Constitution & Bylaws

Bylaws of Northern Illinois University


ARTICLE 6:
GENERAL PERSONNEL PROCEDURES

 

The procedures described below provide a mechanism whereby the objectives of the personnel process can be met. They do not insure those objectives, since any set of procedures must be effectively administered in order to produce the desired results. Furthermore, they do not, and cannot, foresee all possible circumstances that may arise in the evaluation of faculty members for personnel decisions. Hence, these procedures must be supplemented by the detailed procedural and policy statements of departments, colleges, and the University Council Personnel Committee. The following statement sets forth the principles and procedures to be followed in the future development of the academic personnel process.

6.1 General Personnel Procedures

In addition to the personnel procedures stipulated in the personnel principles set forth in Section 5.1 of these bylaws, the following procedures shall also be faithfully followed:

6.1.1 On-campus recommendations regarding promotion in rank, tenure status, and sabbatical leave shall be completed during the fall semester of each academic year for the following academic year. Exceptions shall be permitted only for recommendations on which an appeal or request for reconsideration has been filed. 

6.1.2 Annual faculty merit ratings and recommendations regarding salary increments for the following academic year shall be started and completed during the spring semester of each academic year for faculty service and accomplishments during the previous calendar year of service. Departments, at their option, may choose to base such evaluations upon a "rolling average" of the two or three previous calendar years of service. Each department shall inform its faculty about which method of calculation is to be used prior to the start of the period to be evaluated. 

6.1.3 All faculty salary adjustments require faculty involvement in decision making. The ordinary salary increment process depends on faculty merit ratings and recommendations (Bylaws 6.1.2) under policies created in accordance with Bylaws 2.4.2.2. 

6.1.4 The selection process for the chair of each personnel committee at the department, college, or university level shall be specified in the appropriate policies or bylaws of the academic unit involved. When such committees are formulating recommendations regarding merit evaluation, salary increments, promotion, tenure, or sabbatical leaves, the academic unit's administrative officer (chair, dean, executive vice president and provost) shall be a nonvoting, ex officio member of the committee. 

6.1.5 When both the department personnel committee and the department chair agree not to recommend a faculty member for promotion, tenure status, or sabbatical leave, no further consideration is necessary unless the faculty member wishes to file a formal appeal to the college. However, all tenure recommendations in the penultimate year, whether positive or negative, must be forwarded to the college even though no further action is required at that level. 

6.1.6 In any case involving an appeal of a personnel decision (e.g., regarding annual evaluation, tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave), the members of the body which made the decision being appealed shall be obliged to abstain from voting on the appeal. 

6.1.7 Persons in the terminal year (e.g., denied tenure, resigning, or dismissed for cause) may participate in discussion of personnel matters to be effectuated after their departure from the university but shall not vote on such matters, unless either general policy or a specific motion inviting them to vote shall have been approved by the department faculty. This policy does not apply to retiring faculty. 

6.1.8 It is preferable that all members of the departmental personnel committee or the appropriate college faculty committee in colleges without academic departments be tenured. If there be non-tenured members, they shall not be a majority and they shall neither participate nor vote on evaluations for, or recommendations regarding, tenure. 

6.1.9 Under the Board of Trustees Regulations, time on total or partial leave does not count toward tenure unless it is agreed before the leave begins that it will count. When continuing but not yet tenured faculty go on total or partial leaves of absence, whether or not the time on leave is to count in the years-to-tenure, such total or partial leave may not continue for more than one year without the approval of both the department personnel committee and department chair, or in colleges without departments, the college personnel committee and dean. Ordinarily, the maximum extension of the tenure track achieved by total or partial leaves of absence shall not exceed two years. 

6.2 Personnel Procedures at the Department Level

Academic departments bear the principal responsibility for evaluating the professional competence and achievements of their faculty members.

6.2.1 Departments shall provide faculty members with statements of criteria and policies for various personnel actions, the types of evidence to be evaluated, the procedures to be followed in making personnel recommendations-including provisions for student participation in the personnel process-and dates for compliance. Each departmental statement shall be submitted to the appropriate college where it must be reviewed and approved before it is disseminated or implemented. Each new faculty member, appointed on a regular faculty contract, shall be given a copy of these and all other pertinent college and university personnel policies when employed. 

6.2.2 A faculty member on a joint appointment between units will receive, at the time of appointment, a Memorandum of Understanding, prepared by the units and endorsed by the dean(s) to whom they report, specifying the conditions of the appointment, including the responsibilities to and support from each unit and the teaching, scholarship, and service expectations of the individual. This Memorandum of Understanding may be amended at any time by agreement of all concerned parties. A person on joint appointment shall not be disenfranchised from the university governance system because of that appointment. 

6.2.3 Departments shall make personnel recommendations on the basis of department, college and university guidelines and policies. 

