Senate of the Urbana-Champaign Campus

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November 1, 1999

1998-99 Annual Report

In the context of any working environment, individuals may encounter tensions and difficulties. Faculty members in a university campus environment are certainly not exempt from such situations. These situations may involve problems among faculty members, between a faculty member and a student or staff member, or between a faculty member and the administration. The Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC) exists to promote the general welfare and good of the University and there-fore to assist any faculty member by hearing questions or concerns that the faculty member might pre-sent to any member of the committee.

Each Spring, the faculty of this campus are invited to participate in the election of the Faculty Advisory Committee. Members of the faculty who do not hold an administrative appointment are eligible to serve on the committee. Nomination requires the signature of three colleagues. Three of the nine committee members are elected annually for three-year terms of service. The committee's work is ongoing and the FAC usually meets twice a month during the calendar year, depending on the consultation and case load.

A faculty member may contact any elected member of the FAC. Committee members frequently encounter questions from individual faculty members concerning serious issues that affect their teaching and research environment. Typically these issues center on equitable treatment in four areas: 1) promotion, tenure, and nonreappointment decisions; 2) salary inequities; 3) teaching or research assignments; and 4) interpersonal disputes, including harassment. In addition to four cases carried over from the previous year, FAC considered two new cases during 1998-99 and assisted a number of faculty in a less formal, consultative manner. The FAC is pleased to report that all cases, except one, have been formally resolved; the remaining case has been in an inactive state for the last two years while being litigated. A breakdown of cases and consultations follows.

Nonreappointment		4	2
Promotion			0	1
Administrative Action		4	2
Teaching Assignments		0	1
Salary Inequity/Evaluation	4	0
Other				2	0

Often as a result of its findings the FAC recommends policy changes. One such recommendation is that effective and consistent appeals procedures be implemented across the campus. Too often, it seems, aggrieved faculty come to the FAC because their college or unit does not have appeal procedures in place or the faculty member is unaware of their existence. The committee prefers that faculty members with grievances first submit their appeals at the college or unit level prior to approaching the FAC. To accommodate such requests, the FAC recommends that the wording of bylaws be flexible enough to permit faculty members to bring grievances of the types listed above to appeals committees and that such committees not be limited only to tenure appeals. FAC has observed that in many instances faculty concerns can best be resolved by those individuals closest to the faculty member's teaching and research environment.

FAC review of nonreappointment cases, whether during the third year or at the time of the tenure review, sometimes requires interaction with the Provost. Whether or not the FAC is successful in having a disputed decision reconsidered, FAC findings can produce meaningful changes in review procedures which ultimately benefit the faculty.

In addition to meetings where specific cases are discussed, the FAC and Provost interact periodically on an informal basis to discuss issues relevant to the committee's work and to maintain open lines of communication. At a meeting last May, the FAC and Provost Herman discussed the general question of membership on tenure appeals committees. The FAC maintains that it is inadvisable to allow membership on an appeals body to overlap with that of the original decision-making body. The committee also is concerned with the appearance of fairness in all sensitive personnel evaluations, especially if individuals with possible conflicting interests do not voluntarily recuse themselves from deliberations. The Provost understands these concerns and indicated that he will consider measures to address potential conflict of interest issues. The committee also offered to assist in the develop-ment of a program for faculty review being initiated by the Provost as an outcome of the Senate Tenure Issues Committee's recommendations.

Another area of general concern to the FAC has been the quality of mentoring of junior faculty across campus. The ramifications of poor mentoring can result in a faculty member not reaching his or her potential in the classroom or laboratory through inadequate guidance by senior members of the faculty and/or the administration. The committee has made specific recommendations concerning the need for strengthening annual review and mentoring processes to unit executive officers and the Provost.

This past year FAC recommendations facilitated a change in tenure review policy with respect to the composition of tenure review committees, so that now advice concerning candidates for the rank of full professor may be provided by only full professors, while both associate and full professors may participate in the evaluation of candidates for the rank of associate professor. Consistent with this policy, the FAC believes that grievance issues-particularly those involving tenure questions-are best considered by faculty members having higher rank and more experience than probationary faculty. The 1998-99 FAC recommended to Provost Herman that the criteria for election to FAC be changed to permit nomination of only tenured faculty members. Provost Herman endorsed this recommendation and forwarded the proposal, which will require an amendment to the University Statutes, to the campus Senate.

The FAC also serves in an advisory capacity to the Provost and Chancellor, most frequently to consider formulation of campus policy or changes to existing procedures. One FAC member presently serves on a consultative committee to advise the Provost on the creation of an educational program to support and complement the campus' new discrimination and harassment policy. Last fall, another committee member participated in the campus Intake Specialist training program, where individuals who are preparing to serve as Intake Specialists for hearing cases of alleged discrimination and harassment are instructed on how to conduct interviews with potential grievants and others.

Regular FAC representation occurs on the advisory committee to the Faculty/Staff Assistance Program (FSAP). The FSAP assists employees who are dealing with personal and/or work related concerns to provide services in the areas of treatment, outreach and prevention. Additionally, the FAC is working with the University Archivist to formulate a retention policy for FAC files that will protect the confidentiality of the committee's work and at the same time allow access to the committee's archival files if there is a demonstrated need.

Following this report are the FAC Articles of Procedure, which outline the manner in which consultations and cases are handled by the committee, as well as the procedures for other internal operations.

Respectfully submitted,

1998-99 Committee		1999-2000 Committee
C. Reid Alexander, Chair	Harold G. Diamond, Chair
Roger E. Cannaday		Roger E. Cannaday
Cleora J. D'Arcy		Jeffrey O. Dawson
Harold G. Diamond		Janet S. Gaffney
Janet S. Gaffney		Carl J. Jones
Herman Krier			Herman Krier
Nancy P. O'Brien		Lynn Barnett Morris
Ronald J. Peters		Nancy P. O'Brien
Stanley Wasserman		Stanley Wasserman
Attachment: Articles of Procedure September, 1999