KU School of Medicine Procedures for Tenured Faculty Members Receiving "Unsatisfactory Overall" Assessment for Academic Performance

Background

The Handbook for Faculty and Unclassified Staff ("the Handbook") establishes University of Kansas policy and outlines procedures to be followed if the required annual review concludes that a tenured faculty member has an unacceptable (Unsatisfactory) academic performance. A valid annual review must be conducted based on individual responsibilities, documentation of activities, and input from the faculty member.  (Section III, Part 4.A1.h)

First  Unsatisfactory Annual Assessment

When a tenured faculty member's annual assessment concludes for the first time that academic responsibilities have not been met (Unsatisfactory Overall assessment), the faculty member and the chair of the department must develop a detailed plan for improvement including faculty development.  The faculty member may request that an Executive Dean's (Kansas City) or Dean's ( Wichita) representative be included in the review of that detailed plan. The discussions will focus on the plan for improvement of faculty performance.

A faculty member receiving an Overall annual performance review of Unsatisfactory may request a committee review by written letter to the Chair of the Executive Committee of the School of Medicine. Upon receipt of the letter by the Chair, the departmental chair and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs shall be informed of the matter.   Consistent with the provisions of the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, specifically Section III.B.11., the following procedures shall apply to committee review of a first Unsatisfactory (Unacceptable) annual faculty assessment of a tenured faculty member. These procedures are intended to be a peer review process in which the faculty member has an opportunity to present reasons why his/her academic activities during the preceding year should not be considered Unsatisfactory. 

The rules for the appeal process follow:

Committee Membership

The Review Committee shall consist of six faculty members from the School of Medicine. The Committee shall be comprised of tenured faculty members outside the requesting faculty member's department. No chair of a department and no faculty member who holds an administrative position in the School of Medicine shall be eligible to serve on the Committee. One voting member shall be selected by the requesting faculty member and one voting member shall be selected by the chair of the department. The four remaining members shall be selected by the School of Medicine Executive Committee with the approval of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Review Committee shall elect the chairperson, who shall not vote.

Review Committee Procedures

The Vice Chair of the Executive Committee shall ascertain the hearing date that is most reasonably convenient for the committee, the department chair, and the faculty member and shall thereafter notify all concerned of the hearing date. It is expected that the hearing and subsequent review shall be completed within 120 days of the establishment of the review committee.

Not less than five working days prior to the hearing the chair of the review committee and the faculty member shall exchange documents and a list of any witnesses proposed to be presented to the committee.
Although the faculty member shall have the burden of demonstrating to the committee that the annual assessment is unreasonable by a preponderance of the evidence, the department chair shall be required to present reasons, witnesses, and evidence justifying the annual assessment at the initial stage of the hearing. Thereafter, the faculty member may present his/her case with reasons, witnesses, and/or evidence regarding the unreasonableness of the annual assessment.

The faculty member and the department chair shall have the respective right to ask questions of the other and to ask questions of any witnesses called. Likewise, the committee members shall have the right to question any person appearing before them in the hearing.

As a peer review hearing, attorneys at law are not appropriate and will not be allowed to appear as a representative of the faculty member.

The Chair of the Committee shall be responsible for ruling on any objections to witnesses or evidence. Rulings shall take into consideration relevance to the annual assessment. The fact that hearsay is presented shall not result in automatic exclusion, but the ruling shall take into account the credibility and relevance of the hearsay offered.

Recommendation of the Committee

At the conclusion of the hearing the committee shall deliberate on the matter as soon as possible and determine whether or not the annual assessment, based solely on the evidence presented, was accurate and fair.

If the committee determines that the annual assessment was accurate and fair, it shall render such a recommendation in writing to the faculty member, the Department Chair, the Dean and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

If the committee determines that the annual assessment was unreasonable, it shall state in writing its reasons for such a determination and shall make its recommendation to the Dean. Copies of this determination shall be sent to the faculty member, the Department Chair, and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Upon receipt of the committee's report the Dean may accept or reject the recommendation of the committee. Copies of the Dean's decision shall be sent to the chair of the review committee, the faculty member, the Department Chair and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The final decision regarding the annual assessment of the faculty member shall become a permanent part of the faculty member's official faculty record.

