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  3. Termination of Faculty Policy and Procedures

Termination of Faculty Policy and Procedures

Policy Author:
Faculty Senate

Responsible Office-Department:
Faculty Senate

Effective Date of Policy:
Fall 2021

Purpose:

Establish guidelines and procedures around the termination of faculty members.

Scope:

All faculty, deans and VPAA

Policy Narrative:

Taken from Faculty Handbook:

https://my.daemen.edu/faculty-staff/faculty-handbook/full-time/handbook.pdf

XI. TERMINATION OF FACULTY

A. Non-Renewal of Contract
  1. Tenured faculty members in accordance with Article X Tenure and Promotion are given a permanent appointment and may only be terminated for Cause, Program Termination/Reduction, or Financial Exigency (see Sections B – E below). 
  2. Full-time faculty members without tenure serve pursuant to contracts for a specific period of time. Such faculty members will not be terminated during the term of the contract except for Cause (see Section B) or as set forth in the faculty member’s contract. A decision not to renew a contract of a full-time faculty member without tenure should be made in accordance with the procedure set forth below. Such faculty who do not receive notice of non-renewal by the required dates can assume renewal of contract. Such faculty serving pursuant to a contract of more than one (1) year shall receive notification of the salary for the next academic year by March 15.
  3. Part-time faculty contracts terminate at the end of the contract term and no notice is required.
  4. Notice of Non-RenewalIf the university intends to terminate a full-time faculty member without tenure at the end of the contract year and not issue a contract for the succeeding year (non-renewal), no reason is necessary; however, written notice of non-renewal must be given to the faculty member in accordance with the following policy:
    1. Not later than March 1 of the first academic year of service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year; or, if a one-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least three months in advance of the termination; 
    2. Not later than January 15 of the second academic year of service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year;
    3. At least twelve months before the expiration of an appointment after two or more years in the institution.
  5. Procedure for Non-Renewal:
    1. Normally, the non-renewal of a contract for a full-time faculty member without tenure is the responsibility of the Department Chair after receiving the approval of a majority of the tenured members of the department. In a department with less than three (3) tenured faculty members, the Chairperson shall take this initiative only after receiving the majority approval of the Departmental Personnel Advisory Committee (see Article V.C. DPAC).
    2. When the full-time faculty member without tenure in question is the Department Chairperson, or when the Department Chairperson remains impervious to continual complaints about one of the department faculty members, non-renewal shall be initiated by the appropriate Divisional Dean who must consult with and obtain approval of a majority of the department’s tenured faculty, including DPAC members (see Article V.C. DPAC).
    3. The Department Chair will notify the VPAA of the department’s non-renewal recommendation.  If in agreement with the recommendation, the VPAA will send written notice of non-renewal to the faculty member with copies to the Divisional Dean and Department Chairperson.
  6. Appeal of Non-Renewal. A faculty member who has received a notice of non-renewal may seek review from the Faculty Review Committee (see Article V.E.1). The notice of appeal must be in writing and delivered to the Chairperson of the Faculty Review Committee within fifteen (15) calendar days after the notice of non-renewal was sent. The review by the committee shall be limited to whether the proper procedure for non-renewal was followed. No hearing is required, although the committee may consider written arguments and/or interview relevant witnesses including the appellant. The findings and recommendation of the Faculty Review Committee shall be sent to the VPAA who will make the final decision.
B. Termination for Cause

All faculty, whether full-time or part-time, may be disciplined for Cause, including such sanctions as suspension or termination at any time during the employment term. “Cause” shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following:

1.  Failure to meet responsibilities as a faculty member as set forth in Article VIII. Faculty Responsibilities or to follow Daemen University policies;

2.  Willful dishonesty, including, but not limited to, theft, academic dishonesty, research misconduct, plagiarism, or forgery;

3.  Any violation of the Drug-Free Workplace or Alcohol policies: https://www.daemen.edu/sites/default/files/documents/Staff-Administrative-Handbook.pdf;

4.  Physical abuse or threat of abuse against another member of Daemen University;

5.  A violation of Daemen University’s policy prohibiting sexual harassment;

https://www.daemen.edu/about/working-daemen/employee-policies

6.  The commission of an act which constitutes a crime under Federal or State law;

7.  For serious violations of professional ethics (see Appendix J);

8.  Unauthorized use of university resources, including misuse of information technology as described in the Daemen Technology Acceptable Use Policy:

https://www.daemen.edu/about/policies-and-procedures/technology-acceptable-use-policy