6.2.4 As a part of its regular personnel procedure, each department shall notify faculty members of recommendations affecting them. All faculty members shall be given an opportunity to have each recommendation affecting them reconsidered within the department, prior to its being submitted to the college. Procedures for reconsideration shall be established by each department and approved by the appropriate college. In accordance with college time schedules, departments shall submit recommendations for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leaves to the deans for review at the college level, making clear any discrepancy that may exist between the recommendations of the department chair and the personnel committee. 

6.2.4.1 When the department personnel committee and the department chair agree to recommend a faculty member for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave, written comments in support of that recommendation shall be prepared and discussed by the committee and the chair and the recommendation and commentary shall be submitted to the college for review. 

6.2.4.2 When the department personnel committee and the department chair agree not to recommend a faculty member for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave, written comments in support of that decision shall be prepared and discussed by the committee and the chair and concurrently submitted to the college, and the faculty member shall be entitled to appeal that decision to the college in accordance with the provisions set forth in Article 7 of these bylaws. That appeal shall constitute the faculty member's right to appeal to the "level above the level at which the appealed recommendation was made" under Section 5.1.6 of these bylaws. 

6.2.4.3 When the department personnel committee and the department chair disagree on a recommendation of a faculty member for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave, the committee and the chair shall each prepare a separate written statement supporting their respective recommendations and shall share and discuss those statements with each other before submitting them to the college for review. 

6.2.5 Merit Ratings of Persons Who Have Been on Leave 

6.2.5.1 Sabbatical Leaves
Within 30 days after return to regular duties, each person who has been on leave shall present to the department chair, department personnel committee, and the executive vice president and provost's office a report of personal professional activities during the leave. The report shall describe the activities undertaken during the leave and the scholarly or other creative results of those activities. If this report reflects significant professional activity, the department personnel committee will award a merit rating which will be at least an average of that person's merit rating for the previous three years. If the report reflects inadequate professional activity, the merit rating may be lower.

When a faculty member is on leave for less than the whole evaluation period, the regular merit evaluation process will be used for that portion of the evaluation period during which the faculty member was not on leave. When the sabbatical leave occurs late in the evaluation period, care shall be taken to obtain the faculty member's service report before the leave begins. If a faculty member's leave begins in one evaluation period and continues into another, so that a merit rating must be given before the sabbatical report is due, the faculty member's rating for the first portion of the time on leave shall be either the average of that person's merit rating for the previous three years or that person's merit rating for the portion of the evaluation period for which the faculty member was not on leave, whichever is higher. The merit rating for the evaluation period during which the second portion of the leave occurs shall be determined in accordance with the first paragraph of this Bylaw. 

6.2.5.2 Leaves Without Pay
When a faculty member returns from leave without pay, the sabbatical rules shall apply if the individual has been engaged in professional activities. In other instances, the individual shall be assured at least the lowest merit rating earned by that individual in the preceding three years unless the dean of the college, at the time the leave was approved, specified that there would be no increment for the leave year. 

6.2.5.3 Sick Leaves
When a faculty member returns from extended sick leave or disability leave, the dean and the department chair, in consultation with the department personnel committee, shall make a recommendation to the executive vice president and provost as to an appropriate salary adjustment. 

6.2.6 Merit Ratings for Persons with Multiple Appointments
An individual with an appointment in more than one campus unit which involves some salary payment from the budget of each such unit shall be evaluated separately for each appointment by each unit in which a salaried appointment is held.

The evaluators in each unit shall take into consideration the proportional amount of time allocated by the individual's official notification. An overall merit rating, which shall be assigned by the lowest level academic administrator with supervisory responsibility for all of the academic units participating in the multiple assignment, shall be a composite of the individual ratings for each assigned role and shall reflect the proportional amount of time allocated to each unit by the individual's official notification. An individual's annual incremental dollars shall reflect the person's merit rating and shall be commensurate to the incremental dollars assigned to the same rating in the unit of origin. 

6.3 Personnel Procedures at the College Level

The college has two types of responsibilities in the personnel process. It establishes academic standards and procedures for the college as a whole, and it ensures that departments conform to them as well as to their own established standards and procedures. While each department bears the principal responsibility for evaluating the professional competence of its own faculty members, the college must be satisfied that such evaluations are in accordance with high academic standards in each discipline and with college policies. The college retains the authority to reject a department recommendation if the college is not persuaded of its validity.

6.3.1 The college personnel committee shall provide departments and faculty members with college criteria and current policies for various personnel actions, the types of evidence to be evaluated, and the dates for compliance. College statements shall be submitted to the University Council Personnel Committee where each must be reviewed and approved before it is implemented. 

6.3.2 The college personnel committee shall review all department personnel recommendations to insure (1) that appropriate professional standards of evaluation have been applied; and (2) that college guidelines, policies, and appropriate procedures have been followed.

