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2 The Role of Faculty and Staff

Definitions

The term faculty member, as used in this handbook, refers to a person who is employed to teach at least one class at Tarleton State University. This definition does not include graduate students who teach, where the positions they hold require that they be students at Tarleton.

A faculty member may be classified as a regularly appointed, other, or adjunct faculty member. A regularly appointed faculty member is tenured, tenure-track or non-tenure-track and holds the rank of lecturer, instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor.

Tenured faculty members have been awarded tenure by the University and are entitled to continue in their positions unless dismissed for good cause. The ranks of associate professor and professor apply to tenured faculty.

Tenure-track faculty members are in tenure-accruing positions but have not yet completed the probationary period and have not been granted tenure. A tenure-track faculty member may hold the rank of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor.

Non-tenure-track faculty members are in positions that cannot lead to the granting of tenure. A non-tenure-track faculty member may hold the rank of lecturer, instructor, or assistant professor.

Other faculty members may hold the rank of teaching assistant or assistant lecturer. An assistant lecturer must have at least a bachelor’s degree and serves as a full-time lab assistant. A teaching assistant has a bachelor's degree and is enrolled in a graduate degree program at Tarleton. Teaching duties for teaching assistants may include laboratory courses, physical education activity courses, and developmental courses. To be the teacher of record in any other course, a teaching assistant must have at least 18 graduate hours in the discipline.

Adjunct faculty are hired to teach at Tarleton on a temporary and part-time basis. Generally, they are appointed for a period of one semester; adjunct appointments cannot extend employment beyond one academic year. Part-time adjunct faculty members teaching courses for credit must meet the same requirements for professional and scholarly preparation as their full-time counterparts teaching in the same discipline. The title or academic rank of an adjunct faculty member depends on his or her qualifications. An adjunct faculty member could be a lecturer, teaching assistant, instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor.

The term graduate assistant should be used only for graduate students. Graduate assistants may be designated as teaching or non-teaching, graduate laboratory assistant, graduate assistant special and graduate assistant research.

Faculty status for tenure purposes requires that a faculty member be a full-time employee of Tarleton State University who holds academic rank as instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor and has accepted a tenure-track position.

The graduate faculty is composed of members, associate members, and adjunct members. Criteria for membership on the graduate faculty are described in the Graduate Faculty section of this chapter. Graduate faculty members are assigned duties and are responsible to their respective department heads. Assigned duties often include chairing or serving on graduate students’ advisory committees and in some cases will include undergraduate responsibilities and duties. The normal teaching load for faculty teaching only graduate-level classes is 9 hours. Faculty members who do not teach graduate courses exclusively may bank hours toward release time. The banking of hours during a fall or spring semester allows one class (3 or 4 hours) to be credited for a subsequent semester of one hour of release time.

The title Distinguished may be conferred on a faculty member holding the rank of professor on recommendation of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs with the approval of the President, in recognition of unquestioned excellence accompanied by substantial evidence of scholarly/creative productivity in a long and distinguished career of teaching and service.

The title Emeritus is conferred on recommendation of the President with the approval of the Board of Regents in recognition of faithful and distinguished service to the University. Members of the faculty with the rank of professor or associate professor, and administrative officers in major positions, upon retirement, may be considered for emeritus appointment. Such appointments are honorary and without stipend or responsibilities.

Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action

It is the policy of Tarleton State University to provide employment, training, levels of compensation, transfer and promotion opportunities, demotion, layoffs, terminations, and other employment actions without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability status, or status as a veteran, including disabled veterans and Vietnam era veterans. Tarleton now reaffirms its commitment to this policy of equal employment opportunity. (Tarleton Rule 33.02.01.T1, Affirmative Action Plan)

 Faculty Hiring Process

The basic process for hiring new full-time faculty members at Tarleton State University is as follows:

