SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Annual Report for 2014-2015
University policy HR76 “Faculty Rights and Responsibilities” establishes the Senate Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities and defines the committee’s scope and operation. The committee may review petitions from a faculty member who asserts that he or she has suffered a substantial injustice resulting from a violation of academic freedom, procedural fairness, or professional ethics. The 2014-2015 committee received seven petitions, a number consistent with recent years (four petitions in 2013-2014, eight petitions in each of the three previous years, and nine in 2009-2010). Four of the seven petitions claimed violations of procedural fairness. One petition claimed violations of procedural fairness and professional ethics, another petition claimed violations of procedural fairness, professional ethics, and academic freedom, and one claimed harassment in addition to violations of procedural fairness and professional ethics. Two petitioners withdrew their petitions shortly after submission prior to committee consideration, one due to a satisfactory resolution of the concerns among the parties involved, the other because the petitioner left the university.
Of the remaining five petitions that were considered by the committee, three related to reviews for final tenure and promotion. The other two petitions concerned a promotion review and termination of an administrative appointment respectively. The committee found sufficient evidence in one petition to investigate. Upon investigation, the committee found procedural unfairness in the conduct of a review for final tenure and promotion. Provost Nicholas Jones and Vice Provost Blannie Bowen accepted the committee’s findings and directed the appropriate administrator to implement the recommended remedy. The committee did not take up the other four petitions because upon initial review, the committee determined the claims were without merit or fell outside the committee’s defined scope of purview.
Near the end of the 2013-2014 cycle, last year’s committee received a petition whose outcome was not known when the 2013-2014 annual report was submitted. The committee had investigated a claim of unfair procedure related to a promotion review, and the committee found procedural unfairness. Shortly after last year’s annual report was submitted, the committee was informed that Provost Nicholas Jones and Vice Provost Blannie Bowen accepted the committee’s findings and directed the appropriate administrator to implement the recommended remedy.
The chair wishes to thank the members of the 2014-2015 committee, each of whom devoted significant time and thoughtful consideration to each petition. The committee members express our appreciation to all ombudspersons across the University for their contributions toward resolving conflicts and disputes. Additionally, the committee acknowledges the efforts of Blannie Bowen, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, to improve awareness of the policies and procedures related to promotion and tenure. These combined endeavors provide thoughtful and responsive support for faculty members and administrators and help to resolve disputes before they result in petitions submitted to this committee.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES 2014-2015
- Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry
- Dawn G. Blasko
- Victoria A. Braithwaite
- Lee D. Coraor
- Amanda L. Maple (Chair)
- Paula Mione-Nuzzo
- Linda R. Musser
- James M. Ruiz
- Karen Wiley Sandler