The Board of Trustees on Friday approved changes to the Faculty Code, the primary governance document for the university’s academic personnel.
One of the most significant changes to the code enhances the confidentiality of external reviews and the transmittal, or summary, letters that departments and school-wide appointment promotion and tenure committees include as part of the tenure and promotion process.
“Critical to building a preeminent institution is a rigorous peer review process that serves as the basis of tenure and promotion decisions,” Provost Forrest Maltzman said. “Ensuring that transmittal and external letters are confidential will strengthen the peer review process and will help the university achieve excellence in teaching and research.”
Other code changes include:
- Providing “specialized” faculty, which includes research and teaching faculty, the same parental leave rights as “regular” faculty, which includes tenured, tenure-track and contract faculty.
- Institutionalizing a regular review of the provost that is comparable to the decanal review process that is already contained in the code.
- Allowing a candidate for tenure and promotion to submit additional information to both the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and to the university president prior to their review of any non-concurrence.
“This year’s work in revising the code, and on updating policies that affect the university community, exemplifies the best of shared governance,” said Professor of Counseling and Human Development Sylvia Marotta-Walters, chair of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.
Since 2017, representatives of the Faculty Senate and the Provost’s Office have discussed changes to the code. Although the university bylaws only require a two-thirds super majority of the board and consultation with the faculty, including the senate, the provost and the president to approve code changes, the changes were adopted unanimously by the board and were recommended by both the administration and the Faculty Senate through a series of amendments.
“The Board of Trustees understands the importance of having a Faculty Code that befits a world-class university, supporting our faculty in their work and the mission of the university more broadly. The updates approved today do this by strengthening and streamlining the tenure and promotion process,” said Board of Trustees Chair Nelson Carbonell Jr., B.S. ’85.
Prior to the full board’s consideration of the code changes, the board’s Committee on Academic Affairs also reviewed the changes and discussed them with senate leaders.
“Updating the Faculty Code was truly a collaborative effort and a strong display of our university’s commitment to shared governance,” said Chair of the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Academic Affairs Madeleine Jacobs, B.S. '68. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the hard work of the provost and his office and the Faculty Senate, especially the Professional Ethics and Academic Freedom and the Executive Committees and their chairs.”
The changes become effective July 1 and the updated Faculty Code will be posted on the Office of the Provost website.