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REPORT FOR THE UNIVERSITY SENATE

University Senate Committee:  Faculty Personnel Committee

Charge to Committee (Brief History of Issue — why the issue is being considered):

The issue was raised by a faculty member who questioned why the existing policy regarding grants the right to appeal an administrative denial of promotion (where the department’s promotion subcommittee recommended promotion) only when an affirmative subcommittee recommendation is followed by a negative recommendation in each of two years.  

Points Discussed by Committee:

  • Whether respect for due process is consistent with the current policy.
  • Whether the right to appeal is a question of fundamental fairness.
  • Whether there are principled, as opposed to practical, reasons to require a second administrative reversal of an affirmative promotion subcommittee recommendation before granting a right to appeal—a requirement absent in the case of promotion subcommittee decisions.
  • That Senate history revealed no rationale for distinguishing between promotion subcommittee denials and administrative denials
  • That reapplying for promotion instead of appealing might be tantamount to accepting or ratifying the negative recommendation.
  • The relatively low number of faculty who are annually affected by current policy.
  • The importance of distinguishing between reconsiderations, appeals, and grievances.
  • That chairs, deans, and the provost are genuine decision-makers with respect to promotion, though not with reappointment and tenure.
  • The importance of good communication between candidates and their Department Personnel Committees and Promotion Subcommittees, and whether too much formalization of the reconsideration and appeals process might not only fail to nurture such communication but might actually work against it.
  • The general principle that personnel decisions made at the departmental level, by those most familiar with the candidate and the discipline in question, are likelier to be better informed than those made farther up the administrative ladder—though the current policy is at odds with this principle.
  • Whether avoiding a proliferation of appeals by allowing reconsideration but not appeal is consistent with allowing good-faith appeals of honest differences of opinion.
  • That a natural joint or seam in the motion is between the second and third paragraphs.

 

Pros of Recommendation:

  • Streamlines two existing policies into one coherent and principled policy.
  • Is fairer than the existing policy, as regards appeals of administrative decisions against promotion.
  • Is more consistent with the principle articulated above (j) than is the current policy.
  • Allowing appeal in addition to reconsideration fully protects faculty rights.
  • Does not allow multiple requests for reconsideration and appeal.

Cons of Recommendation:

  • May encourage frivolous appeals.
  • Allows for promotion without full administrative approval.

MOTION FOR THE UNIVERSITY SENATE

The University Senate Faculty Personnel Committee, by a vote of  5 – 0 – 1 (for, against, abstain), on 29 February 2008, moves that the University Senate approve the following changes to the Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook, Chapter 5, page 28:

APPEAL PROCEDURES: PROMOTION SUBCOMMITTEE DECISIONS

A faculty member may request an administrative review of the decision of a departmental promotion subcommittee not to recommend promotion provided that the faculty member meets the minimum degree and experience requirements for consideration for promotion to the rank sought.

The administrative review shall be conducted by the next highest administrative level not involved in the contested decision. During the course of this review, it shall be the responsibility of the faculty member to show cause why the issue of his/her promotion should receive further consideration. After reviewing the statement of the faculty member, the qualifications of the faculty member, and the facts relating to the promotion subcommittee's review, the reviewer may direct the promotion subcommittee to reconvene and to reconsider the issue on its merits. After reconsideration the promotion subcommittee shall submit a report to the reviewer including a recommendation and the justification for the recommendation. After considering the subcommittee's report, the reviewer shall make a report and a recommendation to the next highest administrative level not involved in the appeal. (US 10/99)

APPEAL PROCEDURES: ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS

A faculty member may request the Chancellor to review administrative decisions not to recommend promotion provided that the following conditions have been met:

1.   The faculty member meets the minimum degree and experience requirements for promotion to the rank sought.

2.   The faculty member has been recommended for promotion by the appropriate promotion subcommittee in each of two separate years, and a negative recommendation has been recorded each year by any subsequent level of administrative review. (US 12/91)

 

RECONSIDERATION AND APPEAL OF DENIALS OF PROMOTION

Upon receiving written notice of a decision to deny promotion, a faculty member who meets the minimum degree and experience requirements for promotion to the rank sought may within 10 days formally request reconsideration of the negative decision.  A reconsideration is not a hearing, or an appeal, and should be non-adversarial in nature.  The reconsideration shall take place within 20 days of the faculty member’s request, and the faculty member shall be given at least 10 days advance written notice of the time and place of the reconsideration. It is the faculty member’s obligation to provide good reasons why the negative decision merits reconsideration. The reconsidering party shall give fair and full consideration to all relevant materials, and shall, within 5 days of the reconsideration, inform the faculty member in writing of the results of reconsideration.

If reconsideration rescinds the initial negative decision, the application for promotion shall be forwarded to the next higher administrative level, if any, though the faculty member may not request reconsideration of a subsequent negative decision of the current application for promotion. 

If reconsideration affirms the initial negative decision, the faculty member may, within 10 days of receiving the result of the reconsideration, formally appeal the negative decision to the next highest administrative level not involved in the contested decision. The faculty member’s appeal shall be heard within 20 days of its initiation. It is the faculty member’s obligation to provide good reasons why the negative decision should be overturned.  After reviewing the relevant facts, the reviewer shall, within 5 days of hearing the appeal, decide the appeal and shall promptly inform the faculty member in writing of his or her decision and the reasons for it. 

If the party hearing the appeal reverses the negative decision, the application for promotion shall be forwarded to the next higher administrative level, if any, though the faculty member may not appeal a subsequent negative decision of the current application for promotion.  If the party hearing the appeal reaffirms the negative decision, the faculty member may neither request reconsideration of this reaffirmation nor appeal it.

Implementation date: On Approval.

Respectfully submitted,

Sean McAleer, Chair

Faculty Personnel Committee

 

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