Part IV. – FACULTY PERSONNEL POLICY

Section 1.

  1. Faculty members at Pacific Lutheran University enjoy all rights not only of the law of the land but also of their individual contracts with the university, which incorporate those embodied in the Faculty Constitution and Bylaws as approved by the Board of Regents under the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws of the university. The university is understood to be an institution whose members are responsible for and to its policies.
  2. Universities exist for the preservation, perpetuation, and expansion of knowledge and truth. This tradition is grounded in the traditions of the most ancient Western universities. The Lutheran Reformation promoted transformative ideas about the freedom of conscience, interpretation, and inquiry—ideas that contributed to the development of a Lutheran higher education tradition. Institutions in this tradition, such as Pacific Lutheran University, affirm the rights and responsibilities of all academics to search for truth. This search requires the rights of full academic freedom that is essential to teaching and to research. Academic freedom implies fundamental protection of the rights of faculty in teaching and of students to freedom in learning. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth. As an institution firmly grounded in the tradition of Lutheran higher education, Pacific Lutheran University upholds these Principles of Academic Freedom for all faculty:
    1. Faculty are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of other academic duties.
    2. Faculty are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject.
    3. Faculty are citizens, members of learned professions, and officers of an educational institution. As citizens, faculty are free from institutional censorship or discipline. As scholars and educational officers, faculty should remember that the public may judge the academic profession and Pacific Lutheran University by their utterances. When speaking as scholars and educational officers, faculty should be as accurate as possible, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for others, and should make every effort to indicate whether or not they are speaking for the institution.
  3. The principles above and the policies below are grounded in the belief that the protection of academic freedom by tenure has as its operationally central provision the right to teach, freely yet responsibly, in one’s discipline.
  4. The university strives to provide every member of the faculty with a harmonious environment conducive to good performance.
    1. Faculty members should refrain not only from unethical actions toward their colleagues, but also from any that could objectively be regarded as demeaning. This is not to be construed, however, to limit anyone’s right and duty to correct or criticize individual actions, statements, or judgments of anyone when this lies within the scope of one’s regular activities as a scholar, faculty member, or citizen. Nor is it to bar the giving of unfavorable but objective evaluation of anyone in the course of organized periodic review procedures.
    2. The teaching assignments for all faculty members should as well as possible reflect their academic preparation, experience, and interests. Teaching schedules should be based on the needs of students and programs and should be fair for all faculty members. When making assignments, administrators should give maximum consideration to the preferences and best interests of individual faculty members.
    3. The considerations above should apply equally to the provision of teaching facilities, office space, library and equipment funds, secretarial services, and any other tangible aspects of the working arrangements for faculty members.
    4. Criteria for promotion should be applied uniformly to all candidates, regardless of varying prepossessions or prejudices that might be involved.
    5. All faculty members should share to some reasonable degree in the salary improvements available in any given year. In addition to promotion raises (see below), additional adjustments could include across-the-board salary increases, adjustments to rectify salary inequities, adjustments for consistency with external comparable salary levels, and adjustments for years of experience. A seemingly reasonable guideline is to use at least half of the funds available after promotion raises for across-the-board salary increases. In order to maintain an equitable salary structure, and to prevent undue compression between ranks in the future, adjustments for promotion should be a consistent 10% of the current median salary of the rank to which a faculty member has been promoted. Such increases reflect the professional accomplishments that promotion indicates.
    6. No faculty members should be denied rights or privileges for which they qualify under university policies. This applies, for example, to appointment to regular rank and accompanying eligibility for tenure, which the Constitution Bylaws (Article V, Section 1, Subsection a,2) state must be given to all full-time teachers.
  5. The university community strives to secure the rights of its individual members, including those of due process, especially when conflict arises between members or between the university and its members.
    1. Disciplinary action (e.g., denial of an across-the-board salary increase) should not be taken against a faculty member without a clear statement in writing of the reason(s). Sufficient notice should be given so that correction of the record and/or other explanatory or defensive action may be taken before irreparable effects accrue. For the same reason, during any challenge of a faculty member’s actions, rights, or standing, utmost caution should be exerted to afford maximal protection of personal and professional reputations, especially among students and colleagues.
    2. Disciplinary action taken against a faculty member, where it can be justified and must be employed, should not be personally demeaning, nor should it be of such nature that it itself becomes a barrier to the faculty member in attempting to correct or improve performance. In no case shall any discomfiting action or pattern of actions be taken against a faculty member to encourage resignation.
    3. If from observation and evaluation of performance a faculty member’s colleagues and administrators conclude that they are not performing at acceptable levels, they should be given counsel by administrators and also be given every reasonable tangible assistance that they, the immediate academic superior, and a mutually acceptable third faculty member decide by majority vote is needed to effect improvement. (“Reasonable” here means possible within the constraints of time, budget, and facilities that apply to faculty in the university generally.)
    4. Only in cases in which immediate harm to students, colleagues, or individuals themselves is a demonstrable possibility should any faculty members be suspended, and this should be with full continuing pay. The suspension order and the reason for such summary action should be given in writing, and formal termination or dismissal proceedings should be begun within no less than thirty and no more than sixty days of that time.
    5. The administration is directed by the Faculty Constitution Bylaws to bring any potential dismissal case to the Conciliation Committee (Article VI, Section 2). A faculty member, after seeking remedy through normal administrative channels, may bring any problems to the Conciliation Committee (Article VI, Section 1). This committee should organize itself in such a way that for each case presented to it, one of its members is identifiably responsible for directing its study. Promptness of action in its conciliatory efforts will often be crucial, and it should attempt to conciliate, or to issue its considered judgment on a fair conciliation, within no more than thirty days.
    6. The Conciliation Committee should recognize that the faculty as a whole is always one of the interested parties in any faculty member’s case in which problems of inadequate or unclear policy are found. In such a case, it should inform the faculty not of names or other details of the case, but of all issues of policy and procedure and give its recommendations for corrections.

