ACAF-PRO-000-001 Faculty Handbook

 

 PDF Version

 

FACULTY 

HANDBOOK  

 

 

NOTICE

 

 

The Faculty Handbook is a summary and guide to various University offices, activities, and policies that affect faculty members.  Material in the Faculty Handbook does not replace, amend, or abridge approved policies of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.  The Policies and Bylaws of the Board of Trustees take precedent and control any conflict between the IHL Policies and Bylaws and the provisions of this Faculty Handbook. Although the Faculty Handbook is not a comprehensive, self-contained policy document, nor is it a contract of employment, it does provide guidance for the relationships between the University and the faculty. The Faculty Handbook may be amended from time to time as deemed necessary by the President. Official copies of University and Board policies may be obtained from the Office of the President or the University official charged with its administration.

 

Effective June 2012

 

FOREWORD

 

The Faculty Handbook provides selective information about The University of Southern Mississippi for prospective and current members of the academic staff. Although the Faculty Handbook is not a comprehensive, self-contained policy document, nor is it a contract of employment, it does provide guidance for the relationships between the University and the faculty. The University of Southern Mississippi retains the right to alter, revoke, or amend any provisions of the Faculty Handbook. Neither this handbook nor any supplements thereto replace, amend, abridge, or anticipate federal or state law, or the Policies and Bylaws of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

 

This edition of the Faculty Handbook repeals and supersedes all previous editions.  Copies of the Faculty Handbook and all supplements thereto are available on the University web page at www.usm.edu and in the offices of the University President, the vice presidents, the college deans, and the department chairs. The copy retained by the Office of the Provost is designated as the official Faculty Handbook.  Amendments or revisions to the handbook will be disseminated to faculty and posted on the University web page.  Other printed information applicable to the academic staff of the University such as accounts of employment benefits, optional insurance plans, and state retirement policies, is available in the University Department of Human Resources.

 

The standing Faculty Handbook Committee is composed of an Assistant or Associate Provost, an Assistant or Associate Vice President for Research, a dean selected by the college deans, a department chair selected by the Council of Chairs, a member of the faculty appointed by the University President, and four members appointed by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate:  1) a member of the Faculty Senate, 2) a non-member of the Faculty Senate, 3) a member of the faculty at large, and 4) a member from the Gulf Coast faculty.  The General Counsel serves as a nonvoting member. 

 

The charge of the standing committee is to review the Faculty Handbook, to consider proposed amendments submitted by faculty or administration, and to recommend to the President revisions, modifications, and amendments to the Faculty Handbook.  The Faculty Handbook Committee considers whether proposed changes to the Handbook are in the best interest of the faculty and the University as a whole.  To the extent possible, the Committee’s deliberations and decisions are informed by reaction and input from relevant constituencies.  If approved by the Faculty Handbook Committee, changes are formally recommended to the University President for a final decision. Suggestions for the improvement of the Faculty Handbook may be directed to the Office of the Provost, to any member of the Faculty Handbook Committee, or to any member of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate. The bylaws of the Faculty Handbook Committee are presented in an APPENDIX near the end of the Handbook.

 

 

Changes in the University of Southern Mississippi 

Faculty Handbook

2011-2012 Academic Year

 

 During the academic year 2011-2012 the University Faculty Handbook Committee (FHC) approved ten changes/modifications in the Faculty Handbook (FH) which were subsequently approved by University President Martha D. Saunders.   These changes are summarized below.

 

1)  Previously the FHC did not have bylaws.  During the 2010-2011 academic year the FHC formulated bylaws which were subsequently modified by the 20111-2012 FHC.  The bylaws of the FHC are located in an Appendix near the end of the Handbook.

 

2)  The new bylaws stipulate a FHC membership which is somewhat different than its previous composition.  The present (new) membership of the FHC is provided in the third paragraph of the Foreword of the FH.

 

3)  An Appendix (containing the bylaws of the FHC) has been added.

 

4)  Small modifications were made in Section 3.9 (DEPARTMENT HIRING PROCEDURES) of the FH.  For clarity purposes “consultation with” was added within the sentence “Department hiring for authorized academic positions is a process that involves consultation with the faculty of the department.”  The adjective “full” was removed from the following sentence:   “When a position is to be filled, the department chair, at a meeting of the full departmental faculty, conducts a discussion to determine departmental needs and professional qualifications for the position.”  Technically it would be possible to object that the meeting was not legitimate if a faculty member was absent, i.e. all faculty members (= “full departmental faculty”) were not present.

 

5)  Periodic review of chairs and directors is now university policy and has been added to the FH.  Interestingly, on October 12, 1999 then Associate Provost Bobby Middlebrooks sent out a directive that stated “attached you will find the approved procedure for the Chairs/Directors Review that is to be instituted immediately.”  Thirteen years later (“semi-immediately”) the FHC and President Saunders approved a slight modification of the 1999 proposed policy.  New chairs are reviewed in the fall semester of their third year (as chair) and continuing chairs every fifth year.  The Chairs/Directors Periodic Review is found in Section 8.4.7 of the FH.

 

6)  Section 8.4.2 (d) (which deals with the Annual Performance Review of department chairs) was re-organized for clarity.  There are no policy changes in this portion of Section 8.4.2 (d).  Unfortunately, this portion of the FH has often been overlooked or ignored.  Department chairs are to be evaluated in the categories of research, teaching, and service by the Departmental Personnel Committees (i.e. by their colleagues within their home department).  Deans do not evaluate department chairs in the categories of research, teaching, and service.  This has been university policy for several years.  Deans conduct annual evaluations of chairs’ administrative performances.  Section 8.4.2 (d) specifies the members of the departmental committee who perform the evaluation (teaching, research, and service) which, in turn,  is dependent on the Departmental Personnel Committee option selected by the department (Option 1, 2, or 3).

 

7)  More detail regarding the annual evaluation of the administrative performance of the chairs and directors by their deans has been added to the FH in Section 8.4.2 (d) continued.

 

8)  The FHC was asked to clarify the qualifications for early promotion (from assistant to associate professor and from associate professor to full professor).  According to Section 9.4.3 of the FH such candidates “must serve at least five years in the lower rank.”  While this is generally true it is not always true since early promotion is possible.  The addition of the phrase “(but see section 9.4.5)” to Section 9.4.3 eliminates the apparent existing contradiction.  The “old” version of Section 9.4.5 stated that “Individuals with extraordinary qualifications may receive consideration for early promotion.”  That has been changed to “Individuals with qualifications far exceeding the departmental guidelines may receive consideration for early promotion.”   The concept here is that early promotion should not be granted routinely (which may have been occurring in some departments).

 

9)  Changes were made in Section 9.8.1 which deals with actions on promotion and the award of tenure.  It now states that candidates for tenure or promotion may add recent accomplishments to their dossier at any time prior to their evaluation at the University Advisory Committee (previously there was no policy in the FH regarding the addition of materials to tenure or promotion dossiers).  It also states that materials may not be removed from dossiers during the evaluation process (which amazingly seems to have occasionally occurred), and that candidates may withdraw their applications for tenure or promotion at any time (this has been the university practice but was not stated).  Most importantly, it states that tenure and promotion are unidirectional processes, and consequently may not be referred back to a previous evaluative committee or individual once the committee or individual has rendered a decision (exceptions are referrals by the Provost to the College Advisory Committee or University Advisory Committee as stipulated in Section 9.9.3 of the FH).

 

10)   The university’s faculty emeritus/emerita policy has been completely revised.  The “old” policy was unclear and inconsistent.  For example, the role of the candidates’ home departments in the evaluation for emeritus status was unclear, there was no feedback to the candidates, and there was no opportunity for an appeal in the event of a rejection of a nomination.  In addition, emeritus instructors (who already exist!) probably had not “excelled in the areas of teaching, research, and service throughout their careers at the University.”

 

      The new policy (see Section 3.7) recognizes two types of emeritus status (emeritus professor and emeritus instructor), lists the qualifications for achieving emeritus status for both professors and instructors, clearly defines the role of the department faculty and department chair in the evaluation process, provides feedback to the candidates (copies of the evaluative letters are sent to them) and also provides an appeal (to the University President through the Provost). 

 

    

 

  Questions regarding these changes should be sent to Dr. David Beckett (David.Beckett@usm.edu).

 Dr. David C. Beckett

 Chair, University Faculty Handbook Committee, 2011- 2012

  July 13, 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER 1

 

UNIVERSITY GOVERNANCE:  THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

 

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Composition of the Board 

1.3 Officers of the Board

1.4 Powers of the Board

1.4.1 Legal Authority 

1.4.2 Institutional Funding

1.4.3 Election of Institutional Employees

1.4.4 Off-Campus Programs

1.5 Responsibilities of the Board

1.6 The Commissioner of Higher Education

 

CHAPTER 2

 

UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATION

 

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The President

2.3 The Provost

2.4 The Vice President for Research and Economic Development

2.5 The Chief Financial Officer

2.6 The Vice President for Student Affairs

2.7 The Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

2.8 The University Counsel

2.9 The College Deans

2.10 The Department Chairs

2.11 University Advisory Bodies

2.11.1 The University Advisory Committee

2.11.2 College Advisory Committees

2.11.3 The Council of Chairs

2.11.4 The Faculty Senate

2.11.5 The Academic Council

2.11.6 The Graduate Council

2.11.7 The Professional Education Council

2.11.8 The University Research Council

2.12   Academic Freedom and Shared Governance

 

CHAPTER 3

 

HIRING POLICIES, CONTRACTS AND EMPLOYMENT TERMS

 

 3.1   Introduction

 3.2   Board Authority

 3.3   Faculty Defined

 3.3.1 Corps of Instruction

 3.3.2 Administrative Officers Holding Faculty Status

 3.3.3 Tenure Track Faculty

 3.4   Non-Faculty Academic Staff

 3.5 Adjunct Academic Staff

 3.6 Distinguished Professor

 3.6.1 In General…

 3.6.2 Criteria for Selection

 3.6.3 Selection Process

 3.6.4 Decision Process

 3.7   Emeritus Faculty

3.7.1 Emeritus Status

3.7.2 Procedure for Appointment

3.7.3 Privileges

 3.8   University Hiring Policies

3.8.1 General

3.8.2 AA/EOE/ADA Policy

3.8.3 Nepotism Policy

3.8.4 Employment of Persons with USM Terminal Degrees

 3.9    Department Hiring Procedures

 3.10 Nomination and Election to Academic Appointment

 3.11 Employment Contracts

3.11.1 Parties

3.11.2 Terms and Conditions

3.11.3 Academic Rank

3.11.4 Compensation

3.11.5 Duration

3.11.6 Renewal of Contracts

3.11.7 Non-renewal of Contracts

3.11.8 Notification of Non-renewal

3.11.9 Resignation

3.12 Ancillary Institutional Agreements

3.12.1 General

3.12.2 Summer Semester Employment

3.12.3 International Education

3.12.4 Off-Campus Employment

3.12.5 Directing University-Sponsored Projects

3.12.6 Internal Consultation

 3.13 Ancillary Compensation Policy

 3.14 External Employment Policy

 

CHAPTER 4

 

INSTRUCTIONAL POLICIES AND SUPPORT SERVICES

 

 4.1 Introduction

 4.2 Academic Advisement

 4.3 Office Hours

 4.4 Expected Teaching Loads

 4.5 Instructional Policies

 4.5.1 Duration of Classes

 4.5.2 Syllabi

 4.5.3 Writing Across the Curriculum…

 4.5.4 Class Absences.

 4.5.5 Student Dishonesty

 4.5.6 Grading Standards

 4.5.7 Final Examinations

4.6 Appeals of Grades

4.7 Student Rights to Access and Privacy

4.8 Course Administration Policies

 4.8.1 Overview

 4.8.2 Official Course Registration

 4.8.3 Permission to Add Courses

 4.8.4 Midterm Verification of Enrollment

 4.8.5 Progress Reports for Student-Athletes

 4.8.6 Reporting of Grades

 4.8.7 Changing Grades

 

CHAPTER 5

 

RESEARCH POLICIES AND SUPPORT SERVICES

 

 5.1 Introduction

 5.2 The Mississippi Research Consortium

 5.3 The Mississippi University Research Authority

 5.4 Model for Incentive Dollars for Augmenting Salaries

 5.5 University Research Entities

 5.6 The Administration of Research

 5.7 Research Policies

5.7.1 University Cost Sharing

5.7.2 Facilities and Administrative Costs

5.7.3 Reassigned Time

5.7.4 Summer Compensation for Sponsored Research

5.7.5 Patents and Copyrights

5.7.6 Disclosure of Inventions

 

CHAPTER 6

 

FACULTY DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

 

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Academic Leaves of Absence

6.2.1   Parameters

6.2.2   Leave for Graduate or Postdoctoral Study

6.2.3   Leave for Enhancing Academic Credentials

6.2.4   Professional Leave

6.2.5   Sabbatical Leave

6.2.6   Sabbatical Policies

6.3 Academic Leave Application Process

6.4 Awards and Grants for Faculty Development

6.4.1   In General

6.4.2   Summer Grants for the Improvement of Instruction

6.4.3   Summer Research Grants

6.4.4   Subventions

6.4.5   Grants for International Endeavor

6.5 Awards of Excellence

6.6 Free Courses

 

CHAPTER 7

 

ACADEMIC FREEDOM, RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS

 

7.1 Academic Freedom

7.2 Academic Responsibility

7.2.1  Public Speech

7.2.2  Professional Competence

7.2.3 Student Relations

7.3  Scholarly Integrity

7.4 Public Employment Ethics

7.5 Ethics in External Consulting

7.6 Political Activities

7.7 Faculty-Student Relationships

7.7.1 Discrimination

7.7.2 Business Relationships

7.7.3 Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships

7.8 Harassment

7.8.1 Preamble

7.8.2 Policy

7.8.3 Scope

7.8.4 Definition of Harassment

7.8.5 Definition of Sexual Harassment

7.8.6 Types of Sexual Harassment

7.8.7 Education and Prevention

7.9 Discrimination Complaint Procedure

7.9.1 General

7.9.2 Confidentiality

7.9.3 Retaliation

7.9.4 Formal Complaint Procedure

7.9.5 Appeal Procedure

 

CHAPTER 8

 

 FACULTY EVALUATION PROCEDURES

 

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Evaluation Policies and Principles

 8.2.1 Annual Evaluations.

 8.2.2 Tenure Assessments

 8.2.3 Guiding Principles

 8.2.4 Unitary Criteria and Procedures

 8.2.5 Basis of the Process

8.2.6 Duties of Department Chairs

8.2.7 Required Departmental Personnel Entities

8.2.8 Confidentiality of Proceedings

8.2.9 Procedural Rules

8.3 The Departmental Personnel Committee

8.3.1 Committee Membership

8.3.2 Faculty Ineligible for Membership

8.3.3 Replacement of Committee Members

8.3.4 Committee Functions

 8.4 The Annual Performance Review

 8.4.1 Purpose

 8.4.2 Review Guidelines

 8.4.3 Review Procedure

 8.4.4 Faculty Development Plan

 8.4.5 Annual Performance Review Reports

 8.4.6 Duties of Department Chairs

8.5 Post-Tenure Review

8.6 Procedures for Non-administrative Faculty Members with Academic Assignments in Two or More Units

 8.6.1 Faculty Members with Positions Budgeted in Two or More Departments

 8.6.2 Faculty Members with Positions Budgeted in One Department but Who Responsibilities or Duties Outside of that Department

                                   

 

CHAPTER 9

 

PROMOTION AND AWARD OF TENURE

 

 9.1 Introduction

 9.2 Presidential and Board Authority

 9.3 University Advice in Personnel Actions

  9.3.1 Mandated University Advice

  9.3.2 Discretionary University Advice

  9.3.3 Advisory Officers and Entities

 9.4 Promotion in Academic Rank   

  9.4.1 Board Authority

  9.4.2 Evaluation Standards

  9.4.3 Eligibility for Promotion

  9.4.4 Credit for Prior Accomplishment

  9.4.5 Early Promotion

  9.4.6 Denial of Promotion

 9.5 Departmental Promotion Procedures

  9.5.1 Application and Dossier

  9.5.2 Departmental Personnel Committees

  9.5.3 Deliberations of Departmental Personnel Committees

  9.5.4 Recommendations of Departmental Personnel Committees

  9.5.5 Duties of Department Chairs

 9.6 Requirements for Academic Tenure

  9.6.1 Board Authority

  9.6.2 Definition of Tenure

  9.6.3 Eligible Academic Ranks

  9.6.4 Required Probationary Period

  9.6.5 Credit for Leaves of Absence

  9.6.6 Deferral

  9.6.7 Credit for Prior Accomplishment

  9.6.8 Standard of Evaluation for Tenure

 9.7 Tenure Proceedings

 9.7.1 Types of Tenure Proceedings.

 9.7.2 Tenure Assessment

 9.7.3 Tenure Award Deliberations

 9.7.4 Duties of Department Chairs

9.8 Decanal Actions on Promotion and the Award of Tenure

 9.8.1 General

 9.8.2 College Advisory Committee Recommendations

 9.8.3 Decanal Recommendations

9.9 Provost Actions on Promotion and the Award of Tenure

 9.9.1 General

 9.9.2 University Advisory Committee Recommendations

 9.9.3 Recommendations by the Provost

9.10 Presidential Actions on Promotion and the Award of Tenure

 

CHAPTER 10

 

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT

 

 10.1 General

  10.1.1 Board Authority

  10.1.2 Definitions of Criteria

  10.1.3 Confidentiality

  10.2 Termination Procedure

  10.2.1 General

  10.2.2 Initial Recommendation for Termination

  10.2.3 Initial Presidential Review

  10.2.4 Ombudsman Review

  10.2.5 Presidential Action

  10.2.6 Notice of Termination Proceedings

  10.2.7 Failure to Contest

  10.2.8 Hearing

  10.2.9 Provost’s Recommendation

  10.2.10 Presidential Review

  10.2.11 Final Institutional Review

  10.2.12 Final Presidential Decision

  10.2.13 Presidential Recommendation for Termination

 

CHAPTER 11

  

SCHOLARLY MISCONDUCT PROCEEDINGS

 

11.1 Scope of Proceedings

11.1.1   General

11.1.2   University Research Ombudsman

11.2 Scholarly Misconduct Procedure

11.2.1   Initiating Allegations

11.2.2   Informal Consultations

11.2.3   Formal Complaints

11.2.4   Interim Protective Actions

11.2.5   Notification of Possible Criminal Conduct

11.2.6   Convening Boards of Inquiry

11.2.7   Notification to Respondents

11.2.8   Protection Against Disclosure

11.2.9   Inquiry Process

11.2.10 Convening Boards of Investigation

11.2.11 Notification .

11.2.12 Investigation Process

11.2.13 Vice Presidential Review

11.2.14 Official Notification of Final Findings 

11.2.15 Reports to the President

11.2.16 Presidential Review

11.2.17 University Sanctions

11.2.18 Confidentiality of Proceedings 

 

CHAPTER 12

 

FACULTY GRIEVANCE PROCEEDINGS

 

12.1 Board Policy

12.2 Faculty Grievance Procedure

12.2.1 Faculty Grievance Policies

12.2.2 Grievance Issues

12.2.3 Filing Grievances

12.2.4 Departmental Response and Conference

12.2.5 Decanal Grievances

12.2.6 Provost Grievances

12.2.7 Presidential Grievances

12.2.8 Board Appeals

 

CHAPTER 13

 

BOARD APPEALS

 

Index

 

CHAPTER 1

 

UNIVERSITY GOVERNANCE:  THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

 

 

1.1  INTRODUCTION

 

The University of Southern Mississippi is one of eight (8) public universities owned and operated by the state of Mississippi.  Other state universities include Alcorn State University in Lorman, Delta State University in Cleveland, Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, and The University of Mississippi in Oxford.  Mississippi's state universities are public trusts, institutions responsible to the residents of the state of Mississippi and their duly elected representatives, and the appointed members of state regulatory agencies.  

 

The state universities are governed by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning, a body created by constitutional amendment in 1942 to protect state-supported institutions of higher learning from direct political influence. This chapter outlines the composition, powers, and responsibilities of the Board of Trustees.

 

 

1.2  COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD

 

The Board of Trustees is composed of twelve (12) members.  The members of the Board of Trustees as constituted on January 1, 2004, shall continue to serve until expiration of their respective terms of office.  Appointments made to fill vacancies created by expiration of members' terms of office occurring after January 1, 2004, shall be as follows:  The initial term of the members appointed in 2004 shall be for eleven (11) years; the initial term of the members appointed in 2008 shall be for ten (10) years; and the initial term of the members appointed in 2012 shall be for nine (9) years.  After the expiration of the initial terms, all terms shall be for nine (9) years.  Four (4) members of the Board of Trustees shall be appointed from each of the three (3) Mississippi Supreme Court districts and, as such vacancies occur, the Governor shall make appointments from the Supreme Court district having the smallest number of board members until the membership includes four (4) members from each district.1  

__________________________________________

     1 Miss. Const., Art. VIII, Section 213-A (As amended, effective January 1, 2004).  

 

1.3  OFFICERS OF THE BOARD

 

The Board elects from its membership a President and a Vice President, both officers serving terms of one (1) year.  Presidents preside at all meetings of the Board, sit as ex officio members of all standing and special committees of the Board, execute instruments and contracts as may be ordered by the Board, and perform other duties as may be assigned by the Board.  Vice Presidents preside at meetings of the Board in the absence of Presidents, automatically succeeding to the presidency upon expiration of presidential terms of office.   

 

 

1.4  POWERS OF THE BOARD

 

1.4.1 Legal Authority.  Excepting only the construction of buildings and other permanent physical improvements, which are under the authority of the State Building Commission, the Board of Trustees holds complete and exclusive authority over all functions of Mississippi's public universities.  The Mississippi Code states:

 

The Board shall have general supervision of the affairs of all the institutions of higher learning, including the departments and the schools thereof.  The Board shall have the power in its discretion to determine who shall be privileged to enter, to remain in, or to graduate there from.  The Board shall have general supervision of the conduct of libraries and laboratories, buildings, and grounds; the business methods and arrangement of accounts and records; the organization of the administrative plan of each institution; and all other matters incident to the proper functioning of the institutions.  The Board shall have the authority to establish minimum standards of achievement as a prerequisite for entrance into any of the institutions under its jurisdiction, which standards need not be uniform between the various institutions and which may be based upon such criteria as the Board may establish.1

  

1.4.2 Institutional Funding.  The Board of Trustees is empowered to receive and distribute among the public universities all legislative appropriations for their support, distribution being made on the basis of formulas that consider institutional missions and numerous other factors.2 

    
1.4.3 Election of Institutional Employees.
  The Board is likewise empowered to elect the heads of the state's institutions of higher learning, to contract with all faculty and other employees of those institutions, and to make any adjustments it deems necessary between the various departments and schools of any institution or between the different institutions.1

__________________________________________
1 Miss. Code Ann., Section 37-101-15 (B) (1990); and Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 201.0604. 
2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Sections 201.0606 and 701.01 et seq. 

Off-Campus Programs.  The Board may establish academic programs at locations removed from the campuses of the state universities, may assign such programs to the administrative purview of one or more of the state universities, and may permit students at off-campus sites to register for full-time course loads fulfilling the residency requirements of parent institutions. The quality of educational services, the academic regimen, or the value of degrees earned in off-campus programs shall not differ from that on the home campuses of parent institutions.2

 

 

1.5  RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD

 

The principal responsibility of the Board of Trustees is to conduct comprehensive and continuing study of the role and scope of all the institutions under its jurisdiction, including detailed analyses of courses, programs, and degrees offered, and to provide the public with "the broadest possible educational opportunities ... without inefficient and needless duplication," thereby assuring that "the growth and development of the program of higher education in the state shall proceed in an orderly and rational manner."3

 

Pursuant to this statutory charge, each Trustee is required to:

 

(a) periodically visit all of the institutions of higher learning under the jurisdiction of the Board;

 

(b) attend functions and events at all institutions;

 

(c) inspect the buildings and equipment of the several institutions;

 

(d) become informed as to the general business administration and instructional programs of the several institutions; and

 

(e) gather such other information as to be qualified to perform the duties of the office.4

_______________________________________________   

     3 Miss. Constitution, Art. IV, Section 109; Miss. Code Ann., Section 25-4-105 (2) (Supp. 1990); Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 301.04.

     2 Miss. Code Ann., Section 37-102-1 (1990); and Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 201.0609 (C).

     3 Miss. Constitution, Art. VIII, Section 213-A (1990); Miss. Code Ann., Sections 37-101-13 (F) and 37-101-15 (1990);  Board Policies and Bylaws, Sections 201.0601, 201.0605, and 301.04 (D).  

     4 Miss. Constitution, Art. IV, Section 109; Miss. Code Ann., Section 25-4-105 (2) (Supp. 1990), and Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 301.04.

 

1.6  COMMISSIONER OF HIGHER EDUCATION 

 

The Board of Trustees is authorized to appoint, and has duly appointed, a nonmember to the office of Commissioner of Higher Education.  Required to possess the highest qualifications as an administrator and researcher, the Commissioner serves as an executive officer of the Board.  In this capacity, the Commissioner is required: 

 

to make constant inquiry into the problems of higher education, to survey and study carefully the organization, management, and all other affairs of each institution under the control of said trustees, to make report of all findings and recommend such changes as will increase efficiency and economy in the operation of each institution, and to perform such other duties as the Board may prescribe.

 

The Commissioner is also responsible for “the efficient functioning of the staff, which the Board may from time to time establish.” Personnel serving as members of the Board’s staff may include associate and assistant commissioners, directors, and other such positions approved by the Board.

 

CHAPTER 2

 

UNIVERSITY ORGANIZATION

 

 

2.1  INTRODUCTION

 

The Office of the President heads the administration of The University of Southern Mississippi.  Functioning directly under the President are the Provost1, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Chief Financial Officer, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.  Assisted by the Academic Deans and the University Counsel, these administrative officers supervise every facet of institutional operations and serve as the President's principal advisers.  

 

 

The President, Provost and the vice presidents rely heavily on the work of University-wide advisory bodies.  These include standing and specially appointed committees, boards, councils, and other groups that oversee the many activities of the University, provide advice on institutional policy and personnel actions, and thus function as integral components of institutional administration.  

 

The President is advised by the "Cabinet," a body composed of the Provost, vice presidents, and the presidents of faculty, staff and student bodies.  Otherwise, matters pertaining to the essential academic mission and goals of the University are entrusted to the Academic Deans, Academic Council, the Council of Chairs, the Graduate Council, the Faculty Senate, and the University Research Council.  

 

The University is composed of five (5) degree-granting colleges:  the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College of Education and Psychology, the College of Health, and the College of Science and Technology.  An Honors College and Gulf Coast locations at Ocean Springs, Long Beach, and Stennis Space Center enhance and extend the educational services offered by the University.

 

This chapter summarizes the functions of the University's principal administrative officers, outlines the role and scope of University-wide advisory bodies, and relates the composition and functions of the University Advisory Committee, the Faculty Senate, the Council of Chairs, the Academic Council, the Graduate Council, and the University Research Council.   

__________________________________________

1 The title “Provost” refers, throughout this document, to the office of the Chief Academic Officer of the University.

 

2.2 THE PRESIDENT

 

Appointed by the Board of Trustees, the institutional executive officers of Mississippi's public universities serve as executive officers of the Board and as both the chief executive officers and principal educational officers of the institutions over which they preside.  The institutional executive officer of The University of Southern Mississippi uses the title of "President."  Upon appointment, institutional executive officers are elected by the Board of Trustees to the faculty at the rank of professor in an appropriate academic discipline, as determined by the Board.  After five (5) years of service, and at the discretion of the Board, institutional executive officers may be granted tenure at the rank of professor.  After ten (10) or more years of service, institutional executive officers may apply to the Board for appointment as distinguished professor.  The title of distinguished professor is bestowed on the basis of individual contributions to higher education within the state of Mississippi. 

 

The Board of Trustees delegates to institutional executive officers administrative control of the universities over which they preside.  The President of The University of Southern Mississippi is answerable to the Board of Trustees for every facet of institutional operations: 

 

The Institutional Executive Officer of each of the several state institutions of higher learning shall be responsible for the administration of the divisions and departments of his/her institution and for keeping its expenditures strictly in harmony with the budgetary authorizations of the Board and within the limitations provided therein ... .

 

The Institutional Executive Officer shall have the initiative in shaping the educational policy and academic standards of his/her institution, and in cooperation with the Commissioner [of Higher Education] recommend such policy to the Board for approval.

 

The Institutional Executive Officer shall have the initiative in the selection and recommendation for election by the Board of all employees and faculty members of his/her institution; and he/she shall have authority to fill vacancies that occur as emergencies, when the salary outlay is within the budget appropriations provided for such positions, all subject to authority for review and rejection or approval by the Board, in which body rests the sole power of election and confirmation or rejection of all appointments ... .

 

The Institutional Executive Officer is charged with the responsibility for maintaining appropriate standards of conduct of students and is authorized to expel, dismiss, suspend, and place limitations on continued attendance and to levy penalties for disciplinary violations, subject to procedures of due process.

 

The President may submit to the Board nominations for the appointment of subordinate institutional administrative officers.  If the Board approves presidential nominees, they act in nomine of the President, supervising designated areas of institutional administration and advising the President.  In no case may the President abdicate to subordinate administrative officers the powers and duties delegated to the Office of the President.1


  

 

2.3  THE PROVOST

 

The Provost is the chief academic officer and the senior university officer next to the President.  The Provost is the President's principal advisor in all matters pertaining to the development of a well-conceived and organized curriculum, administered and taught by a faculty of the highest qualifications.  The Provost coordinates University planning and works with the vice presidents and deans in accomplishing the University's educational, research and service objectives.  The Provost oversees budget development by the colleges and monitors these budgets throughout the academic year.  All academic units and affiliated offices and programs report through their respective deans to the Provost.  The Provost fosters scholarship and creativity among faculty and academic units and monitors the planning, development, and revision of academic programs.  The Provost supervises all University structures and processes through which personnel actions involving the academic staff of the University are recommended to the President.

 

 

2.4 THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR RESEARCH AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The principal executive officer of research programs at the University is the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, who coordinates the activities, organizations, and personnel related to research. Along with other administrative officers, this officer coordinates University research programs, including components in departments, schools, and colleges as well as units more specifically dedicated to research such as research institutes and centers. The Vice President administers sponsored research programs, approving all research proposals submitted to external agencies, and oversees the conduct of programs supported by grants and contracts. The Vice President also is responsible for technology transfer, patents, copyrights, trademarks, plant variety protection certificates, animal care and use, biosafety, quality assurance, security compliance, research involving human subjects, and research communications.  The Vice President for Research and Economic Development also collaborates with the Provost in advising the University President on personnel actions involving members of the academic staff and serves as a liaison between the University and research institutes, foundations, government agencies, and industry. 

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     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 301.0801 (F); Section 403.04. 

 

 

2.5  THE CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER 

 

The Chief Financial Officer is the only University executive officer assigned direct administrative responsibility by the Board of Trustees.  The Chief Financial Officer is delegated an administrative charge under the direction of the University President that includes supervision of all financial matters of the University.1 The Chief Financial Officer prepares and monitors the University budget and supervises the receipt, custody, and disbursement of funds.  The Chief Financial Officer supervises accounting and financial reporting, auxiliary enterprises, maintenance and improvement of the University's physical plant, procurement of essential services, supplies and equipment, and property inventories.  The Chief Financial Officer also administers the University's personnel program for nonacademic employees.

 

 

2.6  THE VICE PRESIDENT FOR STUDENT AFFAIRS

 

The Vice President for Student Affairs holds supervisory responsibility for a wide range of activities, programs, and services that enhance the quality of life of the University community.  These include student recruitment, admissions, orientation and retention, records, financial aid, food services, campus housing, health services and public safety.  The Vice President also supervises all programs and services that promote student welfare and development:  student government, student organizations, student-faculty relations, counseling services, drug education and prevention, recreational programming, student employment and placement, cooperative education, services for the disabled, student discipline, and many other activities and special services.

