Instructional Faculty Separation from Employment
Date of Current Revision: September 2010
Primary Responsible Officer: Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
This policy provides the procedures for separation from employment for instructional faculty members, including non-renewal, expiration of contract, termination, retirement or resignation.
The Board of Visitors has the authority to enact personnel policies for all employees of the university. Where this authority has not been exercised by the board, it is delegated to the president.
Administrative & Professional Faculty (A&P faculty)
Administrative faculty and professional faculty are normally referred to collectively, as both require advanced learning acquired by prolonged formal instruction and/or specialized training and work experience. However, the university recognizes administrative faculty and professional faculty as distinct position types.
Administrative Faculty positions are generally senior administrators who perform work related to the management of the educational and general activities of the university, for at least fifty percent of their work. Typically, administrative faculty serve in executive leadership roles such as vice president, provost, vice provost, dean, assistant or associate vice president, assistant or associate vice provost, or assistant or associate dean. Other administrative faculty roles can include (1) those responsible for the administrative direction of separately designated divisions or departments of institutional activity; (2) positions whose primary responsibility is to attract external funds; or (3) positions that are characterized by active, continuing involvement in formulating, interpreting and implementing institutional policy and exercise substantial independence, authority and discretion in areas such as program planning, design and allocation of resources. The organizational reporting relationship for administrative faculty is normally not lower than three levels below Executive Council positions. For Academic Affairs, this would include: Vice Provost/Dean (level 1), Academic Unit Head/Director (level 2) and Associate Director (level 3).
Professional Faculty require advanced learning and experience acquired by prolonged formal instruction and/or specialized work experience. Typical professional faculty positions are librarians, counselors, coaches, physicians, lawyers, engineers and architects. Other professional positions may support education, research, University Life and other such activities. Professional faculty positions must require the incumbent to regularly exercise professional discretion and judgment and to produce work that is intellectual and varied and is not standardized.
A faculty member who has no legitimate expectation of the continuation of an employment relationship with the university.
The natural and automatic termination of a fixed term contract of employment.
A severe financial crisis within the university, declared by the president and Board of Visitors, which cannot be satisfactorily alleviated by less drastic means than the termination of tenured faculty members.
Fixed term contract:
An employment contract with a specific termination date or length of duration.
Inability to perform:
A determination by the university that a faculty member is unable to perform the essential functions of his or her position, with or without reasonable accommodations. The Policy on Disabilities and Reasonable Accommodations is found in Policy 1331.
The members of the faculty who have responsibilities that include teaching, research and service as the majority of their duties.
A decision by the university not to renew the appointment of a faculty member.
Personnel Action Request form.
A decision by the university to eliminate an academic program, and terminate its faculty.
A decision by the university to reduce the number of faculty within an academic program.
Voluntary separation from employment initiated by a faculty member.
Voluntary separation from employment initiated by a faculty member, and election to enter into a retirement program offered by the university.
Retirement Incentive Plan:
A plan that allows the university to offer special retirement incentives to a tenured or RTA (Renewable-Term Appointment) faculty member under appropriate circumstances. The Faculty Retirement Incentive Policy is found in Policy 1333. RTA is defined in the Faculty Handbook, Section III.D.4.
The severance of the employment relationship between the faculty member and the university.
A decision by the university to terminate the employment of a tenured or untenured faculty member during the term of a contract, or an at-will employee at any time.
This policy relates to the separation from employment of all full-time instructional faculty members, including visiting appointments; tenured, tenure-track, renewable term, and untenured appointments; academic year, calendar year, fixed term appointments and interim appointments. It also applies to professional librarians.
For separation procedures in specific instances, see the Faculty Handbook, Section III.F.
5.1 The procedures in this policy must be followed in the separation of faculty members from employment at James Madison University.
5.2 Resignation: A faculty member may resign his or her appointment at any time provided that written notice is given at the earliest possible opportunity. It is expected that a faculty member will provide at least three months notice of resignation from the university, and will fulfill the obligations of the current assignments before the resignation becomes effective. The university reserves the right to accept the resignation immediately or establish a date prior to the expiration of the current contract in order to provide for the orderly operation of the institution or as a negotiated alternative to dismissal for cause. See Faculty Handbook Section III.F.1.
5.3 Expiration: Failure to renew the appointment of a faculty member on a fixed-term contract upon the expiration of the contract requires no action by the university and no notice to the faculty member. It is not an appealable personnel action. See Faculty Handbook Section III.F.2.
5.4 At-will Employees: At-will employees may be terminated at any time upon notification from the university. Such termination is not an appealable personnel action. See Faculty Handbook Section III.F.2.
