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III. Faculty Employment Policies and Procedures

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III. Faculty Employment Policies and Procedures

III.F. Separation

III.F.1. Resignation III.F.2. Expiration of Contract and At-Will Termination
III.F.3. Nonrenewal
III.F.4. Termination

For more information regarding separation, see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2106, Instructional Faculty Separation from Employment. For specific information about retirement, see Faculty Handbook, Section III.J.6. and the Appendix.

III.F.1. 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. If an instructional faculty member resigns, the faculty member will be paid the full amount of compensation due for the work performed in a lump sum at the next possible pay period and benefits for the faculty member will terminate on the last day of the month the resignation becomes effective. An exception may be made if an academic unit head or other appropriate supervisor authorizes in writing that the resigning faculty member will remain active in the payroll system in order to receive benefits while the remaining salary due is paid out in regular payroll increments. However, the university reserves the right to restrict the faculty member's technology, building, and other access during the period after the university receives the resignation.

III.F.2. Expiration of Contract and At-Will Termination

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. If an instructional faculty member's appointment expires at the end of the assigned duties for an academic semester, the faculty member will be paid the full amount of compensation due for the work performed in that semester in a lump sum at the next possible pay period, and benefits for the faculty member will terminate on the last day of the month the appointment expires. At-will employees may be terminated at any time upon notification from the university. Such termination is not an appealable personnel action. Pay and benefits for a faculty member in an at-will status will cease upon termination.

III.F.3. Nonrenewal

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.

Nonrenewal of the appointment of a tenure-track faculty member who is undergoing review for tenure is governed by the provisions of Faculty Handbook, Section III.E.7. In the case of nonrenewal of a tenure-track faculty member before undergoing review for tenure, or of an RTA faculty member, the following procedures apply:

III.F.3.a. Origination
Consideration of nonrenewal of the appointment of an untenured faculty member may originate with the AUH, AUPAC, dean, or other appropriate administrator by means of a written recommendation for nonrenewal. The initial commendation for nonrenewal, if it originates outside of the faculty member's academic home unit, shall be sent to the AUH and AUPAC for their consideration and recommendation. Consideration for nonrenewal may occur at any time, and is not dependent on the outcome of or judgments reflected in an initial, annual, or other evaluation.

III.F.3.b. Independent Evaluations
Although consultation among the AUPAC, AUH and dean concerning nonrenewal of a faculty member is encouraged, the AUH and the AUPAC shall make independent evaluations of the facts and make independent recommendations, and should clearly indicate a positive or negative recommendation on nonrenewal.

III.F.3.c. Academic Unit's Recommendations
The written recommendations of the AUPAC and AUH shall include a justification of their conclusions. These recommendations shall be submitted to the dean. If the AUH makes the initial recommendation, the AUH shall inform the AUPAC that a recommendation has been sent to the dean, and the AUPAC will submit its recommendation to the dean within five days of the initial recommendation for nonrenewal. If the AUPAC makes the initial recommendation, the AUPAC shall inform the AUH that a recommendation has been sent to the dean, and the AUH will submit his or her recommendation to the dean within five days of the initial recommendation of nonrenewal. If an administrator outside of the academic home unit initiates the nonrenewal consideration, both the AUPAC and the AUH shall submit their recommendations to the dean within five day of the initial recommendation. After the dean has received both the AUPAC and AUH recommendations, a copy of the AUPAC recommendation shall be provided to the AUH and concurrently a copy of the AUH recommendation shall be provided to the AUPAC.

III.F.3.d. Dean's Recommendations
The dean shall make a recommendation concerning nonrenewal of a faculty member after reviewing the recommendations of the AUH and the AUPAC. The written recommendation of the dean shall include a justification of his or her conclusions. The recommendations of the AUH, AUPAC and dean shall be submitted to the provost within five days of the dean's receipt of the AUH and AUPAC recommendations. After the recommendations have been received by the provost, a copy of the dean's recommendation shall be provided to the AUH and the AUPAC.

III.F.3.e. Provost's Decision
The recommendations regarding nonrenewal from the AUH, AUPAC and dean shall be reviewed by the provost, who shall decide if nonrenewal of the appointment of the faculty member is warranted. The decision not to renew the appointment of an untenured faculty member does not require action by the BOV. The written decision of the provost shall include a justification of his or her conclusions. Notice of nonrenewal shall be sent to the faculty member, and a copy shall be sent to the dean, AUH and AUPAC within five days of the provost's receipt of the AUH, AUPAC and dean recommendations. In the absence of a timely written appeal, the decision of the provost becomes final and the nonrenewal is effective at the end of the appointment period. In no event shall the time the case is on appeal extend the employment of the faculty member beyond the end date of the contract.

