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Faculty Review Committee

The Faculty Review Committee (FRC) will include a minimum of two faculty members from each college and two each from the library and extension faculty. Additional members from colleges may be appointed in direct proportion to the colleges' representation in the Faculty Senate. The president of the Faculty Senate, in consultation with the cabinet, appoints the chair. The chair may be a member of the Faculty Senate or a member of the Faculty Review Committee. Committee members, who are appointed by the Faculty Senate president in consultation with the cabinet, must, at the time of their initial appointment, have served on their college or equivalent promotion and tenure committee or in the Faculty Senate. Members may not serve on a university or college promotion and tenure committee and on the Faculty Review Committee simultaneously. In the event that no eligible faculty members from a particular college or the library or extension can be identified who are willing and able to fill a vacant position on the FRC, the Faculty Senate president in consultation with the cabinet may appoint the appropriate number of tenured faculty members to complete the membership of the FRC.

Procedures of the Faculty Review Committee

(adopted by the Faculty Senate, 1/12/88; amended by the Faculty Senate, 2/09/88 and 11/08/88; revised by L. Eng, 1/04/91 from a draft prepared by R. Bambach; revised by the Faculty Senate, 4/09/91)

General Procedures

1.  A quorum for the conduct of official business by the FRC will be 13 voting members.

2.  Unless otherwise state, decisions of the FRC will be made on the basis of a simple majority vote.

3.  Findings and recommendations of the full FRC or a hearing panel will be transmitted in a written report to the president (in the case of a promotion, tenure, or continued appointment appeal) or to the provost (in the case of a faculty grievance) together with any dissenting opinions and the numerical distribution of the vote(s).

4.  Any FRC member who knows of a personal conflict of interest that might prevent him/her from participating in a particular action of the FRC in an unbiased manner will be expected to disqualify himself/herself from such participation.

5.  Members of the FRC, parties involved in disputes under consideration by the FRC, witnesses, and others having business with the FRC will be expected to abide by generally accepted rules of confidentiality and privilege.

Procedures for Handling Faculty Grievances

1a.  On receipt of a written grievance from the second level administrator (or a copy forwarded by the provost), the FRC chair will begin the appointment process for a hearing panel. After checking with prospective nominees that they know of no personal conflicts of interest that might prevent them from serving in an unbiased manner, the chair will nominate five FRC voting members (not including any member who is from the grievant's own college) for appointment to a hearing panel. Both parties to the grievance will be notified in writing of the nominations.

1b.  The person against whom the grievance was filed will be asked to indicate in writing whether he/she wishes to disqualify one nominee. The chair will replace any nominee who is disqualified in this manner with another FRC voting member (other than one who is from the grievant's own college) and so notify both parties. The grievant will then be given a similar opportunity to disqualify one nominee, who would be replaced in like manner by the chair.

2a.  Following appointment of the hearing panel, hearing dates will be scheduled as soon as possible at which all panel members, both parties to the grievance, and their assistants (if designated) can be present.

2b.  The FRC chair will act also as the non-voting chair of the hearing panel.

2c.  Each party will have the right to consult legal counsel on matters of procedure.

2d.  Each party will have the right to designate one person to provide assistance at the hearing and who may speak in his/her place at any time.

2e.  All parts of the hearing must be attended by all hearing panel members.

2f.  Each party, with designated assistant, may be present throughout the hearing, except that the hearing panel may conduct its own deliberations in private. The hearing will be closed to all others, with the exception of the hearing panel members themselves and witnesses while presenting testimony. Witnesses will not discuss testimony while the hearing is in progress.

3a.  At least five working days before the scheduled hearing, the grievant will notify the person against whom the grievance is filed and the hearing panel chair, as to whether or not the grievant intends to designate a lawyer as an assistant at the hearing. For this purpose a lawyer is considered to be any person who has a law degree and/or is duly licensed or authorized by any state to practice law.

3b.  If the grievant designates a lawyer as an assistant for the hearing, the administration will be allowed a reasonable time for preparation. The new hearing date will be determined by the chair of the FRC.

3c.  At least two working days before the scheduled hearing, each party will submit to the hearing panel chair two copies of documentary evidence that he/she intends to introduce together with the name of his/her assistant (if one is to be designated) and lists of desired witnesses. The chair will arrange for each party to receive, without delay and at about the same time, a copy of the other party's submissions.

