Faculty Handbook Amendment Procedures
a. University administration (UA) means the president and university administrators responsible for the immediate direction, management, and control of the university.
b. Faculty Senate (FS) means the governance body of the faculty of Montana State University. Under the governance authority of the Board of Regents, the Faculty Senate, as part of shared governance, considers policies and procedures and standards for faculty, oversees the curricula, evaluates the academic programs, and serves to enhance communication between and among MSU faculty, university administration, and students.
c. Provost means the Chief Academic Officer of the university.
d. Joint working group means an ad hoc committee comprised of faculty and administrators for the purpose of developing, reviewing, or refining proposals for amendment of the Faculty Handbook.
e. Joint Academic Governance Steering Committee (JAGS) means the committee made up of Faculty Senate Leadership, the provost, and other representative of UA.
f. Dean’s Council (DC) means the official university council whose mission is to provide vision and leadership for the academic enterprise of the university.
These procedures govern the adoption and amendment of the Faculty Handbook.
The Joint Academic Governance Steering Committee will be composed of representatives from the University Administration (UA) and Faculty Senate (FS). Membership includes the provost and Faculty Senate Chair and each will appoint two other members to serve with them. University Legal Counsel and a representative of Human Resources will serve as staff to the committee.
Policies pertaining directly and uniquely to tenure and tenure track faculty employment rights and responsibilities will be collected in a Faculty Handbook. The Handbook will be maintained in electronic format and will be posted and made available on the appropriate university websites.
Unless specified otherwise within a policy, policies posted in the Faculty Handbook replace all previous policies and collective bargaining agreements including the 2013 Interim Faculty Personnel Policies, the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement for Tenure and Tenure Track Faculty, and all previous MSU Faculty Handbooks.
Policies will conform to the standard template for university policies and include both an effective date and a date for review/updating.
Proposals for new provisions and/or amendments to provisions of the Faculty Handbook may be proposed by the Faculty Senate (FS) or by University Administration (UA). One or more faculty members may request either body to propose new provisions and/or amendment of the Faculty Handbook.
Proposals should be submitted in concept form to the Joint Academic Governance Steering Committee (JAGS).
The JAGS will conduct preliminary evaluations of proposals and establish a review process or pathway of action for each proposal, which may include: (1) Further development of the proposal by a joint working group or the Faculty Affairs Committee (if the proposal involves substantial revisions to an existing policy or if the JAGS anticipates significant changes to the submitted proposal), or (2) Recommend the proposal be sent to the FS and Deans Council (DC) for its review and evaluation. This option may include minor editing by the JAGS, or (3) Recommend the proposal be sent back to the originating body with specific requests for revisions.
All proposals will be reviewed by FS and DC before final adoption by UA. The FS and DC will make recommendations to UA.
a. Review by Faculty Senate
For a proposal submitted to the FS for review during the academic year, the FS will make the text of the proposal and brief justification available to the general faculty through appropriate public posting within fifteen (15) days of receipt and at least seven (7) days before voting will occur. The timeline for proposals submitted during the summer will start at the beginning of the fall academic term, unless emergent circumstances require action in which case the Faculty Senate leadership may act on behalf of the Faculty Senate.
If FS recommends the proposal, the recommendation is forwarded to the provost within seven (7) days. If the FS rejects the proposal or offers amendments to the proposal, the FS will notify the provost of the outcome and provide a written explanation for the rejection or amendment within seven (7) days.
The period of consideration and review will not exceed sixty (60) days. At the end of sixty (60) days, the UA will make a final determination on the proposal.
b. Review by Dean’s Council
For a proposal submitted to DC for review, the provost will make the text of the proposal and brief justification available to the DC membership through appropriate public posting within fifteen (15) days of receipt and at least seven (7) days before consideration of the proposal.
c. Campus Comment
For any recommendation by the DC, there will be a campus comment period of no less than fifteen (15) days before making a recommendation to the provost. If the DC recommends the proposal, the proposal is forwarded to the provost. If the DC recommends rejecting or amending the proposal, the DC will provide the reasons for rejection or amendment to the provost within seven (7) days. The period of consideration and review will not exceed sixty (60) days. At the end of sixty (60) days, the UA will make a determination on the proposal.
d. Resolution of Conflicts
If the recommendations are not consistent between the DC and FS, the matter will be forwarded to the JAGS for resolution. Within fifteen (15) days after the provost has received recommendations from the FS and the DC, the JAGS will review the recommendations, obtain additional information as deemed necessary, and make a final recommendation for the proposal. If the differences cannot be resolved by the JAGS, the UA will make a final determination on the proposal. If the UA overturns the FS recommendation on the proposal, it will state the reasons in writing to the FS.
If the FS, DC, UA, or JAGS fail to agree or disagree within sixty (60) days of receipt of the proposal for recommendation, the UA will make a determination on the proposal.
Notice of the final outcome of this process containing the final text of the proposals, or a statement that the proposals have been rejected by the UA, will be publicly posted by the UA in the same manner as provided above for proposed amendments.
Unless specified otherwise, reference to days in this policy are calendar days. Deadlines specified in this process may be extended for good cause upon the agreement of the FS, DC, and UA.
In some circumstances, it will be necessary for the UA to adopt interim policies. The UA will strive to obtain input from the FS and the DC before adopting an interim policy; however, in some circumstances it may be necessary for the UA to adopt an interim policy without dissemination and review. The status of the interim policy will be temporary until it is reviewed and approved using the process described herein. Any interim policy adopted by the UA will be presented to the FS and DC as soon as practicable and within six (6) months after adoption unless delayed for good cause.
The authority to adopt proposals for inclusion in the Faculty Handbook is limited to proposals that are within the delegated authority from the Board of Regents and the application of state and federal laws and regulations. The UA is responsible for assuring that the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Board of Regents are kept apprised of the proposals for provisions in the Faculty Handbook.
Federal and state laws or regulations, Board of Regents policies, and university policies take precedence over policies and procedures in the Handbook.
Adoption or amendments to existing policies may be made by the UA as necessitated by changes or revisions to federal and state laws or regulations, or Board of Regents policies. Any policies adopted under this provision will be communicated to the FS.