Section 2. FACULTY REVIEW PROCESS FOR TENURE-TRACK AND TENURED FACULTY

  1. Organized periodic review procedures cover the time both before and following the granting of tenure. The objective is to promote faculty development, ensure teaching effectiveness and the fulfillment of instructional and other faculty responsibilities, and promote fair treatment within the university. Comprehensive peer review is the hallmark of an autonomous, self-governing faculty body and is essential to our practice as responsible members of the academy.
  2. These regular reviews are designed to serve a number of university constituencies and important functions of the university.
    1. To serve individual faculty members in the pursuit of tenure and promotion by assessing the progress of faculty members with regards to teaching, scholarship and service.
    2. To support the work of the Rank and Tenure Committee by establishing a relatively uniform system of equitable evaluation for faculty members between and across units.
    3. To contribute to ongoing assessment across the university by allowing the university to remain in compliance with accreditation bodies on issues of faculty review.
  3. The review process described in the Faculty Handbook brings the timeline and practices of departments, divisions, schools, and programs in line with the criteria for the review process determined by faculty legislation.
  4. In order for chairs and deans to complete accurate and timely reviews and to ensure that each faculty member is being treated fairly in the process, it is the primary responsibility of the faculty member to know all review deadlines, complete all reports, and, where necessary, respond to reviews in accordance with the timeline as indicated in the PLU Faculty Handbook.
  5. It is the primary responsibility of the chair of each department or dean of each school to make sure reviews are conducted in accordance with PLU Faculty Handbook policy. Toward this end, the Office of the Provost will work with faculty, chairs, and deans by keeping a master schedule for reviews, providing timely reminders, and assuring the quality of the peer review process.
  6. Before the granting of tenure, review procedures shall be as follows:
    1. By June 1, the faculty member will submit to the department chair or dean, as appropriate, a report of activities for the closing academic year. A template for the annual activity report will be provided by the Office of the Provost.
      1. The report will include a self-evaluation, reflections on available teaching and course feedback forms, and a discussion of priorities for the coming academic year in regards to teaching, scholarly/professional activity, and service. The criteria used in the reports will be those for appointment, promotion, and rank described in the Bylaws to Article V of the Faculty Constitution, or commensurate criteria adopted for this purpose by departments, divisions, or schools.
      2. Academic units are encouraged to conduct peer evaluations also.
    2. The chair or dean will by July 15 write an annual performance review for each faculty member, which shall be based on the report described in 1.a. above and other sources of information such as classroom visits, reviews by peers, and scholarly products. The chair or dean will use the criteria for appointment, promotion, and rank described in the Bylaws to Article V of the Faculty Constitution, or commensurate criteria adopted for this purpose by departments, divisions, or schools. The chair or dean will meet with the faculty member and discuss the report and performance review. Written and signed records of each meeting shall be made, copies of which are retained by faculty members, department chair, and dean, and submitted to the Office of the Provost, along with a copy of the faculty member’s report and of the review by the chair or dean, by September 15. The faculty member may supplement the review by appending their own statement to the review as it is forwarded by the chair/dean to the Office of the Provost.
    3. The discussion (2 above) will be specific with regard to each faculty member’s strengths and weaknesses, including recommendations for improvement and an appraisal of any significant reservations about performance including teaching, scholarly/professional activity, and service.
    4. The first evaluation at the university shall note in writing that a faculty member has been informed of the conditions of employment, expectations for teaching, scholarship, and service, and the rank and tenure rules of the university.
    5. During the third year of probationary credit leading toward tenure, a comprehensive written review by the chair or dean is due February 26 in the Office of the Provost (for those hired with credit towards tenure, see note below about the timing of the review). This will constitute the annual review for the third probationary year. The review will be generated according to the procedures described above (at F.1-4, deadlines adjusted). The review will in addition explicitly address the advisability of retaining a faculty member based on the following:
      1. Evidence of the faculty member’s past and current performance. Procedures for the handling of the third-year or other subsequent comprehensive reviews shall be conducted in such a way that this review is congruent in evidence and practice with the procedures for tenure and promotion review. While each department, division, school, or unit is granted the authority and responsibility to set their own specific review guidelines (see note below), all reviews shall include consideration of the following:
        1. Materials assembled by the candidate that provide evidence of their performance in teaching, scholarly/professional activity, and service. Evidence will include a resumé; self-assessment statement; teaching and course feedback forms and any summary reports; and any other documents that may be useful. These might include copies of publications and other scholarly work, copies of syllabi and other course materials, and/or evidence of service activities. These materials shall be distributed to department/school colleagues. These materials may also be made available to the other colleagues who have been invited to provide input about the faculty member.