III.F.3.f. Special Circumstances
In the case of a faculty member with less than two years of service at the university, the administration has the discretion to act more quickly than specified above so that notice of nonrenewal may be given in accordance with the schedule of calendar dates set forth below.

III.F.3.g. Notice
If the provost decides not to renew the appointment of a faculty member, written notice of nonrenewal should be sent to the faculty member in accordance with the following schedule.

III.F.3.g.(1) For faculty members in their first year of service on an RTA appointment or tenure track contract at JMU:

  • Not later than March 1 if the appointment is to expire at the end of the spring semester in that calendar year.
  • At least three months' notice otherwise.

III.F.3.g.(2) For faculty members in their second year of consecutive full-time service on an RTA appointment or tenure track contract at JMU:

  • Not later than December 15 if the appointment is to expire at the end of the spring semester in the following calendar year.
  • At least six months' notice otherwise.

III.F.3.g.(3) For faculty members with two or more years of consecutive full-time service on an RTA appointment or tenure track contract at JMU:

  • Not less than 12 months' notice for a tenure track faculty member for any reason, or for a RTA faculty member if the basis for nonrenewal is unsatisfactory performance, or if the RTA faculty member is a lecturer. Notice given by the end of December in one calendar year means that the appointment will end by the end of December of the following calendar year. Notice given by the end of June in one calendar year means that the appointment will end by the end of June in the following calendar year.
  • Not less than 24 months' notice for a RTA faculty member, if the basis for nonrenewal is anything other than unsatisfactory performance. Notice given by the end of December in one calendar year means that the appointment will end by the end of December of the calendar year two years from then. Notice given by the end of June in one calendar year means that the appointment will end by the end of June of the calendar year two years from then.

III.F.3.h. Access to Records
Upon request, the faculty member shall be provided copies of the decision of the provost and the recommendations of the AUH, AUPAC and dean concerning the nonrenewal.

III.F.3.i. Appeal
All appeals must be in writing. A tenure-track or RTA faculty member has 30 days from the receipt of a written notice of nonrenewal from the provost to submit a written appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The written appeal shall set forth the grounds for the appeal and a summary of the arguments and documentation the faculty member intends to present at a hearing. Upon receipt of an appeal, the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee shall promptly send an acknowledgement of the receipt of the appeal to the faculty member and shall notify the president, the provost, dean and AUH. If an appeal is filed, the provost shall appoint the AUH or an administrative designee to serve as the respondent, representing the administration in the appeal process.

III.F.3.j. Faculty Appeals Committee
The Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine if a hearing is warranted. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.b.

  • For a tenure-track faculty member, grounds for appealing a nonrenewal are limited to failure of the university to follow its procedures or unreasonable or improper bases for nonrenewal, including academic freedom violations.
  • For an RTA faculty member, grounds for appealing a nonrenewal are limited to academic freedom violations.

If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing should be granted, the procedures in Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.c. shall apply to both tenure-track and RTA faculty members. In the hearing, the faculty member shall have the responsibility to establish that the procedures were not followed or that the university used unreasonable or improper bases for the nonrenewal. If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing shall not be granted, the faculty member, respondent, speaker, provost, and president shall be notified that the appeal has been denied. If the appeal is denied by the Faculty Appeals Committee, the decision of the provost becomes final, and the nonrenewal becomes effective at the end of the appointment term.

III.F.3.k. Confidentiality
All persons involved in the nonrenewal process shall respect and maintain the strict confidentiality of all relevant documents and deliberations.

III.F.3.l. Pay and Benefits
For an instructional faculty member whose is nonrenewed, the faculty member will be paid the full amount of compensation for the work performed at the next possible pay period after the effective date of the nonrenewal in a lump sum, and benefits for the faculty member will terminate on the last day of the month in which the nonrenewal becomes effective. An exception may be made if an academic unit head or other appropriate supervisor authorizes in writing that the nonrenewed faculty member will remain active in the payroll system in order to receive benefits while the remaining salary due is paid out in regular payroll. However, the university reserves the right to restrict the faculty member's technology, building and other access during the period after the nonrenewal notice is received.

