HRM-003: Employment of Administrative or Professional General Faculty Members

Date: 01/03/2017 Status: Final
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To: Academic Division (excludes the College at Wise).
Reason for Policy:

Administrative and professional general faculty members provide important academic support services to the University community. This policy provides the terms and conditions of their employment.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • General Faculty:

    The term “general faculty” came into use around the start of the 20th century to refer to all faculty members at the University, each of whom held tenure or were eligible for tenure in one of the University’s schools. Today, the General Faculty encompasses all academic faculty at the University and convenes once each academic year to approve the conferral of degrees in each school of the University. In the 1970’s, the University began to hire faculty members who would not be eligible for tenure. They were called “general faculty members” because they were members of the General Faculty but did not hold tenure in a school.

  • General Faculty Members:

    Tenure-ineligible salaried faculty positions that focus on teaching, research, professional practice in an academic discipline, or clinical service, or provide high-level administrative or professional services in support of the institution’s academic mission.

    • Academic General Faculty Members:

      General Faculty Members whose primary responsibilities include teaching, research, professional practice, or clinical service without encompassing the full scope of responsibilities expected from tenure-track faculty positions (e.g., an academic general faculty member could have primary responsibilities for research with minimal or no responsibility for classroom instruction, or have primary responsibilities for teaching and/or clinical practice without research obligations).

    • Administrative or Professional General Faculty Members:

      General Faculty Members whose primary responsibilities (at least 50%) are to provide services to faculty, students, and staff in order to support the institution’s primary missions of instruction, research, and public service (see policy HRM-003, Employment of Administrative or Professional General Faculty Members). Effective January 3, 2017, the University no longer hires Administrative or Professional General Faculty Members. Although tenured faculty holding administrative positions are classified as “Administrative Faculty” for HR purposes for the duration of their administrative assignment, they are not hired as A/P faculty and will not retain that status once their administrative assignment ends.

      Administrative General Faculty Members who perform work directly related to the management of the educational mission and general activities of the institution, department, or subdivision thereof, and whose position is normally within three reporting steps of the president (e.g. the dean of a school).

      Professional General Faculty Members who perform work requiring advanced learning and experience acquired by prolonged formal instruction and/or specialized work experience, normally limited to professional positions serving education, research, medical, student affairs, and other such activities.

Policy Statement:

Administrative and Professional (A/P) General Faculty Members provide important academic support services to the University community. This policy sets out the requirements for their employment. In January 2008, the University established a new category of employment, University staff. The majority of new positions previously classified as Administrative or Professional General Faculty Members are now University staff positions. For more information, see policy HRM-021, Terms and Conditions of University Staff Employment. Effective January 3, 2017, the University does not hire A/P General Faculty Members. Some positions previously classified as Professional Academic General Faculty Member may be appropriately classified as Academic General Faculty Members under PROV-004, Employment of Academic General Faculty Memberss.

  1. RANKS AND TITLES:
    A/P General Faculty Members historically have held the academic rank of lecturer. In addition, they have been assigned a working title (e.g., assistant dean of students, assistant registrar). On an exceptional basis, with evidence of recognized credentials and direct academic involvement, A/P General Faculty Members may be appointed to a professorial rank if approved in writing by the executive vice president and provost (“provost”).

    Librarians hired before June 1, 2013 as Professional General Faculty Members (also referred to as professional non-tenure-track faculty members) may hold the following ranks: affiliate librarian, assistant librarian, associate librarian, or librarian. Librarians who held professorial rank prior to the establishment of faculty ranks for librarians in October 1992 may retain those ranks if they so choose.

  2. TERM OF APPOINTMENTS:
    Appointments of most A/P General Faculty Members are for a minimum of one (1) calendar or academic year and a maximum of three (3) calendar or academic years. Any appointment in excess of three (3) years must be approved in advance by the provost.

  3. PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS:
    All A/P General Faculty Members must undergo an annual performance review in accordance with the provost’s policy, Annual Performance Reviews. Performance expectations for A/P General Faculty Members are based on the areas listed below, in addition to any requirement as may be stated elsewhere.

