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The Board of Trustees Approves Revisions to the Faculty Handbook

Friday, Jun. 4, 2010
 
In June 2010, the Board of Trustees approved several revisions to the Faculty Handbook.
 
Faculty Apointments
Following two years of extensive consultation and hard work by the Faculty Affairs Committee, and a Faculty Senate vote of 108-18, the Board of Trustees approved proposed Faculty Handbook revisions related to categories of faculty appointment and policies applicable to non-tenure-track faculty.
 
The revisions establish four appointment categories: tenured and tenure-track faculty; faculty on renewable-term or continuing appointment; faculty on fixed-term appointment; and faculty with other kinds of appointments. The revisions establish fair and consistent appointment practices across academic units; recognize a new category of renewable-term faculty in order to meet persistent programmatic needs, provide greater stability of appointment, and reduce the burden that repetitive searches place on departments; and set reappointment and promotion procedures for Lecturers and Senior Lecturers.
 
Given the magnitude and complexity of the changes, they will take at least one academic year to implement fully. An undetermined number of fixed-term positions will be converted over time to renewable-term positions based upon a careful determination of programmatic need and available funding.
 
The Board of Trustees approved the new faculty appointment policies, effective immediately, with four stipulations:
 
·          Conversion of fixed-term positions to renewable-term positions shall not be automatic and shall follow a plan to be developed by each College and School and approved by the Provost.
 
·          Lecturers with fixed-term appointments as described in Sections 3.1.2.2 through 3.1.2.2.1.1 shall be subject to all provisions that apply to adjunct lecturers but shall not be converted to “adjunct” titles until September 1, 2011, or the expiration of their current contract, whichever occurs later.
 
·          The third paragraph of Section 3.1.2.2, which sets a limit of six years for certain types of fixed-term appointment, shall go into effect on September 1, 2011. The period of service counted shall include years of service prior to that date.
 
·          Noting that “Specific targets are appropriate for planning documents but not policy documents,” the Board did not approve two passages in the proposed revisions: *
 
o       Section 3.1.1: “Ordinarily, tenured and tenure-track faculty shall constitute no less than one-half of the faculty holding appointments for a full academic year in any department.”
 
o       Section 3.1.2.1: “Faculty with a renewable-term or continuing appointment shall ordinarily not constitute more than one-third the number of tenured and tenure-track faculty in any department. In extraordinary circumstances and with the approval of the dean and Provost, their number may exceed this target.”
 
The Academic Affairs Committee of the Board expressed its willingness to consider quantitative norms in the future if they are accompanied by a strong rationale and a careful analysis of need and financial impact.
 
In the fall, the Provost’s Office will work with the academic deans, the Faculty Affairs Committee, and the Faculty Senate Council to develop an implementation plan for the new appointment policies. In addition, open forums will be held in the fall to discuss the changes.
 
Patent Policy
The new patent policy, previously approved by the Faculty Senate on a vote of 70-7, replaces the current Section 3.7.5 of the Faculty Handbook. It clarifies that the University owns all inventions except those making only “incidental” use of University resources; requires disclosure of inventions to the University; sets procedures for filing and prosecuting patent applications; and extends the policy to staff, students, postdoctoral fellows, and others using University funds, facilities, or other resources. It is anticipated that this policy will accelerate the development of patents.