 

 

2.7  THE DIRECTOR OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS 

 

The Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, like the vice presidents, reports directly to the President.  The duties of the Director include budget preparation and financial and property management relating to the University's programs in intercollegiate athletics.  The director is also responsible for supervision of coaching, training and athletic management, student-athlete recruitment, eligibility, housing and medical care, alumni and public relations relating to the University's athletic program, and both scheduling and game organization within the athletic program.

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     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 301.0801. 

 

 

 

2.8  THE UNIVERSITY COUNSEL

 

The University Counsel, an attorney-at-law, advises the President, the vice presidents, and the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.  Confirmed by, and collaborating closely with the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General, University Counsel holds office under the direction of the University President, acting under the authority of both the Office of the President and the Office of the Mississippi Attorney General.  

 

 

2.9  THE COLLEGE DEANS

 

As executive officers, the college deans provide overall leadership for their respective colleges.  The deans are responsible for establishing a vision for their colleges, for creating strategic plans, and for evaluating their colleges’ overall effectiveness in achieving the goals and objectives of both their colleges and the University.  The deans are responsible for developing and supervising the academic schedule and curricula of their colleges, consistent with the goals of the University.  The deans administer and supervise the policies and regulations of the University within their colleges.  The deans are responsible for planning, implementing and managing their college budgets, and supervising the administration of all programs within their college.  The deans assign academic and professional responsibilities to department chairs, evaluate their performance, and make final recommendations to the Provost regarding appointment, reappointment, salaries, promotions, tenure, and other personnel matters. 

 

 

2.10  THE DEPARTMENT CHAIRS

 

The department chairs1 are both faculty members and administrators, being integral members of the administration.  Reporting to the dean, the department chairs are the chief administrative officers of their departments, responsible for the general direction and supervision of their departments.  The department chairs are also responsible for the preparation and administration of the department budgets and for making appropriate recommendations to the deans regarding personnel needs. The department chairs are involved in determining educational policy and implementing institutional policies.  This includes establishing curricula, schedules, departmental majors, and graduation requirements.  The department chairs encourage excellence in teaching and engage the faculty in the evaluation of teaching.  The chairs are directly responsible for developing department faculty, encouraging research, establishing standards of instruction, evaluating instruction, and making recommendations to the deans regarding salaries, promotions, tenure, and retention.

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1 Department refers to the lowest unit of academic organization and a department chair refers to the Chief Administrative Officer of the university’s lowest unit of academic organization.  A school is administratively different from a department only when it possesses multiple departmental units. 

 

 

2.11  UNIVERSITY ADVISORY BODIES

 

The University operates under the principle of participatory governance, with many institutional decisions being made with the advice and input from advisory bodies to the University President.  The President has the discretion to approve, appoint, dissolve, and convene advisory bodies as deemed necessary.  Depending on their specific charge, the University's advisory bodies may be composed of faculty, administrative staff, students, and in some cases alumni and friends of the University.    

 

2.11.1 The University Advisory Committee.  The University Advisory Committee is composed of two members from each of the College Advisory Committees plus one member from the library. The two members from each College Advisory Committee consist of the committee’s chair, plus one additional member.  Both of these individuals will be elected by a majority vote of the members of their respective College Advisory Committees.  The chair of the University Advisory Committee is elected by a majority vote of the University Advisory Committee.  The Provost may seek the assistance of the University Advisory Committee in any personnel matter.  The normal functions of the committee, however, are:

 

(a) to review all decanal personnel recommendations, ensuring that the recommendations are consistent with the substantive and procedural policies of the University and the responsible college, and so advising the Provost;

 

(b) to review the merits of recommendations for promotion in rank and tenure, and submitting decisions to the Provost; 

 

(c) to research and ascertain the validity of candidate qualifications; and

 

(d) to perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Provost.

 

Members of the University Advisory Committee must recuse themselves from any personnel matter concerning a faculty member of the college they represent.  In this and all other matters, the committee is subject to the same policies that govern Department and College Advisory Committees.  

 

2.11.2  College Advisory Committees.  Academic colleges must maintain College Advisory Committees.1  These committees are composed of tenured Associate Professors and tenured Professors elected by secret ballot by the full-time faculties of the respective colleges. 

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1 The term “college” in this section refers to one of the various academic colleges of the University and the Gulf Park Campus faculty.

 

University administrative officers serving as President, as Provost, as vice presidents, or as departmental chairs within a college may neither vote in elections nor sit as members or ex officio members of College Advisory Committees.

 

At their discretion, the faculty of the colleges may modify the apportionment, size, and method of electing College Advisory Committees every five years.  In all cases, however, the members of College Advisory Committees must be elected for terms of two (2) or three (3) years, and terms must be staggered so as to assure a turnover not exceeding fifty (50) percent in any given year.  The chairs of College Advisory Committees are elected by a majority vote of the members of the respective committees.

 

Deans may seek the advice of College Advisory Committees on any personnel matter.  The regular functions of College Advisory Committees, however, are:

 

(a) to review all departmental recommendations regarding pre-tenure review (third – year review), promotion, and tenure, ensuring that both the substantive and procedural policies of departments and the college have been followed;

 

(b) to review the merits of recommendations for pre-tenure review, promotion, and tenure, and submitting personnel decisions to the dean;

 

(c) to advise academic deans on grievances from academic staff members regarding departmental evaluations, tenure reviews, and personnel recommendations; and

 

(d) to perform such other duties within their authority as may be required in the personnel documents of the respective colleges.

 

The proceedings of College Advisory Committees are strictly confidential and are subject to the same policies that govern the proceedings of the Departmental Personnel Committees.  Strict policies of recusal also govern the deliberations of College Advisory Committees.  These are:

 

(a) members of College Advisory Committees who are related (as per Board and University Nepotism Policy) to parties being reviewed must recuse themselves from all personnel proceedings involving such parties. In no event shall they vote or offer advice, either directly or indirectly, to other committee members.

 

(b) a member of a College Advisory Committee reviewing any departmental personnel evaluation or recommendation from his/her own department may not vote at the College Advisory Committee level regarding those evaluations or recommendations.

 

(c) associate professors sitting as members of College Advisory Committees must recuse themselves from all personnel proceedings in all cases involving the promotion of a party from the rank of associate professor to the rank of Professor. 

 

2.11.3  The Council of Chairs.  The Council of Chairs provides a forum whereby chairs and directors of academic units discuss issues of interest and relevance to departments and schools and formulate policy recommendations for consideration by the Deans, the Provost, and the President.  The membership of the Council consists of representatives from full-time chairs and directors of designated academic units with full-time faculty.  Their election is determined by each college, with no unit within the college electing more than one representative.  The number of representatives includes at least two from each academic college and one from the University Libraries.  Representatives serve staggered terms and may be reelected.  

 

2.11.4 The Faculty Senate.  The Faculty Senate provides a forum for the orderly discussion of faculty concerns and a medium through which the faculty expresses opinions concerning policies affecting the general welfare of the University.  The Senate requests and receives an annual budget from the University to conduct its business and submits recommendations to the Provost for review and transmittal to the University President.  

 

The membership of the Senate consists of full-time faculty representatives elected by the faculties of the University's degree-granting colleges and the University Library.  Membership eligibility is determined according to the constitution of the Faculty Senate.  The composition of the Senate is based upon the provisions of the Senate constitution.  

 

2.11.5 The Academic Council.  The Academic Council advises the Provost on undergraduate academic affairs.  It is authorized to initiate and recommend improvements in all undergraduate programs and to review and either endorse or recommend for rejection proposed changes in the undergraduate curriculum.  Excepting only those pertaining to teacher education, which is first sent to the Professional Education Council, all actions of the Academic Council are forwarded as recommendations to the Provost for review and transmittal to the University President for final action.  The Council requests and receives a budget from the University each year.

 

The voting membership of the Academic Council is composed of elected representatives from the faculties of the University's degree-granting colleges and representatives from the Honors College and the University Libraries.  

 

The undergraduate student body is entitled to three (3) appointed, nonvoting representatives.  Ex officio members of the Council include the University President, the Provost, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the deans of the degree-granting colleges, the Dean of the Honors College, the University Librarian, and the University Registrar.  The minutes of the Academic Council are regularly distributed among the faculty, and guidelines for the submission of proposals to the Council are published periodically.  

 

2.11.6 The Graduate Council.  The Graduate Council oversees and provides guidelines for the graduate academic affairs of the University.  Its responsibility includes the general oversight of all graduate programs, including the authority to initiate and recommend improvements in graduate education and to review, endorse, or recommend the rejection of proposed changes in the graduate curriculum.  Excepting only matters pertaining to teacher education, which are first sent to the Professional Education Council, all actions of the Council are forwarded to the Provost for review and transmittal to the University President, who may approve or reject the action or return it to the Council for amendment.

 

The voting membership of the Graduate Council is composed of elected representatives from the full-time graduate faculties of the degree-granting colleges.  Elected representatives serve staggered three-year terms, and the number of representatives apportioned to the various colleges is determined by either the percentage of University-wide graduate degrees awarded or the percentage of University-wide graduate credit hours generated, whichever is greater.  All degree-granting colleges are entitled to at least one (1) representative.

 

Ex officio members of the Graduate Council include the University President, the Provost, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the deans of the degree-granting colleges, the University Librarian, and the University Registrar.  

 

2.11.7 The Professional Education Council.  The Professional Education Council (PEC) ensures that the professional education programs at The University of Southern Mississippi comply with the standards of NCATE and other professional accrediting agencies and the Mississippi Department of Education.  By virtue of the committee structure and membership, the Council has a continuous source of information for use in considering policy and program development and revision.  The Council serves as a sounding board for the professional education needs of public and private agencies and recommends actions regarding the development, administration, evaluation, and revision of all professional education programs, (i.e., undergraduate and graduate programs leading to licensure in education) to the Dean of the College of Education and Psychology.  The Dean of the College of Education and Psychology is the designated University official charged with the responsibility for and authority to provide direction and leadership to the Professional Education Unit at The University of Southern Mississippi.  The Professional Education Unit is defined as the College of Education and Psychology and the professional education faculty located in other colleges, schools, and departments in the University.

 

Membership on the PEC includes faculty, students, community educators, and a representative from the Office of Field Experiences.  The faculty representatives come from the departments of the College of Education and Psychology and the colleges housing professional education programs.  The specific number of faculty representatives is based on the number of students graduating annually from the programs using the following formula:

 

  0-30 degrees awarded         1 representative

31-90 degrees awarded         2 representatives

      91-180 degrees awarded         3 representatives

         >181 degrees awarded         4 representatives

 

There are three student members on the Professional Education Council, one each from the elementary, K-12, and secondary education areas.  There are two community educators on the Professional Education Council, one teacher and one administrator.  The Dean of the College of Education and Psychology serves as a voting member of the PEC.  The Assistant Dean of the College of Education and Psychology serves as a nonvoting member of the PEC, except in the case of a tie vote.

2.11.8 The University Research Council.  The University Research Council serves as an advisory body to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and Provost on matters pertaining to the continued development of research and creative activities.  The Council is responsible for recommending policies and procedures to enhance research and other scholarly and creative endeavors.

 

The voting members of the University Research Council consist of two representatives from each college. Serving staggered three-year terms, the elected representatives must be employed by the University for a minimum of three (3) years in a position with professorial rank (rare exceptions may be made upon the request of an academic dean), must be members of the graduate faculty, must hold terminal degrees in their areas of graduate responsibility, and must be accomplished scholars.  

 

The Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Director of Sponsored Programs Administration, the Chair of the Institutional Review Board, and the University Libraries representative will be ex officio non-voting members of the Research Council.  Ex officio representatives from research units on the Gulf Coast and Hattiesburg campuses may be selected as deemed appropriate by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.   The Director of Sponsored Programs Administration maintains minutes of the meetings for the Council.  

 

 

2.12    ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND SHARED GOVERNANCE   

Academic freedom and shared governance are long-established and living principles at The University of Southern Mississippi.  The University cherishes the free exchange of ideas, diversity of thought, joint decision making, and individuals’ assumption of responsibility.

Academic freedom is fundamental to the central values and purposes of a university, which in turn protects freedom of inquiry and speech.  Faculty and students must be able to study, learn, speak, teach, research, and publish, without fear of intimidation or reprisal, free from political interference, in an environment  of tolerance for and engagement with divergent opinions.  Each faculty member is entitled to freedom from institutional censorship or disciplinary action in discussing his or her subject in the classroom, and when speaking or writing outside the classroom as an individual.  It is understood, however, that with academic freedom there must be concomitant responsibility for statements, speeches, and actions.

The University of Southern Mississippi believes in the widely accepted principles of shared governance.  Therefore, the University recognizes that the faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects of student life which relate to the educational process.  The University also endorses a consultative process by which academic decisions are made through a joint effort of faculty and administrators and with the cooperation and support of the affected faculty constituency.

The President’s authority derives from the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.  As the chief executive officer of the University, the President is largely responsible for the maintenance of existing institutional resources and the creation of new ones; has ultimate managerial responsibility for a large number of nonacademic activities; and by the nature of the office is the chief spokesperson for the University.  In these and other areas the President's task is to plan, organize, direct, and represent, and in these functions the President should receive the general support of the faculty.  The University recognizes that the faculty should be consulted with respect to such matters as long-range plans for the institution, the allocation and use of fiscal and physical resources, and the selection of academic officers.

The University of Southern Mississippi acknowledges that true faculty participation in the governance of academic affairs requires good faith on the part of both faculty and administration and a genuine commitment by both to a program of shared governance. 1

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1 This policy draws from the 1966 “Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities” jointly formulated by the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the American Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

 

CHAPTER 3

 

HIRING POLICIES, CONTRACTS AND EMPLOYMENT TERMS

 

 

3.1 INTRODUCTION  

 

The academic staff of The University of Southern Mississippi includes instructional, research, and library personnel, all of whom are employed on terms and conditions mandated by public law and the policies promulgated by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.  Legislative enactments and Board policies are supplemented and defined by employment policies and procedures formulated by the University pursuant to the administrative authority delegated to it by the Board of Trustees.  This chapter explains the University employment policy and sets forth substantive law and policy governing hiring, academic appointment, employment contracts, ancillary institutional agreements, and external employment.  

 

 

3.2 BOARD AUTHORITY

 

The Mississippi Code sets forth the general powers and obligations of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning with respect to employment within the state's public universities:   

 

The board shall have the power and authority to elect the heads of the various institutions of higher learning and to contract with all deans, professors, and other members of the teaching staff, and all administrative employees of said institutions for a term of not exceeding four (4) years. The board shall have the power and authority to terminate any such contract at any time for malfeasance, inefficiency, or contumacious conduct, but never for political reasons. It shall be the policy of the board to permit the executive head of each institution to nominate for election by the board all subordinate employees of the institution over which he presides. It shall be the policy of the board to elect all officials for a definite tenure of service and to reelect during the period of satisfactory service. The board shall have the power to make any adjustments it thinks necessary between the various departments and schools of any institution or between the different institutions.1

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      1 Miss. Code Ann., Section 37-101-15 (f).

 

The Board of Trustees has authorized the executive heads of the state universities to adopt institutional policies regulating the employment of all university personnel.  The Board authorizes institutional executive officers to nominate academic staff and to recommend the terms and conditions of their employment, the Board retaining authority to examine and to accept or reject all such nominations and recommendations.  All amendments, revisions, additions, and reductions to employee contracts are subject to approval by the Board.1  

   

 

 

3.3 FACULTY DEFINED 

 

3.3.1 Corps of Instruction.  The Board of Trustees defines the faculty of Mississippi's public universities as those employees holding appointment within the Corps of Instruction.  The University Corps of Instruction consists of full-time employees holding the ranks of Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, and Instructor, but the Board may approve other teaching personnel.  Full-time extension and research personnel and librarians may be appointed by the President to the Corps of Instruction on the basis of comparable education and training.2  All other employees are neither members nor ex officio members of the Corps of Instruction, do not qualify for a status of continuing employment within a state institution of higher learning, are expressly excluded from the privileges conferred by faculty status, and may not vote in institutional elections or personnel proceedings.

 

3.3.2 Administrative Officers Holding Faculty Status.  A faculty member who has the academic rank and rights of tenure in the Corps of Instruction and who accepts an appointment to an administrative office retains his or her academic rank and rights of tenure as an ex officio member of the Corps of Instruction but has no rights of tenure in the administrative office to which he or she has been appointed.  An administrative officer having faculty status shall retain privileges of faculty membership. The President shall nominate administrative officers for election by the Board.3  Administrative officers may be discharged from their administrative appointment at any time for any reason, and the discharge is not subject to the policies and procedures otherwise applicable to faculty members.

 

3.3.3 Tenure Track Faculty.  Only those faculty members who hold a rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor are eligible for tenure and are classified as “tenure track” faculty.  All other academic ranks, including that of Instructor, are defined by the Board as

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1 The same policies are set out in Board Policies and Bylaws, Sections 401.01-0103.   

2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 402.01(A).

3 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 402.01; C. Ray Cleere, Commissioner of Higher Education, to Chief Executive Officers, State Institutions of Higher Learning, Administrative Memorandum Number 3, May 7, 1991 (Authorization for Employment Contracts), ibid., Section 400.

 

“non-tenure track.”  Non-tenure track faculty may not have their status converted to tenure track but may apply, on the same basis as other candidates, for available tenure track positions.1

 

3.4 NON-FACULTY ACADEMIC STAFF  

 

Not included within the definition of faculty propounded by the Board of Trustees are further classifications of academic staff that may be employed within the state's institutions of higher learning.  These include:

 

(a) part-time personnel performing specified instructional, research, or library duties; 

 

(b) personnel holding honorary titles or impermanent academic ranks such as “adjunct,” “interim,” or “visiting”; 

 

(c) temporary personnel funded in whole or in part by contracts or agreements of fixed duration with external public and private entities; 

 

(d) library and research personnel not holding academic appointment; and

 

(e) postgraduate and graduate assistants and graduate fellows performing specified instructional, research, or library duties.

 

By approving temporary positions funded in whole or in part by public or private external sources, the Board of Trustees does not obligate itself or any state institution of higher learning to maintain such positions or to continue the employment of the individuals filling them beyond the expiration of the contract or agreement with the external entity.2

 

The following statement further clarifies the University’s policies and procedures regarding academic personnel who are not members of the Corps of Instruction.

 

 

 Policies and Procedures Regarding Non-Tenure Track Research, Clinical, Artist-In-Residence, Professor of Practice, and Post-Doctoral Positions at the University of Southern Mississippi 

 

Purpose  A comprehensive university requires a cadre of personnel who are able to devote full time to research or clinical activities. The purpose of this document is to establish a consistent set of titles for such positions, and to establish promotion criteria for the positions. Existing procedures

are to be used for establishing positions, advertising vacancies, and filling positions. Affirmative action regulations apply to these positions.

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1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 404.1.

2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Sections 404.01 and 801.06.  

 

 

Review  This policy and procedure will be reviewed as needed by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and the Provost. Input may be provided to the Vice President and Provost by the Department of Human Resources.   

I. POLICY/PROCEDURES 

A. Research and Clinical Position Titles  Three levels of appointments exist that parallel academic appointments at the Assistant, Associate, Professor, levels. 

These are: 

Assistant Research Professor 

Assistant Clinical Professor 

Associate Research Professor 

Associate Clinical Professor 

Research Professor 

Clinical Professor  

All research/clinical positions are non-tenure track and must be so indicated to prospective and incumbent holders of these positions or titles. Also, individuals holding these positions generally are not members of the Corps of Instruction (see FACULTY DEFINED - Corps of Instruction in the Faculty Handbook, see also Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 402.01(A)). Consequently, they may not vote in institutional elections or personnel proceedings, nor may they be members of a Departmental Personnel Committee.

Research/clinical professors (all three levels) may, from time to time, engage in teaching provided they satisfy expectations of the Provost before being assigned, in part, to an academic budget. Such teaching, which must be approved by the department head and dean/director before consideration by the Provost, does not constitute an appointment to the Corps of Instruction, and does not move the individual to a tenure-track appointment. 

For research/clinical professors (all three ranks) on split appointments, units responsible for each element of the appointment are to have input in the promotion and annual review process. 

Financial rewards for promotion should be consistent with those of all USM faculty, subject to resource availability. 

(1)  General Criteria for Appointment to Research/Clinical positions. All regulations of the University of Southern Mississippi concerning employment and promotion must adhere to the By-Laws and Policies of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (1970, with subsequent amendments). Specific attention is called to the section “Employment and Tenure of Faculties of Institutions of Higher Learning in Mississippi” (see Faculty Handbook). 

Every person employed by the University is expected to meet high standards of professional integrity, collegiality and objectivity, and to further the goals of his/her unit(s) and the University. In addition, a person of research or clinical rank must have an appropriate degree, or its equivalent in training and experience; a strong commitment to higher education, and in particular to the mission of the University; and a willingness to assume the responsibilities and obligations appropriate to a professional or faculty university employee (see Faculty Handbook). In addition, the following is appropriate at each level.       

a)  Assistant Research/Clinical Professor: An individual with a terminal degree in the discipline, who possesses the potential for successful performance in research/clinical activity in a university environment.  

b)  Associate Research/Clinical Professor: An individual who has met the criteria for Assistant Research/Clinical Professor and has consistently demonstrated an ability to perform at a level of excellence appropriate for this rank.   

c)  Research/Clinical Professor: An individual who has demonstrated sustained excellence in research/clinical or creative activity. 

(2)    Suggested Performance Standards of Professional Activities. In every case, the performance of non-tenure track individuals in research/clinical positions will be judged by all parties involved in promotion decisions on the basis of written policy statements or criteria, i.e., specific requirements, developed by the specific units with which the individual is associated. All criteria should be based on the application of the highest professional standards associated with university work. Some suggested items to consider in establishing evaluative criteria at the unit level follow. 

To qualify for excellence in research/clinical activity, the work must be submitted to a critical peer evaluation, using standards prevailing in the applicable discipline or professional area. It includes such things as development and validation of new knowledge essential for the maintenance of professional development and vitality; providing creative forms that bring greater meaning to life; systematic, original investigation directed toward the enlargement of human knowledge or solution of contemporary problems; books published by commercial or university presses and articles published in refereed journals of international, national, or regional prestige; other books and published articles; continued success in obtaining grants for research/clinical activities, permitting high quality research, creative, or clinical activity; acceptance of papers for presentation before professional groups; invited participation in scholarly conferences; editorial and referee work in professional journals or other publications; book reviews in professional journals; artistic or humanistic presentations; evidence of substantive progress on long-term projects that meet the criteria above. Creative achievement

refers to significantly original or imaginative accomplishments in literature or the fine arts, and to effective experience or practice in professional fields.   

(3)   Annual Evaluation and Reviews of Research/Clinical Professors (all three levels). Each individual in a non-tenure track research or clinical position will be reviewed annually. Decisions regarding annual reviews begin with the appropriate departmental or school personnel option in accordance with departmental/school and college bylaws and the Faculty Handbook. The process or steps in an annual review are similar to those for tenure-track or tenured faculty, but the expectations and specific criteria for recommendations reside in the department or school and may be different from expectations for tenure-track faculty in the unit. A copy of each annual review will be provided to the researcher/clinician for his/her signature and a copy of this review, also signed by the department/unit head or appropriate officer, will be reviewed by the next appropriate administrator and placed in the person’s promotion file. The researcher/clinician may attach a dissenting statement to all copies of this review. 

 A confidential file for each individual holding a research/clinical rank is to be maintained by the department/unit head or appropriate officer. No record in the file is to be added, changed, or withdrawn without the knowledge of both parties. The responsible administrative officer will make all pertinent information available to the appropriate individuals when the holder of a research/clinical rank is a candidate for promotion, or when the information is needed in an appeals or grievance case.   

(4)   Procedures for Promotion of Research/Clinical Personnel. The University recognizes achievement of research/clinical personnel by advances in rank. For this reason, promotion is never granted routinely for simple satisfactory accomplishment. Rank also reflects comparable stature with others in similar disciplines in other university settings. Promotion is based on performance and demonstrated competence and not on length of service, but a reasonable time must elapse for the individual to demonstrate competence and have it confirmed by annual evaluation. Professional achievement elsewhere will be considered for promotion. 

 Decisions regarding promotions begin with the appropriate departmental or school personnel option in accordance with departmental/school and college bylaws and the Faculty Handbook. The process or steps in a promotion decision are similar to those for tenure-track or tenured faculty, but the expectations and specific criteria for recommendations reside in the department or school and may be different from expectations for tenure- track/tenured faculty in the unit.

  The individual seeking promotion will be officially notified as to the disposition at each level of his/her nomination for promotion, and written recommendations of decisions at each level in the process will be placed on file in all appropriate offices (see Faculty Handbook). These recommendations will also become the basis for future discussions with the department/unit head regarding the individual’s further professional development or growth. The candidate for promotion has the right to discontinue the review process for promotion at any point. 

 (5)   Schedule for Promotion Decisions. The schedule for promotion of individuals holding non-tenure track research or clinical positions should follow, whenever possible, the schedule outlined for faculty promotions. 

 B. Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Practice Titles   In addition to the research and clinical titles, artist-in-residence and professor of practice appointments may also be made at the university. 

Artist-in-Residence. Artist-in-Residence positions are non- tenure track and must be so indicated to prospective and incumbent holders of this title. This appointee will not be required to possess a minimum academic qualification, but will be distinguished with the highest level of artistic experience and talent. 

Professor of Practice. Professor of Practice positions are non-tenure track and must be so indicated to prospective and incumbent holders of this title. Professors of Practice are distinguished, experienced professionals who can contribute to the missions of the University. They may not necessarily possess terminal academic degrees. 

 

Artists-in-Residence and Professors of Practice may also teach. If so, this teaching is subject to the same provisions listed above for research/clinical personnel. 

Artists-in-Residence and Professors of Practice are subject to annual evaluations. Decisions regarding annual reviews begin with the appropriate departmental or school personnel option in accordance with departmental/school and college bylaws and the Faculty Handbook. Artists-in-Residence and Professors of Practice generally are not members of the Corps of Instruction (see FACULTY DEFINED - Corps of Instruction in the Faculty Handbook, see also Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 402.01(A). Consequently, they may not vote in institutional elections or personnel proceedings, nor may they be members of a Departmental Personnel Committee.  

C. Postdoctoral Position Titles   In addition to the above non-academic faculty titles, the following titles refer to research/clinical training appointments made at the postdoctoral level. Postdoctoral positions are non- tenure track and must be so indicated to prospective and incumbent holders of this title.  

(1) Postdoctoral Fellow (Specialty title). The position of Postdoctoral Fellow connotes an appointment that emphasizes continued professional development of the fellow after completion of the doctorate. The appointee shall have received the doctorate in a field appropriate to the assigned position offered. The appointment is for the individual’s education in research and teaching and is generally limited to two (2) or three (3) years. To qualify for a fellowship exemption under the Federal income tax laws, no assigned duties and responsibilities or services can be required other than those which are an integral part of the Fellow’s educational program. Appointees to these specialty professional development positions shall have no continuing contractual relationship with the University. 

 (2) Postdoctoral Associate (Specialty title). The appointee shall have received the doctorate in a field appropriate to the assigned duties and responsibilities. This appointment is used when the individual renders compensable services to the University and is assigned specific duties and responsibilities. Appointees to these specialty positions shall have no continuing contractual relationship with the University. 

 D. Grievance Procedures  

(1) Grievance Procedures. Procedures for filing grievances are outlined in Chapter 12 of the Faculty Handbook. These will apply to grievances or appeals initiated by non-tenure track researchers and clinicians, artists-in-residence, professors of practice, and post-doctoral positions with the following clarification. First, grievance issues identified in 12.2.2 that apply to non-tenure track faculty personnel include (a) annual performance reviews; (b) personnel actions involving adjustments in compensation; (c) non-renewal of employment of non-tenured personnel; and (d) grievances alleging a violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of a rule, policy, or procedure in relation to personnel policies, procedures, or practices including working hours, general working conditions, employment benefits, etc. Second, appeals beyond the level of Dean will be directed to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. Administrative remedies applicable to University policies on discrimination, harassment generally, and sexual harassment, are outlined in Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook. 

  

 

3.5 ADJUNCT ACADEMIC STAFF

 

Members of the University academic staff whose titles denote adjunct status are of two classifications:  occasional and regular.  Adjunct academic staff are employed to fulfill specified instructional and other duties for a specified period, but without any contractual guarantee of continuing employment.  All adjunct members of the academic staff remain outside the Corps of Instruction, do not qualify for faculty status or privileges, and may not vote in institutional elections or personnel proceedings. Adjunct status may qualify one to be listed in the University's Undergraduate Bulletin and/or Graduate Bulletin.  Those so listed must:

 

(a) have a regular teaching or research affiliation in an academic department, center, division, or institute within the University; 

 

(b) have a professional reputation that enhances the reputation of the employing academic unit; and 

 

(c) be recommended by a two-thirds vote of the members of the Corps of Instruction  comprising the employing academic unit and be approved by the responsible Dean, the Provost, and the University President.

 

The listing of adjunct academic staff members in the University's Undergraduate Bulletin and/or Graduate Bulletin is strictly honorary, in no way equating with faculty status, a status of permanent employment, or a status of continuing employment.  

 

 

3.6 DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR

 

3.6.1 In General.  The appointment of a faculty member to a Distinguished Professorship at The University of Southern Mississippi constitutes the highest honor that can be accorded to a member of the professorate.  The title will be conferred on selected members of the faculty to recognize distinguished achievement in teaching, research, scholarly works, and public service.  The designation will be highly prestigious and consequently very exclusive.  

 

3.6.2 Criteria for Selection.  A candidate for designation as a Distinguished Professor must have held the rank of Professor at the University for at least five (5) years before being nominated.  The title is not to be used for recruiting.  In general, University Distinguished Professors will have been recognized nationally and usually internationally for the importance of their scholarly achievements.  They will also have demonstrated the breadth of interest characteristically encompassed by the traditional role of a professor as teacher and public servant.  In addition, they will have brought distinction to The University of Southern Mississippi as a result of their activities.  

 

Specifically, a University Distinguished Professor has achieved a record judged by peers to be superior and outstanding in preferably all, but in at least two, of the following areas:

 

Superior teaching skills of recognized breadth and depth in their discipline.

 

Seminal scholarly research, literary, or artistic achievements.

 

A distinguished record of service, scholarship, and/or creative and artistic endeavors.

 

3.6.3 Selection Process.  University Distinguished Professorships are awarded by the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the Provost and the President.  From time to time, the Provost will request nominations for University Distinguished Professorships from members of the faculty, deans and department chairs.  Nominations may be submitted to the Provost at any time, except that no Professor shall be eligible to nominate himself or herself.  

 

Written nominations submitted to the Provost shall include a dossier containing, at a minimum, the following materials:

 

 a) a cover letter making or supporting the nomination and providing a brief summary of the candidate’s qualifications and achievements, specifying the subjects to which the candidate has made seminal contributions and stating his or her principal contributions to those subjects;

 

 b) the candidate’s curriculum vitae, including a current list of the candidate’s publications, research grants, awards, and other achievements;

 

c)   letters of endorsement from relevant college deans and department chairs;

 

 d) evidence of the candidate’s national and international reputation, in the form of at least three (3) letters from persons in university departments of high repute in the candidate’s field, assessing the candidate’s record of achievements in teaching, research, or public service.  The qualifications of those writing letters of endorsement must be furnished.  In some cases, letters from persons in prestigious non-university research laboratories or institutes may be appropriate; and

 

 e) letters of support from students, faculty, and other colleagues at this University, assessing the candidate’s record of achievements in teaching, research, or public service.

 

 3.6.4 Decision Process.  Upon receipt of the complete application package, the Provost will convene the University Advisory Committee, which will review the candidate’s credentials and make a recommendation to the Provost for transmittal to the President for review and submission to the Board for final decision.  

 

 

3.7 EMERITUS/EMERITA FACULTY 

 

3.7.1   Emeritus/Emerita Status.  The emeritus designation is awarded to faculty members who have served The University of Southern Mississippi with distinction for an extended time.  The status recognizes faculty who have excelled throughout their careers at the University.   Two types of emeritus status are recognized by the University:  emeritus professor and emeritus instructor.   Members of the faculty meeting the following criteria are eligible to be considered for professor emeritus status:

 (1)  a minimum of ten years of honorable and distinguished service at the University.  In exceptional cases, a faculty member who has served the University for fewer years may receive emeritus status.

