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Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook Chapter 3 -- Faculty: Employment, Tenure, Promotion, and Merit
Unclassified Professional Staff
This section includes policies and procedural guidelines regarding appointment, promotion, evaluation, termination, and other matters specifically related to unclassified professional staff. Other matters that pertain to all unclassified staff are covered elsewhere in this Handbook.
Unclassified Professional Staff members of the University are those unclassified, non-student employees who are not identified as faculty members. These staff members engage in administration, education and research in support of the mission of the institution. If a staff member also holds a regular faculty or academic staff appointment, faculty or academic staff policies and procedures will apply.
Unclassified Professional Staff members shall be selected and appointed in accordance with prevailing policies and practices within the University and the particular department, school, division, or unit. Such policies shall include those on appropriate search, interview, and review. The terms and conditions of each initial appointment must be stated in writing, approved by the appropriate administrator (Provost, assistant provost, vice president, dean, or university director), or his/her designated representative, and communicated to the prospective appointee for written acceptance before the appointment is finalized.
A description for each position shall be approved by the appropriate administrator (Provost, assistant provost, vice president, dean, or university director) or his/her designated representative. A written position description will be provided to the employee at the time of initial employment. This description should be reviewed annually, or, if significant changes occur, updated more frequently. The unit administration will make the final determination of the position responsibilities and priorities.
Titles for Unclassified Professional Staff members should reflect the responsibilities and qualifications of the positions and individuals covered under this policy. These titles must be selected and approved by the appropriate administrator (Provost, Assistant provost, vice president, dean, or university director), or his/her designated representative and approved for use by the University.
The university recognizes the value of professional activities, such as conferences, workshops, and meetings, which enhance the profesional development of staff members. Such activities should be encouraged, and when appropriate and advantageous to the performance of the employee and to the unit, release time and/or reimbursement of related expenses may be approved in accordance with institutional policies and practices. Release time with pay may be granted in meritorious cases when the project of activity undertaken by the individual is considered to be appropriate to the individual's area of competence and is in the best interests of the individual and the University.
Unclassified Professional Staff members who are appointed at least half-time to a budgeted position are afforded the following benefits: group health and hospitalization insurance, group life and disability insurance, worker's compensation, unemployment compensation, retirement benefits, leave without pay, sick leave, bereavement leave, shared leave, vacation leave, military leave, state designated holidays, and other privileges and general perquisites.
Individuals who hold appointments of less than half time may be eligible for some benefits. These benefits, described more specifically in the University Human Resource Office, are subject to change by the University, the Board of Regents, and the Kansas Legislature.
Promotion of an Unclassified Professional Staff member must be in accordance with the University's affirmative action and equal opportunity policies and must be approved by the appropriate administrator or his/her designated representative.
The University shall at all times seek to attract, retain and reward staff members who consistently perform effectively. Promotions, and any accompanying salary increase, are important means of acknowledging such performance.
Promotions must be approved by the appropriate administrator (Provost, assistant provost, vice president, dean, or university director), or his/her designated representative. Promotions shall be made on the basis of increased responsibilities or a change of duties and shall be awarded for achievement rather than for mere length of service or as an incentive to greater effort.
A staff member should receive feedback about his/her performance throughout the year. Each unclassified professional staff member shall be evaluated at least once a year. Each unit shall develop its own evaluation process that will include, but is not limited to, the following elements:
a. The duties stated in the job description shall provide the primary basis for the evaluation.
b. The evaluation process should afford the opportunity for the supervisor and employee to review the job description and clarify or update it as necessary.
c. Goals for the coming year may be set and may become part of the next evaluation.
The supervisor will discuss the evaluation with the employee and provide an opportunity for discussion of the evaluation. The results of the evaluation shall be provided to the employee in writing. An employee who disagrees with the evaluation may appeal it through the appropriate administrative channels.
Unless a more limited term of appointment has been stated in writing or timely notice of non-reappointment has been given, appointments to unclassified professional staff positions will be renewed at the beginning of the fiscal year.
Notice of Non-reappointment
Upon recommendation of the appropriate administrator (provost, assistant provost, vice president, dean, or university director), or his/her designated representative a written notice of non-reappointment will be sent to the appointee. The unclassified professional staff member will have an opportunity to discuss the non-reappointment with the next level of management. The written notice of non-reappointment may include information about the reason for non-reappointment.
Notice of non-reappointment is to be given as early as possible. The individual must be provided notice no later than 30 days prior to the end of the current appointment if said appointment.
It is recognized that the positions of some unclassified professional staff members may be funded from sources such as externally supported grants and contracts and that termination of such support provides a bona fide cause for termination of appointment without the usual notice. Individuals will be informed at the time of appointment, or at the time the funding basis is changed, that the position is a limited term appointment.
In the event of termination because of a discontinuance or reorientation of a program, or termination at any time due to budgetary constraints, the appropriate budgetary unit will actively assist the affected staff member in seeking transfer to other budgetary units of Fort Hays State University, or to other State agencies, or in seeking other employment.
A staff member who asserts that a decision to give notice of non-reappointment constitutes a violation of established procedures of the University or of the unit is entitled to appeal such decision. (See action entitled "Conflict Resolution," below.) Employees given notice of non-reappointment in accordance with the standards described above may appeal only on the basis that the notice of non-reappointment constitutes a violation of established procedure.
Resignations should always be submitted in writing to the appropriate administrator (provost, assistant provost, vice president, dean, or university director), or his/her designated representative who will acknowledge the resignation on behalf of the University.
Unless an earlier date is requested and approved, the effective date of the resignation shall be the expiration date of the current appointment. If an earlier date is specified, the date should be established at a time that will not cause a significant interruption of the ongoing work of the department, school, or division. The resignation should be submitted at least three months in advance of the requested terminated date.
Leaves of Absence
Release Time. Under appropriate circumstances, upon the recommendation of the Provost, or appropriate vice president, the President may authorize release time with pay from regularly assigned responsibilities.
Release time may be granted, in strictly meritorious cases, to an unclassified professional staff member when the project of activity to be undertaken by the individual is considered to be appropriate to the individual's area of competence and in the best interest of the individual and the University. Under appropriate circumstances, professional development travel funds may be made available.
Leave Without Pay. A staff member who applies for a leave of absence without pay may be granted such leave when it is considered to be in the best interest of the individual and the University.
A leave without pay may be granted for purposes such as extended illness, certain family-related needs, or educational/professional advancement. Leaves without pay for purposes of childbearing, child-rearing, or other family-related needs will be granted in accordance with applicable University, state, and federal regulations. A written application with the endorsement of the appropriate chairperson or director should be submitted to the appropriate administrator (Provost, assistant provost, vice president, dean, or university director), or his/her designated representative. Board of Regents policy states that a leave without pay for up to three years may be granted by the chief executive officer of the institution when he or she judges that such leave is in the best interests of the institution.
Employees may be disciplines for reasons of, including but not limited to: inadequate performance, misconduct, violation of established policies and procedures, or their employment cause.
An employee will receive disciplinary action appropriate to the misconduct or other infractions committed, with consideration given to work history as well as the nature of the misconduct or infraction.
Disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to, warning, reassignment, reduction or elimination of merit salary increases for one or more years, administrative leave without pay, demotion, and dismissal.
For seriously inadequate performance or cause, the employee may be terminated at any time. In such case, the employee shall have the right to be informed in writing of the reason for action taken, shall have an opportunity to discuss the proposed action with the supervisor or designate, and may appeal the dismissal in accordance with the provisions of the "Conflict Resolution" section.
Problems of performance or conduct should be addressed in a timely manner, and when feasible, adequate time should be allotted for improvement to occur. Before any disciplinary action is taken, if possible, the supervisor will first advise the employee of the misconduct or the inadequacy of his/her performance and will attempt to reach a solution to the problem. Whenever possible, problem resolution should entail a meeting between the employee and the supervisor. A summary of this meeting, including the agreement reached and the applicable time allotted for improvement, should be documented in writing and signed by both parties. Follow-up meetings between the employee and supervisor should occur to ensure that performance is improved or misconduct has not reoccurred.
When an instance of misconduct or poor job performance is determined to be of a severe nature, the reassignment, administrative leave without pay, demotion, or dismissal of an employee may occur in the absence of any prior discipline. In such case, the employee shall have the right to be informed in writing of the reason for the action taken and shall have an opportunity to discuss the proposal with the supervisor or a designate. Employees so disciplined will retain all applicable appeal rights. (See section entitled "Conflict Resolution and Grievance Procedure.")
