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General Description
Requirements
Policy Provisions
Performance Evaluation
Subject Experts
Discipline and Termination of Employment
Policy

Document Number: FacHR--117 Revision #: 1.0
Document Owner: Executive VP Date Last Updated: 07/11/2013
Primary Author: Director of Human Resources Status: Approved
Date Originally Created: 01/20/2012

General Description
Description:

Information about discipline and termination of employment of faculty relative to HR policy.


Purpose:

Delineation of faculty HR policy.


Scope:

Faculty


Responsibility: Academic Affairs
Administration
VP for Academic Affairs
Human Resources
VP for Academic Affairs

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Requirements
Relevant Knowledge: In order to comply with this policy you should know:
Current University policy
Federal statutes
Local statutes
State statutes

Terms and Definitions: Additional training

Corrective Action

Loss of privilege, general

Suspension

Termination

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Policy Provisions
1.

Discipline and Termination of Employment


1.1

Resignation


A faculty member may resign or may decline to be considered for reappointment, effective at the end of the academic year.  The University requests that he/she give written notice at the earliest possible opportunity, and in no event later than May 1st to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, regarding his/her intent to terminate or to decline reappointment.  A faculty member may request a waiver of this requirement of notice in case of hardship or in a situation where he/she would be denied substantial professional advancement or other opportunity.

 


1.2

Retirement


A full-time faculty member seeking retirement before the date that his/her appointment ends is requested to give at least sixty (60) days advance written notice to his/her School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  

 


1.3

Non-Reappointment/Non-Renewal


Purpose

The purpose of the procedure set forth herein is to describe the policy to be followed regarding the non-reappointment of faculty with nine or twelve-month appointments.  This procedure is not necessary for faculty members who hold an appointment letter explicitly stating that there will be no renewal or reappointment proposal offered at the end of the current appointment period.

 

Definition

Non-reappointment and Non-renewal are used interchangeably to mean the decision not to offer a faculty member another appointment proposal at the end of the current appointment period.

 

Procedure

When the University Administration decides that the appointment of a faculty member holding a nine or twelve-month appointment is not to be renewed due to existing and/or anticipated budget or institutional needs of the University including realignment of the University’s budget or curriculum, or due to the faculty member’s failure to comply with faculty duties, and/or expectations, University policies, rules or regulations, standards of professionalism, misconduct on the part of the faculty member, failure to meet the terms and conditions of the appointment letter, and/or failure to meet the University’s performance standards, the University will attempt to give written notice of the non-renewal decision to the faculty member by March 15th of the academic year in which the decision is reached.

 

Appeal

Should a faculty member who has received a letter of non-renewal allege that the decision against reappointment was based significantly on considerations in violation of (1) academic freedom or (2) governing policies on making appointments without prejudice with respect to race, sex, religion, national origin, age, and/or disability, he/she should submit a written appeal to the Director of Human Resources within 30 days of receipt of non-renewal notice.

 

1. Upon receipt of the faculty member’s written appeal, the Director of Human Resources will appoint an Appeals Panel, consisting of at least three (3) full-time University employees, who have no direct authority over the faculty member; at least one must be a full-time, non-administrative faculty member who has no direct authority over the appealing faculty member.  The individuals selected for the Appeals Panel may be selected from any department at the University and need not be in the appealing faculty member’s department, all in the sole discretion of the Human Resources; however, an effort should be made to place at least one member on the Panel from the faculty member’s department if an objective member of the department can be identified who is willing to serve.

2. The Appeals Panel will investigate the written allegation that the decision against reappointment was based significantly on considerations in violation of academic freedom or governing policies on making appointments without prejudice.  The investigation will include discussion(s) with the faculty member and may include inviting witnesses who have direct knowledge of the events or circumstances alleged to attend the discussion(s), meeting(s), and/or hearing(s).

3. Because the appeal process is an internal process and not a formal legal hearing, it is not open to others outside the University community.  Neither the faculty member nor the University may have an attorney participate at any meeting during the appeals process.

4. After the Appeals Panel concludes the investigation, the Panel will submit a written recommendation, addressing each of the faculty member’s allegations, within ten (10) business days to the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University.  The Vice President for Academic Affairs will consider the Appeal Panel’s recommendation(s) and act to modify or maintain the non-renewal action.

5. If the faculty member is not satisfied with the decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University, he/she may file a written appeal to the University President within five (5) business days of the decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The President has thirty (30) calendar days to reach a decision on the faculty member’s appeal, which shall be in writing to the faculty member and copied to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The President’s decision shall be a final determination of the issue.   

 

 


1.4

Reduction in Faculty Appointments


Purpose

To provide a procedure for reducing the size of the professional employee staff holding faculty rank as determined by the President.