 (2)  retirement (in process or already completed) of the faculty member.

 (3)  rank as an associate or full professor at the University of Southern Mississippi.

 (4)  a distinguished record in at least two of the three areas of teaching, research, and service.

 (5)  maintenance of collegial relationships with departmental colleagues.

 

Members of the faculty meeting the following criteria are eligible to be considered for instructor emeritus status:

 (1)  a minimum of ten years of honorable and distinguished service at the University.  In exceptional cases, an instructor who has served the University for fewer years may receive emeritus status.  

 (2)  retirement (in process or already completed) of the faculty member.

 (3)  a distinguished teaching record at the University.

 (4)  maintenance of collegial relationships with departmental colleagues. 

 

3.7.2   Procedure for Appointment.  The following procedure applies to the nomination and evaluation of retiring faculty for emeritus status:

 

(a)  A faculty member who is retiring or has already retired may apply for emeritus status by nomination or self-nomination.  Initially the eligible faculty member should complete the Emeritus Status Application Form available on the Office of the Provost website.  The faculty member then submits the completed Application Form, together with a curriculum vitae, to the chair/director of his /her department. 

 

(b)  The department chair/director will forward the faculty member’s emeritus status application form and curriculum vitae to the Department Tenure Committee (DTC) for review and evaluation.  The chair/director will conduct a separate evaluation of the application materials.  The DTC and the chair/director will submit their separate evaluations to the college dean within one month after the faculty member has submitted the application materials and will also forward copies of their evaluations to the nominee. 

 

(c)  The dean will review the faculty member’s application, and the evaluations of the DTC and the chair/director.  The dean will inform the nominee in writing of his/her (the dean’s) evaluation.  The dean will then submit his/her evaluation, along with the evaluations of the DTC and the department chair/director, to the Provost within eight weeks after the faculty member’s submission of the application materials.  The dean will also forward a copy of his/her evaluation to the nominee.

 

(d)  The Provost will review the faculty member’s application materials and the evaluations of the DTC, the chair/director, and the dean, and will submit his/her evaluation, along with the evaluations of the DTC, the chair/director, and the dean, to the President.  The Provost may consult and seek advice from the appropriate College Advisory Committee and/or the University Advisory Council.  

 

(e)  If the President approves the application, the Provost will notify the faculty member in writing that emeritus status has been approved (at the University level) and forward copies to the dean and department chair.  The recommendation will then be submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval at the next Board meeting.  If the President does not approve the application, the Provost will notify the faculty member by letter.  The faculty member may then write a final letter of appeal, submitted to the President through the Provost.  The next decision of the President regarding the faculty member’s application is final and is not appealable to the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.

 

 

3.7.3 Privileges.  An emeritus faculty member is an honored, non-voting member of the department of which he or she was a member before retirement.  Departments, colleges, and schools are encouraged to invite emeritus faculty to serve as lecturers, substitute instructors, and

consultants.  Although no longer tenured or eligible for employment benefits, an emeritus faculty member is entitled to the following privileges:

 

(a)  to be listed separately in the general catalog and university directory following the listing of 

      the regular faculty;

 

(b)  to represent the University at ceremonies of other universities and organizations when so 

       appointed by the President;

 

(c)  to serve on committees, including dissertation, thesis, and faculty committees, if requested 

      by the department chair;

 

(d)  to enjoy the same library and computer privileges as active members of the faculty;

 

(e)  to receive faculty prices for University-sponsored events;

 

(f)  to have access to the Payne Center at regular faculty prices. 

 

 

3.8  UNIVERSITY HIRING POLICIES 

 

3.8.1 General.  University hiring policies apply to the hiring of all University employees, being mandated either by federal or state law, the policies of the Board of Trustees, or the University President acting with Board approval.  In accordance with Board policy, the University maintains written University hiring policies conforming to federal and state law, and maintains those policies within its Department of Human Resources.  These include policies pertaining to Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity/Americans with Disabilities Act  (AA/EOE/ADA), and nepotism.

 

3.8.2 AA/EOE/ADA Policy.  In accordance with Board policy, the University administers its policies and programs without regard for race, age, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or veteran status.  The Board and the University have been and remain committed to the maintenance of equal opportunity for all persons.  Affirmative action shall be taken to ensure that the University does not discriminate in any aspect of employment including advertisement, recruitment, selection, promotion, demotion, transfer, compensation, and selection for training.1 

_______________________________________________________

     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Sections 801.01  and 801.02.

 

3.8.3 Nepotism Policy.  The Board of Trustees mandates that no administrative unit of the University may employ a person in any capacity who is related by blood or marriage within the third degree to any other administrative staff member, faculty member, instructional staff member, clerical staff member, or student employed by the same unit if either one of the two

related employees will have direct supervision of any matter relating to the other's progress, performance, assignment, compensation, tenure, promotion,  termination of employment,  or welfare.  Relationships within the third degree include great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, spouses, great-grandchildren, grandchildren, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces.  Also included are step relatives within the third degree.

 

This policy does not apply to individuals employed prior to the time a relative within the third degree became the supervisor of the administrative unit.  In such cases, if approved by the Board, the next highest administrative officer  must decide performance, welfare, assignment, compensation, tenure, promotion, or termination of employment of the subordinate employee.1

 

In accordance with the spirit of Board policy, the University’s nepotism policy applies the word "nepotism" to those employees engaged in a conjugal relationship but without benefit of marriage and to relatives within the third degree of those employees, requiring the recusal of all parties so related in institutional proceedings involving hiring and personnel recommendations.  

 

3.8.4 Employment of Persons with University Terminal Degrees.  As a comprehensive university with extensive national and international ties, the University seeks to broaden the intellectual perspective of its students and to promote the public interest by employing and retaining a cosmopolitan, culturally diverse faculty.  In this endeavor, the University follows a general rule of not employing persons who have earned their terminal degrees from the University in the full-time instructional ranks of Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor.2  Exceptions to this policy require the approval of the President.

 

3.9 DEPARTMENT HIRING PROCEDURES    

 

Departmental hiring for authorized academic positions is a process that involves consultation with the faculty of the department.  When a position is to be filled, the department chair, at a meeting of the departmental faculty, conducts a discussion to determine departmental needs and professional qualifications for the position.  The department chair appoints appropriate members of the departmental faculty and others to a search committee, designating one of the members as chair of the committee.  The search committee coordinates the advertisement of approved positions, the receipt of applications, the interviewing of candidates, and the recommendation of candidates to the department faculty.  The department faculty may elect to accept the search committee's recommendations or develop an alternate recommendation.  The department chair then submits a written hiring recommendation from the department to the responsible college dean, accompanied by the chair's separate written recommendation either concurring or disagreeing with the recommendation of the departmental faculty.  In hiring proceedings involving individuals who will be members of the professional education faculty, the Chair of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education,  and the Dean of the College of Education and Psychology participate according to policies and procedures detailed in the bylaws of the Professional Education Council.

________________________________________

 1 Miss. Code Ann., Section 25-1-53, (1990); Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 801.03 (c).     2 Office of the Provost.  "Terminal degree" is defined as the last, final, or supreme academic degree conferred within an academic discipline as established by the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the University President in consultation with pertinent academic units.

 

 

 

3.10 NOMINATION AND ELECTION TO ACADEMIC APPOINTMENT 

 

The University President nominates, and the Board of Trustees elects, all candidates for academic appointment.  Presidential nominations may be accepted, amended, or rejected by the Board.  In the event of rejection, the Board must inform the University President of the reasons for its decision.  The President may then resubmit the nomination with clarifying explanations, resubmit the nomination with amended terms, or submit a substitute nomination.1  

    

 

 

3.11 EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS

 

3.11.1 Parties.  The parties to all employment contracts are the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and the individual employee.  Employment contracts are extended to Board-elected individuals by the University President, acting in the legal capacity of executive officer of the Board.  

 

3.11.2 Terms and Conditions.  Employment contracts issued by the Board through the institutional executive officers are subject to the laws of the state of Mississippi, the policies and bylaws of the Board of Trustees, and the policies set forth in this handbook, as amended from time to time.  Employment contracts contain the general terms of employment and any extraordinary employment status recommended by the President and duly approved by the Board.  All amendments, revisions, additions and reductions to employee contracts are subject to approval by the Board.2    

 

Board policy requires the University President to specify in writing the precise terms and conditions of every appointment containing provisions not regularly included on employment contracts and to assure that the documents are in the possession of both the affected employee and the University administration before the consummation of an appointment.3  

 

The failure of an academic staff member to return a duly signed contract prior to the first regularly scheduled class meeting of an academic term constitutes a voluntary resignation from employment and of all privileges inherent in a status of continuing employment.

__________________________________________________

1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 401.01.

2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 401.01.

3 Board of Trustees Administrative Memorandum Number 3, May 7, 1991, Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 400. 

 

3.11.3 Academic Rank.  Academic rank is assigned by the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the University President and stated on employment contracts.  The Board establishes the minimum standards for assignment of academic rank.  

 

 

The minimum standards for appointment at the ranks of Professor and Associate Professor are:

 

(a) a doctoral or other terminal degree or equivalent credentials;1 


(b) successful teaching experience; and

 

(c) a record of successful research and/or creative work.

 

The minimum standards for appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor are:

 

(a) a master's degree or the equivalent credentials; and 

 

(b) one year of additional graduate work.

 

The minimum standard for appointment at the rank of Instructor is a master's degree or the equivalent credentials.

 

Additional requirements for academic rank reflecting institutional or unitary goals, objectives, needs, and/or disciplinary standards may be approved by the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the University President in consultation with responsible institutional administrative officers and the faculties of pertinent academic units.2

 

3.11.4 Compensation.  The compensation of faculty members under the terms of employment contracts is determined by the Board of Trustees, based upon the recommendation of the University President in consultation with responsible institutional officers and faculties of relevant academic units.  The Board of Trustees, upon the recommendation of the University President, determines salary supplements for administrative officers holding faculty or any other academic status.  

 

_____________________________________

1 The definitions of the terms "equivalent degree" and "equivalent credentials" are established at the discretion of the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the University President in consultation with responsible institutional administrative officers and the faculties of academic units.

     2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 402.02. 

 

3.11.5 Duration.  While state law authorizes the Board of Trustees to offer employment contracts of up to four (4) years’ duration, Board policy restricts multiyear contracts to the executive heads of the state’s universities and to selected athletic personnel employed within the universities.1  


All employment contracts are of fixed duration, generally not exceeding one (1) year.  As required by state law, the Board of Trustees elects all employees for a definite period of service and has a general policy of re-electing employees during the period of satisfactory service.  However, the Board is under no legal obligation to renew the contract of any non-tenured employee and may decline to do so for any reason.  The Board has the statutory authority to terminate any employment contract at any time for malfeasance, for inefficiency, for contumacious conduct, or for cause.  Tenured faculty members may not be terminated without due process. 2

 

Employment contracts issued to members of the Corps of Instruction are normally of nine (9) months’ duration, extending from the commencement of the fall semester (mid- to late August) until the conclusion of the spring semester (early to mid-May).  An exception is that contracts issued to University Librarians who have been appointed to the Corps of Instruction are normally of twelve (12) months’ duration.  Employment contracts extended to administrative officers holding faculty rank are normally of twelve (12) months’ duration but may be of nine (9) months’ duration or less.  Academic staff members employed neither as members of the Corps of Instruction nor as administrative officers with faculty rank may be terminated at any time for any reason.

 

3.11.6 Renewal of Contracts.  While the Board of Trustees usually renews the annual employment contracts of tenured faculty in the absence of specified circumstances, the annual employment contracts of non-tenured faculty are renewable entirely at the discretion of the Board upon the recommendation of the University President.  The contract of a non-tenured faculty member shall not be considered renewed until approved by the Board, expressed in its minutes, and the faculty member has received written notification of renewal from the President.  

 

3.11.7 Non-renewal of Contracts.  "Non-renewal" is the decision not to renew the existing employment contract of non-tenured faculty members.

______________________________________________

     1 C. Ray Cleere, Commissioner of Higher Education, to Chief Executive Officers of State Institutions of Higher Learning, Administrative Memorandum Number 3, May 7, 1991 (Authorization for Employment Contracts), Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 400.

     2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Sections 201.0605, 301.03 (D), 401.01, and 401.0101.  

 

3.11.8 Notification of Non-renewal.  In the event of non-renewal, the University must inform the affected faculty member in writing according to the following schedule:

 

(a) not later than March 1 during the first year of service; 

 

(b) not later than December 1 during the second year of service; and

 

(c) not later than September 1 after two (2) or more years of service.1


 

3.11.9 Resignation.  The University President is authorized by the Board of Trustees to accept resignations and to determine the effective date of voluntary termination of employment.2  Resignation of employment by a faculty member shall constitute resignation and relinquishment of all rights and privileges of employment, including rank and tenure. 

 

3.12 ANCILLARY INSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENTS 

 

3.12.1 General.  Approved members of the University’s academic staff may provide a number of institutional services outside the scope of their regularly contracted duties and so earn remuneration over and above that provided by annual employment contracts.  While ancillary institutional agreements are concluded exclusive of regular employment contracts extended by the Board, academic staff members so employed are subject to the laws of the state of Mississippi, the policies and bylaws of the Board of Trustees, and the institutional policies of the University governing regular employment.   

 

Ancillary institutional agreements include summer semester employment; employment within the University’s programs in international and continuing education; employment on a domestic campus, extension center, or teaching/research facility of the University removed from the place of regularly contracted employment; teaching within the University’s Interactive Video Network; directing University-sponsored projects; and serving as an internal consultant to the University.  

 

3.12.2 Summer Semester Employment.  Nine-month employment contracts do not include the University's summer semester, which operates on a budget entirely separate from that of the regular academic year.  Faculty and other members of the academic staff teaching during the summer semester are nominated by their academic units, endorsed by college deans and the Provost, approved by the University President, and compensated on a fixed scale based on academic rank and teaching load, with nine (9) semester hours of teaching normally constituting full-time employment. 

_____________________________________________________

     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0102.

     2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 801.08.

 

 

3.12.3  International Education.  Like the summer semester, the University's programs in international education operate on budgets entirely separate from that of the regular academic year.  Academic staff members employed within international education are nominated by the Director of International Education and approved by the University President upon the recommendations of heads of academic units, deans of responsible colleges, and the Provost.  The nature of an activity and the designated duties of an employee within it might justify additional compensation, and employees are normally compensated for related expenses and/or afforded per diem.

 

3.12.4 Off-Campus Employment.  Academic staff members who are regularly employed at one campus of the University, and whose designated responsibilities are in whole or in part performed at another domestic campus, extension center, or teaching/research facility of the University, may be awarded remuneration over and above that depicted on their regular employment contracts.  Such individuals are also normally entitled to reimbursement on a fixed scale for designated personal expenses accruing in the fulfillment of such responsibilities, and, in some cases, to the allocation of developmental monies by the University administration to the academic unit of their appointment.  Such arrangements are made within the terms of employment contracts, without an amendment of said contracts, and at the discretion of the University President.  

 

3.12.5 Directing University-Sponsored Projects.  Contingent on the terms and conditions of contracts with funding agencies, externally funded research and other scholarly and creative activities sponsored by the University may entitle project directors to released time from regularly contracted institutional duties and/or remuneration during the summer months.  For example, with the permission of funding agencies, project directors may receive one-third of their contracted nine-month salaries during the summer, provided they work on the externally funded project for the full three (3) months of the summer.1  


3.12.6 Internal Consultation.  Internal consultants are employees of the University who contract to provide specialized advice or services to externally funded projects administered by the University or to institutional activities supported by University funds.  Internal consultation may entitle employees to compensation over and above that afforded by regular University employment contracts, but, in all cases, services rendered must be exclusive of regular contracted duties within the University.  

 

University policy restricts internal consultation to extraordinary circumstances involving uncommon duties outside the purview of University administrative officers and, in the case of externally funded projects, to advice or service that cannot be obtained or performed within the academic or research disciplines of principal investigators.

___________________________________________________

     1 Information regarding University and agency guidelines/constraints may be obtained from the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration.

 

Other policies governing internal consultation include the following: 

 

(a) Internal consultation normally cannot exceed one (1) day per calendar week.

 

(b) Ex officio members of the Corps of Instruction serving as administrative officers with administrative rank of dean or higher may not receive consulting fees for on-campus activities.

 

(c) Nonacademic personnel employed by the University may serve as internal consultants and be compensated on the same basis as academic personnel.

 

(d) In cases of projects funded by external sources, University employees may not receive additional compensation as internal consultants for projects conducted under the auspices of persons employed within their academic or administrative units.

(e) In cases of externally funded projects, internal consultants can be appointed only after the written approval of funding entities is secured, the University's Office of Sponsored Programs Administration, obtaining the written approval.   

 

 

3.13 ANCILLARY COMPENSATION POLICY

 

The University President must approve all agreements providing members and ex officio members of the Corps of Instruction with remuneration over and above that accruing from regular employment contracts for services/duties performed during the terms of those contracts.  Agreements providing additional remuneration above $2,500 require the prior approval of the Board of Trustees. The Commissioner of Higher Education may, in an emergency, grant administrative approval for requests above $2,500 with subsequent approval of the Board.  The University must submit a summary of additional remuneration to the Board no later than August 1 each year.  This policy does not apply to payments made directly to employees by external agencies, only to funds accounted for by the University.

 

 

3.14 EXTERNAL EMPLOYMENT POLICY

 

The policy of the Board of Trustees permits academic staff members to engage in employment outside the University.  In all cases, permission first must be obtained from the University President. The President may grant permission for external employment only after ascertaining that the employment will not interfere with the University duties of the person requesting permission. 

 

 

CHAPTER 4

 

INSTRUCTIONAL POLICIES AND SUPPORT SERVICES

 

 

4.1 INTRODUCTION

 

The instructional duties of the faculty of The University of Southern Mississippi are essential to the achievement of the instructional mission of the University.  To some extent, these duties are defined by general policies propounded by the Board of Trustees.  Instructional and employment policies are further defined by the President pursuant to the authority granted by the Board and based upon the recommendation of the Provost. This chapter addresses the instructional policies of the University and the services that support the fulfillment of the instructional mission.

 

 

4.2 ACADEMIC ADVISEMENT  

 

The faculties of the various academic units of the University provide specialized academic and professional advice and assistance, and such duties are important components of a faculty member's employment responsibilities. New students who express specific educational goals are assigned advisers within the relevant academic units of the University and are scheduled to confer with members of the academic staff at specified times.  The purposes of these advisement conferences are:

 

(a) to ascertain the validity of student assumptions concerning academic majors, minors, and resulting career opportunities;

 

(b) to evaluate the applicability of any academic credits earned by students at other institutions of higher learning within desired university degree programs (institutional applicability of such credits are determined by written evaluations of transcripts provided to students and advisers by the Office of the Registrar);

 

(c) to devise appropriate curriculum and class schedules; and

 

(d) to provide information and assistance to students with extraordinary educational or personal needs.

 

Academic units retain individual files on students with declared majors, enabling their faculties to provide continuing advisement for the duration of students' academic careers at the University.  The principal resources of the faculty adviser are the University's Undergraduate Bulletin and Graduate Bulletin, although most academic and administrative units also print and distribute basic information.  

 

 

4.3 OFFICE HOURS

 

Since faculty are the primary providers of academic and professional advising for students, all members of the instructional corps must ensure that they make themselves accessible to students at reasonable times.  Electronic and telephonic communications are important, but they cannot always replace the effectiveness of personal discussions that occur during office visits. Thus, all faculty members at The University of Southern Mississippi are required to post and maintain reasonable office hours and to be available to students during those times.  Office hour requirements shall reflect the priorities of the University and the academic units.  Department chairs shall establish minimum weekly office hour requirements for faculty within their departments, subject to the approval of their respective deans.

 

 

4.4 EXPECTED TEACHING LOADS  

 

The expected undergraduate teaching load for full-time members of the Corps of Instruction is four (4) courses or twelve (12) credit hours per semester, or the equivalent, for the fall and spring semesters.1  Three (3) courses or nine (9) credit hours, or the equivalent, are required to qualify for full-time status during the summer semester.  

 

The University's comprehensive mission and related institutional goals sometime render exceptions necessary and desirable in the interest of the students and the University.  Hence, the University allows the department chairs flexibility to consider reassignment, extension, honors, and other specialized courses as part of the normal teaching load and, whenever justifiable, grant reassigned time from teaching to members of the instructional staff engaged in uncompensated administrative and committee work, supervision of approved extracurricular activities, research projects, and service projects benefiting the public. 

 

Within fifteen (15) days after the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, department chairs shall provide to their respective deans, and deans shall provide to the Provost, a written report stating the responsibilities assigned to each faculty member, including total courses and semester hours being taught, research and grant projects, reassigned time, and service assignments.

 

 

4.5 INSTRUCTIONAL POLICIES

 

4.5.1 Duration of Classes.  University accreditation is contingent on the maintenance of classroom contact hours calculated on a formula of 37.5 contact hours per three (3) semester hours of academic credit; each semester hour requires at least one (1) week of instruction.

Contact hours may include field exercises, research, and examination periods supervised by instructors of record or their designated representatives possessing appropriate academic credentials.  In the event of illness or any other consideration that might compromise contact hour requirements, instructors of record are required to inform their immediate supervisors.

 

4.5.2 Syllabi.  Instructors are required to distribute written syllabi that include course goals, objectives, and the basis for assessing student performance to students enrolled in all credit activities within one (1) week of the initial class meeting.  The academic units of the University are required to maintain current syllabi for all courses offered.

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     1 Building a System of Excellence (Mississippi Universities:  A Three-Year Plan of Action, submitted by the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning, November 1993), p. 11.

4.5.3 Writing Across the Curriculum.  The University seeks to assure that its graduates possess writing skills commensurate with the demands of professional life.  Thus, members of the instructional staff are encouraged to include written exercises within the requirements of all courses. 

 

4.5.4 Class Absences.  Since courses are widely divergent in nature and content, normally the instructors set attendance policy at the unit level.  However, student participation in authorized University activities as an official representative of the University or in other activities for which excused absences are authorized provides opportunities for students to broaden their experiences. Therefore, upon presenting to the instructor documentation signed by the relevant University official, evidencing the student’s required attendance at a University sanctioned activity, any class absences directly necessitated by such activities will be excused; and the student will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up all work that was missed due to the required absence from class.  Likewise, the student is expected to cooperate with the instructor by giving advance notice of scheduled absences and completing all assigned course work.   

 

4.5.5 Student Dishonesty.  In the event of student dishonesty, instructors may award failing grades either on the pertinent assignment or for the course and, at their discretion, report the student to the Office of the Dean of Students for possible judicial proceedings under the University's Code of Student Conduct.  Academic dishonesty might involve cheating on examinations, plagiarism, or any violation of reasonable terms and conditions duly established on written course syllabi.    

 

4.5.6 Grading Standards.  Standards for the award of evaluative grades are within the authority of instructors, subject to review only by the academic units in which academic appointment is held.  The instructor may determine the basis of grades in all classes, assigning examinations, quizzes, essays, research papers, field exercises, and other graded activities at his or her discretion.  

 

4.5.7 Final Examinations.  In-class final examinations for a class must be administered at the time designated for that class on the University Calendar.  The instructor has the option of administering a take-home final examination in lieu of an in-class final examination and may waive the final examination at his or her discretion under conditions specified in the class syllabus.

 

4.6 APPEALS OF GRADES  

 

The University Grade Review Council hears and adjudicates at its discretion the appeals of grades filed by petitioning students.  The jurisdiction of the Council does not include allegations concerning the competence of a faculty member, the fairness of examinations, the difficulty of a course, or matters of a purely academic nature.  Rather, its sole charge is to determine whether the assignment of a grade was arbitrary or capricious.

 

The Grade Review Council reviews student petitions and decides, on the basis of evidence presented by the petitioning student, either to dismiss petitions lacking merit or to convene and evaluate petitions in an administrative hearing.  In the latter case, responsible instructors are entitled to appear before the Council, in closed session, and to present evidence rebutting the allegations of a petitioning student.  In the event the Council determines that a grade was assigned in an arbitrary or capricious manner, the Council is empowered to assign the petitioning student an appropriate grade for the course in question.  The decision of the Council is final and binding upon the parties.

 

The Grade Review Council consists of two (2) faculty members and one (1) alternate elected by the faculty of each of the University's degree-granting colleges. The Academic Council coordinates the election of members.  Members serve staggered four-year terms and cannot serve consecutive terms. 

 

4.7 STUDENT RIGHTS TO ACCESS AND PRIVACY  

 

The Buckley Amendment to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 mandates that:

 

(a) Individual students must be given access to every educational record pertaining to them kept by the University; 

 

(b) The University must establish a policy for the implementation of the student right to access to personal records, said policy to include procedures governing access to specific records; 

 

(c) The University must inform all students of their rights under the Buckley Amendment, of how they may act on said rights under institutional policy, and of how they may see a copy of pertinent institutional policy; and 

 

(d) The University must obtain the written permission of students before disclosing any personally identifiable record to any party other than institutional personnel for whom access to records is required in the performance of contracted duties. 

 

In accordance with the Buckley Amendment, the University has implemented a policy governing student access to personal educational records and notifies students, by publication in the student newspaper, of the right to access and of the University policy assuring access.  Faculty are advised that the posting of grades or any other records pertaining to students where the identity of the students is made evident might constitute violations of federal law.  Faculty members are urged to become familiar with the provisions of the Buckley Amendment and be aware of its significance.  

 

 

4.8 COURSE ADMINISTRATION POLICIES

 

4.8.1 Overview.  While instructors have discretion regarding course administration, they do not function in an administrative vacuum.  Rather, instructional duties are performed within an institutional framework that seeks to accommodate a large number of variables endemic to both the human condition and the operations of a comprehensive university.  Adherence to the following policies governing registration and course administration, therefore, is required of all instructors.

 

4.8.2 Official Course Registration.  Individuals may not attend classes unless officially enrolled.  Documents reflecting official class enrollment are distributed by the Registrar before the first scheduled meeting of classes and thereafter on a periodic basis until the close of the late registration period.  Parties attending classes but not appearing on the Registrar's enrollment documents must be directed to the Registrar and may be readmitted to class only after their enrollment is verified.

 

4.8.3 Permission to Add Courses.  Students seeking to enroll in courses after the close of registration must secure the appropriate form from the Registrar and obtain the written permission of the instructors, department chairs, and responsible college deans.   

 

4.8.4 Midterm Verification of Enrollment.  The Registrar distributes official class enrollment documents at midterm.  These documents, which are necessary for verification of class enrollment and midterm grades for all students of freshman status, must be returned to the Registrar no later than the established date for a given semester.

 

4.8.5 Progress Reports for Student-Athletes.  Because of the extraordinary demands of training and travel, the University's student-athletes often face extraordinary academic challenges.  Hence, prior to midterm each semester, the Athletic Department informs instructors of record of the names of all student-athletes enrolled in their classes and requests the submission of brief progress reports (grades, absences, advisability of tutors).

 

4.8.6 Reporting of Grades.  During the final week of each semester, instructors file grade reports online or with the Registrar.  Grade reports are accompanied by detailed instructions and identify a deadline for the submission of final grades, which is normally the Monday following the conclusion of the University's official final examination week.

 

4.8.7 Changing Grades.  Instructors may initiate changes of grades by completing official "Change of Grade" forms and submitting them to their department chairs.  These forms are maintained by all academic units and specify that instructors must provide a brief but succinct statement of the rationale for a change of grade.

 

CHAPTER 5

 

RESEARCH POLICIES AND SUPPORT SERVICES

 

 

5.1 INTRODUCTION

 

The University of Southern Mississippi commits considerable resources to research, creative activities, and other forms of scholarship, whether sponsored by the University or conducted independently by academic staff members, professional staff members, or students.  At the same time, all University employees are subject to policies that seek to assure that scholarly endeavor is conducted in accordance with public law and traditional standards of professional probity.

 

This chapter outlines the functions of the Mississippi Research Consortium and the Mississippi University Research Authority.  It identifies the major research entities at The University of Southern Mississippi; the institutional bodies that promote, monitor, and administer scholarly endeavors; the services available to the scholar; and the policies that govern scholarship.

 

 

5.2 THE MISSISSIPPI RESEARCH CONSORTIUM

 

The Mississippi Research Consortium (MRC) is composed of the state's four major research universities: The University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, and The University of Mississippi.  A board composed of the chief research officers of the member institutions governs the MRC.  The Vice President for Research and Economic Development represents the University on this board.  The MRC was formed in November 1986 through a formal cooperative agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration located at the Stennis Space Center in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi.  Its original purpose was to serve as a mechanism through which agencies located at the Stennis Space Center might access scientific and technical expertise for basic and applied research.

 

In 1988, the governor designated the MRC as the Mississippi EPSCoR Executive Committee, with the Commissioner of Higher Education serving in an ex officio capacity.  Concurrent Resolution 502 of the Mississippi Legislature charged the MRC with specified duties and responsibilities, such as:

 

(a) to facilitate and manage science and technology initiatives in Mississippi;

 

(b) to catalog existing science and technology research capabilities;

 

(c) to provide forums for educating the public on science and technology issues; and

 

(d) to ensure that science and technology initiatives and state policy are consistent.

 

Since 1988, the MRC has pursued a statewide mission of investigating, planning, and coordinating collaborative initiatives for the advancement of science and technology; promoting economic development; and advising the Governor and the legislature on a wide range of matters that enhance the quality of life for all Mississippians.  The MRC directs and supports a number of activities that seek to enhance human resources and to develop an infrastructure capable of promoting research, education, and economic development.  Prominent among these activities are the Consortium's efforts to maintain a liaison with federal agencies, communicate with the Mississippi congressional delegation, and to support the development of competitive research in other public agencies through participation in the Coalition of EPSCoR States.  

 

 

5.3 THE MISSISSIPPI UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AUTHORITY

 

The Mississippi University Research Act of 1992 established the Mississippi University Research Authority (MURA), a medium through which qualified administrative officers, faculty members, and other employees of the state's institutions of higher learning might apply for and obtain permission to establish and maintain financial interests in private entities that were previously proscribed by Mississippi law.  Expressly excluded from participation are the chief executive officers, chief financial officers, and chief research officers of the state's universities, as well as members of MURA.

 

The purpose of MURA, and the standard by which it evaluates applications, is to encourage relationships that "facilitate the transfer of technology developed by the officer or employee of the university from the university to commercial and industrial enterprises for economic development." 

 

Qualified University employees may initiate the application process by submitting MURA 

Form 1 (available in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development) to the University President.  Upon receipt of MURA Form 1, the President must review the application and pursue one (1) of three (3) courses of action.  These are:  

 

(a) to defer judgment pending the applicant's submission of additional information; 

 

(b) to disapprove the application, giving the applicant written justification for the unfavorable finding (applicants being entitled to submit revised applications at any time); or

 

(c) to approve the application, submitting the applicant's original application, any supporting materials submitted subsequently by the applicant, and a written justification for approval to MURA in accordance with MURA Form 2. 

 

Upon receiving the application, all related supporting materials, and the University President's written recommendation, the Executive Director of MURA reviews the documents, assuring that the information provided satisfies the requirements of public law, and may request in writing that the applicant submit additional information and materials.  

 

If the Executive Director of MURA determines that application materials conform to statutory provisions, the Executive Director must refer the application to a standing committee for consideration and report.  Any members of the standing committee employed by the institution of higher learning within which an applicant holds appointment must recuse themselves and be replaced by substitute members employed elsewhere.

 

The standing committee must review and either approve or disapprove the application, and put the committee decision in the form of a resolution substantially following the format of MURA Form 3. Special provisions or requirements may be added to the resolution at the discretion of MURA.  Copies of the resolution must be provided to the applicant and the University President. The resolution must be recorded in the official minutes of MURA, and MURA must preserve all application materials, including attachments and supporting materials and the written judgment of the University President, as part of its permanent, official records.

 

 

5.4 MODEL FOR INCENTIVE DOLLARS FOR AUGMENTING SALARIES

 

The Model for Incentive Dollars for Augmenting Salaries (MIDAS) was approved by the Board of Trustees in 2003.  MIDAS offers the opportunity for salary supplements to those full-time faculty and staff paid from educational and general (E&G) funded positions for recognition of their efforts in attracting and managing contract and grant support for the University’s mission of teaching, research, economic development, and service.  Further details concerning this program may be obtained from the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration.  

