6.0                   Employment Policies and Procedures for Research Faculty

 

6.1                   Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation Human Resources

 

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI) includes university research institutes, university research centers, and the offices of research/interdisciplinary programs administration, sponsored programs, research compliance, export and secure research compliance, and Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties. In collaboration with the university Human Resources, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation Human Resources, supports and serves research faculty regarding policies, employment, retention, promotions, employee relations, and separations policies. These services include, but are not limited to, assistance in areas such position descriptions, classifications, position postings, screening, salary offers, promotions, salary adjustments for increased responsibilities, equity and retention, employment contracts, visas, and referrals.

 

6.2                   Research Faculty Appointments

 

Research faculty appointments are designated to promote and expedite university research activities. The rank descriptions create several series common to current sponsored research or outreach projects. For example, employees involved in conducting research are generally appointed as research associates or research scientists (or to the “senior” titles for either of these). Those individuals who are appointed to a research traineeship for a period of up to four years following receipt of their doctorate are usually appointed as postdoctoral associates. (See Guidelines for the Hiring of Postdoctoral Associates on the OVPRI Human Resources website.) Usually, postdoctoral associates work closely with a faculty mentor in preparation for a career in academe or research; if they remain involved with research projects at Virginia Tech over a period of time, they are appointed or promoted into another appropriate rank.

 

The “project associate” series was designed for employees involved in sponsored activity other than traditional research, such as delivery of service or technical assistance, consultation with particular clients, preparation of manuals and materials, and so on. The project associate series is also appropriate for personnel involved primarily in the administration of large and complex sponsored programs.

 

While there is logic to the progression between and among ranks, employees may change ranks as appropriate or necessary to reflect a change in role or project. Promotions from one rank to another in order to recognize a faculty member’s increased responsibilities, credentials, and/or contributions to the program over time may be recommended by the supervisor. Recommendations for promotions are done during the annual evaluation and merit adjustment process. The promotions require approval by the department head, dean, and Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Approval by a departmental committee is also required for certain ranks (see below). A faculty member may not serve on any committee that is evaluating a spouse, family member, or other individual with whom the faculty member has a close personal relationship. (See chapter two, “Potential Conflicts Involving Spouses and Immediate Family Members.”)

 

Research faculty members may be assigned a functional title in addition to their official faculty rank in order to facilitate their work or clarify their role to internal or external constituencies. (A functional title may not be an official faculty rank other than that held by the research faculty member.) In some cases, increased responsibilities may lead to a change in functional title and possibly a salary adjustment rather than a promotion in faculty rank.

 

Appointments to research faculty ranks, except the rank of postdoctoral associate, are indefinitely renewable. However, tenure cannot be earned in any of the research faculty ranks and service is not applicable toward the pre-tenure probationary period if the employee is subsequently appointed to a tenure-track position.

 

The source of funds is not the determining factor as to whether a position carries a research faculty rank, but rather the nature and purpose of the assignment. Thus, a research faculty member may be funded by sponsored projects, overhead, state dollars, or other sources. Policies related to research faculty apply, regardless of the source of funding.

 

Research faculty may participate in activities outside of their direct source of funding, such as providing significant contributions to the conceptualization or writing of new proposals, or teaching; however, support for any time or effort spent on activities outside of their sponsored research must come from non-sponsored research funds. Special attention should be given in the development of position descriptions where funding is limited to only sponsored funding. (See chapter six, “Effort Certification Compliance Issues for Research Faculty Members,” and chapter ten, “Effort Certification and Salary Charges to Sponsored Grants and Contracts.”)

 

Original appointments and reappointments, including rank, salary, and other conditions, require the approval of the department head, dean (or next level administrator), and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation before an offer is extended. Requests for principal investigator status may be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Such requests require the approval of the department head, dean, and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

 

6.3                   Research Associate Ranks

 

When establishing positions in this series, particularly at the research associate level, departments must ensure that the work anticipated for the employee is sufficiently complex and sophisticated to warrant a faculty position. There are a variety of staff roles that are appropriate for research personnel, depending on the nature of the work proposed and on the credentials being required. For example, laboratory and research specialist I or II is usually the appropriate staff role for personnel overseeing laboratory, animal care, or research support; or, conducting routine tests, compiling data, collecting and preparing samples. Careful preparation of the position description by the principal investigator and/or department head is essential in making a determination whether the position is staff or research faculty. Staff positions must be used where appropriate; exceptions are granted only in very rare cases.

 

6.3.1                Research Associate

 

The research associate rank is the entry, or most junior, rank for research faculty members involved in sponsored projects. However, the work may vary from that which is appropriate for a relatively new professional to broader or more significant responsibilities expected of more experienced research faculty personnel. Research associates generally conduct research under supervision using standard and non-standard procedures appropriate to the field. They may provide input into the preparation of proposals or supervise staff or student personnel, but typically they have limited responsibility and authority in these areas. Research associates are not eligible to be principal investigators; however, requests for principal investigator status may be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

 

In keeping with all faculty appointments at the university, a master’s degree in a relevant field is the minimum qualification for appointment as a research associate. The OVPRI Human Resources must approve requests for exceptions for individuals with a bachelor’s degree and significant related experience before an offer is extended.

 

6.3.2                Senior Research Associate

 

The rank of senior research associate requires greater qualifications than the research associate either in education, experience, or both. The doctorate or a terminal degree in the field and some experience are required. The OVPRI Human Resources must approve an appointment or promotion to this rank for individuals with a lesser degree and substantial related experience before an offer is extended.

 

Senior research associates conduct research under limited supervision using standard or non-standard techniques appropriate to the field. Typically, they have some significant supervisory responsibility for lower-level personnel and may contribute to the conceptualization and preparation of research proposals, reports, and resource acquisition. Senior research associates are not eligible to serve as principal investigators; however, requests for principal investigator status may be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

 

6.3.3                Research Scientist

 

Research scientists fulfill a senior role in the university’s research program. They carry out independent research under limited supervision. A doctorate or terminal degree in the field and significant experience are expected. By virtue of their expertise and experience, research scientists make significant contributions to the conceptualization and conduct of the research. They may be involved in the preparation of proposals, reports, and publications, presentation of research results, and development of patents. Research scientists may serve as principal investigators.