        2. Letters from colleagues solicited specifically for the review process. This should include letters from all department/school colleagues, all team-teaching colleagues, the chairs or directors of any cross-disciplinary programs in which the faculty member teaches, and any other colleagues designated by the faculty member to provide input for the review on any aspect of the faculty member’s performance that they wish. It is especially important to have letters from those who can provide input based on direct observation of teaching.
      2. Expectation of continued competence and/or reasonable progress toward tenure and promotion criteria (described in the Bylaws to Article V of the Faculty Constitution) and any applicable department, division, or school criteria.
      3. Departmental and university projected needs, staffing, and planning.
      4. Notes:
        1. Procedures for the handling of third-year and subsequent reviews shall be more explicitly developed in schools and divisions. In all cases, however, for the third-year review, the review committee will include a faculty member from outside the person’s unit, appointed by the provost after consultation with the dean of the unit. The role of the outside committee member shall be to provide a pan-university perspective to the review process. This person shall participate fully according to the third-year review procedures of the unit. A candidate’s file is due to the department/school by January 15, letters from colleagues are due to the chair/dean by February 8, and a draft comprehensive third-year review is due to the faculty member by February 18.
        2. For faculty members who were hired with years of credit toward tenure, the timing of the third-year review shall be as follows: (1) with one year of credit toward tenure, the review shall occur in the third year of tenure eligibility (i.e. the second tenure-stream year at PLU), (2) with two years of credit towards tenure, the review shall occur in the fourth year of tenure eligibility (i.e. the second tenure-stream year at PLU), and (3) with three years of credit towards tenure, the review shall occur in the fourth year of tenure eligibility (i.e. the first tenure-stream year at PLU). If a faculty member has two years of credit toward tenure as the result of service at PLU, then that faculty member may elect for their third-year review to occur in their first tenure-stream year at PLU after consultation with their chair, dean, and provost and only if specified in their contract at time of hire to the tenure-eligible position.
    6. During the year in which an individual is a candidate for tenure a comprehensive review about that person (following the Rank and Tenure Committee Procedures in the Faculty Handbook, Section IV, Part IX, Section 1, “Consideration for Tenure”) will be completed according to the timetable set by the Rank and Tenure guidelines (see Rank and Tenure Committee Procedures in the Faculty Handbook, Section IV, Part IX, Section 5). This will constitute the annual review for the sixth probationary year.
      1. Copies of these statements shall be retained by the provost.
      2. It shall be the responsibility of the provost to provide this information to the Rank and Tenure Committee when faculty members are under consideration for promotion or tenure.
    7. Nothing in this section precludes recourse to the university grievance procedure, described in the Bylaws to Article VI, “Grievance, Disciplinary, and Dismissal Procedures” of the Faculty Constitution.
  7. After the granting of tenure, continued review procedures shall be as follows:
    1. By June 1, the faculty member will submit to the department chair or dean, as appropriate, a report of activities for the closing academic year. A template for the annual activity report will be provided by the Office of the Provost.
      1. The report will include a self-evaluation, reflections on teaching and course feedback forms, and a discussion of priorities for the coming academic year in regards to teaching, scholarly/professional activity, and service. The criteria used in the reports will be those for appointment, promotion, and rank described in the Bylaws to Article V of the Faculty Constitution, or commensurate criteria adopted for this purpose by departments, divisions, or schools.
      2. Where applicable, the report will describe an individual’s plan for sabbatical leave or other self-improvement. (See “Sabbatical, Regular, and Special Leaves of Absence” in the Faculty Handbook, Section IV, Part X, Section 4.)
    2. During the fourth year and the subsequent fourth year after achievement of tenure, the chair or dean will complete a comprehensive review according to the procedures described in (F.5.a.i-ii.) above, focusing on the faculty member’s performance in the years since the last such review and progress toward promotion. This review should take into consideration the previous self-evaluations and reviews. The chair or dean will meet with the faculty member and discuss the written review by April 21. The report along with the review by the chair or dean shall be due April 30 in the Office of the Provost.
  8. For those faculty members who achieve the rank of professor, or have been tenured for eight years, continued review procedures shall be as follows:
    1. By June 1, the faculty member will submit to the department chair or dean, as appropriate, a report of activities for the closing academic year.
      1. The report will include a self-evaluation, reflections on available teaching and course feedback forms, and a discussion of priorities for the coming academic year in regards to teaching, scholarly/professional activity, and service. The criteria used in the reports will be those for appointment, promotion and rank described in the Bylaws to Article V of the Faculty Constitution, or commensurate criteria adopted for this purpose by departments, divisions, or schools.
      2. Where applicable, the report will describe an individual’s plan for sabbatical leave or other self-improvement. (See “Sabbatical, Regular, and Special Leaves of Absence” in the Faculty Handbook, Section IV, Part X, Section 4.)
    2. Each fifth year, the chair or dean will complete a comprehensive review according to the procedures described in (F.5.a.i-ii.) above, focusing on the years since the last review. The chair or dean will meet with the faculty member and discuss the written review by April 21. The report along with the review by the chair or dean shall be due April 30 in the Office of the Provost.