  • The demonstration of need to fill a position. The hiring manager initiates the appropriate action in Tarleton Connection to fill the position. The action will include the job description, salary range, and a statement of minimum qualifications to be submitted for approval of the dean, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Office of Finance and Administration for funding approval, Employee Services, and the President. During this procedure, the request or requisition may be modified.
  • Appropriate advertising. All new faculty positions must be advertised. For a tenure-track position, national advertising in one or more journals of the field is appropriate; for one-year and part-time appointments, local or regional advertising is appropriate. Notices may also be posted in appropriate areas at the University. Serious attempts shall be made to reach minorities and females with these advertisements and notices. All advertisements must be approved by the Affirmative Action Officer and must carry the affirmative action/equal opportunity employer statement. (“Tarleton State University, an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer and Educator, is committed to excellence through diversity.”)
  • Evaluation of the applicants. The evaluation of applicants may include assessment of their application forms, vitae, and credentials; interviews with applicants on campus, at conventions, or elsewhere; and monitoring their teaching of a class. Evaluation of applicants shall be a shared departmental concern, with the final decision resting in the department head (who may choose to delegate the decision).
  • The issuing of the appointment letter. Once the selection of a candidate has been made and after the appropriate approvals have been obtained, a letter of offer, written by the department head, is sent to the candidate, giving the terms of the appointment (position, salary, and responsibilities) as required by System Policy 12.01, Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure. The letter of offer becomes a mutually binding agreement if the applicant communicates an acceptance in writing and includes the required personnel documents, such as official transcripts, social security card, and passport or other picture identification. Upon receipt of written acceptance, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs prepares the official appointment letter, which is signed by the President and then sent to the candidate. This letter reaffirms the appointment and clearly indicates the precise terms of the appointment. If the appointment is of a tenure-accruing nature, the length of the period of probationary service at Tarleton is indicated, as well as credit for appropriate service at other institutions.

English Proficiency

Tarleton State University has a long-standing policy of hiring faculty whose command of oral English is adequate for communication in the classroom. Tarleton requires people being hired to teach for academic credit to indicate in their personnel file whether English is their primary language. Faculty not indicating English as their primary language will be screened for oral English competency. The assessment procedure will require the use of a formal testing instrument such as The Test of Spoken English (TSE) formulated by the Educational Testing Service, The Ilyin Oral Interview, or the Foreign Service Institute Oral Interview. State law requires that if the results of this screening process reveal a deficiency in oral English skills, the individual will be required to engage in an individualized communications skills program. (see System Policy 12.05, Training for English Proficiency)

Terms of Employment

All employees of the University receive an annual notification of the terms and conditions of appointment for the next fiscal year following approval of the budget by the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System. The notice contains the rank or title of the employee, tenure status of faculty members, inclusive dates of employment, any special conditions, and the annual salary for each individual.

Unless specified otherwise, all appointments are on a year-to-year basis, subject to review and renewal if mutually satisfactory and in accord with the statement on tenure. Designation as department head is on a year-to-year basis, subject to renewal as often as mutually desirable. All faculty are employed for nine months unless specifically stated otherwise. All administrative appointments are on an annual basis. All University administrators serve at the pleasure of the President.

Notice of Non-Reappointment

The Academic Freedom, Responsibility, and Tenure policy (System Policy 12.01) requires that tenure-track faculty must be notified of non-reappointment or of intention not to reappoint in accord with the following standards:

  • Not later than March 1 of the first academic year of probationary service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year; or, if a one-year appointment terminates during the academic year, at least three months in advance of its termination;
  • Not later than December 15 of the second year of probationary service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year; or, if an initial two-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least six months in advance of its termination;
  • At least twelve months before the expiration of a probationary appointment after two or more years in the institution.

Full-time non-tenure-track faculty will be notified of non-reappointment or the intention not to reappoint by March 1 for an appointment expiring at the end of an academic year or at least three months in advance of the termination of an appointment ending during the academic year.

The Graduate Faculty

Faculty members may serve on the graduate faculty as full members, associate members, and adjunct members. All membership is recommended by the department head, affirmed by the college dean, and approved by the Graduate Council, with the exception of adjunct membership renewal.

Full Members
Only tenured or tenure-track faculty members with the appropriate terminal degree at the assistant professor level or above are eligible for full membership. Full members of the graduate faculty should teach graduate level courses, chair or serve as members on master’s thesis committees, serve on dissertation committees, and/or chair or serve on comprehensive examination committees, and show evidence of ongoing professional activity in their academic discipline. Additionally, full members may serve on the Graduate Council.
Full membership is granted for a non-specific time and is contingent upon the recommendation of the department head, typically at the end of one year as an associate member, at post-tenure review, or at the time of application for promotion or tenure. To hold and maintain a full membership appointment, a faculty member must show evidence of ongoing professional activity. This evidence consists of one or more of the following activities: receiving grant(s) from outside the University; publishing in professional journals; submitting proposals for funding from outside the University; or performing other appropriate scholarly or creative activities.

