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University Policy Office

Shelly G. Gonzalez, Policy Officer
Administration 208
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660.543.4730
Fax: 660.543.8022
sgonzalez@ucmo.edu





Faculty Retrenchment Policy and Procedures
Board of Governors Policy 3.1.010
Revised and approved by the Board of Governors on January 21, 2004

I. Preamble

The University of Central Missouri takes great pride in the quality and diversity of its instructional, scholarly and service offerings. Under certain circumstances, however, the university may be compelled to reduce the staffing of certain departments of instruction or academic disciplines, or to abolish some departments or programs altogether. Whenever general faculty reductions must be considered, the university administration having the responsibility for determining appropriate overall staffing levels will give comparable consideration to all administrative and staff positions and will determine the overall levels of staffing needed to maintain the university's aims and functions. The circumstances necessitating such retrenchment are set forth below. In pursuing any course of retrenchment, the University of Central Missouri will follow applicable affirmative action regulations and guidelines.

The measures and procedures set forth in this document may be referred to as strategies of adaptation to untoward circumstances. The adoption and approval of these measures and procedures should in no way be taken to mean that the university has abandoned what are commonly termed strategies of resistance. On the contrary, it is expected that all members of the university community will work to recruit and retain academically qualified students, enhance the quality of student life, increase funding from traditional sources, seek new sources of funding and otherwise do their utmost to avoid or mitigate any and all of the circumstances necessitating retrenchment.

The structure and procedures set forth herein will be utilized after declaration of a state of retrenchment by the president of the university and the Board of Governors.

II. Retrenchment

A. Retrenchment Defined

Retrenchment is defined to be a reduction of faculty which is significantly beyond routine faculty staffing adjustments and/or reallocation. Retrenchment procedures shall be activated when it becomes necessary to implement plans to terminate tenured faculty or eliminate more than 3.5 percent of the total full-time budgeted faculty positions (as reported to the Coordinating Board for Higher Education) during an academic year.

B. Circumstances Necessitating Retrenchment

Several circumstances may occasion reduction in the faculty staffing levels of the University of Central Missouri. At least one of two dynamics will be present: academic program changes or fiscal considerations. Any one of the following factors will require retrenchment:

  1. State-initiated Retrenchment. State-initiated retrenchment means measures taken by the state of Missouri, notably those recommended by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education, to reduce or to abolish a department of instruction or an academic program at the University of Central Missouri. Recommendations for retrenchment would take effect only if they were approved by the Board of Governors of the University of Central Missouri.

  2. Enrollment Decline. Enrollment decline means that the number of student credit hours produced in the university has reached such a point over a sufficiently extensive period of time that continuation of the current level of staffing is no longer reasonably justified. While it would be ill-advised to reduce staffing levels because of cyclical enrollment declines, there may be no alternative when the decline is long-term.

  3. Financial Stringency. Financial stringency means that the long-term financial condition of the University of Central Missouri is such that it cannot maintain or improve the quality of its instructional, scholarly and service functions on an institution-wide basis, and there is no imminent prospect for the significant improvement of this financial condition. Financial stringency may fall short of a state of financial emergency, but if it is permitted to continue over an extended period of time without remedial action, the result is likely to be a steady erosion of academic quality.

In the event that retrenchment is required, consideration shall be given but not necessarily limited to methods of increasing revenues and constructive alternatives to termination for administration, faculty, and staff (e.g., severance leaves, leaves without pay, early retirement or reduced individual appointments; reduction in salaries for all personnel; and reduction in non-academic staff and services).

III. The Condition of Financial Emergency

Financial Emergency. Financial emergency refers to a financial condition so grave as to pose an immediate and continuing threat to the operation of the University of Central Missouri at an acceptable level of academic quality. Such a condition must be so extreme that financial considerations alone dictate that there is no reasonable way and no balanced alternative to alleviate the situation except by the dismissal of tenured faculty members.

If the president of the university believes a state of financial emergency to be imminent, he/she shall convene a Financial Emergency Advisory Council to advise him/her. This council shall consist of the president’s executive leadership group (typically consisting of vice presidents and other university directors), president of the Faculty Senate and two other members of that body whom he/she shall appoint in consultation with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, dean of an academic college selected by the Council of Deans, chairperson of the Advisory Council of the Professional Staff, chairperson of the Council for Support Staff, and the president of the Student Government Association. Within 10 business days of the time it is convened, the Financial Emergency Advisory Council, together with the president of the university, who shall preside over its meetings, shall consider all reasonable options available to the university short of a declaration of a state of financial emergency. The president will recommend to the Board of Governors the implementation of options he/she deems reasonable to alleviate the financial crisis without doing grave damage to the central functions of the university.

If, after carefully considering available options in consultation with the Financial Emergency Advisory Council, the president determines that all reasonable measures to improve the financial situation have been taken and the emergency cannot be alleviated by less drastic means than a declaration of a state of financial emergency, then he/she shall submit a recommendation to the Board of Governors for such a declaration. A report detailing the rationale for this declaration and addressing other options which have been considered shall accompany this recommendation. Prior to submitting the final report to the Board of Governors, the president of the university shall consult with the Faculty Senate.

A state of financial emergency shall exist when it is declared by the Board of Governors. It is expected that the Board of Governors will set a finite time period for a declared state of financial emergency and make that time frame publicly known. If the president of the university believes that the state of financial emergency must be extended beyond the declared period, the same procedures used for the original declaration must be used for renewal.

IV. Procedures to Reduce Tenured Faculty

The procedures to reduce tenured faculty are specified in appendices A and B. These procedures will be followed as described herein under all conditions necessitating retrenchment other than financial emergency. If a state of financial emergency is declared, the Academic Review Board acts as sole reviewer of programs. During a state of financial emergency information from five year reviews will be provided by the Academic Planning Committee. The Academic Review Board shall apply the same criteria as that set out in this policy [see appendix A] for the Academic Planning Committee.

V. Reassignment

As long as conditions necessitating retrenchment are operative, the university will maintain a strong commitment to hiring from within wherever feasible.

A. Reassignment to an Administrative or Exempt Position

Whenever an administrative or exempt position below the level of vice president is to be filled, there shall be a two-tier search process as long as the conditions necessitating retrenchment remain. First, those charged with the search shall seek qualified or readily qualifiable applicants from among all persons currently employed by the university. If those charged with the search can find no such applicants, or if the administrative supervisor in question deems none of the internal applicants to be qualified or readily qualifiable, then there shall be an external search to fill the vacancy.

A tenured faculty member reassigned to an administrative or exempt position shall retain tenure status in the home academic department. A non-tenured faculty member reassigned to a full-time administrative or exempt position normally will not be eligible to earn tenure. Similarly, any faculty member reassigned to a full-time administrative or exempt position shall hold the same academic rank formerly held in the home academic department; such a faculty member may be considered for promotion only through normal departmental processes. The salary of a faculty member reassigned to a full-time administrative or exempt position will be determined by the applicant's qualifications and the job description.

The tenure status, academic rank, salary and seniority of a faculty member reassigned to a part-time administrative or exempt position shall be determined by the nature of the position and by the duties which the faculty member continues to perform in his/her academic department.

B. Reassignment to Another Department

Whenever any faculty position is to be filled, there shall be a two-tier search as long as the conditions necessitating retrenchment remain. First, those charged with the search shall seek qualified or readily qualifiable applicants from among all persons currently employed by the university. If those charged with the search can find no such applicants, or if the academic department in question deems none of the applicants to be qualified or readily qualifiable, then there will be an external search to fill the vacancy. Reassignment of tenured, qualified faculty to a vacant position in another department will be implemented, if possible.
A faculty member reassigned to another department on a part-time and/or temporary basis shall enjoy the same rights and privileges of tenure status, rank, salary and seniority in the home department as though assigned to full-time duties there. Such a faculty member normally will not be eligible to earn tenure or academic rank in the department to which he/she is reassigned.

A faculty member reassigned to another academic department on a permanent, full-time basis shall retain rank, tenure and salary except the market portion. The market portion of the salary will be re-evaluated following the guidelines in the faculty compensation procedures. The department to which the faculty member is reassigned shall determine when the faculty member is eligible for promotion and for merit pay. That department shall also determine when a reassigned faculty member who had not yet been awarded tenure in the home department is eligible to receive tenure in the new department. In no case, however, shall the probationary period exceed five years.