 

 

5.5 UNIVERSITY RESEARCH ENTITIES

 

The Provost has direct supervisory responsibility for the Office of Institutional Research, which collects, analyzes, and reports institutional data, thereby facilitating planning and decision-making within the University, satisfying the requirements of external agencies, and assisting academic staff members in the preparation of grant applications and research proposals.

 

The University of Southern Mississippi Research Foundation (Foundation) is a Mississippi Non-Profit Corporation. The Foundation was formed for the purpose of administering the receipt and management of gifts from donors including, but not limited to, commercially viable technology. The Foundation will license these technologies to create a revenue stream, which will fund its operations. Any proceeds beyond the cost of doing business will be given to The University of Southern Mississippi to fund additional research, graduate education, and other activities.

 

The Vice President for Research and Economic Development and the Provost either directly or indirectly monitors other research activities within the University.  Otherwise, the University's various research centers, institutes, and laboratories are based within the degree-granting colleges and follow administrative guidelines promulgated and monitored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.  

 

 

5.6 THE ADMINISTRATION OF RESEARCH

 

The Vice President for Research and Economic Development is assisted by a number of institutional bodies and administrative units.  The University Research Council studies problems and challenges, advises the Vice President on policy, and administers a number of programs designed to promote research and other scholarly and creative activity within the University community.  

 

Two (2) autonomous, federally mandated committees, each reporting directly to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, seek to assure that research and other scholarship is conducted in accordance with the provisions of law, thus protecting both the University and its scholars.  

 

The Institutional Review Board is responsible for ensuring that adequate safeguards are established to protect individuals who may be at risk as a consequence of participation as a subject in research, development, demonstration, or other program activities.  The Committee must approve all investigations, experiments, or demonstrations involving human subjects, regardless of the source of funds, before the activity is undertaken.

 

The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee is responsible for ensuring that projects involving the use of animals are consistent with the provisions of law.  All such projects, regardless of the source of funds, require prior approval by the Committee.  

 

The Office of Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) is the University’s principal facilitator of research, intellectual property, and other scholarly and creative activity.  Except proposals designated for submission through the Office of Development, SPA is the sole administrative unit within the University through which employees may submit proposals soliciting external resources or funding.  It therefore provides a wide range of services, disseminating information among the University community, maintaining copies of University policies and procedures governing research, as well as all forms that must be submitted by those contemplating projects, and lending assistance to all projects. 

 

The SPA conducts a faculty development program featuring seminars on specific funding opportunities for targeted audiences, provides general instruction on grant solicitation and administration, and maintains an up-to-date database reflecting the professional expertise and scholarly interests of individual members of the faculty.    

 

Consulting the Federal Register and other funding resource guides, as well as the Washington, D.C.-based Grants Resource Center within the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and other associations of which the University is a member, the SPA obtains information on potential federal sponsors of research, training, and service.  The SPA interacts with federal and state agencies and private entities, securing further information and seeking to develop and strengthen ties with possible funding sources.  The opportunities identified are filed, matched with the professional expertise and scholarly interests of individual members of the faculty, and disseminated within the University via a monthly newsletter. 

 

The SPA assists faculty in developing proposals and budgets (assuring conformity with agency and University policies) and in negotiating contracts (publication rights, patent ownership, and liability issues).  In cases of multidisciplinary projects that cross departmental or college lines, the SPA provides administrative coordination and assistance at all stages of the grant process. 

 

Proposals to external funding sources for sponsored projects must be submitted through the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration, and awards received must be processed by the SPA when one or more of the following criteria are met.  Most frequently these proposals involve research projects but any program requesting support by an external sponsor that satisfies these criteria shall be submitted through the SPA:

 

  A specific program of work or research is proposed to or required by the sponsor.   

  The sponsor requires an authorized institutional signature. 

  The sponsor requires or expects one or more progress reports, a final report, financial reports and/or a formal accounting of how the funds were expended.

  There is intellectual property, confidentiality, and/or publication conditions associated     with the receipt of funds. 

 

5.7 RESEARCH POLICIES

 

5.7.1 University Cost Sharing.  The costs of research projects and programs sponsored by the University are funded through a number of formulas.  Costs are sometimes entirely recoverable from sponsoring agencies on procurement contracts.  However, unsolicited proposals for support contracts may require institutional cost sharing.

 

The degree of institutional cost sharing is often determined by provisions of public law stipulating a fixed, auditable formula for the allocation of appropriated funds.  In other cases, funding agencies promulgate guidelines for institutional cost sharing.  Moreover, cost sharing requirements change frequently.  Since institutional cost sharing is sometimes complex, requiring a full understanding of pertinent law, agency policy, and past trends, project directors must discuss all anticipated requirements for cost sharing with the SPA staff early in the process of budget preparation.

 

5.7.2 Facilities and Administrative Costs.  Sponsored research projects and programs entail direct costs and indirect costs.  Direct costs are those specified by line item in budgets.  Indirect costs are University expenses associated with the conduct of sponsored programs which, owing to the limitations of accounting practice, cannot readily be associated with direct line-item costs on a project basis.  These indirect costs are termed “Facilities and Administrative Costs (“F&A”).  Examples of F&A are the use of University facilities and the University's expenditure for the administration of sponsored research projects and programs in accordance with public law.  

 

5.7.3 Reassigned Time.  The University may support research projects, programs, and other scholarly endeavors by reassigning members of the academic staff from teaching and other contracted obligations.  The amount and duration of reassignments are contingent on the nature and magnitude of proposed projects, determined by negotiation with responsible departmental chairs and deans, the Provost, and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

 

5.7.4 Summer Compensation for Sponsored Research.  The University permits academic staff members to earn up to one-third of their nine-month salaries during the summer by working on sponsored research or programs provided such compensation is within the guidelines of funding agencies.  In some cases the regulations of funding agencies do not allow this level of compensation. The National Science Foundation, for example, permits compensation not exceeding two-ninths of nine-month salaries.  If funding agencies authorize compensation of one-third of nine-month salaries, full-time employment on the project for a period of three (3) months is required.

 

5.7.5 Patents and Copyrights.  University policy on patents and copyrights is derived from a policy adopted by the Board of Trustees in July 1960:

 

The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning considers that, since the institutions under its control are publicly supported, the obligation of the Board and of the institutions is to the public.  The Board affirms the principle that research carried on by the institutions and laboratories under its supervision is dedicated to the furtherance of learning and knowledge and to the public welfare.  It is not, therefore, the primary concern of the Board or of the institutions to seek patents and copyrights which may accrue from research activities.  However, in order to protect the interests of individuals, the equity earned through the support of research by public funds, and the public welfare, the Board hereby authorizes the institutions under certain conditions outlined below to seek copyrights and patents and to participate in the income therefrom.  The Board and the institutions are aware that they do not have sufficient funds to furnish the necessary encouragement to all phases of original endeavor.  Consonant with these declarations is the investiture of variant, restrictive rights in the areas of letters, arts, and sciences in order to furnish an additional incentive.

 

The Board identifies four (4) classifications of research and advances patent and copyright policies pertaining to each:  

 

(a) Individual Research.  The faculty member alone, or in collaboration with others in the institution or elsewhere, who works on his or her project in his or her spare time and finances it himself or herself, shall be free to decide whether he or she will copyright or patent the product.  If the individual so decides, he or she should make a report to the head of the institution and the institution will give any reasonable assistance, making no claim of right or interest, believing that its prestige is adequately enhanced by the recognition of the successful contributions of its faculty.  Should the individual desire assistance beyond a reasonable amount, he or she may negotiate with the institution an agreement whereby the institution shall be reimbursed for its expense in providing assistance either through a direct charge to the individual or through a share of the income from the copyright or patent.

 

(b) Sponsored Research.  Where production, work, or research based on a commission or grant from an outside agency or agencies - governmental, foundational, institutional, or private - results in work of discoveries which may be copyrighted or patented, the head of the institution may negotiate with the individual and the outside agency.  The individual is further authorized to enter into a separate contract where the patent or copyright may be secured and controlled by the institution, the individual, or the outside agency.  Where the patent or copyright shall be secured by and controlled by the institution, the contract may provide that the individual may participate in the income therefrom up to a maximum of 50 percent of the earnings or benefits.

 

(c) Institutional Commission or Grant.  Where production, work, or research based on a commission or grant from the institution results in sales or fees, the income must first be dedicated to the repayment of the amount expended by the institution in support of the commission or grant.  Furthermore, the institution may participate in the copyright or patent rights and participate in the income therefrom over and above the amount necessary to repay the cost of the commission or grant.  In no event, however, shall the institution participate in income of less that $5,000 after repayment has been made or 10 percent of the total income after the repayment, whichever is greater.  The division of any income in excess of $5,000 or the 10 percent, whichever is greater, between the individual and the institution shall be subject to negotiation, but in no event shall the individual receive more than 50 percent of the overage.  In the areas of public health and safety, the institutions are authorized to take whatever steps are necessary to obtain patents whenever such patents are deemed necessary to protect the public interest.

 

(d) Patents Secured Through Institutional Support.  Where production, work, or research based on a commission or grant from the institution results in work or discoveries that may be copyrighted or patented or where the material or discovery is produced on institutional time and by use of institutional funds or facilities, the patent or copyright shall be secured and controlled by the institution, and the income must first be applied to the repayment of the amount expended by the institution in connection with production, work, or research.  Furthermore, the institution shall participate in the copyright or patent rights and participate in the income therefrom over and above the amount necessary to repay the cost of the institutional contributions, except that the individual shall participate in an amount and under the conditions recommended by the head of the institution and approved by the Board of Trustees up to a maximum of 50 percent of earnings or benefits.  Any negotiations incident to patents and copyrights shall be carried on between the individual and the head of the institution, with all agreements subject to final approval by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.  In the areas of public health and safety, the institutions are authorized to take whatever steps are necessary to obtain patents whenever such patents are deemed necessary to protect the public interest.1

 

 5.7.6. Disclosure of Inventions.  In order to conform with government and industrial contract requirements, to invite and facilitate future grants, and to protect in an equitable manner the rights of inventors, the institution, and other sponsors of research, the University requires all employees to disclose their inventions to the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration as soon as possible after the invention has been reduced to practice.  This disclosure does not affect the rights of the inventor, the University, or third parties having potential interests.  Rather, it is intended to protect the rights and interests of those parties who have funded research supporting the invention, of the inventor, and of the University.  Invention disclosure forms are available in the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration.   

 

So informed, the University evaluates the invention to determine:

 

(a) The respective rights and interests of the parties to the invention including those of joint inventors, the University, and sponsoring external agencies, and  

 

(b) The action that the University should take on the invention such as applying for a patent, defraying the costs of a patent, licensing a sponsor to apply for a patent, or submitting the invention to a research corporation for evaluation.

 

Inventors are advised not to enter into discussions of licensing arrangements with potential sponsors of research unless specifically authorized to do so by the University.

 

Upon receipt of a written request by an inventor, the Provost can impound a thesis or dissertation containing research results that may lead to a patent application for up to one year. Within one year, the thesis or dissertation must be published or the invention(s) disclosed to the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs Administration and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.  The University, in consultation with the inventor, will then make a decision regarding further withholding of the thesis or dissertation from publication.  When proprietary information is involved, a thesis or dissertation defense can be closed to the public.

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     1 See also Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 807.

 

CHAPTER 6

 

FACULTY DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES

 

 

6.1 INTRODUCTION

 

The University of Southern Mississippi offers the members of its academic staff many opportunities for professional development.  These include various forms of leave designed to promote intellectual and professional growth, institutional endowments and grants for the enhancement of instruction and scholarly endeavor, annual awards of excellence, and a policy allowing employees to enroll in University courses free of charge.  This chapter summarizes these opportunities.

 

 

6.2 ACADEMIC LEAVES OF ABSENCE

 

6.2.1 Parameters.  Members of the academic staff may qualify for different types of academic leaves of absence.  Academic leaves of absence include leave for graduate or postdoctoral study, leave for enhancing academic credentials, professional leave, and sabbatical leave.  When a faculty member is granted an academic leave of absence, it is the responsibility of the responsible department chair and dean to ensure that the faculty member’s classes are assigned to existing faculty.  The employment of additional instructors or faculty for this purpose will be approved by the Provost only upon the demonstration of substantial need.

 

Academic leaves of absence are separate and distinct from those to which University employees are entitled under the terms of contracted employment, i.e., annual leave, medical leave, etc.  Educational, professional, and sabbatical leaves of absence are not entitlements but privileges conferred by the Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of the University President.  With the approval of the Board of Trustees, faculty may receive creditable University service for a period of academic leave not exceeding two (2) years during any ten (10) year period of University employment.  Each classification of leave is subject to additional terms and conditions mandated by state law and Board policy.

 

6.2.2 Leave for Graduate or Postdoctoral Study.  Leaves of absence without pay for graduate or postdoctoral study may be granted by the Provost for an academic year, for a semester, or (under unique circumstances) for part of a semester.1 

____________________________________________

     1 Miss. Code Ann., Section 37-101-181 (1990); Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 408.01.

 

6.2.3 Leave for Enhancing Academic Credentials.  Incumbent instructional staff members may be extended educational leave with or without pay for purposes of improving qualifications for promotions in rank or appointment to new positions.

 

6.2.4 Professional Leave.  Professional leave is uncompensated absence from regular University employment for the purpose of external employment directly related to normal professional functions at the University.  With the approval of the Board of Trustees, faculty may receive creditable University service for a period of professional leave provided that:

 

(a) Leave is for the purpose of full-time employment with a state or federal agency for a period of time equivalent to the period of professional leave granted; 

 

(b) Leave accrues to the professional benefit of the faculty member and promotes the interests of the University;

 

(c) The faculty member pays to the state retirement system the actuarial cost as determined by the actuary for each year of professional leave; and 

 

(d) The faculty member serves the University on a full-time basis for a period of time equivalent to the professional leave period granted immediately following the termination of the leave period.

 

6.2.5 Sabbatical Leave. At the completion of six (6) or more regular semesters of continuous, full-time University employment,1 faculty members are eligible for one (1) semester of sabbatical leave (4 1/2 months).  Faculty members qualifying for one (1) semester of sabbatical leave are compensated at the rate of twenty-five (25) percent of annual contracted salary (50 percent of salary for the semester of leave).  

 

At the completion of twelve (12) regular semesters of continuous, full-time University employment (sabbatical not being taken within said time frame), faculty members are eligible for two (2) semesters of sabbatical leave (9 months).  Faculty qualifying for two (2) semesters of sabbatical leave are compensated at the rate of fifty (50) percent of annual contracted salary (100 percent of salary in the event that only one semester of leave is taken).  Under no circumstances may sabbatical leaves of more than nine (9) months' duration be granted.  Sabbatical leave normally coincides with fall semesters, spring semesters, or both, exceptions allowable only in exceptional circumstances.  In no case may sabbatical leave periods extend to summer semesters.

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1 The term `regular semesters' encompasses the fall or spring terms but not the summer term.  Absences due to earned personal leave, earned major medical leave, and other approved leaves of absence are not regarded as breaks in continuous employment.

 

Sabbatical leave is granted for the sole purpose of professional improvement and is not necessarily earned by the required duration of University employment.  Sabbatical leave is intended to assist faculty to achieve promotion in academic rank and to enhance their professional development and scholarly reputation.  Advised by responsible institutional administrative officers and faculty bodies, the President recommends, and the Board of Trustees approves, all applications for sabbatical leave. Applications for sabbatical leave are made to the Board of Trustees, with the approval of the President.  Approval or disapproval of the applications for sabbatical leave is made on the basis of regulations prescribed by the Board of Trustees.  No more than four (4) percent of the University's full-time regular faculty may be approved for sabbatical leave during any one semester.1  During the contracted sabbatical leave period, all responsibilities and benefits of University employment (retirement, insurance, longevity of service, etc.) are applicable.  Salaries are paid by regular monthly paycheck.


All grants of sabbatical leave are subject to the agreement by faculty members:

 

(a) to engage in professional development as specified in an approved application for leave; 

 

(b) not to enter into a written or implied obligation of employment violating the contract for full service to the University;2  

 

(c) to return to full-time employment at the University for a period at least equal to the term of leave; and 

 

(d)  to submit to responsible deans at the midpoint of the leave an interim report describing progress toward sabbatical goals and a formal, final report to the dean and Provost within sixty (60) days of the conclusion of the leave.  Recipients of a sabbatical leave will also present the results of their sabbatical at the annual Letters Day or via another public dissemination following their return (from sabbatical) to the University of Southern Mississippi.

 

The Board of Trustees may terminate the sabbatical leave of any person found to be in violation of the terms specified in the approved application for leave.3  Parties failing to return to full-time employment at the University following sabbatical leave or failing to file the required reports may be required to repay the salaries received while on leave. 

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     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 408.03 (F).

 

     2 Sabbatical leave contracts do not preclude grants or stipends designed to enhance the professional improvement specified in the approved application for leave.  Said funding may be sponsored either by an institution of higher learning or by an organization known generally to support the ideals of higher education.  

     3 Miss. Code Ann. Section 37-101-183.

 

6.2.6 Sabbatical Policies. 

(a) In order to avoid possible conflicts of interest, faculty members above the level of department chair who are applying for sabbaticals should be considered in a separate pool from other applicants.

(b) Chairs applying for a sabbatical will receive their departmental recommendation from the Departmental Personnel Committee.  If the existing Departmental Personnel Option is three persons including the chair, the two non-chairs will write the recommendation.  If the existing Departmental Personnel Option is chair alone then the departmental recommendation (for the chair) will be written by a committee made up of the three highest-ranking members of the department.  In this case rank is first determined by professional rank, then time of service to the university.

(c) Faculty members below the level of department chair will receive their letter of recommendation from the department chair or (at the option of the academic department) from the Departmental Personnel Committee.

 (d) The sabbatical review committee, which makes recommendations to the Provost concerning the awarding of sabbaticals, will consist of nine members.  Seven of those members will be selected by the Provost in consultation with the President of the Faculty Senate – one from each of the five colleges, one from the library, and one member from the Gulf Coast.  The representative from each of the five colleges may be from any of the university’s campuses.  The Faculty Senate will appoint the remaining two members of the committee; these two individuals may or may not be members of the Faculty Senate.  It is recommended that some of the individuals selected for the sabbatical review committee be members of recent sabbatical review committees (including the previous year’s committee).

(e) The sabbatical review committee will pick its chair.

(f) The sabbatical review committee will determine a procedure for ranking proposals.  The overall committee ranking may then be used to make recommendations to the Provost.

 

 

6.3 ACADEMIC LEAVE APPLICATION PROCESS  

 

Application for academic leave is made through department chairs or, at the option of academic departments, through departmental personnel committees. Department chairs submit recommendations to the deans of colleges.  The responsible deans must evaluate the requests, not only upon the merits, but must also consider the overall impact of the absences on the operations of the colleges.  Deans must either concur or dissent in writing with departmental recommendations and transmit all application materials to the Provost.  The Provost may consult with the Academic Leave Committee for evaluation and recommendations on the applications.  The Provost then submits recommendations to the President.  After review, the President submits recommendations for academic leaves of absence to the Board of Trustees.  Thereafter, the decisions of the Board are conveyed to the President, who informs the deans of the responsible colleges.   

 

 

 

 

6.4 AWARDS AND GRANTS FOR FACULTY DEVELOPMENT

 

6.4.1 In General.  The University provides various opportunities for rewarding faculty performance and promoting faculty development, such as research grants, travel awards, and supplemental funding.  The nature and extent of these grants and awards change over time, but additional information can be obtained from the Office of the Provost.

 

6.4.2 Summer Grants for the Improvement of Instruction.  If funded, the Office of the Provost awards various salary stipends during summer sessions for the purpose of promoting projects to strengthen undergraduate or graduate instruction within the University.  Eligible parties include only full-time faculty who have taught no less than six (6) semester hours of regularly scheduled courses during the academic year in which application is made and Librarians who hold faculty appointments.  Projects may examine methods of instruction, techniques for the enhancement of learning, or approaches to the evaluation of student performance.  Acceptance of a Summer Grant for the Improvement of Instruction precludes salary compensation from any other university source during the term of the grant.

 

6.4.3 Summer Research Grants.  If funded, the University Research Council awards various summer grants for the support of research and other scholarly and creative activities.  The terms of the grants coincide with the University's summer semester and amounts awarded are based on the academic ranks of recipients and are equivalent to summer salaries for full-time teaching.  Applications for summer research grants are made through department chairs to college deans, who evaluate, rank, and submit proposals to the University Research Council for final review and selection.  Applications are subject to the following guidelines:

 

(a) Members of the University Research Council and recipients of the award during the previous three years are not eligible to submit proposals.

 

(b) All permanent, full-time members of the Corps of Instruction holding faculty appointment excepting those noted above are equally eligible.

 

(c) Grants may be awarded to individuals only; joint projects pursued by more than one (1) scholar are ineligible. 

 

(d) Acceptance of the grant precludes all other employment during the term of the grant. 

 

(e) Parties awarded grants need not maintain residence at the University during the term of the grant.

 

6.4.4 Subventions.  Subvention is the process through which the University subsidizes a portion of the costs of scholarly and creative works pursued by members of the academic staff.  Application for subvention is made to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, who is advised by the University Research Council.  The University Research Council reviews applications in accordance with written subvention policy and submits recommendations to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.  The Vice President, who may accept or reject the subcommittee's recommendations, informs applicants of the results of applications.  

 

6.4.5 Grants for International Endeavor.  Faculty development is a principal goal of the Office of International Education, and the Executive Director of the Center is authorized: 

 

(a) to lend financial support to international research, publications, and other faculty activities of international scope; and 

 

(b) to allocate monies for international travel benefiting the public, the University, and/or the professional development of faculty.

 

Applications for such support are evaluated on the basis of scholarly and professional merit subject to the constraints of law and finance.

 

 

6.5 AWARDS OF EXCELLENCE

 

Based on available funding, each year the University recognizes and bestows monetary awards on faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and service.  Awards are given to full-time faculty members holding the rank of instructor or above, excluding titles such as "adjunct," "visiting," or "graduate student."  University administrative officers holding faculty rank are eligible.  In addition, the University recognizes selected librarians for excellence in librarianship every other year.

 

 

6.6 FREE COURSES 

 

With the permission of their supervisors, permanent full-time employees may take two (2) gratuitous courses not exceeding six (6) credit hours per semester, provided that one (1) of the courses is scheduled at night or between noon and 1:00 p.m.  Likewise, permanent part-time employees who pay into the State Public Employees Retirement System may take one (1) gratuitous course not exceeding three (3) credit hours per semester.  Employees wishing to enroll in gratuitous courses must obtain a permit from the Department of Human Resources and maintain an overall 2.0 GPA.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 7

 

ACADEMIC FREEDOM, RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS

 

 

7.1        ACADEMIC FREEDOM 

 

On August 17, 1959, the Board of Trustees adopted a statement of policy on academic freedom and responsibility.  That statement reads, in part:

 

It is the policy of this Board that there should prevail at our universities and colleges an atmosphere of freedom in their research, teaching, programs, and services and there should be no political or subversive propagandizing in the academic programs.  It is proclaimed with equal fervor that academic freedom does not mean academic license.  With freedom there must be responsibility for statements, speeches, and actions.

 

Faculty members are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties.  Research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the University.  The legitimate exercise of academic freedom and freedom of speech shall not constitute grounds for termination.

 

Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching any controversial matter that has no relation to the classroom subject.

 

Faculty members may grieve an alleged violation of academic freedom via the grievance procedure specified in Chapter 12. 

 

 

7.2  ACADEMIC RESPONSIBILITY 

 

The concept of academic freedom for faculty is accompanied by an equally demanding concept of academic responsibility.  Faculty members have a responsibility to the University, their profession, their students, and society as a whole.  Some of those are:

 

7.2.1   Public Speech.   Faculty members are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution.  When faculty members speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations.  As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and the University by their statements. 

Accordingly, faculty members should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the University.

 

7.2.2   Professional Competence.  The fundamental responsibilities of faculty members as teachers and scholars include maintenance of competence in their field of specialization and the exhibition of professional competence in the classroom, studio, or laboratory and in the public arena through activities such as discussions, lectures, consulting, research, service, publications, and participation in professional organizations and meetings.

 

7.2.3   Student Relations.  Faculty members are responsible for giving primary consideration to the intellectual and ethical development of the students and to cooperate with faculty, administration, and students in improving the quality, scope, and capacity of the institution within the area of its function and objectives.  Given the diversity of the University student population, the faculty will strive to meet the goals related to student diversity set forth in the University Strategic Plan.

 

 

7.3 SCHOLARLY INTEGRITY

 

The University is dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of truth in research and in all other scholarly and creative activities, whether University-sponsored or conducted individually by members of the academic staff, by administrative officers and staff, or by students.  Hence plagiarism or other misconduct in research or in any other scholarly or creative activity is strictly prohibited.  Every student and University employee is responsible not only to abide by the highest standards of integrity and professional ethics themselves but also to report violations when they are known or reasonably suspected to have occurred.  Alleged breaches of scholarly integrity are investigated promptly and fully by the University and may lead to University administrative proceedings and disciplinary action through Scholarly Misconduct Proceedings.

 

 

7.4 PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT ETHICS

 

Academic staff members are subject to the provisions of state law that define and regulate ethical behavior among public employees.  The Mississippi Code declares that

 

Elective and public office and employment is a public trust and any effort to realize public gain through official conduct, other than as provided by law, or as a natural consequence of the employment or position, is a violation of that trust.  Therefore, public servants shall endeavor to pursue a course of conduct which will not raise suspicion among the public that they are likely to be engaged in acts that are in violation of this trust and which will not reflect unfavorably upon the state and local government.1

Pursuant to state law, the Board of Trustees has adopted a public ethics policy applicable to those employed within the state's public universities.2  The policy mandates that each institution must adopt and publish the following statement:

 

All officers and all employees making or having the responsibility for financial decisions involving the expenditure, safekeeping or investments of funds of all institutions shall advise the Institutional Executive Officer of any interest in any banking institution or enterprise likely to do business with the institution so that the appearance of impropriety can be avoided.  Should such interest in a banking institution or other enterprise be created or acquired by any officer or any employee in the future, then notice will immediately be given to the Institutional Executive Officer.

 

No officer or employee making or having the responsibility for financial decisions involving the expenditure, safekeeping or investments of funds, or spouse, dependent child or a parent of such officer or employee shall serve on any board of directors of any banking institution or other enterprise with which the institution does business or have a material financial interest in said business.

 

All officers or employees shall be prohibited from being a contractor, subcontractor or vendor with the governmental entity of which he is a member other than his contract of employment or have a material financial interest in any business which is a contractor, subcontractor or vendor with the governmental entity of which he is a member.

 

The Board defines "material financial interest" as: 

a personal and pecuniary interest, direct or indirect, accruing to a public servant or spouse, either individually or in combination with each other.

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     1 Miss. Code Ann., 25-4-101 (1991), et seq., especially 25-4-105 (1), stating that `No public servant shall use his official position to obtain pecuniary benefit for himself other than that compensation provided for by law, or to obtain pecuniary benefit for any relative or any business with which he is associated.'  

     2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 1201.0102.

 

The Board specifies circumstances that do not constitute a material financial interest with respect to a business with which a University employee may be associated.  These include:

 

(1) ownership of any interest of less than ten percent (10%) in a business where the aggregate annual net income to the public servant therefrom is less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000); 

 

(2) ownership of any interest of less than two percent (2%) in a business where the aggregate net income to the public servant therefrom is less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000); 

 

(3) the income as an employee of a relative if neither the public servant or relative is an officer, director or partner in the business and any ownership interest would not be deemed material pursuant to subparagraph (i) or (ii) herein; or 

 

(4) the income of the spouse of a public servant when such spouse is a contractor, subcontractor, or vendor with the governmental entity that employs the public servant and the public servant exercises no control, direct or indirect, over the contract between the spouse and such governmental entity.1


 

7.5 ETHICS IN EXTERNAL CONSULTING

 

With the permission of the University President, members of the academic staff may enter into consulting contracts or agreements with private individuals and with external public or private entities.  Employees entering into consulting agreements or contracts with private individuals or external entities contracting with the University, however, are subject to the provisions of state law governing public ethics.  Consulting agreements or contracts are permissible only if: 

 

(a) the contracting employee does not have a material financial interest in the contracting entity; or 

 

(b) the contracting employee is not an employee, stockholder, or continuing contractor with the company; and 

 

(c) the existence of either contract is not contingent upon the other.2 

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     1Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 1201.0102 n.

     2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 1201.0102 n., citing Mississippi Ethics Commission official opinion No. 88-17-E, rendered Feb. 15, 1988.  Approval forms for external consulting may be obtained from the office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and from the Department of Human Resources.


 

 

7.6 POLITICAL ACTIVITIES 

 

While the Board of Trustees' policy statement on academic freedom and responsibility proscribes political propagandizing in the classroom and in all other University activities, the University recognizes the right of all employees to involve themselves in partisan political matters.  The University mandates, however, that time and effort devoted to such activities must not interfere with the duties of University employees.  Hence, the involvement of employees in political activities is permissible only at such times as employees are not required to render services to the University or in the event that employees successfully apply for leave of absence without pay.

 

 

 

 

7.7 FACULTY-STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS 

 

7.7.1 Discrimination.   Faculty members are responsible for evaluating student progress toward educational goals on the basis of academic performance.  Factors such as race, creed, religion, gender, age, national origin, political affiliation, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, or other activities unrelated to academic achievement must not be considered in making academic evaluations of students.  Discrimination based on race, religion, age, or gender is a violation of federal law.

 

7.7.2 Business Relationships.  Any business relationship between a faculty member and a student for whom he or she has supervisory or educational responsibility must be undertaken with due care.  Both the fact and semblance of any exploitation must be avoided.  Compensation in any business relationship outside of the student-faculty relationship must be commensurate with the individual’s training and experience.

 

7.7.3 Consensual Romantic or Sexual Relationships.  There are special problems in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals where one party possesses direct academic, administrative, supervisory, evaluative, counseling, or extracurricular authority over the other party.  Such positions include, but are not limited to, teacher and student or assistant, supervisor and employee, senior faculty and junior faculty, mentor and trainee, advisor and advisee, counselor and client, teaching assistant and student, coach and athlete, and the individuals who supervise the day-to-day student living environment and student residents.  A significant problem arises when a consensual relationship occurs between a teacher and a student when the student is enrolled in one of the teacher’s courses, or when the student is likely to be enrolled in such a course in the future.  Such relationships are of significant concern to the University because of the ethical and administrative problems they can pose.  Because of the potential for conflict of interest, exploitation, favoritism, harassment and bias, such relationships may undermine the integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided, and the trust inherent particularly in the teacher-student context.  

 

There are numerous ways in which a consensual romantic or sexual relationship can create problems within the University community.  For example:

 

What seems to be consensual to the party in the position of authority may well be unwelcome or coercive from the perspective of the other party.  Where a party has the ability to grade, advance, promote, recommend, or otherwise influence the employment or academic status of another, that person may fear that refusal will result in loss of employment or academic benefit.  They may even consent to the relationship even though it is in fact unwelcome.  

 

There is also a serious risk that either party may exploit the other.  The more senior person may be interested in the other person solely for sexual or romantic reasons, but the other person may construe that attention to be due to intellect and academic interest.  There is also the risk that the person with less authority might seek out a relationship solely because of a desire to obtain some academic or employment benefit from the relationship.

 

The circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome.  Prior consent does not remove grounds for a charge based upon subsequent unwelcome conduct. 

 

The relationship can cause problems for both parties and harm the academic and work environment at the University.  There is the appearance, and often the reality, of a conflict of interest on the part of both parties to the relationship.  Third parties may believe that the person in authority favors the other person because of the relationship, thus creating an atmosphere of suspicion and resentment among others who think that person is obtaining undeserved benefits. 

