MINUTES OF THE FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE

THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 2008

Mason Hall, room D1; 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

 

Present: Kevin Avruch, Associate Director and Professor of Conflict Resolution, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Lorraine Brown, Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, School of Management, Chair; 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.

 

Minutes of February 28, 2008:  Please review for any changes or corrections – if small, let Meg know, if more substantial, for further discussion by the committee.

Reminder:  Due to spring break, the committee will not meet next week; our next meeting will take place Thursday, March 20, 2008.

 

Discussion:  2.10.2.2 Contingency Planning in the Face of Financial Exigency

·        Faculty members and administrators identified separately; what about research faculty members?  To substitute faculty and non-faculty? 

·        To delete all but first sentence of paragraph three; the first sentence attached to end of paragraph two.  Section deleted works to disadvantage of tenure-line faculty; many administrators do not have faculty rank.  Reduction of instructional faculty not in interest of the institution.

·        Emergency situations such as Hurricane Katrina noted.

 

Should these retrenchment efforts be insufficient to meet the crisis and should it become necessary for the Board of Visitors to declare a state of financial exigency, the Faculty Senate will participate in the determinations that lead to the Board's declaration. Following a declaration of financial exigency by the Board, the University may reduce its expenditures on the salaries of faculty and administrators by load reduction and/or salary adjustment. These measures should be pursued, extensively if necessary, in preference to dismissals of tenured faculty, and should be carried out in such a way that (i) they are shared by faculty members and administrators approximately in proportion to their numbers, and (ii) they take an increasing proportion of each additional dollar earned

 

The existence of a state of financial exigency must be shown to be demonstrably bona fide by a preponderance of the proven by clear and convincing evidence. 

·        Creates a higher standard of proof than present text. 

·        The last time we had serious budget cuts (around 2002), there were no raises for a long time, and 7%, 11%, and 15% reductions.  Hierarchy (of cuts) beginning with adjunct, then term faculty. 

·        Is hierarchy too draconian?  Is there something in legal code specifying (how to) shrink down, or determined by institution?  For staff covered by civil services law; probationary vs. non-probationary status, time in grade.  Try to trim direct expenditures first – travel money, paper. 

·        Cutting adjuncts problematic – if you have a large profit, (savings) could maintain funding for full-time faculty.  Fewer tuition dollars equals fewer classes.  Adjunct faculty appointments one course at a time.

·        To have general statement such as “Tenured and tenure-line faculty should only be dismissed as a last resort.” Would our colleagues view statement of principle as less protective; (need to define hierarchical sequence), including removal of “normally”.

·        AAUP has lots of information on this – Lorraine to circulate copies of pertinent texts. 

 

Dismissals of tenured faculty , if necessary, should be a last resort kept to a minimum. Should reductions in the size of the faculty become necessary, the affected units will normally make reductions on the following priority basis:

  1. Dismissal of part-time faculty;
  2. Dismissal of faculty on fixed-term probationary appointments;
  3. Dismissal of tenure-track probationary faculty;
  4. Dismissal of tenured faculty.

 

Unless financial, academic, or equity and diversity considerations of an academic nature or affirmative action are deemed to be overriding, tenure, rank, and order of seniority in rank will be respected, in that order, in the dismissal of faculty on tenured and tenure-track probationary appointments.  Administrators responsible for developing specific budget reduction plans involving the reduction of tenure-track and tenured faculty, must consult with tenured and tenure-track faculty in developing these plans.  Principles and criteria for identifying specific individuals to be dismissed should be formulated by tenured and tenure-line faculty. 

 

·        “Academic nature” – to prevent hiring of replacement faculty.

·        How does “last-hired, first fired” interact with equity and diversity considerations?  “Affirmative action” phrase no longer legally appropriate.    Suggestion made to run this by Tom Moncure and Equity Office.

·        Example of low enrollment niche program with tenured faculty compared to higher (income) generating program with fixed term faculty; problems when you have a big imbalance between expenditures and revenues.

·        BOV doesn’t make the decision, but declares a financial exigency.  Gap to be filled with decision-makers; AAUP calls them administrators.  In practice, President or Provost would tell dean to cut (X) %.

·        Need to involve affected units; faculty participation at the local level.  To avoid situation in which one administrator is deciding.  Inclusion of new statement at end of paragraph to compel faculty participation. 

·        Need for principles and criteria from legal standpoint.  To leave decision-making power unspecified would empower administrators to pick and choose.  Concerns at upper and lower levels; if department chairs asked to make decision, would be acting as administrators at that level. 

·        Pragmatic aspects for administrators who must tell faculty member they are fired.  Not appropriate for faculty to make final determination but on grievance side can see that principles and criteria developed by tenured and tenure-line faculty adhered to. 

 

Any faculty member to be dismissed due to financial exigency may request a hearing before the college, school, or institute grievance an ad hoc faculty committee elected by the Senate. If such a hearing is sought, the burden of proof rests with the dismissed faculty member. The findings of the committee will be presented to the Board of Visitors for final action after review by the President.

 

·        There are some untenured faculty who earn more than tenured faculty. 

·        Need for more due process at front end, ad hoc hearing committees unrealistic; AAUP uses “hearings”. 

·        What would form acceptable basis for appeal in which two tenured faculty members who make about the same money – one remains, other is dismissed? 

·        People need a place to grieve – use college/school/institute grievance committees, not at LAU level.

·        “New” vs. “Replacement” as in AAUP:  could imagine university does away with one department and starts a different department. 

·        What should this section really focus on?  Short- term things – e.g., no governor’s budget – would not be this draconian.  Need to focus on dismissal context – not all the things they might do.  To revisit final paragraph and review AAUP sections.

 

Discussion:  2.10.2.3 Discontinuation of Degree Programs

Discontinuation of degree programs requires action by the Board of Visitors and the State Council of Higher Education. The recommendation to discontinue a degree program will be based solely upon educational considerations as determined jointly by the faculty and the administration. Such educational considerations must reflect long-range judgments that the educational mission of the institution as a whole will be enhanced by the discontinuation. Affected faculty holding multi-year term appointments will be given at least one academic year's notice of the decision to discontinue a program. Tenured faculty will be given opportunities to join the faculties of other programs, and, if appropriate, will be assisted by the institution through retraining and professional development opportunities. Procedures and safeguards will generally parallel those provided for dismissal in face of financial exigency (see Section 2.10.2.2)

 

·        Exact criteria to propose new program compared to exact criteria to end program.

·        Motivation could be political or financial. 

·        “Educational” broader than “academic”.  Not to introduce marketplace considerations, important to be long-range, not short-range.  Marketing implicit, not to make explicit. 

·        One academic year’s notice reasonable. 

·        Problems when deans may ask LAU to take (displaced) faculty members.  You cannot force faculty members on a department.  In practice Provost/Dean has intervened to find someone a spot somewhere else.

·        Tenure resides in the University:  if every single department said “no”, then someone would have to accept person unwillingly or could be assigned to the Provost Office and teach some courses.  Examples of some Robinson professors who did not get into their allied departments and reported directly to the Provost.  Awkward for Provost and faculty member, but good for departments. 

·        Faculty has right to agree for someone to be in their department – this should be included in Faculty Handbook but not here. 

·        How could you have a situation when someone is hired not in a unit?  Robinson professors now like a department.  If anyone is hired, you have to be hired in LAU. 

·        Situations in which someone wants to become interdisciplinary – an individual judgment, may not be able to (legislate). 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate