The Personnel Committee of the School of Arts and Sciences is governed by
Article III, Section 4 of the Bylaws of the School of Arts and Sciences:
This concludes Article III, Section 4 of the Bylaws. On implementing its
mandate under the Bylaws, the Personnel Committee has adopted and
modified, from time to time, various operating procedures. The current
procedures, most recently revised in 2007, are as follows:
The Committee shall review all proposed appointments,
reappointments, promotions, and tenure assignments in the Standing Faculty of SAS and make recommendations concerning them to
the Dean. The Personnel Committee shall represent the faculty in
evaluating the academic qualifications of individuals proposed for
appointment, reappointment, promotions, and tenure within the faculty.
Only full professors in the Standing Faculty with primary
appointments in the School of Arts and Sciences may be members of the
Personnel Committee. Officers of the Administration of SAS and of the
University and department chairs are excluded from membership.
- Composition of the Committee
The Personnel Committee shall consist of twelve members and a
chairman. Each of the three major branches of learning in SAS--the
Humanities, the Natural Sciences, and the Social Sciences--shall be
represented by four members on the Personnel Committee.
- Appointment to the Committee
The respective chairpersons of the Personnel Committee and the
Committee on Committees shall confer whenever vacancies on the Personnel
Committee need to be filled. After such consultation, the Committee on
Committees shall make recommendations to the Dean concerning appointments
to the open positions on the Personnel Committee. Normally, this process
will take place before the last regular spring meeting of the SAS
faculty. Unanticipated vacancies on the Personnel Committee shall be
filled by means of the same procedure. Normally, no more than one member
of a single department shall sit on the Personnel Committee at any given
time. In no case may more than one member of a single department sit on the same panel, nor may more than two members of a
single department sit on the Personnel Committee simultaneously.
- Terms of office and rotation
Members of the Personnel Committee shall serve a three-year term.
Normally, each year, four new members shall be appointed, distributed across the major branches of learning (the Humanities, the Natural Sciences,
and the Social Sciences).
- Appointment of the chairperson
The chairperson of the Personnel Committee shall serve a one-year
term. He or she shall be selected by the Dean, normally from members of
the Personnel Committee about to enter the third year of their three-year
terms. In making this appointment, the Dean shall consult with the
outgoing chair of the committee.
The four committee members in each of the major branches of learning
(the Humanities, the Natural Sciences, and the Social Sciences) shall
constitute a subpanel in their particular area. The chairperson of the
full committee shall appoint one member of each subpanel to serve as its
chair. On occasion, a special four-or five-member subpanel may be created by the
chairperson of the full committee on an ad hoc basis to address the
special needs that may arise owing to the unique charcter of an
- Deliberations and reports
All cases forwarded to the Personnel Committee will initially be
deliberated by the appropriate subpanel, whose chair will report to the
full committee a recommendation for disposition of the case in the form
of a vote, along with a summary of the reasoning that led to that vote.
The report of the subpanel, however, shall be regarded merely as a point
of departure for the discussion of the full committee. Members of a
subpanel offering a recommendation are not bound to adhere permanently to
a position they took during the deliberations of the subpanel. Rather,
they shall feel free to alter their original position, subject only to
the influence of the course of the discussion at the meeting of the full
committee. Upon conclusion of these deliberations, each case shall be
brought to a vote. The chairperson of the full committee shall submit to
the Dean a written report of the vote and a summary of the most salient
elements of the discussion that led to it.
- Further transmission of recommendations to the Personnel
The positive recommendations of the Personnel Committee shall be
forwarded to the Provost's Staff Conference by the Dean; the Dean may
choose to concur with or dissent from the proposal. In the case of a tie vote of the Personnel Committee, transmission of the case to the Provost's Staff Conference is at the discretion of the Dean.
The Dean may also
forward recommendations that did not receive a positive endorsement of
the Personnel Committee, although it is expected that this would occur
only rarely. In such cases the Dean must inform the Personnel Committee
of the reasons such action was taken. With the concurrence of the department, within six months after a negative vote on a case, the Dean may ask the Personnel Committee to reconsider a case without recourse to the full resubmission procedures, if the Dean has additional information to offer about a case.
Where the President and Provost propose to recommend an appointment,
promotion, or grant of tenure in the face of a negative recommendation by
the Personnel Committee, they shall inform the Dean, the Personnel
Committee, and the Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility of
the School of Arts and Sciences. The Provost shall then call a meeting
with the Dean and the Personnel Committee; the case shall be discussed at
the meeting. Following this, the Dean, the Personnel Committee, and the
SAS Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility shall be provided
with an opportunity to respond in writing to the Provost's proposal
before a final decision is made as to whether or not it should be
submitted to the Trustees.
- Conflict of interest
No member of the Personnel Committee may participate in the
evaluation of the credentials of any candidate nominated from his or her
own department or from a department in which he or she has a secondary appointment with voting rights. Members of the Personnel
Committee shall be excused from deliberating or participating in
particular cases in the event they feel there is a conflict of interest
for reasons other than departmental affiliation.