VI. Tenured Faculty Appeals from Termination Due to Retrenchment or Program Needs

A. Tenured faculty members may be recommended for dismissal when a genuine financial emergency exists or when the result of the academic review process is the determination that a program will be discontinued and affected faculty members cannot be assigned different responsibilities.

B. Tenured faculty recommended for dismissal will receive written notice from the president of UCM; said notice will contain the justification for the termination.

C. The faculty member may request in writing that the president reconsider the termination decision within 10 business days of the faculty member’s receipt of the notice.

D. Reconsideration shall be granted. The president, with advice from the Faculty Senate Committee on Committees, shall appoint a committee and designate its chair for the purpose of conducting termination reconsideration hearings. The chair, in consultation with the committee will determine all procedures for the hearing not specified in this policy.

E. The termination decision can only be reconsidered on the grounds that financial savings will not accrue, UCM procedures have not been followed or the decision is inconsistent with the mission of the program or academic department.

F. All members of the committee will be full-time employees of UCM. At least three will be tenured faculty members, at least one will not be a member of the faculty, and the committee will total no more than five.

G. No one will be appointed to the committee who has a potential conflict of interest in the outcome, who has a personal relationship that would prevent objective consideration or who was involved in the initial decision.

H. The committee shall conduct the reconsideration hearing within 30 calendar days after the president receives the request, unless the faculty member agrees to a delay not to exceed 90 calendar days after the president received the request for reconsideration.

I. The faculty member shall have access to all documents upon which the decision to dismiss was founded. If any documents are exempt from release under the Missouri Sunshine Act, Chapter 610, RSMo., they may be produced if relevant, but the faculty member must treat them as confidential and must not further disclose such documents without the consent of UCM or pursuant to court order.

J. The faculty member may present all relevant information for consideration through documents and witnesses. The university and the faculty member will advise each other of documents and witnesses to be offered five business days before the hearing.

K. The hearing shall be tape-recorded and transcribed.

L. The hearing may be closed if appropriate under the Missouri Sunshine Act, Chapter 610, RSMo., at the option of the faculty member.

M. An advisor who shall not participate in the hearings may accompany the faculty member.

N. The burden of proof rests on the faculty member to establish that it is more likely than not that the termination will not result in financial savings, that UCM procedures have not been followed or that the termination is inconsistent with the program or academic department’s ability to fulfill its mission.

O. The faculty member will have the opportunity to make an opening statement followed by the administration’s opening statement. The faculty member will then present evidence followed by the administration’s evidence and the faculty member will make a closing statement followed by the administration’s closing statement followed by any rebuttal by the faculty member of issues raised in the administration’s closing argument.

P. The committee shall have access to any additional information deemed necessary and relevant to its consideration.

Q. The committee shall report its findings and recommendations to the president within 15 calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing. The president will reach a decision within 10 business days and notify the faculty member and the chair of the committee of the decision.

R. Pursuant to Article XI of the Board of Governors By-Laws, 1.1.010, the Board of Governors will serve in the capacity of a Court of Appeals in cases of faculty dismissal, according to procedures to be established by the Board of Governors. The decision of the Board of Governors will be final.

VII. Rights of Tenured Faculty Members Scheduled for Termination

A. All tenured faculty members recommended for termination will receive no less than a one year terminal contract as notice and have the right to use the university's job placement and counseling services without charge during the notice period.

B. During the timely notice period, the university will make good faith efforts to place any tenured faculty member scheduled for termination in a vacant university position for which he/she is qualified or readily qualifiable in the opinion of the supervisor for that position.

C. For a period of three years following the termination of any tenured faculty member, that person shall enjoy the right of first refusal if his/her former position is to be filled again. The university may not advertise the vacancy or offer the opening to anyone else until the tenured faculty member has been informed that the position is to be filled again and has been given a reasonable time in which to accept the offer. It shall be the responsibility of the terminated tenured faculty member to keep the appropriate university officials informed of his/her address during the three-year period if he/she wishes to maintain this right of first refusal. Such a person shall be reinstated in the previous position with former academic rank, salary status and tenure.

D. The rights of faculty members scheduled for termination in a declared state of financial emergency shall be the same as those specified above.

 

APPENDIX A

APPENDIX B

Approved by the Board of Regents on December 5, 1984
Approved by the Board of Regents on February 18, 1987 
Approved by the Board of Governors on January 21, 2004
Formatting updated August 1, 2007