Faculty Handbook
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Chapter 6: Regulations and Policies

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6.1 Personnel Policies

From 1977 through February 1984, numerous academic and administrative policies were recommended to, and adopted by, the MSU Board of Regents. These "policy statements," as they were labeled, were initially published in a Policy Manual in 1977 and published again in February 1984 with some revisions as approved by the Board.

In 1985, the Board of Regents approved personnel policies published in a comprehensive Personnel Policy Manual, which superseded personnel-related policies in the 1984 policy manual and other documents, such as the Faculty Handbook. The Personnel Policy Manual is now the "official" document where all Board approved policies related to personnel issues are published.

The Personnel Policy Manual is divided into five sections. The first section is on general personnel policies that apply to a variety of classifications of faculty and staff members. Unless specified otherwise, each policy in this section applies to all employees. The policy symbol for general policies is PG.

Four additional sections contain policies specific to a particular classification category as follows:

Classification Category Policy Symbol

  • Academic PAc
  • Administrative PAd
  • Staff Exempt PSE
  • Staff Nonexempt PSNE

Definitions of these classification categories are presented in PG-2.


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6.2 University Administrative Regulations

While a "policy" is a statement which establishes the foundation for making decisions according to statute and by-laws, University Administrative Regulations (UAR) describe how to carry-out operations and actions to meet the "letter of a policy." UARs are defined as administrative procedures that require written guidelines/steps to execute a policy and/or statute.

Steps to be taken for the approval of UARs will be as follows:

  1. All UARs shall be initiated through the President or a Vice President. If another person/group proposes a procedure, it should be sent through the President or appropriate Vice President for completion of the established steps;
  2. It is the responsibility of the initiator (President or Vice President) to
    circulate a draft of the UAR to all members of the Executive Council for comment. Using these comments, the UAR should be redrafted and submitted to the Executive Council for discussion;
  3. After such discussion, the President or Vice President should seek input as appropriate from the Faculty Senate, Staff Congress, Student Government Association, Academic Council, University Standing Committees, etc. Comments from all those consulted will be used to draft a final version. If necessary, the UAR would be sent back to the Executive Council for further discussion; and
  4. The President shall have final authority to approve UARs. UARs will be given a title and assigned a number. The numbers will include digits after the decimal point, which will be reserved for identification of revision/version of the regulation (e.g., 1001.01 would indicate the original regulation #1001, first revision).

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6.3 Other Guidelines

6.3.1 Minimum Guidelines for Faculty Evaluation Process

The major purpose of the University's Faculty Evaluation Process (FEP) is the improvement of faculty performance and ultimately a higher quality of instruction. Much of the data collected for the FEP may also be applicable to decisions regarding promotion and tenure. These minimum guidelines are established to provide guidance for departments in establishing their respective FEPs.

  1. Each academic unit shall establish procedures for the evaluation of each faculty member's performance in contributing to the mission of the university. The performance of each faculty member, both full and part-time, shall be reviewed and evaluated annually (calendar year). The results of the performance evaluation shall be communicated annually in writing by the chairperson to each faculty member.
  2. All review and evaluation procedures shall be made in accordance with criteria and procedures contained in the department document adopted by department faculty and approved by the appropriate dean and the executive vice president for academic affairs.
  3. The criteria for evaluation of faculty performance shall include teaching, scholarly productivity (research, creative productions, professional activities, etc.), and service. The department document shall specify the criteria by which teaching, scholarly productivity, and service are to be evaluated. The department shall also distribute annually, in writing, such criteria to all departmental faculty. Recognized as part of these criteria, by all departments, must be those common faculty performance expectations contained in various University policies.
  4. The performance evaluation shall discriminate among members of a department based on the criteria specified. At minimum, the performance evaluation must provide for identification of faculty performing at the expected level of performance, at a level higher than expected, or at a level lower than expected.
  5. Because department responsibilities and obligations to the mission of the University vary, individual departments may determine the relative weighting of performance of faculty in each of the three areas: teaching, scholarly productivity, and service. The department must specify the expected level of performance of faculty in each area.
  6. The department document for FEP shall specify criteria by which the evaluation process shall be conducted. The department document should include:
    1. A provision guaranteeing each faculty member the opportunity to present, annually, documentation of performance and effort.
    2. An assurance that all faculty shall receive annual written feedback from the department chairperson, no later than, the third Friday in February. Provisions must be made by each department for recommendations to individual faculty for improvement in performance if warranted.
    3. A stipulation that each faculty member shall maintain for a reasonable period (up to three years) records of materials considered for purposes of performance evaluation.
    4. A provision that faculty members be given an opportunity to respond in writing to the departmental chairperson's written statement and/or recommendations.
    5. A description of a process, outside the grievance procedure, which includes the college dean and provides for a reconsideration of the performance evaluation, should the faculty member request such reconsideration.
    6. A provision that an annual unit report shall be made to the faculty, the dean, and the Provost of the results of the FEP. The annual unit report shall not identify individual faculty members. The report should contain, at least, a summary of faculty performance in each of the three performance areas??teaching, scholarly productivity, and service. The departmental summary report shall be available to the college dean on or before the first Friday in March.
  7. The department FEP may be amended upon the recommendation of the faculty with approval of the appropriate dean and the executive vice president for academic affairs.

