Field Impact Statement: Guidance

The COVID-19 pandemic has created both opportunity and challenge for faculty members to engage in their research/scholarship/creative works, teaching, service, extension, and/or librarianship responsibilities and activities. The optional candidate COVID-19 Impact Statement enables faculty members to articulate the specific impacts of the pandemic on them should they wish to do so. Such information can provide important context regarding the impacts of the pandemic on faculty members that inform unit assessments of faculty performance and trajectory based on unit evaluative criteria and expectations. 

In addition to any individual impacts of the pandemic on faculty members, the pandemic has affected fields, disciplines and/or subdisciplines in a variety of ways. A Field Impact Statement can provide additional important context that informs review processes in light of unit evaluative criteria and expectations. 

As such, academic units (departments, schools within colleges, and non-departmentalized colleges or schools) must develop a Field Impact Statement for inclusion in promotion dossiers and review processes (e.g., annual, merit, third year, periodic/post-tenure). These statements will remain internal to University promotion and review processes. The University recognizes that a discipline may comprise multiple subdisciplines, and in such cases, it may be necessary for a unit to develop differing statements for candidates under review. 

The Field Impact Statement:

  • Should not exceed one page.
  • May provide general details about the impacts of the pandemic on the discipline. These general details should apply to all Field Impact Statements for candidates within an academic unit should there be a need for multiple statements. 
    • Units that are multi- or interdisciplinary may not be able to provide a general statement about the field that applies to all faculty. In such cases, the Field Impact Statement(s) may focus on a particular subdiscipline of a candidate or set of candidates.
  • May include additional specific details regarding a candidate’s particular subdiscipline, if applicable.
  • Should be developed and adopted by unit faculty through normal unit governance processes.

Suggested Structure

A suggested structure for the Field Impact Statement is:

  1. A general/broad statement regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the discipline (if possible).
    1. Units may wish to focus on broad impacts such as the inability or limited to conduct human subjects research; the impact of the University’s closure or limited operations of lab facilities; restrictions on travel; the inability of faculty members to access research materials at libraries, archives, or other institutions; extended review times for peer reviewed scholarship; and/or the inability to access or engage with communities essential to faculty research). 
  2. A more specific statement regarding the impact of the pandemic regarding University actions on the unit and its faculty.
    1. These may include the closure of labs and/or the limited ability to engage in laboratory-based research; limitations on human subjects research; limitations on travel; inability to secure certain equipment essential for research due to supply chain constraints; ongoing access issues to essential materials (e.g., in archives or other facilities that remain closed or have limited access); and/or the inability to complete lab or other essential research space renovations.
  3. A statement, if relevant, regarding the impacts of the pandemic on the review candidate’s particular subdiscipline. 

In addition to the optional COVID Impact Statement by candidates who elect to provide one, the Field Impact Statements are intended to further contextualize the impacts of the pandemic on candidates under review. Internal reviewers should consider both candidate (if provided) and Field Impact Statements in rendering their assessment of candidate performance in light of unit criteria and expectations. Appendix A provides additional guidance and information that may be useful for the development of Field Impact Statements.

The University anticipates that COVID-19 pandemic promotion and review measures will be in effect through the 2026-2027 academic year. University issued guidance will be reviewed annually by the Office of Faculty Affairs for any necessary and appropriate updates. Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Unit Field Impact Statements should be reviewed each year prior to initiating unit (e.g., merit, annual, periodic) and promotion (e.g., tenure, promotion) reviews.