5.5 Non-renewal: Untenured faculty members have no right to renewal of their appointments. The university may choose not to renew the appointment of an untenured faculty member for any reason provided the reason does not violate academic freedom. See Faculty Handbook Section III.F.3.
5.6 Termination: The employment of a tenured or untenured faculty member may be terminated at any time by the university as a sanction for misconduct. See Faculty Handbook Section III.A.25. The employment of a tenured faculty member may be terminated at any time by the university as a sanction following failure satisfactorily to complete remediation following a post-tenure review of a tenured faculty member. See Faculty Handbook Section III.E.8.m. Additionally, a faculty member may be terminated because of a financial exigency (Faculty Handbook Section III.F.4.a.), because of a program reduction, elimination, or discontinuance (Faculty Handbook Section III.F.4.b.), or because of the faculty member's inability to perform his or her job duties (Faculty Handbook Section III.F.4.c.).
5.7 A faculty member separated from employment is required to complete appropriate forms to finalize matters relating to their employment, including insurance, retirement, university property, and compensation. Failure to complete the appropriate forms may result in abandonment of rights or benefits. Faculty members are also required to return all university property (such as electronic equipment, JACards, travel cards, keys, parking permits, etc.) and grade books for the preceding academic year. (See Policy 1314 on Transfer or Separation from Employment and Faculty Handbook Section III.A.2.b.15.)
The procedures for non-renewal of a tenure track faculty member undergoing review for tenure are in the Faculty Handbook Section III.E.7. The procedures for non-renewal of a tenure track faculty member prior to undergoing review for tenure, and for RTA faculty members, are in the Faculty Handbook, Section III.F.3. Academic unit heads must submit a PAR to the Office of Human Resources for each non-renewal within three business days after the supervisor becomes aware of the employee's separation but always before the date of the faculty member's separation from employment.
The procedures for termination are found in the faculty handbook as follows:
As a sanction for misconduct: Section III.A.25.
As a sanction following a post-tenure review: Section III.E.8.
Financial exigency: Section III.F.4.a.
Program reduction or elimination: Section III.F.4.b.
Inability to perform for medical reasons: Section III.F.4.c.
Academic unit heads must submit a PAR to the Office of Human Resources for each faculty member who is terminated within three business days of the completion of appropriate procedures for termination.
6.3 Resignations and Retirements
Academic unit heads must submit a PAR to Human Resources for each faculty member who resigns or retires within three business days of notification, but always before the date of the close of the next pay period following the effective date of the resignation.
6.4 Expiration of Contract
No PAR is needed to document the separation of a faculty member whose contract expires.
6.5 At-will Employees
In order to separate an at-will employee from the university, the academic unit head must generate a PAR and send it to the Office of Human Resources within three business days of notification.
6.6 Campus Clearance
Upon receipt of the PAR reflecting a non-renewal, resignation, termination, or separation from employment, Human Resources will e-mail the faculty member's supervisor of record a notification indicating this employee has been separated from employment. This email includes a list of items (such as University property and grade books for the preceding academic year) the supervisor is responsible for obtaining from the employee. Human Resources will also notify pertinent departments of the employee's pending separation from the university. (Refer to University Policy 1314 Transfer or Separation from Employment for additional details.)
Faculty members are responsible for notifying the university in a timely manner of their intent to resign or retire.
Academic unit heads and direct supervisors are responsible for following the procedures for separation of faculty members from employment, submitting the PAR to the Office of Human Resources in a timely manner, and facilitating the return of all university property and grade books for the preceding academic year from the separating employee.
Deans are responsible for reviewing and approving all faculty separation practices and procedures used within their colleges and ensuring that the practices and procedures conform to university policies.
The Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for reviewing and approving all faculty separation practices and procedures for instructional faculty.
The Director of Human Resources is responsible for processing the PAR's separating the faculty member from employment, and for communicating with the supervisor of record to facilitate the return of all university property. Human Resources will also send benefits-related information to the faculty member separating from the university and dependants as required by state or federal legislation.
When notified of a faculty member's pending separation, various departments (computer loans, parking, etc.) are responsible for contacting the faculty member to settle any outstanding accounts.
Sanctions will be commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.
The procedures detailed in this policy do not apply to A&P faculty or to part-time faculty members. The policy on separation of Administrative and Professional faculty members is found in Policy 1335.
This policy does not apply to demotions, removals or changes in assignment, or termination of specific assignments or administrative appointments of faculty members who remain employed by the university. For the procedures on changes in appointments of faculty members, see Policy 2106.
The authority to interpret this policy rests with the president, and is generally delegated to the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Previous Version: May 2002
Approved by the President: May 2002