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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

FACTA

The Faculty Advisory Committee on Tenure Appointments (FACTA) is established to advise the Provost on proposed promotions to tenure, as well as proposed denials of tenure by a dean after a positive recommendation from the department. Review of tenure recommendations for those who have achieved tenure at another institution will be at the discretion of the Provost.

Composition of the Committee

 The committee will be composed of fifteen tenured faculty members, one elected by the professorial faculty in each college and five nominated by the University Faculty Nominations and Elections Committee and appointed by the Faculty Senate. The five faculty nominated will be selected in such a way as to achieve appropriate balance among the various schools, colleges, tenure-granting centers, disciplines, and job functions (including extension) to make the committee of fifteen representative of the diversity of the faculty of the University with due regard to race, gender and ethnicity. Members will serve for two years. Terms will be staggered so as to replace half of the members each year. In addition, the appointments within a given year shall also be staggered among the review cycles to minimize the transitional impact upon the committee(1). Vacancies caused by the resignation of a college representative will be filled by a vote of the college faculty or by an elected college committee, or by the Nominations and Elections Committee for a non- college representative. No member of the committee will serve for more than 3 consecutive years. The Dean of the Faculty will be a non-voting, administrative chair of the committee. The chair will strictly refrain from taking part in the committee’s decision making. The role of the chair will be limited to facilitating timely decision making and ensuring that the committee adheres to its charge and mandated procedures.

Procedures

 The committee will determine whether the documentation and the evidence in the tenure file are sufficient to show that the candidate has demonstrated excellence in carrying out  the responsibilities of the position, and unusual promise for continued achievement. More detailed information on tenure criteria can be found in Section 2.3 of the Faculty Handbook.

In particular, the committee will consider the evaluations made by the candidate’s peers and students, as well as those of outside reviewers and the ad hoc committee. The committee will also take into consideration the academic standing of the candidate’s  outside reviewers, as well as any special considerations that might pertain in the case of those candidates with appointments in professional schools, performing arts or extension programs. In coming to its conclusions, the committee will limit itself to assessing the strength of the candidate as summarized by prior substantive reviews. The committee will not solicit additional reviews; its judgment will be based on the information in the candidate’s file. University financial and other non-academic considerations will play no role in the committee’s deliberations. The committee should ensure that tenure appointments are consistent with Cornell’s high standards, but that no faculty member is turned down for tenure wrongfully, capriciously, or without reference to the responsibilities of the position or the mission of the college.

If, in the course of reviewing an individual case, the committee becomes concerned that the tenure requirements and criteria of a department, or a school or college, are inconsistent with Cornell’s high standards or otherwise not in the best interests of the university, it shall report this separately to the Provost. FACTA will not use these concerns in reaching a tenure recommendation for the individual involved.

A.     Positive Recommendations by the Dean

Four members of the committee chosen at random will read each file. Each member will independently prepare a written evaluation of the case not to exceed one page in length. If all four members are positive with no concerns or reservations, a positive recommendation will be sent to the Provost with copies of the four reviews.

If any one of the four has reservations, each member of the full committee will then write a brief, preliminary evaluation which in no case can exceed one page in length. After these have been circulated, the full committee will meet for discussion and a vote. Each committee member will vote yes or no on the issue of whether the tenure file presents convincing evidence (based on an assessment of the strength of the candidate as summarized by prior substantive reviews) that the candidate has satisfied the requirements for tenure contained in the legislation or by-laws of the candidate’s school or college.(2) The committee’s decision, including the individual evaluations, revised on the basis of the discussion as each committee member sees fit, will be sent to the Provost. Committee members must be present in order to cast a vote on a candidate. The committee will make its recommendations within four to six weeks of receiving a file.

All members of the full committee shall have access to all recommendations sent to the Provost.

If the Provost rejects the Committee’s recommendation, the faculty requests the Provost meet with FACTA to discuss the disposition of the case. This meeting should occur, if possible, prior to Trustee action.

B.     Negative Recommendations by the Dean

 If a dean reaches a preliminary decision to deny tenure to a non-tenured faculty member whose promotion to tenure has been recommended by his or her department, the dean will forward the file, together with an explanation for the preliminary decision to the Provost.   If the Provost does not have any concern or reservation about the dean’s proposed action, she or he will so inform the college dean. If the Provost does have any concern or reservation, she or he will forward the file to the committee, who will consider it at a meeting of the full committee, following the procedures used by the committee in cases following positive recommendations by the dean. After receiving the committee’s recommendation, the Provost will consult with the dean. Until the dean has received a response  from  the  Provost,  the  dean’s  decision  will  be  considered  provisional.   The university level Appeal Procedure shall not commence until the dean’s decision is final, and is not supplanted in any way by FACTA consideration.  (See note below.)

Previous Involvement or Conflict of Interest

 If any member of the committee has voted or otherwise participated in the tenure decision at an earlier stage he/she will recuse him or herself from the case. If any member of the committee has any relationship with the candidate that might significantly affect his or her opinion, the nature of this potential source of bias must be described in the member’s written evaluation of the candidate. A member who has a relationship that falls under the nepotism policy (Faculty Handbook, p. 86), will recuse him or herself from the case.

Report to the Faculty Senate

 The committee will report the number of cases considered and the number of positive and negative recommendations annually to the Faculty Senate. This report shall not divulge case-specific information.

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1 The Nominations and Elections Committee will provide a procedure to accomplish this additional staggering within the year.

2 For various reasons, the file of a candidate deserving of tenure may not demonstrate that fact.  Thus a vote   of No on the issue as stated may not mean that the candidate does not deserve tenure.

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The original was adopted by the Faculty Senate, November 12, 1997; amended May 12, 1999; amended October 11, 2000; amended April 14, 2004.

Note: September 2006 – Section 2.3, 2002 Faculty Handbook was rewritten to clarify how the FACTA legislation interacts with the “Procedure for Appealing a Negative Tenure Decision.”   (Provost John Siliciano/Dean of Faculty Charles Walcott.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original was adopted by the Faculty Senate, November 12, 1997; amended May 12, 1999; amended October 11, 2000; amended April 14, 2004.

 

Note: September 2006 – Section 2.3, 2002 Faculty Handbook was rewritten to clarify how the FACTA legislation interacts with the “Procedure for Appealing a Negative Tenure Decision.”   (Provost John Siliciano/Dean of Faculty Charles Walcott.)

Last Updated: June 29, 2017 at 7:09 am