 

6.3.4                Senior Research Scientist

 

The senior research scientist is the highest rank in the research faculty series for those who do not also have involvement in a graduate program. The rank of senior research scientist is parallel to that of research associate professor or research professor. A doctorate or terminal degree in the field and a considerable record of research are expected. As experienced research faculty members, senior research scientists are often responsible for the design and execution of a project and interpretation of research results. Faculty members at this rank usually serve as principal investigators of sponsored projects related to their own expertise or provide leadership to a research team. Typically, they have significant responsibility for supervision of personnel, budget preparation and execution, and organization and management of the research project.

 

6.3.5                Postdoctoral Associate

 

Appointment to this rank is usually reserved for persons who have been awarded a doctoral degree no more than four years prior to the effective date of the appointment with a minimum of one year of eligibility remaining and are engaged in research for a restricted period under the direction of a faculty mentor. The position of postdoctoral associate is intended to be a limited-term traineeship lasting two to four years (not to exceed four years), during which the individual works under the supervision of one or more senior faculty mentors in preparation for a career in academe or research. Funding is usually from a grant, contract, or a postdoctoral fellowship.

 

The cumulative allowable duration for all postdoctoral appointments held by a single individual, even at multiple institutions, may not exceed five years. The maximum allowable time an individual may be employed in the rank of postdoctoral associate at Virginia Tech is four years. Continued appointment beyond four years would require a promotion in rank.

 

Typically, postdoctoral associates have very limited responsibility for project management, supervision of personnel, or design of the research project on which they are funded. Rather, the position enables the individual to continue studies in a specialty area while gaining practical experience in the field. The postdoctoral traineeship may include opportunities to write and submit grant proposals, and the postdoctoral associate may serve as co-principal investigator with the approval of the department head or chair. A postdoctoral associate may be permitted in certain cases, such as proposals for young career awards, to submit a grant as a principal investigator. Requests for principal investigator status may be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

 

6.4                   Project Associate Ranks

 

The project associate rank series is most appropriate for faculty personnel involved in sponsored projects that provide technical assistance, outreach, consultation, project management, preparation of specialized materials, or delivery of educational or other services, rather than conducting traditional research or scholarship. These ranks may also be appropriate for faculty personnel who are involved in the administration of large and complex research centers or programs.

 

There are staff or administrative and professional (A/P) faculty roles appropriate to many of these responsibility sets. Careful preparation of the position description by the principal investigator or department head/chair is essential in making a determination whether the position is staff, A/P faculty, or research faculty.

 

Like all research faculty members, those in the project associate series may be assigned a functional title in addition to their official faculty rank in order to facilitate their work. Given the range of activities included under sponsored programs, use of the functional title may be the most effective way to clarify the faculty member’s role to internal or external constituencies. (A functional title may not be an official faculty rank other than that held by the research faculty member.)

 

6.4.1                Project Associate

 

The project associate rank is the entry, or most junior rank, for faculty members involved in sponsored projects that may deliver services to clients or involve program responsibilities other than traditional research. The work may vary from that appropriate for a relatively new professional to broader or more significant responsibilities expected of more experienced faculty personnel. Project associates work under supervision and carry out project responsibilities, such as technical assistance or consultation, which require professional preparation and application of accepted principles and practices of the field. They may be involved in preparing reports, documents, or manuals for review by project leaders. They may develop and deliver educational programs, or coordinate activities involving a number of project members. They may provide input into the preparation of proposals or supervise project personnel, but typically they have limited responsibility and authority in these areas. Project associates are not eligible to be principal investigators; however, requests for principal investigator status may be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

 

In keeping with all faculty appointments at the university, a master’s degree in a relevant field is the minimum qualification for appointment as a project associate. The OVPRI Human Resources must approve exception requests for individuals with a bachelor’s degree and significant related experience before an offer is extended.

 

6.4.2                Senior Project Associate

 

The rank of senior research associate requires greater qualifications than the project associate either in education, experience, or both. The doctorate or a terminal degree in the field and some experience, or a lesser degree and substantial related experience, are required. The OVPRI Human Resources must approve exemption requests before an offer is extended. Senior project associates carry out project activities under limited supervision, providing a high level of professional service and expertise. They may create original materials or methods, requiring a high level of knowledge of and/or experience in the subject matter. Typically, they have some significant supervisory responsibility for project personnel. They may contribute to the conceptualization and preparation of project proposals, reports, resource acquisition, and interaction with stakeholders. Senior project associates are not eligible to serve as principal investigators; however, requests for principal investigator status may be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.

 

6.4.3                Project Director

 

Project director is the most senior rank in the project associate series. Appointment to this rank requires a doctorate or terminal degree and two or more years’ experience, or a lesser degree and related experience of substantial scope and duration. By virtue of their expertise and experience, project directors or leaders make significant contributions to the conceptualization and implementation of the project. They typically have significant independence, responsibility, and authority for all aspects of the project. Project directors may be involved in the preparation of proposals, reports, or publications; and presentation of results to sponsors or other stakeholder groups. They have significant responsibility for hiring and managing project personnel, assigning resources, and evaluating project effectiveness. Those functioning in an administrative capacity may serve in a role equivalent to an assistant center director, managing complex and varied business and other administrative responsibilities for a large research center. Project directors may serve as principal investigators with the approval of the department head.

 

6.5                   Research Professor Ranks

 

The research professor ranks are designed for research faculty members whose appointments are expected to last more than one year and whose credentials are comparable to those of the tenure-track faculty of similar rank. This series is parallel to research scientist and senior research scientist, not necessarily above it. Appointment to research professor ranks is not appropriate for those with short-term or limited appointments since this would disadvantage the graduate students with whom they might work. Research faculty members whose primary appointment is in a research unit not affiliated with a degree-granting academic department may also be appointed to these ranks with appropriate credentials and approvals. Tenure cannot be earned in any of the research faculty ranks and service is not applicable toward the probationary period if the employee is subsequently appointed to a tenure-track position.

 

With approval by the degree-granting program, those appointed to any rank in the research professor series may direct graduate theses and dissertations and serve on graduate committees consistent with program and graduate school policy. Faculty members in this series may teach occasionally in their areas of expertise in accordance with guidelines below and by providing the appropriate credentials required of instructional faculty. (See chapter two, “Faculty Credentialing Guidelines,” or the provost’s website.) Faculty in the research professor series may teach one course per year or two courses in a two-year period. They may teach more if funding is appropriately charged to the instructional budget and approved by the principal investigator/supervisor, department head/chair and dean.

