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Probation Area 2.A: Contingent Faculty Handbook

 

Task: As stated in the HLC action letter, Highlands must provide evidence that the institution has ameliorated the findings of non-compliance identified in this action that resulted in the imposition of Probation, Core Component 2.A:

  1. a personnel handbook for visiting and adjunct faculty approved by the Board of Regents;
  2. evidence of development and approval processes that are consistent with shared governance procedures at the University;

More information was provided in the HLC Action Letter:

The University meets Criterion Two, Core Component 2.A, “the institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows fair and ethical policies and processes for its governing board, administration, faculty and staff,” but with concerns for the following reason:

  • While the University has drafted a handbook outlining organizational structures and operational processes for visiting and adjunct faculty, the implementation of these procedures has not yet been accomplished nor is it clear that visiting and adjunct faculty are included in shared governance; the institutional response noted that the handbook will be distributed with faculty contracts but this has not yet been implemented.

Resolution: Highlands needs to accomplish four things to resolve Probation Area 2.A:

  1. Draft a personnel handbook for the visiting and adjunct faculty, titled the Contingent Faculty Handbook. (Completed December 9, 2015)
  2. Receive feedback on the Contingent Faculty Handbook from all appropriate governance groups (Faculty Senate, General Faculty, Administration, and Contingent Faculty). (Completed April 1, 2016)
  3. Approve the Contingent Faculty Handbook via shared governance procedures (Faculty Senate, General Faculty, Administration, and Board of Regents approval). (Completed April 8, 2016)

Background: Prior to Fall 2006, all NMHU Faculty were covered under the NMHU Faculty Handbook (evaluation) and NMHU Personnel Policies and Procedures (general policies). When the tenured and tenure-track faculty unionized in 2006, their working conditions became covered under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. While other faculty continued to be covered under the Faculty Handbook and NMHU Personnel, there was increasing confusion as to what policies applied to which faculty and when.

To resolve this confusion, the NMHU Faculty Senate charged the Faculty Affairs committee of the Faculty Senate to draft a manual. While the manual was in the process of being created at the time of the HLC’s visit in Fall 2015, it was still in draft form.

The manual has since been completed and approved by all relevant governance groups, including final passage by the Board of Regents on April 8, 2016. It has been disseminated to Contingent Faculty and is currently being used at the University, with more details given in the Probation Area 3.C Action Plan.

Overview of Status: As noted on the milestone timeline below, the Contingent Faculty manual has been approved by all NMHU governance groups after extensive discussion as to the content of the manual, including feedback from the Contingent Faculty themselves.

Note: the name Contingent Faculty is taken from the American Association of University Professors, who discuss issues and definitions here: https://www.aaup.org/issues/contingency.

The approved Contingent Faculty Handbook can be accessed here.

  Milestone Completion Responsibility Evidence
 ✓ Drafting of Contingent Faculty Handbook by Faculty Affairs Committee December 9, 2015 Faculty Affairs Committee Contingent Faculty Handbook Timeline
 ✓ Feedback from Faculty on Contingent Faculty Handbook December 2015-March 2016 Faculty Senate Chair Faculty Senate Minutes: February 10, February 24, March 9
 ✓ Forum with Contingent Faculty on Contingent Faculty  Handbook February 8, 2016 Faculty Senate Chair Forum Call, Contingent Faculty Handbook Timeline
 ✓ Approval of Contingent Faculty Handbook by Faculty Senate March 9, 2016 Faculty Senate Faculty Senate Minutes
 ✓ Approval of Contingent Faculty Handbook by General Faculty March 23, 2016 General Faculty General Faculty Minutes
 ✓ Approval of Contingent Faculty Handbook by Administration April 1, 2016 President, VPAA-Provost, VPFA, HR Director Contingent Faculty Handbook Timeline
 ✓ Approval of Contingent Faculty Handbook by Board of Regents April 8, 2016 Board of Regents Board of Regents Minutes