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Negotiations: Article 15, Termination of Appointments

Wright State University Chapter

American Association of University Professors

The administration put forth the article shown in the right half of the table below at the April 1, 2013 negotiating session. Our team countered with the proposal in the left half on May 3, 2013.

Reports about the status of this article will be found below the article itself.

See our CBA Negotiations page for a roster of the AAUP-WSU negotiating team, brief reports about each Monday's negotiation session, and an article-by-article summary table with links to detailed information about each individual article that either the administration or AAUP-WSU proposes to include in the CBA.

Article 15

Termination of Appointments

15.1 The University has and retains the right to terminate the employment of a Bargaining Unit Faculty Member. In addition to resignation or retirement, faculty appointments may be terminated due to (1) completion of a fixed-term appointment, (2) poor performance for a Member without continuing employment status, (3) just cause, (4) enrollment or curricular changes that eliminate the need for their services, and (5) financial exigency.

15.2 Termination at the Completion of Fixed-term Appointments. Faculty on fixed-term appointments (Instructors, Visiting Professors, and those Lecturers and Clinical Faculty who are in their initial appointment periods) are automatically terminated at the conclusion of their appointments unless the university offers them a succeeding appointment.

  • When possible, faculty should be notified by February 1 of the year their fixed-term appointment expires if they are being offered a succeeding appointment.
  • Notice of termination is not required for faculty who complete fixed-term appointments. Even if succeeding appointments had been received in earlier years, faculty on fixed-term appointments should not expect that their employment will continue after the fixed-term unless they have received a written offer of continuation from their dean.

15.3 Termination for Poor Performance.

15.3.1 If written notice of termination for poor performance is made by February 1 of the first year, for a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer without continuing employment status and no prior service as an Instructor (or for Visiting Faculty), no further requirements apply. A Lecturer or Senior Lecturer without a continuing appointment in his or her second year and no prior service as an Instructor (or Visiting Faculty) may be dismissed for poor performance if notice of written termination is made by December 15. Otherwise, the termination for poor performance for a Member without a continuing appointment can occur only if (1) such poor performance was specified in a written evaluation by the Chair or Dean, (2) at least two academic semesters were given to address any deficiency, and (3) any poor performance continued; and, the written notice shall be made at least twelve months in advance of termination of employment. Poor performance is defined as a failure to meet essential teaching related behaviors pursuant to 13.99.

15.3.1.1 Normally an Instructor will not be terminated before the end of his or her fixed term appointment. However, under extraordinary circumstances and after consultation with AAUP-WSU, an Instructor can be terminated before the end of his or her fixed term appointment for poor performance.

Bargaining Unit Faculty in all ranks on fixed-term or continuing appointments may be terminated for poor performance. Poor performance is defined as a failure to meet essential teaching related behaviors pursuant to 13.99. If written notice of termination for poor performance is made by February 1 of the first year, for a Lecturer or Senior Lecturer without continuing employment status and no prior service as an Instructor, no further requirements apply. A Lecturer or Senior Lecturer without a continuing appointment in his or her second year and no prior service as an Instructor may be dismissed for poor performance if notice of written termination is made by December 15.When notified in writing by February 1 of their first academic yearís service, faculty will be terminated at the conclusion of that academic year. Otherwise 15.3.2 applies, and Following the first year, the university will provide written notice at least twelve months in advance of termination. Notice is not required, however, if the Memberís fixed term appointment expires before a termination for poor performance would have taken effect.

15.3.2 Criteria for terminating faculty based on unsatisfactory performance are:

1.   The performance was specified in a written evaluation.

2.   The faculty member was given at least 2 academic semesters an opportunity to address the unsatisfactory performance.