6.3.2 Administrative Responsibilities in the Faculty Evaluation Process

The administration supports the position that the major purpose of the FEP is the improvement of faculty performance and the quality of instruction. This process shall be developed at the department level in conformity with minimum University guidelines. At each level in the FEP, academic administrators play an important role. The duties and responsibilities of department chairpersons, deans, and the provost are outlined below.

Department Chairperson : The department chairperson shall coordinate the development and administration of the FEP. He/she shall be responsible for the following:

  1. Assuring that the FEP reflects accurately the goals and objectives of the department as they relate to the college goals and objectives and thus to the mission of the university.
  2. Assuring that all faculty within the department shall receive copies of departmental process and criteria.
  3. Assuring that the FEP is administered in such a way as to reflect an unbiased evaluation of the performance of each faculty member.
  4. Informing individual faculty members, in writing, of the results of the FEP and assisting faculty in utilizing the results of the FEP for the improvement of instruction.

College Dean : The college dean shall assist in the administration of the FEP in all departments within the college. He/she shall be responsible for the following:

  1. Assuring that the processes being used by the respective departments meet the minimal guidelines for FEP.
  2. Assuring that there are no unreasonable differences in the FEP processes across the departments within the college.
  3. Monitoring the results of the FEP so that the efforts of faculty members can be compared to departmental outcomes in a meaningful way.
  4. Assuring an appeals process within the college.
  5. Monitoring the department chairs in their charge to assure quality outcomes from each department.

Provost: The Provost shall ensure the conduct of the FEP for the total University. Accordingly, he/she shall be responsible for the following:

  1. Assuring that the individual departments, the colleges, and the Division of Academic Affairs as a single unit relate adequately to the mission, purposes, and strategic plan of the university.
  2. Assuring that there is credibility within the total FEP system, while recognizing the quality and diversity of the respective individual departments.
  3. Monitoring the college deans in their charge to assure quality outcomes from each academic department.

6.3.3 Selection, Orientation, and Supervision of Part-time Faculty Members

Definition of Terms : The term part-time faculty refers to the category of faculty described in PAc-1 as "lecturer."

Policy: Part-time faculty play an important and necessary role in the University. They can provide expertise to enhance educational programs, provide an additional faculty resource at university locations that are an inconvenient distance from the main campus. However, it is to be understood that part-time faculty employment, where part-time faculty are used simply to replace one or more full-time faculty is to be discouraged except on an emergency basis.

Selection Process : The main authority in filling part-time positions rests with the department chair. The chair will, to the extent possible, select the best-qualified applicant from a pool of qualified applicants. In no event will the chair select a faculty member who is not qualified by the standards of the accrediting agency of the program or by SACS criteria, whichever are higher.

Verification of Credentials : All part-time faculty members must have academic credentials on file in the Office of the Provost 30 days after the first class meeting. If certifications, work experience, or other qualifications are to be used to demonstrate the competency of the proposed part-time faculty member, the hiring process may not be completed until all documentation of the part-time faculty member's competence has been completed. Non-academic credentials will be maintained in the department office. It is expected that the departmental office will expedite the obtaining of credentials.

Conditions of Employment : The contract or equivalent document submitted to the proposed part-time faculty member must include an attachment that describes any departmental conditions for employment. Conditions, which may obtain include stipulations for scheduled time for conferences with students requirements for time needed for appropriate orientation, supervision, and evaluation by the department of the part-time faculty, and any special features required by the department for basic instruction.

Orientation: The department chair is responsible for providing specific orientation to the department for part-time faculty, when hired at the university for the first time. Such departmental orientation should include relevant general information about the University as well as statements of the objectives of the department and of the course the part-time faculty member is to teach. [A formal introduction to the department faculty as a whole, and more complete introduction to relevant faculty is recommended when possible.] The expectations of the department including the necessary parts of an evaluation procedure and other details of supervision should be explicitly discussed. Additionally, any unique features of evaluation of student performance and departmental grading practices should be covered.

Supervision and Evaluation : The department chair shall supervise the instruction carried out by part-time faculty in the same way that the chair supervises that of full-time faculty. The chair will maintain regular contacts with part-time faculty and respond to unsolicited student comments on this instruction. Evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction will be conducted in the same way for full-time and part-time faculty members unless a specific written policy in the department provides for a different but equally effective method. No part-time faculty member will be reappointed if the results from his or her evaluation are significantly poorer than those for full-time department faculty members.

Adopted on January 8, 1992, by the Deans' Council.

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6.4 Privilege in Rank Statement

Upon recommendation of the Faculty Senate, the following Privilege in Rank Statement was approved in 1989:

The Faculty adhere to the principle and purpose inherent in Privilege in Rank, not only between rank from instructor through professor. Rank, seniority, and value to the university shall be major factors in administrative decisions regarding salaries, teaching responsibilities, release time, committee assignments, summer employment and sabbatical leaves.

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