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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,


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.


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