3.   The unsatisfactory performance continued.

15.4 Termination or Unpaid Suspension for Just Cause.

15.4.1 Just cause terminations or unpaid suspensions may be based on (a) fraudulent credentials pertaining to employment at WSU; (b) demonstrated incompetence or dishonesty in teaching, scholarship, or professional service; (c) substantial and manifest neglect of duty, (d) personal conduct which presents a serious threat to health or safety of any person in the University community, manifests severe and continuing harassment or discrimination, or otherwise substantially impairs the Bargaining Unit Faculty Memberís fulfillment of the institutional responsibilities; (e) malicious conduct that directly obstructs the performance of instructional or scholarly programs authorized or permitted by the university; or (f) conviction of a crime involving an offense of violence as defined in dividiondivision (A)(9)(a) of Section 2901.01 of the Ohio Revised Code as of January 1, 2008 or a substantially equivalent offense under a municipal ordinance. Terminations for just cause shall be effective at the end of the academic year except as otherwise ordered by the Board of Trustees.

15.4.2 Charges may be initiated against a Member of the Bargaining Unit by an administrator who is a tenured faculty member outside the bargaining unit. Such charges shall be made in writing with reasonable particularity of the grounds for termination or suspension without pay based on one or more of the categories in Section 15.3 and shall be presented to the President of the University.

15.4.2 The University President shall, as soon as possible, inform the accused Bargaining Unit Member and the AAUP-WSU in writing of the charges, specifying which one or combination of the categories in Section 15.4.1 comprise the basis of the charges.

15.4.3 Informal hearing: Before a formal hearing is conducted the University President or designee shall call a meeting with the charging party, the accused Bargaining Unit Faculty Member, and a representative of the AAUP-WSU. The purpose of this meeting shall be to reveal and clarify all related facts in the case and to attempt resolution of the matter through informal discussion. Additional meetings may occur provided the University President or designee and the Bargaining Unit Member being charged believe that further meetings will serve a useful purpose.

15.4.4 Formal hearing: If after the informal hearing, the University President or designee determines that charges are warranted, he or she shall call for the creation of a Hearing Board of six members.

15.4.5 The Hearing Board shall be created in the following manner: the AAUP-WSU and the University shall form a Hearing Board consisting of three NTE or TET Bargaining Unit Faculty Members selected by the AAUP-WSU and three department chairs, assistant or associate deans who are also tenured faculty selected by the University. In addition, the AAUP-WSU and the University will each appoint two alternate members to the Board. The AAUP-WSU and the University shall select the members of this Board on the basis of their objectivity and competence and of the regard in which they are held in the academic community.

15.4.6 The President or designee shall notify in writing the accused Bargaining Unit Member and the administrator initiating charges of the intended hearing and of the composition of the Hearing Board, including alternate members. Within ten calendar days after receiving notice of the intended hearing, the accused Member is entitled to remove at most two members of the Hearing Board selected by AAUP-WSU and at most two selected by the University. After the Member has been given the opportunity to exercise his or her right to remove members or alternate members of the Hearing Board as specified above, the Hearing Board will be convened by the President of AAUP-WSU (or designee) and the Provost (or designee). At this time the Committee will elect a Chair or Co-Chairs and determine the rules governing the hearing. The Hearing Board shall communicate in writing the scheduled date, place, and time of the hearing and provide to all parties concerned an explanation of the rules under which the hearing shall be conducted.

15.4.7 The University will provide access to all available evidence and give the names of all potential witnesses to the accused Member, the Memberís counsel (who, here and elsewhere in the Article, shall be at the Memberís expense), and AAUP-WSU in a timely manner.

15.4.8 Both the accused Bargaining Unit Member and the administrator initiating charges may be represented by counsel, confront and cross-examine witnesses, present and summon witnesses, and be present to hear all evidence and arguments given at all meetings of the Hearing Board. Both the AAUP-WSU and the University are entitled to have representatives present at any hearing. The accused Bargaining Unit Member may choose not to testify or answer questions at this hearing. However, such failure may be taken into consideration by the Hearing Board. Members of the Hearing Board may question all witnesses appearing before the Board. The charging party has the burden of proving to the Hearing Board that, on the basis of clear and convincing evidence, the charges are true. The hearing shall be conducted in private with only the AAUP-WSU and the University representatives, the Memberís counsel (if the Member chooses to be represented by counsel) and those summoned as witnesses or directly involved in the dispute present. Subject to the approval of the accused, the charging party, and the Hearing Board, observers can be present at the hearing.