Associate Members
Associate members of the graduate faculty are tenured or tenure-track faculty who hold the terminal degree in their discipline. Associate members must present evidence of competence to teach graduate level courses by virtue of expertise and/or scholarly and creative activity in their professional discipline.
Associate members may teach graduate-level courses and serve on thesis, dissertation, or examination committees. Normally, associate members do not serve on the Graduate Council. However, if there is no full member of the graduate faculty in a given department, an associate member may be eligible for consideration. Associate members are appointed for a non-specific term and are evaluated during their promotion, tenure, and post-tenure reviews by the department head and dean of the college.

Adjunct Members
Faculty who hold the terminal degree in their discipline, show promise of professional development, teach graduate courses, and/or serve on graduate committees may be appointed to adjunct membership of the graduate faculty upon recommendation by the department head and approval by the Graduate Council. Faculty who are visiting scholars or hold appointments in other Texas A&M System entities may be appointed to adjunct membership. The adjunct member classification is granted for two years and is renewable upon recommendation of the department head and approval of the Graduate Dean.

Adjunct Faculty

When a department needs to hire adjunct faculty, creation of the adjunct position(s) must be approved through normal administrative channels. The department head identifies who should be hired to fill adjunct position(s). A person being hired for the first time must complete an application form and provide a transcript. Additionally, the first time employee must complete an Adjunct Hiring Packet and return that packet to Employee Services on or before their hire date along with a copy of their Social Security Card and other identifying documents for I-9 purposes.

Advertising of adjunct positions should be done periodically. A department may maintain an applicant pool from the applications submitted in response to these periodic advertisements.

Normally an adjunct is not hired at 100 percent FTE for two consecutive semesters. An individual can be hired to teach full time for two consecutive semesters only if a full-time position has been created and approved. Adjuncts may not be employed with appointments that extend employment beyond one academic year (nine months).

In general, adjunct faculty should be hired under appointments that specify a time limit for employment of no more than one semester.

The department head is responsible for conducting an orientation session with adjunct faculty. The department head should notify adjuncts about important University policies and should outline to the adjuncts their duties and what the department expects of them. At the end of each semester, the department head should prepare a written evaluation of the performance of each adjunct, comparing the performance of the adjunct to the expectations outlined in the orientation at the start of the semester. The adjunct should be given a copy of the evaluation, and a copy should be filed in the departmental office. The University student evaluation form must be administered in all classes taught by adjuncts.

Adjunct faculty are considered temporary employees and may be dismissed at any point during a semester for non-performance of duties. To recommend dismissal, a department head submits a request to dismiss to the appropriate dean for approval.

Salaries, Salary Differentials, and Faculty Achievement Grants

Faculty Salary Differentials

The following minimum salary increases have been established to reward and recognize promotions in rank:

  • Promotion from Instructor To Assistant Professor: $1,800
  • Promotion from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor: $2,700
  • Promotion from Associate Professor to Professor: $3,600

When a faculty member is hired before completing a terminal degree (ABD, for example), the amount of the salary differential for completion of the degree should be agreed upon at the time of hiring. For other faculty, the differential for completing a terminal degree will be $2,000.

Faculty Salary Floors

The faculty salary floors have been established to ensure a minimum level of salary for faculty by rank for nine-month appointments. Tarleton’s Comprehensive Pay Plan contains the current salary minimums for faculty positions. (see the Non-Classified listing on the Compensation page of the Employee Services web site (http:www.tarleton.edu/~hr/compensation))

When a faculty member is promoted, the promotion differential is added to the current salary; if necessary, an additional amount is added to bring the salary up to the floor for the faculty member’s new rank.

Administrative Salaries

When a department head is hired or appointed, the amount of the administrative differential must be agreed upon and stated in the letter of offer. The administrative differential should be based on the size and complexity of the department. The following schedule of differentials is suggested for 12 months:

  • Large, complex department: $4,000 to $6,000
  • Department of intermediate size and complexity: $3,000 to $5,000
  • Small, less complex department: $3,000 to $4,000

A procedure or formula may be used to evaluate the size and complexity of departments. These suggested differentials apply only for department heads hired after adoption of this policy.

A division director who has budget authority and a staff is generally eligible for an administrative salary differential of $1,500 to $2,000 on a 12-month basis. The amount of the differential must be specified at the time of appointment as division director.

When an administrator relinquishes his or her administrative duties and is reassigned to full-time teaching, an adjustment of salary may be required. Generally, when an administrator returns to full-time teaching, he/she will return to a 9-month appointment. At the time the individual returns to full-time teaching, one of the following options will apply:

  • His or her monthly salary will be reduced by the amount of the monthly administrative differential;
  • There will be no reduction in salary, but no raise will be considered until the faculty member’s monthly salary is judged to be appropriate based on comparable salaries in the department.

