Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

Academic Calendars Agendas & Minutes Committees Committee Members Faculty Policy Guide Honorary Degrees Meeting Schedule Senate Meeting Videos Senate Members

FAC.04.01
February 16, 2004

FACULTY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Annual Report to the Faculty
2002-2003

The Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) is established by the University Statutes, Article II, Section 4, and is elected by the faculty at each campus. It is authorized to investigate grievances and is a channel for direct communication with administrators and a means of voicing suggestions for the good of the University. Any member of the faculty may approach the Committee and is entitled to a conference with the Committee or any member of it. The Statutes also require that FAC make such reports to the Chancellor, the President, the Senate, and the faculty as it deems appropriate.

Last fall, the UIUC Senate approved an amendment to the Senate Bylaws, which reflects recent changes in statutory provisions for the Faculty Advisory Committee. This amendment restricts eligibility for membership on the FAC to tenured faculty, since the FAC frequently considers issues of promotion and tenure. (See SP.03.03; Part E, Section 2; approved 11/4/02.)

The following is a report of FAC activities for 2002-03.

Meetings and Membership

The members of the FAC are agents of the University, concerned first and foremost with the best interests of the institution. The Committee serves as an advocate for fairness with respect to the application of campus policy and procedures.

The FAC meets twice a month throughout the year to consider items brought to its attention by faculty and administrators, and in addition meets at least once each semester with the Provost to discuss specific cases and related or other academic issues. On our campus, the FAC is comprised of nine tenured faculty; three are elected each year for three-year terms. Nominations for 2004-07 appointments will take place between February 6 and 27; elections will be held April 2 through 16.

Caseload

While the FAC hears complaints from any faculty member, the Committee is authorized to make findings only on matters involving procedural irregularities and cannot make judgments related to evaluation of scholarly achievements and activities.

Most grievances are first received by the Committee as consultations. If it is determined that there is merit to the complaint and all other University avenues of appeal have been exhausted, the FAC will appoint a subcommittee to conduct an investigation into the matter. The nature of complaints that come before the FAC vary, and some issues overlap. The cases and consultations considered during 2002-03 can be categorized as follows:

	Description		Cases	Consultations
	Nonreappointment		4	2
	Promotion			-	1
	Administrative Action	-	2
	Salary			1	-
	Partner Hire		1	-
	Discrimination		1	-
	Total			7	5

This statistical breakdown does not necessarily provide a complete representation of the types of problems faculty encounter on the UIUC campus, since many faculty choose not to pursue their grievances to this level. Moreover, in conducting its investigations, the FAC at times discovers underlying issues that go beyond an individual grievance, and these may not be fully reflected in the statistical breakdown.

We note that none of the decisions on the four cases from 2002-03 pertaining to notice of nonreappointment were reversed. Of the remaining three cases, only one was resolved in terms considered favorable to the faculty member.

Issues and Recommendations

Following is a list of issues we have identified in the course of our investigations as recurring and systemic. We have communicated our recommendations in each case to campus administrators.

Information Provided in Notice of Nonreappointment

One recurring difficulty brought to our attention concerns the issuance of nonreappointment notices, specifically the lack of information provided to unsuccessful candidates concerning the reasons for denial of tenured status. As noted in the 2001-02 Annual Report, the Committee has explored ways to promote communication that will afford affected faculty an opportunity to respond to these decisions in a meaningful way.

The majority of cases investigated by the Faculty Advisory Committee are related to tenure denials. Many grievants find that their letter of nonreappointment does not provide sufficient information concerning the reasons for denial of tenure to enable them to appeal the decision effectively. Guidelines provided to deans for wording of nonreappointment letters in Provost's Communication No. 10, Guidelines and Procedures for Notice of Nonreappointment for Nontenured Faculty Members, note only that they should "include enough general information to guide the faculty member who wishes to appeal the decision," adding that "statements such as 'research was not sufficient,' or 'the quality of teaching was not sufficient,' are suitable."