Conflict Resolution and Grievance Procedures
The conflict resolution process described here is intended to help members of the unclassified professional staff address complaints related to the policies and procedures outlined above.
The conflict resolution process described here is the sole process available to unclassified professional staff members, except that problems falling into the following areas shall be referred to the following entities:
(a) Grievances involving discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex (including sexual harassment), national origin, ancestry, veteran status, disability, age, sexual orientation, or parental or marital status are to be taken to the Equal Employment Opportunity Office.
(b) Disputes involving summons or citation for violation of parking and traffic rules are to be taken to the Traffic/Parking Committee.
(c) Disputes involving Merit pay decisions are to be taken to the appropriate administrator (provost, assistant provost, vice president, dean, or university director), or his/her designated representative.
(d) Disputes involving safety issues are to be taken to the appropriate administrator (provost, vice provost, vice president, dean, or university director), or his/her designated representative.
1. Informal resolution at the lowest possible level is preferable, it is recommended that informal meeting with the applicable parties and meditation be attempted before resorting to the grievance process described in this article, numbers 2-5. The staff of the Human Resource Office is available to assist with mediation efforts at any level. Parties may mutually agree to use any University employee as a mediator for the dispute.
2. Step One: Following mediation attempts, the grievant may apply, in writing, to the unit director or other persons in charge of the unit to meet to resolve the grievance in a formal grievance process.
a. If agreement can be reached at this level, the grievance is concluded. A letter outlining the issues and the resolution shall be issued.
b. If agreement is not reached, a letter outlining the issues, information considered and the decision reached shall be issued.
3. Step Two: If the grievance has not been resolved by the Step One process, the grievant may request, in writing, within 5 working days of the date of the final decision rendered in Step one that the appropriate Provost, vice president, or his/her designated representative meet with the grievant for a step two grievance meeting.
a. The purpose of Step Two is to review information and issues discussed in Step One. No new information should be presented. Each party may present a summary of their positions.
b. In the event new information is discovered that would, in the opinion on of the administrator reviewing the grievance at Step Two, alter or change the Step One decision, the matter will be referred back to Step One for further consideration.
c. A letter outlining the issues, information considered, and the decision reached shall be issued within 10 working days of the presentation of the grievance at Step Two.
4. Step Three: Optional: In the event the grievance decision in Step One would result in termination of employment of the grievant, either the grievant or the reviewer in Step Two may request that the President refer the matter to a three-person panel and shall provide written statements to be considered by the review panel.
a. The President or his/her designated representative shall notify the parties, who shall have five working days from receipt of such notification to provide written statements for the committee. Statements will be submitted to the President's office for committee distribution.
b. The President or his/her representative shall appoint the panel within five working days of receipt of the request.
c. No individual who has participated in earlier attempts to resolve the grievance or who has been involved in the case shall be appointed to the panel.
d. The panel will review the decisions made in Step One and Two, any relevant documents, letter and other materials, including any written statements provided by either party and within 10 working days of receipt of the written grievance materials shall prepare written recommendations that shall be submitted, on an advisory basis only, to the President or his/her designated representative.
e. Upon issue of the advisory letter, the grievance will automatically move to Step Four, presidential review.
5. Step Four: If the grievance has not been resolved by the Step Two process, the grievant may request, in writing, within 5 working days of the date of the final decision rendered in Step One, that President or his/her designated representative review all prior grievance material and meet with the grievant for a Step Tour grievance meeting.
a. The purpose of Step Four is to review information and issues discussed in Step One, Two and Three, if applicable.
b. No new information should be presented.
c. Within ten working days of the receipt of the recommendation in Step Three, the President or his/her designee shall issue a statement of final disposition to the employee and, where applicable, the Unit supervisor/director.
d. The President's decision is the final University decision regarding the grievance.
All matters discussed in the grievance process are kept in confidence, and information shall be released to only those individuals who have a legitimate reason to be informed of the information. Threats or actual incidents of retaliation, questions regarding the release of information, and breaches of confidentiality should be made known to the office of the President.
Approved by President's Cabinet (01-01-02)
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