Normally, the first option applies to administrators returning to full-time teaching after serving less than five years, and the second option to administrators returning to full-time teaching after serving ten years or more.

Merit Raises for Faculty

Teaching, scholarship, and service are the criteria applied in determining eligibility for merit increases in salary. Department heads initiate the process with recommendations based on annual performance reviews of each faculty member.

In making non-mandatory salary recommendations for faculty, the department head or other immediate supervisor recommends merit raises amounting to 70 to 80 percent of the average raise to be awarded, as determined by the Board of Regents or the state. The exact percentage will be determined each budget cycle and in general will tend toward 80 percent if the average raise is above 7 to 8 percent. The department head then provides written justifications for additional raises for those who have performed above and beyond normal expectations. The dean recommends another 15 to 20 percent of the total average increase based on those recommendations and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs recommends another 3 to 5 percent. The President controls the final 2 to 5 percent and makes any other adjustments deemed necessary.

Faculty Merit Plus Program*

Traditionally, the State of Texas has allowed only merit raises for faculty in state-supported institutions. There have been exceptions when across-the-board raises were mandated by the state, but usually across-the-board increases are specifically prohibited. Generally, individual merit raises at Tarleton are initiated and acted upon through normal administrative channels. The Merit Plus procedure allows full-time faculty members to initiate proposals for mid-year merit raises. This process is in addition to the current administrative system.

As resources are available, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will set aside a sum of money for Merit Plus raises. The money shall not come from the pool of funds designated for normal merit raises.

Full-time faculty members of all ranks will receive full and fair consideration. Tenure is not a criterion for selection. Applicants must be in at least their fifth year of service at Tarleton State University. Department heads, division directors, deans, and others with part-time or full-time administrative appointments are not eligible to apply for Merit Plus raises.

An invitation to apply will be sent out in October, if budget resources are available. Individuals may apply for a raise for themselves or may nominate another person for a Merit Plus raise. The procedure for nominating a faculty member is to send a letter to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs nominating the person. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will then ask the nominated faculty member to complete an application.

The application will begin with a cover letter from the faculty member expressing why he or she deserves a merit raise. It will summarize the faculty member’s accomplishments during the previous five years and will be on a standard form, similar to the University’s tenure and promotion form. The form will also allow the applicant to document significant work completed more than five years ago.

Applicants will be evaluated on the merit of their total contributions to Tarleton and on performance above expectations in teaching, scholarship, and/or service. Applicants may document meritorious performance in one, two, or all three of these areas.

A Merit Plus committee will be designated to review the applications. Members of the committee shall be selected from the College Review Committees and former recipients of Merit Plus raises after applications for Merit Plus raises have been submitted (in order not to prevent members of College Review Committees and eligible former recipients from applying). The Faculty Senate will name four Merit Plus committee members. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will select two members, one from a college review committee and the other a non-tenured faculty member, and will appoint the committee chair.

The Merit Plus committee will recommend which applicants should receive Merit Plus raises and will recommend the level of raise that each should receive. The increments shall be $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for nine months. The committee’s recommendations will be placed in priority order and reported to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will make recommendations to the President, who will make the final decisions on raises.

Recipients of Merit Plus raises will be announced in January. A faculty member who receives a Merit Plus raise may not reapply for three years. Receipt of a Merit Plus raise will not affect the receipt of future merit raises through normal administrative channels.

*Note: The Faculty Merit Plus Program is currently under review.

Faculty Achievement Grants

Faculty Achievement Grants are awarded to recognize continued superior performance by faculty who have been tenured for at least five years. Only faculty members with full-time teaching appointments are eligible to apply for these grants. Applications will be evaluated based on the traditional areas of teaching, research, and service. A recipient of a grant is not eligible to reapply for three years.

Each recipient of a Faculty Achievement Grant receives $3,000 that can be used for travel, equipment, the funding of released time, the hiring of student help, and other similar purposes.

The application procedure is initiated each year by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the maximum number of awards will be announced at that time. A faculty member must submit an application to be considered for a grant. The application must contain a comprehensive report of the faculty member’s achievements for the last five years. It must also include a recommendation from the applicant’s department head.

