Senate debates NTE contract notifications

Senators have two weeks to consider their stance on a policy change introduced at Tuesday's Faculty Senate meeting. The revision, although simple, sparked considerable discussion.

The change would impact two sections of the Faculty Handbook ( and, and involves the length of notice for employment contract renewals and nonrenewals sent to lecturers and clinicians with three or more years of service.

Currently, nonrenewal notices are required one year prior to the end of a contract. The proposed change shortens that notification deadline to six months prior to the end of the contract and includes renewal notifications, too.

"The problem is when the notices happen before the contracts even start," said Martha Selby, chair of the governance council.

For instance, a lecturer on a nine-month contract that begins in August receives a nonrenewal notice in May of that same year -- three months before that August contract goes into effect. Essentially, the lecturer has been notified that his or her upcoming contract has not been renewed before it even has started.

"They're getting a 12-month notice that basically says 'your next contract is your last one,' and they get this notice year, after year, after year," Selby said.

Some senators were concerned that the change didn't go far enough, calling for a bigger fix -- in minimum length of contract, for example.

"I think that's something for us to discuss and work toward, but seemed a bigger reach," Selby said. "This was to try to solve what I think is a situation where we aren't treating people the way we should be and I was trying to remedy that within the current appointments that we have. This is not to say that we aren't going to move on and work on things like length of contract. They aren't mutually exclusive in my mind."

Other business

  • A proposed health coach certificate was introduced, a 23-credit program that includes courses in three departments: food science and human nutrition, kinesiology and psychology. Senators will vote on the certificate at the April 21 meeting.
  • Senators elected chairs for two of the senate's councils: Micheal Owen (agronomy), judiciary and appeals council; and Peter Martin (human development and family studies), resource policies and administrative relations council.