Second Unsatisfactory Annual Assessment

When a tenured faculty member's annual assessment concludes for the second consecutive year that academic responsibilities have not been performed at an acceptable level (Unsatisfactory Overall Assessment), the Executive Dean will request the campus Promotion and Tenure Committee to provide a sub-committee of three senior faculty members to review the case consistent with the peer review committee procedures described below.  For faculty members on the Wichita campus the request will be made by the Dean of the Wichita campus in consultation with the Executive Dean and the sub-committee will be provided from members of the Wichita campus Promotion and Tenure Committee. Members of the review committee must be current members of the campus Promotions and Tenure Committee or have served on the Committee within the previous three years. Members of the same academic department as the faculty member under review or those who have any real or perceived conflict of interest in the case are not eligible to serve on the peer review committee. The faculty member and departmental chair will be informed in writing that a peer review committee has been appointed. (approved by the Executive Committee and Faculty Council, April 2005)

The responsibility of the peer-review committee is to the entire faculty membership of the School of Medicine. This committee is concerned both to protect faculty members from unfair and inappropriate assessment of performance AND that any faculty member whose performance impairs the academic functioning of the faculty community is appropriately identified, provided with opportunities to reach acceptable levels of performance, and if necessary, removed from membership of the faculty.

All proceedings and the report of the peer review committee are strictly confidential.  The members of the committee will not be identified except to the faculty member and departmental chair involved in the review.

Peer Review Committee Procedures

  • To review the case, the committee will be provided with documentation of each annual evaluation, the plan for remediation, and all documentation necessary to verify that correct procedures have been followed.
  • The committee will request written statements from the faculty member, departmental chair, and Executive Dean (or Dean of the Wichita campus) concerning the performance of the faculty member and the review. The Committee will not accept unsolicited testimonials or documents from other parties other than those necessary to items 3 and 4.
  • The committee may request an interview with the faculty member, departmental chair, Executive Dean (or dean of the Wichita campus).
  • Committee members may only consider the information provided to them as part of the formal review process in developing their recommendations
  • The committee will issue a confidential written report to the faculty member, department chair, and Executive Dean. The report must address the following issues:
    • The process followed in annual evaluations of the faculty member
    • The evidence of unacceptable performance of academic responsibilities
    • The effectiveness of previous remediation plans
    • Recommended objectives for academic performance during the current year.
    • Non-binding recommendations for further action.

Third Unsatisfactory Annual Assessment 

When a tenured faculty member's annual assessment concludes for the third consecutive year that academic responsibilities have not been performed at an acceptable level (Unsatisfactory Overall Assessment)  the department chair or the Executive Dean ( Kansas City) or  Dean ( Wichita) may recommend dismissal in accordance with the Handbook (Section III, Part 4, A2l):

The final recommendation for dismissal is made by the Executive Dean ( Kansas City) or the Dean (Wichita) to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The recommendation must include the nature and duration of the failures to meet academic responsibilities, the reasons for this failure, compliance with plans for improvement, and any perceived improvement in performance.

Upon receiving notification of the proposed dismissal, the faculty member may appeal by written letter to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. A Dismissal Hearing Committee appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will review the case including all documentation of annual reviews and the pertinent written communications between the faculty member and administrators. The Dismissal Hearing Committee proceedings will follow the procedure defined in the Handbook (Section III, Part 6, J9)  

As required by the Handbook (Section III, Part 2, B2), the School of Medicine regularly reviews its faculty assessment process and takes action to make improvements to better implement both the spirit and requirements of the University policies. In the Spring of 2001, a task force formally recommended that faculty members receiving two consecutive Unsatisfactory annual assessments be reviewed by a subcommittee of the School of Medicine Promotions and Tenure Committee. This recommendation was approved by the Executive Committee and Faculty Council in April 2001. Further revisions to include an appeal process for an initial Unsatisfactory assessment were completed by an ad hoc committee and approved by the Executive Committee (April 2005).

 

Last Updated 10/26/05

Last modified: Nov 15, 2012
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