If, on the basis of the evidence submitted by a department, the college is not persuaded that an individual recommendation should be approved, the college shall return the recommendation to the department for reassessment, with a statement of reasons in writing. A copy of the statement shall be made available to the individual involved. In consultation with the individual, the department may respond to the college statement and resubmit its recommendation if it wishes to do so. Where a decision involves the professional competence or achievements of an individual faculty member, the department's judgment shall be overridden only on the basis of substantial evidence that inadequate professional standards of evaluation were applied by the department. The college shall determine how such evidence is to be obtained and evaluated. 

6.3.3 Where noncompliance with college policies and standards persists after reassessment by the department, the college council shall deny the recommendation and take steps to bring the department into conformance with college policies and standards.

6.3.4 The college shall forward its recommendations for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave to the executive vice president and provost for review at the university level, along with supporting evidence and appropriate aggregate data, making clear any disagreements that may exist between the recommendations of the dean and the college council. 

6.3.4.1 Decisions not to recommend tenure, promotion in rank, or sabbatical leave shall be forwarded by the executive vice president and provost to the University Council Personnel Committee for review and action on the university level only if there has not been agreement on the decision at the department and college levels. Agreement at the department and college level shall be considered to exist when the college personnel committee, the college dean, and either the department personnel committee or the department chair are in agreement. When there has been such agreement, those decisions shall be forwarded by the executive vice president and provost to the University Council Personnel Committee only for information purposes. For recommendations to grant early tenure or early promotion in rank, the executive vice president and provost may seek the advice, but not formal action, of the University Council Personnel Committee concerning the required justification of extraordinary circumstances or an extraordinary record of achievement. 

6.3.4.2 When the college council and dean agree to recommend a faculty member for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave, written comments in support of that recommendation shall be prepared and discussed by the council and the dean, the recommendation and commentary shall be submitted to the executive vice president and provost, and that officer shall forward it to the University Council Personnel Committee only for information purposes. 

6.3.4.3 When the college council and the dean agree not to recommend a faculty member for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave, and when that faculty member had been recommended for the tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave by the department personnel committee, the department chair, or both, the council and dean shall prepare and discuss written comments in support of their decision, and, the faculty member shall be entitled to appeal that decision to the university in accordance with the provisions set forth in article 7 of these bylaws. 

6.3.4.4 When the college council and the dean disagree on a recommendation of a faculty member for tenure, promotion, or sabbatical leave, the council and the dean shall each prepare a separate written statement supporting their respective recommendations and shall share and discuss those statements with each other before submitting them to the executive vice president and provost for review at the university level. 

6.4 Personnel Procedures at the University Level

Like the colleges, the university, through its University Council Personnel Committee, has two types of personnel responsibilities. The University Council Personnel Committee establishes, in conjunction with the University Council, personnel policies, standards, and criteria affecting the entire faculty; it ensures that colleges carry out their responsibilities effectively and equitably. A major part of its effort should be directed toward studying major personnel issues of general importance to the university, and proposing policy initiatives and changes to the University Council. Normally, the committee is not involved in the professional evaluation of individual faculty members, nor in assessing the procedures and standards used by departments in personnel decisions. However, it retains responsibility for ensuring that the colleges conduct the personnel process with a high degree of professionalism and equity. As part of this responsibility, the University Council Personnel Committee has the authority to overrule a college personnel recommendation when the committee concludes that such an action is necessary to maintain high standards of academic excellence.

6.4.1 The University Council Personnel Committee shall provide colleges and the faculty with university criteria, current policies, and compliance dates for various personnel actions, and shall approve statements of college criteria, policies, and procedures. 

6.4.2 The executive vice president and provost shall give to the University Council Personnel Committee for review, and the University Council Personnel Committee shall review, only those personnel recommendations specified in Sections 2.4.2.7, 2.4.2.8, and 6.3.4 of these bylaws. The executive vice president and provost shall submit a summary report on all other college personnel recommendations to the University Council Personnel Committee for the committee's information. 

6.4.3 Where the University Council Personnel Committee reviews a college recommendation and concludes that it does not conform to university standards, policies, or criteria, the recommendation shall be returned to the college for reassessment with an explanation in writing. The college may consult with any department or individual involved, and may alter its recommendation or resubmit it with additional explanation or evidence, if it wishes to do so. 

6.4.4 Where noncompliance with university standards, policies, or criteria persists after reassessment by a college, the University Council Personnel Committee shall deny the recommendation, and take steps to bring the college into conformance with university standards. 

6.4.5 The executive vice president and provost shall submit to the president the personnel recommendations of the University Council Personnel Committee on cases which it heard pursuant to section 6.4.2 above, the executive vice president and provost's own recommendation on such cases, and all other personnel recommendations submitted by the colleges. 

6.4.6 The University Council Personnel Committee shall submit an annual personnel report to the University Council.