Policy on Faculty Definition

Policy Memorandum No. 45

Recommended by: Commission on Faculty Affairs
University Council Approval: January 17, 1983
President's Approval: January 17, 1983
Effective Date: July 1, 1983

After extensive study over a period of several years, the University Council has approved new policies and language, to be included in the Faculty Handbook,, concerning "Faculty Definition." Specifically, the policy on faculty definition distinguishes the Collegiate Faculties, Library Faculty, Extension Division Faculty, and Administrative Faculty and provides a procedure for promotion in faculty rank by Non-College-Based Faculty. Because of the length of this document, and because it will be included in the Faculty Handbook to be published within a year, this Policy Memorandum is being distributed only to deans, department heads, and directors; others wishing to review it may obtain it from their deans or department heads or from the President's Office or Provost's, until it is published in the Faculty Handbook. The new language approved by the Council follows:

2.0 Faculty Policies And Procedures

2.1 Faculty Definition

In compliance with regulations and statutes of the Commonwealth of Virginia, University employees fall into two distinct categories: employees in the classified personnel system, and faculty. All faculty members are designated as members of the General Faculty of the University. The General Faculty is composed of those professional staff members outside of the classified personnel system who are appointed to carry out the instruction, research, and extension programs of the University; to carry out the administration of those programs or the general administration of the University; or to provide academic support to those programs. Each member of the General Faculty is assigned one of the standard faculty ranks of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, or Instructor, or one of the special ranks of Lecturer, Visiting Professor, Adjunct Professor, Research Associate, or Senior Research Associate.

For the purpose of designation within the University for the application of faculty policies, including especially those relating to promotion and tenure, the General Faculty is divided into five categories: the Collegiate Faculties, the Library Faculty, the faculty of the Extension Division not holding appointment in a Collegiate Faculty, the Administrative Faculty, and Research Associates. Research Associates are described in Section 2.4.2.

Specification of faculty rank in the Library Faculty, the Extension Division Faculty, or the Administrative Faculty does not imply a particular rank in any collegiate department or division. However, faculty members in those categories may be invited to hold concurrent adjunct status in a collegiate department or division in order formally to recognize their contributions to the undergraduate or graduate program. Occasionally a person appointed to such a position may qualify for a joint appointment with faculty rank in a collegiate department or division. If the rank is held in a collegiate department or division, rank criteria and promotional policies and procedures of the Collegiate Faculties will be followed.

2.1.1 The Collegiate Faculties

The Collegiate Faculties are composed of those faculty members (except Research Associates) appointed to full-time or part-time positions in academic departments, divisions, or centers of the eight colleges or in interdisciplinary instructional centers of the University (all of which are subsumed under the term "department" in this chapter). Persons appointed to faculty positions in college administrative offices, including Deans, Associate Deans, and Assistant Deans, are ordinarily included in the Collegiate Faculties by virtue of an accompanying appointment in a departmental faculty, but in certain individually identified appointments where the responsibilities are primarily managerial, including positions with titles such as Assistant to the Dean, the faculty member is a part of the Administrative Faculty rather than the Collegiate Faculties.

Members of a Collegiate Faculty who accept positions in the Library Faculty, positions in the Extension Division which are not in a Collegiate Faculty, or positions in the Administrative Faculty, thereby relinquishing full-time responsibilities in a collegiate department, may choose to continue to have their professional development evaluated by that department and college for purposes of promotion in rank or the granting of tenure, according to the usual criteria and the procedures of Section 2.7. Tenure already granted need not be relinquished. Annual evaluation for merit salary adjustment will be based on the responsibilities of the current position, however.

2.1.2 The Library Faculty

As the primary means through which students and faculty gain access to the storehouse of organized knowledge, the University Libraries perform a unique and indispensable function in the educational process. In this function, faculty members of the University Libraries share many of the professional concerns of their collegiate colleagues. The University recognizes particularly the need to protect the academic freedom of librarians in their responsibility to insure the availability of information and ideas, no matter how controversial, so that teachers may freely teach and students may freely learn.

In order to instill the highest professional standards in the library faculty, procedures for probationary appointment, continued employment and promotion for faculty of the University Libraries, including evaluative criteria, have been developed by the Library Faculty Association and the Director of the University Libraries. These procedures are contained in PROCEDURES ON EVALUATION AND PROMOTION: UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES. Recommendations for promotion in rank will be reviewed, for recommendation to the President, by the University Promotion Committee for Non-college-based Faculty.

