Faculty Senate serves as the initiating authority.
This policy is intended to establish a specific and clear procedure for identifying and addressing instances of a Tenured Faculty Member failing to meet the minimum level of performance or expectations of Professional Fitness and guidelines for remediation where appropriate. When a Tenured faculty member, who does not meet the minimum acceptable level of performance or when reason to question a Tenured faculty’s Professional Fitness is documented, the process outlined below is provided to allow a fair, unbiased, non-retaliatory and non-discriminatory remediation and/or dismissal for cause. Faculty members who are not tenured and whose term of appointment has not expired, would follow applicable University policies in chapter 3.
Each University department/unit shall use established criteria for minimum acceptable levels of performance that have been communicated to the members within the department/unit as the basis for annual evaluations.
The Chair and the Performance Evaluation Forms (FAR) Review Committee (or similar committee) shall determine if the “overall” performance (as indicated on the FAR form) of a Tenured Faculty Member in their department falls below the minimum level of role expectations. If there is no FAR Review Committee, the decision is based on the Chair’s statement. If there is disagreement between the Chair and the FAR Review Committee, the decision to enact the procedures for low performance review will be decided by the college Dean.
It is highly recommended that the Chair and/or Dean utilize the expertise and experience of the Human Resources Department in working with issues of Low Performance and/or dismissal for cause.
Faculty Senate Ombudspersons are available to provide assistance to faculty.
For the purpose of this policy only, the following definitions shall apply:
- Chair: Denotes the administrator of the Unit (i.e. Director or other title of educational unit: Department, School, Center, etc.).
- College Faculty Review Committee: a committee made up of three (3) Tenured Faculty Members from the college reviewing the Tenured Faculty Member’s performance, jointly named by the Tenured Faculty Member and Chair, as set forth in this policy.
- Low Performance: the “overall” performance category (as indicated on the FAR form) where a Tenured Faculty Member does not meet the minimum level of performance.
- Professional Fitness: three (3) Annual Low Performance Ratings in any five (5) year period, or improper behavior that demonstrates: incompetence or dishonesty in teaching or research; dereliction of essential duties and responsibilities; or personal conduct which substantially impairs the individual’s fulfillment of their essential institutional responsibilities. Allegations of harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct and protected class discrimination will be investigated pursuant to the applicable university policy.
- Performance Evaluation Forms (FAR) Review Committee (or similar committee such as T&P committee): made up of Tenured Faculty Members from the department (or an ad-hoc committee in place for faculty reviews within the department).
- Tenured Faculty Member: anyone who is classified within the eclass or egroup of Tenured Faculty in the WSU system of record “Banner.”
- University Review Committee: made up of Tenured Faculty Members (not less than 3), jointly named by the president of the Faculty Senate and the University President.
Administrative Procedure For Low Performance
First Annual Low Performance Rating
- The Chair shall discuss with the Tenured faculty member the specific area(s) of responsibility with Low Performance related to their role statement/job description and mutually develop a plan of action to improve performance and/or remediation. A summary of this discussion, that includes the plan of action, will be added to the annual evaluation documents and a copy provided to the Tenured Faculty Member.
- If the Tenured Faculty Member disagrees (rejects) the finding of a first Low Performance rating, they may submit a written rebuttal with justification/documentation within five (5) business days. The dean will then review the low performance judgement and make a final decision within ten (10) business days.
Second Annual Low Performance Rating in the Last Four-Year Period
- A Tenured Faculty Member receives a second annual evaluation which reflects a finding in that department/unit that they have failed to meet the minimum level of performance.
- The Chair shall meet with the Tenured Faculty Member to clearly document areas of
low performance that need to improve and develop a plan for remediation.
- Remediation may include appropriate provisions for faculty development, such as coaching, leave of absence, or a change in teaching assignments. Other remediation steps may be offered, subject to review by the Dean or the Provost. Remediation should begin as soon as possible and will be funded by the University. The Tenured Faculty Member’s annual review document for the subsequent year should reflect the method of remediation and document its level of success.
- A summary of this meeting, that includes the plan for remediation, will be added to the annual evaluation documents and a copy provided to the Tenured Faculty Member.
- If the Tenured Faculty Member disagrees (rejects) the finding of a second low performance rating or cannot reach agreement with the Chair on a plan for remediation, a College Faculty Review Committee will be selected (as explained below at section V.A.4) to review the Tenured Faculty Member’s annual evaluations and other relevant documents.