 

At the discretion of the academic department, departmental faculty membership with or without voting privileges may be extended to an assistant, associate, or research professor. However, a research faculty member is not eligible to vote on matters relating to faculty appointment, retention, promotion, or tenure.

 

Promotion to a higher rank may be granted to research professorial faculty who have sources of continued funding and demonstrate outstanding accomplishments in appropriate activities. The curriculum vita together with annual faculty activity reports, reprints of publications, reference letters, and other similar documents comprise a dossier, which furnishes the principal basis for promotion decisions. Besides consideration of specific professional criteria, evaluation for promotion should consider the candidate’s integrity, professional conduct, and ethics. To the extent that such considerations are significant factors in reaching a negative recommendation, they should be documented as part of the formal review process.

 

Research professorial faculty members being considered for promotion have their dossiers reviewed at as many as three levels: (1) by a departmental committee and the head or chair; (2) by a college committee and the dean; and (3) by the vice president for research and innovation. A parallel process for review, approved in advance by the executive vice president and provost and the vice president for research and innovation, is required for promotion of a member of the research professor series whose primary appointment is not in an academic department.

 

6.5.1                Research Assistant Professor

 

Persons appointed as research assistant professors are required to have a doctoral degree or terminal degree appropriate to the field and credentials consistent with those for appointment to the rank of assistant professor. Research assistant professors are equivalent to research scientists in terms of their credentials; however, appointment to this rank indicates actual or anticipated involvement with the academic program.

 

Research assistant professors are expected to contribute significantly to the design and execution of research projects. They may serve as principal investigators with the approval of the department head. They carry out independent research in their field of specialization under general supervision. They may have supervisory responsibility for project personnel and contribute to project management.

 

Original appointments including rank, salary, and other conditions require the approval of the department head, dean (or next level administrator), and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation before an offer is extended.

 

6.5.2                Research Associate Professor

 

Persons appointed to this rank are required to have a doctoral degree or terminal degree appropriate to the field and credentials consistent with those for appointment to the rank of associate professor. Research associate professors are typically responsible for design and execution of research projects and interpretation of research results. They are expected to serve as principal investigators and conduct independent research in their area of specialization. They may have significant supervisory responsibility for project personnel and contribute to project management.

 

Original appointments follow standard departmental procedures for tenured and tenure-track faculty appointments. Typically, this involves approval by the appropriate departmental/unit committee, followed by approval of the department/unit head, dean (or next level administrator), and Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Promotion to this rank requires evidence of continuous professional development, documentation of excellence in their disciplinary field, contribution to research or creative activity supported through grants and contracts, and at least regional recognition. (See chapter three, “Evaluation Procedures for Promotion and Tenure.”) The promotion review and approval process is described in chapter six, “Research Professor Ranks.”

 

6.5.3                Research Professor

 

Persons appointed to this rank are required to have a doctoral degree or terminal degree appropriate to the field and credentials consistent with those for appointment to the rank of professor. Research professors are typically responsible for design and execution of research projects and interpretation of research results. They are expected to serve as principal investigators and conduct independent research in their area of specialization. They may have significant supervisory responsibility for project personnel and contribute to project management.

 

Original appointments follow standard departmental procedures for tenured and tenure-track faculty appointments. Typically, this involves approval by the appropriate departmental/unit committee, followed by approval of the department/unit head, dean (or next level administrator), and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Promotion to this rank requires evidence of continuous professional development, documentation of excellence in their disciplinary field, outstanding research or creative activity supported by grants and contracts, and national and/or international recognition. (See chapter three, “Evaluation Procedures for Promotion and Tenure.”) The promotion review and approval process is described in chapter six, “Research Professor Ranks.”

 

6.6                   Matrix of Research Ranks

 

A matrix of qualifications, approval requirements, general expectations, salary guidelines, and typical position responsibilities for employees in the research faculty ranks is found on the OVPRI Human Resources website.

 

6.7                   Affiliated Research Faculty

 

Occasionally, individuals outside of university employment are identified to team with university faculty to enhance research opportunities through departments. To support these associations, the university has developed the affiliated research faculty program. Affiliated research appointments may be made for individuals connected to specific academic departments, or may be made through research institutes or centers. Affiliated research appointments may also be established to facilitate research partnerships. This program may address occasions where a university faculty member has a spouse or partner who also has professional academic credentials, but who has not found appropriate employment opportunities. The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation reviews nominations from departments, colleges, or the provost, and approves appropriate applications. Applicants must have academic credentials equivalent to those of university faculty, including the terminal degree usually required of faculty in the discipline. Applications for appointment must have the endorsement of the head or chair of the Virginia Tech department relevant to the applicant’s discipline.

 

Typically, an affiliated research faculty member has unpaid adjunct status in the academic department of his/her discipline. The appointment is initiated by the host department submitting to the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation a letter of support, the applicant’s curriculum vita, and the request for unpaid faculty affiliation with a Virginia Tech academic department, approved by the department head or chair and dean or director. The appointments are renewable. The rank is the research faculty designation commensurate with the credentials of the candidate.

 

6.8                   Searches for Research Faculty

 

Virginia Tech is committed to announcing the availability of positions so that a diverse pool of qualified candidates is developed for faculty positions of all types. In the case of research faculty, many of whom are hired on short-term grants and contracts sometimes requiring specialized skills and abilities, there is a need to balance the demands of the sponsored grant or contract with the institution’s commitment to open and aggressive recruitment practices to attract a diverse workforce.

 

Competitive searches are required for salaried appointments to the research faculty, except in a limited number of cases warranting an exemption. Appointments of less than one year do not require a search. Searches are not required to fill a postdoctoral associate position or in the case where the person to be appointed is the author of the grant or is listed as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator, or appointment of a dual career hire. Occasionally the identified candidate may have previously worked on the project in a significant role and continuation of personnel is critical to the success of the project and a search may not be required. Consult the OVPRI Human Resources regarding other very limited exemptions.

 

6.9                   Terms of Faculty Offer and Documentation of Credentials

 

Employment is contingent upon presentation of satisfactory documentation of credentials prior to employment. In accordance with federal law, new employees must also provide on the first day of their employment documentation of U.S. citizenship or lawful authorization to work in the United States.

