Oregon State University

Minutes - October 1, 2003

Present: Dana Arnett, Jo Dee Bernal, Sheri Argyres, Edie Blakley, Laurel Busse, Paul D.Orazio, Linda Johnson, Rose Lacey, Donetta Sheffold; and guests Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Sabah Randhawa, and Provost and Executive Vice President, Dr. Timothy White

Meeting came to order: 1:35 pm

The purpose of meeting was to gain understanding, about the Provosts. final recommendations as they relate to the recommendations by the Professional Faculty Issues Group. Each person in the room introduced themselves.

Descriptions of the meeting format were given and consensus about how the meeting would proceed was reached. The decision was made to suspend the taking of minutes so the conversation would be more relaxed. The secretary limited recording to requests and commitments.

Following are the questions that were asked and answered and a recording of any requests or commitments made:

Professional Faculty Issues Group Report

  1. The final recommendations made did not follow the recommendations of the Professional Faculty Issues Group. Why disregard the survey and work done by the Issues Group when there seemed to be such broad university buy-in? 1:55
  2. As far as we know, administration was informed about each step in the Issues Group.s process. Holding the forums, etc. would then also have been approved. At those forums the Issues Group worked very hard to get buy in from the professional faculty and others across campus and have them see the compromises that would be made. What were you hoping to see as a result of the forums? 2:00

    Request: PFLA members were asked if they perceive that there are areas of the report that were totally ignored. Did the final recommendations deal with all of the substantive issues that were raised? Which ones weren't dealt with?

    Commitment: PFLA agreed to respond to this question in writing to the Provost's office as soon as possible.

  3. Was budget information associated with termination length and years of service acquired? If so, did that greatly influence the decision? What additional criteria were used by university administration, in addition to that by PFIG, to determine length of timely notice to the years of service?
  4. The Professional Faculty Issues Group looked into other University programs throughout the state. What compelled you to look into other peer institutions vs. OUS institutions?

Fixed Term Appointments

  1. Why was the decision made to abandon career appointments after the 5th year?
  2. There seems hesitation by university administration to think of and treat professional faculty as .career. employees. Yet many of these professional faculty provide support to administration. Please comment on the decision to treat OSU.s professional faculty differently from their U of O counterparts.
  3. Many managers have experienced difficulty in recruiting new professional faculty because of the one-year appointment, the lack of a career ladder, and the perceived expendability of such employees. What incentives do you see for professional faculty at this time to want to move to Corvallis and accept a professional faculty position? What do you think can be done to make these positions more attractive to new people or those from the classified ranks at OSU? 2:20

    Request: The Provosts asked: How do you create a career ladder for professional faculty?

    Commitment: PFLA members agreed to explore the question: How do you create a career ladder for professional faculty?

    Request: PFLA members asked who would follow through to see how the implementation of the final recommendations are working as referred to in the final recommendation document.

    Commitment: The Provosts agree to follow through on the commitment made in the final recommendations "to see how the policy is working" by insuring that the Vice Provost's office will initiate the review in the Fall of 04 and that it will be completed by January 2005.

  4. What does the university lose when an experienced, interested, and engaged employee leaves?

Timely Notice Termination of Appointment

  1. Why were the notice of termination timelines for length of service shortened so drastically?
  2. If administration disagrees with the recommendation regarding one year timely notice, what alternate recommendations might you consider that would still allow for budget flexibility and also honor the length of service of career professional faculty?

    Recommended Years Length of Notice
    1-2 years 3 months
    3-5 years 6 months
    6+ years 1 year
    Decision Years Length of Notice
    1-2 years 1 month
    3-5 years 2 months
    6+ years 4 months

Mediation and Grievance Procedure

  1. In order for a person to be able to seek mediation and grievance the time allowance does not seem appropriate to allow one to go through the process while employed. It is our understanding that the Faculty Senate President would write a letter to extend the appointment until such time as the mediation/grievance could be carried out. Would this be the case and would it be likely for administration to approve such a request?

    Request: The Provosts asked the question: How do we craft a grievance process that allows employees who file a grievance to continue in their current appointments while they go through the grievance process without creating an opportunity for a filibuster? Commitment: PFLA members agreed to do some thinking on this and get back to the Provosts office with possibilities.

  2. It appears that the Professional Faculty Issues Group tried to build in some safeguards so professional faculty would have a course of action and some basis for dismissal if justified. The current decision seems to ignore the fact that professional faculty (even with 20+ years of service) are still vulnerable. What can be done about their vulnerability so they are not merely employees of convenience?

    Commitment: Provost Randhawa agreed to review the process of separation and rehiring fixed-term positions within departments. Are units honoring the rule to not re-hire within 2 years when separation happened due to budgetary reasons? An example of something to look at would be: looking at new hires within those departments where positions were not filled due to budgetary reasons to insure that they were not just rewording position descriptions to be able to rehire and replace employees who did not have their contracts renewed.

Performance Reviews

  1. One of the many purposes behind conducting annual evaluations is documentation of one's performance. This is especially important when a new manager comes in, because it protects an employee with good performance from being terminated because the manager wants to "clean house". In other words, the employee is protected with past evaluations and should not receive a letter of timely notice other than for just cause. How do the new decisions on these recommendations protect the employee and hold managers accountable?
  2. Why weren't additional reasons for evaluations addressed (such as: reappointment consideration, salary increase considerations, and basis for granting professional development)?
  3. If evaluations are required and the submission monitored, how will that be addressed? What are the consequences for failure to conduct evaluations? Obviously the employees should not be penalized because their Dean, Dept. Head, etc. does not complete the process.
  4. What is considered exceptional performance?
  5. What is considered grounds for dismissal?

Other questions/issues

No mention was made of a professional development fund in the Issues Group report. Many professional faculties have expressed that they would not have the time or the approval from their supervisors to attend professional development activities, especially when the department is required to match the funds, even if funds were granted from the proposed fund. Some also expressed that they would have no need of such funds. Where did the idea for this fund originate? How would it be administered? How would supervisors (often dept. heads and above) be held accountable if they did not release their professional faculty for professional development?

Request: Dr. White asked PFLA members to review the professional development award draft to see if this would work for professional faculty.

Commitment: PFLA members agreed to do so.

Closing

PFLA members thanked the Provosts for attending, agreed to provide responses to commitments as a board and not as individuals, and agreed to have the minutes of the meeting and requests/commitments reviewed by the Provosts prior to publicizing them to the membership.

Other Business: Board members discussed sponsorship of Leadership activities, one comment against sponsorship of individual people, one comment that the persons sponsored should

Vote: It was moved and approved to support member registration for an upcoming leadership training program by providing 50% matching support for up to 5 people. President Lacey will work on drafting an application form and board members will review applications and select recipients.

Meeting adjourned: 3:45

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