Category Archives: Getting Promoted

Issues related to the promotion process at Pratt

Getting Evaluated and Promoted: The Basics

The process of evaluating faculty at Pratt for retention and promotion is called the "ARPT" process.  ARPT stands for Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure.  Article XVI of the CBA enumerates the procedures for ARPT. Each department has an ARPT or so-called: "PART", "CART" or [Faculty] ‘Peer Review Committee.' When a faculty member applies for any "action", i.e. reappointment, status change, promotion and/or tenure, their application package is first submitted to their department's faculty/ARPT committee. Those faculty colleagues serving the committee make either a "recommendation" or a "non-recommendation" to the department's Chair or the area's ‘Head', the faculty serving as they do in a strict advisory capacity only; which is to say that, such recommendations are not ‘actionable' decisions as faculty peers are not empowered nor have the ‘authority' to ‘confer' or ‘deny'. Likewise, starting at the Chair's level [tier 2 of this 5-tiered process], three administrative tiers: Chair, Dean and Provost determine the fate of the said faculty action request, the Board of Trustees ‘final approval' [tier 5] sanctioning such determinations by the end of the spring semester [or academic year].

The ARPT issue is of critical importance to the entire faculty as it is crucial that we all do as thorough a job as is possible; in keeping with the letter, sprit and intent of Article XVI. Absent this necessary consciousness and the faculty's collective determined dedication to this matter (to do it ‘right'!) we are mere fodder for those administrative whims – should they exist – that wish to keep us all running in place. [Headline: ‘Academia Aint' Pretty!]

This process takes place in the early Fall of each academic year.  The due date for the submission of materials to the ARPT committee, as well as the kinds of materials that need to be submitted, is determined by the ARPT committee.  The deadline for the submission of the ARPT committee's recommendations to the Chair is established by the official academic calendar.  To get more information about this process, ask to speak to a member of the ARPT committee within your department.     

ARPT and Faculty Actions

The 2006-2007 ARPT (Appointment, Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure) faculty action cycle was a banner year for Pratt's faculty. This is due in small measure to the Union's enforcement of article XVI of the CBA. Note the following conferred faculty actions:

FT Tenure: 7 (of seven applications)

CCE: 12 (an historic high for a single year)

Promotions: 43 (FT & PT combined)

Status change (from visiting to adjunct): 30

Faculty Actions Update October 11, 2007

From an October 11, 2007 email send by Kye to the membership:

Dear Faculty Colleague:

The faculty action cycle has begun.

For those who are applying for: (1) Reappointment (those full-time faculty on the tenure track), (2) Promotion (part-time and full-time alike applying for a change in rank: Instructor to Assistant, Assistant to Associate, or Associate to [Full] Professor), (3) Status Change (the visiting part-timer applying for adjunct status), or (4) Tenure (full-time and those adjuncts applying for CCE), the application deadline (as set in each department/area) has either just passed, or is fast approaching, as Faculty/Peer Review/ARPT Committee deadlines generally fall within the early to mid-October period.

As most of you are aware, I have written about the ARPT issue extensively, as I have discussed this topic at many a union meeting, and in many faculty and departmental forums. In the last week alone I have had no less than six individual conversations with various bargaining unit members who either serve their respective ARPT Committee, or who are applying for a faculty action; still curious, confused or disheartened about the ARPT ‘process'. Ironically [and sadly for me] where there was once deep concern about the Pratt Administration's intentions regarding ARPT, there now exists greater concern for the ‘actions' of one's fellow peers. Accounts of ARPT faculty being appointed by a department Chair instead of elected by one's peers, committee members colluding with the department Chair and overriding the clear consensus of his/her committee peers, "non-recommendation" letters from committees where there is nothing "in writing setting forth the reasons for the determination", letters of dissent [sometimes from as few as one committee member] stating why they do not concur with the majority will of the committee they serve…

Notwithstanding an image of the faculty as petty and immature, this kind of faculty internecine warfare and overreach is deeply destructive to us all.

Article XVI of the CBA enumerates the procedures for ARPT, section 16.2 (copied below) specifically addressing the tasks and responsibilities of ‘Departmental Committees on appointment, reappointment, promotion and tenure.' In a nut-shell, that which is formulated in 16.2 is thus "forwarded" to the "Chairperson and/or Area Head" [the first administrative tier in the ARPT process] for their review (see: 16.3, copied below). Note that the Chairperson or Area Head is not involved until the Committee's work is complete and all such work "forwarded."