Applicants will be evaluated by a seven-member committee for their overall contribution to the University. Recipients need not excel in all three areas (teaching, scholarship/research, and service). Five of the committee members will be appointed by the Faculty Senate from the College Review Committees and former recipients of the grants, one from each college. The other two members will be appointed by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs from the same group. No department may have more than one representative. The chair of the committee will be selected by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The committee will evaluate the applicants and make recommendations to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who, in consultation with the Administrative Review Committee, will make recommendations to the President.

Faculty Development Leave Program

  • PURPOSE

The purpose of this program is to meet the objectives of faculty development as outlined in the Texas Education Code, Section 51.102 and implement the guidance of System Regulation 12.99.01, Faculty Development Leave: to provide a program of leaves of absence that would enable faculty members to engage in study, research, writing, and similar projects. In effect, the legislature aims to improve higher education by providing opportunities for professional growth at colleges and universities, thereby increasing the value of the recipient’s sustained contribution. Thus, faculty development leaves are part of a plan of compensation for faculty.

  • ELIGIBILITY
    • Faculty development leaves may be granted to persons employed by Tarleton State University, who are full-time, tenured faculty or equivalent. Faculty duties include teaching, research, administration (who have no more than ¼ release time for administration) and/or professional services. Faculty development leaves may not be granted to persons in the classified personnel system of the university.
    • Eligibility is limited to tenured [full-time] faculty members:
  • With at least seven years of service at this university;
  • With at least six years of service since their last development leave; and
  • Who have submitted acceptable report(s) from previous leave(s).
  • THE FACULTY DEVELOPMENT LEAVE COMMITTEE
    • The Faculty Development Leave Committee (FDLC) is chaired by the current president of the Faculty Senate and consists of one tenured faculty member (as defined in 2.01) from each College. The Faculty Senate conducts elections during April, polling faculty from each College to determine its representative. Members elected in April begin their terms the next school year, beginning in September. Faculty members are not eligible for faculty development leaves during their tenure on the committee.
    • Members serve for three-year terms, with member terms being staggered such that all members’ terms do not end simultaneously.
    • When vacancies occur, the Faculty Senate designates a replacement to fill the unexpired term. The president of the Faculty Senate is responsible for all matters pertaining to the election of FDLC members.
  • THE APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS
    • The FDLC will recommend an application deadline to the vice president for academic affairs who, in turn, will notify the faculty. Normally the application deadline will be on or before the beginning of the fall semester proceeding the academic year for which the award is sought.
    • A faculty development leave application packet is available at www.tarleton.edu/academicaffairs/links.html.
    • An applicant will submit a completed application for approval to the appropriate department head in accord with the deadline established by the FDLC.
    • Upon receipt of the applications by the academic department, further routing will be as follows: from the department head, to the dean, and to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Each administrative officer will have one week to comment and forward the application packet. The VPAA will then forward packets to the FDLC for ranking. The FDLC reserves the right to interview applicants when needed for clarification in ranking applications.
    • The FDLC will return rankings to the vice president for academic affairs who will review and forward the rankings to the president.
    • The president will present the recommendations to the Chancellor for Board of Regents approval prior to the effective date of leave.
    • The president will provide written acknowledgement to approved applicants and the FDLC.
    • Applicants not receiving developmental leaves may apply in succeeding years but must formally reapply with updated documentation.
  • CRITERIA USED BY THE FACULTY DEVELOPMENT LEAVE COMMITTEE
    • The FDLC determines and reports the criteria to be used in making its selection recommendations to the vice president for academic affairs.
    • Current criteria are those cited in Chapter 51, Section 51.102 of the Texas Education Code:

“On the application of a faculty member, the governing board of an institution of higher education may grant a faculty development leave of absence for study, research, writing, field observations, or other suitable purpose, to a faculty member if the board determines that the faculty member is eligible by reason of service, that the purpose for which a faculty development leave is sought is one for which a faculty development leave may be granted, and that granting the leave will not place on faculty development leave a greater number of faculty members than that authorized.”

  • CONDITIONS OF THE PROGRAM
    • Requests for faculty development leaves must be approved or disapproved by the department head. Impact of the leave on the applicant’s department or program (i.e., describe how the leave will benefit the institution), and other pertinent information, should be addressed in the department head’s decision.
    • Faculty members may hold faculty development leaves for one academic year at one-half their regular salary, or for one-half an academic year at their full salary. (An academic year is defined as the nine-month period contained in the fall and spring semesters; development leaves are not authorized for summer sessions.)
    • Faculty members having signed a legal agreement to serve one full academic year after completion of the leave shall be required to reimburse the university in the amount they receive as salary and fringe benefits if they should fail to fulfill the year of service after the leave. Permanent disability attested to by a medical doctor would constitute reason for exemption, or an equivalent condition as judged by the VPAA.
    • A member of the faculty on faculty development leave retains the right of participating in the programs and receiving the benefits made available to faculty members by or through the System or the State of Texas. Members approved for faculty development leave should contact Employee Services prior to starting faculty development leave to verify benefit eligibility.

