Faculty Promotion Appeal Procedure (Effective AY 2015-16)

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U N I V E R S I T Y
C H A R T E R E D  I N  T H E  S T A T E  O F  N EW  Y O R K

 

Approved by CD                                                                        4/12/2013
Amended by CD                                                                        20/6/2014
Amended by CD                                                                        21/1/2016

This document outlines a comprehensive appeals procedure for faculty members who wish to appeal a decision that resulted in the denial of tenure and/or promotion in rank. The procedure applies to faculty who were denied promotion in tenure track or non-tenure track.

I. Initiation of an Appeal

After receiving written notification of denial of tenure or promotion in rank, a faculty member is entitled to receive a short report from the respective school dean, upon request from the candidate, and within one month of receiving such a request. The letter should outline in brief the reasons that contributed to the decision, stating the main reasons for denial of promotion, including a summary of the main areas of weakness, and a summary of the external reviewers’ opinions. The letter should not compromise the confidentiality of the process at any level, nor disclose the identity of the external reviewers. The dean will not share the letters of evaluation with the faculty concerned. The school dean’s letter should not reveal any of the
deliberations of the Peers Committee, nor the details of the voting on the case.

If, after receiving the report and meeting with the school dean, the faculty member still believes that his/her case was given inadequate consideration, he/she may file an official appeal by sending a letter to that effect to the respective school dean, who will then refer the letter to the Provost.

The appeal must be filed within sixty calendar days from the date of receipt of the contested decision. The letter will state with reasonable clarity the procedural basis for the appeal. The following are illustrative examples of procedural grounds for appeal:

  • Deliberate disregard of pertinent evidence
  • ​Failure to secure the requisite number of external reviewers
  • Use of irrelevant or improper standards of evaluation
  • Discriminatory or prejudicial judgments

II. Appeals Committee Composition

The Faculty Welfare and Promotion Committee (FWPC) will serve as the initial body that will
judge the legitimacy of the appeal. The Provost will notify the Chair of the FWPC of the need
to convene the committee to act on the appeal.

In case of a conflict of interest, as in the presence on the FWPC of a member who also
served on the Peers Committee that reviewed the faculty’s promotion file, then the member of
the committee must recuse him/herself from sitting on the appeal.

III. Appeals Process

A. Case Review

The Chair of the FWPC will schedule meetings so that the review of the appeal can be
completed and a comprehensive report provided to the Provost within four weeks of receiving
the case. The Provost will provide the Chair of the FWPC with the complete file of the
appellant, including his/her letter of appeal, the Peers Committee Report, external evaluators’
letters, dean’s recommendation and the University Peers Committee recommendation.

In reviewing the appellant’s file, the FWPC may not call upon the appellant or anyone else to
come before the Committee. The FWPC will examine the file of the appellant with respect to
the current procedures. At no point will the FWPC substitute its own judgment for that of the
review bodies [peers, external reviewers] on the substantive issues of the case.

The minutes of FWPC meetings will be recorded in detail. These minutes will remain
confidential and may be shared only with the Provost and/or President at the end of the
deliberations.

B. FWPC Recommendation

The FWPC should reach one of the following recommendations by majority vote:

1. Judge the Appeal as Warranted - The appeal is judged warranted on procedural grounds
if the FWPC finds clear and convincing evidence that the tenure and promotion review
procedures were not followed. The break-in procedure could have occurred at any level
of review of the candidate’s application for promotion and/or tenure.


2. Find No Grounds for the Appeal - The case would be dismissed when there is insufficient
evidence to substantiate violation of the tenure and promotion review procedures. In this
case the original decision of denial of promotion and/or tenure stands.

The FWPC will prepare a report stating the main points it found against or in support of the
appeal and its final recommendation.

C. Follow-Up Procedures

1. If the FWPC judges the appeal as warranted on procedural grounds, the Council of
Deans, through the Provost, will recommend to the President the formation of a Special
Appeal Committee composed of senior faculty members of appropriate rank, to review
the case and make their recommendation directly to the President, where a final decision
is made. The Provost will then relay the President’s decision to the Council of Deans.

2. If the FWPC finds no grounds for the appeal, the Provost would so inform the CD and
submit the report of the FWPC along with his/her recommendation to the President for a
final decision.

IV. Final Decision

The President will communicate the final decision to the appellant, the school dean, and the
Provost. If the final decision were to grant the promotion and/or tenure, the decision would
require Board of Trustees approval and would be retroactively implemented dating back to
the date of original non-promotion decision.

V. Finality

Appeal decisions, once duly processed as specified above, are subject to no further appeal.