Moreover, it is only after the Chairperson or Area Head "add[s]" his/her comments to the evaluation reports "set forth in Article 16.2" that the individual faculty member involved is "given" copies of such "evaluation reports, recommendations and comments" and provided the opportunity to "append or affix" his or her [own] comments. In other words, it is the Chairperson or Area Head's responsibility [not the ARPT Committee's] to give the applicant [in a timely manner] all such "evaluation reports, recommendations and comments" so as to afford them ample time to "append or affix" should they desire.

Faculty members are peers, fellow bargaining unit members; they are not supervisors, or administrators. Faculty colleagues who serve on ARPT Committees act in a strict advisory capacity only! Faculty peers are neither empowered nor have the authority to: ‘confer' or ‘deny.' As such, their recommendations or non-recommendations are neither ‘actionable' nor ‘grievable.' The messianic and authoritarian tendencies of the few must not be tolerated nor allowed to corrupt a process that is of critical importance to the entire faculty. Our contract allows the faculty in each individual department/area to "figure-it-out" on their own — autonomously. Although still a work in progress or a missed opportunity in many departments, overall, the ARPT process improves with each year.

Don't allow the false allure of favoritism or the petty faculty rivalries in your department/area to cloud the inherent wisdom of Article XVI. 

In Solidarity,

Kye

 

From the 2003-2007 Collective Bargaining Agreement: 

16.2     At the same time, in an academic community, these matters of appointment, reappointment, promotion and tenure, must have input at the point of closest contact with the faculty members individually affected. Accordingly, the Chairperson of each Department shall receive written recommendations in all of these matters from the Departmental faculty and any other members of the Institute community who may be affected by these matters. The Departmental Committees on appointment, reappointment, promotion and tenure shall develop standards of eligibility, fitness and evaluation; which shall include teaching effectiveness and professional competence and may include non-teaching responsibilities, Institute service and public service. The faculty in each Department and/or Area and in the Library shall set up such procedures as they deem appropriate to effectuate the foregoing.

16.3     Evaluation reports and recommendations concerning reappointment, promotion and/or tenure, as set forth in Article 16.2 above, shall be in writing and shall be forwarded to the Chairperson and/or Area Head. The Chairperson and/or Area Head shall add his or her comments and copies of these evaluation reports, recommendations and comments shall be given to the individual faculty member involved who shall have the opportunity to append or affix his or her comments. These recommendations will then be forwarded to the Dean of the School or of the Library, who shall add his or her comments, with copies to the individual faculty member involved who shall have the opportunity to append or affix his or her comments. These recommendations will then be forwarded to the Provost, or such other academic administrative officer as may be designated by the Board of Trustees, for review and recommendation with copies to the individual faculty member involved who shall have the opportunity to append or affix his or her comments. Final determination is by the expressed approval of the Board of Trustees. Review and determination shall also take into account enrollment trends, distribution and budgetary considerations.  Differences between the recommendations made and final determination are to be clearly stated in writing setting forth the reasons for the determination.

Status Quo, Part 1

Status is one's employment level. Certain rights and/or protections whether implied or actual are associated with one's status.

The discussions about visiting status have been illuminating and expansive, and often referenced other issues such as: FT: PT ratios, peer review, evaluation, promotions and/or changes in status. It is clear that all of these considerations are inextricably linked to one another, and are all imbedded in notions of advancement. Pratt's faculty get very little recognition, and very little reward for their contributions. We function within an employment structure that is bereft of standards, fraught with inconsistencies and virtually broken. We work within a climate where administrative improvisation passes for practice and administrative boilerplate passes for policy. Advancement and change of status are one and the same.

I am presently trying to ascertain just how many faculty members have been dismissed for lack of competence? How many current instructors are teaching courses they are ill equipped for? How many faculty members are not giving 100%? How many faculty members have been unduly promoted and/or granted status change without qualification? Any academic "problems" seem to be administrative, not faculty based. If there is any incompetence within the faculty ranks, then shame on the Administration for tolerating this. They have had all of the means necessary to initiate and properly administer fair and equitable practices of employment, including evaluation and review — practices that would reward academic excellence and dignify those who the Administration claims are a priority; those of us who teach. These means are at their disposal, yet they have chosen not to exercise or implement them. Why? The answer is simple, they don't have to. We the faculty, have been too busy, and too distracted to notice that the tables have been turned. We are now left holding the bag. We must take the initiative and seize this moment — not necessarily to clean up the mess the Administration has created — but to create for ourselves, a more equitable and fair work environment. If not the faculty, who?

We cannot separate out nor afford to separate out, each issue from the whole myriad of issues that comprise the conditions of our employment.

The following remarks were originally triggered by the visiting status discussions. They are now intended to broaden the conversation to include all strata of faculty at Pratt: visiting, adjunct, adjunct w/CCE, full-time, full-time tenured. What do each of these status' mean? How does one attain a change in status? What protections, and/or benefits if any, are granted with status change?

