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Professional Review Committee
Policies and Practices


  1. Overview.

    The principal function of the Professional Review Committee is to review grievances from faculty members regarding alleged harm to their professional standing (as outlined in Handbook Section VIII.A) by the actions of some colleague, faculty committee, or administrator. The review is not intended to render judgment on the merits of the case, but to determine if the parties observed appropriate policies and procedures in taking the disputed action.

    To facilitate this process, it is essential that all parties, including the Professional Review Committee, be informed of the current policies and procedures relevant to making decisions affecting the professional status of faculty members. At the beginning of each year the Chair of the Professional Review Committee will ascertain that the policies and procedures found in The Faculty Manual are the current for:

    1. RTP Committee (Retention, Tenure and Promotion issues)
    2. Faculty Development Committee (Sabbatical, PIG, LRP Minigrant issues)
    3. Curriculum Committee (Course, Curricular issues)
    4. Discriminatory and Sexual Harassment Hearings Board (Hearing and Appeals)
    5. Faculty Council (Hearings and Appeals)
    6. Dean of the faculty (Annual Evaluations, Salary, Promotion, Sabbatical, Termination issues)
    7. President of the College (Contract, Salary, Promotion, Sabbatical, Termination issues)
    8. Any other party making decisions affecting the professional standing of faculty members.

    The chair will also request that timely notification be given to the Professional Review Committee of any change in procedures that may be subsequently adopted during the year by any of the above.


  2. Informal Mediation of Grievances.
     
    1. Certain grievances may be more effectively handled in an informal manner using mediation and consultation rather than following the formal grievance procedure. Informal mediation of a grievance is not required before a faculty member may invoke the formal grievance procedure.

    2.  
    3. Before bringing a grievance to the Professional Review Committee under the informal mediation process, the grievance must first be appealed under the normal channels of authority (i.e. department chair, dean of the faculty, President).

  3.  
  4. Conflict of Interest.
     

  5.  
  6. Initiation of an Informal Grievance.
     
    1. If after pursuing a grievance through the normal channels of authority, a faculty member continues to believe that the decision was in violation of College policies and procedures or resulted from a superior’s abuse of authority, the faculty member may submit a written petition to the chair of the Professional Review Committee within 30 days after official notification of the contested decision by the department chair, dean of the faculty, or President.



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    3. Within seven days of its receipt by the Committee chair, the Professional Review Committee shall meet to review the written petition. The Committee will decide whether the grievance falls within its jurisdiction as outlined in Constitution Section VI.B.6.a.

    4.  
    5. If the Professional Review Committee decides the grievance falls within its jurisdiction, written notification will be sent to the faculty member, the dean of the faculty, and all others involved in the decision making process that led to the grievance within seven days after the meeting when the petition was reviewed.
        If the grievance is deemed to be outside the scope of the Committee’s jurisdiction, the chair will communicate the Committee’s decision in writing to the faculty member within seven days after the meeting when the petition was reviewed.

  7.  
  8. Informal Mediation Process.
     
    1. The chair of the Professional Review Committee will arrange a meeting time for the informal mediation. This meeting will occur within 30 days after the written petition in IV.A. was received by the Professional Review Committee chair.

    2.  
    3. The informal mediation will be attended only by the faculty member, the Professional Review Committee, and those directly involved in the disputed decision as agreed upon by the faculty member and the Professional Review Committee. The meeting’s format will be informal, although the meeting will be held in executive session. The Committee will keep summary notes of the meeting. In the event the grievance cannot be resolved through informal mediation and the faculty member files a formal grievance with Faculty Council, these notes will be forwarded to the chair of Faculty Council. If the grievance is successfully resolved through the informal mediation process, the meeting notes will be sealed and filed with the office of the Vice President for Administration and Finance and retained for a length of time consistent with similar personnel documents.

    4.  
    5. Members of the Professional Review Committee will serve as moderators for the meeting. All attendees are expected to actively participate in the proceedings. Oral as well as written testimony is appropriate.

    6.  
    7. Within seven days of the informal mediation meeting, the Professional Review Committee will meet in a closed session to discuss the petition and make its finding.

    8.  
    9. The Committee’s finding will be communicated in writing by the chair to the faculty member, the dean of the faculty, and all parties involved in the decision making process within seven days of the Professional Review Committee’s meeting described in Section V. D.

    10.  
    11. If the faculty member does not agree with the Professional Review Committee’s finding, the faculty member may file a formal grievance with Faculty Council in accordance with Handbook Section VIII.B.4. within seven days of the receipt of the written communication described in Section V. E, above.


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