 

Definition

Reduction in Faculty Appointments:  This is the involuntary termination of a faculty member’s employment due to an actual or anticipated lack of sufficient funds, a lack of sufficient student enrollment in certain programs or disciplines, a reorganization, a change in curriculum, or other circumstances requiring faculty reductions as determined by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the President of the University.

 

Procedure

When the Board of Trust and the President decide it is necessary to reduce the size of the faculty, the President, after consultation with the Vice President for Academic Affairs and other appropriate persons, will notify the faculty members of their termination.

 

Except under exigent circumstances, as determined by the Board of Trust, termination of a faculty member under this policy shall be effective at the end of the fiscal year.  When emergency action is required, the affected faculty member shall be notified as early as possible no later than thirty (30) days prior to the effective termination date.

 

Employee Benefits

Salary payments and employee benefits will cease on the date of termination, unless otherwise required by law.

 

Appeal Process

There shall be no appeal.


1.5

Discipline Not Resulting in Termination of Appointment


The University recognizes that certain actions by a faculty member may constitute cause for termination of that faculty member’s appointment.  Each circumstance is different and progressive discipline is often a more equitable response to problematic work conduct than dismissal.  This policy sets forth the procedure for progressive discipline of a faculty member by the University.  This Section does not create a right to progressive discipline and does not, and shall not be construed to, create an expectation that progressive discipline will be utilized in lieu of dismissal for cause in any given situation, regardless of whether progressive discipline was utilized previously for the faculty member or any other person in the same, similar or other circumstances.  Rather, the University may utilize the progressive discipline set forth in this section at its sole and absolute discretion on a case-by-case basis.

 

Should the University, in its sole and absolute discretion, determine to use progressive discipline in any particular matter, the following guidelines will apply to the process:

 

Level One:  When reason arises to question the continued employment of a faculty member whose term of appointment has not expired, the faculty member’s School Dean shall discuss the matter with the faculty member in conference.  The School Dean shall then forward to the faculty member a written memorandum outlining the nature of the items discussed in the conference and stating that further discipline, up to and including dismissal, could result if the faculty member does not correct the delineated items.  Where appropriate, time lines should be provided to the faculty member.  The School Dean shall provide a copy of the memorandum to the Director of Human Resources to place in the faculty member’s personnel file.  The faculty member may respond in writing to this memorandum by providing a copy of his or her response to the School Dean and the Director of Human Resources.  The Director of Human Resources will place the response in the faculty member’s personnel file.

 

Level Two:  If the items identified in Level One are not resolved, the faculty member or the School Dean may request in writing a conference with the Vice President for Academic Affairs to discuss the matter.  Following the conference, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall forward to the faculty member a written memorandum outlining the nature of the items of discussion at the conference.  The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall provide a copy of the memorandum to the Director of Human Resources who will place it in the faculty member’s personnel file.  The faculty member may respond in writing to this memorandum by providing a copy to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Director of Human Resources.  The Director of Human Resources will place the response in the faculty member’s personnel file.

 

The University’s progressive discipline policy and procedure does not require the faculty member to be given the option of a Level Two discipline prior to the initiation of dismissal proceedings.

 

The University’s progressive discipline policy and procedure does not limit the number of times that a faculty member may be afforded Level One and/or Level Two progressive discipline for the same or for different conduct, and the fact that the faculty member has been granted progressive discipline in the past shall not expressly or implicitly create a right or expectation that the faculty member will be granted progressive discipline again for any reason.

 

The materials used, submitted and/or filed in any progressive discipline matter may be used in the event dismissal proceedings for termination of appointment are initiated against a faculty member.

 


1.6

Dismissal for Cause


Definition

Dismissal for Cause is the involuntary termination of a faculty member’s employment during the term of his/her appointment.  Dismissal for Cause is not the same action, and should not be considered, as a Non-Reappointment/Non-Renewal or a Reduction in Force.  Hence, the process, rights and obligations for Dismissal for Cause set forth in this section do not apply to a Non-Reappointment/Non-Renewal and/or a Reduction in Force.

Potential reasons for dismissal for cause may include, but are not limited to:

 

1. A record of professional incompetence over time as evidenced by evaluations and/or other documentation;

2. Gross insubordination;

3. Sexual or discriminatory harassment;

4. A physical or mental incapacity that, even with reasonable accommodation, leaves the faculty member unable to perform the essential duties of the position;

5. Gross professional negligence or dereliction of duty on the part of a faculty member;

6. Misrepresentation of scholarly expertise or credentials;

7. Personal Misconduct which affects the faculty member’s ability to fulfill his or her duties to the University; and/or

8. Violation of applicable laws, rules or regulations in the performance of an individual’s duties as a member of the University’s faculty and/or a faculty member’s violation of the University’s Charter, Bylaws, the Cumberland University Faculty Handbook.

