Dismissal of Faculty and Right of Appeal

Dismissal of Faculty for Cause

Cause involves serious misconduct or violation of college policy and can lead to dismissal. In the event of grounds for potential dismissal for cause, the Dean will inform the faculty member of the grounds. The faculty member will have the opportunity to discuss the issue with the Dean, and at that meeting the faculty member is permitted to be accompanied by a member of the campus community

If the decision is to recommend dismissal, a written notification of the decision and the grounds for dismissal will be provided by the Dean’s Office within 21 days of the final meeting between the Dean and faculty member.

The faculty member may request a review of the decision by the Appeals Committee on substantive or procedural grounds, as outlined below.

In the case of non-tenured faculty, pending the recommendation of the Appeals Committee, the decision of the Dean is final. Revocation of tenure must be determined by the Board.

Dismissal for Financial Exigency of Tenured Professors

Termination of a tenured position because of financial exigency shall be demonstrably bona fide. Dismissal of a tenured professor for financial exigency will be based on the recommendation of the President to the Board of Trustees; only the Board can revoke tenure.

Non-Renewal of Pre-Tenure Faculty for Other Than Cause

Decisions on non-renewal of contract for a pre-tenure faculty member may be based on such factors as performance, professional specialization, receptivity to the general educational objectives of Ursinus, and financial considerations.

The contracts of pre-tenured faculty members with a rating in any area below “Satisfactory: meets Ursinus College criteria” may be subject to non-renewal. A rating of “Needs improvement” or lower in classroom teaching for two consecutive years may result in non-renewal of contract. An evaluation of “Does not meet Ursinus College criteria” in classroom teaching for two consecutive years will result in non-renewal of contract. An evaluation of “Needs improvement” or lower in any single area for three consecutive years will result in non-renewal of contract.

The Dean will provide written notice of non-renewal of contract for full-time pre-tenure faculty not later than March 1 of the first academic year of service, not later than December 15 of the second year of full-time service, and not less than twelve months before the expiration of an appointment after two or more years of full-time service.

Dismissal of Faculty with Tenure for Other Than Cause or Financial Exigency

Tenured faculty rated as “Does not Meet Ursinus Standards” or “Needs Improvement” in any area must develop a plan in conjunction with the department chair (or, in the case of department chairs, the Dean of the College) to address the shortcoming(s). Within two months of receipt of the evaluation, this plan is to be submitted to the Committee on Promotion and Tenure. If performance does not result in a rating of “Satisfactory” or higher within the next two annual evaluation periods, faculty tenure will be reviewed by the Dean of the College together with the Committee on Promotion and Tenure. This group will report to the President, recommending either more time for improvement or revocation of tenure and termination of employment. The President will forward the recommendation to the Board.

Right of Appeal

A faculty member who believes he/she has been adversely affected by a decision on his/her promotion in faculty rank, termination of appointment, or the awarding of tenure, may request a review of the decision on either substantive or procedural grounds. The Appeals Committee will determine:

  • whether a substantive or procedural error has in fact occurred; and
  • whether the error was serious enough to have significantly altered the outcome of the reappointment/tenure process.

Timeline and Procedure

  • The faculty member is notified in writing of the decision.
  • The faculty member will have 30 days after receiving the written notification to initiate an appeal.
  • The appeal must be made in writing and delivered to the Dean of the College, who will have five working days to contact the senior member of the Appeals Committee (defined by service on the Committee) and ask that a meeting be convened.
  • The faculty member’s written appeal must establish a prima facie case based on the following information:
    • A descriptive statement of the grounds for the appeal and the supporting facts
    • All documents or other written materials which the faculty member believes support the appeal
  • A list of all documents submitted in support of the appeal
  • The signature of the faculty member and the date on which the appeal was submitted
  • The Dean of the College has ten working days from the receipt of the faculty member’s written appeal to submit a response addressed to the Appeals Committee and copied to the faculty member.
  • If the Appeals Committee determines by majority vote that the evidence does not warrant a formal review, the procedure will be terminated and the appeal will not proceed. The faculty member will be notified within 21 days from the receipt of all the required documents whether or not the case has been accepted for review.
  • Once an appeal has been accepted for consideration, the Appeals Committee may seek out or consider information not contained in written documents. It will give its written decision to the faculty member within 60 days after its initial meeting. Each appeal should be considered on its own merits and in conjunction with the policies of the College and the standards of the academic community. The time limit may be extended by mutual agreement of the faculty member, the President, and the committee. A majority decision of the committee will be its final recommendation and forwarded to the President. In the case of tenured faculty, the President will make his or her recommendation to the Board.