UNKEA Faculty Employment Checklist
* Terms of your Hiring Letter
Be sure you are fully aware of the terms of your hiring letter. Be sure you always have a copy of your letter handy. Within the letter you should find three key items: The specific type of contract or appointment you are being hired under, recognition of any previous years of experience which will be counted, and a written indication of when you come up for promotion and tenure. There may also be additional matters regarding graduate faculty status or research resources in the letter. Be sure you are clear on all of these details, particularly the name and definition of the type of contract you are being hired under (Special Appointment, Specific Term Appointment or Continuous Appointment) and review your letter when necessary to insure you have an accurate understanding of the terms under which you were hired.
* Faculty Handbook
Find the Faculty Handbook and become familiar with it. The FH might be one comprehensive document, or, it may be a compendium of various bylaws and policies reflecting different levels of governance, such as regents, campus administration, college and department administration. Know what it is and how to access it and be familiar with its contents. The FH often will have the policies or bylaws of the governing regents or board which will provide the definitions of the various types of appointments or contracts that faculty are hired under.
* Faculty Workload Guidelines
Find the Faculty Workload Guidelines and become familiar with them. They are often in the Faculty Handbook. Whatever its title, this document will define the average expected range of credit hours and courses taught by full time faculty, and then provide information regarding any variations to the normal full time workload. These additional documents or information may also include rules governing overtime or overload assignments or reassigned time, or less than full-time provisions. Know the basics of the workload guidelines.
* Guidelines for Evaluation, Promotion and Tenure
Find the various documents that are the guidelines governing the process for faculty evaluation, promotion in rank, and tenure. These are often in the Faculty Handbook. It is common to have a set of guidelines which are for the entire campus, then sub-sets of guidelines at the college level and the department level. Be familiar with these rules at each level.
* Annual Peer Review
Most institutions require an annual evaluation of faculty performance by a committee of peers in the department. The details of annual reviews will generally be in the Guidelines for Evaluation, Promotion and Tenure. Be familiar with the process of forming a committee, criteria for evaluation, the calendar of deadlines for submitting a portfolio, necessary contents of the portfolio, and provisions for written responses to the letters of the committee, Chair, and Dean.
* Promotion and Tenure Criteria
Become familiar with the details of specific definitions of ranks, the criteria for promotion and tenure, and the calendar for the application process. These will generally be in the Guidelines for Evaluation, Promotion and Tenure. Note distinct provisions for a promotion portfolio and/or a tenure portfolio and its difference from the Annual Peer Review. Calculate ahead of time the nature and volume of the documentation that will be required and the number of days or weeks it will take to assemble an effective portfolio and plan accordingly.
* Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
If you are on a campus with collective bargaining, know where you can find a copy of your Collective Bargaining Agreement. It is often in the Faculty Handbook. Review the contents of the contract and make a paper copy to keep handy. The essence of a CBA is to insure that fair processes and procedures are followed and to block any arbitrary or discriminatory practices. Contact a representative of your association or union to review the CBA. Your association or union representative will be your person to go to if you have questions or concerns or just want to be sure things are going as they should.
* For more information visit the UNKEA website: www.unk.edu/orgs/unkea