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Faculty and Unclassified Staff Handbook
Chapter 4 -- Faculty: Benefits, Responsibilities, and Specific Requirements

Chronic Low Performance Policy

Chronic failure of a tenured faculty member to perform his or her professional duties as defined in the respective unit will constitute evidence of "chronic low performance" and warrant consideration for "dismissal for cause" under existing University policies. The faculty of each department will develop a set of guidelines describing the minimum acceptable level of productivity for all applicable areas of responsibility for the faculty as well as procedures to handle such cases. If requested by the faculty member, the departmental faculty must be involved in the decision leading to the identification of an individual as falling below a minimally acceptable level. When a tenured faculty member's overall performance falls below the minimum acceptable level, as indicated by the annual evaluation, the department head shall indicate so in writing to the faculty member. The department head will also indicate in writing a suggested course of action to improve the performance of the faculty member. In subsequent annual evaluations the faculty member will report on activities aimed at improving performance and any evidence of improvement. The names of faculty members who fail to meet minimum standards for the year following the department head's suggested course of action will be forwarded to the appropriate dean. If the faculty member has two successive or a total of three evaluations in any five-year period in which minimum standards are not met, then "dismissal for cause" will occur subject to the results of appeal, if any. The status of "chronic low performance" may be appealed, via the Faculty Hearings and Appeals Procedures of the Grievance Policy, including a hearing by a University Appeals Committee. Each college will develop procedures to implement this policy and for approval of departmental guidelines. The Provost will review and discuss the overall college plan and departmental guidelines. This policy will apply to administrators in their duties as tenured faculty.

It also is clearly understood that faculty renewal, development, and improvement are of critical importance to the University in its pursuit of excellence. Each department will develop means of providing feedback to the individual so that he or she can maintain high levels of performance. Faculty members also have a personal responsibility to maintain or improve performance and are encouraged to participate in professional development activities. The department head, after consultation with the dean of the college, will consult with the individual about improvement activities. At some point in the process, the department chair has the prerogative to refer the faculty member in question to the University’s Teaching Excellence Coordinator for evaluation, counseling and possible mentoring.

The finding of chronic low performance must not abuse academic freedom or be used as a cover for discriminatory, unfair, arbitrary, or capricious dismissal. If, on the basis of the faculty member’s presentation of the evidence, the appropriate appeals level concludes that such factors were considered in formulating the recommendation to dismiss, the appropriate appeals level shall recommend to the University President that the proceeding to dismiss be terminated.

Approved with revisions by President Edward H. Hammond (09-19-96).

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