|Approved by the:
Approved* by the:
|University Senate - September 30, 1999
Administration - July 28, 2000
Regents - no action required
Decisions about hiring, retaining, and dismissing members of the faculty have long-lasting effects. They shape curricular and scholarly agendas of both departments and colleges. They confirm or modify, strengthen or weaken, their values and standards. They exercise a long-lasting influence upon the quality of work done by the faculty, individually and collectively. In addition, the practice of making principled decisions in these matters creates an ethos of choosing and rewarding excellence that serves well the University as a whole. This ethos is imperiled when lines are withdrawn from departments that initiate the denial of tenure to a probationary faculty member or proceed to remove a tenured faculty member for cause.
Therefore, be it resolved that departments terminating probationary faculty, or dismissing tenured faculty for cause, should retain the line vacated by such action. The lack of such assurance weakens the collegiate units that do not follow this practice, and the weakening of these units weakens the University as a whole.
This resolution was adopted by the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs on June 3, 1999, without dissent and with only four members not voting. SCFA recommends that the Faculty Senate adopt this resolution as a "sense of the Senate" statement.
Denials of tenure by departments are few and dismissal for cause rare. This is all the more reason why departments should not be disadvantaged for taking these actions. To be sure, it is equally important that departments should not disguise arbitrary actions under the cloak of principle by terminating good people for bad reasons. The processes of review and appeal carefully built over the years, however, make it possible for deans and faculty review committees to distinguish good departmental decisions from bad ones--and in most instances to correct the bad ones. In this way the University quite properly protects worthy members of the faculty from arbitrary or mistaken actions by departments. It should protect as well the integrity and future well-being of departments that act responsibly and upon principle in terminating the employment of members of their faculty. Many collegiate units of the University already provide such protection. The others should follow this example, for the good of their faculties and a better future for the University.
The needs of administrators for flexibility in shaping a department or college can be served in other ways than by damaging an ethos of choosing and encouraging excellence.