Faculty Handbook

Principles of Faculty Reassignment (Position Elimination)

Last updated: 4/27/1994


This statement was approved by the University Committee on Faculty Tenure on April 27, 1994.

The intention of this document is to provide procedural guidance to the Provost if it becomes necessary to consider the dissolution or curtailment of a department, college or other academic unit in which tenured faculty members are primarily assigned. It is taken as a given that tenure at Michigan State University resides in the University and tenured faculty have "tenure in the university."

Principle One: Faculty rights under the tenure system shall be preserved in reassignments. These rights include the entitlement of faculty to engage in teaching, research, service and full participation in governance in accordance with the custom of the receiving unit. Reassignment would require appointment in an academic unit rather than a dean's office, institute or non-academic unit. However, reassignment to a dean's office, institute or non-academic unit may occur, generally, by mutual agreement and under conditions amicable to the reassignee. The reassignee shall have a level of professional responsibility similar to that borne by faculty members already in the receiving unit. Ordinarily there is a variation in duties across faculty within a unit, and reassigned faculty are expected to fall within the existing range. Rank, salary and benefits of the reassigned faculty shall be fully maintained.

Principle Two: The Provost must in all cases of reassignment negotiate in good faith with the faculty member and the potential receiving unit to seek arrangements which are amicable and beneficial to all. The Provost and the administrators of the outgoing department/school or college shall assist faculty members in identifying potential receiving department/schools or colleges in the University. Throughout the process of reassignment, faculty rights under the tenure system shall be preserved.

Principle Three: Every potential receiving unit shall evaluate each potentially reassigned faculty member for appointment according to the applicable procedures used for appointment recommendations set forth in University policies and procedures. The Provost shall review documentation that demonstrates that the receiving unit has implemented the principle of faculty participation through consultation, evaluation, and final recommendation.

Principle Four: In evaluating affected tenured faculty members for assignment to a receiving academic unit, both the Provost and the administrators of the former and potential receiving units shall make a good faith effort to negotiate the reassignment. Administrators in the potential receiving units shall urge their faculty to consider especially carefully the broader social good that derives from having tenure in the university in cases in which reassignment results from dissolution or curtailment of a department or school.

Principle Five: The Provost shall receive in writing any compromise in assignment, responsibilities or duties agreed to by the faculty member and receiving unit(s).

Principle Six: If the assignment to a unit by the Provost entails duties which compromise Principle One, above, the Provost must seek to assure that it is with the full, voluntary consent of the reassignee and the receiving unit. (For example it would be appropriate to reassign a tenured faculty member to a non-college unit if the assignee and the unit agree. A reassignee may also be reassigned into two or more units if both the reassignee and the units agree).

Principle Seven: Should previous attempts at good faith negotiations yield no resolution, the Provost may impose a 30 day deadline for mutual, voluntary agreement on a reassignment. If units and faculty members are unable, after the 30-day period, to achieve a resolution regarding appointments, assignments, salary, rank, responsibilities, or duties, the Provost shall impose a solution.

Principle Eight: While nothing shall preclude shifts between units based on voluntary agreement between all relevant parties, the Provost and the University have no special responsibility to reassign faculty who desire a unit change for reasons other than the dissolution or curtailment of their academic unit.

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