    1. Position Duties and Responsibilities:
      A/P General Faculty Members must maintain a high level of competence and professionalism in performing their job-related duties and responsibilities. This will be the major factor in any evaluation or advancement decision.

    2. Service to the University:
      A/P General Faculty Members may reasonably be expected to participate in institutional initiatives. Such participation may include service on division, departmental, or presidential committees; service as chair of these committees; special assignments of a University-wide nature; etc.

    3. Professional and Scholarly Activities:
      A/P General Faculty Members are encouraged to keep abreast of developments in the professional fields in which they are employed. Effective administrators also benefit from active involvement in the intellectual and scholarly developments of their fields that often lead to professional contributions.

    4. Consulting Activities:
      A/P General Faculty Members may consult provided such private activity does not interfere with duties owed to the University and is in compliance with the policies, Faculty External Consulting and Internal Overload and Faculty Conflict of Interest.

  4. REASSIGNMENT, CONTRACT RENEWAL, NON-RENEWAL, AND TERMINATION:
    1. Reassignment:
      A/P General Faculty Members may have their duties reassigned at any time to meet the legitimate academic or business needs of the University. In most cases, this would be because of, but not limited to, the reduction or elimination of the specific services for which they were employed or in accordance with the University’s Guidelines for General Faculty Staffing Due to Financial Stringency. Reassignment will be initiated by the faculty member’s supervisor or manager, subject to the approval of the appropriate vice president/unit head. Reassignment can involve change in administrative title or supervisory responsibilities or reassignment to another department. Absent exigent circumstances, no less than ninety (90) calendar days notice should be given to the affected faculty member before reassignment.

      The University’s responsibility under reassignment will be to make available a substitute position or duties reasonably commensurate with the faculty member’s education, experience, and performance, and with the needs of the University. Administrative reassignment normally has no effect on compensation, academic rank, or the current term of employment.

    2. Contract Renewal:
      All A/P General Faculty Members must undergo an annual performance review in accordance with the provost’s policy, Annual Performance Reviews. No appointment (i.e., contract) may be renewed without a successful performance review. A/P General Faculty Members who are to be reappointed should be notified in writing within three months of said reappointment by the appropriate vice president/unit head.

    3. Standards of Notice for Non-Renewal:
      Notice that an A/P faculty member’s appointment (i.e., contract) will not be renewed must be given at least twelve months before the expiration of their appointment. Regardless of when they receive notice, they are entitled to twelve months of employment following that notice.

      These standards of notice for non-renewal do not apply to positions supported by contingent funds when such funds are no longer available (see section V. Positions Supported by Contingent Funds).

    4. Termination for Just Cause:
      A/P General Faculty Members may be terminated for just cause. Stated causes for termination include, but are not limited to: professional incompetence, unacceptable performance after due notice, unethical or unlawful conduct, misconduct that interferes with the capacity of the employee to perform effectively the requirements of employment, and falsification of credentials or experience. A/P General Faculty Members terminated for just cause are not eligible for the standards of notice afforded to those terminated due to non-reappointment (see Section IV.C. Standards of Notice for Non-Renewal).

      A supervisor or manager may act to terminate an A/P General Faculty Member for cause only with the prior approval of the executive vice president and provost. Termination for cause must be preceded, where feasible, by written notice of the specific cause or causes for termination, the effective date of the termination, a written explanation of the cause for termination, and a reasonable opportunity, with the assistance of counsel if desired, for the faculty member to respond.

      An A/P General Faculty Member may be immediately suspended and required to vacate the premises of the University if, in the discretion of the dean/vice president to whom the faculty member ultimately reports, such action is necessary to prevent injury, damage, or disruption. In the event the dean/vice president is unavailable and a perceived threat is imminent, the supervisor or manager should contact the University Police and notify the dean/vice president and the appropriate executive vice president. The required notice, explanation, and opportunity to respond must be given however, as soon as possible following the suspension.

      A/P General Faculty Members who have been suspended or terminated for just cause have the right to appeal the decision through established grievance procedures and to seek reinstatement, back pay, and other appropriate relief authorized by University policy (See policy, HRM-043: Addressing Grievances for Administrative and Professional Non-Tenure-Track Faculty).

    5. Termination for Financial Stringency:
      In the event of financial stringency, A/P General Faculty Members may be terminated as set forth in the Guidelines for General Faculty Staffing Due to Financial Stringency which are incorporated herein by reference.

    6. Abolition of Position:
      In the event that a position is abolished and reassignment is not feasible, A/P General Faculty Members may be terminated. The Standards of Notice for non-renewal previously stated apply.

  5. POSITIONS SUPPORTED BY CONTINGENT FUNDS:
    The employment of A/P General Faculty Members whose salaries are funded from grants, contracts, or private gifts is subject to the continued availability of such funds. In the event such funds become unavailable, faculty members will normally be placed on leave without pay for the duration of their current appointment and given notice that their appointment will not be renewed. The unit and the University may, at their discretion, provide temporary funds from other sources to support the faculty member’s position from time to time. Such temporary support does not obligate the school or the University to support the faculty member’s position once the grants, contracts, or private gifts are no longer available, nor does it prevent the school or the University from giving the faculty member immediate notice of non-renewal in the event those contingent funds are no longer available.

  6. CONTRACTS THAT SUPERSEDE THIS POLICY:
    The appointment letter typically serves as a faculty member’s contract of employment with the University. Appointment letters that deviate from the terms and conditions of this policy must be approved in advance and in writing by the provost. The terms and conditions contained in such appointment letters or contracts that have been approved by the unit head and the provost supersede this policy so long as they comply with applicable law and are consistent with the policies of the Board of Visitors.

  7. EXPECTATION OF CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT (ECE):
    Unless otherwise stipulated in their offer letter in accordance with section VI of this policy, individuals hired as A/P General Faculty Members are eligible to undergo Expectation of Continued Employment (“ECE”) review as provided in the remainder of this section. Unless expressly provided by contract, non-tenure-track faculty employed in the Department of Athletics, who do not already have ECE as of July 1, 2005, and who are 0.5 FTE or greater in the Department of Athletics, cannot obtain ECE.

    1. Eligibility:
      Except as limited by contract (see section VI. Contracts that Supersede this Policy), A/P General Faculty Members who occupy positions that are 0.5 FTE or greater are eligible for consideration for ECE. Those occupying positions that are less than 0.5 FTE can be eligible only if their eligibility is explicitly provided for in their contracts and the exception is approved in advance by the unit head and the provost.

      Following successful review per the procedures documented below, eligible A/P General Faculty Members serve with ECE with the first reappointment after the sixth year of continuous employment at the University. A/P General Faculty Members who have earned ECE will normally be reappointed to a term commensurate with the term just completed, so long as the services of the University continue to be the type and scope requiring the faculty member’s high level of professional skills and the annual performance review reveals job performance has been judged to be at a high level of productivity and effectiveness.

    2. ECE Review Process:
      The ECE Review must be completed before an eligible A/P General Faculty Member may be considered to have earned ECE.

      For A/P General Faculty Members holding one-, two-, or three-year appointments, ECE Review will usually take place in the fifth year of continuous employment; for those with five-year appointments, it will usually take place in the ninth year of continuous employment.

      ECE Review will be conducted by the supervisor or manager using written procedures established by the relevant unit and approved by the appropriate dean or vice president. No supervisor or manager has the unilateral power to award ECE. Any recommendation from a supervisor or manager regarding ECE must follow successful completion of this review process. An eligible A/P General Faculty Member has the right to request that an ECE Review be conducted with reasonable lead-time to allow appropriate consideration during the reappointment process.

      If the ECE Review has been successfully completed per the provisions of this policy, the supervisor or manager may recommend to the appropriate dean or vice president that the faculty member serve with ECE. If the unit head/vice president concurs with the supervisor’s or manager’s recommendation of ECE, the unit head/vice president will submit the recommendation to the provost or the provost’s designee.

      The award of ECE requires the affirmative written approval of the provost; absent such written approval, the faculty member does not serve with ECE. The provost may consider the needs of the University and the performance evaluation recommendation in making this final determination. It is the responsibility of the supervisor or manager to ensure that the ECE Review occurs in accordance with this policy.

      Those A/P General Faculty Members who already serve with ECE under a prior version of this policy will not be subject to further ECE Review, although they will be subject to all other provisions of this policy, including an annual review.

      If ECE Review is not positive, or the unit head/vice president does not recommend that the faculty member be reappointed with ECE, the unit head/vice president will notify the provost of their negative recommendation and its justification. Once the negative recommendation has been approved by the provost, the unit head/vice president will give the A/P General Faculty Member notice of non-reappointment, or of the intention not to recommend reappointment, in writing in accordance with the Standards of Notice described above (see section IV.C. Standards of Notice for Non-Renewal).

      An A/P General Faculty Member who is eligible for ECE Review, but who has not been reviewed in a timely fashion, will be reappointed for a term commensurate with the previous term without ECE. An ECE review will be conducted in the year following such renewal. If the ECE Review does not occur before the end of this new term, the faculty member may appeal directly to the dean/unit head and, if necessary, the provost. If ECE Review occurs before the end of this new term and the recommendation for ECE is negative, if approved by the provost, notice of non-renewal or the intention not to recommend reappointment must be given in writing in accordance with the Standards of Notice described above ((see section IV.C. Standards of Notice for Non-Renewal).

    3. Appeal of ECE Decisions on Procedural Grounds:
      If a dispute arises over whether ECE Review was accomplished in accordance with this policy, the A/P General Faculty Member may submit a written appeal to the provost, stating the basis for the complaint within sixty (60) days of being notified that he/she will not be reappointed with ECE. Any challenge not filed within sixty (60) days will be deemed waived by the faculty member. The provost can, in addition to reviewing the complaint, delegate the power to investigate the complaint to an employee of the University. The provost has thirty (30) days after receipt of the written appeal to determine if the appeal will be accepted, rejected, or returned to the complainant for further information. The determinations made by the provost are final.

    4. Review Waiver:
      Nothing, however, precludes the eligible A/P General Faculty Member from waiving, in writing, the right to ECE Review and accepting a reappointment for a three-year term without ECE. Once such a waiver has been submitted and approved by the dean, the faculty member will not be eligible for ECE Review in the future.

    5. Contract Renewal and Non-Renewal Under ECE:
      A/P General Faculty Members serving with ECE will be reappointed for another three-year term at least one year before the end of their current contract provided their annual performance reviews affirm that their performance remains at a high level and the services of the school continue to be the type and scope requiring the faculty member’s high level of professional skills. At any time, if the annual performance review reveals that the faculty member’s performance is not at a high level, the unit will provide written guidance regarding concerns about performance and stipulate that future reappointments are contingent upon significant improvement in performance. If the faculty member’s performance does not improve to the extent required by the unit, the unit head/vice president may, with the provost’s advance, written approval, give the faculty member notice of non-renewal in accordance with the standard of notice defined in section IV.C. Standards of Notice for Non-Renewal.

Procedures:

Procedure for Reviewing Administrative or Professional General Faculty for the Expectation of Continued Employment (ECE)

Related Information:

HRM-021, Terms and Conditions of University Staff Employment
HRM-043: Addressing Grievances for Administrative and Professional Non-Tenure-Track Faculty
PROV-004, Employment of Academic General Faculty Members
PROV-029, Faculty Appointment Types and Titles
PROV-045, Faculty External Consulting and Internal Overload

Policy Background:

First statement about “members of the general faculty and academic tenure” was issued in 1975 by President Frank L. Hereford. “Policy on the General Faculty” first issued in 1987 by vice president and provost, Paul R. Gross, under direction of President Robert M. O’Neil. Revised in 1997 by Provost Peter Low to stipulate standards of notice for non-renewal. Revised in 2006 by Provost Gene Block as policy, HRM-003: Employment of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty.

Major Category: Human Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review: 01/03/2020
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President & Provost, 01/03/2017
Revision History: Added: Procedure, 8/9/17; 2nd sentence under Section VII, 2/10/17.
Supersedes (previous policy):
HRM-003, Employment of Non-Tenure-Track-Faculty; Policy on General Faculty