 

Since teaching professionals are under a special obligation to preserve the integrity of the teacher-student relationship, the University strongly urges that members of the University faculty avoid any romantic or sexual relationships with students or other persons over whom they may exercise any authority or influence.  No faculty member shall exercise academic, administrative, supervisory, evaluative, counseling, or extracurricular authority over a student or employee with whom the faculty member has a romantic or sexual relationship.  Should a faculty member become involved in such a relationship, the University requires that the faculty member take the following measures: 

  

(a) If one of the parties to a consensual romantic or sexual relationship is a student or employee of a faculty member, the faculty member shall immediately resolve any potential conflict by taking necessary steps to remove the conflict.  If the faculty member is unable to resolve the conflict independently, he or she shall inform his or her immediate supervisor, who will take steps to ensure unbiased instruction, supervision, counseling, coaching, or evaluation of the employee or student. Final decisions regarding conflict resolution will be made in consultation with the appropriate University administrators, such as department chairs, deans, Provost or vice presidents.  

 

(b) If a student is not enrolled in any of the faculty member’s courses when the relationship begins, the student shall not be eligible to take any future course with the faculty member even after the relationship has ended, and it is the duty of the faculty member to take all steps necessary to assure that the student is not so enrolled.  

 

(c) If a consensual romantic or sexual relationship begins during an official  counselor/client relationship, the counselor shall immediately terminate the  relationship and never again enter into a counseling relationship with the client.

 

Employees who enter into or remain in romantic or sexual relationships where an authority differential exists and who do not report it, or who fail to cooperate in efforts to remove the conflict, will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

 

 

7.8 HARASSMENT    

 

7.8.1  Preamble.  The University of Southern Mississippi is committed to maintaining a community environment that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person, regardless of race, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.  Each member of the University community has a responsibility to promote respect and dignity for others so that all employees and students are free to pursue their goals in an open environment, participate in the free exchange of ideas, and share equally in the benefits of the University’s employment and educational opportunities.  To achieve this goal, the University is committed to fostering an academic, work, and living environment that is free from harassment.

 

7.8.2  Policy.  It is the policy of The University of Southern Mississippi to maintain an environment for faculty, staff, and students that is free from all forms of harassment.  Harassment is repugnant and inimical to our most basic values.  It also constitutes unlawful discrimination, which is a violation of federal law.  Accordingly, reports of harassment will be taken seriously and will be addressed promptly.  Where harassment is found to have occurred, the University will act to stop the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and discipline and/or take other appropriate action against those responsible.  Allegations of harassment are also subject to the Discrimination Complaint Procedure through the Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity, as set forth below.  Vice Presidents, Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, and Supervisors are directed to take appropriate steps to disseminate this policy statement and the complaint procedures to students and employees.

 

7.8.3  Scope.  This policy applies to all faculty, staff, employees, students, and student-employees with respect to activities occurring on any University property and University-related activities occurring off-campus, including University programs outside the United States.  This policy also applies to the activities of recognized student organizations including, but not limited to, fraternities, sororities, clubs, and cooperatives.  It also applies to persons conducting business with or visiting the University, even though such persons are not directly affiliated with the University.  This policy applies to harassment based upon a person’s race, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. 

 

7.8.4   Definition of Harassment.  Harassment is defined as conduct, based upon a person’s race, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status, that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating or hostile environment for employment, education, on-campus living, or participation in a University activity.  

 

 

7.8.5 Definition of Sexual Harassment.  Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 

 

(a) submission to the conduct is implicitly or explicitly suggested or threatened to be a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or participation in a University activity;

 

(b) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used or threatened to be used as a basis for a decision affecting employment, education, on-campus living environment, or participation in a University activity; or

 

(c) the conduct that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an  individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating or hostile  environment for employment, education, on-campus living, or participation in a  University activity.

 

7.8.6  Types of Sexual Harassment.   Whether particular physical, visual, or verbal conduct constitutes harassment in violation of this policy will depend upon all of the facts and circumstances involved, the context in which the conduct occurred, and the frequency, severity and pattern of the conduct.  Conduct alleged to constitute harassment will be evaluated according to the objective standard of a reasonable person.  Thus, conduct that might be objectionable to one person, but that is not severe or pervasive enough to create an objectively intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment may not constitute sexual harassment.  Incidents of sexual harassment can occur in a variety of contexts.  For example:  

 

It may be conduct toward an individual of the opposite sex or the same sex.

 

It may occur between peers or between individuals in a hierarchical relationship.

 

It may be aimed at coercing an individual to participate in an unwanted sexual relationship, or it may have the effect of causing an individual to change behavior or work performance.

 

It may consist of repeated actions or may even arise from a single incident if sufficiently egregious.  

 

 Types of behavior that may be considered as evidence of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:  

 

Direct propositions of a sexual nature.

 

Subtle pressure for sexual activity.

 

Unnecessary or unwelcome physical contact.

 

Physical interference with work or academics.

 

Remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body.

 

Remarks relating to sexual activity or concerning previous sexual experience.

 

Obscene or harassing messages sent via computer or left on an answering machine or voice mail.

 

A pattern of sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes, whether made orally, in writing, or through electronic media.

 

A display of graphic sexual material (not legitimately related to the subject matter of a course) in a context where others are not free to avoid the display.  

 

7.8.7  Education and Prevention.  The University will publish this policy statement annually, including information about the resources available to advise, counsel, and assist in the resolution of harassment allegations.  All members of the University have a responsibility to prevent harassment whenever they learn of it.  Community members should report allegations of harassment to appropriate University resources promptly for appropriate action. Deans and department chairs shall discuss this policy and issues of harassment at meetings of faculty and staff.

 

 

7.9 DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT PROCEDURE

 

7.9.1 General.  Any employee, student, applicant for admission or employment, or other participant in the University’s programs or activities who believes that he or she has been the subject of unlawful discrimination (including, but not limited to sexual harassment) on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status by a University employee may file a complaint with the Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity, in accordance with the procedures described below.

 

7.9.2 Confidentiality.  Discrimination complaints filed with the University will remain confidential to the extent possible, while also allowing for a complete investigation.  University personnel involved in or responsible for any aspect of a complaint, including the appeals process, shall maintain confidentiality throughout the processing of the complaint to the extent possible.  All persons involved in the complaint process are expected to maintain confidentiality, both during the process and after its conclusion. 

 

7.9.3  Retaliation.  The University seeks to create an environment where employees are free to explore the possible violation of their civil rights without fear of reprisal.  Retaliation against any individual who has filed a complaint of discrimination, who has reported witnessing discrimination, who has participated in the discrimination complaint process, or who has been the subject of an investigation or the subject of a complaint of discrimination is illegal and will not be tolerated by the University.

 

7.9.4 Formal Complaint Procedure.  If any employee believes that he or she has been the subject of discrimination and wishes to make a formal complaint, the following procedures will apply:

 

(a) Complaints must be received in writing in the Office of Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity within 30 days from the date of the allegedly discriminatory act.  At the discretion of the AA/EEO Office, in certain situations complaints filed outside the time limit may be investigated.  Complaint forms may be obtained in the Office of AA/EEO, 221 Weathersby Hall, or at the departmental web site: http://www.aa-eeo.usm.edu. The written complaint must include the complainant’s name, address, and signature and must include a brief written description of the alleged discriminatory act, as well as the name of the person allegedly responsible. 

 

(b) The director of the Office of AA/EEO will meet with the complainant, explain the complaint procedure, and determine whether the complaint warrants further investigation into the allegations.  If the director determines that no discriminatory act has occurred, the AA/EEO office will notify the complainant of the decision in writing within 15 days of receipt of the complaint.  The notification will explain why the complaint does not constitute unlawful discrimination and may inform the complainant of other avenues of redress, if appropriate.

 

(c) If the Office of AA/EEO determines that the complaint may involve discrimination, the complainant and respondent will be notified of the decision in writing.  The director of the Office of AA/EEO will investigate the allegations.  The director will inform the following parties that a complaint has been filed and that an investigation will be conducted:  the complainant, respondent, respondent’s immediate supervisor and department head, respondent’s dean, the Provost, and the President.

 

(d) Upon completion of the investigation, the director of the Office of AA/EEO will issue a written report stating the findings of the investigation and whether there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations of the complaint.  The director shall issue written notice of the decision to the parties set out in paragraph (3) above.  

  

(e) If the director finds that a violation of University policy has occurred, the director will recommend to the Provost that a directive be issued to stop the discriminatory behavior and recommending appropriate disciplinary action against the respondent.  When appropriate, coercive action will be recommended to eliminate the effect of the discriminatory behavior.  Within 15 days of the receipt of the report from the AA/EEO director, the Provost will issue written notice of disciplinary action.    

 

7.9.5 Appeal Procedure.  The complainant or respondent may appeal the decisions of the AA/EEO director and/or the decision of the Provost by notifying the President, in writing, within 15 days from the date of the decision from which the party appeals.  The complainant or respondent may request a review based upon the following grounds:

 

 (a) That the complaint procedure was not followed.

 

(b) That new information can be presented that was not previously available and which could have a material affect upon the findings.  The President shall be the sole judge of whether such evidence or information will be admitted.

 

(c) That a decision was made in an arbitrary and capricious manner.

 

At the time of the appeal, the appellant shall file a detailed, written explanation why he or she believes the appeal meets the criteria set forth above.  If the President determines that none of the grounds for appeal has been satisfied, the parties shall be notified of the decision in writing within 15 days of filing the appeal.  If the President determines that at least one of the grounds for appeal has been met, the President shall so notify all of the parties in writing.  The President will review all materials in the record and may invite both parties to present information to the President.  Once the President has reached a decision, he or she shall notify all parties of the decision within 30 days from the date the appeal was filed.

 

CHAPTER 8

 

FACULTY EVALUATION PROCEDURES

 

 

8.1 INTRODUCTION

 

Personnel evaluations involving the academic staff of The University of Southern Mississippi are subject to specific procedures.  The Board of Trustees mandates that all University personnel recommendations be based upon written evaluation procedures, with a general description of the procedures being filed with the Board.1  This chapter explains the University's personnel evaluation procedures, identifies the administrative officers and entities that conduct personnel evaluations, and describes the process of institutional review and recourse applicable to personnel evaluations.


 

8.2 EVALUATION POLICIES AND PRINCIPLES

 

8.2.1 Annual Evaluations.  Annual evaluations shall be conducted for all members of the Corps of Instruction.  

 

8.2.2 Pre-Tenure Reviews.   Pre-Tenure Reviews (third-year reviews) are a variety of annual evaluations that require action by the Provost.  Under the leadership of the department chair, tenured faculty in an academic unit shall conduct pre-tenure reviews for all tenure track faculty.

 

8.2.3 Guiding Principles.  At The University of Southern Mississippi, the fundamental principles that guide all personnel evaluation policies and procedures are that rigorous, documented standards for excellence are fairly and consistently applied by each advisory body and each decision-making authority at every level of the evaluation process and that evaluations are conducted in an atmosphere of fairness and professional integrity.

 

Faculty members who are related (as per Board and University Nepotism Policy) to parties being reviewed or evaluated in any personnel matter must recuse themselves from all evaluation proceedings involving the parties.  In no event shall they vote or offer advice, either directly or indirectly, to other committee members.  

 

8.2.4 Unitary Criteria and Procedures.  The University’s institutional evaluation policy requires the faculties of academic units to develop evaluation criteria and permits the faculties of

the academic units to develop evaluation procedures for their specific academic units.  The academic unit evaluation criteria and procedures must be:

 

(a) established within the parameters of University evaluation criteria and procedures; 

 

(b) approved by all responsible University administrative officers; 

 

(c) written; 

 

(d) disseminated among the staff of the academic unit; and 

 

(e) followed in all evaluation proceedings.

 

Unitary criteria and procedures shall be used as standards for conducting annual evaluations, pre-tenure reviews, and promotion and tenure deliberations.

________________________________________

     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 407.01.

 


8.2.5 Basis of the Process. The process through which personnel advice is given to the University President is grounded on the belief that the faculties comprising the University's academic departments are best qualified to determine their own composition and to judge the professional conduct, accomplishments, and promise of the individuals within each department.  Hence, department chairs and faculty bodies within the department conduct faculty evaluations and make recommendations for academic appointments, compensation, promotion, and tenure.  These same procedures apply not only to academic departments, but also to other academic units organized as schools or divisions rather than departments, such as the Gulf Park Campus.  In such cases, the directors of the academic units have concurrent authority and responsibility to review all written unitary peer evaluations and personnel recommendations, prepare their own evaluations and recommendations, and transmit them to the department chair.  

 

The academic departments, however, are but components of the several colleges and campuses of the University, each having specific goals and objectives.  The University pursues a much broader educational mission than its constituent units.  Hence, the constituent colleges of the University maintain College Advisory Committees that review personnel recommendations of their academic departments.  Advised by these committees, college deans make personnel recommendations to the Provost.  The Provost, in turn, maintains a University Advisory Committee, composed from the College Advisory Committees that reviews decanal personnel recommendations.

 

Thus, personnel reviews, pre-tenure reviews, and recommendations prepared at the departmental level of the University are subject to review by higher levels of institutional administration, and these reviews afford due process, including recourse, in the event that faculty members elect to dispute the opinions of reviewing committees and institutional officers.  The procedures applicable to performance reviews and pre-tenure reviews, however, differ from those applicable to recommendations for promotion in rank and the award of tenure.  

 

Annual performance reviews and pre-tenure reviews are evaluative instruments that inform faculty of their professional progress and seek to inspire improvement and faculty development.  They are not institutional recommendations for personnel actions and thus may not be appealed to the Board of Trustees.  Annual performance reviews and pre-tenure reviews, however, are precursors of future recommendations for personnel actions, and faculty are therefore afforded recourse through the Faculty Grievance Proceedings set forth in Chapter 12.

 

8.2.6 Duties of Department Chairs.  Departmental chairs, acting as administrative officers, provide the academic deans with written advice on all departmental hiring recommendations, annual performance reviews, pre-tenure reviews, promotion recommendations, and tenure deliberations.    

 

8.2.7 Required Departmental Personnel Entities.   Academic departments must organize and convene the Departmental Tenure Committees and Departmental Promotion Committees for face-to-face discussions and votes for pre-tenure reviews, promotion recommendations, and tenure deliberations.  Discussions and votes via video conferences are allowed. 

 

8.2.8 Confidentiality of Proceedings.  The deliberations, records, and recommendations of departmental chairs and departmental entities formed for the purposes of hiring, evaluating, reviewing, and recommending personnel actions regarding academic staff (faculty and non-faculty academic staff – see Section 3.4) are strictly confidential, with access limited only to academic staff and administrators involved directly in the proceedings.  The disclosure of such information is permissible only for use by the proper academic authorities and then only for use in:

 

(a) administrative reviews; 

 

(b) annual performance reviews;

 

(c) pre-tenure review, promotion and tenure deliberations; 

 

(d) faculty appeals;  

 

(e) review by the Board of Trustees; or

 

(f) complying with applicable law or pursuant to a court order. 

 

Neither the Board of Trustees nor the University accepts responsibility for unauthorized disclosure of confidential information by University employees. 

 

8.2.9 Procedural Rules.  All University advisory bodies must adopt procedural rules for the conduct of their deliberations consistent with the provisions of this Faculty Handbook.  In adopting those rules, the following definitions will apply:

 

Proxy is defined as authority, conferred in writing by a qualified voter to another qualified voter, empowering the latter to vote on behalf of the former in one or more specified matters.  Proxy is expressly proscribed in all deliberations involving the evaluation of academic staff members and in all deliberations involving personnel recommendations relating to academic staff members.  

 

Absentee Vote is defined as a vote, cast in absentia in writing by a qualified voter and delivered in a sealed envelope to a duly elected or appointed administrator or to a chair of a committee, council, or other deliberative body within the University.  Absentee votes are permitted in all actions involving the evaluation of academic staff members and in all actions involving personnel recommendations relating to academic staff members.

 

Quorum is defined as a majority of eligible voters within any administrative unit, committee, council, or other body within the University that is duly authorized to conduct personnel evaluations or reviews and to tender personnel recommendations to a higher administrative authority.  A quorum is required of all University committees whose purview involves personnel evaluations and recommendations.

 

 

8.3 THE DEPARTMENTAL PERSONNEL COMMITTEE 

 

8.3.1 (a) Committee Membership.  All members of departmental Corps of Instruction with a minimum of three (3) years of service with the University and who hold the rank of associate professor or higher are eligible for committee membership.  Department chairs with less than three years of service at the University, who hold the rank of Associate Professor or higher, are also eligible for committee membership. The Departmental Personnel Committee is elected annually by the members of the Corps of Instruction employed by the academic department.  This election occurs at a departmental meeting and is accomplished by means of a secret ballot.  A department may choose one of the following three options for its Departmental Personnel Committee:   Option 1:  Authority for all personnel evaluations and recommendations, exclusive of recommendations for pre-tenure review, tenure, and promotion, is vested in the department chair.  Option 2:  A personnel committee consisting of the department chair and two members of the Corps of Instruction employed by the academic department.  The three-member committee then elects its chair. The chair of the committee, after obtaining signed concurrence or dissent from each committee member, submits the committee’s evaluations and recommendations to the department chair.  In turn, the department chair prepares independent personnel evaluations and recommendations and transmits them, along with the signed evaluations and recommendations of the Departmental Personnel Committee, to the dean of the college.  Option 3:  A personnel committee consisting of three members of the Corps of Instruction employed by the academic department, exclusive of the department chair.  The three member committee then elects its chair.  The chair of the committee, after obtaining signed concurrence or dissent from each committee member, submits the committee’s evaluations and recommendations to the department chair.  In turn, the department chair prepares independent personnel evaluations and

recommendations and transmits them, along with the signed evaluations and recommendations of the Departmental Personnel Committee, to the dean of the college.  

 

Only those faculty members who have achieved tenure may evaluate a colleague seeking an award of tenure.  Likewise, promotions may be considered only by faculty holding a rank equal to or higher than the rank being considered.

 

8.3.1 (b) Committee Membership, Libraries.   The organization of the University Libraries differs somewhat from the academic colleges in that, although library faculty are directed by a dean, the Libraries do not have departments or department chairs in the same sense as the academic colleges.  Nevertheless, the three options for the Libraries’ Departmental Personnel Committee (DPC) parallel those of the academic colleges.  All members of the Libraries’ Corps of Instruction with a minimum of three (3) years of service with the University and who hold the rank of associate professor or higher are eligible for committee membership, with the exception of the dean of the Libraries, who is ineligible (see Section 8.3.2).  The election of an ad hoc (for annual evaluation purposes only) department chair (see Note below) and then the selection of the Departmental Personnel Committee occur at a yearly meeting of the members of the Libraries’ Corps of Instruction and are accomplished by means of a secret ballot.  Option 1:  Authority for all personnel evaluations and recommendations, exclusive of recommendations for pre-tenure review, tenure, and promotion, is vested in an ad hoc chair chosen by mutual agreement between the University Libraries’ dean and the Corps of Instruction.  The ad hoc chair prepares independent evaluations and recommendations and transmits them to the dean.  Option 2:  The Committee consists of two members elected by the University Libraries’ Corps of Instruction and a third rotating member who shall be the unit head of the library faculty being evaluated.  If the unit head is not a member of the Corps or is otherwise ineligible for the DPC, the ad hoc chair will serve as the third member of the committee.  The three-member committee elects its chair, selecting from the two members elected from the Corps. The chair of the committee, after obtaining signed concurrence or dissent from each committee member, submits the committee’s evaluations and recommendations to the dean.  The ad hoc chair does not write separate evaluations or recommendations.  Option 3:  The Committee consists of three elected members of the Corps of Instruction exclusive of the ad hoc chair. The three-member committee then elects its chair.  The chair of the committee, after obtaining signed concurrence or dissent from each committee member, submits the committee’s evaluations and recommendations to the dean.  The ad hoc chair does not write separate evaluations or recommendations.

 

Note:  Each year the ad hoc department chair is chosen by mutual agreement between the Libraries’ dean and the Corps of Instruction using the following process.  The dean will provide his/her choice of the ad hoc department chair.  The Corps of Instruction will meet and decide by secret ballot whether they approve (a majority vote is necessary for approval).  If the nominee provided by the dean fails to obtain approval, the dean will forward another nominee; the Corps of Instruction will meet again and decide whether they approve (majority vote again required).  This process will be repeated until the Corps of Instruction approves the dean’s nominee.  If the dean and the Corps of Instruction are unable to agree on an ad hoc department chair, Option 3 will be employed for that academic year.

 

 

8.3.2 Faculty Ineligible for Membership.  Faculty holding appointment within an academic department and serving as University administrative officers in the positions of President, Provost, vice president, or dean of the college or director of the school or division in which a department is organized may not sit as members of Departmental Personnel Committees.  

Generally Assistant/Associate Deans and Assistant/Associate Provosts are also excluded from sitting as members of departmental 3rd year review, tenure, and promotion committees.  Exceptions are allowed for individuals who are of appropriate academic rank and tenure status and who qualify under each of the following circumstances:  

 

1) They have served a minimum of five years as a “regular” faculty member (non-Assistant/Associate Deans or non-Assistant/Associate Provosts) in the department in which they will be participating in 3rd year review and/or tenure and promotion considerations.

 

2) They are invited by a vote of the faculty in their home departments to participate as voting members of that department’s 3rd year review, tenure, and promotion committees.  Departments shall vote by secret ballot on whether to issue such invitations in the fall of each year and may renew invitations on a year-to-year basis.  If invited to participate in these deliberations Assistant/Associate Deans and Assistant/Associate Provosts may not chair 3rd year review, tenure or promotion committees in their departments.

 

 

Faculty members employed with > 0.50 FTE in a department are eligible to act in personnel actions within that department.  Faculty members holding honorary rank, employed on a terminal contract, or who are otherwise excluded for reasons specified in the rules governing the several departmental personnel proceedings are ineligible.

 

8.3.3 Replacement of Committee Members.  If a Departmental Personnel Committee member resigns, dies, or otherwise relinquishes the committee position, another eligible faculty member within the department must be elected in the same manner that the original members were chosen.  If a department is operating under Option 2 (department chair and two other faculty members) and the chair of the department resigns from the Departmental Personnel Committee or is no longer able to serve on that committee, the members of the department’s Corps of Instruction must reconvene and choose either Option 1 or Option 3 as their operational Departmental Personnel Committee for the remainder of the academic year and until the next annual election of the Departmental Personnel Committee option.

 

8.3.4 Committee Functions.  The Departmental Personnel Committee conducts annual performance reviews, and on the basis of those evaluations, submits to respective department chairs recommendations for distribution of annual intradepartmental salary adjustments.  Departmental Personnel Committees also evaluate and make recommendations to responsible academic deans on applications from members of the departmental faculty for academic leaves of absence and sabbaticals. 

 

Written reports resulting from annual evaluations conducted by Departmental Personnel Committees may be used by other departmental, college, and University administrative bodies and officers conducting deliberations regarding the renewal and non-renewal of employment, dismissal from employment, promotion in academic rank, pre-tenure review, and the award of academic tenure. 

 

 

8.4 THE ANNUAL PERFORMANCE REVIEW   

    

8.4.1 Purpose.  All faculty members of the University, regardless of tenure, are evaluated annually on the basis of excellence in performance.  The Annual Performance Review is intended to support faculty members in achieving excellence in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.  Annual Performance Reviews are intended:  

 

(a) to involve faculty members in the design and evaluation of objectives and goals of their academic programs and in the identification of the performance expectations central to their department, their college, and the University;

 

(b) to assess actual performance, accomplishments, strengths, and weaknesses in the areas of teaching, research, and service; 

 

(c) to promote the effectiveness of faculty members through an articulation of the types of contributions they might make to enhance the University; 

 

(d) to provide a written record of faculty performance to support personnel decisions and merit pay increases;

 

(e) to recognize and maximize the special talents, capabilities, and achievements of faculty members; and

 

(f) to correct unsatisfactory performance in one or more areas of responsibility through specific improvement plans designed to correct the deficiencies in a timely manner.

 

 

8.4.2 Review Guidelines.  The following guidelines apply to all Annual Performance Reviews conducted by Department Personnel Committees: 

 

(a) Performance reviews must be conducted annually between January 15 and March 15.

 

(b) The evaluation of individual faculty performance shall address, at a minimum, the faculty member’s (i) past and present performance; (ii) professional progress; and  (iii) future expectations.

 

(c) Each member of three-person Departmental Personnel Committees (Option 2 or 3, see Section 8.3.1 Committee Membership) will be evaluated by the other two members of the committee. 

 

(d) Department chairs are evaluated in the categories of research, teaching, and service by the Departmental Personnel Committees. The Departmental Personnel Committee’s annual performance review of a chair is placed in the chair’s personnel file with a copy forwarded to the chair’s supervising administrative officer.  The chair’s supervising administrative officer (generally a dean) conducts the annual evaluation of a chair’s administrative performance. 

 

Department chairs in departments operating under Option 3 (chair not included) will be evaluated in the categories of research, teaching, and service by the three members of the Departmental Personnel Committee.  

 

Department chairs in departments operating under Option 2 (chair plus two other faculty members) will be evaluated in the categories of research, teaching, and service by the other two members of the Departmental Personnel Committee.

 

Department chairs in departments operating under Option 1 (chair alone) will be    evaluated in the categories of research, teaching, and service by a committee made up of the three highest-ranking members of the department.  In this case    rank is first determined by professorial rank, then time of service to the university. [In the event that the department lacks three members qualified to be members of the Departmental Personnel Committee (qualifications = minimum of three years    of service with the University and rank of Associate or Full Professor) the dean of   the college will appoint sufficient appropriate, qualified (see above) faculty members from the college to form a  three-person committee to conduct the annual evaluation of the chair.]

 

 

8.4.2 (d) continued

 

The annual evaluation of chairs and directors by their respective deans will include the following:

 

1. The annual performance review from the unit’s Departmental Personnel Committee as per the guidelines set forth in the Faculty Handbook, Chapter 8, Section 4.

 

2. The Faculty Senate administrative evaluation results.

 

3. *Self-evaluation (narrative and data) by the chair/director in response to the criteria in the evaluation tool provided by individual deans.

 

 

*Deans will have the discretion to choose their own chair/director evaluation instrument as approved by the Provost, but will make the instrument available to the chairs/directors at the beginning of the evaluation period so the chairs/directors can gather and maintain relevant materials for the self-evaluation noted above.  

 

The annual evaluation by the deans will proceed as follows:

 

 1.  The chairs/directors will be evaluated annually within their department as per the guidelines set forth in the Faculty Handbook, Chapter 8, Section 4.

 

 2.  The Faculty Senate will administer an annual faculty evaluation of chairs and directors.   

 

 3.  Self-evaluation by a chair/director will be submitted to the dean according to guidelines established by individual colleges.

 

 4.  The deans complete their written evaluation and provide it to the  chair/director a minimum of one week prior to the scheduled meeting of the dean and the chair/director.  

 

 5.  Deans meet with the chair/director to discuss the overall evaluation.   The evaluation process will normally be completed by the end of the spring semester.

 

 

 

(e) University administrative officers (other than department chairs) who hold faculty rank will be evaluated in the categories of research, teaching, and service by the Department Personnel Committees of the academic departments in which they serve  as faculty.  The supervising administrative officers will conduct administrative  evaluations.  

 

(f) The calendar year immediately preceding an Annual Performance Review will normally constitute the period under review. 

 

(g) Employees on sabbatical leave must be evaluated for the semester within the period of evaluation, if any, that they were regularly employed (i.e., not on sabbatical leave) and/or for the semester or semesters they were on sabbatical leave, the latter evaluation being based on the degree to which they accomplished the goals set forth in their approved application for sabbatical leave.

 

(h) Employees on educational or professional leave must be evaluated on the basis of the degree to which they accomplished goals set forth in their application for leave.

 

(i) Parties holding academic appointment are evaluated by the Departmental Personnel Committees if any part of their salary is budgeted in that department and part of their assigned duties is to that department. 

 

8.4.3 Review Procedure.  Annual Performance Reviews will be scheduled at the convenience of all involved parties, taking into account teaching schedules, other University-related duties, and professional commitments.  Personal commitments and commitments related to employment outside the University are generally considered insufficient grounds for scheduling or rescheduling performance review conferences.  

    

Annual Performance Reviews consist of two (2) steps.  The first step is the information stage, where the faculty member has the opportunity to provide information to the Department Personnel Committee regarding the employee's professional growth and accomplishments during the evaluation period.  A faculty member to be evaluated will submit his/her annual activity report, curricula vitae, and any other additional supporting materials to the department chair and personnel committee at least two (2) weeks before scheduled evaluation conferences. The parties to be evaluated must also submit a detailed written statement of their professional goals and objectives for the coming year.  The information process must be based on objective evidence.  Examples of objective evidence include, but are not limited to: 

 

(a)  University-mandated teaching evaluations devised by department faculty and approved by responsible University administrative officers; 

 

(b)  supporting materials affecting the interpretation of teaching evaluations (e.g., syllabi, course levels, degree of difficulty of courses taught, grades awarded, etc.), written standards of interpretation being established by departmental faculty; 

 

(c) published works, professional reviews of published works, publishing contracts, research results, grants applications, grants, and creative activities; 

 

(d)  documented evidence of service activities, such as service agreements, public service, and University service; 

 

(e)  faculty activity reports and supporting documentation; and 

 

(f) any other documented evidence of professional strengths or weaknesses pertaining to the evaluation policies.  

 

Departmental evaluators may give each item of objective evidence the weight they deem appropriate for the relevant department and the particular faculty member’s responsibilities.  

 

During the information stage, parties being evaluated must be allowed to fully explain their personal goals and objectives for the period under review and to explain and/or demonstrate how their activities during the period under review met their goals and objectives or why they did not meet their goals and objectives.  Evaluators and parties being evaluated must strive to reach agreement on the significance of the individual accomplishments of parties being evaluated, and points of disagreement must be entered into the written record.  

 

The second stage of evaluation conferences is the appraisal stage, focusing on personal and professional strengths and weaknesses affecting employment and establishing goals and objectives to be pursued by employees during upcoming evaluation period.  During this step, the Departmental Personnel Committee evaluates the faculty member on the basis of information provided by the faculty member, peer evaluators, and such other objective or subjective information the committee deems relevant. When conducting evaluations, the Departmental Personnel Committee shall measure performance of teaching, research, and service responsibilities according to the unitary standards and criteria established for evaluation, promotion, and tenure.  When evaluating instructors, the Departmental Personnel Committee shall consider performance in the appropriate, agreed upon categories of responsibilities as the standard for evaluation as described in the unitary standards and criteria for promotion.  The Departmental Personnel Committee’s evaluation will be recorded in an Annual Performance Review Report.

 

Goals and objectives may change from year to year for individuals being evaluated.  Emphasis on particular activities may vary from year to year because of the Departmental Personnel Committees’ continuing assessment of individual accomplishments and efforts to encourage professional endeavors by those evaluated.  Fluctuating budgets and/or policies established by the Board of Trustees, the University administration, colleges, and departments might also lead to modifications in individual goals and objectives.  

 

Evaluators and parties being evaluated must strive to reach agreement on professional goals and objectives.  If agreement cannot be reached, the goals and objectives established by Department Personnel Committees constitute the official basis for future evaluation in the absence of successful appeals by parties evaluated.

 

Academic staff members may apply in writing to Departmental Personnel Committees for permission to alter goals and objectives during the course of an evaluation period, in all cases providing supporting documentation.  After review of an application, Departmental Personnel Committees may, in conjunction with the chair, grant the permission requested.  In such case, an amended statement of goals and objectives shall be prepared.

 

8.4.4 Faculty Development Plan.  Upon the completion of the Annual Performance Review, if any faculty member is deemed deficient in any area of evaluation, the Departmental Personnel Committee, the department chair, and the faculty member shall jointly prepare a Faculty Development Plan.  The objective of the plan will be to enable the faculty member to understand the nature and extent of the deficiencies, as well as what actions are necessary and expected in order to further the faculty member’s professional development.  The plan must state reasonable expectations to be achieved within a reasonable and specific time period and may involve an altered mix of job responsibilities.  Depending upon the facts and circumstances, the development plan should include, but need not be limited to the following:

 

(a) a detailed description of specific deficiencies;

 

(b) the specific actions needed to overcome deficiencies;

 

(c) a list of professional goals;

 

(d) the procedures to be followed to achieve goals;

 

(e) the resources needed to facilitate the plan;

 

(f) a schedule for completing the plan, including periodic progress reviews; and

 

(g) the criteria to be used in evaluating progress in the plan.