9.  Actions that jeopardize Daemen University itself or its reputation. 

C.  Procedure for Termination or Discipline for Cause

1.  When the VPAA receives reports of instances or allegations of faculty conduct that may be subject to discipline or termination, the VPAA will consult with the Department Chair and Divisional Dean to review the facts and develop a course of action. Where possible, an effort will be made to agree on a resolution acceptable to the faculty member involved. If the matter cannot be informally resolved or is determined by the VPAA to warrant discipline or termination, the faculty member shall receive written notice of Cause and disciplinary actions taken.  Discipline will not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom (see Article XIV).

2.   A faculty member who has been suspended or terminated may request a review proceeding, within seven days of receiving the letter of discipline by sending a letter to the VPAA and to the Faculty Review Committee.

3.  The Faculty Review Committee will schedule a hearing in order to complete the review within thirty days. The faculty member will be given at least ten (10) days’ notice of the hearing unless a shorter period is agreed to by the faculty member. Members of the Faculty Review Committee who have been involved will be replaced by elected alternate members (see Article V.E.4). 

4.  The faculty member has the right to see any evidentiary materials in advance of the hearing.  The Faculty Review Committee will set a common deadline in advance of the hearing for the submission of any written materials that parties wish to submit for their review.

5.     At the hearing, the faculty member will be permitted to appear and speak before the Faculty Review Committee and may be assisted by an advisor. If the advisor is an attorney, the committee will be informed prior to the meeting so that the administration and the committee can arrange for legal representation at the hearing.  The advisor may consult with the faculty member but may not directly participate in questioning witnesses. Documents and other evidence directly related to the proposed reasons for the discipline will be made available to the committee and the faculty member by the administration, and the faculty member may present documents, letters, and other evidence. The faculty member, the administration, and the committee may call witnesses who have relevant information. All parties and the committee will have the right to ask questions.  The hearing will be closed to only the parties and their witnesses unless all parties, including the VPAA and the committee, agree to a public hearing. A formal transcript or audiovisual recording of the meeting will be made available to the committee, the faculty member and the VPAA.

6.  During an executive (closed) session, the Faculty Review Committee, by majority vote, will determine whether or not adequate cause for the discipline has been established and will so report to the VPAA. The standard of proof shall be a preponderance of the evidence. The committee may recommend alternative disciplinary action such as a formal reprimand, or suspension without pay for a specific period of time. In cases of research misconduct (see Appendix C Research Integrity Policy), the committee may recommend the suspension or termination of the research in question. The committee’s recommendation will be made to the VPAA. If in agreement with the committee’s finding, the VPAA will make a recommendation to the President. If the committee and the VPAA disagree, they will meet with the President to present their respective views. The President will report a final decision to the VPAA who will inform the faculty member and the committee in writing.

7.  Suspension of the faculty member during dismissal proceedings is justified if the continued presence of the faculty member on campus will present a serious disruption to the department, to the conduct of classes, or if the faculty member presents danger to self, to others, or to Daemen University. Suspension of a faculty member during the period of dismissal proceedings will be with pay unless the reasons for dismissal involve a criminal offense. If the faculty member has requested a Faculty Review Committee proceeding on dismissal, the faculty member may also request that the committee consider whether a suspension without pay was justified.

D. Termination of Full-Time Appointments due to Financial Exigency

 Termination of any full-time faculty appointment before the end of the specified term may also occur under circumstances because of a bona fide financial exigency, i.e., an imminent financial crisis which threatens the survival of the institution as a whole and which cannot be alleviated by less drastic means. In such a case, the following process will be followed:

  1. Evidence that a state of financial exigency exists will be presented to the Faculty Senate by the President of the University on behalf of the Board of Trustees. The Faculty Senate, after discussion, may vote to concur in the decision that financial exigency is in effect, or may dissent and follow the procedures in this section under protest.
  2. Once the President decides to retract faculty members due to exigency, the Faculty Senate will appoint a Faculty Reduction Committee from the full-time faculty (see also Article V.F).  The committee will be comprised of both tenured and non-tenured faculty, with equal divisional representation and one at-large member for a total of five (5) committee members.  The VPAA will meet with the Faculty Reduction Committee to discuss the extent and distribution of faculty reductions. This discussion shall include solutions such as early retirement offers and other good-faith efforts to minimize the necessary cuts. If a joint resolution cannot be reached, the administration shall implement the solutions it believes to be in the best interests of Daemen University, while observing the standards of seniority below in Section E.
  3. Faculty members who receive notice of the administration’s intention to terminate their appointment because of financial exigency will have the right to a hearing before the Faculty Reduction Committee. The issues in this hearing may include.
    1. The existence and extent of financial exigency unless the Faculty Senate has concurred that such a condition exists. The administration must provide evidence of the existence and extent of the condition. The findings of a faculty committee in a previous proceeding involving the same issue may be introduced.
    2. Whether the selection of the faculty member for termination was arbitrary or an abuse of discretion.
  4. If the institution terminates appointments due to financial exigency, it will not simultaneously make new appointments, except in extraordinary circumstances in which a serious distortion in the academic program would otherwise result.
  5. The appointment of a faculty member with tenure will not be terminated in favor of retaining a faculty member without tenure, except in extraordinary circumstances in which a serious distortion of the academic program would otherwise result.
  6. In all cases of termination of a tenured faculty member because of financial exigency, the place of the faculty member concerned will not be filled by a replacement within a period of two (2) academic years, unless the released faculty member has been offered reinstatement and a reasonable time during which to accept or decline it.
  7. Before terminating an appointment because of financial exigency, the institution, in conjunction with the Faculty Reduction Committee, will make a reasonable effort to place a tenured faculty member affected in another suitable position within the institution. If placement in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, financial and other support for such training will be proffered.
E. Faculty Seniority under Financial Exigency

1.  A faculty member is tenured to the institution rather than to a specific department.

2.  A tenured faculty member is senior to a non-tenured faculty member.  Seniority is also determined by professional rank: (1) Distinguished Professor; (2) Professor; (3) Associate Professor; (4) Assistant Professor (see also Article IX Faculty Rank). 

3.  Seniority shall also be determined within ranks by the number of years of service to Daemen University with full-time instructional contracts. If two faculty members within the same rank have the same number years of full-time service, the person with the greater number of hours of part-time service, if applicable, shall have the greater seniority. Sabbaticals or authorized Leaves of Absence (for the purpose of promoting professional development of the faculty member) for one year or less shall be considered as full-time instructional experience.

F. Termination of Appointments outside Financial Exigency

Termination of a full-time faculty appointment before the end of the specified term, may occur as a result of bona fide discontinuance or suspension of a department or program.  In such a situation, the following standards and procedures will apply:

1. Investigation and RecommendationsThe decision to discontinue or suspend a program or department of instruction will be based upon educational and economic considerations. When such a possibility is determined by the administration, the VPAA will direct the Senate to appoint a multi-disciplinary Task Force, including Educational Policy Committee member representation (selected by EPC) to investigate the department’s/program’s sustainability.  The Task Force may recommend discontinuation, suspension, or faculty reduction to the VPAA.

a)  Discontinuation or Suspension of a Department or Program:

If the administration subsequently decides to discontinue or suspend a department or program, the VPAA will first inform affected faculty members and make every effort to reassign tenured faculty members to other suitable positions.
 
b)  Faculty Reduction

If rather than discontinuing/suspending a department or program(following the Task Force report), the administration subsequently determines to reduce a department or program in number of faculty positions, the proposed reduction shall then be considered for educational impact, curricular and/or programmatic needs by the EPC.  If the EPC also recommends a reduction in faculty numbers, the Faculty Reduction Committee (in accordance with Section D.2 above and Article V.F Faculty Reduction Committee) will recommend to the VPAA which positions to terminate. Before doing so, the administration must first inform affected faculty members and make every effort to reassign tenured faculty members to other suitable positions.  Any reductions in a department or program will be determined according to curricular and/or programmatic needs in accordance with faculty seniority to the extent practical (see Section “E” above). 
c)  Reassignment:  

If reassignment in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, financial and other support for such training will be proffered. If no suitable position is available within the institution, with or without retraining, the tenured faculty member’s appointment may be terminated, but only with provision for notice and/or salary continuation (see  Article XII Severance Benefits).

2.  Faculty Appeal of Termination:  A faculty member may appeal a proposed termination resulting from a program discontinuance, suspension, or recommendation for faculty reduction.  Such a hearing will be held before a Faculty Review Committee to ensure that due process has been followed.  Following the hearing, the Faculty Review Committee will make a recommendation to the VPAA, who will render the final decision.

Updated on September 8, 2022

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