15.4.9 When all witnesses summoned and able to appear have presented testimony and when cross-examination has been conducted, the Board shall retire to make its recommendation. If it finds against the accused, the Hearing Board may recommend such penalty as it deems fair and appropriate, including termination or suspension or lesser penalties. All decisions of the Hearing Board shall be made by a majority vote of all its members, and its recommendation immediately shall be communicated in writing to the University President, the accused Bargaining Unit Faculty Member, the AAUP-WSU, and the charging party. A verbatim, written record of the hearing, including all findings and recommendations, shall be sent to the University President, the accused, the AAUP- WSU and the charging party as soon as possible following the conclusion of the hearing. (This verbatim record may be taken by a stenographer or transcribed from electronic recording equipment.)

15.4.10 Within twenty (20) working days after receiving the recommendation of the Hearing Board, the President will (a) recommend to the Board of Trustees that the accused be either suspended without pay for an identified period of time or terminated, (b) dismiss the charges, or (c) impose a specified lesser penalty. Both the accused Member and AAUP-WSU will be promptly notified.

15.4.11 Before the Board of Trustees approves either suspension without pay or termination, the accused shall have the right to appear before the Board with counsel and a representative of the AAUP-WSU.

15.4.12 Should the final decision be for termination, it shall not become effective until the end of the academic or fiscal year, except where otherwise ordered by the University Board of Trustees, which can require severance of the Bargaining Unit Faculty Memberís relationship with students and the University prior to the end of the academic or fiscal appointment when it finds the conduct or situation to be of extreme gravity. A penalty of suspension without pay shall not exceed one year, and during this year a suspended Bargaining Unit Member may purchase benefits from the University at his or her own expense.

15.4.13 At the sole discretion of the AAUP-WSU, the final decision may be taken directly to binding arbitration. The timelines, procedures and the costs of arbitration will be governed by the provisions concerning arbitration in Section 16.6.

15.5 Termination Due to Reduced Need and Financial Exigency

Bargaining Unit Faculty without continuing appointments who are terminated because of enrollment declines or curricular changes will be notified in writing by the provost at least twelve months in advance of termination. The specific changes necessitating their termination will be specified, along with confirmation that the termination is not based on their quality of performance.

15.5.1 Termination of Bargaining Unit Faculty with continuing appointments due to reduced need or financial exigency will be pursuant to Article 16. [Webmaster's note: "Article 16" is a typo; it should be "Article 17".]

15.1 The University has and retains the right to terminate the employment of a Bargaining Unit Faculty Member. In addition to resignation or retirement, faculty appointments may be terminated due to (1) completion of a fixed-term appointment, (2) poor performance, (3) just cause, (4) enrollment or curricular changes that eliminate the need for their services, and (5) financial exigency.

15.2 Termination at the Completion of Fixed-term Appointments. Faculty on fixed-term appointments (Instructors, Visiting Professors, and those Lecturers and Clinical Faculty who are in their initial appointment periods) are automatically terminated at the conclusion of their appointments unless the university offers them a succeeding appointment.

  • When possible, faculty should be notified by February 1 of the year their fixed-term appointment expires if they are being offered a succeeding appointment.
  • Notice of termination is not required for faculty who complete fixed-term appointments. Even if succeeding appointments had been received in earlier years, faculty on fixed-term appointments should not expect that their employment will continue after the fixed-term unless they have received a written offer of continuation from their dean.

15.3 Termination for Poor Performance.

15.3.1 Bargaining Unit Faculty in all ranks on fixed-term or continuing appointments may be terminated for poor performance. When notified in writing by February 1 of their first academic year’s service, faculty will be terminated at the conclusion of that academic year. Following the first year, the university will provide written notice at least twelve months in advance of termination. Notice is not required, however, if the Member’s fixed term appointment expires before a termination for poor performance would have taken effect.

