SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Annual Report for 2017-2018
University policy AC76 “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 2017-2018 committee received eleven new petitions from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018; roughly the same number as in the previous academic year (12 submitted in 2016-2017). Over the five years previous to 2016-2017, the committee examined between seven and nine petitions per year. The 2017-2018 committee also reviewed four petitions which had been carried over from the previous year.
Petitioners may claim any or all of the three categories of complaints in their petition. For the 4 cases carried over from 2016-2017, all petitioners cited procedural fairness in relation to personnel actions (promotion and tenure or other reviews) while two also cited issues with academic freedom. For the 11 new petitions 10 cited procedural fairness, while one noted academic freedom; one petition also cited gender bias issues. A case citing issues related to research was also sent to the Office of Research Protections for parallel review, while one citing gender issues was referred to the Office of Affirmative Action.
The committee completed reviews of all four cases carried over form 2016-2017 and finalized decisions on 10 of the 11 new cases for 2017-2018. One case from 2017-2018 was carried over to next year’s committee for review.
Of the 11 new cases in 2017-2018, informal investigations were done for 9 petitions, with the resulting findings and recommendations forwarded to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. Of the nine cases resulting in informal investigations, the topics varied from denial of tenure, dismissal from administrative or other positions, appointment status within a unit, and issues related to research environments.
Of the 4 cases carried over from 2016-2017, three involved denial of tenure and one was related to personnel reviews. Of those four, three informal investigations were conducted with the resulting findings and recommendations forwarded to the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs; one petition was deemed outside the scope of the committee’s charge.
The chair wishes to thank all of the members of the 2017-2018 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 at their colleges and campuses. We would especially like to thank the University Ombudsperson Pamela Hufnagel who worked to improve processes, ensure compliance with policies and training and supported the unit ombudspersons in their work. We appreciate all the work that Prof. Hufnagel has done in that post over the years and her long service to the Faculty Senate at large. We look forward to working with the new University Ombudsperson Mohamad Ansari. The committee also wishes to express their thanks to the offices of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and the Associate Vice President for Research for their cooperation.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON FACULTY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES 2017-2018
- Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry
- Deborah Gill
- Marie Hardin
- R. Keith Hillkirk
- Barbara Miller
- Richard Robinett, Chair
- Keith Shapiro
- Robert Voigt
- Gregory Ziegler