This document includes provisions for term appointments during a probationary period parallel to those for members of a collegiate faculty. No later than the sixth year of such a probationary period, evaluation is made for "continued appointment" (in contrast to "term appointment"). Expectation of continued appointment does not apply to library administrative positions. A library faculty member on continued appointment will have continued employment until retirement with termination of employment based only on unsatisfactory performance, proof of misconduct, discontinuance or reduction in a segment of the University's research or educational program, or library reorganization due to changing patterns of library service or technological advances. If a position held by a library faculty member with continued appointment is eliminated or changes to such a degree that the incumbent can no longer fulfill its requirements, every effort will be made to reassign the faculty member to another position. If the position of a library faculty member on continued appointment is terminated, it will not be re-established and refilled within a period of two years unless the appointment has been offered to and declined by the faculty member who was originally displaced. In case of termination of a continued appointment, for reasons other than gross misconduct, one year's notice will be given or one year's salary will be paid.

Nonrenewal of a term appointment or termination of a continued appointment will be given with the same notice as for collegiate faculty members. A library faculty member on continued appointment receiving notice of termination may ask that the decision be reviewed by the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation or may invoke grievance procedures. The University is responsible for demonstration of adequate cause for termination of continued appointment. In any claim by the faculty member that the termination decision was based significantly on discrimination contrary to University policy as an Equal Opportunity Employer (see section 2.5) or was in violation of the University's policy of protection of academic freedom, the faculty member is responsible for stating and documenting the grounds of the allegations.

Tenure awarded to faculty of the University Libraries prior to July 1, 1983, will continue to be recognized. Faculty members in the University Libraries who were first appointed before July 1, 1983, with the expectation of eligibility for tenure consideration but for whom a tenure decision has not been reached as of July 1, 1983, must by that date choose one of two options. They may elect to be evaluated for tenure, subject to the usual review of their unit and the University Promotion and Tenure Committee for Collegiate Faculty, applying its standards and with the standard notice of termination of employment if tenure is not awarded. Alternatively, they may choose to relinquish consideration for tenure and be evaluated for continued appointment and promotion as indicated above. Those who choose to be evaluated for a tenured appointment will be considered only for that award by the University Promotion and Tenure Committee for Collegiate Faculty. Any concurrent or subsequent recommendation for promotion in rank will be reviewed by the University Promotion Committee for Non-collegiate-based Faculty.

2.1.3 Extension Division Faculty

Faculty of the Extension Division not holding appointments in a collegiate department are nonetheless subject to high professional standards in the dissemination of applicable knowledge through cooperative extension programs and in the planning and delivery of non-credit educational programs. In these functions, faculty members of the Extension Division share many of the professional concerns of their collegiate colleagues, including the need for the protection of academic freedom in these responsibilities.

Standards and procedures on probationary appointments and continued employment for faculty of the Extension Division, including evaluative criteria and procedures for promotion in rank, have been developed by the Extension Faculty Association and the Dean of the Extension Division. These procedures are contained in GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF CREDENTIALS FOR PROMOTION CONSIDERATION AND ANNUAL FACULTY REVIEW: EXTENSION DIVISION. Recommendations for promotion in rank will be reviewed, for recommendation to the President, by the University Promotion Committee for Non-collegebased Faculty (see section 2.7.7).

This document includes provisions for term appointments during a probationary period parallel to those for members of a collegiate faculty. No later than the sixth year of such a probationary period, evaluation is made for "continued appointment" (in contrast to "term appointment"). Expectation of continued appointment does not apply to Extension Division administrative positions. An Extension Division faculty member on continued appointment will have continued employment until retirement with termination of employment based only on unsatisfactory performance, proof of misconduct, discontinuance or reduction in a segment of the University's Extension Program, or reorganization due to changing patterns of Extension programming. If a position held by an Extension Division faculty member with continued appointment is eliminated or changes to such a degree that the incumbent can no longer fulfill its requirements, every effort will be made to reassign the faculty member to another position. If the position of an Extension Division faculty member on continued appointment is terminated, it will not be re-established and refilled within a period of two years unless the appointment has been offered to and declined by the faculty member who was originally displaced. In case of termination of a continued appointment for reasons other than gross misconduct, one year's notice will be given or one year's salary will be paid.

Nonrenewal of a term appointment or termination of a continued appointment will be given with the same notice as for collegiate faculty members. An Extension Division faculty member on continued appointment receiving notice of termination may ask that the decision be reviewed by the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation or may invoke grievance procedures. The University is responsible for demonstration of adequate cause for termination of continued appointment. In any claim by the faculty member that the termination decision was based significantly on discrimination contrary to University policy as an Equal Opportunity Employer (see section 2.5), or was in violation of the University's policy of protection of academic freedom, the faculty member is responsible for stating and documenting the grounds of the allegations.

