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Phasing Out of Programs or Financial Exigencies

Notice of Reduction in Force

          The phasing out of institutional programs or financial exigencies, which causes a reduction of faculty, may require exceptions to the normal tenure policy. In these cases, the faculty involved in the reduction will be given every advanced notice possible and every effort will be made by the University to place the affected faculty in other available positions in the University's employment for which they are qualified (TAMUS Policy 12.01, Section 7.2).


          Faculty members whose reappointments are to be terminated as a result of phasing out of institutional programs or financial exigencies which cause a reduction in faculty will be entitled to a hearing before an appropriate faculty committee. The hearing shall include the following procedures (TAMUS Policy 12.01, Section 7.3.4):

1. The faculty member will be furnished with adequate written statements of the basis for the initial decision to lay off;


2. The faculty member will be provided with a reasonably adequate description of the manner in which the initial decision was made;


3. The faculty member will be provided with adequate disclosure of all information and data upon which the decision-makers have relied; and,


4. The faculty member will be provided with adequate opportunity to respond.


          In a hearing the burden of proof rests with the faculty member to establish a preponderance of the evidence that his or her termination was based upon an illegal reason or was arbitrary or unreasonable. Also, any faculty member involved in such a readjustment process has the right to reappointment to his or her previous position if it is re-established within two calendar years (TAMUS Policy 12.01, Section 7.3.5).

Individual’s Value to Program

          A person's value to a department will be the prime consideration in a staff reduction. Tenured faculty will have retention preference over non-tenured faculty unless the termination of the program would result from the loss of the non-tenured member. In the latter situation, if deemed feasible by the department chair involved, a tenured person may be given an opportunity to become competent in an area essential to a program and thus regain priority. In situations where all other factors are equal, decisions will be based on merit, rank, and then length of service.


          Notice of non-reappointment, or of intention not to reappoint a tenure-track faculty member, shall be given in writing in accord with the following standards:

1. Not later than March 1 of the first academic year of probationary service, if the appointment expires at the end of the academic year; or, if a one-year appointment terminates during a year, at least three months in advance of its termination;


2. Not later than December 15 of the second year of probationary service, if the appointment expires at the end of that academic year; or if an initial two-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least six months in advance of its termination;


3. At least twelve months before the expiration of a probationary appointment after two or more years in the institution.


          Good cause for dismissal of a faculty member with tenure will related directly and substantially to the performance of professional duties, and may include, but shall not be limited to (TAMUS Policy 12.01, Section 4.3):

1. Professional incompetence;


2. Continuing or repeated failure to perform duties or meet responsibilities to the institution or to students or associates;


3. Failure to successfully complete a post-tenure review Professional Development Plan;


4. Moral turpitude adversely affecting the performance of duties or the meeting of responsibilities to the University, or to students or associates;


5. Violation of System policies, System regulations, University or agency rules, or laws substantially related to performance of faculty duties or meeting of responsibilities to the institution, students, or associates;


6. Conviction of a crime substantially related to the fitness of a faculty member to engage in teaching, research, service/outreach, and/or administration;


7. Unprofessional conduct adversely affecting to a material and substantial degree the performance of duties or the meeting of responsibilities to the University, or to students or associates;


8. Falsification of academic credentials;


9. Bona fide financial exigency or the phasing out of institutional programs requiring reduction of faculty (see previous section); bona fide financial exigency means a pressing need to reorder the nature and magnitude of financial obligations in such a way as to restore or preserve the financial stability of any component of The Texas A&M University System; a bona fide financial exigency may exist without the entire component being affected (TAMUS Policy 12.01, Section 8.2.1); or,


10. The reduction or discontinuance of institutional programs based on educational considerations and requiring the termination of faculty members.


          A faculty member with tenure shall not be dismissed until she/he has received reasonable notice of the cause for dismissal in writing and only after an opportunity for a hearing, which shall meet the established procedures of due process and in which the University shall bear the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence good cause for dismissal.

          A non-tenured faculty member, having a grievance regarding the non-renewal of his or her contract, has the right to have a hearing before a University administrator (TAMU Board of Regents Agenda Item #35, July 28, 2000).6 The procedure at Texas A&M International University, approved by the President, September 3, 2000, ordains that the grieving faculty member will select a dean, other than that of his or her own college, who will hear the grievance. The outcome of the hearing will be communicated to the faculty member concerned and the Provost, who will in turn present the report together with a recommendation to the President. The President's decision will be final. In cases in which the faculty member challenges the non-renewal on grounds of discrimination, infringement of academic freedom, or the existence of an illegal reason [e.g., a decision based on race, sex, age, national origin, or made in retaliation for the faculty member's exercise of protected First Amendment rights], he or she is entitled to the due process procedures as provided under Discharge for Cause, below.



