Monday, October 15, 2007; Mason Hall D1 – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.


Present:  Kevin Avruch, Associate Director and Professor of Conflict Resolution, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Martin Ford, Senior Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development; Dave Harr, Senior Associate Dean, School of Management; Suzanne Slayden, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science.


Absent:  Lorraine Brown, Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, School of Management, Chair.


Congratulations to Martin Ford on his receipt of the David W. Rossell Quill Award.  As announced in the Mason Gazette, the award “… is granted to administrative and professional faculty at Mason for working on projects or initiatives outside the realm of normal work duties that advance the university's mission. The recipient will have shared his or her expertise on projects that have contributed to the stature of the department and/or the entire university.  This award also recognizes that the recipient displayed leadership while involved in this work.”


2.4.2 Scholarship

·        In one unit, junior faculty members preparing for promotion and tenure committee requested more explicit definition of “refereed standards.”

·        Faculty from diverse disciplines; some do not consider book chapters meet standards; others broadly interpret standards to include book chapters; invitation to contribute as validation of scholarship.   

·        Blind referee vs. ability to refuse colleague in peer review who may strongly disagree.

·        Everyone has prototypes they apply, use of informal rubrics. 

·        Is this too parochial – question raised in one unit?

·        Example in SOM where business law professors may publish in law review journals.  These are not peer-reviewed, but student-reviewed.  Some faculty may say no; but law reviews are heavily cited.  Need for more enabling phrase.  

·        To substitute “peer reviewed” for “refereed” – term used in SOM for accreditation standards.


2.4.2 Scholarship

BOLD = new text;  yellow strikethrough = removed text.

Scholarly achievement is demonstrated by original published and peer reviewed refereed contributions to the advancement of the discipline/field of study or the integration of the discipline with other fields; by original research, artistic work, exhibitions, and performance; and by the application of discipline- or field-based knowledge to the practice of a profession.


Discussion :  2.7.2 Length of Probationary Period and 2.8.3 Procedures for Non-Reappointment

·        Example of tenure-track person who decided not to pursue tenure-track in third year.   If you elect not to renew your contract, should not get a fourth year.  If stand for tenure-track renewal in third year and it is not granted, you should get one year renewal. To work on draft paragraph for next meeting.

·        2.8.2 Procedures for Reappointment: When Faculty Handbook last revised in 1994, all tenure-track reviews took place in second year; third year was “free” year.  Review later changed from second to third year to provide more time for valid assessment. 

·        Practice of granting fourth year may exist.   Some committee members have never seen this.  An exceptional case involved a third year faculty member who did not receive reappointment; was given a fourth year with increased teaching load.

·        Can the Dean shorten renewal period?  Dean may renew for one additional year on tenure-track as a warning; if failed, then granted another year – “free” fifth year. 

·        Need to use very general language.  To add “at discretion of dean/director?”

·        Also to research AAUP position – for further discussion at next meeting. 


Discussion:  2.8.4 Procedures for Promotion and Tenure and second-level review:

·        Need to define minimal size of programs – some are very small, with only 3 or 4 faculty. 

·        Do not necessarily have to have odd number of faculty on review committees. 

·        May not be many eligible faculty in case of promotion to Full Professor.

·        Some schools have strict boundaries – in others a typical faculty member may have three or four affiliations. 

·        Second-level review committees independent of first level review.  Report must go to the second level committee as well as the dean.  In one unit, procedure that dean may not open the recommendation until the candidate has opportunity to withdraw or continue (one week deadline).  So if candidate withdraws, dean never sees letter.  School can locally define (voting procedures by)  tenured faculty within an area/dept, not to raise to Handbook level.

·        Some departments have RPT Committees – “Renewal, Promotion, and Tenure” Committees. 

·        Required minimum number of letters of recommendation varies among units.  Some have minimum 5 letters of recommendation for P&T Committee, some ask for 12, knowing will not receive all;  key thing is how you ask, can’t control response.  Candidate can veto a person (traditionally) for external review from chair-provided list, but may not suppress letters.  Others are confidential.   

Inclusion of second-level review for noncompetitive hires taken from Employment of Family Member/Partner policy (approved by the Faculty Senate April 4, 2007) appears in Section D below.


2.8.4 Procedures for Promotion and Tenure – 2007 revision in progress

BOLD = new text;  yellow strikethrough = removed text.