Note: Texas Insurance Code 1601.201 prohibits public universities from contributing more than 50% of the cost of basic health coverage for the employee and more than 25 percent of the cost of dependent coverage when a faculty member elects to take faculty development leave for one academic year at one-half of his or her salary.

  •  
    • Within three months of their return from leave, recipients of faculty development leaves must provide a written report of their activities to their respective department head, who in turn will route the report to the dean, and then vice president for academic affairs. Recipients will also conduct a forum for discussion with members of their respective colleges. A copy of the written report, and the agenda for the college discussion, will be submitted to the FDLC, who will report their work to the Faculty Senate at the September meeting of the Faculty Senate.
  • FINANCIAL SUPPORT
    • Appropriate funding for faculty developmental leaves is described in System Regulation 12.99.01, Faculty Development Leave:
    • As stated in Title 3, Chapter 51, Section 51.106, not more than six percent of the faculty members of any institution of higher education may be on faculty development leaves at any one time. Additionally, the actual leaves awarded are dependent upon the availability of funds as well as the extent to which proposed leave requires funding.

(see System Regulation 12.99.01, Faculty Development Leave)

Teaching Load and Released Time

Released Time for Administrative and Committee Responsibilities

The minimum and normal teaching load for department heads is 15 hours for 12 months. Problems courses may be counted toward this load only if they are organized classes. Exceptions to this would be negotiated between the respective director and/or department head, dean, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Generally, deans, department heads, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs have 12-month appointments. For other academic administrators such as directors, the term of the appointment normally is 10.5 months. Exceptions to this would be negotiated between the respective director and/or department head, dean, and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The Faculty Senate President should receive 1/4 released time for the fall and spring semesters. The Curriculum Committee Chair should receive released time for the fall semester and for the spring semester if needed. Released time is not normally given for chairing major university committees. In special cases, released time shall be authorized only with the recommendation of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the approval of the President.

When a faculty member assumes administrative duties on a temporary basis, granting released time to that individual may be appropriate.

Overload

Tarleton has established a minimum contact hour teaching load of 12 hours (9 hours for faculty teaching only graduate courses). Teaching loads below the established minimum must be explained in official reports. Tarleton does not establish a maximum contact hour teaching load. In some departments, because of the nature of their courses, the average load for the department is near the minimum. In other departments, again because of the nature of their courses or because of fiscal or other constraints, departmental averages are above the minimum contact hour load.

Occasionally, the need arises for the department head to assign teaching duties above those which are normally assigned. The department head must determine when the additional load becomes an overload, warranting extra pay, as opposed to an additional teaching assignment. Factors to be considered in determining what constitutes an overload include the number of course preparations, the total number of students, the nature of the course, the contact hours involved, and other responsibilities of departmental faculty members.

When the need for additional teaching services arises, the department head should first consider whether that load can reasonably be added to the load of a faculty member in the department. An example would be a student in a problems course. If the load is such that it cannot reasonably be added, the department head should make every effort to find a qualified adjunct faculty member for the teaching assignment. If that fails, it should be assigned to a faculty member, on a voluntary basis if possible, in return for additional monetary compensation or future released time. Prior approval through normal administrative channels is required for the overload assignment. If future released time is chosen as the method of compensation, it must be taken within six months and could include summer school. If monetary compensation is chosen, it will be negotiated according to current policy and will depend on rank and experience.

University Scholar

The University confers a limited number of positions of University Scholar to encourage exceptional scholarly and creative activity by faculty. Individuals considered for the position of University Scholar must show an established record as evidence of scholarly or artistic achievement and the promise of future achievement that should bring positive recognition to Tarleton State University.

Selection
University Scholars will be appointed by the President, depending on their credentials, the needs of the University, and the availability of financial resources.
Faculty seeking appointment to the position of University Scholar will submit a request in writing to the President. Each applicant will provide an up-to-date curriculum vita with evidence of ongoing scholarly activities and a brief proposal outlining what he or she plans to accomplish as University Scholar. Applicants for the position of University Scholar will normally meet the following criteria:

  • Be a tenured full-time member of the Tarleton State University faculty;
  • Present an established record of scholarly activities that would exceed the requirements for promotion to the rank of full professor; and
  • Provide evidence of current, on-going scholarly activities which consistently provide, and show promise of continuing to provide, major contributions to knowledge and the profession within their discipline.