Pratt Institute has become a feudal system, a system based on class; of the ever-growing underclass pitted against one another in subtle and insidious ways. As awareness grows amongst the faculty ranks, I sense that more and more faculty members are less inclined to take this bait. Educating ourselves about the conditions of our employment is the single most effective way in which to create the momentum that, if harnessed properly, can initiate real and meaningful change. Change that will benefit the faculty and reform current practices that are divisive and destructive.

There are certain realities about the hiring, firing, evaluation and promotion of the faculty at Pratt we should all hasten to remember when determining from where we've come, where we are presently, and where we are headed.

Reality #1: Pratt Institute has a Faculty Union, as well as a collective bargaining agreement that does grant protections to the faculty. However, the contract is not worth the paper it is printed on or certainly the principles it is predicated on if we and the Administration do not mutually agree to recognize each other, deal, and act in GOOD FAITH. Without vigilance, the Faculty Union will continue to be short changed, and left reeling from one lost pursuit after another. Contract matters and language are moot by design and open to interpretation. Without vigilance and determination, one side's interpretation sets precedent and establishes practice. Consensus and compromise are only possible if reasonable actions prevail. How do we in good faith and by way of fair practice, achieve consensus and compromise? For one, by recognizing when the Administration engages in practices of obfuscation, stonewall and delay and by not tolerating them. If the Administration chooses to subvert protocol, it must be challenged forthright and with strength — faculty strength in numbers, and in shared convictions. The strength of a robust membership cannot be overstated. Creating and maintaining a united Faculty Union presence is by far the most important tool the faculty has for implementing change.

Reality #2: Good faith, and fair practices are becoming negligible and practically nonexistent. The Administration has been very successful in shaping the debate, in establishing precedent, and in overriding faculty initiatives. The faculty needs to change this dynamic, through the force of its convictions — convictions that are predicated on fairness, equity and good faith practice. The Administration has been vigilant, strong and effective in denying the bare minimums to its faculty. They have done this with their eyes wide open and a clear vision of what is possible. They have overrun us because we have been weak, because we haven't been paying attention, and because they could. There is a pattern here, a history of behavior that is habitual and ultimately destructive to the Institute as a whole. One need only note the recent Middle States report to see that institutionally and administratively, Pratt is seriously challenged. When its all said and done, there is no system of checks and balances if the Faculty Union is divided, distracted and disaffected. We have an opportunity NOW to take the initiative.

Reality #3: There are no, or few guarantees enumerated in the contract. This applies to hiring, firing, evaluation and promotion. In a word, we all serve at the pleasure of our chairs. This statement is not to ascribe any ill intent on the part of these chairpersons, it is to point out and emphasize the tremendous discretionary powers instilled in this administrative level of closest contact to the faculty. No one determines your hiring, firing, workload, evaluation for promotion and/or chances for advancement more than your chair. You serve at the pleasure of your chair, as they serve at the pleasure of the Administration.
The Administration has been very crafty in defining and redefining "faculty" when it serves their interests, i.e., FT: PT faculty ratios. When you add some twenty-two chairpersons to the full-time faculty ranks you most assuredly slant the number of full-time faculty in the Administration's favor. The Administration likes to include chairs and other administrative personal (including even deans) when determining allocated spending for faculty, all under the rubric of "teaching." By including faculty chair salaries for example, which are significantly higher than full-time Professors at the same rank and with similar years served, it most definitely inflates this overall number in the Administration's favor. Yet, the Administration knows full well that chairs are administrators, and explicitly excluded from the CBA. You cannot bring forth a grievance towards one who is within the bargaining unit.
A chairperson serves at the pleasure of the Dean who serves at the pleasure of the Provost who serves at the pleasure of the President who serves at the pleasure of the Board of Trustees. This is the administrative chain of command.

(continued, The Status Quo, Part 2)

Status Quo, Part 2

Reality #4: There is no coherent or clearly established policy or practice for hiring, firing, evaluating and/or promoting faculty. The Pratt faculty functions within a vacuum of assumption, a void where administrative prerogatives clash with and override, faculty Union initiatives. Chairpersons can hire faculty as visitors without consulting anyone. There is no reason why one cannot be hired as an adjunct other than the fact that the chair now has to check with the Dean. Why? Because implicit in this hiring is the notion that a greater commitment is being made by the department and by instructors themselves. This commitment is manifest in a greater workload. Are Adjuncts guaranteed a greater workload? No, they are not, so why then would you grant a status change if there was not implicit in that action an understanding that one is now "part of the family," proven, and for all intents and purposes, perfectly capable to teach a full-time workload? As stated in Article XXII, sec:22.2a, "prior to the completion of ten semesters of service, faculty members in this category [adjunct] shall make a decision as to whether or not they wish a full-time position." Therein lies or belies the distinction between one class of part-timer and another. It is my view (and I'm perfectly aware that many people I respect vehemently disagree), that not making every reasonable effort to grant adjuncts their requisite workload (up to 75% if so desired) — is to needlessly act in bad faith. The underloading of adjuncts is understood when enrollment is down. The overloading of visitors is permissible when enrollment is up. A practice of hiring more and more visitors when adjuncts are not being granted sufficient workloads is divisive and bad for the morale of ALL part-timers.

