Handbook changes spark senate debate

Proposed revisions to the Faculty Handbook were central to the discussion at the Oct. 16 Faculty Senate meeting, including modifications from the senate's promotion and tenure task force.

Faculty development and administrative relations council chair Ann Smiley-Oyen presented proposed revisions for section 6.4 of the handbook, which outline emeritus/a professorships. She said the changes update the language and clarify a timeline to "keep nominations flowing."

Promotion and tenure task force chair Steve Freeman presented three proposed handbook changes developed in response to issues that cropped up during the recent promotion and tenure process. He said changes to sections (designation of professor) and (letters of evaluation) provided clarifications, not changes, to the policies.

The proposed revisions to section, which he said would clarify the "one person, one vote" procedure for promotion and tenure review, generated the most discussion.

"What we found in this last P&T cycle were a few cases where what we thought we were suggesting in principle was not necessarily what actually happened," Freeman said. "We are trying to provide some clarification."

Different interpretations of the handbook policy at the college and department levels generated the most discussion. The addition of "influence" (such as nonverbal cues) to a list of actions considered "equivalent to a vote" ("recommendations" and "advice" already were listed) also prompted debate.

Senators unanimously voted to refer the proposed changes to voting procedures back to the promotion and tenure task force. The motion also asked the task force to review how the policy relates with existing college documents. The senate will vote on the other three proposals at its next meeting.