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DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

RESOLUTION FROM THE COMMITTEE OF COUNSEL ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR REVISIONS OF THE GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF SUPPORTING MATERIALS AND THE MANAGEMENT OF TENURED AND TENURE-TRACK CANDIDATE PROMOTION FILES

On behalf of the Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, Professor Tess Moon (mechanical engineering and committee chair) submitted the following resolution for revisions of the general guidelines for the preparation of supporting materials and management of tenured and tenure-track candidate promotion files. The committee will present the resolution in its report to the Faculty Council at the meeting on November 20, 2006.

signature
Sue Alexander Greninger, Secretary
The Faculty Council and General Faculty


Distributed through the Faculty Council Web site on November 16, 2006. Copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, WMB 2.102, F9500.


5128

RESOLUTION FROM THE COMMITTEE OF COUNSEL ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR REVISIONS OF THE GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF SUPPORTING MATERIALS AND THE MANAGEMENT OF TENURED AND TENURE-TRACK CANDIDATE PROMOTION FILES

Background: The function of the Committee of Council on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CCAFR) is to study and advise on problems or issues related to academic freedom and responsibility. In one of its primary roles, it serves as an appellate body for faculty who claim that the University failed to adhere to appropriate policies and procedures in evaluating them for tenure and promotion:

“Should either a candidate or the president request a review of the case by the Committee of Council on Academic Freedom and Responsibility (CCAFR), CCAFR shall advise the president as to whether, in its judgment, the procedures followed in the candidate's case accorded with both the University's and commonly accepted professional standards for promotion and tenure.”

—Addendum, Section 6, “General Guidelines for the Preparation of Supporting Materials and the Management of Tenured And Tenure-Track Candidate Promotion Files” (Fall 2006).

During the 2005-2006 academic year, two faculty members filed formal complaints with the CCAFR that resulted in separate subcommittee investigations and written reports to the President.

In each case the investigative subcommittee determined that, contrary to University Guidelines, negative material was inserted into the respective candidate’s dossier after they had received favorable votes from their department. Given that the candidates were not informed that these materials had been inserted, they were effectively denied an opportunity to examine and refute the unfavorable comments. (The candidates subsequently received unfavorable votes by the following promotion and tenure committees.)

Each CCAFR subcommittee provided a written report, which included their respective findings and recommendations, to the President at the time of their reporting. In their report to President Faulkner, the first candidate’s investigative subcommittee held that this “‘withholding’ … was inconsistent with the spirit of the directive regarding access to be found in Section 8 of the Guidelines and Section 4 of its Addendum.” The second candidate’s investigative subcommittee echoed their corresponding concerns as well as this sentiment in their report to President Powers.

Both Presidents Faulkner and Powers asked that the CCAFR subcommittees:

“take certain of their recommendations to the full Committee of Counsel on Academic Freedom and Responsibility and, after further deliberation by the full body, to make any recommendations for changes in the guidelines to [him] for consideration.”

In accordance with these directives, during the Spring 2006 semester the 2005–2006 CCAFR wrote and unanimously passed the following resolutions for Presidential approval.

Resolution: The “General Guidelines for the Preparation of Supporting Materials and the Management of Tenured And Tenure-Track Candidate Promotion Files” (Fall 2006) be revised as follows:

1. At the end of the first paragraph under section 8 of the Guidelines add the following:

However, any adverse information, whether written or oral, and then recorded or relied upon in any document which is included in the dossier is critical to the legitimate interests of a candidate. Basic fairness and principles of due process require that the candidate have access to such information for purposes of explanation and/or rebuttal.  See Section 2 of the Addendum.

2. Create sub paragraphs under Section 2 of the Addendum by

a. adding  "a)" before the paragraph "Review of materials."


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b.  adding a new sub paragraph "b)" as follows:

Although ex-parte communications regarding the merits of a candidate may be impossible to eliminate totally, any member of a review committee, chair or dean who is offered such advice should refuse to discuss the matter and advise the would-be source that such information should be presented in writing with the understanding that it will be called to the attention of the candidate who will have the opportunity to explain and/or rebut.

c. adding a new sub paragraph "c)" as follows:

If any additional input is solicited or accepted for inclusion in the dossier, it should be in writing and handled in accord with the letter and spirit of Section 8 of these guidelines. The candidate should be notified of the addition of this material and permitted an opportunity to explain and/or rebut.

d. adding a new sub paragraph "d)" as follows:

In any case in which these directives have been violated and adverse information has been included in a dossier without notification to the candidate after a departmental committee has discussed and voted, the dean shall determine whether this information, without the candidate's response, might have had a substantial effect on the department's discussion and vote. If it has had a substantial effect on the department’s discussion and vote, the dean shall direct that the candidate be informed of the material. If the candidate wishes to present a rebuttal, the committee shall reconsider its decision on the basis of the newly-completed dossier. Similarly, should the addition be made after the College Committee has discussed and voted, the Provost shall determine whether this information, without the candidate's response, might have had a substantial effect on the College Committee's discussion and vote. If it has had a substantial effect, the dean shall direct that the candidate be informed of the material. If the candidate wishes to present a rebuttal, the Committee shall reconsider its decision on the basis of the newly-completed dossier.

3. Add a new paragraph “8” to the Addendum as follows:

Rule of construction. In any instance in which participants at any stage of this review process find ambiguity as to the meaning of the language of the Guidelines and Addendum the language shall be construed so as to assure transparency and procedural protection for the candidate.

Rationale:

Drafted on the heels of two 2005-2006 CCAFR subcommittee investigations, these revisions aim to further improve the current promotion guidelines for increased procedural clarity, particularly benefiting faculty candidates for promotion and tenure. They aim to ensure that candidates are 1) made aware of all materials that are included in their dossiers and 2) afforded an opportunity both to review and to respond to them.


Respectfully submitted to the Faculty Council on November 20, 2006 by the 2006-2007 CCAFR Committee: Tess Moon (Chair), Michael Granof (Co-Chair), Susan Heinzelman, Robert Jensen, Ted O’Dell, Megan Seaholm, Janet Staiger, Jeffrey Vaaler and Patrick Woolley.

Based upon the recommendations written and unanimously endorsed by the 2005-2006 CCAFR Committee: Michael Granof (Chair), Tess Moon (Co-Chair), Robert Jensen, David Justin, Dominic Lasorsa, Ted Odell, Megan Seaholm, Michael Sharlot and Jerome Williams.

  Updated 2013 October 18
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