Candidacy for tenure or promotion is normally initiated by the local unit administrator, with the faculty member's concurrence. Self-nomination is also permitted. Dossiers are to be prepared in accordance with the format provided by the collegiate dean or institute director. Except for external references, the candidate is responsible for the content of the dossier. The local unit administrator is responsible for ensuring that items in the candidate's dossier not under the candidate's control are completed in a timely manner.


The prescribed procedure for considering promotion and tenure cases is as follows:

A.       In all cases of promotion and/or tenure, there are two levels of faculty review. At both levels evaluations are carried out by tenured faculty in accordance with Sections 2.4 and 2.5. In addition to considering the dossier prepared by the candidate, faculty committees on promotion and tenure examine all evidence and receive all testimony offered to them by members of the academic community and others with direct knowledge of the candidate's professional qualifications and achievements.

The two-level review process is carried out as follows:

1.        In departmentalized schools or, colleges which are subdivided into departments, or institutes, the first level of review is departmental and the second is carried out by a peer-elected committee of the school or college. The second level review committee can include elected members from outside the school, college, or institute.

2.       In non-departmentalized local academic units (i.e., schools, colleges, institutes) which are subdivided into programs, provided that no program faculty in the unit is smaller than the smallest department of the University, the first level of review is carried out by the program faculty to which the candidate belongs and the second level of review is carried out by a peer-elected committee of the school, college, or institute. The second level review committee can include elected members from outside the school, college, or institute.  In order to qualify to operate under the provisions stated in this paragraph, however, the aforesaid program faculties cannot exist solely to make personnel evaluations.

3.       In non-departmentalized local academic units (i.e., schools, colleges, institutes) which are not further subdivided, the first level review is carried out by the faculty to which the candidate belongs, and the second level of review is carried out by a peer-elected committee of the school, college, or institute. The second level review committee can include elected members from outside the school, college, or institute. In order to qualify to operate under the provisions stated in this paragraph, however, the aforesaid program faculties cannot exist solely to make personnel evaluations. In local academic units which do not qualify under the provisions stated in paragraphs (1) or (2), the first level of review is carried out by the local academic unit (i.e., the school, college, or institute) and the second level of review is carried out by a committee consisting of two peer-elected representatives from each of the local academic units required to operate in accordance with this paragraph. In the event the number of participating local academic units is insufficient to provide a committee of at least ten members, the committee will be brought to full strength by the addition of faculty members elected by (but not necessarily from) the Faculty Senate.

4.        The School of Law, because it offers degrees which are defined by the Commonwealth of Virginia as "professional degrees," is exempt from the provisions specified in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), but it is not exempt from the requirement for two-level review.

  1. In the case of departmental review, the local promotion and tenure committee - which may be a committee of the whole - transmits its recommendations, including a report of the division of the vote by the tenured members of the department (full professors only in cases involving promotion to the rank of professor), to the department chair. The department chair transmits to the school or college promotion and tenure review committee: (1) the candidate's dossier and related materials; (2) the recommendation of the departmental committee with appropriate justifications; and (3) his/her own recommendation and justification. Notification of recommendations generated at the level of the local academic unit are sent to members of the faculty who participated in the preceding deliberations and to the candidate. Copies of accompanying justifications are supplied to the candidate, and may be supplied to the faculty who participated in the deliberations. The candidate is evaluated in like manner by the promotion and tenure committee of the school or college, which forwards its recommendation along with all preceding reports and recommendations to the collegiate or school dean. Notification of the recommendation of the school or college committee is sent to each member of the department who participated in making the departmental recommendation. Copies of the statement of justification are sent to the candidate and the department chair.
  2. The process is analogous for faculty who hold primary affiliation in non-departmentalized units, except that the role assigned in the preceding paragraph to department chairs is omitted. The first-level program report is transmitted to the committee which carries out the second-level review. The committee sends its report and recommendation along with all preceding reports and recommendation to the appropriate dean or director.
  3. If a candidate for noncompetitive hire is to be tenured upon hiring, s/he must be reviewed by both the first-and second-level promotion and tenure committees.  The first-level review by eligible faculty requires a majority positive vote for tenure separate from the vote to accept the candidate into the program.  If the first-level votes are positive, and with the approval of the chair where applicable, the dossier is then sent to the second-level promotion and tenure committee.  As with all tenure reviews, independent external letters from recognized experts in the candidate’s field must be obtained in a manner consistent with other tenure reviews, and candidates are held to the same standards as other candidates in that LAU.  Since noncompetitive hires may be made outside the normal annual tenure cycle, college, school, and institute promotion and tenure committees must develop procedures for reviewing candidates out of cycle.
  4. All materials are reviewed by the dean or director of the candidate's school, college, or institute and are then forwarded along with his/her recommendation to the Provost. Notification of the dean's or director's recommendation is sent to the faculty who participated in deliberations at the local level and a copy of the accompanying justification is sent to the candidate and the local unit administrator (the latter copy to be retained in the candidate's permanent file)
  5. All materials are reviewed by the Provost. Before making a recommendation to the President, the Provost will consult with other academic administrators who have direct knowledge of one or more aspects of the candidate's professional performance. Notification of the Provost's recommendation is sent to the faculty who participated in deliberations at the local level and a copy of the accompanying justification is sent to the candidate and the local unit administrator (the latter copy to be retained in the candidate's permanent file).
  6. The candidate's vita with all previously generated recommendations and justifications is forwarded to the President. The President forwards his/her recommendation for promotion and/or tenure to the Board of Visitors' Committee on Faculty and Academic Standards. Promotion to the rank of associate professor or professor, and tenure, can only be conferred by the Board of Visitors. The successful candidate is notified in writing by the Secretary of the Board of Visitors.
  7. Candidates who are not recommended for tenure or promotion by the President may seek reconsideration on the basis of new evidence under the procedures outlined in Sections and They may also use the appeal procedure described in Section 2.9.
  8. Tenure is never granted by default, only by action of the Board of Visitors. If one or more of the steps in the procedure outlined above is omitted by error, the proper remedy is review of the candidate as early as possible under this procedure.

