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Procedures for Appeals to the Faculty Rights Board for Tenure and Promotion Decisions

Procedure
Purpose: 

These procedures establish the process consideration of appeals of negative promotion and tenure decisions, under section 6.8 of the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations, to the Faculty Rights Board from negative tenure decisions.

Applies to: 

Faculty of the University of Kansas, Unclassified Academic Staff who hold Faculty equivalent rank.

Policy Statement: 

Procedures for Appeals to the Faculty Rights Board

for Tenure and Promotion Decisions

(Approved by the Faculty Senate, February 28, 2008)

 

Introduction: Comprehensive amendments to Article VI of the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations have fundamentally altered the manner in which the Faculty Rights Board handles appeals from adverse promotion and tenure decisions. Under the prior system, an appeal would occur after the Chancellor’s decision and involved a lengthy hearing process. Favorable decisions would result in recommendations to the Chancellor for reconsideration, which (if accepted) meant that the tenure and promotion process would be repeated the following year. This system was inconsistent with Board of Regents Policy, which provides that the Chancellor’s decision on promotion and tenure is final and not subject to appeal within the university, and it also created serious practical difficulties if a successful appeal necessitated that the review be repeated the following year.

 

Under the new provisions of Article VI, the timing of appeals has changed and they serve a different function in the promotion and tenure process. Appeals now occur after the recommendation of the Provost and University Committee on Promotion and Tenure, and the appeal recommendations of the Faculty Rights Board go to the Chancellor as part of the full record for his review and decision. This leaves roughly six weeks in which to process the appeals.

 

In light of these changes and the narrow time period for appeal, the current procedures for promotion and tenure appeals to the FRB, which are found in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, must be revised. The amendments to Article VI recognized the need to change the FRB process and included provisions for adopting new procedures for appeals of negative recommendations on promotion and tenure. Given the timing of the changes, which are to be implemented in the 2007-2008 academic year, it was necessary to put in place revised procedures for handling appeals that are filed. These procedures have been adopted by the FRB and approved by the Faculty Senate for provisional use until more comprehensive procedures can be developed based on experience under the new provisions of Article VI.

 

Procedures:

 

1. Under Article VI, if the Provost or University Committee on Promotion and Tenure makes a negative recommendation on promotion and/or tenure, a faculty member may either prepare a written response for inclusion in the record submitted to the Chancellor, or file an appeal with the Faculty Rights Board, whose recommendations will be included in the record submitted to the Chancellor. (FSRR 6.7.5)

 

2. If a faculty member who has been advised of a negative tenure or promotion decision by the Provost elects to file a written response to that recommendation, he or she must submit the response to the Provost within ten calendar days of the first Friday in March of the academic year in which the candidate is being considered for award of tenure and/or promotion in rank. If a faculty member instead elects to appeal to the FRB, he or she must file a written request with the Office of University Governance within ten calendar days of the first Friday in March of the academic year in which the candidate is being considered for award of tenure and/or promotion in rank. (FSRR 6.7.5) A request for appeal may be submitted electronically to the Office of University Governance.

 

3. The request for appeal must specify the ground(s) for appeal, which under FSRR 6.8.1 are limited to:

a)  Violations of procedures established in Article VI or approved pursuant to its provisions that prevent the merits of the case from being fairly heard;

b)  Recommendations at one or more levels of review that constitute a violation of the candidate's academic freedom; and

c)  The demonstrable application at one or more levels of review of standards or criteria other than the standards established in Article VI or approved pursuant to its provisions that prevented the merits of the case from being fairly heard.

 

The request must specifically identify, for each ground of appeal, the circumstances that support the ground, including references in the record. The request must also describe the manner in which the violation or application of standards not contained in Article VI or approved pursuant Article VI interfered with the fair and proper hearing of the merits. (FSRR 6.8.2)

 

4. Upon receipt of a request for appeal, the Office of University Governance will provide copies of the request to the Provost and to the dean, chair, or head of any administrative unit that made a tenure and/or promotion recommendation in the case. The Office of University Governance will also notify the chair of the FRB.

 

5. The Provost and other administrators notified may provide a written response to the request within seven calendar days of receiving copies of the request for appeal.