    These procedures for faculty review are not the procedures for censure or dismissal, which are dealt with separately in the Faculty Handbook (Bylaws to Article VI of the Faculty Constitution and D. below).

  9. The faculty has recommended that the provost provide to the Rank and Tenure Committee such information on any tenured faculty member being considered for dismissal, and that the provost obtain the early and continuing advice of the Rank and Tenure Committee in such cases. Any such role of the Rank and Tenure Committee precedes use of the more formal mechanisms for conciliation or dismissal that are provided in the Faculty Constitution and Bylaws.

Due Feb 18/ Feb 26*Due Mar 15Due Apr 21/ Apr 30*Due Jun 1Due Jul 15/ Sept 15*Due on 3rd Monday of SeptemberBefore
Before TenureThird-Year Review (faculty member’s files due Jan 15)Annual activity report and self evaluationAnnual ReviewTenure Review
After Tenurefaculty memberReport on previous four- year experienceReview of tenured faculty member (every four years)+Annual activity report and self evaluation
After Promotion to Professor or after 8 years as a tenuredfaculty memberReport on previous five- year experienceReview of tenured faculty member (every five years)+Annual activity report and self evaluation

* The first date is when the draft review is due to the faculty member. The second date is when the final review is due in the Office of the Provost.
+ Chairs and/or deans receive this, but do not write a review.
[For guidelines on conducting these reviews, consult the Office of the Provost homepage under “Academic Policies and Guidelines.”]

Section 3. FACULTY REVIEW PROCESS FOR CONTINGENT FACULTY

  1. The purpose of these reviews is to ensure quality teaching and learning is consistent across the university. In addition, these reviews are an essential component of on-going university assessment. These reviews also support the professional development of our faculty members.
    1. Within 30 days of the end of the term in which teaching responsibilities for the academic year are completed or by June 1 (whichever is earlier), the faculty member will complete an annual activity report for the appropriate chair or dean. A template for the activity report will be provided by the Office of the Provost. The report will include a self-evaluation, and reflections on available teaching and course feedback forms. Where relevant, the report will include a discussion of priorities for the coming academic year in regards to teaching, scholarly/professional activity, and service. Thirty days after the receipt of the report, the chair or dean will complete a performance review based on the report above and deliver the completed review to the Office of the Provost; the chair or dean will also give a copy of the review to the faculty member. A template for this review will be provided by the Office of the Provost. The faculty member may supplement the review by appending their own statement to the review.
    2. During the third year of teaching at the university, the chair or dean will write a comprehensive review of the faculty member consistent with the procedures described above (in Section 2, F. 1. a.). The chair or dean will meet with the faculty member and discuss the written review. Written and signed records of each meeting shall be made, copies of which are retained by the faculty member, department chair, and dean, and submitted to the Office of the Provost, along with a copy of the faculty member’s report and of the review by the chair or dean, by April 30. During each subsequent fifth year of teaching at the university, the chair or dean will complete a comprehensive review according to these same procedures focusing on the years since the last review. In the intervening years, the chair or dean will conduct the annual reviews in accordance with the procedures described above (in A.1.).