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4.00 Employment Policies, Terms and Procedures

4.01 Equality of Opportunity
A. Western Carolina University emphatically states that it will provide equal employment opportunities for all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, age, veterans’ status, sexual orientation, disabilities, or political affiliation, except where religion, sex, or age are bona fide job related employment requirements. This is in keeping with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, Executive Order 11246, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, NC G.S. 126-16 and 126-17, and other applicable federal and state laws.
B. Western Carolina University supports all applicable federal laws, including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 799A and 845 of the Public Health Service Act, the Equal Pay and Age Discrimination Acts, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Executive Order 11246. For information concerning these provisions, contact the affirmative action officer.
4.02 Academic Freedom and Responsibility of the University Community.
A. Western Carolina University is dedicated to the transmission and advancement of knowledge and understanding. Academic freedom is essential to the achievement of these purposes. This institution therefore supports and encourages freedom of inquiry for faculty members and students to the end that they may responsibly pursue these goals through teaching, learning, research, discussion, and publication, free from internal and external restraints that would unreasonably restrict their academic endeavors.
B. Western Carolina University shall support faculty and students in their responsible exercise of the freedom to teach, to learn, and otherwise to seek and speak the truth. It is the policy of Western Carolina University to support and encourage full freedom, within the law, of inquiry, discourse, teaching, research, and publication for all members of this institution's academic staff. Members of the faculty are expected to recognize that accuracy, forthrightness, and dignity befit their association with this institution and their position as men and women of learning. They should not represent themselves, without authorization, as spokespersons for Western Carolina University.
C. Western Carolina University shall not penalize or discipline members of the University because of the exercise of academic freedom in the lawful pursuit of their respective areas of scholarly and professional interest and responsibility.
D. Faculty and students of this institution shall share in the responsibility for maintaining an environment in which academic freedom flourishes and in which the rights of each member of the academic community are respected.
4.03 Appointments
A. Considerations for Academic Appointments
1. When recommendations and decisions on appointment, reappointment, promotion, and tenure are made, at least the following considerations must be assessed: The faculty member's demonstrated professional competence and potential for future contribution and the needs and resources of the institution. In making recommendations and decisions, administrators and committees shall use criteria and standards recommended by the faculty and approved by the Chancellor and shall comply with all applicable requirements of the Code of the University of North Carolina. General guidelines for colleges and departments to use in preparing criteria will be set forth by the Chancellor upon the recommendation of the University Tenure and Promotion Committee.
2. Candidates for tenure-track positions who hold or are pursuing a terminal degree from Western Carolina University may be considered for employment if they have established themselves at other institutions for a significant period of time, usually five years or more, or possess unusual qualifications of benefit to the University. Prior to pursuing their candidacy, department heads and deans must seek approval from the Provost. Should exceptions be made, contract language at the time of hire should document the exception.
B. Terms and Conditions of Appointments Including Prior Service Credit
1. The terms and conditions of each initial appointment and each reappointment to the faculty shall be set out in writing. A copy thereof, signed by the Chancellor or the Chancellor's designee and the faculty member, shall be delivered to the faculty member and a copy shall be retained by the Chancellor. The general terms and conditions of such appointments, including those provided herein, shall either be set out in the document of appointment or incorporated therein by clear reference to specified documents that shall be readily available to the faculty member.
2. Prior to the initial probationary appointment at Western Carolina University and upon the recommendation of the concerned departmental advisory committee and departmental head, credit for prior service may be granted by the Provost to be applied against the faculty member's probationary period. The extent of such credit shall be noted in the faculty member's employment contract. As a general rule, one year of service credit at Western Carolina University may be granted for every two years of full time service at other higher-education institutions.
C. Types of Faculty Appointments
Faculty appointments shall be of three kinds: appointments with tenure, probationary appointments, and fixed-term appointments. All recommendations for initial, full-time appointments shall be made by the department head after consultation with the departmental advisory committee.
1. Tenured appointments

  1. Definition

An appointment with tenure is a continuing appointment to a professorial rank that is not affected by changes in such rank and continues until ended by resignation, by retirement, or by approved procedures as provided in Sections 4.08 and 4.09 of this document and in Sections 603 and 605 of the Code of the University of North Carolina. Only faculty members at the ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor are eligible for tenure. Administrative personnel with professorial rank shall be eligible for tenure in rank as faculty members but not in their administrative positions. Although criteria may vary, an administrative officer shall be recommended for tenure by the same procedure prescribed for other faculty members, i.e., a recommendation must originate within the faculty member's academic department and receive consideration by the appropriate dean and the Provost. Faculty members with tenure who are appointed to administrative positions shall retain tenure in the academic rank.