Applications and supporting documentation will be forwarded to a screening committee composed of faculty and chaired by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. All colleges will be represented equally on this committee. Committee members will be appointed by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs with the advice of the Faculty Senate.

The screening committee will evaluate the applicants and deliver its recommendations to the President for the final decision.

Guidelines
University Scholars will receive up to six hours of released time per regular semester. Additional benefits, such as travel money and secretarial support, may be awarded at the discretion of the President.

The length of an appointment as University Scholar will be up to three years. A faculty member who has previously held an appointment as University Scholar may reapply for another appointment.

University Scholars will submit annual reports to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President describing their accomplishments during the year.

At least once a year, University Scholars will present oral summaries of their work to the faculty.

Review
A review of the accomplishments of each University Scholar will be conducted at the end of the appointment. This review process will be conducted by the screening committee and is intended to emphasize and highlight the achievements attained by the faculty member during his/her appointment as University Scholar. If the screening committee does not find significant accomplishments by the University Scholar, this finding will also be noted. The screening committee will deliver its findings to the President. The comments of the screening committee will become a part of any future application materials should the faculty member reapply for appointment as University Scholar.

The review process will include evaluation of:

  • An updated vita for the University Scholar;
  • Dates of oral summaries presented to the faculty;
  • Copies of annual summaries submitted to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President; and
  • An interview with the University Scholar, if so elected by the screening committee.

Summer Employment for Faculty

Summer teaching opportunities are based on student demand for particular courses. As a result, some departments have little or no summer teaching while others have full-time employment available. The salary for summer teaching is calculated at the same monthly rate as during the preceding nine months. Letters of intent to employ during the summer will be sent to faculty members by February 1. All summer teaching appointments are contingent upon enrollment: specifically, by the first class day a graduate class must have an enrollment of at least six and an undergraduate class must have an enrollment of at least twelve. Department heads and deans will be expected to work closely in matters of scheduling and enrollment management. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for making the decision on whether classes may be taught if they do not meet the stated minimum enrollments.

Faculty Working on Terminal Degrees

Tarleton State University supports and encourages its faculty who seek to improve their academic credentials. Support to faculty who are working on terminal degrees includes, but is not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • Flexible scheduling of teaching load while taking courses toward a terminal degree, studying for comprehensive exams, or working on the dissertation;
  • Reduced teaching load for one or more semesters while working on the terminal degree, with equivalent reduction in compensation;
  • A leave of absence without pay, typically for one or two semesters, while meeting residency requirements in a graduate program, studying for comprehensive exams, or working on the dissertation;
  • Released time for one or two semesters while working on a terminal degree. To receive released time, the faculty member must agree to continue employment at Tarleton for an amount of time to be specified in an agreement with the University;
  • Absence from campus, without reduction in pay, for taking comprehensive exams or defending the dissertation or proposal;
  • Reduction in other University responsibilities, such as academic advisement or committee service.

A faculty member wishing to receive any of these adjustments should seek approval from his/her department head and dean and the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. A request for leave of absence or flexible teaching schedule should be made before the department prepares its course schedule for the semester(s) in question. There may be other accommodations that would benefit a particular faculty member who is working on a terminal degree. Such accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis through normal academic channels.

Sick Colleague

When illness, injury, or other personal circumstances render a faculty member unable to teach his or her classes, that faculty member's colleagues are normally expected as a professional courtesy to assume responsibility for the classes. If, however, the absence extends beyond two to four weeks or the nature of the courses creates a special hardship, the faculty member who assumes responsibility for the course or courses may be compensated. The actual time period will be determined in each case by recommendation from the department head and approved through normal administrative channels. The compensation will be based on the amount normally paid for an overload and will be prorated to include the full period of time involved.

Complaint and Appeal Process For Faculty

Each System employee has the right under the statues of Texas to present complaints concerning wages, hours of work, or conditions of work. The complaint may be presented individually or through a representative provided such representative does not claim the right to strike. No retaliatory action of any kind including a reprimand may be taken against a complainant or other person providing testimony. Such retaliatory action will be regarded as a separate and distinct cause for complaint. An employee may be disciplined for the bad faith filing of a complaint.