 

6. The faculty member may request in the appeal that no more than two named members of the FRB be disqualified because they are biased or prejudiced or have a personal interest in the case or its outcome. Within three calendar days of the appeal, the Provost or other administrators could also request that no more than two named members of the FRB be disqualified because they are biased or prejudiced or have a personal interest in the case or its outcome. The request for disqualification shall specify the basis for disqualification. The Board shall determine whether cause for disqualification has been shown within seven calendar days of receiving the appeal. The decision of the FRB is final and shall be communicated promptly to all parties to the appeal. If cause is found, the chair shall promptly notify the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, which shall promptly choose a replacement member. If the request is denied, the request and denial shall be included in the record forwarded to the Chancellor.

 

7. The FRB shall consider the request for appeal, any written responses, and the promotion and tenure record to determine whether the alleged grounds for the appeal are supported by the circumstances presented. The chair will ensure that each member of the board receives a copy of the request and any written responses and has the opportunity to review the full promotion and tenure record.

 

8. The purpose of the FRB’s review is not to review the merits of the promotion and tenure recommendations or substitute its judgment on the merits of the tenure application. Instead, the FRB’s review on appeal is to determine whether specifically defined appealable errors undermined the evaluation process itself in the faculty member’s case and, if so, to recommend to the Chancellor appropriate accommodations or adjustments for his consideration in making the final promotion and tenure decision.

 

9. The chair may determine, in consultation with the other members of the FRB, whether a hearing is necessary to resolve particular issues and the scope of any such hearing to be held. Because the appeal can often be decided on the basis of the promotion and tenure record, the request for appeal, and any written response, and because there is a limited time frame for conducting appeals, the FRB may decide the appeal and make recommendations without conducting a hearing.

 

10. If a hearing is held, it will be confined to issues specified by the chair of the FRB, who has the authority to schedule the hearing, to preside over it, to determine the relevance of testimony or other evidence, and to make other determinations as necessary for the fair and expeditious conduct of the hearing. Throughout the appeal, the candidate bears the burden of proving the alleged grounds for appeal. It is the responsibility of all participants to be flexible regarding scheduling the hearing, and the chair may schedule the hearing during non-business hours. Hearings should be recorded and the recording or an accurate transcript of it should be included in the final promotion and tenure record.

 

11. Following the hearing, if any, the FRB will meet to discuss and deliberate regarding the merits of the appeal. If time constraints prevent a meeting of the full FRB, the chair may make other arrangement for input from all members prior to the FRB determination and recommendation. The FRB shall provide a written explanation of its determination to the faculty member, to the Provost and other administrators involved in the case, and to be included in the record submitted to the Chancellor. The written explanation shall include the FRB determination whether any alleged ground for appeal has been established by the candidate, provide a description of the circumstances supporting the FRB’s determination, and address any disputed factual issues. If a ground for appeal has been established, the written explanation shall also include a statement of the specific procedural error, violation of academic freedom, or application of improper standards and how it affected the fair consideration of the merits. FRB may recommend to the Chancellor appropriate remedial accommodations or adjustments for his consideration of the record in making the final promotion and tenure decision.

 

12. If the FRB is unable to provide a written recommendation to the Chancellor by April 15 of the year in which the appeal was received, the appeal will be deemed completed without recommendation and the FRB will forward all materials of the appeal to the Chancellor to be included in the record of review. The candidate shall be informed that the FRB was unable to provide a recommendation by April 15. The FRB shall provide to the candidate and Chancellor a written statement explaining the reasons why the appeal was completed without recommendation.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

These procedures are generally applicable to all appeals from promotion and tenure decisions under Article VI of the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations.

Consequences: 

Violations of these procedures by parties to an appeal may result in appropriate action by the Faculty Rights Board, including an adverse decision on the appeal.  Violations of procedures by the Faculty Rights Board may be taken into consideration by the Chancellor when evaluating a recommendation of the Board.  Violation of some provisions of these procedures, such as confidentiality requirements, may constitute academic or professional misconduct that is actionable pursuant to other university policies.

Contact: 

University Governance

1450 Jayhawk Blvd, Rm 33, Strong Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045

785-864-5169

Approved by: 
Faculty Rights Board, Faculty Senate
Approved on: 
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Effective on: 
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Background: 

The background and principles underlying this policy are stated in the introduction

Keywords: 
Appeals Promotion and Tenure Decisions; Faculty Rights Board Procedures;
Review, Approval & Change History: 

02/08: Approved by; Faculty Rights Board
02/28/08: Approved by Faculty Senate

Academic Categories: 
Governance
Grievance & Appeals
Personnel: Faculty/Academic Staff Categories: 
Grievance & Appeals
Promotion & Tenure

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