Board Releases Report From Special Regent Review Committee

Feb. 27, 2004


Links to other Regent committee reports are below under related stories.

The Baylor University Board of Regents today released a report from the Special Regent Review Committee, appointed last September to evaluate faculty relations, Alumni Association relations, the faculty hiring process, provisional students and Baylor traditions.


Directions to the President


Report to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Regents On each of the Actions Contained in this Report


Feb. 27, 2004


Alumni Association


• The committee believes support by all Baylor alumni is essential to the success of Baylor's mission. A cooperative and supportive relationship between the University administration led by the president and the Baylor Alumni Association is critical to the strong and unified support of Baylor by its worldwide alumni.


Current Policies Regarding Faculty Hiring and Tenure


• Faculty Hiring: The committee believes the deans, provost and president should endeavor to follow the hiring recommendations of the faculty, but always with the authority to select a different candidate based on sound and justifiable reasons with explanation to the department. There have been special occasions when highly credentialed new faculty members have been employed as Distinguished Professors without the normal search process involving department faculties. The committee believes where those faculty are to be assigned to or function within a department, the normal process set forth in the employment of faculty policy should be followed except in special and rare circumstances.


• Tenure: The committee believes faculty and Tenure Committee input and recommendations are essential in tenure decisions and should be followed in most cases, but that the final decision on tenure must remain with the provost and president. However, inview of the candidate's difficult six-year tenure-track experience and having successfully obtained tenure recommendation of department colleagues, the administration should consider implementing a rehearing/appeal opportunity for the tenure-denied candidate by utilizing the University Tenure Committee as the appellate body, and obtaining a second recommendation from it to the provost and president after a rehearing on the candidate. The final decision after rehearing would be made by the provost and president, with explanation to the candidate of a negative decision.


• The committee recommends that the provost report each year to the Regents' Academic Affairs Committee all faculty hirings and denials, and all tenure approvals and denials.


Religious and Academic Criteria in Faculty Hiring and Tenure


• The committee believes that the interview process of candidates is appropriate and necessary in acquiring the highest possible caliber of academically prepared Christian faculty members for Baylor, and the interviews should be continued. Every effort should be made, however, to make the candidate feel comfortable in the interview process with only appropriate questions being asked.


Provisional Students


• The Committee recommends that Baylor continue to enroll approximately 10 percent of the freshman class provisionally. The privacy of an individual's provisional student status should be protected. A study should be conducted of the 2003 provisional admits (who were not required to attend summer school) and the 2004 class (which will be required to attend summer school) to determine whether or not required summer school attendance improves retention and whether or not finances are a barrier to enrolling the right mix and size of provisional admits which impact overall goals of the freshman class.


Faculty Collegiality


• The Work/Life Study results present obvious concerns relating to faculty collegiality and faculty relations with senior administration, and in turn, with the Regents. The committee interviews of faculty confirmed the findings of the survey, and the existing divisions within the faculty. The committee recommends that the administration immediately initiate major efforts to build reciprocal trust, respect and confidence among faculty colleagues, administrators, Regents and the University.


• There are serious divisions among Baylor faculty and between some faculty and the administration negatively affecting the collegiality of the University. We strongly recommend that the administration, led by the president, immediately initiate an aggressive program to heal the divisions at Baylor, and seek to communicate more regularly with all faculty and staff members, and in a manner most conducive to building goodwill, trust and respect. A formal, regular internal communications plan promulgated by the administration would be advisable, in our opinion.


Faculty Senate


University Governance


• In accordance with Baylor policies, it is the committee's view that the Faculty Senate's primary role is consultative. But it has every right to expect that its role established by Baylor policy, whatever it may be, be acknowledged and respected.


Administrative Roles in Hiring


• The committee believes and recommends that the appropriate search procedures set forth in the policies, with faculty input and approval as specified in the policy, should be followed except in rare and exceptional cases, and then with full explanation to faculty.


• The committee continues to believe, in accordance with established policies, departmental faculty should be permitted to exercise its prescribed role in the interview and approval process of the future colleagues


Departmental Chairs


• The committee believes that in the selection or reappointment of a chair, due regard must be given to both the principles of faculty governance within a department and the prerogative of the provost to assure that the chair is fully capable of, and committed to, effective administration of the department in the interests of the University and its mission. Faculty should continue to make their choices known as expressed in the context of the Faculty Handbook policy guidelines on chair selection. The committee believes that the provost and president should carefully consider and generally support the choice of the department faculty, but the final decision must be that of the provost and president, with explanation to the department. It is the committee's recommendation that chairs and departments be engaged and informed on any occasion where there is likely to be a difference of opinion in matters of this importance.


Tenure and Promotion Expectations


• The existing policies on the procedural requirements for gaining tenure and promotion are in the Faculty Handbook. The committee recommends that the tenure candidate recommendations of the department, and the Tenure Committee, be honored, with limited exceptions, but that the final decision remain that of the provost and president as currently provided for in policy, with explanation to the departments of any differences of approval or denial of tenure candidates.


Changing of Grades


• Without further comment on any previous such incidents, the committee believes that grade change interventions are inappropriate and contrary to every standard of academic integrity, and if exercised, must occur only in the most extreme of extenuating and equitable circumstances. The committee endorses the recent change in policy promulgated by the provost.


Decline in Collegiality


• It is evident that a great deal of effort needs to be made on all sides - and that, in order for these efforts to achieve their purpose, a respect for these overtures on both sides must be granted. The president should be proactively involved in this issue and reach out to the faculty as the leader of the University on this issue.


Employee and Faculty Code of Conduct


• The committee recommends that the administration remind all Baylor faculty and employees of their duty and responsibility to faithfully adhere to Baylor policies on Standards of Personal Conduct and Conflict of Interest. Further, it is the duty and responsibility of the administration to enforce the letter and spirit of the policies.


The School of Education


• The administration is requested to review with the Regents' Academic Affairs Committee the School of Education's number of hours required for each semester, particularly the sophomore and junior years, as well as the full-day spent in the public schools, for two semesters during the senior year as practice teachers.


Baylor Traditions


• We urge the administration, the athletic director and all coaches of Baylor sports teams to exclusively use uniforms with Baylor's traditional green and gold colors.


• The committee urges the administration and the Baylor Chamber of Commerce to return the bears to football games and other athletic events.


• Baylor should avoid, to the extent possible, scheduling athletic events during final examination periods.


• Baylor should avoid, to the extent possible, scheduling athletic events on Sundays. This does not include those events scheduled by the NCAA, the Big 12 Conference, or tournament to which Baylor is invited and in participating.


• The committee requests that the administration review the issue of whether scheduled classes should be held on federal holidays during the school year, such as Labor Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Martin Luther King Day, etc.

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