The following process will be followed in handling complaints not addressed elsewhere in System Policy and Regulation, Tarleton Rule and Procedure, or within this handbook. Both informal and formal procedures for redress of complaints are available to all members of the faculty, including persons holding tenure, those on tenure track, and instructors, regardless of release time assignments as director, department head, etc.

Note: For the purpose of this process, the terms complaint and grievance mean the same and will be used interchangeably throughout this process.
In accordance with System Regulation 32.01.01, Complaint and Appeal Procedure for Faculty Members, the definition of complaint or grievance for purposes of this process does not include an allegation of:

  • Violations of academic freedom or of proper procedures associated with appointment, tenure, promotion, or termination decisions, all of which are subjects of other System Policies and Regulations, Tarleton Rules and Procedures, or outlined elsewhere within this handbook;
  • Sexual harassment or discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or veteran status. Faculty should consult Tarleton Rules and Procedures or contact the Department of Employee Services for further guidance on proper procedures.
  • Dissatisfaction with existing System Policies, System Regulations, or University rules or procedures;
  • Negative evaluations of an individual faculty member’s professional work;
  • Dissatisfaction with a salary decision, except as a salary decision or set of salary decisions is alleged to be part of a pattern of conduct that as a whole rises to the level of a grievance; and

Additionally a faculty member who has received notification of termination of employment has the right to a hearing with the department head. This right does not depend on academic freedom issues being involved. (see System Policy 12.01, Academic Freedom, Responsibility and Tenure)

Informal Resolution of Complaints and Grievances
Faculty and administrators at all levels should strive to maintain open lines of communication with peers, supervisors, and subordinates. In so doing, most problems can be resolved informally by mutual consent before they ever reach the formal complaint stage.

Formal Grievance Procedure
If informal discussions and procedure do not resolve the grievance, the faculty member may elect to pursue a formal procedure, which will progress as follows:
Step 1:      The faculty member begins the formal grievance procedure by filing a signed, written grievance form with the department head. The faculty member must identify the written policy or procedure alleged to have been violated and provide a clear statement of the grievance, the date of the event(s) on which the grievance is based, and all relevant information. Copies of the completed form must also be filed with the Faculty Senate President, department head, dean, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
NOTE: (1) The Faculty Grievance Form may be obtained online from the Employee Services Forms page (/~hr/forms.html) or from the Faculty Senate President. (2) If the grievant is a department head, this step is taken with the dean.
The department head has 10 working days from receipt of the complaint to review the complaint and provide a written response back to the faculty member.

Step 2:      If the department head’s answer is not satisfactory to the faculty member, the faculty member has ten working days from the receipt of the response to appeal to the appropriate dean. The faculty member must notify the dean in writing that she or he wishes to appeal to the second step. Attached to the written statement are the original complaint form and the department head’s written response. The dean has 10 working days to review the complaint and provide a written response to the faculty member.

Step 3:      If the dean’s response is not satisfactory to the faculty member, the faculty member has ten working days from receipt of the response to appeal to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The faculty member notifies the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in writing that she or he wishes to appeal to the third step. Attached to the written statement is the grievance in its original form and all written responses. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has 10 working days to review the complaint and provide a written response to the faculty member. If the Provost’s answer is not satisfactory to the employee, the fourth step may be taken.

Step 4:      If the Provost’s response is not satisfactory to the faculty member, the faculty member has ten working days from receipt of the response to appeal to the University Grievance Committee. The faculty member notifies the chair of the University Grievance Committee in writing that she or he wishes to appeal to the fourth step. The chair will convene the committee, which will review the grievance and all subsequent responses, and will then forward a statement of its conclusions and recommendations to the President within 45 days of receipt of the complaint.

Step 5:      The President may conduct further inquiry, may remand the grievance to the University Grievance Committee for further consideration and/or may accept, reject, or modify the conclusions and recommendations of the University Grievance Committee. The President will forward a written answer to the faculty member within 10 working days of receipt of the University Grievance Committee report. The decision of the President is final and will be considered the last step in the University’s formal complaint procedure.
If an administrator or the University Grievance Committee does not provide an answer within the established time limits, the faculty member may send a written statement of the grievance to the next level of management within the next ten working days.
For formal grievances to be resolved within the above time frames, the faculty member should file at least 60 working days before the end of the long semester. Grievances arising during the summer should be filed at the beginning of the fall semester.
If a faculty member does not observe the University’s time limits at any particular level or step, the grievance will be considered to have been resolved, and the resolution final. (see System Regulation 32.01.01,