 

Notification of Decision to Initiate Formal Dismissal for Cause Proceedings

The University may initiate formal Dismissal for Cause proceedings by notifying the faculty member in writing (said notice referred to hereinafter as the “Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings”).   The Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings will be issued by the School Dean, will specify the reason(s) the University alleges dismissal is appropriate and any applicable facts and/or evidence on which the allegation(s) is based.  The Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings may be delivered to the faculty member by certified mail, return receipt requested, by hand-delivery provided the faculty member signs a confirmation of delivery, by a national overnight courier that provides tracking results which confirm delivery to the faculty member’s home or business address, or by email with read receipt required.

 

Upon receipt of the Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings, the faculty member is presented with three (3) options which he or she may follow in his or her sole discretion:

 

1. Option One:  Request an Informal Resolution.  The faculty member may seek to resolve the matter informally.  This option requires the faculty member to submit a written notice requesting the same within three (3) business days of the University’s delivery of the Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings.  A faculty member is not required to pursue this option before or in lieu of the other two options.

 

2. Option Two: Request Formal Dismissal Proceeding.  A faculty member may request a Formal Dismissal Proceeding..  The faculty member is presented with this option if he or she does not desire to request an informal resolution provided that the faculty member submits a written request for a Formal Dismissal Proceeding to the School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs within three (3) business days of the University’s delivery of the Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings.  The faculty member is also presented with this option if he or she cannot resolve the matter provided that the faculty member delivers the written request for a Formal Dismissal Proceeding to the School Dean and the Vice President for academic Affairs within three (3) business days of delivery of the notice from the School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs to proceed with formal Dismissal for cause proceedings.

 

3. Option Three:  Agree to Dismissal.  A faculty member who fails to comply with the notice requirements for an Informal Resolution of the matter and/or to request a Formal Dismissal Proceeding will be deemed to have consented to the dismissal.  In this event, dismissal shall be effective on the second business day after the deadline passes to seek and Informal Resolution and/or to request a Formal Dismissal Proceeding.  A faculty member may also provide written notice to the School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs that he or she will not request a hearing and/or contest the dismissal.  

 

Restriction, Suspension and Pay

The University may suspend the faculty member from further duties or restrict the faculty member from certain duties and/or prohibit the faculty member’s presence at the University or at any University-related events until dismissal proceedings are complete if it determines that the same is appropriate under applicable laws, rules and/or regulations or that the faculty member’s continued work or any aspect thereof and/or presence at the University presents a substantial risk of harm to any member of the University’s community, to its accreditation status, or to its goodwill.  The faculty member will continue to receive pay until the suspension from duties, restriction(s) and/or prohibition from being present at the University is lifted or until a final determination is made to dismiss the faculty member for cause.

 

Procedure for Faculty Member to Request an Informal Resolution of Issues Raised in Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings

The faculty member may request to resolve the issues raised in the Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings through an in-person meeting with the School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.  The faculty member must submit the request in writing to the School Dean, with a copy to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, within three (3) business days of the University’s delivery of the Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings.  The in-person meeting should be held within two (2) weeks of the request being made.

 

Within three (3) business days of the in-person meeting, the School Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs may elect to issue a written decision to the faculty member conveying their decision to resolve the issues through Discipline Not Resulting in Termination of Appointment.  A copy of the written decision shall be delivered to the Director of Human Resources who will place the decision in the faculty member’s personnel file.  

 

If the School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs determine to proceed with formal Dismissal for Cause proceedings, they shall so notify the faculty member in writing within three (3) business days of the in-person meeting.  Upon the faculty member’s receipt of the notice to proceed with formal Dismissal for Cause proceedings, the faculty member may request in writing a formal Dismissal for Cause hearing provided the faculty member delivers the written request for a Formal Dismissal Proceeding to the School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs within three (3) business days of delivery of the notice from the School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs to proceed with formal Dismissal for Cause proceedings.  If the faculty member fails to meet this timeline, he or she will be deemed to have consented to the dismissal and no hearing shall be necessary.

 

Formal Dismissal Proceedings

 

The process for Formal Dismissal Proceedings shall be as follows:

 

Step One:   The School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the Director of Human Resources within 24 business hours of their receipt of a faculty member’s request for a Formal Dismissal Proceeding.  

 

     Step Two:  Within five (5) business days of receiving notice of a request for a Formal Dismissal Proceeding, the Director of Human Resources will appoint a Hearing Panel, consisting of at least three (3) University employees, one of which must be a full-time, non-administrative faculty member who has no direct authority over the requesting faculty member.  The Hearing Panel may be comprised of persons who are not full-time faculty members.  A faculty member selected for the Hearing Panel may be in any department of the University and may be chosen at the sole discretion of the Director of Human Resources, but the Director of Human Resources should seek to include at least one (1) member from the requesting faculty member’s department if an objective person can be identified who is willing to serve on the Hearing Panel.  

