[The following resolutions were adopted by the UTK Faculty Senate on February 1, 1999.]
1. Merit Pay
Whereas, The people of Tennessee deserve to have a university with faculty who are recognized for excellence in teaching, research, and service;
Whereas, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, continues to have salaries significantly below the average salaries in our reference group of similar institutions;
Whereas, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has long been plagued by problems of salary compression and salary inversion; and
Whereas, These problems make it difficult to hire and retain faculty recognized by their peers as excellent; Resolved, That the Faculty Senate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, supports establishment of a merit raise policy, coupled with the annual and cumulative performance reviews established by the Board of Trustees, which would provide additional funds for permanent salary increases to those faculty of all ranks whose performance exceeds that which would ordinarily be expected;
2. That said merit raises should be funded by annual increases in the salary funds provided by the State of Tennessee to the University; and
3. That the level of salary increases associated with favorable reviews during a cumulative review period should be at least comparable to the raises typically awarded at promotion.
2. Due Process
Whereas, Due process principles of clarity, objectivity, and fairness provide important protections to faculty and to the institution;
Whereas, The current Faculty Handbook of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, establishes basic due process protections concerning academic freedom, tenure, and resolution of grievances; and
Whereas, A new edition of the Faculty Handbook is being prepared to accommodate the policies on tenure and faculty evaluation adopted by the Board of Trustees in June 1998; Resolved, That existing due process procedures established in the Faculty Handbook should be retained in the new Faculty Handbook, in particular the procedures listed below;
2. That probationary faculty are entitled to an annual review of their performance;
3. That probationary faculty are entitled to receive upon request the reasons for denial of tenure;
4. That probationary faculty are entitled to appeal a decision not to renew an appointment;
5. That faculty should be judged on the basis of professional work, for example with respect to manner of interaction with colleagues and students;
6. That faculty are entitled to clarity and objectivity in employment decisions, such as the criteria for the decisions of the action group in an adequate cause process and the criteria for denying pay to a faculty member pending resolution of misconduct charges;
7. That the University must show during an adequate cause process in which incompetence is alleged that it has offered significant encouragement and help to the faculty member to improve his or her performance;
8. That faculty members are entitled to timely notice of misconduct charges;
9. That faculty members are entitled to a fair and objective hearing before a committee of their peers in grievances related to employment;
10. That faculty members who have earned tenure shall have continuous employment with a presumption of competence until relinquishment or forfeiture of tenure, or until financial exigency or academic program discontinuance, or until the institution has carried its burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the presumption of competence is no longer valid or that the faculty member has engaged in serious misconduct; and
11. That faculty have the right and responsibility to provide through Faculty Senate action a formal review of any changes in policies related to tenure and evaluation of faculty.
Whereas, The Faculty Handbook and the Trustees tenure policy of 1998 identify service, along with teaching and research, as an important component of the professional life of a faculty member; and
Whereas, Service is often overlooked in evaluation of faculty in favor of emphasis on teaching and research; Resolved, That the Faculty Senate endorses this statement of the American Association of University Professors: The institutional service performed by faculty is vital to the functioning of our institutions of higher education.... Service represents enlightened self-interest on the part of faculty, for whom work on the curriculum, shared governance, academic freedom and peer review comprise the scholars and teachers contributions to the shaping and building of the institution. In addition, it is through service that the professional disciplines communicate and that the exchange of scholarship, by means of conferences and publications, is made feasible. And it is through service that the faculties of our colleges and universities offer their professional knowledge, skills, and advice to their communities. The facultys commitment to the public welfare, as well as its reinvestment in the health and continuing social and intellectual utility of the academy, is expressed to a considerable extent by what we refer to as service. It is a vital component of our collective lives and of our role in society (AAUP Policy Documents & Reports, 1995 edn., p. 132); and
2. That service should be reported and evaluated during each annual and cumulative review, using reporting categories similar to those in the current Handbook for Promotion & Tenure.
