Bylaws Section 4. Terms Of Employment and Evaluation Procedures

 

4. Terms of Employment and Evaluation Procedures for Faculty and Academic Specialists

4.1. The Department Chairperson will consult with the faculty through the Department Advisory Committee and with other individual faculty members regarding initial appointments to the faculty.

4.2. The terms and conditions of employment and tenure shall be those of the College according to article 4.1.5. of the College Bylaws (May 2008). In accordance with University policy, as presented in the MSU Faculty Handbook, every new faculty member will receive written information from the Department Chairperson about duties and responsibilities, general performance expectations given the appointment distribution of the Faculty member, evaluation procedures and schedules, documentation and other factors which might eventually bear on reappointment, tenure, or promotion decisions.

4.3 Recommendation for reappointment, tenure and promotion shall be made by the Department Chairperson after consultation with the Department Promotion and Tenure Committee. The Chairperson of the Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) Committee, who must be tenured and hold the rank of Professor, will be the Department’s elected representative to the college’s RTP Committee. The term of service will be three years, coinciding with their elected term on the CANR-RTP Committee. The criteria to be used are principally those listed in section 4.3.10 of this article. Each faculty member being considered for reappointment or tenure will be given an opportunity to appear before the Department Promotion and Tenure Committee before a final decision is reached in each case. In the event a decision is made not to recommend the individual, then the faculty member will be informed in writing before the final recommendation of the Department Chairperson is forwarded to the Dean. The affected faculty member may request, by letter, to meet with the Department Promotion and Tenure Committee and learn of the reason(s) for this decision.

4.3.1. A Mentor committee for Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion (RT&P) Advisory Committee (hereafter “Mentor Committee”) will be appointed by the Department Chairperson for each regular and fixed-term faculty with the rank of Assistant and Associate Professor, and Academic Specialists who are appointed in the Continuing System but who have not yet earned Continuing Status (hereafter “Mentee”), in consultation with the Mentee. The Mentor Committee (consisting of a chairperson and at least two additional members, and not including the Department Chairperson) should be appointed within the first year of the arrival of an Assistant or Associate Professor or Academic Specialist. The suitability of the mentor committee to meet the mentee’s needs will be evaluated annually by the mentee in consultation with the Department Chair, and changes implemented by the Chair as appropriate. Selection of mentors is not limited to faculty from the Department of Horticulture. For Mentees with joint appointments, there will be a single mentoring plan coordinated across units-with leadership provided by the lead unit. While it is expected that junior Faculty and Academic Specialists select a mentor committee, they may choose not to have formally appointed mentors, but must sign a written declaration of their intent to not have a Mentor Committee appointed on their behalf. A Mentor Committee can be appointed at a later time by informing the Department Chairperson in writing.

4.3.2. The mentee will meet at least once a year with the mentor committee by mid-October to allow time for preparation of the report for the annual departmental RT&P meeting. It is the responsibility of the mentee to schedule the meeting. However, it is expected that the mentor committee chair maintain frequent contact with the mentee. Following the meeting, the mentor committee chair will prepare a written mentor committee meeting report and this will be shared with the mentee for additional input prior to the annual RT&P meeting. A final written copy of the mentor committee report will be provided to the mentee at the time it is submitted to the Department RT&P committee.

4.3.3. The content of the mentor committee meeting is assumed to be confidential. However, as the mentor committee report is shared with the Departmental RT&P committee it is not considered a confidential document.

4.3.4. Following the Departmental RT&P committee meeting, the chair of the mentor committee and the Departmental Chair will provide feedback to the mentee on their progress together with any general concerns that were raised.
4.3.4.1. The Mentor Committee will serve to increase communication between the faculty member and the unit as a whole by:

a) Assisting the Mentee in understanding the university, college, and unit performance expectations.

b) Facilitating understanding of the university and unit mission, policies and procedures in order to be effective and productive.

c) Monitoring the professional performance of the Mentee and working with the individual to excel professionally.

d) Assisting the Faculty and Academic Specialists at large to become familiar with the Mentee’s program and progress.

e) Preparing and submitting the signed annual advisory report to the Department Chairperson, Departmental Tenure and Promotion Committee, and the Mentee. The Department Chairperson will maintain these reports in a file, with other relevant information, to support decisions on reappointment, tenure and promotion.

4.3.5. The Department Chairperson will perform an annual performance review of each faculty member, followed by a written summary or the individual’s strengths and weaknesses with suggestions for improved performance. The Department Chairperson will annually solicit written comments from all faculty on the performance of all tenure-stream non-tenured faculty.