 

The terms of faculty offer, including salary, effective date, rank, and other critical information concerning faculty appointments to the university is prepared by the department and approved by the department head for each new research faculty member. (See the OVPRI Human Resources website for terms of faculty offer templates for research faculty.) The contract specifies whether the appointment is restricted (usual appointment type for research faculty) or regular. See below for conditions under which research faculty appointments may be “regular.” All letters of appointment make reference to further terms and conditions of employment contained in the Faculty Handbook.

 

The terms of faculty offer for a restricted appointment clearly defines the length of the appointment. In cases where there is no expected opportunity for continuation, the document also serves as a notice of termination. The terms of faculty offer also makes clear that continuation of appointment, even during the initial year, is subject to the availability of funds, the need for services, and satisfactory performance. Related offer or appointment letters should not contain promises that the hiring unit may not be able to keep; the university looks to the department to make good on defaults.  Approval of the department head, dean, and the OVPRI Human Resources are required before an offer is extended.

 

It is the responsibility of the hiring department to obtain and verify documentation of credentials on all faculty prior to employment. Information regarding appropriate credentials for instructional faculty is found in chapter two, “Faculty Credentialing Guidelines,” and on the provost’s website.

 

6.9.1                Restricted Appointments

 

Salary support for research faculty typically comes from one or more sponsored projects. While some research faculty may be employed for years on successive grants, particularly in large, ongoing research programs, many are employed only for the duration of a specific funded project—in some cases six months and in other cases perhaps several years. Sponsored funding is seldom certain and never permanent. As a result, research faculty are usually appointed as “restricted” faculty members whose employment depends on availability of funding, the need for services, and satisfactory performance.

 

Procedures for terminating employees are addressed in chapter six, “Termination Procedures for Research Faculty.”

 

6.9.2                Multi-Year Restricted Appointments

 

An initial appointment, or a reappointment, for a research faculty member may be for up to three years provided that documented funding for the salary and fringe benefits is available from a multi-year grant, multiple grants, or other appropriate source(s) and that a search has been conducted or an approved exemption obtained. In such cases, the terms of faculty offer specifies the length of the restricted appointment.

 

If a person on restricted appointment will be continued, a reappointment is required. (See chapter six, “Reappointment.”) The reappointment contract again defines the conditions of the appointment. Any changes should be made explicit. If a salary increase is approved, it should be a part of the reappointment contract. The department is expected to execute the reappointment contract prior to the current contract end date. Annual evaluation and merit adjustments occur on the same cycle as for all other faculty members. A performance review must be done annually, shared with the appointee, and documented in writing

 

6.9.3                Regular Appointments

 

A research center or program, including research entities established by state or Board of Visitors’ action, may seek approval from the relevant department head, dean (or appropriate administrators as defined in University Policy 3020, “Centers and University Institutes: Financial and Administrative Policy and Procedures,” and University Policy 13005, “Centers and University Institutes: Establishment, Governance, and Programmatic Oversight”) and the vice president for research and innovation (or designee) to advertise and fill certain research faculty positions as regular rather than restricted appointments under certain conditions. The criteria and expectations for such approval are as follows:

  • The research program or center must have a documented record of substantial past funding, usually from diversified sources, generally over more than five years. In the case of a new center with multi-year funding, documentation of the new funding supported by the history of funding for the principal researchers may be considered. Research programs supported in full or in part by state funds are eligible for consideration for regular positions.
  • For the purposes of this policy, “research programs or centers” are defined very broadly to include those entities established by state or Board of Visitors’ action for the purposes of conducting research, as well as those that meet the definition of departmental, college, or university centers/institutes as defined in University Policy 3020, “Centers and University Institutes: Financial and Administrative Policy and Procedures,” and University Policy 13005, “Centers and University Institutes: Establishment, Governance, and Programmatic  Oversight.” Departments intending to support specific research faculty members on state funds, whether or not those individuals participate in a “program” or “center,” may also seek approval to appoint a research faculty member to a regular position.
  • The research program or center must have documented prospects for continued funding at a level equal to or greater than its current funding.
  • The unit must be able to guarantee payment of salary and fringe benefits from sponsored grants or contracts (or other appropriate sources) for a minimum of three years in order to advertise a research faculty position as a regular appointment.
  • The unit must be able to guarantee funding of annual leave, sick leave, and salary following non-reappointment in the case of insufficient grant funds. The source of such payouts or salary support must be non-sponsored funds, such as indirect or state funds.
  • The unit will advertise and conduct a national search for regular positions. Search exemptions may be approved only under certain very limited conditions, such as unique qualifications or unit restructuring. However, a search must be conducted if there is an intention of supporting an international candidate for permanent residency. In such a case, the hiring unit should work closely with the International Support Services Office to ensure compliance with current Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) regulations. Appropriate documentation of the search process and selection is a critical element in supporting an application for permanent residency.
  • In supporting the request for a regular faculty appointment, the unit and/or department (or approving unit) is thereby committing itself to covering shortfalls in funding between grants, or whenever there is insufficient funding for the salary, from other sources. Should this occur, duties may be reassigned in order to match the available source of funds.
  • The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation may grant approval to the unit to conduct searches for regular positions for a period of three to five years at which time the financial capabilities and commitments of the unit are reviewed and authorization granted for another three to five-year period, if appropriate.
  • Approval for the unit to advertise and fill some research faculty positions as regular appointments does not in any way suggest that all positions in the unit should be so designated. Indeed, careful thought should go into the shaping of such positions, the identification of talents and skills needed in the research group, and the availability of qualified individuals that may necessitate this more generous commitment of resources.
  • Postdoctoral associates are considered temporary or short-term appointments by definition and are not appropriate for regular appointments.

 

Research faculty members on regular appointments are entitled to notice of non-reappointment, as specified in chapter two, “Retirement, Resignation, and Non-Reappointment.”

 

6.9.4                Calendar Year versus Academic Year Appointments

 

The nature of the research enterprise generally dictates that research faculty are appointed to a calendar year (12-month) position. However, there may be circumstances in which an academic year (nine-month) appointment is justified and appropriate. The justification for an academic year appointment should accompany the faculty search authorization or search exemption request.

 

Academic year research appointments do not earn or accrue annual leave. Faculty members on academic year restricted appointments earn and accrue sick leave at the rate of five hours per pay period during the academic year; those on regular appointments are entitled to 1040 hours of paid sick leave upon employment. Sick leave is addressed in more detail in chapter two, “Sick Leave.”