Visiting
The visiting status should either be eliminated altogether, replaced and/or absorbed into a two tier adjunct status, or redefined for what it truly is, an entry level, probationary status. There should be a maximum time period for being a visitor, perhaps "up to three years." If a department wants to limit this time period to one or two years, they would be free to do so. The onus for properly evaluating the visitor should rest squarely with the chairperson. If they cannot properly evaluate a faculty member within three years, they will never be able to. Visitors should be thoroughly briefed about the conditions of their employment, what is required of them and given clear criteria for evaluation. Once the visitor has successfully satisfied the established time of evaluation, he/she shall be granted a change in status and have all of the requisite "rights" and "protections" granted Adjuncts. Visitors should not teach more than fifty percent of the workload for their departments. There are currently no protections in the contract for visiting — a reason that it be used sparingly.

Adjunct
There has been little discussion about the adjunct status other than to say that it is a problematic status in that adjuncts are "harder to get rid of." As noted in Article XXII, adjuncts are to be evaluated every semester. Other than requiring two years of poor evaluations prior to dismissal, there are no other protections in the contract. Benefits include tuition remission — your workload determining the proration of tuition, and being permitted to buy into one of Pratt's group health plans — 100% of the costs borne by the adjunct. There was a time when an adjunct after ten semesters of service would be granted a CCE. This is no longer the case. Teaching up to seventy-five percent of a FT workload and being led to believe that one was on the full-time track, seemed to be the rational for seeking adjunct status in the first place. Now claiming 75% of a workload is seen as a "right" or "guarantee," and therefore a threat to the "vitality" of departments and the freedom of chairs to distribute courses and hire as they see fit.

Full time positions are filled only after a full-time "line" is approved by the Provost and Dean, a national search is announced, an Institute wide committee formed, and the department chair chooses a candidate from a list of three recommendations made by the committee. In the name of DIVERSITY, this is the current practice. National or Institute-wide searches function completely outside of the contract. One cannot file a grievance based on what they might feel was arbitrary and capricious behavior. Truth be told, there is nothing that prevents the Administration from going directly to the department chairs and allowing them to fill an approved full-time position. The days of granting Adjuncts with CCE ("Full-timers in waiting") the next full-time position are over. I don't believe that it is just a coincidence, that as CCE was gutted, the misuse of visiting status became endemic and pervasive.

However, the one area the faculty does have a say in regarding the promotion and advancement of the faculty is in what is referred to as the P.A.R.T. process (actually ARPT: Appointment, Reappointment, Promotions and Tenure). Article XXVI of the CBA spells out the five tier process. The first tier is peer review, …"input at the point of closest contact with the faculty members individually affected." Unfortunately, what many departmental peer committees do not realize is that they are actually engendered with real freedom to …"set up such procedures as they deem appropriate to effectuate the foregoing." In other words, Peer Committees need not simply replicate procedures that come from the Dean's office, the Academic Senate's Faculty Handbook, or the Provost's Office. This seems to be a missed opportunity for the faculty — to act independently of the Administration in effectuating guidelines and criteria that would best compliment their departments from a strictly faculty point of view.

Reality #5: The Board of Trustees is the final arbiter in all matters concerning appointments, reappointments, promotion and/or status change and tenure. This is cited in Article XVI, 16.1 and 16.3, "Final determination is by the expressed approval of the Board of Trustees. Review and determination shall also take into account enrollment trends, distribution and budgetary considerations" (Did they leave anything out?) If you believe that anyone can act in solitary-independent of one's immediate superior, I have a job for you. It's teaching a fifteen week college level course for less than $2,500.

We have a choice, we can accept the status quo or we can start the arduous task now, of reshaping our roles at Pratt and taking back OUR issues of employment. We have abrogated our responsibilities for far too long to ourselves and to our faculty brethren, and in so doing made the Administration's job easier and our plight worse.
We are all categorized by status, like it or not; our rights or so-called rights based on our level of employment. I'm not advocating class warfare, only class consciousness.

Kye Carbone,
Adjunct Associate