All faculty are entitled to a formal review before a renewal decision. The review process should be described in your department or unit policy. Typically, these reviews should begin at the start of the Winter term. If you have not received notice of review in the year your contract expires, you should contact your unit head or PI to ensure you receive your full review before the renewal decision is made.
As of Fall term 2015, the promotion and review policies developed by faculty and deans have not received final approval from the Provost. Hopefully, this work will be done before renewal reviews begin. Even in the absence of these policies, all faculty are entitled to a review designed to help the faculty member grow as a scholar, researcher and educator in addition to identifying areas of strengthen and areas that need improvement. Additionally, each review should include a meeting with the unit head to discuss efforts and performance and an opportunity to submit a personal statement containing information relevant to the faculty member's performance.
First Three Years
Funding contingent faculty (almost all Research NTTF) are entitled to notice of renewal or non-renewal as soon as practicable. Unfortunately, "as soon as practicable" is sometimes misread as "whenever." This is not the case. You should expect to receive notice of renewal or non-renewal at least 30 days before the expiration of your appointment. In some situations, units and/or PIs will be waiting on a renewal of grant funding or a confirmation of a new grant before renewing faculty appointments, but these situations are rare. You should expect timely notice and, if you have not received notice, you are entitled to the payment described below.
The notice of renewal must state the following:
- Duration of upcoming appointment
- If the upcoming appointment is contingent on funding
- Expected FTE
In most cases in the first four years of employment, the appointment will be for one year.
The addition of "expected FTE" to the notice of renewal is a new feature of the CBA. The anticipation is that departments and units will make a good faith effort to estimate the FTE for the coming appointment so faculty members can make informed choices about their employment options. The FTE can shift, up or down, before the notice of appointment is offered. In some cases, departments will be very conservative about the expected FTE so they don't over promise FTE. If you have questions about your expected FTE, a conversation with your unit head is always a great place to start.
After Year Four
The renewal process is the same after the fourth year, except faculty entering their fourth year of employment are, generally, entitled to contracts at least two years in length. For faculty who choose not to go up for promotion, two-year contracts will continue.
Funding contingent appointments cannot be issued for longer than funding is available. If you are working on a multi-year grant that would support a two-year appointment, you should receive one. If, however, the grant is set to expire in less than two years, your appointment will be for the maximum length of the grant.
Faculty who successfully completed promotion are entitled to three-year contracts.
Again, funding contingent appointments cannot be issued for longer than funding is available. If you are working on a multi-year grant that would support a three-year appointment, you should receive one. If, however, the grant is set to expire in less than three years, your appointment will be for the maximum length of the grant.
Faculty who have not been promoted can have their contracts non-renewed for any reason. The university is obligated to notify faculty of non-renewal in writing and the university is required to state the reason for non-renewal in the written notification.
Unfortunately, the statements of non-renewal are often perfunctory. In some cases, this is to protect the faculty member so that an extensive dissection of the performance is not in the faculty member's file. In other cases, the perfunctory nature of the non-renewal reason can protect the unit in that the reasoning can shift over time during the grievance process. In either case, it is important for faculty who have been non-renewed to discuss the reasons for non-renewal with their department or unit head. This conversation should be designed to give the faculty member a full understanding of the reasons for non-renewal.
Faculty who have been promoted have more rights under the CBA. Promoted faculty can only be non-renewed for four reasons:
- Failure to meet the standards of excellence at a major research university, as determined through the procedures developed in accordance with Article 19; or
- Inadequate resources within the unit or department to continue funding the bargaining unit faculty member’s position; or
- Pedagogical or programmatic reasons, including but not limited to, departmental adjustments necessary to accommodate graduate students; or
- Replacement of the NTTF position(s) with a Tenure-related position.
All non-renewal decisions are grievable if the decision violates some aspect of the collective bargaining agreement or university policy. If you have been non-renewed and would like to talk with someone about your rights, please contact our office (541-636-4714) or the Chair of the Grievance Committee.
Lack of Renewal Notice as Soon as Practicable
Career Research faculty in the last year of your contract are entitled to notice of renewal or non-renewal as soon as practicable. If you do not receive notice of renewal or non-renewal as soon as practicable, you are entitled to a "renewal notification bonus."
The renewal notification bonus is proportional to the number of days it takes the university to provide you with the proper bonus. So, if the university was three days late in providing notice, then the you would be entitled to an extra three-days worth of pay in your paycheck.
Unfortunately, there is no set definition of "practicable." In order to prove that it was practicable for the university to provide you will notice of renewal or non-renewal, we would need to show that they had knowledge of their ability or inability to renew your appointment, typically for lack of need or funding. Any emails or announcements at lab meetings regarding grant renewal would be the type of evidence we are looking for.
Non-Renewal Notice After Promotion
A bargaining unit faculty member with a Career NTTF appointment that is funding contingent and who has achieved promotion shall receive at least 30 days of notice prior to the nonrenewal of his or her appointment.