15.3.2 Criteria for terminating faculty based on unsatisfactory performance are:

  1. The performance was specified in a written evaluation.
  2. The faculty member was given an opportunity to address the unsatisfactory performance.
  3. The unsatisfactory performance continued.

15.4 Termination for Just Cause.

15.4.1 Just cause terminations may be based on (a) fraudulent credentials pertaining to employment at WSU; (b) demonstrated incompetence or dishonesty in teaching, scholarship, or professional service; (c) substantial and manifest neglect of duty, (d) personal conduct which presents a serious threat to health or safety of any person in the University community, manifests severe and continuing harassment or discrimination, or otherwise substantially impairs the Bargaining Unit Faculty Member’s fulfillment of the institutional responsibilities; (e) malicious conduct that directly obstructs the performance of instructional or scholarly programs authorized or permitted by the university; or (f) conviction of a crime involving an offense of violence as defined in division (A)(9)(a) of Section 2901.01 of the Ohio Revised Code as of January 1, 2008 or a substantially equivalent offense under a municipal ordinance. Terminations for just cause shall be effective at the end of the academic year except as otherwise ordered by the Board of Trustees.

15.5 Termination Due to Reduced Need and Financial Exigency

Faculty who are terminated because of enrollment declines or curricular changes will be notified in writing by the provost at least twelve months in advance of termination. The specific changes necessitating their termination will be specified, along with confirmation that the termination is not based on their quality of performance.

Status of Negotiations about the Above Article

August 10, 2013 Update

The parties reached tentative agreement on this article, and they initialed the TA'd article on July 30, 2013.

June 28, 2013

Our team put forth a counterproposal which you may view in pdf form here. The parties were not able to discuss thoroughly the various changes that we had proposed, since more than a little time had already been consumed in an extensive off-the-record session.

There was time to go over a bulleted list of "symptoms of poor teaching performance" in 15.3.2. We expect the third bullet to be changed to "persistently erratic classroom behavior" and the fourth to "persistent failure to be reasonably available to students and advisees". The administration is likely to suggest additional tinkering with this list.

In 15.3.2a, the administration objected to how long it might take for a person to be dismissable due to persistently poor performance, and our teach acknowledged that this was a reasonable concern. The administration noted that how long it would take to establish a pattern of persistently poor performance depends upon the specifics -- e.g., at the short end of the time spectrum, one could be use profanity (without reason) in class after class; but failing to distribute a syllabus to one's classes at the beginning of each term would entail considerably more time.

May 3, 2013

Aside from noting a typographical error at the very end, the parties did not have time to discuss our counterproposal (see the left half of the table above). The parties agreed to have, at the next negotiating session, an overview discussion of Articles 13, 15, and 17, which together deal with appointment, promotion, retention, and dismissal of NTE faculty.

April 1, 2013

The administration described its proposal (see the right half of the table above) as having been adapted from on the policy “Appointment, Promotion and Termination of Faculty in Non-tenure Track Positions,” in the Faculty Handbook, with some modifications to reflect language in the existing CBA for tenure-eligible and tenured (TET) faculty (vs. older CBAs, upon which the cited policy was in part based).

It noted that its proposal specified five reasons to terminate an NTE faculty member; see section 15.1. Referring to reason (2) poor performance, our team stated that it is not clear what "poor performance" is. The administration initially stated that no Lecturer at WSU had ever been terminated for poor performance, and then corrected itself to state that there had been one such person. It stated that "there is a huge difference between Instructor and Lecturer."

Our team also noted that section 15.3.2 item 2 provides for "an opportunity" to address unsatisfactory performance, whereas corresponding language in the existing CBA for tenure-eligible and tenured (TET) faculty specifies "at least two academic semesters".

[Let us also note that the administration's proposal provides for essentially none of the due process mechanism specified in Article 15, Termination and Unpaid Suspension, in the existing CBA.]


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This page was last modified on Saturday, August 10, 2013. Corrections, comments, and suggestions are most welcome. Contact the webmaster for this page (Jim Vance) at jimvance.wsu@gmail.com, telephone 937-775-2206. To contact the chapter, please see our Staff, Officers, and Committees page.