4a.  As the hearing panel is an administrative rather than legal judicial procedure, the panel will not be bound by the rules of legal evidence, and may admit any evidence which is of probative value in determining the issues involved. The chair will maintain order and, subject to the hearing panel's override (by a simple majority vote), will rule on the admissibility of evidence, including statements of unavailable witnesses (if possible, when witnesses are unavailable, provision will be made for interrogatories or depositions). Every possible effort will be made to obtain the best evidence available.

4b.  At the first session of the hearing, the grievant will be given an opportunity to briefly present the grievance, to justify his/her previously submitted list of desired witnesses, and to respond to questions from panel members and the other party. The latter will then have an opportunity to briefly present his/her response to the grievance, to justify his/her list of desired witnesses, and to respond to questions from panel members and the grievant. The hearing panel will decide which witnesses it wishes to call, reserving the right to call additional witnesses if necessary at a later stage in the hearing. Immediately thereafter, the chair will try to schedule the attendance, at subsequent session(s) of the hearing, of witnesses selected by the panel.

4c.  Each party (or assistant) and hearing panel members will have the right to question witnesses.

4d.  Hearing panel members may request additional evidence to be presented, and/or additional witnesses to be called, as they see fit.

4e.  The hearing panel will grant adjournment to enable either party to investigate evidence as to which a valid claim of surprise is made, or if circumstances are likely to lead to a postponement over a lengthy period, e.g., the summer months.

4f.  At the end of the hearing, first the grievant and then the party against whom the grievance is filed will be given an opportunity to make a brief closing statement.

5a.  The proceedings of the hearing will be recorded on audio tape. Either or both parties, on request, will be given an opportunity to listen to a copy of the tape(s) under the supervision of the FRC chair. Following submission of the hearing panel's report to the provost, all tapes and any copies thereof (which will remain the property of the FRC) will be sealed and stored in a secure place pending their destruction after five years. Their contents will remain confidential unless both parties and the hearing panel agree otherwise.

5b.  In preparing its finding and recommendation(s) for submission in a report to the provost, the hearing panel will consider only evidence presented at the hearing.

5c.  Copies of the report of the hearing panel will be provided to both parties to the grievance and the second level administrator.


Procedures for Handling Promotion, Tenure, and/or Continued Appointment Appeals

1.  On receipt of a written appeal from a faculty member of the provost's non-concurrence with a positive recommendation (on promotion, tenure, and/or continued appointment) made by the pertinent university committee, and after checking with prospective appointees that they know of no personal conflicts of interest that might prevent them from serving in an unbiased manner, the FRC chair will appoint an investigatory panel consisting of three voting FRC members (not including a member from the appellant's own college), subject to confirmation by the full FRC.

2.  The investigatory panel will select its own chair.

3.  The investigatory panel will seek from the provost his/her reason(s) for non-concurrence with the university committee's recommendation.

4.  The investigatory panel will then examine whether there is any evidence to suggest that the provost's decision may have been biased or significantly influenced by improper considerations. In seeking such evidence, the investigatory panel will review all written documentation pertaining to the evaluation for promotion, tenure, and/or continued appointment, and may interview the faculty member making the appeal, members of the administration, and others, as appropriate. If deemed essential by the investigatory panel, a request will be made to the appropriate administrator that the peer, college, and/or university committees involved in the evaluation should be reconvened temporarily in order to assist with the investigatory panel's investigation.

5.  The investigatory panel will present its findings to the full FRC, which will then develop its own findings and recommendation(s) for submission in a report to the university president. Copies of the report of the FRC will be provided to the appellant and to the provost.


Changes in Procedures

Changes in these procedures may be made only with the approval of a majority of those attending a regular or special meeting of the Faculty Senate, reasonable prior notice having been given in writing to all senators.

Members of the Faculty Review Committee are:

  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Mike Ellerbrock; Sean O'Keefe (Chair)
  • College of Architecture and Urban Studies: Henri de Hahn; Vacant
  • College of Engineering: Rakesh Kapania; Aaron Noble
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences: Biko Agozino; Susanna Rinehart; Neil (Larry) Shumsky
  • College of Natural Resources and Environment: Bruce Hull; Yan Jiao
  • College of Science: Susan Anderson; Felicia Etzkorn
  • College of Veterinary Medicine: Stephen Smith; Kerry Redican
  • Pamplin College of Business: Reza Barkhi; Vacant
  • University Libraries: Bruce Pencek; Ellen Krupar
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension Service: Vacant; Vacant
  • Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine: Vacant; Vacant