Employment of Family Member Partner – policy approved by the Faculty Senate at its April 4, 2007 meeting will become a new section: Employment of Family Member Partner.  The current section 2.3.1 Policies on Recruitment and Appointment of Faculty will be renumbered as Employment of Family Member/Partner – 2007 NEW

Favoritism or the appearance of it can undermine the trust that members of the university community place in personnel decisions as well as the public interest which the university serves.  Thus, a personnel decision involving a family member or partner of another faculty member or administrator requires unique scrutiny and special safeguards.  In no case should a faculty member or administrator who might have a “personal interest” participate in the hiring, supervision, evaluation, or other personnel actions that involve a family member or partner.

If a faculty member or administrator might exercise or appear to exercise control over the employment or other personnel actions of a family member or partner, the supervisor of the faculty member or administrator must, at a minimum, designate a disinterested person to substitute for the individual who might have a personal interest.  Additional steps may also be required if colleagues or subordinates of the individual with a personal interest are involved in the employment activities.  “Appearance of exercising control” includes but is not limited to assigning responsibility for personnel actions or supervision to a colleague or subordinate.  If the personnel action involves a faculty member or administrator in a local academic unit, the faculty in that unit and all other interested parties must be fully apprised of both the family/partner relationship and the steps that have been taken to ensure that the individual with a personal interest is not involved in the personnel decision.

At least ten days prior to consideration of a personnel action involving a family member or partner of a faculty member or administrator by the Board of Visitors, the Board will be fully apprised of the relationship and the steps taken to ensure that the individual with a personal interest was not involved in the action.  Only after the Board is satisfied that the present policy was implemented and that safeguards were adequate should the personnel action be approved.

·         At what time should relationship be communicated to the BOV?  Suggestion to include as checklist item similar to Sexual Harassment Training on current approval form; presented as an action item for Faculty and Academic Standards Committee of the BOV.

·         All term, tenure-track, and tenured hires must be approved by the BOV.

·         To add to standard clause “pending approval by the BOV “ that the BOV will be informed of the relationship.

·         “Partner” a politically charged word?  In development of policy, Faculty Matters Committee informed by Human Resources that “partner” consistent with Code of Virginia.

·         As passed by the Faculty Senate, it has no binding authority on the BOV unless the Board accedes.

·         To be fair to candidate and to the BOV, needs to be part of Faculty Handbook.

Some policies worked on by the Faculty Matters Committee to be fast-tracked for inclusion in the Faculty Handbook as vetted first by that committee; then sent to Faculty Senate for approval.   