 

Research faculty members on academic year appointments may accept summer research wage (P14) or summer or winter session teaching employment during the summer months in the same department or program, or elsewhere in the university. Research faculty on H1-B visas qualify for summer wage employment only in very limited cases. Contact the International Support Services Office to verify eligibility. Those who have documentation of additional months of funding from sponsored grants or contracts may be eligible for consideration of a calendar year research conversion under the terms of University Policy 6200, “Policy on Research Extended Appointments.” (See chapter two, “Research Extended Appointments,” chapter six, “Effort Certification Compliance Issues for Research Faculty Members,” and chapter ten, “Effort Certification and Salary Charges to Sponsored Grants and Contracts.”)

 

6.10                 Position Descriptions

 

Every research faculty member must have an up-to-date position description that forms the basis for initial hiring and assignment of duties and, through subsequent updates, for annual evaluation. Position descriptions should include a relatively detailed list or narrative description of assigned responsibilities and expectations for performance. A position description should be created and entered into the online position description system. Further information is available on the OVPRI Human Resources website.

 

6.11                 Annual Evaluations

 

Supervisors, usually principal investigators, are responsible for conducting an annual evaluation for any and all research faculty. A performance review must be shared with the appointee, and documented in writing. This documentation supports the request for annual merit and/or special adjustments. Giving regular and constructive feedback is essential to the development of employees, and it is the responsibility of the department head to be certain that research faculty are appropriately and consistently evaluated. The cycle for evaluation is the same as that for all other faculty members. Annual evaluation and merit adjustments occur on the same cycle as for all other faculty members. A performance review must be done annually, shared with the appointee, and documented in writing.

 

6.12                 Merit and Special Adjustments

 

Research faculty members, both regular and restricted, are eligible for annual merit adjustments (and special adjustments when necessary and appropriate) on the same cycle as all other faculty members when available and authorized by the university. The result is then communicated to the research faculty member. Promotions require a new terms of faculty offer. Following the annual evaluation, supervisors make recommendations to department heads that, in turn, make their recommendations to college and university officials. Final recommendations are approved by the Board of Visitors in the case of regular research faculty members. The result is then communicated to the research faculty member. Merit recommendations for research faculty members are generally expected to track the merit adjustments for teaching and research faculty members. In some cases, available funds may limit, delay, or even preclude a merit adjustment. However, performance evaluation and feedback to the employee are still required even if a merit adjustment is not possible.

 

Special adjustments, outside of the annual merit process, may be recommended in accordance with the guidelines for faculty salary adjustments available from the OVPRI Human Resources. Examples of such adjustments might be for promotion in rank, increased responsibility, retention, equity, or other reasons critical to the support of productive research faculty members and compensating them fairly. Justification and appropriate approvals are required as outlined in the guidelines.

 

6.13                 Reappointment

 

Research faculty members on restricted appointment whose employment will be continued are issued a reappointment specifying the new ending date for their appointment. Reappointments typically occur on the anniversary of the hire date or in relation to the funding cycle of the grant or appointment. Reappointments may be for less than one year in such situations where additional funding is anticipated but not confirmed. Multiple reappointments may occur during the span of the research faculty member’s employment. The reappointment date may be adjusted based as a result of other significant actions (e.g., promotion), or by issuing appointments that move the employee to the same effective date as their merit adjustment. Multi-year reappointments are possible in cases where funding is available for the proposed reappointment period.

 

Research faculty members on regular appointment do not have fixed ending dates to their contracts. They must receive written notice of non-reappointment as described in chapter two, “Retirement, Resignation, and Non-Reappointment,” should it become necessary to end the appointment.

 

6.14                 Termination Procedures for Research Faculty

 

Members of the research faculty may be removed from their position by one of the following three procedures: (1) removal for just cause, (2) non-reappointment, or (3) termination of position because of insufficient funds or no further need for services. The period of notice for non-reappointment of research faculty members on regular appointments is addressed in chapter two, “Retirement, Resignation, and Non-Reappointment.”

 

6.14.1              Dismissal for Cause

 

Research faculty members may be removed for just cause. Stated causes for removal shall include, but are not limited to: professional incompetence; unacceptable or unsatisfactory performance after due notice; unethical conduct or misconduct that interferes with the capacity of the employee to perform effectively the requirements of the position; violation of university policy; falsification of credentials, experience, leave reports, or other official employment documents. Filing a grievance does not constitute just cause for termination.

 

When it becomes necessary to terminate a member of the research faculty for unsatisfactory performance prior to the end of the appointment period, the following procedures apply:

  • When the faculty supervisor determines that performance is unsatisfactory, the supervisor writes a letter to the individual detailing the areas of performance that are deficient. This letter should indicate specific expectations of improvement by the employee during a specified time period of not less than 30 calendar days. The department head and college dean receive copies. In cases where there is some likelihood of threat to health or safety, the 30-day period may be waived.
  • At the end of the above period, the faculty supervisor must again write the research faculty member with an evaluation of his/her performance during the interim since the first letter, with copies to the department head and college dean or equivalent senior-level manager. If performance continues to be unsatisfactory, this second letter may contain a termination notice. The termination notice has an effective date 45 calendar days from the date of the second letter.
  • In the event of termination, the research faculty member may appeal to the department head. Should the appeal process be initiated, the termination is held in abeyance until the appeal process is complete. 
    • The appeal must be made in writing within five working days of receipt of the letter. (If the department head has a conflict of interest, the head refers the matter to the college dean.)
    • The department head (or dean) must respond in writing within 10 working days. If the recommendations of the department head (or dean) are unsatisfactory to either party, an appeal may be made to the vice president for research and innovation in writing within five working days.
    • The vice president for research and innovation appoints a committee of three members of the general faculty who make recommendations to the executive vice president and provost within 10 working days.
    • The decision of the provost is final and is rendered within 10 working days of receiving the report.
    • The above time limits of the appeal process may be altered by extenuating circumstances and the agreement of both parties.

 

If the research faculty member is a member of an interdisciplinary research center, the center director as well as the department head and college dean of the faculty supervisor are copied on all correspondence.