4. Performance Standards and Evaluation Instruments
Whereas, The faculty of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, should be involved in drafting and implementing tenure policies as they apply at the department or unit level;
Whereas, Performance reviews, including annual performance-and-planning reviews and cumulative reviews, should be fairly and evenly applied to all faculty within a department or unit;
Whereas, Performance standards and evaluation documents should be the products of joint planning and discussion by faculty and administration of a department or unit, with the intent of even application of performance standards and evaluation methods across faculty within the respective department or unit; and
Whereas, The nature of appointments and resulting performance expectations varies greatly across departments or units at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and should be defined clearly for the faculty member; Resolved, That department or unit bylaws incorporating standards and procedures for faculty performance review must be approved by the faculty of the department or unit;
2. That documentation procedures should be uniform and standardized within each unit;
3. That performance standards and evaluation documents should be publicly available;
4. That evaluation measures should vary appropriately according to the mission of the unit and the rank and assignment of the faculty member; and
5. That faculty assignments should be the written product of planning between the faculty member and the unit head and should be available for public review.
5. Timing of Performance Evaluations
Whereas, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Task Force on Tenure Policies has recommended that Cumulative reviews are based on data from annual reviews and normally are conducted during the Spring Semester before April 30, and that faculty should be provided with results from the annual performance-and-planning reviews prior to cumulative reviews;
Whereas, The faculty of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, should have sufficient time to enable reporting of performance in their annual performance-and-planning reviews; and
Whereas, Performance reporting by the faculty of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, should occur near the end or soon after the performance reporting period to ensure timeliness of reporting and evaluation; Resolved, That results of the evaluation and assessment from an annual performance-and-planning review should be provided to the faculty member no later than March 31 of the year following the performance reporting year;
2. That department or unit heads must distribute appropriate requests and reporting forms for annual performance reporting information to faculty no less than two weeks before the deadline for reporting; and
3. That reporting by the faculty member for the purposes of the annual performance-and-planning review should not be required to occur any earlier than one month prior to completion of the reporting year (for example, no earlier than December 1 for a calendar reporting year).
6. Procedures for Performance Evaluations
Whereas, Faculty assignments vary greatly among and within units and by rank;
Whereas, Performance reviews should accommodate diversity of assignments while permitting comparison of faculty performances;
Whereas, Fairness requires that faculty assignments, evaluation standards, and performance reviews be publicly available; and
Whereas, Performance reviews have these purposes, to promote faculty development, to ensure professional vitality, and to enable fair personnel decisions; Resolved, That the review process should be standardized while allowing for diversity of creativity and research achievement by establishing with faculty approval appropriate documentation, review standards, and review procedures at the departmental level;
2. That faculty performance planning should occur before the performance period and should be documented;
3. That the review of performance should include a narrative describing strengths and opportunities for improvement;
4. That the review process of a department should be examined during each academic program review;
5. That the teaching review process should integrate contributions from the faculty member, a peer review team, and students;
6. That the review of teaching should consider course design including appropriateness to departmental goals, grading tools in the context of instilling new knowledge and skills, and teaching methods in terms of effectiveness; and
7. That a clear distinction should be made between assessment, which is done during the self and peer review to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement, and evaluation, which is done by the unit leader who assigns a specific rating of the faculty members performance with a supporting narrative.
7. Accountability of Administrators
Whereas, An effective performance review must allow sufficient time for performance planning, performance documentation, and performance review;
Whereas, An effective performance review must result in thorough, clear, and fair reviews with narratives which document the reasons for an evaluation; and
Whereas, The new performance review procedures charge administrators, especially department heads, with the responsibility to review faculty performance and to make appropriate personnel decisions; Resolved, That the Standing Committee for the Senate-Chancellor Evaluation of Administrators program should require that review committees comment on the thoroughness, fairness, and timeliness of actions by administrators in evaluation of faculty performance and in decision making about merit rewards and faculty development.
8. Categories for Reporting Performance Evaluations
Whereas, Both the Faculty Handbook and the Trustees 1998 policy on tenure recognize that two purposes are served by performance reviewsfaculty development and personnel decisions (e.g., about tenure, promotion, and salary); and
Whereas, The Trustees require that the results of annual performance reviews include an objective rating of the faculty members performance, with one of the rating categories being unsatisfactory; Resolved, That the Faculty Senate recommends use of a four-category reporting system for the annual reviews, the four categories being Exceeds Expectations for Rank, Meets Expectations for Rank, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory Performance for Rank; and
2. That if a rating instrument is used to report the results of cumulative reviews, the instrument should be one that is appropriate to the mission of the unit and the assignment of the faculty member.