Noncompetitive (Waived Search) Hire Policy –approved by the Faculty Senate February 21, 2007 – to incorporate parts into 2.3.2. Procedures for Recruitment and Appointment of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty:  Bold = initial revisions 2006-07; Bold-red  = revisions incorporating new policy:


Requests for new faculty appointments to allocated positions normally originate with the local unit administrator, acting upon the recommendation of the unit's faculty. In particular, the administrator seeks the assistance of the faculty in defining the requirements of the position to be filled and the qualifications to be sought in the appointee. Authorization from the appropriate dean and the Provost is necessary before a search is initiated to fill a vacancy or a new position. In unusual cases a waiver of the search process may be requested by the local unit administrator, dean, or director (See Section


Hires without term require special review as appropriate to local unit in conformance with Section 2.84 Procedures for Promotion and Tenure. Noncompetitive or direct hires are hires in which the search process is waived.  When hiring term, tenured, and tenure-track faculty, competitive searches should be used except in very special circumstances.  These circumstances are normally limited to situations (a) when the candidate has already established a national/international reputation, the program has a unique opportunity to hire the targeted candidate, and the area of specialization complements those of faculty already in the program; (b) when the candidate is a spouse or partner of a candidate being hired through formal search procedures and the university is attempting to accommodate her or him; and (c) when an administrator is hired and is considered for acceptance in a specific local academic unit (LAU).  While an administrator is normally hired using a competitive process at the administrative level, this policy applies because s/he is not part of a competitive process at the LAU.  Instructional term faculty may also be hired without a search when classes must be staffed immediately due to unexpected instructional or other needs.  Waiver of a search in this situation is only valid for one year.


Faculty in the LAU review the credentials of any individual who is a candidate for noncompetitive hire using the same procedures as review of competitive hire candidates.  These include at a minimum the opportunity to examine a curriculum vitae, meet with the candidate, attend a job seminar or formal presentation by the candidate and review letters of reference.  The LAU faculty then vote to accept or reject the candidate. The appointment process moves forward only when a majority of the LAU faculty who are eligible to vote accept the candidate.


The local academic unit establishes a faculty committee to advise and assist the local unit administrator in carrying out a search. After receiving appropriate training from the Office of Equity and Diversity Services, this committee reviews applicant credentials and makes recommendations regarding potential finalists for the position. All full-time faculty of the local academic unit will be provided with an opportunity to meet with the finalists and offer input to the selection process. The search committee then formulates a recommendation. The local unit administrator transmits the faculty recommendation, together with her or his own, to the collegiate dean, director, or to the Provost. The faculty shall be apprised in writing the local academic unit administrator’s recommendation at the time of its transmittal.


Before extending an offer of appointment, the local unit administrator must secure the concurrence of the unit’s faculty, relevant Dean or Director, the Provost, and the Office of Equity and Diversity Services. All written offers of appointment must include the elements specified in the appropriate offer letter template located on the Mason website. 


Tenured and tenure-track faculty receive initial letters of appointment specifying terms of employment and seeking the faculty member’s consent to be governed by the administrative policies and regulations of the University (currently in force and as amended in the future).  Acceptance in writing of these letters constitutes a contract between the University and individual faculty members. Letters of initial appointment to tenure-track faculty also indicate the expiration date of terms of appointment.



·        Silent on research faculty; noted research faculty (may be) hired without a search.  What about clinical faculty? 


Incorporation of Tenure Clock Exception Procedures:

·        Section 2.8.1 General Procedures renumbered as General Procedures

·        NEW Section Tenure Clock Exceptions to Standard Procedures (now one of front pages before Table of Contents in Faculty Handbook), in effect since July 1, 2001; to incorporate Tenure Clock Extensions for New Parents (approved by BOV in May, 2007):  Suzanne to work on text for next meeting. 

·        Tenure Clock Exceptions to Standard Procedures currently in Faculty Information Guide; to ask Provost Stearns for feedback. Need to preserve flexibility.

·        Before Tenure Clock Extensions for New Parents became policy, had not clue how to deal with situations of family necessity in terms of tenure clock.  Not to penalize individual, who continued to teach at night, but did not have time to do research etc. – decision made at dept/LAU level.

·        Maternity cases often do not involve unpaid leave – most people do something with FMLA, may use other leaves and automatic tenure clock (one year extension). 


Grievance Procedure in 1994 Faculty Handbook/Research Misconduct Policy Revisions incompatible: Research Misconduct Policy passed by BOV with provision that it be reconciled with Faculty Handbook  – involves Sections Policies Concerning Grievances; Grievance Procedures; and Dismissal of Tenured and Probationary Faculty for Cause.  You lose right to grieve under research misconduct policy; however, the new policy contains well-laid out due process procedures absent from Faculty Handbook sections noted above; sets up a dual process – need to revise Grievance language to conform.  Also issue of general vs. specific procedures.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate