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May 18, 2001

Conduct policy finally clears senate

by Linda Charles
Four years of work culminated in a simple hand count as the Faculty Senate approved a proposed conduct policy May 1.

The only discussion was a quick affirmative vote to accept changes made to the policy during a special senate "committee of the whole" meeting April 24. The senate then voted 49-10 to accept the conduct policy, which will be forwarded to the administration for approval.

Mediation and formal routes available
Under the policy, a complaint against a faculty member may be addressed through mediation or a formal process. If mediation is unsuccessful, the formal route still may be pursued.

The formal process involves:
  • A faculty review board that reports to the provost, if minor sanctions are expected, or
  • A major sanction committee that reports to the university president.
Minor sanctions include probation, suspension without pay for less than a month, minor reassignment of duties, mandatory training, probationary period, letters of reprimand, restrictions on contact with the person filing the complaint, and reparations of less than $2,000.

Major sanctions include dismissal, suspension without pay for at least a month, salary reduction, loss of graduate supervision privileges, cancelled graduate college member-ship, removal of distinguished titles, reparations of $2,000 or more and significant reassignment of duties.

Non-tenured faculty policy postponed
In other business, the senate agreed to postpone until fall discussion of a policy that would provide temporary faculty longer employment opportunities.

The proposed policy would allow a temporary faculty member, with approval of appropriate faculty, to be appointed to a continuing position of "senior lecturer" or "clinician." Currently, full-time temporary faculty can only be employed for five years.

The senate generally appeared to like the continuing lecturer proposal, but it balked at a another section of the proposed policy that would limit the percentage of course hours that could be taught by non-tenure track faculty.

The original proposal called for limiting that percentage to 15 percent in any department and 5 percent in any college and the university as a whole. In March, the senate rejected the idea of capping course hours taught by temporary faculty.

In April, Christine Pope, who chairs the task force that developed the policy, presented an amendment to reinstate caps at a higher level – 25 percent for departments and 15 percent for colleges and the university.

However, the senate could not agree on how to define the percentages. Some advocated basing percentages on the number of courses in a department; others on the number of student credit hours.

The task force will continue working this summer on defining the percentages and present a revised document to the senate in September.

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