III.F.4. Termination

In addition to dismissal as a sanction outlined elsewhere in the Faculty Handbook (e.g., III.A.25., III.E.8.), the appointment of a tenured or untenured faculty member may be terminated by the university in the event of a bona fide financial exigency, program reduction, discontinuance or elimination, or for medical reasons that prevent a faculty member from fulfilling the responsibilities of his or her position. For faculty appointments with a specified term, termination may occur before the expiration of the term. If an instructional or A&P faculty member is terminated, the faculty member will be paid the full amount of compensation due for the work performed in lump sum at the next possible pay period, and benefits for the faculty member will terminate on the last day of the month in which the faculty member's termination becomes effective. However, the university reserves the right to restrict the faculty member's technology, building and other access after the termination notice is received.

III.F.4.a. Financial Exigency

III.F.4.a.(1) Before a faculty member can be terminated for financial exigency, a declaration shall be made by the president and the BOV that a severe financial crisis exists that cannot be satisfactorily alleviated by less drastic means.

III.F.4.a.(2) A tenured faculty member may be terminated only if such termination is a component of a comprehensive program adopted by the university in the exercise of its judgment to resolve the financial peril that includes other measures reasonably fashioned to achieve that goal. The president, in consultation with the university community including the Faculty Senate, will be responsible for preparing such a program. The program must be approved by the BOV.

III.F.4.a.(3) The program proposed by the president shall specify the criteria for identifying individuals whose appointments will be terminated. The provost shall identify those individuals who will be terminated under the criteria specified and shall be responsible for notifying those faculty members who will be terminated. The provost shall make decisions on termination in consultation with the Academic Council. In the absence of a timely written appeal, the decision of the provost becomes final, and the termination becomes effective on the date specified by the provost.

III.F.4.a.(4) When the university terminates appointments because of financial exigency, it shall not at the same time make new appointments except to replace faculty members who have separated from the university for other reasons, or in extraordinary circumstances where a serious distortion in the academic program would otherwise result. The appointment of a faculty member with tenure shall not be terminated in favor of retaining a faculty member in the same academic unit without tenure, except in extraordinary circumstances where a serious distortion of the academic unit's program would otherwise result.

III.F.4.a.(5) Before terminating the appointment of a tenured faculty member because of financial exigency, the university shall make every reasonable effort to place the faculty member concerned in another suitable position within the university for which the faculty member is qualified. If placement in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, appropriate financial and other support for such training shall be proffered. If no suitable position is available, with or without retraining, the faculty member's appointment may be terminated.

III.F.4.a.(6) In all cases of termination of the appointment of a tenured faculty member because of financial exigency, the place of the faculty member concerned shall not be filled by a replacement within a period of three years, unless the released faculty member has been offered reinstatement and a reasonable time in which to accept or decline it, or unless the released faculty member is no longer qualified for the position or able to perform the essential functions of the job.

III.F.4.a.(7) In all cases of termination of appointment because of financial exigency, the faculty member concerned shall be given such written notice as may be practical under the circumstances. If financial circumstances allow, this shall be not less than three months for faculty members in their first year of service, not less than six months for faculty members in their second year of service, and not less than 12 months for all other faculty members.

III.F.4.a.(8) A faculty member may appeal a termination for financial exigency only if the faculty member has tenure. All appeals must be in writing. In such instances, the faculty member has 30 days from receipt of written notice of termination to submit a written appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The written appeal shall set forth the grounds for the appeal and a summary of the arguments and documentation the faculty member intends to present at a hearing. Upon receipt of an appeal, the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee shall promptly send an acknowledgement of the receipt of the appeal to the faculty member and shall notify the president, provost, dean and AUH. If an appeal is filed, the provost shall appoint the AUH or an administrative designee to serve as the respondent to represent the administration in the appeal process.

III.F.4.a.(9) The Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine if a hearing is warranted. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.b. Grounds for appealing a termination for financial exigency are not limited. If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing should be granted, the procedures in Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.c. shall apply. In the hearing, the respondent shall have the responsibility to establish that the termination is appropriate. If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing shall not be granted, the faculty member, respondent, speaker, provost, and president shall be notified that the appeal has been denied. If the appeal is denied by the Faculty
Appeals Committee, the decision of the provost on the termination becomes final, and the termination becomes effective on the date the appeal is denied.

III.F.4.a.(10) All persons involved in the termination process shall respect and maintain the strict confidentiality of all relevant documents and deliberations.

III.F.4.b. Program Reduction or Elimination

III.F.4.b.(1) In the absence of financial exigency, before a faculty member can be terminated because of program reduction or elimination, a determination shall be made by the president and the provost that such reductions or eliminations are consistent with institutional goals and needs. In considering such matters, the president and the provost shall consult with the university community including the Faculty Senate. Responsibility for the decision on individual termination decisions shall rest with the provost. In the absence of a timely written appeal, the decision of the provost becomes final, and the termination is effective on the date specified by the provost.

