I received several inquiries concerning some of the language found in the contract that we received in Spring, 2010. I thought I would present the view of the AAUP on this matter. The material in the contract that raised the most questions is Part 5(a), particularly, the fourth bullet.
5. (a) After Faculty Member, having successfully
undergone the prescribed tenure process,
has been awarded tenure by the University, he/she holds a continuing appointment in
his/her department or program unless it is terminated in accordance with one or more of
· the election of said Faculty Member to resign or retire;
· the provisions of paragraph seven because of discharge for cause;
· a program of the University to bring about a significant reduction in faculty because of financial exigency at the University or college level;
· a strategic decision to discontinue or significantly reduce the size and scope of a college, a department, or free-standing academic program (center, institute, major, minor, or course of studies) in which Faculty Member was hired and tenured. [bold added by Michael Levitan]
(b) Any such University-determined reduction in faculty, program discontinuation, or reduction must be genuinely bona fide and must follow the procedures set forth in the Faculty Handbook. In all such cases the University will work with Faculty Member whose position is eliminated in an effort to retrain or relocate him/her within the University, if feasible. There is no assurance that a successful internal relocation can be effected, however.
The following excerpt is found in the AAUP’s Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure – 2006:
Discontinuance of Program or Department Not Mandated by Financial Exigency
d. Termination of an
appointment with continuous tenure, or of a probationary or special
appointment before the end of the specified term, may occur as a result of bona fide
formal discontinuance of a program or department of instruction. The following
standards and procedures will apply.
to discontinue formally a program or department of instruction
will be based essentially upon educational considerations, as determined primarily by
the faculty as a whole or an appropriate committee thereof. [Note: “Educational
considerations” do not include cyclical or temporary variations in enrollment. They
must reflect long-range judgments that the educational mission of the institution as a
whole will be enhanced by the discontinuance.]
(2) Before the administration issues notice to a faculty member of its intention to terminate an appointment because of formal discontinuance of a program or department of instruction, the institution will make every effort to place the faculty member concerned in another suitable position. If placement in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, financial and other support for such training will be proffered. If no position is available within the institution, with or without retraining, the faculty member’s appointment then may be terminated, but only with provision for severance salary equitably adjusted to the faculty member’s length of past and potential service. [Note: When an institution proposes to discontinue a program or department of instruction, it should plan to bear the costs of relocating, training, or otherwise compensating faculty members adversely affected.]
(3) A faculty member may appeal a proposed relocation or termination resulting from a discontinuance and has a right to a full hearing before a faculty committee. The hearing need not conform in all respects with a proceeding conducted pursuant to Regulation 5, but the essentials of an on-the-record adjudicative hearing will be observed. The issues in such a hearing may include the institution’s failure to satisfy any of the conditions specified in Regulation 4d. In such a hearing a faculty determination that a program or department is to be discontinued will be considered presumptively valid, but the burden of proof on other issues will rest on the administration.
To read the entire AAUP document, please see
Michael L. LevitanPresident, Villanova chapter of the AAUP