Access to Information

In view of the fact that grievants often receive insufficient information upon which to base an appeal, FAC met with University Counsel to determine what records, in the case of a negative promotion and tenure decision, the employee has access to under the terms of Provost's Communication Nos. 9 and 10 and other applicable regulations, such as the Illinois Employee Access to Records Act and the Personnel Record Review Act.

In conversation with University Counsel we learned that the employee may inspect the letter of the College promotion and tenure committee reporting their decision to the Dean, as well as the letter, if one exists, of the departmental promotion and tenure committee to the head of the department. (External letters of reference solicited for the purpose of the promotion and tenure review are not subject to inspection, unless a court of law determines otherwise.) For explanation of which documents are disclosable, grievants are referred to the section entitled "Confidentiality" under "Evaluation of the Candidate's Performance and Potential" in Provost's Communication No. 9.

Insofar as customary practice on campus has not recognized this right of access, we anticipate that grievants will be permitted to inspect these documents only with some difficulty until the colleges gain more experience with this policy. Nevertheless, we anticipate that in many cases individuals grieving nonreappointment decisions will be able to make more informed decisions about their appeal when they obtain this information.

Procedures for Promotion and Tenure

As noted above, the FAC receives more inquiries related to tenure denial than any other type of grievance. Frequently, the FAC finds that a faculty member has not been fully apprised of her or his unit's expectations for achieving tenured status, and often the P&T process is not well-articulated or properly followed. We believe it would be beneficial to both academic units and their faculty if the campus formulated guidelines for departmental promotion and tenure deliberations, as was done a few years ago for bylaws-based grievance procedures.

Independent Review

FAC continues to urge that appeals of administrative decisions be conducted by an independent committee, specifically, one that does not include individuals who had previously been involved in the original decision-making process. This point was emphasized in our meeting with University Counsel, at which all parties concurred that basic fairness requires having a different group consider the appeal.

Partner Hires

In past conversations with the Provost, FAC has raised the matter of partner hires and proposed that guidelines for the evaluation and review of partner candidates in the Dual Career Academic Couples Program be developed as for Target of Opportunity Program (TOP) candidates. We believe such guidelines would be helpful both to academic units and to faculty.

* * * * * * * * *

This report and previous annual reports can be found on-line at www.fac.uiuc.edu/. The FAC Articles of Procedure are attached.

Respectfully submitted,

2002-03 Committee		2003-04 Committee
Gerald J. Janusz, Chair	Mary P. Stuart, Chair
Ellen E. Deason		Paul Gerding
Paul Gerding		Carl G. Jockusch (r. Fall 2003)
Herman Krier		Sandra Kopels
Guillermo Mendoza		Herman Krier
Lynn Barnett Morris	Guillermo Mendoza
Jan Novakofski		Lynn Barnett Morris
Beth Sandore		Jan Novakofski
Mary P. Stuart		Beth Sandore
			Billie Theide (e. Spring 2004)

January 2004

ATTACHMENT: FAC Articles of Procedure


FACULTY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Articles of Procedure

(Adopted October 2, 2003)

1. Any faculty member or retired faculty member may voice a suggestion or request consideration of a grievance to any member of the FAC. No committee member may refuse to hear such suggestion or grievance. Any matter thus presented shall be promptly reported to the FAC. A member of the faculty or a retired member may also request FAC attention to any matter in the interest of the University and specifically to any grievance. The FAC distinguishes between consultations and cases. The initial consultation stage involves collection of information about the basic facts and issues related to a suggestion or grievance. If after review at the consultation stage the FAC judges the matter to be within its scope, it may instruct the chair to (a) take up the matter with appropriate University authorities, or (b) appoint a subcommittee from its membership which shall investigate and report its findings and recommendations to the committee. The FAC prefers to investigate a suggestion or grievance after all other University avenues of appeal have been exhausted. Further, the faculty member submitting a grievance should be informed of the inadvisability of concurrent investigations of his/her case by other University or external channels and the FAC.