III.F.4.b.(2) The decision to reduce or eliminate a program or department of instruction shall be based on the judgment that the educational mission of the institution will be enhanced by the reduction or elimination.

III.F.4.b.(3) Before the provost issues notice to a tenured faculty member of the decision to terminate an appointment because of program reduction or elimination, the university shall make every reasonable effort to place the faculty member concerned in another suitable position for which the faculty member is qualified. If placement in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, financial and other support for such training shall be proffered. If no suitable position is available, with or without retraining, the faculty member's appointment may be terminated.

III.F.4.b.(4) A faculty member may appeal a termination for program reduction or elimination only if the faculty member has tenure. All appeals must be in writing. In such instances, the faculty member has 30 days from receipt of the written notice of termination from the provost to submit a written appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The written appeal shall set forth the grounds for the appeal and a summary of the arguments and documentation the faculty member intends to present at a hearing. Upon receipt of an appeal, the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee shall promptly send an acknowledgement of the receipt of the appeal to the faculty member and shall notify the president, provost, dean, and AUH. If an appeal is filed, the provost shall appoint the AUH or an administrative designee to serve as the respondent, representing the administration in the appeal process.

III.F.4.b.(5) The Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine if a hearing is warranted. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.b. Grounds for appealing a termination for program reduction or elimination are not limited. If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing should be granted, the procedures in Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.c. shall apply. In the hearing, the respondent shall have the responsibility to establish that the termination is appropriate. If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing shall not be granted, the faculty member, respondent, speaker, provost and president shall be notified that the appeal has been denied. If the appeal is denied by the Faculty Appeals Committee, the decision of the provost on the termination becomes final, and the termination is effective on the date the appeal is denied.

III.F.4.b.(6) In all cases of termination of appointment because of program reduction or elimination, the faculty member concerned should be given written notice not less than: three months for faculty members in their first year of service, six months for faculty members in their second year of service, 12 months otherwise.

III.F.4.b.(7) All persons involved in the termination process shall respect and maintain the strict confidentiality of all relevant documents and deliberations.

III.F.4.c. Inability to Perform for Medical Reasons

III.F.4.c.(1) If the reason for a faculty member's inability to perform is a medical condition or problem, the faculty member may request leave, or may be eligible for peer coverage, or may file for disability benefits in a program in which he or she is enrolled. If the faculty member is a qualified individual with a disability, the university will consider a request for accommodations under the terms of the Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1331, Disabilities & Reasonable Accommodations. Additionally, disability retirement benefits may be available to the faculty member in some circumstances. However, if the faculty member continues to be unable to perform, the university may take action to terminate the faculty member's employment. Before a faculty member can be terminated for medical reasons, the provost must make the determination consistent with applicable law that the faculty member is unable to perform the essential functions of his or her position, with or without reasonable accommodation. This determination shall be based on information available to the provost, including medical documentation from the faculty member's health care provider when it is available, and shall be preceded by written recommendations from the AUH and dean. The provost shall send the faculty member notice of the decision to terminate under this provision. In the absence of a timely written appeal, the decision of the provost becomes final, and the termination is effective on the date specified by the provost.

Any appeal must be in writing. The faculty member has 30 days to submit a written appeal to the Faculty Appeals Committee. The written appeal shall set forth the grounds for the appeal and a summary of the arguments and documentation the faculty member intends to present at a hearing. Upon receipt of an appeal, the chair of the Faculty Appeals Committee shall promptly send an acknowledgement of the receipt of the appeal to the faculty member and shall notify the president, provost, dean and AUH. If an appeal is filed, the provost shall appoint the AUH or an administrative designee to serve as the respondent, representing the administration in the appeal process.

III.F.4.c.(2) The Faculty Appeals Committee shall determine if a hearing is warranted. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.b. Grounds for appealing a termination for medical reasons are not limited.

  • If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing should be granted, the procedures in Faculty Handbook, Section III.L.2.c. shall apply. In the hearing, the respondent shall have the responsibility to establish that the termination is appropriate.
  • If the Faculty Appeals Committee determines that a hearing shall not be granted, the faculty member, respondent, speaker, provost and president shall be notified that the appeal has been denied. If the appeal is denied by the Faculty Appeals Committee, the decision of the provost on the termination becomes final, effective on the date the appeal is denied.

III.F.4.c.(3) All persons involved in the termination process shall respect and maintain the strict confidentiality of all relevant documents and deliberations.