A working group of nine professors across the University of Michigan’s three campuses has begun the process of recommending revisions to policies that cover dismissal of tenured faculty.

The provosts of the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses have charged the group with furthering the university’s commitment to upholding tenure, addressing egregious situations deserving of expedited procedures and interim measures and reviewing and revising existing policy.

In particular, the group is tasked with developing recommendations to two Regents’ Bylaws — 5.09, which describes procedures in cases of dismissal, demotion or terminal appointment, and 5.10, which covers severance pay.

“Tenure is one of the highest privileges a university bestows on its faculty. The University of Michigan is unwavering in its commitment to safeguard the purposes and protections enshrined in this practice,” Provost Martin Philbert said.

“In rare circumstances, the university needs to invoke and follow procedures by which tenure is removed. In such cases, it is imperative that our policies and procedures reflect our commitment to due process and to our shared community values.  As such, timely, fair and transparent resolution of cases is an imperative.”

The committee will be chaired by Sharon Glotzer, the Anthony C. Lembke Department Chair of Chemical Engineering. Glotzer also is the John Werner Cahn Distinguished University Professor of Engineering, Stuart W. Churchill Collegiate Professor of Chemical Engineering, and professor of chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, macromolecular science and engineering in the College of Engineering, and professor of physics in LSA.

Additional members include:

  • Bruce Maxim, Narasimhamurthi “Nattu” Natarajan Collegiate Professor of Engineering and professor of computer and information science, College of Engineering and Computer Science, UM-Dearborn.
  • Lynda Oswald, Louis and Myrtle Moskowitz Research Professor of Business and Law and chair, Business Law, Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
  • David Potter, Francis W. Kelsey Collegiate Professor of Greek and Roman History, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and professor of Greek and Latin, Department of Classical Studies, LSA.
  • Sarah Rosaen, professor of communication studies and chair, Department of Communication Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, UM-Flint.
  • Dick Simon, professor of internal medicine and associate chair, Internal Medicine, Medical School.
  • Twila Tardif, professor of psychology, LSA.
  • Kentaro Toyama, W. K. Kellogg Professor of Community Information and professor of information, School of Information.
  • Camille Wilson, professor of education, School of Education.

Potter, who also is secretary of the Faculty Senate, said that reaching decisions regarding the dismissal of tenured faculty within a reasonable time frame while respecting the due process rights of all parties is beneficial for both the faculty member and the university.

“The goals I have, which SACUA shares, is to improve the process so that it is more efficient, while retaining the essential faculty voice in the process,” he said.

In its first phase, the committee will gather information and assess the current state of similar policies at peer institutions, as well as develop recommendations for bylaw additions and amendments that allow for expedited proceedings and interim measures in cases involving egregious misconduct. Those recommendations are due to President Mark Schlissel by Nov. 15.

In its second phase, the group will comprehensively review Bylaws 5.09 and 5.10 and recommend revisions by Feb. 28, 2020, that reflect the university’s community values, protect its commitment to due process and promote the fair, transparent, and efficient resolution of cases.

Any of the group’s recommendations accepted by the president and approved by the Board of Regents would apply to all U-M campuses. Communications to the working group should be sent to working.group.outreach@umich.edu.

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