 

6.14.2              Termination of Appointment for Faculty on Restricted Contracts

 

Occasionally a sponsor terminates funding before the end of a contract, or directs a change in the research program resulting in the need to terminate the services of an employee. While principal investigators and research centers are encouraged to make every effort to assure continuity of employment to individuals performing satisfactorily, there are circumstances in which this may not be possible or in the best interest of the research program or university. Research faculty appointments may be terminated in the case where there are insufficient funds or no further need for services. The date of termination for a restricted faculty member is at least 30 calendar days from the date of notification. A faculty member on a regular appointment is entitled to notice of non-reappointment, as stated in chapter six, “Reappointment.” A proposed notice of termination because of insufficient funds or lack of need for services requires the approval of the department head, and dean (or appropriate administrator), and the OVPRI Human Resources.

 

6.15                 Effort Certification Compliance Issues for Research Faculty Members

 

As described in chapter ten, “Effort Certification and Salary Charges to Sponsored Grants and Contracts,” a research faculty member with regular, well-defined responsibilities for new proposal preparation, teaching, or administrative duties is prohibited from charging 100 percent of salary to sponsored projects during an effort reporting period in which such activity occurred, unless those activities are specifically allowed on the sponsored project.

 

Research faculty members are typically on standard 12-month appointments, which earn and accrue annual leave by university policy. Use of annual leave is recognized as an acceptable charge to a sponsored project when such leave is part of the standard university appointment.

 

6.16                 Instructional Responsibilities for Research Faculty Members

 

The primary responsibility of a research faculty appointment is to conduct research and contribute to the university’s research mission through the acquisition of and successful implementation of sponsored grants and contracts. Federal guidelines require truthful and auditable documentation of the faculty member’s efforts on a semester basis. If the faculty member’s salary is paid for by sponsored grants and contracts then there is a concomitant expectation that the faculty member’s time is allocated to those projects.

 

While keeping the primacy of the research role in mind, there are circumstances in which the university and its instructional programs benefit from the occasional participation of research faculty members who have the appropriate credentials, expertise, and interest. The usual limitation on teaching by research faculty members is one (three-credit) course per academic year, or no more than two courses in a two-year period. The principal investigator/supervisor, department head/chair, and dean must approve exceptions. The academic department provides instructional funding for the teaching appointment and research duties are adjusted accordingly. A three-credit course equates to .25 FTE during an academic semester; this is the usual basis for salary charges to the instructional budget.

 

Research faculty members with appropriate credentials and experience may serve on graduate student committees in accordance with policies of the graduate school and the department. Those with appointment to the research professor ranks may chair a committee, if approved by the degree-granting department. Involvement in supervision of graduate student research may be directly related to fulfillment of sponsored grants and contracts and thus may have a synergistic effect.

 

Contributions to the instructional program are monitored and evaluated by the academic department and by the supervisor.

 

It is the responsibility of the hiring department to obtain and verify documentation of credentials on all faculty prior to employment. Information regarding appropriate credentials for instructional faculty is found in chapter two, “Faculty Credentialing Guidelines,” and on the provost’s website.

 

6.17                 Faculty Grievance Policy and Procedures

 

The following procedure is provided as the means for resolution of grievances against a supervisor or member(s) of the university administration brought by members of the research faculty.

 

6.17.1              Faculty Reconciliation and Mediation Services

 

Informal Dialogue: It should be possible to resolve most faculty concerns or complaints through informal communication among colleagues working together in the academic enterprise. Accordingly, a faculty member who feels he or she has a grievance is encouraged to take it to his or her immediate supervisor in the collegial spirit of problem solving rather than as a confrontation between adversaries.

 

Reconciliation: At the initiation of the grievance procedure, or at any earlier time, the grievant may request the assistance of the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation in fashioning an equitable solution. Contacting the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation is not required in filing a grievance, but it may be useful if the grievant feels that the issue may be amenable to, but will require time for, negotiation; or if the grievant is unsure whether his or her concern is a legitimate issue for a grievance; or if personal relations between the parties involved in the grievance have become strained.

 

For a potential grievance issue to qualify for consideration by the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation, the grievant must contact the chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation within 30 calendar days of the time when the grievant knew or should have known of the event or action that is the basis for the potential grievance, just as if beginning the regular grievance process. If the grievant requests assistance from the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation, that committee requests a postponement of the time limits involved in the grievance procedure while it deals with the case. The request is submitted in writing to the vice provost for faculty affairs by the chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation. Also, the grievant should reach an understanding with the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation of the time frame planned for that committee’s work on the case, such time not to exceed 60 calendar days.

 

Faculty members may also consult the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation about serious disagreements with immediate supervisors or other university administrators concerning issues that may not be eligible for consideration within the grievance process. In such instances, the committee contacts the relevant administrator to determine if there is an interest and willingness to explore informal resolution of the dispute; it is not necessary to notify the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

 

Additional information regarding the faculty reconciliation process is available on the provost’s website.

 

Mediation: Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process through which trained neutral third persons (mediators) assist people to express their concerns and develop solutions to the dispute in a safe and structured environment. Assistance with mediation is available through Human Resources. Because mediation is voluntary, both parties must agree to participate in order for mediation to occur. Faculty members and supervisors are encouraged to consider using mediation to resolve disputes or to help address a conflict between a faculty member and another member of the Virginia Tech community.

 

Role of Mediators: Mediators do not make judgments, determine facts, or decide the outcome; instead they facilitate discussion between the participants, who identify the solutions best suited to their situation. No agreement is made unless and until it is acceptable to the participants.

 

Requesting Mediation: Mediation is available at any time, without the filing of a grievance. Additionally, mediation may be requested by any party during the grievance process prior to step four. If, after the initiation of a formal grievance, both parties agree to participate in mediation, the grievance is placed on administrative hold until the mediation process is complete. If the parties come to a resolution of the dispute through mediation, the parties are responsible to each other for ensuring that the provisions of the agreement are followed. In the event that the parties are not able to reach a mutual resolution to the dispute through mediation, the grievant may request that the grievance be reactivated and the process continues.

 

Mediation differs from faculty reconciliation in that mediators do not engage in fact-finding or in evaluation of decisions. Both mediation and reconciliation, however, are voluntary; no party is required to participate in either process.

 

6.17.2              The Formal Grievance Procedure

 

If the assistance of the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation is not desired or is not requested; or if that committee determines that it cannot provide assistance in the matter; or if the grievant finds that the length of time the Committee on Reconciliation plans or takes with the case is excessive; or if the grievant is not satisfied with the recommendations of that committee, the grievant may pursue the issue as a formal grievance through the following procedure. Department heads or chairs, deans, directors, and other administrative faculty will cooperate with the grievant in the mechanics of processing the grievance, but the grievant alone is responsible for preparation of his or her case.