          As professional educators and scholars, it is expected that a statement of resignation will be made in writing, and it will be presented to the appropriate college Dean and department chair with adequate notice so as not to inconvenience the student body.


          Employment of a formerly tenured faculty member after retirement will be on a non-tenured status. Such post-retirement employment does not accrue toward the resumption of tenure status. These positions filled by retired faculty may not exceed a total of ten percent of the FTE positions in a college. Complete retirement conditions, definitions and constraints are detailed in TAMUS Policy 31.07 and are available from the Office of Human Resources.

Failure to Meet Standards

          All employees of the University, including faculty, are employed with the expectation that they are able to fulfill the standards of the position for which they were hired or into which they were promoted.

Discharge for Cause – Criteria and Procedure

          The procedure for non-renewal of non-tenured faculty at the end of any term contract (other than a one-year-only contract which has not been renewed) shall have the following components.

1. The University is not legally required to give a non-tenured faculty member a reason for a decision not to reappoint for another term or to provide a hearing. Generally, faculty members are entitled to see their personnel files and to obtain a copy of those files at the faculty member's expense.


2. A decision not to reappoint a non-tenured faculty member may not be made in violation of the academic freedom of the individual or for an illegal reason. If a non-tenured faculty member makes allegations concerning the decision not to reappoint which, if proved, would establish a violation of academic freedom or the existence of an illegal reason (e.g., a decision based on race, sex, age or national origin, or made in retaliation for the faculty member's exercise of protected First Amendment rights), the faculty member is entitled to the due procedures provided in the following subsections to determine the validity of his or her allegations. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to make the administration aware of his or her allegations, in writing.


3. On request, the faculty member is entitled to a preliminary consideration by a faculty committee of his or her allegations of a violation of academic freedom or the existence of an illegal reason for the decision not to reappoint. If the committee determines that there is adequate evidence to support the faculty member's allegations, then the faculty member will be entitled to the due process procedure as specified below.


Due Process


          Due process, as set forth in this statement, embodies a course of professional proceedings in line with the rules and principles recognized in the academic community. Among these is the right of tenured and non-tenured faculty members, during the term of their contracts, to a fair hearing before a faculty hearing committee.

1. When a reason arises to question the fitness of a faculty member, the appropriate administrative officers will discuss the matter with the faculty member in a personal conference. The matter may be resolved by mutual consent or it may result in a notice of termination. In the event of a notice of termination, the faculty member may request an advisory committee (within five business days), discuss alternatives with the Faculty Ombuds Officer, resign or accept termination, or request a hearing (below).


2. If an advisory committee is requested, the Faculty Senate president (or president's designee) will appoint a committee of three tenured faculty. The committee will make such inquiry as it deems necessary, offer confidential advice to both the faculty member and administration, and attempt to affect an adjustment or resolution. The proceedings of the advisory committee are not evidentiary and do not comprise a hearing of any kind. The advisory committee must complete all its deliberations and communications with the faculty member and administration within 15 days of the creation of the committee.


3. If the faculty member desires a hearing rather than resigning or accepting termination, he or she should notify the Provost within 30 days of notification of termination.


4. The Provost may initiate a hearing whether or not one is recommended by the advisory committee or requested by the faculty member within 30 days of the notification of termination.


5. If a hearing is initiated, the Faculty Senate president (or designee) will select a panel of eight tenured faculty members, and from this panel the Provost will appoint five faculty members to serve on the hearing committee. The hearing committee shall not overlap the advisory committee (above). The Provost shall notify the faculty member, in writing, within 30 days of the decision to conduct a hearing, that the hearing is to be initiated, and that there is reasonable cause to believe that the charges constitute good cause for dismissal.


6. Both the University and the faculty member have the right to call witnesses and to be represented during the hearing. The faculty hearing committee will review evidence, written and oral statements, and determine its findings. The hearing procedure shall be spelled out, known in advance, and shared with the concerned parties.


7. The findings of the hearing committee and its recommendations will be conveyed in writing to the faculty member, the President, the Provost, and other appropriate administrative officers.


8. The faculty member may appeal the decision to the President. The faculty member should submit a written appeal to the President within 20 days of the forwarding of recommendations to the President. The President will make a final decision within 20 days of the receipt of an appeal. Decisions regarding non-renewal of non-tenure-track faculty members made by the President are final.


9. If the President recommends termination of the faculty member, the recommendation will be forwarded to the Chancellor according to TAMUS Policy.


6 This portion of the text constitutes explanatory text that was added to the State's directive.

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