Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

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Provost's Implementation Guidelines
(If Board of Trustees Provides Authority to Issue Multiple-Year Contracts)


The authority to offer multiple-year contracts, under carefully controlled conditions, will benefit academic staff members at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as well as improve the competitive position of campus units. It will benefit valued employees by providing well-deserved job security; it will improve the competitive position of units by permitting them to secure the services of specially-qualified employees for periods consistent with our planning cycles, and by enabling them to offer employment conditions comparable to those offered by peer institutions. This will enhance the ability of the University to benefit from professionals whose expertise is invaluable to our mission, our students and our units, such as clinical instructors. These are individuals whose knowledge is based on their professional abilities, but whose careers have not necessarily had a significant research component.

Carefully controlled conditions are necessary to assure that the authority to offer multiple year contracts is exercised in ways consistent with our character and responsibilities as a leading research university, the stature and continuing progress of which are dependent upon maintaining and strengthening a world-class faculty. To assure implementation of multiple-year contract authority consistent with this defining concept, the Provost proposes the following implementation guidelines, which he offers to the Senate for advice and consultation. Should the Board of Trustees pass the statutory amendment authorizing multiple-year contracts, the Provost, in conjunction with the oversight committee, will report annually to the Senate on the use and management of multiple-year contracts and policy issues relating to them. Included in that report will be a comparative analysis of instructional units offered by employee category. The oversight committee will either be a body already constituted with Senate participation (such as the Campus Committee on Promotions and Tenure), or will be formed in consultation with the Senate.

The Provost is particularly concerned that the deployment of non-tenured instructors not diminish the educational experience, or undermine the competitive appeal of UIUC as a research institution, or alter faculty control and oversight of curricular matters and the academic governance system. In addition, fiscal prudence requires that units authorized to offer such contracts have well-established and responsible personnel practices, including careful annual evaluations, a certified progressive response for problems related to employee performance, and appropriate budgetary practices. It will continue to be the practice of Illinois units to provide as much advance notice as possible to employees funded through soft-money contracts or grants, and to provide long-term academic employees on soft funding as much assistance as possible in relocating to other positions within the university.

The guidelines that follow are proposed by the Provost, and were developed by a committee comprising three Deans and three individuals nominated by Senate Council.

Proposed Guidelines

The Provost is responsible for oversight of multi-year contracts, with advice from an appropriate faculty-based committee. Multiple-year contracts are awarded in addition to tenure-track appointments; they are not substitutes for tenure-track appointments. On the Urbana campus, we anticipate that multiple-year contract authority will be used for three categories of employees: 1) academic staff whose responsibilities are primarily clinical; 2) academic staff whose responsibilities are devoted to teaching or teaching support (but with no research component); and 3) academic staff in fields with specialized qualifications and/or intense market pressures, with primarily research-oriented duties.

The membership of the committee that advises on multi-year contracts should include at least two faculty members with experience serving as a unit executive officer. The committee will advise the provost on unit proposals for offering multiple-year contracts (see below). It will also review assessment reports, advise on policies and procedures, and review individual cases referred to it by the Provost. As part of its charge, the committee will be asked to monitor the number of multiple-year contracts awarded to any given unit in relation to the number of that unit's tenure track appointments. It will also periodically review the personnel practices governing non-tenured academic appointments in order to avoid any encroachment upon tenure and to insure the fair and appropriate treatment of individuals who hold such appointments.

Units must receive advance approval to offer multiple year contracts and to follow practices that keep "rolling" such contracts by extending them each year. Units wishing to offer such contracts will be asked to submit for review and approval (through the appropriate reporting chain) a proposal including their need for such appointments, personnel policies that will apply, including such elements as guidelines on duties, workload, compensation and evaluation. At least every three years, units will be asked to submit a written assessment of their utilization of such contracts and information on compliance with the guidelines governing their use and their approved proposal to offer multiple-year contracts.

The unit review process will be amended to incorporate explicit assessment of the unit's practices with respect to non-tenured/tenure track academic staff, including the balance and nature of duties assigned to such individuals with respect to the tenured/tenure-track faculty.