4.3.6. The CANR Time Line for Preparation-Submission, Reappointment and T&P Packages will be followed (Promotion and Tenure: Philosophy and Protocol, CANR, September 1, 2008). The Department Chairperson and Departmental Advisory Committee will initiate a faculty review the fall before each nomination for tenure and promotion is due. These reviews will be closed meetings for all tenure-stream faculty, in which the nominee gives an in-depth review of his/her teaching, research, extension, and public service programs.

4.3.7. Department Tenure and Promotion. Subsequent to faculty review, for consideration of reappointment, tenure and promotion, a Departmental Tenure and Promotion Committee will evaluate the candidate, using the procedures and criteria in the unit bylaws to determine if performance warrants promotion, granting of tenure, or reappointment. To encourage open and candid discussion, confidentiality shall be maintained after the meeting. The substance of the discussion will be summarized in writing by the Tenure and Promotion Committee Chairperson to relate a sense of the perceived strong and weak points. An anonymous faculty vote will be taken by those in attendance (no abstentions permitted) and the ballots will be counted by the Departmental Tenure and Promotion Committee Chair. Every faculty member of higher rank in the department not in attendance will be expected to submit a written statement about the progress and performance of the faculty member, along with a recommendation for or against promotion/tenure, to the Committee Chairperson. The written summary of the discussion, the ballots and the written statements by absent faculty will be maintained on file along with the materials submitted by the individual’s Mentor Committee.

4.3.8. The Tenure and Promotion Committee for Associate Professors shall consist of all Professors, and for Assistant Professors all tenured Associate Professors and Professors. The person acting as chair of these committees will be elected for a 3-year period by the entire faculty from among Professors in the department. The Department Advisory Committee will conduct this election. The Tenure and Promotion Committee will meet annually, no later than early December, to review performance of Assistant and Associate Professors and to consider reappointment, tenure and promotion decisions.

4.3.9. The results of the Tenure and Promotion Committee discussions will be reviewed with the candidate by the Department Chairperson and the final recommendation, as prescribed by University policy, will be made by the Department Chairperson and transmitted in writing to the Dean, along with appropriate and relevant documentation.

4.3.10. The CANR Vice-Provost and Dean, and the relevant Associate Deans and Directors, will meet with the Department Chairperson to discuss the recommendation. After the meeting, the Dean and Directors may request additional information.

4.3.11. All these activities will be conducted in accordance with applicable University anti-discrimination laws and policies.

4.3.12. Specific deadlines for submission of tenure and/or promotion materials are set annually by the Dean and Provost (CANR Promotion and Tenure: Philosophy and Protocol, pg 53-55). Consequently, as general practice, the Department will use the following time lines.
4.3.12.1. Assistant Professors
  • First year - The Mentor Committee is appointed by Chairperson.
  • Annually - Meeting of the Assistant Professor with the Mentor Committee in mid-October. Reports are due prior to the annual Department Tenure and Promotion Committee meeting.
  • Third year - The Assistant Professor will meet with the Mentor
  • Committee, provide a packet to the faculty and present a review of activities and accomplishments to the Departmental faculty in the Fall prior to the Tenure and Promotion Committee meeting. The promotion packet should be provided to the Departmental Chairperson two weeks following the Tenure and Promotion Committee meeting.
  • Sixth year - Same schedule as third year reappointment.
4.3.12.2. Associate Professors
  • First year - The Mentor Committee is appointed by Chairperson.
  • Annually - Meeting of the Associate Professor with the T & P Advisory Committee by mid-October. Reports are due prior to the annual Department Tenure and Promotion Committee meeting.
  • Year of Advancement to Professor - The Associate Professor will meet with the T & P Advisory Committee, provide a packet to the faculty and present a review of activities and accomplishments to the Departmental faculty in the Fall prior to the Tenure and Promotion Committee meeting. The promotion packet should be provided to the Departmental Chairperson two weeks following the Tenure and Promotion Committee meeting.
4.3.13. General performance evaluation criteria for all faculty.

The following are criteria for tenure and promotion for faculty of the Department of Horticulture and are examples of evidence of contributions to the missions of the Department, College and University. There may be other areas of activity that are considered both for promotion and tenure and for merit increases which are not specifically identified in this document.

a) Faculty should be evaluated in relation to their appointment or assignment.

b) Faculty should demonstrate contributions to the mission of the Department of Horticulture, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Michigan State University.

c) Faculty should demonstrate knowledge of subject matter, including a commitment to inquiry, scholarship, maintaining an ongoing effort to expand knowledge, and a capacity to synthesize, develop, interpret, and communicate new understanding and insights.

d) Faculty should demonstrate that they are interacting with other faculty, both within and outside the university environment, in a collegial manner.

e) Faculty should strive to achieve a national and/or international reputation in their area(s) of expertise.

f) Faculty should demonstrate participation in activities that are related to academic governance and other activities of service to the University, College and Department.