 

The Departmental Personnel Committee and department chair must periodically review the faculty member’s performance under the Faculty Development Plan according to the schedule set forth in the plan.  

 

8.4.5 Annual Performance Review Reports.  Departmental Personnel Committees must prepare written Annual Performance Review Reports summarizing the essential content and result of each performance review conference, including the Faculty Development Plan and any other personnel recommendations arising from the performance review.  Reports must be recorded on forms specified by the Provost and submitted to the academic dean of the college to which the faculty member holds appointment.  Faculty members must sign the form, acknowledging that they have been evaluated and have received a copy of the evaluation.

 

8.4.6 Duties of Department Chairs.  Upon receipt of the Departmental Personnel Committees’ reports (Annual Performance Review Reports) or Pre-Tenure Review Reports department chairs must:

 

(a) review the Pre-Tenure Review Reports and Annual Performance Review Reports, reconvening committees in the event of substantive or procedural discrepancies;

 

(b) prepare independent written recommendations either concurring or disagreeing with the Pre-Tenure Review Reports and Annual Performance Review Reports; 

 

(c) submit reports to the college dean by March 15; and

 

(d) file copies of both reports in departmental personnel files.  Concurrently, department chairs shall submit copies of the Pre-Tenure Review Reports, Annual Performance Review Reports, and Faculty Development Plans to evaluated parties.

 

 

8.4.7  Chairs/Directors Periodic Review.  An academic chair or director (hereafter described 

simply as “chair”) is appointed by the dean of the college following consultation with the 

department/school faculty and the provost.

 

While a chair’s performance may be reviewed by the dean at any time, under normal circumstances a chair will receive annual reviews by the unit’s Personnel Committee as per the guidelines set forth in the Faculty Handbook (Chapter 8, Section 4) and by the dean according to procedures established by the dean and approved by the provost.  In addition, a chair will undergo periodic term reviews as outlined below.  A newly appointed chair will normally serve a three-year term before receiving a term review.  Subsequent terms of appointment will normally be for five years.  There is no limit to the number of terms a chair may serve; however, a chair must undergo a review before reappointment for each term.

 

A Periodic Review will proceed as follows:

 

1. Early in the fall semester of the fifth year of a continuing chair (third year for newly appointed chairs), the dean of the college will determine whether a chair wishes to be considered for another term.  At this time Chairs/Directors have the opportunity to decline reappointment.  If the answer is affirmative, the dean will promptly begin proceedings with the Corps of Instruction that will culminate in a vote for or against reappointment.

 

 

2. If the faculty favors reappointment, and if the dean concurs, the chair and the department will be informed immediately of the chair’s reappointment for a five-year term.  If the faculty favors reappointment, and the Dean does not concur, the Dean will be obligated to provide the faculty with a justification for non-reappointment.

 

 

3. If the faculty recommends against reappointment, and if the dean concurs, the chair will be immediately informed that his/her term as chair will lapse at the close of the current contract.  If the dean does not concur with the faculty’s recommendation, he/she may reappoint the chair for a subsequent term.  If the Dean reappoints a Chair/Director without the support of the department faculty the Dean will be obligated to provide the faculty with a justification for reappointment.

 

 

4. If the chair is not reappointed, the process for filling the position should begin promptly.  After discussions with the department faculty and the provost, the dean will decide:  1) when and how the search will be conducted; 2) whether an interim chair/director should be appointed, and 3) whether an internal or external search will be conducted.

 

 

5. Current chairs initial terms will be staggered upon implementation of this policy.  Individual appointments within a college will be for 3, 4, or 5 years.  The method of assigning the initial appointments is left to the discretion of the Dean.

 

 

6. The chair may request a hearing with the provost on a dean’s decision not to reappoint.

 

 

Note:

In the case of termination of appointment due to malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance, action may be taken immediately and is not subject to the guidelines of the term review process.  Nevertheless, a chair will normally receive a 90-day notice of removal.

 

Should a chair choose to resign, the review process (if initiated) will end, and the resignation will be the means through which the appointment is not renewed.

 

 

 

8.5 Post-Tenure Review

 

        Preamble to the Policy

The University of Southern Mississippi consists of a community of scholars who are engaged in the responsibilities of scholarly development while accorded the privilege of academic freedom.  Tenured faculty members fulfill a multiplicity of university, college, and unit roles and responsibilities yet, at the same time, pursue self-directed inquiry and development.  Tenured faculty members balance teaching, research, and service roles at sustained levels of achievement.  The tenured faculty represent the most important intellectual resource at the University.  Faculty have a stake in the accomplishments and contributions of others, as well as a stake in their own accomplishments. 

The University of Southern Mississippi recognizes that the tenure system is essential to protect academic freedom and support the pursuit of scholarship that leads to advancement in knowledge.  The provisions of freedom and economic security through the tenure system are indispensable elements to the success of the University in fulfilling its obligations to its students and to society.  The University, therefore, seeks to uphold and maintain the tenure system both for protection of individual faculty members and as visible evidence that uninhibited scholarship and instruction are the highest priority for faculty members. 

The traditional approaches to annual evaluation in which the University already engages highlight the many contributions of scholars.  The goal of post-tenure review should be one of enhancing faculty development and professional skills by providing evidence of documentation and accountability to the University and the Institutions of Higher Learning, State of Mississippi. 

The post-tenure review should not be a re-evaluation of tenure.  The post-tenure review process provides for substantive due process of individual faculty members at all times, and should emphasize and foster professional development.  Through this process, faculty can sustain mutual respect and a sense of collective purpose while optimizing faculty skills and performance.  

 

8.5.1 All tenured faculty members shall undergo annual evaluations as described in the Faculty Handbook.  When a tenured faculty member receives two consecutive overall unsatisfactory annual evaluations, that faculty member will undergo a post-tenure review.

 

 

8.5.2 This post-tenure review process is based upon overall unsatisfactory annual evaluations at the department level.  An overall unsatisfactory annual evaluation is based upon a scale of 1 (unsatisfactory/far below expectations), 2 (needs improvement/below expectations), 3 (satisfactory/meets expectations), 4 (good/exceeds expectations), and 5 (excellent/far exceeds expectations) for each of the primary categories of teaching, research, and service; and a weighted average of the evaluations in each category that is tied to assigned responsibilities determined by the chair in collaboration with the faculty member and the departmental personnel committee.  A post-tenure review is initiated if the overall evaluation is numerically less than 2.0 for two consecutive years. The immediate supervisor, whether chair, director or dean, of the faculty member will notify the faculty member that the review process should commence unless there are substantive mitigating circumstances, including, but not limited to, serious illness.

 

 

8.5.3 A three-member committee will conduct the review. The dean, the chair or director and the faculty member will each choose one member of the committee. In units without department chairs or school directors, or with multiple lines of authority, the administrator immediately superior to the faculty member will appoint two committee members, but the faculty member has the right of approval for one of those appointed.  The members of the committee may come from any department or college within the university. By unanimous consent of the committee of three, up to two additional members may be added by the committee. Members who accept appointment should realize that the committee will meet over a two-year period. If a committee member cannot fulfill his or her term, another member will be appointed by the individual, or their successor, who made the original choice.

 

 

8.5.4 Within one month of the date of notification of the post-tenure review, the faculty member will prepare and submit a portfolio of all documents, materials and statements that the faculty member deems relevant and necessary. All materials submitted by the faculty member will remain in the portfolio. A portfolio must include the current annual evaluation; the annual evaluations from the two preceding years; the goals for each of those years, if goals are part of the annual evaluation process; a current curriculum vitae; evidence of performance in teaching, research, and service, and a proposed faculty development plan. The department chair, program director, or dean may add other pertinent information to the portfolio. Additional materials may be added at any time during the review process. All materials that are added to the portfolio must be shared with the faculty member.

 

 

 

8.5.5 The committee will review the portfolio within two months after submission. The review will be based on the faculty member’s specific role and responsibilities in the department as outlined in the goals approved for that faculty member, if such goals exist, and the annual evaluations. The committee will review the proposed faculty development plan presented by the faculty member and, with the participation of the faculty member, modify it as appropriate to assist the faculty member in correcting the identified deficiencies.

 

 

8.5.6.1 The faculty development plan will indicate how identified deficiencies in the performance of a faculty member, as indicated by the review committee, will be corrected.  The final plan, to be approved by the dean, will be developed by the faculty member in collaboration with the chair (or director or dean, if there is no chair), and the review committee.

 

8.5.6.2 The faculty development plan will be tailored to individual circumstances. The plan will: (a) identify specific deficiencies found by the committee; (b) define specific goals to correct the deficiencies; (c) outline the activities to achieve the goals; (d) set time lines for accomplishment of the activities; (e) indicate the criteria for assessment of progress; and (f) identify institutional resources necessary to support the plan (to the level available to other faculty).

 

 

8.5.7 As a matter of due process, the faculty member shall have the right to meet with the review committee prior to its final recommendation. The review committee will specifically elaborate in writing its findings concerning the faculty member’s developmental plan and will provide copies to the faculty member, chair or director, and dean. The final plan must be developed within two months of the recommendation to develop the faculty development plan.  The plan must be implemented the semester following its development (summer generally excluded).

 

 

8.5.8 The faculty member may appeal the findings of the committee and the recommended faculty development plan to the Provost, who will consult the appropriate college advisory committee and may seek the advice of the University Advisory Committee. The faculty member may then appeal the findings of the Provost and the recommended faculty development plan to the President who will make the final decision.

 

 

8.5.9 The faculty member and department chair will meet a minimum of one time each semester to review the progress of the faculty member. After each meeting, the department chair will send a progress report to the faculty member, dean, and review committee. The faculty member may request a review of progress by the review committee, and the findings will be forwarded to the chair or director and dean. 

 

 

8.5.10 When the objectives of the faculty development plan have been met, as determined by the review committee, or not later than two years after initiating the plan, the department chair or school director will make a final written report, including an overall rating for the period of the plan, to the faculty member, the review committee, and the dean. The overall report will include ratings for teaching, service, and research.

 

 

8.5.11 If after two years the faculty member has not shown improvement in the identified deficiency areas and has not achieved an overall rating at the department level of 3 (meets expectations), the committee will recommend sanctions, which may include termination, to the chair and the dean. If the dean recommends termination, the termination procedures set out in the Faculty Handbook will apply.

 

 

8.5.12 Examples of “Overall Evaluation” for Post-Tenure Review

  Two examples of “overall evaluation” using a 1 (unsatisfactory) to 5 (excellent) scale and weighted averages based on assigned responsibilities follow. 

 

 Example 1. Maria’s department assigned load for the academic year is 60% teaching, 20% research, and 20% service.  She receives an excellent in teaching, a good in service, and an unsatisfactory in research from her department.  Her (weighted) overall evaluation is therefore (.6)*(5) + (.2)*(4) + (.2)*(1) = 3 + .8 + .2 = 4.0 for a "good" overall on her annual review.

 

 Example 2. Robert's department is primarily a graduate department and his assigned load for the academic year is 50% research, 30% teaching, and 20% service.  He receives needs improvement in research, unsatisfactory in teaching, and unsatisfactory in service.  Therefore, his (weighted) annual evaluation is (.5)*(2) + (.3)*(1) + (.1)*(1) = 1.0 + .3 +.1 =  1.4.   Robert's overall performance would be reported by his department as unsatisfactory.  If he follows this annual review with another like it next year, then a post-tenure review would be triggered for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.6  PROCEDURES FOR NONADMINISTRATIVE FACULTY MEMBERS WITH  ACADEMIC ASSIGNMENTS IN TWO OR MORE UNITS

 

8.6.1 Faculty Members With Positions Budgeted in Two or More Departments.  The Departmental Personnel Committees must evaluate faculty members holding academic appointment if any part of their salary is budgeted in that department and if a portion of the assigned duties of those parties is to that department.  In such cases, the department in which the majority of the budget for the position is allocated will conduct personnel proceedings but will solicit written input from the appropriate committees and chairs of any other department(s) in which a portion of the budget is allocated.

 

8.6.2 Faculty Members With Positions Budgeted in One Department but Who Have Formal Responsibilities or Duties Outside of That Department.  In some cases, positions for faculty members are budgeted in a single academic unit, but those faculty members have formal responsibilities or duties outside of that unit.  In such cases, the academic unit in which the position is budgeted conducts personnel proceedings but will solicit input from the unit or body outside that academic unit.  Proceedings for members of the professional education faculty must include participation by the Chair of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, and the Dean of the College of Education and Psychology according to policies and procedures detailed in the bylaws of the Professional Education Council.

 

 

CHAPTER 9

 

PROMOTION AND AWARD OF TENURE

 

 

9.1 INTRODUCTION

 

Members of the academic staff of The University of Southern Mississippi are subject to certain personnel actions that affect the essential terms of their employment.  These include promotion in academic rank and the award of academic tenure.  Each personnel action is governed by general policies adopted by the Board of Trustees.  Board policy is supplemented and defined by the policies of the University pursuant to the authority delegated to the President by the Board. 

 

Institutional proceedings involving promotion in rank and the award of tenure recommend personnel actions that might ultimately be appealed to the Board of Trustees, and the University accordingly affords a more exacting process of institutional review, including institutional recourse, prior to the submission of presidential recommendations to the Board of Trustees. 

 

This chapter describes the process for the submission of promotion and tenure award recommendations to deans and describes the process of institutional review and recourse applicable to promotion in rank and the award of tenure. 

 

 

9.2. PRESIDENTIAL AND BOARD AUTHORITY  

 

The provisions of state law and the policies and bylaws of the Board of Trustees limit the authority and responsibility for personnel actions involving academic staff to the University President and the Board of Trustees.  The President is delegated exclusive authority over all personnel nominations and recommendations submitted to the Board.  The Board of Trustees retains sole authority for deciding all personnel actions based upon the nominations and recommendations of the University President.  In no event may the President delegate responsibility for personnel nominations and recommendations to any other University employee or entity.  

 

 

9.3. UNIVERSITY ADVICE IN PERSONNEL ACTIONS  

 

9.3.1 Mandated University Advice.  The Board of Trustees mandates that the state's institutions of higher learning must maintain committees for recommending tenure and that the chief executive officers of the institutions adopt policies for promotion and the award of tenure

 

9.3.2 Discretionary University Advice.  In all other personnel recommendations pertaining to the academic staff, except termination, the University President is not required by either state law or Board policy to establish institutional advisory bodies, and the President may or may not seek advice within the institution.  Nevertheless, the President elects to be advised by subordinate institutional officers and by faculty bodies and has approved procedures governing their deliberations.  In such cases, the procedures regulating the processes by which advice is tendered are established and maintained at the discretion of the University President. 

 

9.3.3 Advisory Officers and Entities.  The President is advised on personnel recommendations by the administrative heads of the University's academic units, the Provost, the University Advisory Committee, the college deans, the College Advisory Committees, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, University Counsel, and by the other vice presidents in matters that are within their administrative jurisdiction.  The advice rendered by University officers or committees does not limit the legal authority or responsibility of the President for all personnel nominations and recommendations made to the Board of Trustees.

 

 

9.4 PROMOTION IN ACADEMIC RANK

 

9.4.1 Board Authority.  The Board of Trustees may extend promotions in academic rank to members of the academic staff based upon the recommendation of the University President.  

 

9.4.2 Evaluation Standards.  Board policy specifies that a candidate for promotion in academic rank must display evidence of:

 

(a) professional training and experience;  

 

(b) effectiveness of teaching or librarianship;

 

(c) effectiveness in interpersonal relationships, including professional ethics, cooperativeness, resourcefulness, and responsibility; 

 

(d) professional growth, such as research, publications, and creative activities; and 

 

(e) service, such as economic development and non-teaching activities that further University goals or reflect favorably on the University.

 

The Bylaws of the Board of Trustees state that promotion in academic rank may be based on other criteria established by the University with the approval of the Board.1  The University has established additional institutional policies for promotion in academic rank.  University policy requires the academic units of the University to formulate standards reflecting unitary goals and objectives and/or unique disciplinary considerations, provided that those standards do not conflict with University standards.  Promotion in academic rank requires demonstrable merit, on a continuing basis, in the categories of evaluation.

_______________________________________________

     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 402.03.

 

Additional guidelines, policies, or criteria governing promotion in rank within an academic unit must be developed by the academic unit and approved by the college dean and the Provost; stated in objective terms in a written document; disseminated among all academic staff members of the academic unit; and followed in all promotion proceedings.

 

9.4.3 Eligibility for Promotion.  There is no required minimum number of years of service for candidates to be promoted to the rank of assistant professor.  In cases involving promotions from assistant professor to associate professor and from associate professor to professor, candidates must serve at least five (5) years in the lower rank, (but see section 9.4.5) thereby making a recommendation for promotion permissible during the fifth year of service in the lower rank and an approved promotion effective at the beginning of the following academic year.

 

9.4.4 Credit for Prior Accomplishment.  In computing time in rank at the University for purposes of promotion, professional experience, and/or time in rank at another institution of higher learning may be considered if specified in the faculty member’s contract at the time of employment.

 

9.4.5 Early Promotion.  Individuals with qualifications far exceeding departmental guidelines may receive consideration for early promotion. 

 

9.4.6 Denial of Promotion.  Promotion in academic rank is not guaranteed by any terms of contracted employment or earned solely by the duration of employment.  No oral or written promise of promotion in academic rank shall be valid unless approved by the Board and written notification is received from the President confirming the Board approval.

 

 

9.5 DEPARTMENTAL PROMOTION PROCEDURES

 

9.5.1 Application and Dossier.  Written instructions for the preparation of promotion dossiers are distributed to the heads of academic units by the Provost and may be obtained from the department offices or from the Office of the Provost.  Members of the academic staff wishing to be evaluated for promotion in academic rank must prepare and submit their dossiers to the chair of the academic department in which they hold academic appointment no later than the date published in the Provost’s calendar (generally in late September – early October).  Candidates may supplement their dossiers with additional relevant information before the Personnel Committee completes its evaluation of the candidate.

 

9.5.2 Departmental Promotion Committees.  Upon receipt of promotion dossiers, department chairs must first confirm the eligibility of applicants for promotion in academic rank and then convene the Departmental Promotion Committees to consider the qualifications of candidates for promotion.  Departmental Promotion Committees consist of departmental faculty members holding academic rank equal to, or higher than, that being sought by candidates for promotion.  Promotion committees are chaired by a member elected by a simple majority vote of the committee members.  Department chairs cannot serve as chairs of Promotion Committees.  Faculty holding appointments within an academic department and serving as University administrative officers in the positions of President, Provost, Vice-President, or dean of the college or director of the school or division in which a department is organized may not sit as members of the Departmental Promotion Committee.    Generally Assistant/Associate Deans and Assistant/Associate Provosts are also excluded from sitting as members of departmental 3rd year review, tenure, and promotion committees.  Exceptions are allowed for individuals who are of appropriate academic rank and tenure status and who qualify under each of the following circumstances:  

 

1) They have served a minimum of five years as a “regular” faculty member (non-Assistant/Associate Deans or non-Assistant/Associate Provosts) in the department in which they will be participating in 3rd year review and/or tenure and promotion considerations.

 

2) They are invited by a vote of the faculty in their home departments to participate as voting members of that department’s 3rd year review, tenure, and promotion committees.  Departments shall vote by secret ballot on whether to issue such invitations in the fall of each year and may renew invitations on a year-to-year basis.  If invited to participate in these deliberations Assistant/Associate Deans and Assistant/Associate Provosts may not chair 3rd year review, tenure or promotion committees in their departments.

 

 

 

The chair of the Promotion Committee should supervise the promotion deliberations.  Although not formally members of Departmental Promotion Committees, department chairs may be invited to attend the promotion proceedings and act as information sources.  Department chairs do not supervise the committees and do not vote as members of Promotion Committees (department chairs later prepare their own independent evaluations (see Section 9.5.5).

 

When a departmental faculty does not consist of at least three members holding the rank (and/or higher rank) to which an applicant aspires, the dean of the college shall seek the advice of the Departmental Personnel Committee and the chair, and then appoint additional appropriately-ranked members from the college to constitute a three-person Promotion Committee to consider the application.   

 

9.5.3 Deliberations of Departmental Promotion Committees.  In all cases, Departmental Promotion Committees must base their deliberations on the standards for promotion mandated by the Board of Trustees, the standards governing promotion adopted by the University, and the standards for promotion adopted by the colleges and departments in which candidates for promotion hold academic appointment, provided such standards have been properly approved by the Provost.  The committees may also consider recommendations and evaluations submitted by external sources.

 

9.5.4 Recommendations of Departmental Promotion Committees.  Departmental Promotion Committees must prepare and submit a written report to the department chair, recommending or declining to recommend promotion in academic rank.  The written recommendations of Departmental Promotion Committees must include the rationale for recommendations and the vote count of the committee.  Acting on behalf of the faculty, the chair of the Departmental Promotion Committee must sign the recommendation.  Separate reports must be prepared for each candidate considered for promotion.  

 

9.5.5 Duties of Department Chairs.  Upon receipt of the Departmental Promotion Committees’ reports, department chairs must:

 

(a) review the written reports of Departmental Promotion Committees for substantive or procedural discrepancies or inconsistencies with Annual Performance Review Reports.  In the event of any discrepancies or inconsistencies, the chair will reconvene the committee and direct that any discrepancies or inconsistencies be remedied;

 

(b) prepare independent written recommendations either concurring or disagreeing with the recommendations of Departmental Promotion Committees; 

 

(c) submit both reports to the responsible college deans no later than October 15; and

 

(d) assure that copies of both reports are retained in departmental personnel files. 

 

Concurrently, department chairs must notify all promotion candidates in writing of the recommendations submitted to deans. 

 

 

 

9.6 REQUIREMENTS FOR ACADEMIC TENURE

 

9.6.1 Board Authority.  Academic tenure may be granted to members of the full-time faculty of the University at the sole discretion of the Board of Trustees, based upon the nomination of the University President.  Presidential recommendations for the privilege of tenure also consider criteria embodied in the University’s tenure policy, which has been enacted under the authority of the Board of Trustees.  The award of tenure at The University of Southern Mississippi is a matter of policy and not a legal obligation binding upon the Board or the University.  Tenure policies are subject to change by the Board and awards of tenure are subject to those policy changes.   Tenure is acquired only by positive action by the Board that is noted in its minutes and may not result from inaction, inadvertence, or by default.  

 

Denial of tenure constitutes a decision by the Board of Trustees not to award an expectation of continuing employment to a faculty member.  The privilege of tenure can be granted only by the Board and is not guaranteed by faculty appointment, prior promotion in academic rank, prior performance, or by duration of employment.  A non-tenured faculty member shall not assume at any time that he or she will be awarded tenure.  No verbal or written assurance, promise or guarantee of tenure is valid.  A non-tenured faculty member whose appointment is not renewed, or who is denied tenure is not entitled to a statement by the Board of the reasons for that action.  

 

9.6.2 Definition of Tenure.  "Academic tenure" is defined as the qualified expectation of a continuation of annual employment that may be awarded to a full-time member of the faculty after completing a probationary period.  There is no guarantee that tenure will be awarded at the conclusion of the probationary period.  Nor is tenure a guarantee of lifetime employment.  Rather, tenure means that no person who has been awarded tenure may be discharged except upon certain grounds and in accordance with specified procedures.  An award of tenure requires excellence in performance and the promise of continued excellence in teaching, research, and service.  It is the duty of the faculty member to demonstrate that tenure should be awarded.  If awarded, tenure is vested within the lowest unit of academic appointment.  

 

Achieving tenure does not relieve a faculty member from the standards of professional performance, conduct, achievement, merit, and probity maintained by the departments, the schools, the divisions, the colleges, the University, and by the Board of Trustees.  Tenured faculty members are expected to give those standards meaning and to lead by continuing professional example, in all cases being subject to annual evaluations.

 

9.6.3 Eligible Academic Ranks.  Only those faculty members who hold a rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor are eligible for the privilege of tenure.1  

______________________________________________

     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0101.  

 

9.6.4 Required Probationary Period.  The Board of Trustees establishes general guidelines pertaining to the probationary period that faculty must serve before being eligible for academic tenure:

 

Beginning with appointment to any professorial rank, a faculty member may be recommended for tenure after completing a probationary period of five to seven academic years, three of which may have been met in the rank of instructor.  Upon written agreement between the institution and the faculty member, credit up to a maximum of five (5) years toward fulfillment of the minimum probationary period may be allowed for service at one or more other institutions of higher learning.  

 

Such credit toward the probationary period transferred from another institution must be determined at the time of initial appointment to rank.  Such allowance is to be granted only to an individual who possesses exceptional professional qualifications and achievements and is not to be construed as exempting said individual from any other institutional policies and procedures governing the awarding of tenure.

 

Once the probationary period has been successfully completed, a professor of any rank, if reappointed, may be awarded tenure.  For tenure to be awarded, the Institutional Executive Officer must make a recommendation to the Board in writing.  Only faculty members of professorial rank can be awarded tenure.  The award of tenure is not vested until notice of the award is given in writing by the Institutional Executive Officer, after approval of the Board, and the written notice is actually received by the faculty member.

 

Faculty members who transfer from one institution to another within the Mississippi system are subject to the same probationary period in a given institution as any other faculty member who is new to the system.1

 

 

If a faculty member is to be recommended for the privilege of tenure, the recommendation normally will be made during an eligible faculty member's sixth (6th) year of full-time employment with the University.  If tenure is not granted during the sixth (6th) year of full-time employment, the faculty member generally will be given a terminal contract for their seventh (7th) year of full-time employment.  If recommended for tenure by the President and approved by the Board of Trustees, an award of tenure takes effect at the beginning of the seventh (7th) contract year. Under no circumstances may an award of tenure become effective without approval of the Board, expressed in its minutes, and written notification of the award is received from the President.

 

9.6.5 Credit for Leaves of Absence.  Contingent upon prior approval by the University President, time accruing during educational, professional, and sabbatical leaves may be applied to satisfy the probationary period.  

 

9.6.6 Deferral.  At the request of a candidate and upon the advice of a candidate's department chair, college dean, and the Provost, the President may defer the tenure recommendation to the seventh (7th) year of employment or later.

_________________________________________

     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Sections 403.0101.

 

9.6.7 Credit for Prior Accomplishment.  In accordance with Board guidelines, the probationary period may be satisfied in part by prior professional experience and/or employment within another institution of higher learning.  Such credit is not routinely awarded and must be consistent with Board and University tenure requirements.  Generally this credit is limited to two (2) years for those appointed at the rank of assistant professor, three (3) years for those appointed at the rank of associate professor, and five (5) years for those appointed at the rank of professor.

 

Tenure may not ordinarily be granted before a candidate has held Tenure Track appointment at the University for at least one (1) full calendar year, during which the candidate is employed as a member or ex officio member of the Corps of Instruction and performing instructional or research duties on a campus of the University.  However, at the time of initial employment by the Board, an administrative employee whose prior employment included faculty rank at the level of assistant, associate, or full professor and tenure may be granted tenure only if so recommended by the President and approved by the Board.1  It is expected that prior to making this recommendation the President will seek input from the department faculty, the dean, and the Provost.

 

 

9.6.8 Standard of Evaluation for Tenure.   The award of academic tenure is a privilege.  Tenure is awarded after a thorough review that culminates in the University acknowledging the faculty member’s professional excellence and the likelihood that excellence will contribute substantially over a considerable period of time to the mission and anticipated needs of the University.  Professional excellence is reflected in the faculty member’s teaching, research, and service, including the faculty member’s ability to interact appropriately with colleagues and students. A faculty member might meet the criteria for a given promotion in rank, and achieve promotion, but fail to merit the privilege of tenure.  Promotion in academic rank does not necessarily imply that one merits academic tenure.

_________________________________________ 

   1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Sections 403.0101.  

 

9.7 TENURE PROCEEDINGS

 

9.7.1 Types of Tenure Proceedings.  Departmental Tenure Committees conduct two (2) proceedings relating to academic tenure:  pre-tenure review and tenure award deliberations.  The membership of the Departmental Tenure Committee shall include all tenured faculty members within the department, with the exception of departmental faculty who are also serving as University administrative officers in the positions of President, Provost, Vice-President, or dean of the college, or director of the school or division in which a department is organized.  These University administrative officers may not sit as members of Departmental Tenure Committees.

Generally Assistant/Associate Deans and Assistant/Associate Provosts are also excluded from sitting as members of departmental 3rd year review, tenure, and promotion committees.  Exceptions are allowed for individuals who are of appropriate academic rank and tenure status and who qualify under each of the following circumstances:  

 

1) They have served a minimum of five years as a “regular” faculty member (non-Assistant/Associate Deans or non-Assistant/Associate Provosts) in the department in which they will be participating in 3rd year review and/or tenure and promotion considerations.

 

2) They are invited by a vote of the faculty in their home departments to participate as voting members of that department’s 3rd year review, tenure, and promotion committees. 

Departments shall vote by secret ballot on whether to issue such invitations in the fall of each year and may renew invitations on a year-to-year basis.  If invited to participate in these deliberations Assistant/Associate Deans and Assistant/Associate Provosts may not chair 3rd year review, tenure or promotion committees in their departments.

 

 

Although not formally members of Departmental Tenure Committees, department chairs may be invited to attend pre-tenure and tenure deliberations and act as information sources.  Department chairs do not supervise pre-tenure and tenure committees and do not vote as members of these committees (department chairs later prepare their own independent evaluations (see Sections 8.2.6, 9.7.2, and 9.7.4).  Pre-tenure and tenure committees are chaired by a member elected by a simple majority vote of the committee.  The elected chair of the Departmental Tenure Committee then supervises the pre-tenure or tenure deliberations.

 

When a departmental faculty does not consist of at least three tenured faculty members, the dean of the college shall seek the advice of the Departmental Personnel Committee and the department chair, and then appoint additional tenured faculty members from the college to constitute a three-person Tenure Committee to consider the tenure application.

 

Pre-Tenure Review (also known as a third-year review) is the process through which academic departments assess and evaluate the progress of faculty members toward an award of academic tenure.  Positive pre-tenure reviews constitute either an absolute or a qualified departmental vote of confidence.  The renewal of an employment contract or a successful pre-tenure review is not a promise or guarantee of tenure or of continued employment of any type or duration.  Negative pre-tenure reviews constitute notice that progress toward tenure is unsatisfactory.  Negative pre-tenure reviews may justify the non-renewal of employment contracts at the discretion of the President upon the recommendation of the Provost and the Vice President for Research.  

 

Tenure Award Deliberation is the process by which academic departments evaluate the professional achievements and future potential of faculty at the completion of their probationary period.  Tenure award deliberation results in recommendations to academic deans for the award or denial of academic tenure.  College deans, in turn, make tenure recommendations to the Provost.  These recommendations may result in either the award of tenure or the denial of tenure at the discretion of the University President, based upon the recommendation of the Provost and the Vice President for Research.  Tenure may only be awarded upon approval by the Board, expressed in its minutes, and receipt of written notification of an award of tenure is received from the President.

 

9.7.2 Pre-Tenure Review.  Generally pre-tenure reviews are conducted for all non-tenured, tenure-track faculty members during the spring semester of their third year of employment as full-time faculty members at The University of Southern Mississippi.  Faculty with one year of credit from another institution will have their pre-tenure reviews in spring of their third year of employment as full-time faculty members at The University of Southern Mississippi.  Faculty members with two or three years of credit toward tenure from another institution will normally have their pre-tenure reviews during the spring semester of their second year of employment as

full-time faculty members at the University.  Faculty members with four or five years credit from another institution do not undergo pre-tenure review.  Academic activities at the institution for which credit is given will be considered during pre-tenure review at The University of Southern Mississippi.

 

Department chairs initiate pre-tenure reviews by convening the Departmental Tenure Committees and submitting to the committees all dossiers and Annual Performance Review Reports for each candidate being reviewed.  Although tenure candidates are not entitled to appear before Departmental Tenure Committees, the committees may, at their discretion, request that parties being assessed appear before them.  Departmental Tenure Committees conducting pre-tenure reviews may consider any matter related to tenure policies established by the Board of Trustees, the University, the colleges, and departments in which the candidates hold academic appointment.