  1. Initial appointments with tenure

Outlined below are the minimum standards that shall apply when an individual is being considered for an initial tenured appointment.

  • A file will be prepared by the administrative office to which the candidate would report if employed. The file will contain: (a) a copy of the individual's vita; (b) three letters of recommendation; (c) a letter from the administrator recommending professorial rank and requesting a favorable tenure recommendation. A copy of the file will be provided to the Provost.

  • The departmental collegial review committee will review the file and recommend to the dean whether tenure should be recommended. A written report of this recommendation will be transmitted to the Provost through normal administrative channels with intervening administrative levels indicating their concurrence with the recommendations. The administrators recommending action will consult with their respective tenure and promotion advisory committees as necessary.

  • In making their recommendation, the various collegial review committees will rely on current university standards and departmental criteria, but will, of necessity, base their judgment on the candidate's record of performance established prior to coming to Western Carolina University.

  • Following receipt of this recommendation, the Provost will make a recommendation and transmit all information to the Chancellor for appropriate action.

  • The recommendation for professorial rank and tenure can be made simultaneously with the offering of the position and can occur at any time during the year.

The recommendation from the Chancellor to the Board of Trustees can be made at any point in the academic year but normally would be made when all other tenure recommendations are forwarded.
c. Probationary appointments for tenure
A tenure-track appointment is a probationary appointment which has as its major purpose the determination of the suitability of the faculty member for a tenure appointment, consistent with the provisions of Section 602 (4) of the Code of the University of North Carolina. Probationary appointments are for a specific term of service and are subject to the reappointment provisions of Section 4.06.
d. Persons in the following categories shall not be eligible for tenure:

  • Persons with non-probationary, fixed-term appointments.

  • The director of athletics, head football coach, head basketball coach, assistant director of athletics, and other full-time members of the intercollegiate athletics staff, including assistant coaches of football and basketball. These persons may be appointed to a fixed term as instructors upon recommendation by an instructional department head, the dean, and the Provost. Reappointments may be made for an indefinite period.

  • Persons subject to the State Personnel Act (SPA Appointments).

  • Administrators exempt from the State Personnel Act (EPA Appointments).


(1) Faculty members who are appointed as visiting faculty members, adjunct faculty, lecturers, instructors, artists-in-residence, writers-in-residence or other special categories are regarded as “special faculty members”. Special faculty members may be paid or unpaid.

(2) Special faculty members who are paid shall be appointed for a specified term of service, as set out in writing in the letter of appointment. The term of appointment of any paid special faculty member concludes at the end of the specified period set forth in the letter of appointment, and the letter of appointment constitutes full and timely notice that a new term will not be granted when that term expires. However, full-time appointees at the rank of instructor or above (including lecturers and visiting assistant/associate/full professors) shall be given the notice of non-reappointment specified in Section 4.09B1. if the conditions of appointment to the rank of instructor or above include a provision that the appointment is subject to renewal.

(3) Special faculty members who are not paid may be appointed for a specified term of service or at will. Their pay and appointment status should be set out in the letter of appointment.

(4) During the term of their employment, special faculty members are entitled to seek recourse under the Faculty Grievance Procedures.

