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FAC 4.B.8. Responsibilities of Individuals and Committees.


(1)   Responsibilities of Individuals. All persons participating in the process of reviewing credentials and making decisions or recommendations pertaining to renewal/tenure are expected to use professional judgment. Deans, the Provost and Vice Chancellor, and the Chancellor participate in the personnel process by virtue of the positions they hold. When acting in these capacities, these individuals are expected to articulate clearly the rationale for all decisions or recommendations and provide an analytical written critical evaluation of the probationary faculty member’s performance. Each individual who participates in the personnel process shall also meet the following enumerated requirements:

(a)   To act consistently with the University’s applicable personnel policies and procedures.

(b)   To fairly apply department, college and University criteria for renewal/tenure.

(c)   To be cognizant of principles and practices of nondiscrimination, including affirmative action and commitment to equal employment opportunity.

(d)   To conduct a thorough and complete review of the probationary faculty member’s qualifications for renewal/tenure.

      1. This review is to include a careful examination of all information submitted by the probationary faculty member for review, and attentive consideration of the recommendations and supporting rationale of any previous levels of review.

(e)   To participate in the deliberative process of the committee’s review and consideration of the probationary faculty member’s qualifications for renewal/tenure, in light of department, college and University criteria.

      1. Participation refers to working diligently and collegially with other committee members. It includes active involvement in the committee’s dialogue, including the expression of one’s personal views or interpretations, prior to voting, when they differ from those previously expressed by other members of the committee.
      2. Participation also includes insistence that the committee’s deliberation be thorough, fair, balanced, non-discriminatory, and rationally-related to the information presented for review. This is demonstrated by being aware of the committee’s responsibilities and, if problems are perceived, speaking up before the committee’s vote. Participation includes: (a) the exercise of individual and collective responsibility to ensure that the committee’s action is based on the information considered during the committee’s meeting, and (b) the insistence that the statement of rationale for the committee’s action be based on the committee’s deliberations.
      3. It is expected that participation, as outlined in this section, will lead individuals to the point where they are able to exercise independent professional judgment on the question of the renewal or nonrenewal of an appointment. Since an abstention is the equivalent of not voting on this question, it is expected that abstentions will be relatively rare.

(2)   Responsibilities of Committees.

(a)   For the initial level of review, to inform the probationary faculty member of the timeline for the review of his or her qualifications for renewal/tenure and to ask the probationary faculty member to submit materials to be reviewed by the committee.

(b)   To provide proper notice of committee meetings (to satisfy the requirements of the Wisconsin Open Meeting Law) and to ensure its actions are consistent with applicable personnel rules.

      1. Committees should anticipate scheduling additional meetings, as necessary, to complete a thorough and thoughtful review of each candidate.

(c)   To ensure that all committee recommendations or decisions pertaining to renewal or tenure of the probationary faculty shall be made on the basis of a motion that is carried by a majority vote of those present and not abstaining.

      1. The vote of each member on the renewal or tenure recommendation must be ascertained and recorded by name in the committee’s minutes.
      2. No absentee or proxy voting is allowed.
      3. Ideally, all committee members will be physically present for the committee’s deliberations. In exceptional cases, by majority vote of the committee members present, absent committee members may be considered present and eligible to vote by means of teleconferencing as long as they meet all other responsibilities, including the complete review of the candidate’s documents, participation in the deliberations, etc.

(d)   To take no votes on any motions for renewal until the committee has completed its thorough review and discussion of the complete record.

(e)   To articulate clearly the rationale for all decisions or recommendations that are reached by formal committee action.

      1. The committee must provide an analytical written critical evaluation of the probationary faculty member’s performance.
      2. It is not sufficient for a committee merely to refer to the votes that were taken and the categories of assessment.
      3. The committee’s obligation is fulfilled when it does the following: (a) conducts a critical evaluation of the probationary faculty member’s record in each identified area, (b) prepares a written statement setting forth the committee’s assessment of the probationary faculty member’s progress toward tenure that identifies and discusses, if appropriate, any specific areas that need attention or improvement, and (c) approves a written statement that demonstrates both that the committee’s deliberations were thorough and that the committee exercised informed professional judgment when it made the assessment of the qualifications (in each area) in light of the established criteria.
      4. The committee’s written statement in support of the recommendation or decision must be formally reviewed and approved by committee vote at a meeting. If there is a tie vote on the statement, the committee shall prepare and approve a report that reflects these divergent views.
      5. Members of the committee not agreeing with the majority’s recommendation or decision may file with the committee chair a brief signed written statement that expresses views that differ from those expressed by the committee. The chair shall include this information as an addendum to the report approved by majority vote of the committee. If the chair determines that the material submitted includes information that was not previously presented to or discussed with the committee during the course of its deliberations, the chair shall also include an annotation to that effect.

(f)    To hold and preserve in confidence the comments of each member in closed sessions.

      1. The committee chair (or designee) has the sole responsibility to communicate information pertaining to the committee’s deliberations with the probationary faculty member or other levels of review.
      2. Confidentiality does not provide insulation from responsibility or accountability. The actions of each member, and the committee as a whole, can be reviewed through appeal.

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