- College Faculty Review Committee
- A College Faculty Review Committee shall be convened in the event a Tenured Faculty Member rejects the findings of a second low performance rating or the Faculty Member and Chair cannot reach an agreement on a plan for remediation.
- The College Faculty Review Committee shall consist of three Tenured Faculty Members from outside that department/unit but within the same college. Two committee members must be in the same teaching category as the Tenured Faculty being evaluated.
- The Tenured Faculty Member and the Chair shall each select one reviewer, and they shall jointly select the third person. If the Tenured Faculty Member and Chair cannot agree on the third committee member, the Dean will make the selection. The College Faculty Review Committee will elect their Chairperson.
- The College Faculty Review C shall meet separately with the Tenured Faculty Member and department Chair, review the details, and provide a report to the college dean within one month from the time the committee is selected. The meetings are convened by the committee chair.
- The College Faculty Review Committee shall submit a written report to the Tenured Faculty Member, the Chair, and the dean, stating that by majority vote concluded either that (a) there is sufficient evidence of low performance and remediation is necessary; or (b) there is insufficient evidence of low performance. The dean will then make the final decision regarding chronic low performance and appropriate remediation after meeting with the Tenured Faculty Member and the Chair.
Dismissal for Cause
A Tenured Faculty Member may be dismissed for cause upon the recommendation to the Provost from the Chair and Dean and:
- The Tenured Faculty Member has documented Chronic Low Performance – which is at least three annual Low Performance ratings in any consecutive five- year time period; OR
- There is documented behavior that questions the Professional Fitness of the Tenured Faculty Member.
Notice of Dismissal and Faculty Member’s Right to Review
- The Tenured Faculty Member shall be advised of the decision to dismiss for cause in writing. The Tenured Faculty Member will be informed that they have ten (10) business days to contest the decision in writing and request a formal review.
- The Tenured Faculty Member shall be deemed to have accepted the decision of dismissal,
and his/her employment shall be separated, unless the Tenured Faculty Member requests
a formal review of the decision within ten (10) business days from the date the written
notice of dismissal was delivered to the Tenured Faculty Member.
- If the Tenured Faculty Member disagrees with (rejects) the finding of Dismissal for Cause and requests a review, a University Review Committee is formed. The Tenured Faculty Member may be placed on Administrative Leave with Pay until the conclusion of the review meeting.
Review of Dismissal - Review Committee Process
Membership of the University Review Committee
- Tenured Faculty Members (not less than 3) will be jointly named by the president of the Faculty Senate and the University President (or designee) within ten (10) business days) after the Tenured Faculty member contests the decision in writing and requests a formal review.
- The members of the review committee will be chosen on the basis of their objectivity and competence.
- The committee will elect its own Chairperson.
- Evaluate annual reviews or documentation of low performance or Professional Fitness.
- Set a hearing date in collaboration with the Provost to review Dismissal for Cause Recommendation.
- Notify Tenured Faculty Member when the review meeting will take place. The review meeting shall be scheduled so that the Tenured faculty member will have at least 20 business days to prepare for the review meeting after receiving notice of the scheduled review meeting date and time.
- Tenured Faculty Member may have an advisor of their own choosing who may act as counsel during the review. The advisor or the Tenured Faculty Member will present verbally why the dismissal for cause should not happen.
- The Provost should designate a representative to present verbally why the dismissal for cause should happen.
- There shall be a full record of the hearing available to the parties concerned.
- The University Review Committee will make one of the following recommendations within
one month after the review meeting(s), which includes rationale, to the Tenured Faculty
Member, the Provost, and the President of the University:
- Recommends dismissal for cause.
- Does not recommend dismissal for cause.
- The University Review Committee will make one of the following recommendations within one month after the review meeting(s), which includes rationale, to the Tenured Faculty Member, the Provost, and the President of the University:
- After reviewing the recommendation of the University Review Committee, the President of the University, or his or her designee, will make the final decision to either uphold or reverse the dismissal for cause decision. The President shall notify the Tenured Faculty Member in writing of the President’s decision.
- If the decision is to dismiss the Tenured Faculty Member for cause, the letter shall state the grounds for dismissal, and indicate the effective date of the end of the Tenured Faculty Member's employment, and any specific arrangements to be made regarding separation salary or other relevant matters.
- If the decision is to retain the Tenured Faculty Member, the letter will state that they will be reinstated with the effective date to return to the University.