Campus News

University Council tables proposal about makeup of search committees

A proposed new policy governing the makeup of search and screening committees for deans will go back to the drawing board after the University Council tabled the measure following objections that it could exclude some faculty from serving on such committees.

At its Dec. 1 meeting, the council supported a request from Svein Oie, dean of the College of Pharmacy, that the policy be returned to the council’s Faculty Affairs Committee, which had developed it. Oie noted that as presented, the policy could exclude a large number of pharmacy faculty who are not tenured or on tenure track from serving on search and screening committees.

The proposed policy required that a majority of members of a dean search or screening committee be tenured or tenure-rank faculty from the school or college for which a dean is being sought. The provost would appoint faculty from a list generated through an “open process that ensures consideration of any interested faculty” in the school or college.

Schools and colleges would provide the provost with a written procedure for how faculty would be nominated to committees. The procedure must allow all tenured and tenure-track faculty in the school or college to be considered for nomination.

Oie said that 45 percent of pharmacy faculty have “clinical” status and may not be tenured or be on tenure track. Other council members noted that faculty in other classifications, such as research or public service, also could not be eligible.

Prior to Oie’s objection, the council had voted to accept an amendment offered by Bob Ratajczak, president of Staff Council, that the policy require that at least one staff member and one student be on the list provided to the provost.

David Shipley, Faculty Affairs Committee chair, said the committee will reconsider the policy in light of concerns expressed by Oie and Ratajczak.

The Faculty Affairs Committee was directed this past spring to draw up a policy on appointment of dean search and screening committees at the request of the Faculty Conference, a group of faculty interested in faculty governance matters.

The University Council also approved changing the name of the Daniel B. Warnell School of Forest Resources to the Daniel B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. Richard Porterfield, dean of the school, said the new name better reflects the range of research and teaching in the school, and will strengthen student recruitment and fundraising. The name change was approved with the condition that any other school or college can use the term “natural resources” for current or future academic, research or extension programs and facilities.

In other action, Provost Arnett C. Mace Jr. presented new guidelines faculty must follow to request an extension of the tenure probationary period. The guidelines are for situations that are covered under the Family and Medical Act but do not necessarily result in the faculty member taking a formal leave of absence.

As presented by Mace, the guidelines would apply to such events as extended illness, disability, childbirth, death of an immediate family member or extended care of an ill child or immediate family members. Several council members asked that this list also include adoptions.

Requests for extensions must be approved by the faculty member’s dean and by the provost before going to the board of regents for final consideration. Extensions will be limited to no more than two years.