Meeting Date: 
May 1, 2018
05/01/2018 10:00 am to 11:30 am
Event Description: 

A PDF of the minutes can be found here.


Voting members present: Gary DeLander, Theo Dreher, Darlene Russ-Eft
Voting members absent: Janet Lee


The meeting was convened primarily to respond to questions raised by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee regarding the ‘Simplified Review Processes for Non-tenure Track Instructors’ proposal. This proposal was prepared by the Committee in an earlier year, but was not communicated or acted upon. This year’s Committee reviewed the document and made minor changes. 

Also summarized below are electronic communications held following the May meeting. The Committee was unable to arrange for a final meeting prior to the end of the academic year.

  1. Committee Discussions – Criteria for Promotion of Instructors

The Committee briefly discussed what was considered to be a misinterpretation of hiring guidelines by Human Resources. Human Resources had interpreted hiring guidelines to prohibit hiring of instructors to an advanced rank. This was challenged with support of this Committee and the letter from the Faculty Senate president to the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs is in Appendix A. The Senior Vice Provost agreed with and affirmed the guidance provided in the letter, allowing instructors to be hired at an advanced rank.

  1. Committee Discussions – Simplified Review Processes for Non-tenure Track Instructors Proposal

Gary met with the Executive Committee to receive concerns raised by the Executive Committee. Some questions (for example, why non-instructors are not required to have a teaching portfolio) were beyond the scope of the topic at hand. The P&T Committee responded to other concerns in discussion during this meeting. Specific notes are below, and a revised document is below in Appendix B, for consideration by the Executive Committee and Faculty Senate; a clean copy version is also available. (The numbers below refer to the numbered items found in GUIDELINES FOR NON-TENURE TRACK PROMOTION.)

  • 3.a. Criteria for Promotion to Senior Instructor I: There was confusion as to specifying December 31 as a date to be used in calculating service. This reference is deleted.
  • 3.a. The following statement is in the current posted Criteria for Promotion and was mistakenly omitted from the committee’s document: ‘or the accumulation of its equivalent for part-time Instructor at 0.50 FTE or greater;’
  • 8. Dossier Expectations Specific to Instructors
    • 8.c. Teaching portfolio: It is specified that the candidate is responsible for assembling the teaching portfolio
    • 8.c.1. ‘Syllabus’; clarified to ‘Syllabus, including learning objectives’
    • 8.c.2. ‘Outline of Learning Objectives’ is deleted
    • 8.c.3. ‘Evidence of full-cycle assessment’ is clarified to state ‘Evidence of course evaluation and an improvement cycle’.  This item is also moved to the last item of the list (5.c.7.)
    • 8.f. ‘List outcomes of expected research, outreach and other unique activities as specified in position description; list scholarship; service, and awards’ The Executive Committee expressed that there needed to be more clarity as to where this information should be placed in the dossier for promotion of an instructor. The P&T Committee on review feels that this is adequately addressed in the current Dossier Preparation Guidelines and that the existing candidate checklist can be adapted easily for use in promotion of instructors. 
      • Research, even for an instructor, would be included in a section titled ‘ C. Scholarship and Creative Activity’.
      • Outreach and other unique activities should be included as a separate subsection at the end of the B. Teaching, Advising, and Other Assignment section.
  1. Electronic communications (5/1 – 6/15)
  1. Out-of-Cyle P&T Decisions:Following Gary’s meeting with the Executive Committee, the Faculty Senate President agreed to explore concerns previously raised regarding an out-of-cycle decision on P&T for a newly hired faculty member. There was an expressed perception that appropriate processes had not been followed.

The Senate President met with the administrator involved and, in essence, the lack of involvement of the College P&T Committee was confirmed. A difference of opinion as to why or whether there is a requirement for involvement continues to exist. In his summary, the Faculty Senate President notes:

  • The hire in question was a matter of conflict within the SLCS. This conflict led to SLCS faculty withholding from participation in the hiring and tenure process.
  • The process that the college followed operated with an interpretation of the Out-of-Cycle Tenure Review Procedure that implies review by the College P&T Committee is optional.

“Levels of OSU administrative review should follow the usual path for the candidate’s department (these letters typically consist of reviews done by the following: Department/Discipline P&T Committee; Department Head, College P&T Committee; Dean).”

**The Faculty Senate President recommends that the Faculty Senate P&T Committee investigate changes to the conditional language ‘should follow the usual path’ and ‘typically consist of’ to be more specific of what is required for an out-of-cycle review.

  1. General Observations Following University P&T Hearings

Members of the Faculty Senate P&T Committee acted as observers in discussions held by the University Administrative P&T committee. Overall, committee observers found that the hearing proceeded appropriately with full opportunity for discussion by all parties.

One disturbing development observed by at least two members of the Committee was the decision by the University P&T committee to conduct additional review of promotions that had been recommended at all previous levels (Unit, College, Chair, Dean). In each instance, a concern(s) had been raised in the review process for these individuals, but were fully addressed and considered prior to College decisions made to recommend advancement.

The perception of Faculty Senate observers was that there was an absence of trust in the process or in the unit/college administrators. In more than one instance, while the review process was considered to be comprehensive, one or more University P&T Committee member(s) appeared to desire a face-to-face interaction with college level administrators to simply to drive a point home that had already been acknowledged and addressed in writing. 

**These specific university level reviews appeared to exceed the responsibility and stated role of the University P&T committee. In the opinion of the Faculty Senate P&T Committee:

  • If the promotion and tenure process is flawed, the committee should pursue changes to the process independent of the review of individual dossiers. 
  • If there is an absence of trust in college administrators, P and T reviews of individual faculty are not the place to evaluate, or provide a ‘check’ of, those administrators; nor is this committee the appropriate body to conduct reviews of administrators.

In general, these specific reviews appeared to inappropriately assume that senior faculty and college-level administrators involved in the review process fail to appreciate, or take seriously, the significance of promotion and tenure decisions. The perceived suggestion is that the University committee is a ‘gatekeeper’, and that it alone understands or has clear expectations for requirements of candidates for promotion as they pertain to research, teaching, service or culture (collegiality, and promotion of equity, inclusion, diversity). This role is in contrast to what is described under published procedural guidelines and copied below.

University Review and Recommendation
Each dossier will be reviewed for completeness by the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. Where additional information is needed, the candidate's supervisor or dean will be contacted.

Completed dossiers that have received uniformly positive recommendations at the previous levels of review will be forwarded to the Provost and Executive Vice President, who will assure that University-wide standards have been met. In reaching a final decision, the Provost and Executive Vice President may confer with others as appropriate. All dossiers that have received mixed recommendations at the unit or college level will be reviewed by the University Administrative Promotion and Tenure Committee, which is chaired by the Provost and Executive Vice President and consists of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, the Vice President for Research, the Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

The purpose of the University review is to ensure that all faculty are held to common standards, and to resolve disagreements in previous recommendations. In cases in which the members of the University Administrative Promotion and Tenure Committee are divided over the final recommendation, or in which their recommendation differs from those of the college or unit, the candidate's dean and supervisor will both be invited for discussion.’