4.3.13.1. Criteria for teaching and advising activities.

The criteria for Tenure and Promotion for faculty who have teaching responsibility should include the following:

a) Course Development: Knowledge of subject matter; organization and development of teaching materials; development of new courses; use of teaching methods that demonstrate innovation and a variety of teaching methods; demonstration of effective feedback to students and appropriate evaluation methods; compatibility of course(s) with overall Horticulture, College and University programs and cooperation with other instructors; development of traditional campus courses as well as outreach teaching off-campus.

b) Course contact hours and enrollment (student numbers): Numbers of students enrolled relative to required courses and elective courses; student numbers relative to overall department enrollment; activities in student recruitment and retention.

c) Advising: Assisting students in course selection, program development and personal development; participation in advising students on internships; availability and accessibility to students; assisting students with employment and career development.

d) Teaching and advising-related committee activities: Demonstrated willingness to participate on committee activities related to teaching and advising, and curriculum development; participation in student-led organizations as advisor.

e) Student evaluations and performance: SIRS forms and other student evaluations; Department Chairperson’s exit interview comments by students; success of students in courses and after graduation.

f) Professional Development: Participation in activities related to professional development of teaching, learning methods and approaches; demonstrated scholarly activity related to teaching; active participation in the teaching program in a collegial manner.

g) Peer recognition: Invited presentations at meeting or articles in books or other publications; society membership and participation in these societies; awards; service as reviewer of grants and publications and service as editors of publications.

4.3.13.2. Criteria for research activities

The criteria and evidence of accomplishments for those faculty with research responsibilities should include the following.

a) Knowledge of the subject area.

b) Commitment to inquiry: Development of an innovative research program with applicability and benefits to society; securing funding necessary to support the research program; use of sabbatical leave to develop professionally.

c) Communication of new knowledge: Publication(s); other communication methods such as oral presentations at professional meetings; patents.

d) Mentoring of new scientists: Participation in the education and training of graduate students; mentoring of visiting scientists and post-doctoral fellows; participation in the education of undergraduate students and high school students.

e) Peer recognition: Invited presentations at meetings or articles in books or other publications; society membership and participation in these societies; awards; service as reviewer of grants and publications and service as editors of publications.

f) Collegiality: Takes on challenges willingly; interacts and collaborates with colleagues; shares time, equipment, ideas; participates in professional meetings and organizations.

4.3.13.3. Criteria for extension and outreach activities

The following are the criteria and evidence of accomplishments to be used to evaluate faculty with extension appointments:

a) Knowledge of subject matter and expertise in one or more useful and scholarly areas.

b) Competence in dissemination of scholarly information and ideas to clientele user groups. Clientele may include the public in Michigan, the region, the nation or world wide. Development of publications, media presentations, videos, computer information dissemination, etc.; participation in workshops, and oral and written presentations at educational meetings at the local, state, regional, national or international level; evidence of consultant work.

c) Ability to develop extension and outreach programs that have an impact on the public served.

d) Ability to generate funds to support the extension and outreach programs.

e) Participation in extension commodity committees and agent training.

f) Interaction with other faculty in a collegial manner.

g) Peer recognition: Invited presentations at meetings or articles in books or publications; society membership and participation in these societies; awards; service as reviewer of grants and publications and service as editors of publications.

4.4. In the event a recommendation is made not to reappoint or offer tenure and the affected faculty member believes that review procedures have been violated, he or she may petition in writing the Department Advisory Committee, and they shall make a determination as soon as practicable as to whether or not the designated procedures have been violated.

4.5. If the non-tenured faculty member, after review by the Department Advisory Committee, still believes that the decision not to reappoint has been made in a manner inconsistent with designated procedures, the faculty member may submit a written petition to the University Tenure Committee for a review of his or her case.

4.6. Decisions of merit salary increases will be made by the Department Chairperson using the criteria outlined in 4.3.10.

4.7. The Department shall follow the standard faculty hiring procedure when filling an Academic Specialist Position (fixed-term, probationary, or continuous appointments).