 

A principal task of the Departmental Tenure Committee is to identify areas in which the candidate may need to improve in order to eventually merit tenure.  The members of Department Tenure Committees must assess whether the candidates are making satisfactory or unsatisfactory progress toward an award of tenure. Departmental Tenure Committees must prepare and submit a written report to the chair, stating whether the candidates’ progress is satisfactory or unsatisfactory, and identify areas where improvements are suggested.  The written recommendations of Departmental Tenure Committees must include the rationale for recommendations and the vote count of the committee.  Separate reports must be prepared for each candidate assessed.

 

Department chairs must submit the pre-tenure reviews to the College Advisory Committee and the dean of the college in which the candidate holds academic appointment.  Department chairs and College Advisory Committees must also prepare and submit independent pre-tenure reviews to academic deans, either concurring or disagreeing with the Departmental Tenure Committees.  In the event that a department chair is the subject of pre-tenure review the recommendation of the Departmental Tenure Committee is forwarded directly to the College Advisory Committee and the dean.  Pre-tenure reviews are forwarded from the deans to the Provost without involvement of the University Advisory Committee.

 

Each of the evaluative bodies in pre-tenure review (Departmental Tenure Committee, Department Chair, College Advisory Committee, Dean, Provost) will inform the applicant by letter of their decision, including the vote and rationale, at the same time they forward their recommendation to the next level.  Department chairs also must assure that copies of pre-tenure reviews are retained in department personnel files. Upon request by a candidate, department chairs must provide the candidate a copy of the pre-tenure review maintained in department personnel files.    

 

9.7.3 Tenure Award Deliberations.  Written instructions for the preparation of tenure dossiers are distributed to the heads of academic units by the Provost and may be obtained from the unit offices or from the Office of the Provost.  Eligible candidates for academic tenure must prepare and submit tenure dossiers to the chair of the academic department in which they hold academic appointment no later than the date published in the Provost’s calendar (generally in late September – early October).  

 

Upon receipt of tenure dossiers and after confirming the tenure eligibility of candidates, department chairs must convene the Departmental Tenure Committees for the purpose of tenure award deliberations.  The department chair shall transmit the tenure dossiers, pre-tenure reviews (third–year reviews), and all Annual Performance Review Reports of eligible candidates to the Departmental Tenure Committees.  Departmental Tenure Committees must base tenure award deliberations on the standards for academic tenure mandated by the Board of Trustees, University tenure standards, any additional written standards for academic tenure adopted by the colleges, and the standards adopted by the academic departments in which candidates for tenure hold academic appointment.  

 

Departmental Tenure Committees must prepare and submit to departmental chairs written reports, signed by all committee members, recommending or declining to recommend academic tenure for each candidate considered. The written recommendations must include the rationale for recommendations and the vote count of the committee.  Separate reports must be prepared for each candidate assessed.  

 

9.7.4 Duties of Department Chairs.  Upon receiving the written recommendations of Departmental Tenure Committees, department chairs must:

 

(a) review the written reports of Departmental Tenure Committees for substantive or procedural discrepancies or inconsistencies with Annual Performance Review Reports or Pre-Tenure Reviews.  In the event of any discrepancies or inconsistencies, the chair will reconvene the committee and direct that any discrepancies or inconsistencies be remedied;  

 

(b) prepare independent written recommendations either concurring or disagreeing with the pre-tenure and tenure recommendations of the Departmental Tenure Committees; 

 

(c) submit the written reports of Departmental Tenure Committees and the chairs’ independent reports to responsible college deans no later than October 15; and

 

(d) assure that copies of all tenure-related documents are retained in departmental personnel files.

 

Concurrently, department chairs must notify candidates in writing of the recommendations submitted to the deans.  Upon request by a candidate, department chairs must provide the candidate a copy of the tenure award recommendation maintained in department personnel files. 

 

 

9.8 DECANAL ACTIONS ON PROMOTION AND THE AWARD OF TENURE

 

9.8.1 General.  All employment decisions regarding promotion and the award of tenure must ultimately be made by the Board of Trustees.  However, recommendations for promotion and tenure normally originate at the department level and are submitted by department chairs to the responsible college deans.   These recommendations are reviewed by the College Advisory Committees and the deans before being submitted to the University Advisory Committee and then the Provost. Candidates for tenure and promotion may add recent accomplishments to their dossier at any time prior to their evaluation at the University Advisory Committee level.   Materials in dossiers may not be removed during the evaluation processCandidates for tenure or promotion also have the right to withdraw their applications for tenure or promotion at any time.  Tenure and promotion are unidirectional processes, consequently (with the exception of referrals to the College Advisory Committee and the University Advisory Committee by the Provost outlined in Section 9.9.3 of the Handbook) these evaluations may not be referred back to a previous evaluative committee or individual once the committee or individual has rendered a decision.  Deans may at their discretion initiate promotion and tenure award proceedings, and may at their discretion initiate any personnel action except the termination of the employment of a faculty member.  Normally, however, deans exercise de novo jurisdiction over applications for promotion and the award of tenure, reviewing the written recommendations advanced by Departmental Promotion and Tenure Committees, department chairs, and College Advisory Committees.  In either event, deans submit the dossiers of faculty members being considered for promotion in rank and award of tenure to College Advisory Committees.  This section addresses procedures governing applications for promotion and the award of tenure, and reviews thereof, above the departmental level.

 

9.8.2 College Advisory Committee Recommendations.  College Advisory Committees, established by the policies and procedures of the various degree-granting colleges, receive from deans the dossiers of faculty members being considered for promotion or the award of tenure as well as the written recommendations of Departmental Promotion and Tenure Committees and department chairs.  The College Advisory Committee reviews all materials and then votes, the chair of the committee tendering written recommendations and rationale for the vote to the dean. The committee chair will simultaneously inform applicants by letter of the committee’s decision, including the rationale for the recommendation and the committee vote. 

 

9.8.3 Decanal Recommendations.  Deans must review and evaluate all materials considered by the College Advisory Committee, department chairs, and Departmental Promotion and Tenure Committees, thereafter submitting to the Provost a separate recommendation, along with all evaluative materials. Deans will advise the Provost on promotion and tenure recommendations no later than December 1. Deans will simultaneously send written notice of decanal action, together with the supporting rationale, to the College Advisory Committee, department chairs, Departmental Promotion and Tenure Committees, and applicants at the same time recommendations and evaluative materials are sent to the Provost.  

 

 

 

9.9 PROVOST ACTIONS ON PROMOTION AND THE AWARD OF TENURE

 

9.9.1 General.  The Provost may initiate any personnel action except the termination of the employment of a faculty member.  Normally, however, the Provost exercises de novo jurisdiction over faculty personnel recommendations, reviewing written recommendations and the supporting materials submitted by Departmental Promotion and Tenure Committees, department chairs, College Advisory Committees, and deans.  In either case, the Provost submits the dossiers of faculty members being considered for promotion in rank and the award of tenure to the University Advisory Committee. The Vice President for Research assists the Provost in these matters and may submit independent recommendations to the University President.  

 

9.9.2 University Advisory Committee Recommendations.  The University Advisory Committee receives from the Provost the dossiers of applicants for promotion or the award of tenure, as well as the written documents prepared by Departmental Promotion and Tenure Committees, department chairs, College Advisory Committees, and deans.  The University Advisory Committee reviews and evaluates all materials and then votes, the chair of the committee tendering written recommendations and rationale for the vote to the Provost with a copy to the applicant.  The chair of the University Advisory Committee will simultaneously inform applicants by letter of the committee’s decision, including the rationale and vote of the committee.  

 

9.9.3 Recommendations by the Provost.  Assisted by the Vice President for Research, the Provost reviews all application materials on the record and submits written recommendations to the President, at the same time sending copies to the University Advisory Committee, deans, College Advisory Committees, department chairs, Departmental Promotion and Tenure Committees, and to the applicants.  

 

In the event that the Provost disagrees with recommendations of both the College Advisory Committee and the University Advisory Committee, the Provost will remand the case to the College Advisory Committee, providing in writing the rationale for the disagreement.  The College Advisory Committee shall then reconsider the matter de novo, based upon the issues raised by the Provost and all other relevant evidence.  After reconsideration, the College Advisory Committee shall tender a recommendation to the dean.  Thereafter, the dean will submit a separate recommendation to the Provost, together with the committee recommendation.  The Provost will resubmit the case to the University Advisory Committee, and the matter will proceed in the same manner as an original application for promotion or tenure, except that it will not be subject to remand by the Provost to the College Advisory Committee. 

 

 

9.10 PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONS ON PROMOTION AND THE AWARD OF TENURE 

 

The University President may initiate all personnel actions involving members of the instructional staff.  Normally, however, the President reviews de novo the recommendations and evaluative materials submitted by Departmental Personnel Committees, department chairs, College Advisory Committees, deans, the University Advisory Committee, the Vice President for Research, and the Provost.  In reviewing the recommendations of subordinate institutional personnel bodies and administrative officers, the President has the discretion to obtain and review any additional evidence of probative value and to interview any party, including applicants.

 

Presidential decisions will be communicated in writing to the applicant.  Positive Presidential decisions will be recommended to the Board of Trustees.  Promotion in academic rank or the award of tenure occur only after the Board has granted it in writing and the faculty member has received written notice of the promotion or award of tenure from the President.  Negative presidential decisions will be final unless the candidate appeals to the Board of Trustees.    

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 10

 

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT

 

 

10.1 GENERAL 

 

10.1.1 Board Authority.  The Board of Trustees has the statutory authority to suspend or terminate the employment of any member of the academic staff, including tenured faculty members, at any time for financial exigencies as declared by the Board, or in the event of the termination, suspension, or reduction of programs, academic units, or administrative units by the Board.1  Tenured faculty members whose employment is terminated or suspended because of financial exigencies as declared by the Board or because of the suspension or reduction of programs, academic units, or administrative units as approved by the Board are entitled to a continuation of employment for nine (9) to twelve (12) months from the date of notification, consistent with the terms of existing employment contracts.2 


The Board likewise has the statutory authority to dismiss any member of the academic staff of the University, including tenured faculty members, at any time, with or without the recommendation of the University President, for malfeasance, for inefficiency, for contumacious conduct, or for cause.  The employment contracts of parties dismissed for malfeasance, for inefficiency, for contumacious conduct, or for cause may be terminated by the Board at any time with the dismissed party retaining no right to continued employment for any period of time.  Pursuant to Board policy, at the discretion of the President, the parties against whom the university has initiated termination proceedings may be placed on leave without pay, and such parties may be reassigned or relieved of teaching duties, assignments, appointments, and privileges for a specified period of time.3  However, the authority of the Board to dismiss tenured faculty members or non-tenured faculty members prior to the expiration of the term of appointment on such terms is subject to institutional due process procedures, which requires that the affected faculty member be given notice of the proposed action and be granted a hearing before an impartial institutional body.4 

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1 Miss. Code Ann., Section 37-101-15 (F) (1990); Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 401.0101.

2 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0104.

3 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0104(2).

4 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0104.

 

10.1.2 Definitions of Criteria.  Board mandated terms that might lead to the initiation of termination proceedings are defined as follows: 

 

 (a)   “Malfeasance” is misconduct that adversely affects, interrupts, or interferes with the performance of a faculty member’s duties or that adversely affects, interrupts, or interferes with that of other institutional faculty or administrative personnel. Examples of malfeasance pertinent to faculty and ex officio faculty include, but are not limited to, the repeated failure to perform assigned duties or responsibilities, intellectual dishonesty, and violations of professional ethics enumerated in this Handbook.  

 

 (b)   “Inefficiency” is a repeated failure to demonstrate competency in the contracted terms of employment, which in the case of faculty and ex officio faculty equates with performance substantially below standards and/or criteria governing assigned duties or responsibilities.  Dismissal proceedings on grounds of inefficiency should be initiated only after a faculty member has been given written notice and afforded both reasonable University resources and an opportunity to redress the stated source of inefficiency within a reasonable, enumerated time.

 

 (c) “Contumacious Conduct” is the refusal to comply with a legitimate, authorized directive of an academic or administrative authority or the refusal to comply with the policies of the Board of Trustees or the policies of the University.  

 

 (d)   “Cause” means fair and honest reasons, regulated by good faith on the part of the University, that are not trivial, arbitrary or capricious, pretextual, or unrelated to University needs or goals.  Specific examples applicable to faculty and ex officio faculty include, but are not limited to, the falsification of any University record, including information concerning prior or current academic records, performance or qualifications for employment, promotion or tenure; theft or misappropriation of funds, property, services, or other resources belonging to the University, its employees, students, or visitors; violations of the United States Code or Mississippi Code; and use of professional authority to exploit, harass, or discriminate against others.

 

10.1.3 Confidentiality.  Under no circumstances may any employee of the University charged with the supervision of faculty discuss any faculty personnel action with any third party other than individuals who have supervisory authority over the affected faculty member.  

 

 

10.2 TERMINATION PROCEDURE

 

10.2.1 General.  The following procedures shall apply in all cases in which the University proposes to terminate a tenured faculty member, or proposes to terminate a non-tenured faculty member prior to the expiration of the term of appointment, for malfeasance, for academic inefficiency, for contumacious conduct, or for cause.  These procedures do not apply to cases in which the appointment of a non-tenured faculty member has expired or will expire by its terms and the University elects not to renew or extend the term of the appointment.  These procedures do not apply to cases in which the Board elects to exercise its statutory authority to suspend or terminate the employment of faculty members for financial exigencies as declared by the Board or in cases where the Board elects to exercise its statutory authority to terminate, suspend, or reduce programs, academic units, or administrative units.

 

10.2.2 Initial Recommendation for Termination.  Any institutional officer or advisory body to whom the President has delegated relevant supervisory authority may recommend to the President that termination proceedings be initiated regarding a faculty member for malfeasance, for inefficiency, for contumacious conduct, or for cause.  However, only the Board or the President may initiate proceedings that might lead to the termination of the employment of a faculty member.

 

10.2.3 Initial Presidential Review.  If, in the judgment of the President, there is substantial evidence supporting a recommendation for the termination of a faculty member, the President will submit all evidentiary materials and relevant information to the Provost and request a preliminary investigation by the ombudsman.  

 

10.2.4 Ombudsman Review.  A standing ombudsman will be selected each academic year.  At the beginning of the academic year, each dean of the degree granting colleges will appoint five (5) faculty members of professorial rank to serve on the ombudsman candidate pool.  In making their selections, the deans will give due consideration to diversity.  The ombudsman will be selected by the Provost, in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, from the pool of candidates selected by the deans of the degree-granting colleges.

 

If the President requests a preliminary investigation, the Provost will request the ombudsman to conduct an inquiry of all allegations, interviewing relevant parties, reviewing relevant documents, and conferring with other institutional officers.  The ombudsman may conduct interviews with the faculty member and seek a resolution of the matter pending presidential approval.  The ombudsman will submit a written report and recommendation to the President, together with all supporting documentation and will submit copies of the same to the faculty member.   

 

10.2.5 Presidential Action.  Upon review of the written recommendation submitted by the ombudsman, the President will proceed with one of three courses of action:

 

the closure of the case with no further institutional action;

 

the implementation of institutional action consistent with the terms of resolution that have been agreed upon with the faculty member; or

 

the initiation of formal institutional termination proceedings.

 

10.2.6 Notice of Termination Proceedings.  In the event the President decides to close the case with no further institutional action, the President will notify the faculty member by certified mail.

 

In the event the President decides to implement institutional action consistent with the terms of resolution agreed upon with the faculty member, the President will notify the faculty member by certified mail of the official terms of the resolution and implement those terms.

 

In the event the President decides to initiate termination proceedings or in the event the faculty member fails to honor the agreed upon terms of resolution, the President will notify the faculty member by certified mail of the intention of the University to initiate formal termination proceedings.  The notice will include the following:

 

(a) a detailed statement of the grounds for termination;

 

(b) notice of the faculty member’s right to formally contest the charges in a hearing before the University Advisory Committee;

 

(c) notice of the faculty member’s right to be advised by legal counsel during the hearing;

 

(d) notice of any suspension of pay or change of duties pending the conclusion of the matter; and

 

(e) notice that the faculty member has fourteen (14) days from the date of receipt of the notice to contest in writing the charges and request in writing a hearing before the University Advisory Committee.1

 

 

10.2.7 Failure to Contest.  In the event the faculty member does not contest the charges in writing within fourteen (14) days from the date of receipt of the written notice, the employment of the faculty member will be terminated with forfeiture of all subsequent procedural rights.  

 

In the event the faculty member timely contests the charges in writing but does not timely request a hearing in writing, then the right to a hearing will be waived and the matter will be contested on the record before the President without a hearing.

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1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0104(2).

 

10.2.8 Hearing.  If the faculty member timely contests the charges in writing and timely requests a hearing in writing, the President shall notify the University Advisory Committee within ten (10) days from receipt of the request, and the matter will proceed according to the following procedures:

 

(a) Notice of Hearing.  The Chair of the University Advisory Committee will give the faculty member and the President written notice of the time and place of the hearing at least twenty (20) days prior to the date of the hearing.

 

(b) Representation.  The faculty member will represent him/herself and an institutional officer appointed by the President, who is not an attorney, will represent the University in the hearing.  The faculty member may appoint an advisor, who is not an attorney, to represent the faculty member in the hearing and plead on behalf of the faculty member.  Either party may retain legal counsel for the exclusive purpose of providing advice.  In no event shall legal counsel for either party be permitted to examine witnesses or to plead before the University Advisory Committee.  Selection and compensation of counsel or an advisor is the responsibility of the party desiring legal representation.  

 

If the either party intends to be advised by legal counsel or if the faculty member chooses to have an advisor at the hearing, that party must notify the other party and the Chair of the University Advisory Committee at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing date.  If either party fails to give timely notice of legal or advisory representation, that party will not be entitled to be advised by legal counsel or an advisor at the hearing.

 

(c) Waiver of Hearing.  If, at any time prior to the hearing, the faculty member decides to waive the right to a hearing and respond to the charges in writing only, the faculty member must give written notice to the President and the Chair of the University Advisory Committee.  Both parties shall then have ten (10) days from receipt of the notice to submit written position statements to the Chair of the University Advisory Committee.  The University Advisory Committee will then evaluate all available evidence, including the written statements of both parties, vote on the matter, and submit a written majority opinion and if applicable, a written minority opinion to the President, the Provost, and the faculty member.  

 

(d) Witnesses.  Not later than ten (10) days prior to the hearing, the parties must exchange a written list of witnesses that each party expects to call to testify at the hearing and a summary of the testimony expected from each witness.  Witnesses who are not so identified in a timely manner may not testify before the University Advisory Committee.

 

(e) Evidence.  The University Advisory Committee will not be bound by legal rules of evidence in the hearing.  The committee may admit any credible evidence of probative value that it deems relevant to the issues.  The committee must, however, base its decision upon reliable and credible evidence.  If the hearing involves allegations of incompetence, the testimony must include that of professionally qualified members of the institutional faculty and may include testimony of other relevant scholars. 

 

(f) Cross Examination of Witnesses.  Both parties and advisors, but not legal counsel for either party, may cross-examine all witnesses.  

 

(g) Burden of Proof.  The University shall bear the burden of proving the grounds for termination by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

(h) Findings and Conclusions.  The University Advisory Committee will reach its decision by majority vote.  Within ten (10) days after the conclusion of the hearing, the committee will submit its recommendation to the President, with a copy to the Provost, and the faculty member that will contain:

a written account of the vote of the committee, the vote constituting a recommendation to the President;1

a written majority opinion, including the rationale therefore;

a written minority opinion, if applicable, including the rationale therefore;

the recording of the hearing; and

the transcript of the hearing.

 

(i) Transcript of Hearing.  The hearing before the University Advisory Committee will be recorded and transcribed by a certified court stenographer, and a transcript will be made at the expense of the University.  The faculty member may request a copy of the recording and of the transcript.  However, the faculty member shall be responsible for the cost of the copy of the transcript and shall be responsible for making appropriate financial arrangements with the stenographer.

 

10.2.9   Provost’s Recommendation.  The Provost shall review the University Advisory Committee recommendation and all evidentiary materials.  The Provost will prepare a separate recommendation to the President either concurring with or dissenting from the decision of the University Advisory Committee. The Provost will simultaneously transmit the Provost’s recommendation, and the written rationale, to the President, the University Advisory Committee, and to the faculty member.

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1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0104(2). 

 

 

10.2.10 Presidential Review.  If, upon review, the President does not concur with a recommendation for termination by the University Advisory Committee, the President will provide the University Advisory Committee with a written rationale of the grounds of disagreement and inform the faculty member by certified mail of the President’s intention to:

dismiss all charges, or

implement institutional action consistent with the terms of resolution agreed upon with the faculty member. 

 

If, upon review, the President concurs with a recommendation for termination by the University Advisory Committee, then the President will notify the University Advisory Committee and the faculty member by certified mail of the intent to recommend termination to the Board, and notice of the right of the faculty member to request final institutional review on the record.

 

If, upon review, the President does not concur with a recommendation against termination by the University Advisory Committee, then the President will notify the University Advisory Committee and the faculty member by certified mail of the rationale for the grounds of disagreement, notice of the intent to recommend termination to the Board, and notice of the faculty member’s right to request final institutional review on the record.

 

10.2.11 Final Institutional Review.  In the event the President decides to recommend termination to the Board, then the President will notify the faculty member by certified mail of the right to request in writing final institutional review on the record within ten (10) days of receipt of the notice.

 

A request for final institutional review must identify specific procedural issues for review exclusively on the record.  The committee will not undertake to make its own judgment on the merits of the case but will make a determination of whether the institutional due process procedures were followed and/or the decision was not arbitrary or capricious.

 

The reviewing body will be the University Termination Review Council, a body composed of five (5) faculty members of professorial rank who will be chosen by lot, from the pool of ombudsman candidates.   The ombudsman may not serve on the Council.  In no case may a person serve on the Council if that person has been a party to any facet of the termination process to be reviewed or if that person has an unduly close personal or professional relationship with the faculty member.  In the event of recusal of a member, a replacement member will be drawn from the remaining pool.

 

The University Termination Review Council will, by majority vote, select a chair and review on the record all procedural matters specifically identified by the faculty member.  The committee shall then reach a decision by majority vote on whether there are any procedural irregularities or whether the decision is arbitrary or capricious.  The committee will then submit a written report and recommendation to the President, with a copy to the faculty member, which identifies the vote count and both the majority and minority opinions of the committee.

 

10.2.12 Final Presidential Decision.  Upon review of the report of the University Termination Review Council, the President may elect to conduct a final interview with the faculty member, or with any other parties, and may seek any other relevant evidence, afterward informing the faculty member by certified mail of the decision to:

dismiss all charges;

implement institutional action consistent with the terms of resolution agreed upon with the faculty member; or

recommend termination to the Board.

 

10.2.13 Presidential Recommendation for Termination.  In the event the President decides to recommend termination to the Board, the President will transmit to the Board all of the evidence, including the recording and transcript of the hearing before the University Advisory Committee and the report of the Termination Review Council, together with the presidential recommendation.

 

 

CHAPTER 11

 

SCHOLARLY MISCONDUCT PROCEEDINGS

 

 

11.1 SCOPE OF PROCEEDINGS 

 

11.1.1 General.  Scholarly misconduct is subject to institutional administrative proceedings and possible disciplinary action, and might also constitute a violation of public law.  Scholarly misconduct is defined as:  

 

(a) fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, deception, discrimination, or other practices that seriously deviate from accepted professional standards in scholarly and creative activities, projects sponsored by the University, or in proposing, conducting or reporting research; 

 

(b) failure to comply with University requirements for the protection of researchers, human subjects, the general public, or laboratory animals; 

 

(c) failure to protect the environment; 

 

(d) failure to respect the rights of others in the conduct of research, writing, or other scholarly work; or

 

 (e)  failure to comply with legal requirements governing research, writing, scholarly  and creative activities, and projects sponsored by the University.

 

 

11.1.2 University Research Ombudsman.  The University Research Ombudsman is a senior member of the faculty appointed by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development to serve for a period of not less than two (2) years.  The Ombudsman receives all complaints of scholarly misconduct.  The Ombudsman is also responsible for informing the Vice President for Research and Economic Development of all complaints and for maintaining the security of all records relating to allegations, inquiries, and investigations of misconduct.

 

 

11.2 SCHOLARLY MISCONDUCT PROCEDURE

 

11.2.1 Initiating Allegations.  Parties having reasonable cause to believe that a University employee or student has committed an act of scholarly misconduct must first consult informally with the University Research Ombudsman.

 

11.2.2 Informal Consultations.  Upon being informally advised of possible scholarly misconduct, the University Research Ombudsman must advise complainants of the gravity of the allegations, the possible ramifications of a spurious or ill-founded allegation, and the procedures governing formal inquiry and investigation.  The Ombudsman shall provide potential complainants with appropriate documents through which formal complaints may be lodged. 

 

11.2.3 Formal Complaints.  An allegation of scholarly misconduct becomes a formal complaint whenever the University Research Ombudsman receives a signed, formal complaint form.  Formal complaints must state the facts on which the complaint is based and identify the party or parties against whom allegations are made.  Upon receiving the complaint, the Ombudsman must provide copies of the formal complaint to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

 

11.2.4 Interim Protective Actions.  If, in the judgment of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, a formal complaint of scholarly misconduct involves the potential for danger or detrimental action to human subjects, the general public, experimental animals, or the environment, and/or when an allegation involves an immediate need to protect fiscal resources or property, the Vice President may recommend that the University President take appropriate protective action. In such cases, the President may issue administrative orders necessary to avert the perceived danger, and such orders shall remain in effect until the conclusion of all administrative proceedings arising from the formal charges.  

 

11.2.5 Notification of Possible Criminal Conduct.  In the event that a formal complaint indicates a possible violation of public law, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development may notify law enforcement agencies of appropriate jurisdiction.

 

11.2.6 Convening Boards of Inquiry.  A Board of Inquiry may be convened at the discretion of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development upon receipt of a written complaint of scholarly misconduct.  Boards of Inquiry review the allegations and evidentiary materials provided by complainants and advise the Vice President whether the allegations merit formal investigation.  Boards of Inquiry are ad hoc panels composed of at least three (3) faculty or staff members appointed by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.  Parties appointed to Boards of Inquiry must have reasonable competence in the academic fields encompassed by the deliberations of the Board, as determined by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. 

 

Parties appointed to Boards of Inquiry may not:

 

(a)  be related to any parties as defined by Board and University Nepotism Policy; 

 

(b) have unduly close personal or professional relationships with any parties;

 

(c) have unduly close professional or business affiliations with any parties that in any way might be, or create the appearance of a conflict of interest; nor 

 

(d) hold appointment in the administrative unit in which any parties hold appointment.  

 

The Vice President for Research and Economic Development also appoints the chairs of Boards of Inquiry.  The University Research Ombudsman serves as Secretary to Boards of Inquiry, sitting in a nonvoting capacity and keeping a tape recording of all proceedings.  

 

Boards of Inquiry conduct formal investigations of alleged scholarly misconduct, considering all supporting evidentiary materials before formulating and delivering a finding to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development who may retain external consultants when such expertise is required.

 

11.2.7 Notification to Respondents.  The Vice President for Research and Economic Development must notify respondents in writing of all allegations of misconduct, specifying whether a Board of Inquiry has been formed and informing respondents of its composition.   

 

11.2.8  Protection Against Disclosure.  Under no circumstances, and at no time during reviews conducted by Boards of Inquiry, may the names of complainants be disclosed to the respondents.     

 

11.2.9  Inquiry Process.  Boards of Inquiry must interview complainants and respondents separately, reviewing all necessary and reasonable documentation that might warrant or discourage an official investigation of alleged misconduct.  Refusal by complainants to allow a Board of Inquiry to examine all necessary and pertinent documents will warrant the dismissal of formal complaints.  Likewise, refusal by respondents to allow Boards of Inquiry to review all necessary and pertinent documents will warrant Board recommendations for formal investigations.

 

Although the proceedings of Boards of Inquiry are preliminary in nature, complainants and respondents may be represented by legal counsel at their own expense.  Legal counsel may appear for the sole purpose of advisement, in no case being allowed to examine witnesses or plead before the Board.  Selection and compensation of counsel is the responsibility of the party desiring legal representation.  The University has no obligation, nor will it assume responsibility for the selection, appointment, or compensation of any legal counsel represented by any party.  

 

Normally, reviews conducted by Boards of Inquiry are concluded within thirty (30) days of receipt of formal complaints.  Extenuating circumstances, however, may justify extensions of time at the request of either complainants or respondents or at the discretion of Boards of Inquiry.  Requests for extensions of time by complainants or respondents must be submitted to the Chair of the Board of Inquiry, whose sole discretion will determine whether such requests are granted or denied.

 

Upon completion of reviews, Boards of Inquiry must determine whether a preponderance of the evidence justifies official investigation and submit a written report to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development containing: 

 

(a) the written complaint; 

 

(b) the results of subsequent inquiries, including the response to the complaint and the names and testimony of all witnesses; and

 

(c) recommendations for or against official investigation.   

 

Concurrently, the Chair of Board of Inquiry must submit copies of the report by first class mail to complainants and respondents.  

 

11.2.10 Convening Boards of Investigation.  Upon receiving recommendations from a Board of Inquiry for a formal investigation of alleged scholarly misconduct, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development must decide whether to convene a Board of Investigation.  Boards of Investigation conduct formal investigations of alleged scholarly misconduct, considering allegations of complainants, responses of respondents, and all supporting evidentiary materials before delivering a finding to the Vice President.  Boards of Investigation are ad hoc panels composed of at least five (5) faculty and/or staff members appointed by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development with the advice of the chair of the University Research Council.  Membership on Boards of Investigation is governed by the same guidelines that govern Boards of Inquiry, chairs being appointed by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. 

 

11.2.11 Notification.  The Vice President must send written notification to the University President, all concerned University vice presidents, college deans, responsible directors, responsible department chairs, and any other responsible supervisory personnel, complainants, and respondents that a formal investigation has been initiated.  Letters to respondents must disclose the identities of complainants.  

 

Pursuant to applicable laws, regulations, and agreements, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development must also notify sponsors when formal investigations are initiated, apprising sponsors of any facts disclosed by the investigation process that might affect current or potential funding for individuals under investigation or require actions for the protection of the general public.

 

11.2.12 Investigation Process.  The Board of Inquiry conducts a formal investigation of the charges lodged by complainant.  Formal investigations include, but are not limited to the examination of all relevant documentation, relevant research data and proposals, publications, drafts of publications, correspondence, memoranda, notes, and drawings.  The Board of Investigation must prepare complete summaries of interviews with all individuals making an allegation, responding to an allegation, or providing information during the investigation.  Copies of the summaries are to be maintained as part of the official record.  Copies of the summaries must be provided to all parties interviewed for their review and verification.  Revisions of fact in such summaries may be made at the discretion of the Board of Investigation, such revisions to be recorded in the written record.  

 

If allegations of misconduct involve activities supported by external funds, Boards of Investigation must observe all requirements stipulated by external funding agencies.  

 

In all proceedings by Boards of Investigation, respondents may confront and question complainants and others testifying against them and present evidence and testimony refuting allegations of misconduct. 

 

At their discretion, complainants and respondents may be represented by legal counsel retained for the exclusive purpose of providing advice.  In no event shall legal counsel be permitted to examine witnesses or to plead before Boards of Investigation.  Selection and compensation of counsel is the responsibility of the party desiring legal representation.  The University has no obligation, nor will it assume responsibility for the selection, appointment, or compensation of any legal counsel represented by any party.

 

Boards of Investigation must conduct prompt and thorough investigations, seeking to complete proceedings within sixty (60) working days of assembling.  In the event of extenuating circum-stances, complainants, respondents, and Boards of Investigation may petition the Vice President for Research and Economic Development for extensions in time.  The Vice President may grant or deny said petitions in his or her discretion.  Upon completion of investigations, the Boards must prepare preliminary reports of their findings.  Copies of the reports must be to complainants and respondents by first class mail. 

 

Respondents have fourteen (14) days from the date of preliminary reports to respond to the Board in writing.  If a response if filed, the Board shall send a copy of the response to the complainant.  Upon receipt of a written response, or not receiving a response within the fourteen (14) day period, the Board of Investigation must prepare its final report.