An appointment, promotion, or grant of tenure to an individual
holding an administrative position at the School or University level
renders the roles of the President, Provost, and Dean especially
sensitive. In such cases, these individuals shall remove themselves from
the decision processes to the full extent that such removal is compatible
with their respective responsibilities. Only at the point of bringing
papers before the Provost's Staff Conference, for example, shall the Dean
enter this process. Where the President and the Provost propose to
recommend an appointment, promotion, or grant of tenure to an individual
holding an administrative position at the School or University level in
the face of a negative recommendation from the Personnel Committee, the
procedure described in Section 9 shall be followed. In addition, after
the meeting there described, the Provost and the Dean may add to the file
any additional relevant material that was not previously present. Then
the augmented file shall be reviewed by the Personnel Committee, which
will again advise whether the appointment should be made.
There is a presumption that the Provost, cognizant of the
potential conflicts of interest inherent in such a situation, shall base
his or her decision entirely on the merits of the case.
Although the Dean is not a member of the Committee and does not
normally meet with the Committee, either the Dean or the Committee
may on occasion wish to initiate communication with the other; such
communication may take place in person or in writing. The Dean or his/her designate may appear at meetings of the Personnel Committee to present additional information or context for an appointment or promotion before a vote is taken.
Recommendations that come to the Committee are first
reviewed by the subpanel in the general discipline from which
the recommendation originated. This subpanel makes its own
recommendation to the full Personnel Committee which then,
after its own discussions, votes on the recommendation.
additional information would be valuable, either the subpanel
or the main committee must, prior to a vote, request that
information or clarification from the chair of the department that made
the recommendation. This request should normally be made in writing
no later than three business days prior to the meeting at which the information is needed. A department chair may also be asked to meet in person with the full Committee in response to written questions provided, normally according to this same timetable. Other methods of communication, including contacting a department chair without advance notice during subpanel or full committee proceedings, are permissible with the approval of the Dean's office, but a department chair shall reserve the right to request time to obtain the necessary information, in which case any vote must be delayed. Any interaction between a department chair and the subpanel or full Committee must be acknowledged in the report of the Committee chairperson, and any written documentation of that interaction will become part of the dossier.
It is the responsibility of the Personnel Committee to advise the
Dean on the merits of the proposed candidate, and to judge, insofar as it
is possible, the potential contributions the individual will make to
scholarship, to teaching, and to other forms of service within the
academic community. The Committee should not be concerned with the value of the scholarly enterprise, these being the province of the Dean and the University
The full Committee and its subpanels meet at frequent
intervals during the academic year, scheduling their meetings in response
to the number of recommendations they receive. It is expected that the Personnel Committee will be available to meet in person weekly from September through May. The subpanels and full committee will be convened over the summer if necessary to consider urgent cases involving tenure. Those members who cannot attend in person are expected to participate by conference call. In extraordinary circumstances and with the prior approval of the Chair, participation by conference call will also be permitted during the academic year when a committee member is not able to attend in person.
The members of the Committee are expected to
keep all of their deliberations confidential and to allow the Chair of the
Committee to be the sole voice for their collective advice.
If a committee member is approached by another faculty member or individual with information about a case pending at the committee, he or she should refer that person to the Chair of the Personnel Committee or to the appropriate person in the Dean's office. Department chairs who interact directly with the Committee, either in writing or in person, are bound by the same rules of confidentiality that apply to Committee members.
- Personnel Committee Quorum
The Committee has twelve voting members and a non-voting
chair. Nine voting members, including those participating via conference call, shall constitute a quorum. If fewer than
a quorum are present either in person or by phone, business may be transacted, but a case shall require seven positive or seven negative votes to constitute a recommendation to the Dean.
- Subpanel Quorum
Each of the three subpanels (Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social
Sciences) consists of four voting members. The quorum for the subpanel shall
be three. Subpanel members may participate in the deliberations and vote by conference call. Occasionally, a fifth subpanel member, drawn from one of
the other subpanels, may be added, characteristically when the case under consideration is
from a discipline that crosses traditional lines. The fifth member of a subpanel shall have the right to vote. Quorums for
a five-member subpanel will be the same as for a four-member subpanel.
- Actions by the Subpanel
Initial review of a case is carried out by one of the three
subpanels. Department chairs, or their designee, may be asked to be
available to answer questions. The subpanel meets (without the presence of
any member from the department) to consider the dossier.
- Actions by the Committee
The Committee may accept without discussion a unanimous
recommendation of the subpanel for cases of initial appointment at the rank of assistant professor or of reappointment at the rank of assistant professor. If the subpanel recommendation in any such case is not unanimous or if any member of the Committee wishes to have discussion of the case, then the full Committee shall discuss the case and vote.