 

Step one: The grievant shall provide a written description of the event or action on the faculty grievance form and relevant supporting documentation of the grievance within 30 calendar days of the date when he or she should have known the event or action that is the basis of the grievance to his or her immediate supervisor. Research faculty grievance forms are available on the provost’s website.

 

The supervisor meets with the grievant and provides a written response within five weekdays to the grievant citing reasons for action taken or not taken and the final decision. If the supervisor’s response is satisfactory to the grievant, that ends the matter.

 

If the response is not satisfactory to the grievant or the supervisor does not respond within five weekdays, the grievant will indicate “no resolution” on the faculty grievance form, return a copy of the form to the immediate supervisor and proceed to step two.

 

Step two: The grievant advances the written description of the event or action, relevant supporting documentation, research faculty grievance form and the written response of the immediate supervisor (or statement of non-response if the supervisor did not respond within five the weekdays at step one) to the next level administrator within five weekdays of receipt of the decision. The next level administrator is the department head. If the department head has a conflict of interest, he or she refers the matter to the college dean. The administrator involved at this level is hereafter referred to as the second-level administrator.

 

Within five weekdays of receipt of the research faculty grievance form, the second-level administrator meets with the grievant and may request the presence of the immediate supervisor. The grievant may similarly request that a representative of his or her choice from among the university faculty be present. Unless the grievant is represented by a member of the faculty who is also a lawyer, the second-level administrator does not have legal counsel present.

 

The second-level administrator returns the research faculty grievance form and provides a written response and final decision to the grievant with copies to the immediate supervisor within five weekdays after the meeting. The decision of the second-level administrator takes precedence over the decision of the immediate supervisor. If the response is satisfactory to the grievant, that ends the matter. If the response is not satisfactory or if there is no response within five weekdays by the second level administrator, the grievant may so indicate on the grievance form and return a copy to the second-level administrator and proceed to step three.

 

Step three: The grievant may advance the written description of the event or action, relevant supporting documentation grievance form and written responses of the immediate supervisor and second-level administrator to the dean or equivalent senior-level manager within five weekdays of receipt of the decision in step two.

 

 The dean will inform the immediate supervisor within five weekdays that the procedure has advanced to step three.

 

Within five weekdays of receipt of the grievance form, the dean meets with the grievant and may request the presence of the immediate supervisor. The grievant may similarly request that a representative of his or her choice from among the university faculty may be present. Unless the grievant is represented by a member of the faculty who is also a lawyer, the dean does not have legal counsel present.

 

The dean shall return the grievance form and provide a written response and final decision to the grievant with copies to the immediate supervisor and second-level administrator within five weekdays after the meeting. The decision of the dean takes precedence over the decision of the second-level administrator. If the response is satisfactory to the grievant, the procedure is terminated. If the response is not satisfactory or if there is no response within five weekdays by the dean, the grievant may so indicate on the research faculty grievance form and return a copy to the dean and proceed to step four.

 

Step four: The grievant will advance the written description of the event or action, relevant supporting documentation, research faculty grievance form, and written responses of the immediate supervisor, second-level administrator, and dean to the executive vice president and provost within five weekdays of the decision of step four. The provost will make a decision and may wish to consult faculty members unfamiliar with the grievance for an opinion.

 

The decision of the executive vice president and provost will be final and will be rendered to the grievant and immediate supervisor within five weekdays of receipt of the grievance.

 

The above time limits of the appeal process may be altered by extenuating circumstances and the agreement of both parties.

 

If the research faculty member is a member of an interdisciplinary research center, the center director as well as the department head and dean are copied on all correspondence.

 

6.17.3              Timeliness of Grievance and Procedural Compliance

 

A grievance must be brought forward in a timely manner. It is the responsibility of the grievant to initiate the grievance process within 30 calendar days of the time when he or she knew or should have known of the event or action that is the basis for the grievance. The university administration is not required to accept a grievance for processing if the grievant does not meet the 30-day deadline, except in cases of demonstrated good cause.

 

Scheduled commitments made prior to the time of filing or advancement of a grievance that preclude action by either of the parties to the grievance automatically extend time limits for their duration unless this would be demonstrably harmful to the fair processing of the grievance. In such cases, on written request by the grievant to the appropriate office for that step, the grievance is advanced to the next step in the grievance process.

 

If the grievant does not follow the time limits specified in the grievance procedure it is assumed that he or she accepted the last proposed resolution as satisfactory. If the grievant desires to advance the grievance after the appropriate specified time limits have lapsed, the administrator who receives the late submission notifies the chair of the Faculty Review Committee in writing, and the chair of the Faculty Review Committee determines if there was good cause for the delay. If so, the grievance proceeds. If not, the process ends with the most recently proposed resolution in force. The finding on the matter by the chair of the Faculty Review Committee is communicated to both parties in writing.

 

If either party to a grievance charges the other with procedural violations other than time limit issues, a special committee of two research faculty appointed by the vice president for research and innovation and the chair of the Faculty Review Committee is convened to rule on the question, as in disputes about the validity of issues qualifying for the grievance procedure. The special committee has the following options. It can either find no significant procedural violation occurred, in which case the grievance process continues unaffected, or that a significant procedural violation did occur. If the administrator committed a significant procedural violation, the grievance automatically qualifies for advancement to the next step in the grievance process. If the grievant committed a significant procedural violation, the grievance process ends at that point with the last proposed resolution established as the final disposition of the case.

 

6.17.4              Valid Issues for Grievance

 

For this process, a grievance is defined as a complaint by a faculty member alleging a violation, misinterpretation, or incorrect application of a policy, procedure, or practice of the university that directly affects the grievant. Some examples of valid issues for filing a grievance are: improperly or unfairly determined personnel decisions that result in an unsatisfactory annual performance evaluation, unreasonable merit adjustment or salary level, or excessive teaching load/work assignments; substantive violations of promotion procedures (see chapter six, “Research Professor Ranks”); reprisals; substantive error in the application of policy; and matters relating to academic freedom.