 

Step Three:  The Director of Human Resources will provide the Hearing Panel with a copy of the University’s Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings and any other written notices or correspondence from the University pertaining to the matters at issue in the Written Notice to Initiate Dismissal Proceedings, along with any written notice(s), response(s) and/or correspondence from the faculty member pertaining to the same.

 

Step Four:  The Hearing Panel will set a hearing date, time and location no more than three (3) weeks from the date it is formed (the “Hearing Date” or the “Hearing”), and it will notify the faculty member, the School Dean, the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Director of Human Resources of the Hearing Date.   In the notice, the Hearing Panel shall identify the Director of Human Resources as the person to whom the additional evidence identified in Step Five below should be directed, along with contact information for the Director of Human Resources and the preferred method of delivering this information.  The Director of Human Resources will be responsible for providing copies of the Step Five additional information to the Hearing Panel and to the faculty member, the School Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs within 24 hours of his or her receipt of the same.

 

Step Five:  Additional information as specified in this Step Five must be submitted to the Director of Human Resources no less than five (5) business days prior to the Hearing Date.  The additional information may consist of the following:  (a) the University may submit a written brief in support of its position to the Hearing Panel; (b) the University may submit any evidence in support of the statements made in its written brief that it wishes the Hearing Panel to consider; (c) the faculty member may submit a written brief in support of his or her position to the Hearing Panel; and (d) the faculty member may submit any evidence in support of the statements made in his or her brief or that otherwise contradict the University’s position which he or she wishes the Hearing Panel to consider.  In addition to the aforementioned information, the Director of Human Resources shall submit to the Hearing Panel any information in the faculty member’s personnel file that is relevant to the matters at issue.

 

Step Six:  The Hearing Panel will review all written material for its consideration prior to the Hearing and determine whether it desires to procure testimony from witnesses at the Hearing.  If it determines to hear the testimony of a witness, it shall notify the University and the faculty member of the witness being called.  As a general guide, the faculty member should be afforded an opportunity to confront all adverse witnesses except in circumstances where the Hearing Panel determines that the witness should be safeguarded.  

 

Step Seven:  The Hearing Panel shall exercise its discretion to determine whether the Hearing should be private or public.  The Hearing shall be recorded to create a permanent record of the proceedings and in a manner that identifies each speaker and all persons in attendance.  The Hearing Panel shall determine the order of proof and conduct the questioning of all witnesses.  Each side shall be given an opportunity to present its evidence provided that the Hearing Panel may set limitations on the length of presentations. Because the Hearing is an internal process and not a formal legal hearing, it is not open to persons outside the University community.  Accordingly, while either side may obtain the assistance of counsel in connection with the Hearing, an attorney may not participate at any meeting during the formal dismissal process.

 

Step Eight:  Within five (5) business days after the Hearing, the Hearing Panel will submit written findings of facts, conclusions and recommendations based on the evidence before it for each ground for dismissal alleged by the University (a “Written Recommendation”).  The Hearing Panel need not wait to transcribe the recording of the Hearing in order to issue its Written Recommendation.   The Hearing Panel will issue the Written Recommendation to the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University and the faculty member, and provide a copy to the School Dean and the Director of Human Resources.  The Vice President for Academic Affairs will accept or reject the Written Recommendation of the Hearing Panel by submitting a written notice of his or her decision to the faculty member, the School Dean and the Director of Human Resources within five (5) business days of his or her receipt of the Written Recommendation.  

 

Appeal of Decision to Dismiss for Cause

If the faculty member is not satisfied with the decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University, he/she may file a written appeal to the University President within five (5) business days of the issuance of the decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The faculty member will copy the Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Director of Human Resources on the appeal.  In reaching a decision on the appeal, the President will consider all evidence presented before the Hearing Panel, the Hearing Panel’s Written Recommendation, and the written decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs following issuance of the Hearing Panel’s Written Recommendation (such evidence for the President’s consideration referred to hereinafter as the “Hearing Record”).  The President will issue a written decision on the faculty member’s appeal within thirty (30) calendar days of his or her receipt of the Hearing Record and include his or her reasons for reaching that decision.  The President’s decision is final on the matter.


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Performance Evaluation
Performance Metrics: Compliance with standard policy and procedure
Compliance with federal mandate

Consequences: Further training
Job Termination
Suspension
Loss of privileges

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Subject Experts
The following may be consulted for additional information.
VP for Academic Affairs

Director of Human Resources

VP for Academic Affairs

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