your teaching better? Don’t just think about the book manuscript, also consider the review for a high profile journal.

Example: Teaching
So, this year (and last) for teaching my goals included:
getting to know the textbook
creating a syllabi in line with the expectations of the college
learning the grading norms
using technology effectively within the classroom
creating assignments in which the students had to use technology

I had these for each of the classes I was going to teach. That’s a lot of goals if you know your annual schedule. It might be worth simply limiting it to a single class. But don’t limit your thinking to absolutely attainable goals; also you need to challenge yourself a bit.

Example: Scholarship
For scholarship, my goals went like this:
review X book for X journal
review Y book for Y journal
review Z book for Z journal
write A chapter for A book
revise my dissertation for publication
obtain readers
have a major person in the field write an introduction

Those might look like lofty goals, but they are less so than you might suppose. The chapter is due next week and is finished, except for a final edit. The X review is due in three weeks and I have started reading. The Y review is due in three months, but I have already read the book and taken notes. The Z review really should have been done by now, but my goal is to finish it by the first of next month.

I already have an introduction to my dissertation written by the leading light in my field. I have readers who have agreed to serve as readers. I have NOT begun the revision of my dissertation, but I will do that.

In fact, looking over this list, I see that I actually left off another scholarship goal which I will be meeting. I have a chapter requested for a major publisher which is mostly complete. They changed the parameters of the assignment and I need to add 1000 words and create an internet resource list; however, these are certainly doable.

Perhaps leaving this off my list is a good thing. Then, in March, when I have my review with the chair, I can say, “Oh yes. I also wrote a chapter for major publisher which has been accepted. This included an internet resource list, b, and c.” Then I will not only have reached my goals, I will have surpassed them.

Example: Service
For service my goals were far more circumspect. Although this is a major portion of my college’s expectations, I am not so sure how I will do these things. So I wrote:
find a place to be involved on campus
find a way to be involved with children’s education in the community (I have taught reading to inner city children, home schooled, and taught multiple extracurricular classes.)
organize and chair a panel for the regional conference (which I have done and am doing)
serve on the Executive Council for a regional conference (which I have done and am doing)

So my service, while wide-ranging and significant (which is required) is a bit more generalized. I don’t know how I will serve on campus or in the community. However, by putting these on my annual goals’ list, I have given notice that I know and understand that these are expectations which the college has.

Chair’s response
What was my chair’s reaction?

“These are ambitious goals.”

So, when they are met, this will be a significant positive in my new position.

Annual goals are worth thinking about. They are intended to make sure that we are progressing in our work, but if we are already focusing on that, they are not particularly onerous or overwhelming. These days if we are NOT progressing, we probably don’t have a job anyway.

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