(5) Special faculty members, whether paid or unpaid, are not covered by Section 604 of the UNC Code, and that section does not accord them rights to additional review of a decision by the University not to grant a new appointment at the end of a specified fixed term

D. Provision for Less than Full-Time Employment
Faculty may be employed for less than full-time employment with commensurate compensation. Faculty on full-time employment may apply for relief from all or some employment obligations under the conditions of the Serious Illness and Disability Policy (which includes childbirth) or other compelling reasons.
E. Externally Funded Positions
The written statement of a faculty member's appointment, reappointment, or promotion to a position funded in whole or in substantial part from sources other than continuing state budget funds or permanent trust funds shall specify in writing that the continuance of the faculty member's services, whether for a specified term or for tenure, is contingent upon the continuing availability of such funds. This contingency shall not be included in either of these situations:
1. In a promotion to a higher rank if, before the effective date of that promotion, the faculty member had tenure and no such condition is attached to the tenure, or
2. If the faculty member held tenure in the institution on July 1, 1975, and the faculty member's contract was not then contingent upon the continuing availability of sources other than continuing state budget or permanent trust funds.

4.04 Western Carolina University Collegial Review
A. Overview
Western Carolina University faculty members are responsible for evaluating each other’s contributions to the University, region, and profession and making recommendations to the administration on faculty performance decisions. Western Carolina University has four separate but related faculty evaluation processes: annual faculty evaluation (AFE), reappointment (R), tenure and promotion (T/P) and post-tenure review (PTR). This section explains the purpose of each review, defines each of these processes, and explains the roles and responsibilities of all participants.
B. Types of Review
1. Annual faculty evaluation. The purpose of annual faculty evaluations (AFE) is to provide faculty members with an annual evaluation, which includes written feedback concerning the extent to which they have met the departmental criteria and university standards for teaching, service, and scholarly/creative contributions. AFE is based on an annual record of performance.
2. Reappointment. The purpose of collegial review in the reappointment process (R) decisions is to indicate whether or not a faculty member is meeting the departmental criteria and university standards for teaching, service, and scholarly/creative contributions. Reappointment is based, in significant part, on a cumulative record of performance.
3. Tenure and promotion. The purpose of collegial review in the tenure/promotion (T/P) process is to determine whether or not an individual faculty member merits tenure or promotion. Each faculty member presents a dossier describing how he/she has met department criteria and university standards for tenure or promotion. Tenure and promotion are based, in significant part, on a cumulative record of performance.
4. Post-tenure review. The purpose of post-tenure review (PTR) is to determine the extent to which tenured faculty members have exceeded, met, or not met the department criteria for teaching, service, and scholarly/creative contributions in the five years since the last TPR/PTR action.
C. University Standards for Collegial Review
Faculty members at Western Carolina University are expected to be effective teachers, to be practicing scholars in their disciplines, and to provide meaningful service to the University and the community. The particular mix of these expected activities will vary as a function of departmental missions and the role of the faculty member in the department. Tenure-track or tenured faculty members should be active in all three areas. The following minimum university standards provide the groundwork for departments to establish specific criteria for collegial review.
1. Teaching
Faculty members at Western Carolina University are scholarly teachers who provide evidence that their teaching is effective, i.e. their students learn. Effective teaching will be documented through the use of student, peer, and self-evaluations. Students provide reports that teachers are organized, clear, and enthusiastic, provide frequent and fair evaluations, and maintain an appropriate level of communication. Peers provide reports that faculty members design their courses in ways that help students learn, are knowledgeable and reflective about both their subject matter and their teaching, and challenge their students intellectually. Faculty members will also self-report and evaluate their teaching.

2. Scholarship

Consistent with its mission and vision as a regionally engaged institution, Western Carolina University defines scholarship broadly through the Boyer Model which includes four categories of scholarship:

Scholarship of discovery. Scholarship of this type includes original research that advances knowledge and may involve publishing journal articles, authoring/editing books, or presenting at conferences. This type of scholarship also includes creative activities such as artistic products, performances, musical, or literary works.
Scholarship of integration. Scholarship of this type involves synthesis of information across disciplines, across topics within a discipline, or across time. Textbooks, bibliographies, and book reviews are examples of this type of scholarship.
Scholarship of application. Sometimes called engagement, the scholarship of application goes beyond the provision of service to those within or outside the University. To be considered scholarship, there must be an application of disciplinary expertise with results that can be shared with and/or evaluated by peers such as technical reports, policy statements, guidebooks, economic impact statements, and/or pamphlets.
Scholarship of teaching and learning. Scholarship of this type is the systematic study of teaching and learning processes. It differs from scholarly teaching in that it requires a format that will allow public sharing and the opportunity for application and evaluation by others.
Faculty members should demonstrate that they are current and scholarly in their disciplines as reflected in the ways they teach and serve. They are also expected to demonstrate regular activity in one or more of the types of scholarship listed above. The relative emphasis on each type of scholarship will be determined in the context of departmental and university mission and needs. Expectations of scholarly activity should be consistent with peer institutions. Expectations for scholarship will be defined by the departmental faculty in the Collegial Review Document and approved by the department head, dean, and Provost.