 

Issues not open to grievance: While most faculty disputes with the university administration may be dealt with by this grievance policy, the following issues may not be made the subject of a grievance: determination of policy appropriately promulgated by the university administration or the university governance system; those items falling within the jurisdiction of other university policies and procedures (for example, complaints of unlawful discrimination or harassment, or an appeal related to the merits of a promotion decision); the contents of personnel policies, procedures, rules, regulations, ordinances, and statutes; the routine assignment of university resources (e.g., space, operating funds, parking, etc.); usual actions taken, or recommendations made, by administrators or committee members acting in an official capacity in the grievance process; termination of appointment by removal for just cause, non-reappointment, or abolition of position; or allegations of misconduct in scholarly activities.

 

Adjudication of disputes on the validity of issues qualifying for consideration under the faculty grievance procedures: If a university administrator rules that an issue does not qualify for the grievance process, the grievant may write to the chair of the Faculty Review Committee within five weekdays of receiving such notification and request a ruling from a special committee consisting of the president of the Faculty Senate, the chair of the Faculty Senate Committee on Reconciliation, and the chair of the Faculty Review Committee. The special committee considers the matter (including consultations with both parties if deemed necessary) and rules by majority vote on the admissibility of the matter to the grievance process. This special committee is called together by the chair of the Faculty Review Committee, who also sends a written report of the results of the deliberations of the committee to all parties concerned.

 

6.17.5              Particular Concerns and Definitions

 

Time limits are subject to extension by written agreement of both parties. The grievant and the administrator involved at that particular step of the discussion are the makers of such an agreement. (An agreement form to extend the grievance response time is available on the provost’s website.)

 

Grievances that advance to step four during or close to the summer and/or teaching breaks during the academic year may require some extension of the stipulated time limits. The principals and the chair of the Faculty Review Committee negotiate such an extension. Every effort is made, however, to stay within the stipulated time limits.

 

If a faculty member is away from his or her assigned work location at the time he or she discovers the event or action that is the basis for a grievance, the 30-day period during which the grievant must meet with his or her immediate supervisor to initiate the grievance process begins when the faculty member returns to his or her assigned work location. If the date of return causes a delay of such length that the grievance, or its resolution, is not timely, the grievant may submit the grievance in writing to the immediate supervisor (step two), omitting personal meetings until such time as the faculty member returns to his or her assigned work location.

 

“Weekdays,” as used in this procedure, include Monday through Friday only and only when those days are not national, state, or religious holidays relevant to the principals in the grievance.

 

To protect a grievant from undue pressure in the pursuit of a grievance, if a grievant becomes ill and takes sick leave the grievance process stops until such time as the grievant is able to resume his or her duties. Exceptions to this provision are made at the request of the grievant, but only if the grievant obtains and produces medical certification that proceeding with the grievance will not be harmful to the health of the grievant, or exacerbate the ailment that required taking sick leave.

 

All costs of legal counsel employed by a grievant are borne by the grievant.

 

If a grievant is employed away from Blacksburg, and he or she is required to travel away from their duty station in resolution of their grievance, the university pays all travel costs permitted under state regulations.

 

In the event that a faculty member discovers he or she has a grievance about actions by an administrator above the level of his or her immediate supervisor that directly involve the faculty member, or with actions by an administrator not in his or her department that directly involve the faculty member, the grievant initiates the grievance process by seeking the mediation of his or her immediate supervisor within 30 calendar days of the discovery of the event or action that is the basis for the grievance. If that effort does not resolve the grievance satisfactorily, the grievant, after consulting his or her immediate supervisor, may file the faculty grievance form at the appropriate level or with the appropriate administrative office to initiate response from the administrator perceived as the source of the action causing the grievance. The grievance process then proceeds from that level onward in usual fashion.

 

A grievance filed by a faculty member concerning an action of the provost is handled by the chair of the Faculty Review Committee and a regular impartial hearing panel, but the findings and recommendations of the hearing panel are sent to the president of the university for his or her ruling, rather than to the provost. A grievance filed by a faculty member concerning an action of the president of the university is dealt with by a special panel appointed by the provost in consultation with the president of the Faculty Senate.

 

Any final resolution of a grievance must be consonant with the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and university policy.

 

Once a grievance is resolved, either to the satisfaction of the grievant, or if not to the satisfaction of the grievant, by the action of the provost in consonance with the hearing panel recommendations, or by the ruling of the president, that specific grievance is closed and may not be made the subject of another grievance.

 

6.17.6              Overview of the Formal Grievance Process for Research Faculty

 

Below is an abbreviated overview of the grievance process and deadlines. Refer to chapter six, “The Formal Grievance Procedure,” for specific details and options available in each step of the grievance process.

 

Time limits are subject to extension by written agreement of both parties. The grievant and the administrator involved at that particular step of the discussion are the makers of such an agreement. (An agreement form to extend the grievance response time is available on the provost’s website.)

 

Step one:

  • Within 30 days of event     
    • 1a. Grievant submits written grievance to immediate supervisor.
  • Within 5 weekdays                
    • 1b. Immediate supervisor meets with grievant and provides a written response.
    • 1c. If supervisor’s response is satisfactory to grievant, that ends the matter.
    • 1d. If supervisor’s response is not satisfactory to grievant, move to step two within 5 weekdays.

Step two:

  • Within 5 weekdays                
    • 2a. Grievant advances written grievance to the next level administrator and referred to as the second-level administrator.
  • Within 5 weekdays                
    • 2b. Second-level administrator responds in writing on grievance form.
    • 2c. If second-level administrator’s response is satisfactory to grievant, that ends the matter.
    • 2d. If second-level administrator’s response is not satisfactory to grievant, move to step three within 5 weekdays.

Step three:

  • Within 5 weekdays                
    • 3a. Grievant advances grievance form to the dean or senior-level manager.
  • Within 5 weekdays                
    • 3b. Dean meets with grievant; dean may request immediate supervisor to be present.
  • Within 5 weekdays                
    • 3c. Dean responds in writing on grievance form.
    • 3d. If dean’s written response is satisfactory to grievant, that ends the matter.
    • 3e. If dean’s written response is not satisfactory to grievant, move to step four within 5 weekdays.

Step four:

  • Within 5 weekdays                  
    • 4a. Grievant advances grievance form to the provost.
  • Within 5 weekdays                  
    • 4b. Provost may consult faculty members unfamiliar with the grievance for their opinion and provides a response in writing. The provost’s decision is final.