Faculty Handbook

20. Separation from the College

Separation From The College 

It may be necessary, at times, for the College and a faculty member to sever their professional relationship. Various means of separation are possible and are defined below. Non-Reappointment Non-Reappointment occurs when the College has decided not to renew a provisional contract at the conclusion of its term. A Dean or Division Chair will recommend annually to the Vice President for Academic Affairs which faculty on a provisional contract shall be re-appointed and which shall not. The decision not to reappoint a provisional faculty member rests with the President upon the recommendation from the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President for Academic Affairs’s judgment should be made in consultation with the Dean or Division Chair. In situations that so warrant, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may also consult other faculty in the College. Notification of non-reappointment of faculty members on provisional contracts will occur by June 1 of the academic year. 

Resignation Resignation is when a faculty member severs his/her relationship with the College. Since the college views fulfilling its responsibilities and obligations as contracted, the college also expects faculty members to reciprocate by fulfilling their obligations for the entire period of the contract. On rare occasions, when it is of benefit to the college and the faculty member, the college may accept a resignation offered in writing at least sixty (60) days in advance of the proposed termination date. The college is not obligated to accept a resignation where the termination occurs before the end of the contractual period. In the event a faculty member chooses to not sign a renewal of an employment contract, the college will view that position open and needing to be filled. 

Termination Termination is when the College severs its relationship with a faculty member. A faculty member can be terminated without cause following sixty (60) days advance notice by the College. 

Reasons for such termination could include: 

1) Prolonged mental or physical illness 

2) Change in an academic program 

3) Financial crisis or exigency 

1) Prolonged Mental or Physical Illness Termination for medical reasons will be based upon clear and convincing medical evidence that a faculty member is or will be unable to perform his/her normal duties due to medical circumstances, despite reasonable accommodation by the College. The decision to terminate for such reasons will be made only after the faculty member or his/her representative, has been informed in writing as to the basis of the proposed action. The faculty member or his/her representative can have such a termination decision reviewed by the Faculty Senate by submitting a request in writing, to the President within ten (10) working days after receiving notification of separation. The situation will be reviewed by the Faculty Senate before any action is taken by the President. The College will in each case work to ease the burden of any such termination as far as is contractually possible. 

2) Change in an Academic Program When it is deemed necessary to eliminate a faculty position for reasons of a change in an academic program, recommendations concerning which faculty positions shall be eliminated will be made to the President by the Vice President for Academic Affairs in consultation with the appropriate Dean or Division Chair. The following criteria will be used for making decisions unless the Dean or Division Chair and the Vice President for Academic Affairs agree that the institution and/or school or division would be better served by following other criteria established by that school or division: a) A faculty member on continuous contract will not be terminated in favor of a faculty member on provisional contract, except where a serious distortion of the academic programs would result. b) If faculty members have the same contract status, those faculty who have served the College for the least number of years, will be terminated first. c) If faculty members have the same contract status and the same length of service, those faculty with the lowest degree level will be terminated first. 34 Notice of termination for a change in an academic program, should be given as early as possible but must be made not less than six (6) months in advance of the effective date of termination. 

3) Financial Crisis or Exigency Financial crisis occurs when the College completes or foresees completing a fiscal year with an operating deficit. Financial exigency occurs when there is an urgent need for the College to revise its monetary expenditures in order to assure those expenditures do not exceed revenue. The Board of Trustees must officially declare that financial crisis or exigency exists. When financial crisis or exigency exists, the President will inform the faculty about the financial situation of the College. This notification will occur at the earliest possible date and before any faculty layoffs are implemented. If financial exigency or crisis necessitate the termination a faculty member, notice of termination will be given as soon as possible in advance of the effective date. In addition, extensive efforts will be made by the College to either place such faculty members in another appropriate position within the institution or offer assistance so they may continue their work elsewhere. When financial reductions are made, the faculty shall not be made to bear an undue proportion of the College's financial burden. Dismissal If a full-time faculty member is terminated due to financial crisis or exigency, the released faculty member’s position will not be filled by a replacement within a period of twenty-four (24) calendar months, unless the released faculty member has been offered reappointment at the rank and contract status held at the time of termination. That individual will be given an official notice of at least thirty (30) calendar days, within which time he/she may accept or decline the reappointment. It is the responsibility of the terminated faculty member to see that the institution remains informed of his/her whereabouts during the twenty-four (24) month period. Dismissal is when the College severs its relationship with a faculty member for adequate cause prior to the end of a contract. The College may dismiss a faculty member at any time, after giving the faculty member a notice in writing, at least thirty (30) days in advance. A notice of dismissal will be preceded by a written admonition from the appropriate administrative officer describing the alleged problem and warning the faculty member that his/her contract is in jeopardy. The warning must also stipulate a period of time within which correction of the alleged problem is expected. If the faculty member does not contest the allegation and fulfills his/her duties, the matter is settled with no further action being taken. If the faculty member fails to correct the problem, dismissal proceedings may be initiated. 35 Adequate cause for dismissal must be directly and substantially related to the fitness of a faculty member to continue in his/her professional capacity as a teacher in this College. 

Dismissal proceedings may be instituted only for one or more of the following reasons:

 1) Professional incompetence. 

2) Continued neglect of academic duties in spite of written warnings. 

3) Serious personal or professional misconduct. 

4) Deliberate and serious violations of the rights and freedoms of fellow faculty members, administrators, or students. 

5) Conviction for a felony. 

6) Falsification of credentials or experience. 

7) Failure to observe the professional or ethical standards of a faculty member’s discipline. 

8) Failure to follow the professional responsibilities, ethics, and academic policies of this handbook in spite of written warnings. 

9) Any other just or legal cause. In every instance, the dismissal procedure will proceed by means of the following two steps: 

       1) A written notice of dismissal is sent to the faculty member from the Vice President for Academic Affairs that a recommendation for dismissal for cause will be made to the President. This notice will contain a written statement of the reasons for the recommendation and the information supporting those reasons. 

        2) A reasonable opportunity will be given to the faculty member to meet with the President or designee, in order to present a defense against the dismissal recommendation. That meeting will occur before such recommendation is acted upon by the President or designee. In all cases involving dismissal for cause, the burden of proof that adequate cause exists shall be on the College and that proof will be clear and convincing even when considering the faculty member's record as a whole. The decision of the President or designee may be the basis of a grievance (See Grievances and Complaints in this handbook). In all cases of dismissal, the President determines what, if any, salary payments are to be made beyond the date of dismissal. Suspension Suspension is the temporary separation of a faculty member from the College where it is determined by the President that there is a strong likelihood that the faculty member’s continued presence at the College poses an immediate threat of harm or disruption to the College community. 

Suspension shall be with pay and shall last only as long as the threat of harm continues or until dismissal for cause occurs. A suspension can also be a basis of a grievance (See Grievances and Complaints in this handbook). 

Minor Sanctions If the Vice President for Academic Affairs believes that the conduct of a faculty member justifies imposition of a minor sanction such as a reprimand or a demand for restitution, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the faculty member of the basis of the proposed sanction. This rationale and the proposed sanction will be in writing. The faculty member will be allowed the opportunity to express in writing his/her view of the conduct, and it too will be placed in the faculty member’s personnel file in the Office of Academic Affairs. The Vice President and Dean of the Faculty must also provide the faculty member an opportunity to persuade him or her that the proposed sanction should not be imposed. 

The faculty member may appeal any decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs through the grievance procedure (See Grievances and Complaints in this handbook).