 

The final report of the Board of Investigation shall be submitted to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. The final report must include the formal complaint, all findings of fact as determined by a majority vote of the Board of Investigation, and all supporting documentation.

 

11.2.13 Vice Presidential Review.  The Vice President for Research and Economic Development may concur with the findings of the Board of Investigation or, perceiving procedural error, factual error, or omission of material evidence, may remand the case to the Board of Investigation for further deliberation.  If a case is remanded to a Board of Investigation, the Board must submit its final findings to the Vice President within fourteen (14) working days.

 

11.2.14 Official Notification of Final Findings.  The Vice President for Research and Economic Development must provide written notification of his or her final findings to complainants, respondents, all other parties to investigations, and to sponsoring external agencies, if any.  Letters of notification must be sent by first class mail.   

 

11.2.15   Reports to the President.  Within twenty (20) days after the Vice President’s decision, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development must submit a written report to the

University President.  The report of the Vice President must contain the formal complaint, the final reports (inclusive of all evidentiary materials) submitted by the Board of Inquiry and Board of Investigation, the Vice President’s decision, and recommended action, including sanctions.  

 

11.2.16   Presidential Review.  In reviewing the submitted materials, the University President may seek additional evidentiary materials, including the testimony of any party, and may either concur or disagree, in whole or in part, with the findings of Boards of Investigation, the opinion of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, or with the sanctions recommended by the Vice President.  Within a reasonable time, the President must inform the respondent of the final determination of the University, including what institutional sanctions, if any, are to be imposed. 

 

11.2.17 University Sanctions.  University sanctions are imposed exclusive of those that might result from criminal litigation or administrative actions taken by external funding agencies.  Moreover, because of the wide range of circumstances that might frame cases of scholarly misconduct, there is no fixed rule governing University sanctions.  Rather, the University President, duly advised by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, considers the gravity of the misconduct and determines institutional sanctions with reference to the public interest, the interests of the University, and fundamental fairness.

 

University sanctions against employees may include, but are not restricted to, one or more of the following:

 

(a) A letter of reprimand. 

 

(b) Probation for a designated period, with specified terms and conditions.

 

(c) The suspension or termination of an active grant or project.

 

(d) Restrictions on specified scholarly activities requiring permission and/or monitoring by designated supervisory personnel.

 

(e) A ban on specified scholarly activities, including participation in specific programs funded by specified external agencies.

 

(f) Reduction in academic rank or employment classification level. 

 

(g) Reduction of salary. 

 

(h) Removal from administrative position.

 

(i) Suspension from University employment for a designated period of time.

 

(j) Non-renewal of University employment.

 

(k) University proceedings leading to dismissal from University employment. 

 

(l) Immediate termination of employment.

 

11.2.18 Confidentiality of Proceedings.  The University complies with the requirements of external funding agencies that specify, as a contractual condition of funding, that the University must provide notice of any alleged acts of misconduct.  Otherwise, all complaints, inquiries, and administrative proceedings involving alleged scholarly misconduct are confidential to the maximum extent possible.

 

In all cases, the University seeks to involve as few parties as possible and to avoid any possible harm to the character or reputation of innocent parties.  The Vice President for Research and Economic Development maintains records of allegations, evidence, and administrative proceedings securely, such records not being subject to laws affording public access.

 

CHAPTER 12

 

FACULTY GRIEVANCE PROCEEDINGS

 

 

12.1 BOARD POLICY

 

The Board of Trustees mandates that Mississippi's public universities provide administrative remedies to aggrieved employees under circumstances defined by the Board.  The Board defines a grievance as:

 

The claim of an individual employee that there has been a violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of a rule, policy or procedure in relation to personnel policies, including working hours, working conditions, leaves, promotions and other conditions of employment.1

 

 

The University of Southern Mississippi provides administrative remedies to aggrieved faculty members through Faculty Grievance Proceedings.  This chapter explains the purpose of these proceedings and the applicable policies and procedures. 

 

 

12.2 FACULTY GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE 

 

12.2.1 Faculty Grievance Policies.  The University extends to its employees a wide range of administrative remedies, each being adapted to the nature of a given personnel matter.  For instance, the University Employee Handbook and Chapter 3 herein discuss administrative remedies applicable to University policies on discrimination, harassment generally, and sexual harassment in particular.  Chapter 9 discusses administrative remedies applicable to cases involving promotion in academic rank and the award of tenure.  Chapter 10 discusses administrative remedies available in cases involving termination.  Finally, Chapter 11 addresses scholarly misconduct proceedings.  Faculty Employment Grievances provide recourse in the event of specific alleged violations of substantive or procedural employment policies or actions that have not been addressed in the previous chapters.  These procedures do not apply to cases involving termination of tenured faculty or termination of non-tenured faculty prior to the expiration of the term of their contracted employment.  These procedures do not apply to recommendations on promotion or the award of tenure.  These procedures do not apply to scholarly misconduct proceedings.  Those procedures are set forth in the preceding chapters.

________________________________________

     1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0201.

 

 

12.2.2 Grievance Issues.  Faculty Employment Grievances apply to:   

 

(a) annual performance reviews; 

 

(b) pre-tenure reviews; 

 

(c) personnel actions involving adjustments in compensation;

 

(d) non-renewal of employment of non-tenured faculty;

 

(e) denial of sabbatical; and

 

(f) grievances alleging a violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of a rule, policy or procedure in relation to personnel policies, procedures, or practices including teaching assignments, working hours, release time, general working conditions, nonacademic leave, employment benefits, etc.

 

 

(g) academic freedom.

 

 

12.2.3    Filing Grievances.  Faculty Grievance Proceedings are initiated when an employee submits a written claim, supported by objective evidence, alleging that a specified rule, policy, or procedure has been violated, misinterpreted, or misapplied.  Grievances are initiated by filing a written claim with the chair of the departmental personnel committee or the department chair.

 

12.2.4    Departmental Response and Conference.  Upon receipt of a grievance, the departmental personnel committee or department chair will invite the involved parties to a conference at an early date convenient to both parties, in order to attempt to informally resolve the grievance.  At the conclusion of the conference, the chair of the departmental personnel committee/department chair will prepare a written memorandum of the grievance, including any agreement reached, and provide a copy to the involved parties within ten (10) days.   

 

12.2.5    Decanal Grievances.  Should the departmental conference fail to result in resolution, or if a faculty member is dissatisfied with a departmental employment decision, the aggrieved party may, within ten (10) days, request in writing that the dean of the college convene the College Advisory Committee for a formal grievance review on the record. 

 

In the event a formal grievance review on the record is requested, the College Advisory Committee will recuse all members holding academic appointment in the same department as the aggrieved party and review on the record (a) the original claim of the aggrieved party, (b) the pertinent policy, (c) the written response of the departmental personnel committee/department chair to the original grievance, (d) all evidence relating to the grievance, (e) the written memorandum of the departmental conference with the aggrieved party, and (f) any written supplementary evidence provided by the aggrieved party for review on the record.  Upon completion of the formal review on the record, the College Advisory Committee will vote and render a written judgment on the merits of the grievance to the dean.  The judgment of the committee will include a majority opinion and a minority opinion, if any.  Upon review, the dean will render a written opinion on the merits of the grievance, including any remedial action deemed necessary, and submit it to the chair of the College Advisory Committee, to the departmental personnel committee/department chair, and to the grievant.

 

12.2.6   Provost Grievances.  At the discretion of the aggrieved party, further institutional review of the claim may be requested of the Provost within ten (10) working days of receipt of the dean’s decision.  In such cases, the Provost will request and the dean will provide complete records of all prior proceedings; and the Provost will provide those records to the University Advisory Committee, which will review all evidence exclusively on the record, vote, and submit its recommendation to the Provost.  The Provost may agree or disagree with the recommendation of the University Advisory Committee and may interview the grievant.  At the conclusion of the review, the Provost will inform the grievant, the University Advisory Committee, the dean, the College Advisory Committee, and the departmental personnel committee/department chair of his or her decision by certified mail.

 

12.2.7    Presidential Grievances.  Dissatisfied parties may appeal the Provost’s decision to the University President within ten (10) days from the receipt of the Provost’s decision.  The President may review the grievance exclusively on the record; may request, receive, and consider additional evidentiary materials; and may consider the testimony of grievant and any other parties.  The grievant will be notified of the President’s decision in writing by certified mail.  

 

12.2.8    Board Appeals.  Pursuant to Board Policy, institutional grievances may not be appealed to the Board.1 

 

_________________________________________________

 1 Board Policies and Bylaws, Section 403.0202.

 

 

CHAPTER 13

 

BOARD APPEALS

 

Board policy specifies that aggrieved faculty members may appeal institutional personnel decisions to the Board.  The procedure for appeals to the Board is governed by state law and section 403.0105 of the Board Policies and Bylaws, which states as follows:

 

1. Miss. Code Ann., Section 37-101-15 sets forth the general obligations of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning with respect to employment at the various institutions of higher learning.  It is the policy of the Board to consider appeals of faculty personnel decisions only after the aggrieved faculty member has exhausted all administrative remedies at the institutional level.  In the event that an appeal to the Board is requested by the aggrieved party, the Institutional Executive Officer shall transmit to the Board the full report of the grievance/tenure committee concerning the matter appealed.  

The individual allegedly aggrieved will be allowed to submit a written statement of his grievance to the Commissioner within a thirty (30) day period following notification of the decision of the Institutional Executive Officer. No persons will appear personally before the Board unless invited.  

If review is allowed by the Board, only the record developed at the institution will be reviewed.  Review by the Board is not a matter of right, but is within the sound discretion of the Board.  Review by the Board, if granted, is only on the record made at the lower level.  No new evidence may be submitted on appeal.

 

2. Review of Appeal by the Board:

The Board, upon receipt of such an appeal, shall review the records of the institutional committee's hearing and all documentation relative to the personnel decision.  The Board reserves the right to correct an omission or other inaccuracy in the record submitted upon suggestion by either party or upon its own motion.  The Board shall then determine the following:

a. If the institutional due process procedures were followed;

                             and/or

 b.  If the decision was arbitrary or capricious.

 

The Board, after reviewing the written argument and documentary evidence, shall affirm the decision of the Institutional Executive Officer or make another decision which shall be final and binding.

 


 

APPENDIX

 

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI FACULTY HANDBOOK COMMITTEE BYLAWS

 

  

ARTICLE I

 

PURPOSE STATEMENT

 

The Faculty Handbook Committee considers revisions, modifications and amendments to the handbook on the basis of proposals submitted by members of the faculty or administration.  If approved by the committee, changes are formally recommended to the University President for a final decision.

 

ARTICLE II

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

Section 1. Members

 

Voting Appointed Members:

 *Member of the Faculty appointed by the President

 

 

The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate will appoint four faculty members to the committee:

 *A member of the Faculty Senate

 *A non-member of the Faculty Senate

 *A member of the faculty at large

*A member from the Gulf Coast Faculty

 

 

Voting Ex-officio

 Assistant or Associate Provost

 Assistant or Associate Vice President for Research

 

 

 

Voting Elected Members:

 A dean selected by the College Deans

 A chair selected by the Council of Chairs

 

 

Non-voting Ex-officio

 General Counsel

 

 

 

* - Must be regular tenure stream faculty below the level of Department Chair or School Director.

 

Section 2. Terms

 

The Faculty Handbook Committee Membership shall serve staggered three-year terms. The University Counsel member will serve permanently as Ex-officio on the committee.  Terms will begin on September 1, and end on August 31.  For the purpose of the initial adoption of these Bylaws terms will have begun on September 1, 2011.  No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms unless there are no available replacements from within the appointing office (i.e. Office of the Provost and Office of the Vice President for Research)

 

The committee will be split into two groups.  Group 1 shall initially serve a two-year term.  Group 2 shall initially serve a three-year term.  From those points forward both groups shall serve staggered three-year terms.  The Chair of the Faculty Handbook Committee is responsible for notifying represented offices and bodies of term completions and the need for newly appointed or elected members by April 1 of the academic year prior to the replacement being named.  Replacements for committee members who do not complete their terms, or are no longer members of their constituency groups, shall serve out the remainder of the 3-year term and are eligible to be elected by their constituency group for additional terms.

 

The Groups are assigned as follows:

 

Group 1 (2-year term beginning by 1 September 2011)

 Assistant or Associate Provost

 Non-member of the Faculty Senate appointed by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate

 Member of the Faculty appointed by the President

 A chair selected by the Council of Chairs

 Faculty at-large member appointed by the Faculty Senate

 

 

Group 2 (3-year term beginning by 1 September 2011)

 Assistant or Associate Vice President for Research

 Faculty Senate member appointed by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate

 A dean selected by the College Deans

 A member from the Gulf Coast Faculty

 

Section 3.  Election of the Chair

The Faculty Handbook Committee will elect a Chair annually from the Faculty Senate appointees.  Chairs may serve up to three consecutive one-year terms.  The chair of the committee will be a voting member of the committee. 

 

 

Section 4.  Proxies and Vacancies

 

Proxies:  All members of the Faculty Handbook Committee are expected to attend regularly scheduled meetings.  In the case that a member of the committee must be absent from a meeting it is expected that a proxy will be named to represent the committee member at the meeting.  It is preferred that the proxy be chosen from the members of the represented constituency.  In the case of an extended absence from the university committee members are expected to name a long-term proxy for a set term as communicated to the chair.  All proxies must be reported by the sitting member of the committee to the chair of the Faculty Handbook Committee at least one day prior to the meeting the proxy will attend.  It is the committee member’s responsibility to notify the chair via email of need for a proxy and the name of the proxy.  Proxies retain voting privileges in representing regular committee members.  If the chair of the Faculty Handbook Committee is not notified of a proxy attending at least one day prior to the meeting, the proxy may attend the meeting but will forfeit voting privileges.  Proxies may not represent more than one voting member of the committee.

 

Vacancies:  Should a position on the Faculty Handbook Committee be vacated for any reason the Chair of the Committee shall notify the body or office from which the position was vacated of the need for a replacement.  It is expected that replacements will be in place by the next scheduled meeting of the Committee.  Replacements for members who have not completed their terms, or are no longer members of their constituent groups, shall serve out the remainder of the 3-year terms and will be eligible for election by their constituency groups to additional terms. 

 

Section 5. Responsibilities 

 

Members are expected to attend all regularly scheduled meetings of the Faculty Handbook Committee and communicate the issues raised in the Committee meetings to their represented constituencies.  If a member of the Faculty Handbook Committee fails to attend two regularly scheduled meetings of the Committee in a single academic year without supplying a proxy, he/she shall be notified in writing by the Chair of the Committee that his/her position will be declared vacant in the event of a third absence without a proxy.  Upon his/her third absence in a single academic year without a proxy, his/her position shall be declared vacant by the Chair of the Committee and filled immediately by a replacement from the represented office or body.

 

ARTICLE III

 

OPERATING PROCEDURES

 

Section 1.  Meetings 

 

The Faculty Handbook Committee will meet at least monthly during the academic year and have a quorum for each meeting.  A quorum is a majority of members, including at least three members appointed by the Faculty Senate or their proxies.  The chair will conduct meetings according to Robert’s Rules of Order.

 

Section 2. Changes to Handbook

 

Proposals for changes to the Faculty Handbook may be made by any faculty member or by any of the groups represented by the committee.  All recommendations shall be brought before the committee for consideration.  Proposals should be forwarded to the chair of the Faculty Handbook Committee for distribution to all committee members. 

 

Proposals coming before the Faculty Handbook Committee are given two votes.  After a first reading, proposed changes are voted on and posted to the committee website, and notice is given to the various constituencies (Faculty Senate, deans, chairs, etc.) that a proposal is under review.  Committee members then take the proposal to their constituency and report in a timely manner any feedback or suggestions regarding the proposed change.  A proposal is considered approved after it passes a second vote by the committee.  Editorial or clerical changes can be approved without a second reading upon approval of the majority of the committee.

 

Changes to the official handbook take effect on July 1 of the next fiscal year.  All changes made to the handbook in a given year will be included in an annual appendix. 

 

ARTICLE IV

 

COMMUNICATIONS/REPORTING

 

Section 1. Administrator to whom the Committee Reports

 

The Faculty Handbook Committee reports and makes recommendations to the President of the University.  If approved by the committee, changes are formally recommended to the University President for a final decision.

 

Section 2. Clerical Help

 

The Faculty Handbook Committee will have clerical assistance from the Office of the Provost.  The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs will select the staff member who will assist the committee.

 

Section 3. Minutes

 

Minutes of the Faculty Handbook Committee meetings are recorded by the chair and approved by the committee members.  The approved minutes are distributed to the Provost Office staff member for distribution to the committee members, chairs, deans, the Provost and the President.  

 

Section 4. Website Location and Changes

 

The Faculty Handbook Committee will communicate to the University community utilizing an appropriate website.  The Faculty Handbook Committee website will be the primary resource regarding amendments/revisions in the Faculty Handbook, committee minutes, membership list,

and bylaws.  The Provost Office staff member and Faculty Handbook Committee Chair will be responsible for posting the approved committee minutes within 60 days of the committee’s meeting, using an appropriate website.  Past minutes are kept on the website for a minimum of five years.  

 

Section 5. System for Preserving Minutes, Changes and Copies

 

The most current copy of the Faculty Handbook is retained by the Office of the Provost and is designated as the official Faculty Handbook.  The Provost Office will be responsible for keeping records of amendments and revisions to the Faculty Handbook and disseminating the amendments and revisions to the faculty.

 

Section 6. Annual Report 

 

An annual report will be written by the chair of the Faculty Handbook Committee and submitted to the President of the University at the end of the academic year.  By July 1st of each year, the Faculty Handbook Committee chair will submit a copy of the annual report to the Committee on Committees along with a letter from the President acknowledging receipt of the report.  The annual report will include the major yearly activities of the committee, along with a list of amendments and revisions which have been approved by the President during the year.

 

 

 

 

INDEX

 

A

AA/EOE/ADA ......................................................... 27

Academic Advisement ............................................. 35

Academic Appointment 16, 18, 19, 28, 37, 68, 73, 80, 83, 84, 85, 88, 89, 109

Academic Council ......................................... 5, 12, 38

Composition of .................................................... 12

Duties of .............................................................. 12

Academic Freedom ........................ 14, 55, 58, 75, 107

Academic Rank 17, 18, 29, 30, 32, 51, 54, 71,  81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 92, 106, 108

Academic Responsibility ......................................... 55

Adjunct Academic Staff .......................................... 23

Adjunct Faculty ....................................................... 18

Administrative Officers Holding Faculty Status ...... 17

Administrative Proceedings ............. 57, 101, 102, 107

Advisory Officers and Entities ................................ 82

Affirmative Action .......................... 18, 27, 62, 64, 65

Americans with Disabilities Act .............................. 27

Ancillary Compensation Policy ............................... 33

Ancillary Institutional Agreements .............. 16, 31, 32

Animal Care and Use Committee ............................ 44

Annual Evaluations.......................... 22, 68, 71, 78, 85

Annual Performance Review .... 23, 69, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 84, 88, 89, 90, 109

Guidelines .....................................................  72, 73

Procedure ................................................. 73, 74, 75

Annual Performance Review Report ... .76, 84, 88, 89, 90

Appeals ........... 21, 23, 38, 64, 66, 69,75, 92, 110, 111

Appeals of Grades ................................................... 38

Appraisal Stage ........................................................ 74

Artist-in-Residence.............................................18, 22

Athletics Director ...................................................... 8

Attorney General ....................................................... 9

Awards and Grants .................................................. 54

Awards of Excellence ........................................ 50, 55

B

Board Appeals ............................................... 110, 111

Board of Trustees.... 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,  24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 43, 46, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 59, 67, 69, 75, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, 89, 90, 93, 94, 108, 111

Authority .................... 16, 17, 30, 81, 82, 85, 93, 94

Composition .......................................................... 1

Officers .................................................................. 2

Powers ............................................................... 2, 3

Responsibilities ...................................................... 3

Boards of Inquiry ................................... 102, 103, 104 

Boards of Investigation .......................... 104, 105, 106

Buckley Amendment ......................................... 38, 39

C

Cause ................................................... 30, 94, 95, 101

Chairs/Directors Periodic Review……..80, 81

Changing Grades ..................................................... 40

Clinical Positions .........................................19, 20, 21

College Advisory Committees .. 10, 11, 68, 82, 89, 90, 91, 92

Composition of .................................................... 10

Duties of .............................................................. 11

College of Business Administration .......................... 5

College of Education and Psychology ..... 5, 13, 28, 80

College of Health and Human Sciences .................... 5

College of Science and Technology .......................... 5

College of The Arts ................................................... 5

Commissioner of Higher Education .............. 4, 33, 41

Compensation ..  23, 27, 30, 32, 33, 46, 54, 60, 68, 97,  101, 103, 105, 109

Confidentiality ............................... 45, 64, 69, 94, 107

Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships. 60, 61, 62

Consent ........................................................ 60, 61, 78

Consulting Contracts ............................................... 59

Continuing Education .............................................. 32

Contumacious Conduct .................... 16, 30, 93, 94, 95

Copyright ................................................. 7, 46, 47, 48

Corps of Instruction 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 30, 31, 33, 36, 54, 67, 70, 71, 87

Cost Sharing ............................................................ 45

Council of Chairs ................................................. 5, 11

Course Administration Policies ............................... 39

Course Registration ................................................. 39

Criminal Conduct .................................................. 102

D

Dean 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 19, 23, 24, 26, 28, 32, 33,  36, 37, 39, 46, 50, 52, 53, 54, 61, 62, 64, 65, 68, 69, 71, 73, 76, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 95, 104, 109, 110 

Decanal Appeals .................................................... 109

Deception ............................................................... 101

Deferral of Tenure ................................................... 87

Denial of Tenure ...................................................... 83

Department Chair 9, 24, 25, 26, 28, 36, 39, 40, 50, 52, 53, 54, 61, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 78, 79, 83, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 104, 109, 110

 

Department Hiring Procedures ................................ 28

Departmental

Chairs .......................................... .10, 46, 69, 72, 89

Faculty Evaluation ......................................... 68, 69

Personnel Committees .... 11, 53, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 80, 83, 84, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92

Promotion Procedures .......................................... 83

Tenure Proceedings ............................................. 87

Departmental Personnel Committee

Functions ............................................................. 69

Membership ......................................................... 70

Director of Intercollegiate Athletics ...................... 5, 8

Disclosure of Inventions .......................................... 48

Discrimination .............................. 60,62, 65, 101 ,108

Appeal Procedure ................................................ 66

Complaint Procedure ..........................................  65

Confidentiality ..................................................... 64

Retaliation ............................................................ 65

Distinguished Professor ........................................... 24

Dossier ............................................. 83, 88, 89, 90, 91

Duration of Classes .................................................. 36

E

Emeritus Faculty .......................................... 25, 26, 27

Employment ............................................................ 93

Board Authority ................................................... 93

Non-Renewal ................................................. 23, 31

Notification of Non-renewal ................................ 31

Employment Contracts . 16, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 88, 93

Terms and Conditions .......................................... 29

Employment of Persons with Terminal Degrees ..... 27

Equal Employment Opportunity ............ 27, 62, 64, 65

Ethics ............................................... 56, 57, 58, 59, 82

Consulting Contracts ........................................... 59

Political Activities ............................................... 60

Public Employment ............................................. 57

Examinations ........................................................... 37

Excused Absences ................................................... 37

External Employment Policy ................................... 34

F

Facilities and Administrative Costs ......................... 46

Faculty

Adjunct .................................................... 18, 23, 55

Annual Performance Review 23, 69, 71, 72, 73, 75, 76, 84, 88, 89, 90, 109

Appeals .......................................................... 23, 66

Defined .................................................... 17, 19, 22

Development ...................................... 50, 54, 55, 69

Development Plan .......................  75, 76, 77, 78, 79

Employment Appeals................................. 108, 109

Evaluation .......................................... 67, 68, 70, 71

Evaluation Procedures ......................................... 67

Tenure Track.................................................. 17, 87

Faculty Activity Reports .......................................... 74

Faculty Development Opportunities ........................ 50

Faculty Development Plan ..................... 75, 76, 78, 79

Faculty Senate ......................................... 5, 12, 53, 95

Faculty-Student Relationships ................................. 60

Business Relationships ........................................ 60

Consensual Sexual Relationships ........................ 60

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ............ 38

Final Institutional Review........................................ 99

Free Courses ............................................................ 55

G

Good Cause ............................................................. 94

Grade Review Council ............................................. 38

Grading standards .................................................... 37

Graduate Council ........................................... 5, 12, 13

Grants ...................................................................... 54

International Endeavor......................................... 55

Summer ................................................................ 54

Summer Research ................................................ 54

Gulf Park Campus ............................................... 5, 68

H

Harassment .............................. 23, 60, 62, 63, 64, 108

Hearing ............................ 38, 93, 96, 97, 98, 100, 111

Hiring Policies ....................................... 16, 26, 27, 28

Honors College .................................................... 5, 12

Human Resources ........................................ 27, 42, 55

I

Individual research .................................................. 47

Inefficiency ...................................... 16, 30, 93, 94, 95

Information stage ............................................... 73, 74

Inquiry Process ...................................................... 103

Institutional Funding .................................................. 2

Institutional Review Board ................................ 14, 44

Institutions of Higher Learning .. 1, 2, 3, 6, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 29, 35, 42, 46, 48, 77, 81, 86, 111

Instructional Policies ......................................... 35, 36

Internal Consultation ............................................... 33

International Education ...................................... 32, 55

Inventions ................................................................ 48

Investigation Process ............................................. 104

L

Leave ....................................................................... 50

Academic ............................................................. 50

Application for ..................................................... 53

Enhancing Academic Credentials ........................ 51

Graduate or Postdoctoral Study ........................... 50

Professional Leave ............................................... 51

Sabbatical ............................................................ 51

Librarian .................................... 12, 13, 17, 31, 54, 55

 

Library personnel ..................................................... 16

M

Malfeasance ..................................... 16, 30, 93, 94, 95

Material Financial Interest ................................. 58, 59

MIDAS .................................................................... 43

Mississippi Research Consortium ............................ 41

Mississippi University Research Act ....................... 42

Mississippi University Research Authority ....... 41, 42

MURA ............................................................... 42, 43

N

Nepotism Policy .................................. 11, 27, 67, 102

Non-Faculty Academic Staff ................................... 18

Notice ... 37, 58, 66, 86, 88, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99,  107

Notification . 31, 65, 78, 83, 86, 88, 93, 102, 103, 104, 105, 111

Notification of Non-renewal .................................... 31

O

Off-Campus Employment ........................................ 32

Off-Campus Programs ............................................... 3

Office of  AA/EEO ............................................ 65, 66

Office of Sponsored Programs Administration ......33, 43, 44, 45, 48, 49

Ombudsman ............................................ 101, 102,103

P

Patent ............................................... 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

Patents and Copyrights ...................... 7, 46, 47, 48, 49

Patents Secured Through Institutional Support ....... 48

Personnel Actions ............ 5, 7, 23, 69, 71, 81, 92, 109

Personnel Evaluation Policies .................................. 67

Personnel Evaluations ........................................ 67, 70

Plagiarism ................................................................ 37

Political activities .................................................... 60

Postdoctoral Positions .......................................18, 22

Post-tenure Review..................................... 77, 78, 80

President .... 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17,  23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 35, 42, 43, 50, 52, 59, 65, 66, 68, 71, 79, 81, 82,83, 84,  85, 86, 87, 88, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 102, 104, 106, 110

Presidential Appeals .............................................. 110

Presidential Personnel Actions ................................ 92

Presidential Review ................................... 95, 98, 106

Pre-Tenure Review…....11, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 87, 88, 89, 90, 109

Privileges ............................. 17, 23, 26, 29, 31, 50, 93

Probationary Period ............................... 85, 86, 87, 88

Professional Competence......................................... 57

Professional Education Council ....... 12, 13, 14, 28, 80

Professor of Practice ..........................................18, 22

Progress Reports for Student Athletes ..................... 39

Promotion 9, 10, 11, 18, 19, 20, 27,51, 68, 69, 70, 71, 74, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 90, 91, 92, 94, 108

Denial .................................................................. 83

Early .................................................................... 83

Eligibility ............................................................. 83

Prior Accomplishment ......................................... 83

Procedures ........................................................... 83

Protection Against Disclosure ............................... 103

Protective Actions.................................................. 102

Provost .. 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 32, 35, 36, 43, 46, 49, 50, 52, 53, 61, 65, 66, 67, 68, 71, 76, 79, 82, 83, 84, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 95, 97,110

Provost Appeals ..................................................... 110

Provost Personnel Actions ..................................... 109

Public Employment Ethics ...................................... 57

Public Speech .......................................................... 56

R

Reassigned Time................................................ 36, 46

Registrar ................................................ 12, 13, 35, 39

Registration .............................................................. 39

Remand ............................................................ 92, 105

Reporting of Grades ................................................. 39

Reprimand ............................................................. 106

Research Foundation ............................................... 43

Research Policies ............................................... 41, 45

Research Positions .......................................18, 19, 20

Resignation ........................................................ 29, 31

Retaliation................................................................ 65

Retired Faculty ........................................................ 25

Review Guidelines ................................................... 72

Review Procedure .................................................... 73

S

Sabbatical Leave .............................. 50, 51, 52, 73, 87

Contract for .......................................................... 52

Duties ................................................................... 51

Requirements ....................................................... 51

Sanctions................................................................ 106

Scholarly Intergrity .................................................. 57

Scholarly Misconduct ... ..56, 101, 102, 103, 104, 107, 108

Scholarly Misconduct Proceedings .......... 57, 101, 108

Search Committee.................................................... 28

Service ....................................... 80, 82, 83, 85, 86, 87

Sexual Harassment .............................. 23, 63, 64, 108

Sexual or Romantic Relationships ........................... 59

Shared Governance ...........................................14, 15

SPA .................................................................... 44, 45

Sponsored Research ........................................... 46, 47

Student Dishonesty .................................................. 37

Student Relations ..................................................... 57

 

Subventions ............................................................. 54

Summer Compensation ............................................ 46

Summer Grants ........................................................ 54

Summer Research Grants ........................................ 54

Summer Semester Employment .............................. 32

Syllabi ................................................................ 37, 74

T

Teaching Load ................................................... 32, 36

Tenure . 6, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 27, 30, 31, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 74, 76, 77, 78, 81, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 108, 111

Award ................ 81, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 92, 108

Award Deliberations ...................................... 87, 88

Credit for Leaves of Absence .............................. 87

Credit for Prior Accomplishment .................. 83, 87

Deferral ................................................................ 87

Defined ................................................................ 85

Deliberations ........................................................ 89

Denial .................................................................. 83

Departmental Proceedings ............................. 83, 84

Eligible Academic Ranks .................................... 85

Evaluation Standards ........................................... 87

Pre-Tenure Review.....11,67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 87,88, 89, 90, 109

Post Tenure Review.............................77, 78, 79, 80

Probationary Period ............................................. 86

Proceedings .................................................... 87, 88

Requirements ....................................................... 85

Tenure Track Faculty ......................................... 17, 67

Terminal Contract .............................................. 71, 86

Termination

Board Authority ................................................... 93

Criteria ................................................................. 93

Hearing ................................................................ 96

Non-Renewal ....................................................... 31

Notice .................................................................. 95

Procedure ............................................................. 94

Review Council ................................................... 99

Third-Year Review (see Pre-Tenure Review)

 

U

University Advisory Committee . 5, 10, 25, 68, 79, 82, 89, 91, 92, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 110

Composition of .................................................... 10

Function of ........................................................... 10

University Counsel .......................................... 5, 9, 82

University Hiring Policies ......................................  27

University Organization ............................................ 5

University Research Council ..... 5, 14, 44, 54, 55, 104

University Research Ombudsman ......... 101, 102, 103

University Sanctions .............................................. 106

University Termination Review Council ................. 99

V

Verification of Enrollment ....................................... 39

Vice President for Business and Finance ................... 8

Vice President for Research and Economic Development ..... 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 23, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46, 49, 55, 82, 88, 91, 92, 101, 102, 103, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107

Vice President for Student Affairs ......................... 5, 8

Vice Presidential Review ....................................... 105

Video network ......................................................... 32