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Faculty Handbook Proposal

The following is a proposed amendment to the faculty handbook written by WISE. The purpose and rationale for this amendment is presented in detail below.

 

PURPOSE

Proposed amendment to the faculty handbook: automatic extension of probationary period with 120 days or more of unpaid disability, family, infant, newly-adopted child care or parental care leave.

RATIONALE

The current policy entitles individuals taking 120 or more days of leave to extend their probationary period by one year, however, this practice is not automatic and indeed the entitlement of extension is not typically exercised.

There are several reasons faculty may skip the entitlement. First, assistant faculty may not be aware of the entitlement or know how to apply for it. Guidelines are not set forth in the current handbook regarding specific procedures and assistant faculty may not know how or where to look for advice.  Second, assistant faculty may not feel supported by colleagues if they elect to use the entitlement. Third, assistant faculty may not want to exercise the entitlement for fear of being negatively evaluated by others.

Regardless of reason that faculty may not use the entitlement, we put forth the following arguments in support of amending the policy of extension of probationary period to be automatic. (1) Given that the current policy entitles an extension of the probationary period, a change to automatize the enforcement of the policy does not in any way affect what the college currently recognizes as acceptable. (2) Without an automatic granting of extension of probationary period, it is conveyed that under circumstances that the entitlement is not used, the faculty member should be working full time while on leave.                   (3) Amending the probationary extension policy to be automatic simplifies the process of entitlement while further demonstrating explicit support from the college that such a decision is acceptable and respected. (4) We propose that the adoption of an automatic extension of the probationary period may be waived by the faculty through petition to the Provost allowing for both options presented currently to occur. In sum, we suggest that adopting an automatic extension of the probationary period better serves the faculty than the current policy, one in which the extension is not automatic but must be personally requested.

 

CURRENT POLICY

(1). Extension of Probationary Period. An untenured instructional faculty member who uses 120 days or more of paid or unpaid disability, family, infant, newly-adopted child care or parental care leave during any consecutive two-year period shall be entitled, at his or her election, to extend the tenure probationary period by one year. An untenured instructional faculty member who uses less than 120 days of paid or unpaid disability, family, infant, newly-adopted child care parental care leave during any consecutive two-year period but who has, nonetheless, taken a significant amount of such leave prior to consideration for an award of tenure, or who has experienced circumstances which, at the faculty member’s election, could have resulted in a significant period of such leave, may petition the Provost for an extension of the probationary period. The decision to grant an extension of the probationary period under such circumstances shall be made at the sole discretion of the Provost, after consulting with the faculty member’s Dean and/or department chair. The election to extend the tenure probationary period by one year or the petition to the Provost to extend the probationary period by one year must be made no later than March 15 of the contract year before which the tenure review normally would occur. If such election is made or if the petition is granted by the Provost, the faculty member thereby waives the requirement that a decision regarding the award of tenure be made within seven years. Generally, no faculty member will be granted more than two such extensions.

PROPOSED CHANGE: Newly added words are highlighted, deletions shown with strikethrough.

(1). Extension of Probationary Period.  When a tenure-eligible instructional faculty member who uses 120 days or more of paid or unpaid disability, family, infant, newly-adopted child care or parental care leave during any consecutive two-year period, the tenure probationary period will be extended by one year. Faculty who elect not to extend the tenure probationary period by one year must inform their Chair no later than March 15 of the contract year before which the tenure review normally would occur. An untenured instructional faculty member who uses less than 120 days of paid or unpaid disability, family, infant, newly-adopted child care parental care leave during any consecutive two-year period but who has, nonetheless, taken a significant amount of such leave prior to consideration for an award of tenure, or who has experienced circumstances which, at the faculty member’s election, could have resulted in a significant period of such leave, may petition the Provost for an extension of the probationary period. The decision to grant an extension of the probationary period under such circumstances shall be made at the sole discretion of the Provost, after consulting with the faculty member’s Dean and/or department chair. The petition to the Provost to extend the probationary period by one year must be made no later than March 15 of the contract year before which the tenure review would occur. If the probationary period is extended the faculty member thereby waives the requirement that a decision regarding the award of tenure be made within seven years. Generally, no faculty member will be granted more than two such extensions. Extension of the probationary period will not affect the standards applied to the tenure review.