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Faculty Senate approves tenure policy revisions

November 3, 2015 By Greg Bump

The Faculty Senate on Monday approved revisions to UW–Madison’s tenure policy in response to legislative changes to Wisconsin faculty employment protections.

The policy recommendations will be forwarded to the UW System Board of Regents for consideration. The board has indicated that it would like a consistent policy throughout the system, but a study committee is still at work crafting its version.

“I am hopeful this policy will end up being quite consistent with the regent statute,” said Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who has been in discussions with regent and UW System leadership about the policy. “I do think it is important that we make a statement about the policy we want and we are therefore in a position to follow it as we move forward.”

The Senate also considered draft wording on post-tenure review, which will be further discussed at two listening sessions and considered at the December Senate meeting. The listening sessions will be held Nov. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m.  in 1220 Microbial Sciences and Nov. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. in 22 Ingraham Hall.

Among the revisions to Faculty Policies and Procedures passed by the Senate:

  • No faculty member shall be laid off or terminated due to curtailment, modification or redirection of a department. Faculty displaced due to restructuring of a program for reasons other than financial emergency will be placed in another suitable position, at the same rank, that is acceptable to the faculty member. If a suitable position isn’t found and if placement in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, such retraining and relocation will be provided at institutional cost.
  • The chancellor may only consider the layoff or termination of tenured faculty or a probationary faculty member under extraordinary circumstances that lead to program discontinuance because of demonstrably bona fide financial exigency or for educational considerations.
  • The chancellor shall consult with the Faculty Consultative Committee on Financial Emergency if at any time a declaration of financial emergency is to be considered.
  • Seniority within a department shall be according to rank and length of service within that rank, computed from the effective date of appointment at UW–Madison.
  • A faculty member whose position is recommended for layoff or termination is entitled to a full hearing.

For more details on the policy revisions approved by the Senate, click here and here.

The Senate also passed two resolutions regarding issues before the state legislature: fetal tissue research and concealed carry of firearms on Wisconsin campuses.

The former resolution opposes legislation repealing the exemption of university buildings from the concealed carry law, stating that allowing concealed weapons would make campuses less safe. The resolution also includes a provision strongly supporting the policy that no university employee, with the exception of law enforcement, should carry a firearm in the course of his or her employment.

The fetal tissue research resolution opposes legislation limiting the use of fetal tissues and cell lines in research, and requests the legislature and governor remove language with implications for research from the bill currently under consideration in the legislature.