Tenure awarded to faculty of the Extension Division prior to July 1, 1983, will continue to be recognized. Faculty members in the Extension Division who were first appointed before July 1, 1983, with the expectation of eligibility for tenure consideration but for whom a tenure decision has not been reached as of July 1, 1983, must by that date choose one of two options. They may elect to be evaluated for tenure, subject to the usual review of their unit and the University Promotion and Tenure Committee for Collegiate Faculty, applying its usual standards and with the standard notice of termination of employment if tenure is not awarded. Alternatively, they may choose to relinquish consideration for tenure and be evaluated for continued appointment and promotion in the same process as other noncollegiate based faculty. Those who choose to be evaluated for a tenured appointment will be considered only for that award by the University Promotion and Tenure Committee for Collegiate Faculty. Any concurrent or subsequent recommendation for promotion in rank will be reviewed by the University Promotion Committee for Non-college-based Faculty.

2.1.4 Administrative Faculty

Members of the General Faculty of the University who are not otherwise designated in sections 2.1.1, 2.1.2, or 2.1.3 are included in the Administrative Faculty. Certain positions within colleges, where the responsibilities are primarily managerial, may be designated specifically at the time of appointment to be administrative. The University recognizes the need to protect the academic freedom of Administrative Faculty members when their responsibilities include instruction, direct support of the academic programs of the University, or collaboration with other faculty members in an activity in which academic freedom is respected.

Appointment to positions in the Administrative Faculty is on a year-by-year basis, subject to decision by the President. Except in cases of dereliction of duty or conduct harmful to the University, every effort will be made to furnish notice of nonreappointment of at least three months in the first year of appointment, of at least six months in the second year, and one year thereafter. Administrative Faculty members notified of nonreappointment may invoke grievance procedures (see section 2.10) if they believe the action unwarranted.

Members of the Administrative Faculty, except as noted below, have the nominal faculty rank of Lecturer; professional development will be recognized by salary adjustment and functional title advancement rather than promotion in faculty rank. (Those administrative faculty members to whom other faculty ranks have been assigned prior to July 1, 1983, may maintain such ranks.) Members of the Administrative Faculty whose credentials and professional development activities are similar to those of faculty in collegiate departments may be assigned standard faculty ranks, subject to approval by the University Provost, and may be recommended for promotion in rank to the University Promotion Committee for Non-college-based Faculty.

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2.7.7 Promotion in Faculty Rank: Non-College-Based Faculty

Members of the Library Faculty, faculty of the Extension Division not holding appointments in a collegiate department, and the Administrative Faculty may be considered for promotion in faculty rank in recognition of appropriate professional accomplishments as noted in sections 2.1.2, 2.1.3, and 2.1.4. Such promotions are considered, not by the University Promotion and Tenure Committee for Collegiate Faculty (which considers only cases of the Collegiate Faculties brought to it from a college), but rather by the University Promotion Committee for Non-college-based Faculty. This committee includes as members the University Provost, the Dean of the Extension Division, the Director of the University Libraries, and five members of the General Faculty (who are not members of the Collegiate Faculties) appointed for two-year staggered terms by the President. The President will ask for nominations to this committee from the constituent units of the General Faculty; the appointees shall include at least one each from the Library Faculty and the Extension Division Faculty. The Provost chairs the committee but does not vote.

Dossiers of candidates for promotion are submitted to the University Promotion Committee for Non-college-based Faculty by the relevant dean or director with accompanying recommendation. The recommendations of the Committee are conveyed to the Provost who makes final recommendations to the President and thence to the Board of Visitors, which acts upon them formally at its Spring meeting each May. Appeals contesting the Provost's recommendations are considered by the President.

Because the job descriptions and responsibilities of the candidates being considered conform to no single pattern or norm, it is not possible to set forth a statement of criteria with reference to which all recommendations for promotion or continued appointment must be made. Nevertheless, members of the General Faculty seeking continued appointment or promotion in faculty rank will generally be expected to have records of outstanding accomplishment in an appropriate combination of the following categories:

  1. Professional Responsibilities - Carrying out the responsibilities of the position within the organizational unit by effective staff work, display of leadership, and a high degree of initiative.

  2. Research and Scholarly Activities - Publishing in journals, presenting papers at professional meetings, organizing or chairing sessions at professional meetings, and carrying out instructional responsibilities or graduate student advising.

  3. University Activities - Participating in the conduct of the activities of the administrative unit and the University. Such service might take innumerable forms, including serving on committees or in faculty governance positions, or participating in seminars or conferences.

  4. External Activities - Participating in local, state, regional, and national professional associations. Such participation includes activities such as holding office, serving on committees, conducting workshops, serving on panels, and attending conferences, conventions, or meetings.

  5. Awards and Honors - Receiving awards, grants, and honorary titles or being selected for membership in honorary societies.

Activities and accomplishments in other appropriate areas, beyond these five, may be included in dossiers and will be considered.

Organizational units of the General Faculty will be expected to develop within this framework the performance criteria which are most relevant to the responsibilities of those units. These criteria will serve both as an aid to faculty development and as a set of measures that the University Promotion Committee for Non-college-based Faculty may apply.


President's Policy Memorandum

URL: http://purl.vt.edu/vtdocs/policies/ppm45