Departments should recognize and evaluate a wide variety of scholarly activities consistent with the department’s and the University’s mission. Scholarly activities should not be rigidly categorized. Many activities and products can be classified as more than one type of scholarship.

3. Service
Faculty members are expected to participate in service. Service is expected to increase over a faculty member’s employment. Primarily, service requires general expertise and is done as an act of good citizenship. Service at the department, college/school and university levels, includes serving on committees (e.g., search committees, curriculum committees, and collegial review committees), recruiting students, mentoring new faculty members, and advising administrators.
Service may also require special expertise, unusual time commitments, or exceptional leadership. Examples of such service include exercise of special technological, research or pedagogical skills, involvement with students in extracurricular activities, leadership in university governance, or taking on special administrative assignments (e.g., being department head, directing a graduate program, administering a grant obtained by the University).
Service includes community engagement (e.g., providing disciplinary expertise to a professional, civic, economic, or educational entity at the local, regional, or national level).
Advising students is a significant form of service. Advisers are expected to be informed about curriculum and related processes, to be available to those they advise, and to help students in their academic and career planning.

D. Procedures Guiding Collegial Review
Collegial review is the responsibility of the faculty. All procedures for faculty evaluation should reflect the university standards as stated in Section 4.04C.
1. The rule of confidentiality will guide the operations of all collegial review committees.
2. Annually, each faculty member will receive information concerning departmental expectations. Departmental criteria should be specific and flexible – specific enough to provide guidance to new faculty and flexible enough to accommodate multiple types of teaching, service, and scholarship.
3. Collegial review/faculty evaluation (AFE statements, reappointment, tenure and promotion decisions, and post-tenure review feedback) should be based on the degree to which the faculty member meets the established departmental criteria.
4. Each faculty member has the right to receive annual written feedback as part of the AFE and reappointment procedures.
5. Each faculty member has the right to place a written response to the AFE and reappointment feedback in his/her AFE/TPR file.
6. All four faculty evaluation processes (AFE, reappointment, tenure and promotion, and post-tenure review) must include procedures and documentation that are consistent and aligned. One set of supporting documentation is sufficient for candidates up for both promotion and tenure, when they occur in the same academic year.
7. Reappointment, tenure, and promotion will utilize the departmental criteria that are in effect at the time of the review.
8. Should criteria for reappointment, tenure, and promotion be different from when the faculty member was previously reviewed, the individual may request special consideration by the appropriate department and/or college collegial review committee(s). The following procedures will be followed:
a) The appropriate department or college collegial review committee(s) may recommend extension of probationary period and/or reconsider the expectations. The committee should consider such things as the timing of the change in expectations relative to the candidate’s eligibility for review and the level of discrepancy between the expectations and the ones under which the candidate had been working.

b) The collegial review committee(s) shall make a written recommendation to accept or deny the request and specify any conditions.

c) The collegial review committee(s) shall forward the recommendation to the appropriate department head/dean.

d) The appropriate department head/dean must review the recommendation with the candidate.

e) The appropriate department head/dean may accept, modify, or reject any collegial review committee recommendations.

f) Any changes made to the recommendations of the collegial review committee(s) recommendations must first be discussed with the candidate before forwarding them to the Provost for action.

g) The Provost may seek the advice and counsel from the University Collegial Review Committee.

• The Provost will notify the candidate in writing specifying the conditions under which the candidate will be evaluated.

• This notification letter will be placed in the candidate’s personnel file.

• The candidate will be responsible for including this letter in the TPR dossier.

h) The faculty member may appeal any unfavorable action to the next level until it reaches the Provost.

i) The Provost’s decision for a review of an individual’s criteria for tenure and promotion shall be final

9. Department heads and deans should receive training regarding collegial review policies and procedures.

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