4.7.1. Academic Specialists consist of individuals appointed to one of two ranked levels: Senior Academic Specialist or Academic Specialist. Appointments are made in units reporting directly or indirectly to the Provost or the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. Academic Specialist may be appointed on a fixed term (with an end date) or continuing basis, full-time or part-time, with either an academic year nine-month) or an annual (twelve-month) duty assignment. Repeated fixed-term appointments should not be used as a mechanism to by-pass the continuing appointment system. However, positions funded with grant or other non-general funds normally are fixed term in nature. The University will not dismiss the continuing status academic specialist due to capricious action nor will dismissal be used as a restraint of academic freedom or other civil rights.

4.7.2. Academic specialist positions should be established only if this is the best way for the academic unit to function at the highest possible level of effectiveness and efficiency. Assignments for academic specialists involve applicable assigned duties (academic advising/teaching/curriculum development, research, and service/outreach.

4.7.3. Academic specialist positions are established on the recommendation of the appropriate administrator of the academic unit, the concurrence of the appropriate dean/separately reporting director, and require approval by the Office of the Provost.

4.8. Evaluation of Academic Specialists

The evaluation of an academic specialist’s performance shall be based on the duties and responsibilities specified in the job description for the specific position, general merit guidelines and the provisions of the Academic Specialist Appointment System (Academic Specialist Handbook, Section 5.0).

4.8.1. The academic specialist with a probationary appointment shall be evaluated annually by the Department Chair, who will seek input from other appropriate faculty to determine progress toward goals and/or the identification of goals. Units may also use the annual evaluation to assist in the assignment of merit and other salary adjustments. The academic specialist with a continuing appointment should also be evaluated. Units may schedule such evaluations to meet the needs and concerns of the individual unit; however, the unit must follow the established procedures.

4.8.2. The academic specialist shall be notified when the evaluation is to take place, what procedures are to be followed, and what criteria are to be used for the evaluation. This notification should be at the time of appointment and, subsequently, two months prior to the evaluation. A written summary of this evaluation shall be placed in the academic specialist’s personnel file in the unit and given to the academic specialist within 30 calendar days of the evaluation. Unit administrators must review such evaluations personally with the academic specialist. An academic specialist with a fixed term appointment should be reviewed regardless of the probability of reappointment in order to assess progress toward goals and/or the identification of goals. The academic specialist appointed on a fixed term basis for six months or more shall be evaluated by the unit administrator no later than two months prior to the appointment ending date. A summary of this evaluation shall be placed in the personnel file in the unit and be given to the academic specialist.

4.8.3. Evaluations are based on the specifics of the individual’s assignment and on the effectiveness in the appropriate functional area(s): advising/teaching/curriculum development, research, or service/outreach. The kinds of evidence to be considered must be established at the time of appointment. The academic specialist should have the opportunity to submit evidence supporting the proposed reappointment, promotion or award of continuing appointment status. Reappointment, award of continuing appointment status, or promotion must promote the objectives of improving academic strength and quality (see Appendix A: Functional Description of Specialist Duties, Advancement in the System and Administrative Responsibilities). A unit review committee will be established to advise the unit administrator about the reappointment, award of continuing appointment status, or promotion of the academic specialist. Every attempt should be made to ensure that the review committee is composed of individuals knowledgeable about the position under review and the Academic Specialist Appointment System and should include at least one academic specialist.

4.8.4. In the Department of Horticulture: A (mentor) review committee will be appointed by the Department Chair, consisting of two faculty members and one academic specialist with knowledge of the area in which the reviewed academic specialist is assigned. The committee may also include members of other academic personnel systems, or University support staff members. The academic specialist under review must be provided an opportunity to confer with the review committee at least once each year before it provides advice to the unit administrator regarding reappointment, promotion or award of continuing appointment status. Any changes in assignment or in responsibilities will be written into to a revised job description, according to established university policy, at the time the review committee meets with the academic specialist and before the changes are implemented. The review committee will present its report at the beginning of the annual departmental Tenure and Promotion meeting that will have Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors in attendance.

4.8.5. In addition to the review committee’s advice, the Department Chair may also consult with administrative staff, faculty, students, and/or other qualified individuals inside or outside the unit regarding the reappointment or promotion review. The academic specialist should be informed of those individuals from whom the unit administrator is requesting advice; the academic specialist is not informed of those individuals who provide letters of evaluation, unless stipulated by unit policy. Reappointment and promotion recommendations must be submitted to the Office of the Provost for review and final action no later than November 15 of the calendar year prior to the end of the probationary appointment. The individual must be notified in writing by December 15 of the same year. Probationary appointment periods are calculated from August 16 of the calendar year in which the appointment is effective, irrespective of the actual date of appointment. In accordance with the Board of Trustees’ delegation of academic personnel actions, the Office of the Provost approves all Academic Specialist Appointment System personnel actions; these actions are reported to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees as information items.