2. The committee shall review the subcommittee report and take one or more of the following actions:

(a) Return it to the subcommittee with appropriate instructions.
(b) Arrange meetings of the committee with parties concerned.
(c) Instruct the chair to take up the matter with appropriate University authorities.
(d) Accept the subcommittee report.
(e) Communicate its conclusions to the faculty member and to appropriate administrators and others, as listed at the bottom of the communication.
(f) Dismiss the matter.
(g) Take any action it deems desirable in the best interest of the faculty member involved and of the University.

3. Whenever the committee reaches a recommendation that administrative action affecting a grievance should be taken, appropriate parties to the grievance shall be notified promptly and given the opportunity to bring to the committee's attention within a reasonable time any misunderstandings which might have affected the committee's conclusions, or bring to the committee's attention any additional information relevant to the inquiry.

4. A recommendation involving administrative action will be accompanied by the request that the matter be considered within thirty (30) days and the committee informed of the outcome.

5. A chair is elected by a majority vote of the entire committee. The chair may designate a chair pro tempore to conduct official business of the committee in his/her absence. As an elected member, the chair shall have one vote on all questions, except as noted in Article 6 below.

6. A member of the committee shall be disqualified, either by his/her own initiative or by a majority vote of the committee, from voting on any matter with elements of conflicting interest. On those occasions when the chair might be deemed to have a conflict of interest, a chair pro tempore shall be designated to conduct official business of the committee.

7. A committee member shall accept no gifts from any party to a grievance.

8. Five members shall constitute a quorum. Approval by a majority of those members present shall be required for adoption of any measure, except in the cases of public statements, member replacements, or amendments to these articles, as indicated below. A minority may file a statement to accompany any recommendation by the majority.

9. Any matter coming before the committee shall be held confidential. There may be circumstances in which one or more of the persons concerned and the committee agree otherwise. If this should occur or if a public statement is made concerning the committee's role in the matter, confidentiality will continue to be maintained for those aspects of the matter not mentioned in the public statement. Any public statement made by the committee in such circumstances shall be made by the chair or his/her appointee and shall have prior approval by a majority (5) of the entire committee. If litigation should occur in a matter before the committee and it becomes impossible to avoid disclosure of documents or testimony because of court orders, the committee as a body or any member of the committee must comply.

10. At the request of the chair, and with the approval of a majority (5) of the committee members, a former member may be recalled to participate in current committee deliberations and actions involving a case in which he/she previously performed a principal role. During such deliberations, the former member shall be accorded the same rights and obligations of committee membership outlined in these procedures, except that he/she shall not be counted in determining a quorum nor have voting privileges.

11. In accordance with the FAC File Policy, committee minutes and records shall be considered confidential and open to inspection only for reasons satisfactory to the committee and authorized by it in writing, or by court order. The committee's records shall be kept on file in the FAC Office for 20 years. After that time, they are transferred to the University Archives where they remain closed for an additional 10 years. (Copies of the committee's File Policy are available upon request from the FAC Office, 228 English Building.)

12. The committee shall report to the faculty annually and at such other times as it may deem appropriate. Copies of such reports shall be sent to the Provost and/or Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Chancellor, the President, and the Clerk of the Senate

13. When a member of the Faculty Advisory Committee resigns, he/she will be replaced by the eligible person who received the highest number of votes among those who failed to be elected in the most recent election. The replacing member will complete the term of the member being replaced.

14. The chair of the committee may, with the approval of a majority (5) of the committee members, request the resignation and replacement of a committee member who fails to attend committee meetings regularly and otherwise to participate fully in the work of the committee.

15. These articles of procedure may be amended at any time by a majority vote of the entire committee.

Revised 10/2/03

Faculty Advisory Committee
CHAIR: Mary Stuart, 424 Library, 244-0797, m-stuart@uiuc.edu
OFFICE: Christa Petrillo, 228 English Building, 333-7373, cjpp@uiuc.edu