Faculty Senate

Faculty Status Committee

The Faculty Status Committee (FSC) (Faculty Manual, I.B.4) is an independent investigative faculty committee that reports and makes recommendations directly to the WSU President.  Under the provisions of the Faculty Manual (FM) noted below and available at Faculty Manualfaculty may appeal non-reappointment (FM III.E.1), denial of tenure (FM III.C.5.f), or deferral of promotion (FM II.C.4) to FSC; tenure denials are the most common type of FSC case.  FSC can also be asked to investigate a tenured faculty member's termination of employment following elimination of a program due to financial exigency or discontinuance of a program or department (FM III.E.3).  It also arranges for investigations (FM Section II.F.6) and hearings (FM II.F.10) prior to disciplinary action.  Finally, other types of decisions that the appellant believes may violate the Faculty Manual's policies or procedures may also be appealed to FSC.

FSC's investigations are thorough, confidential, and open-ended.  Reports of the findings of an FSC investigation are provided only to the appellant and to the President.  Under the Faculty Manual, the FSC can make its own rules of procedure but must meet certain deadlines for handling a case.

As stated in the letter of appointment, the Faculty Manual includes general University-wide criteria for all types of faculty performance evaluations (annual review, tenure progress review, and tenure and promotion decisions), as well as procedures for third-year review, tenure, and promotion.  The specific provisions in the Faculty Manual have been approved by the Faculty Senate, the University administration, and the WSU Board of Regents; they should be regarded as authoritative.

Further information on FSC's composition, powers, and operations is available in the Faculty Manual, Section I.B.4.

The following information on how FSC handles most appeals is drawn in part from the Faculty Manual.  Specific sections of the FM are cited as appropriate.

 

How to Appeal to the FSC

In nonreappointment (FM III.E.1), tenure (FM III.C.5.f), promotion (FM II.C.4), and program elimination/termination of employment (FM III.E.5) cases, an appeal to FSC must be made in writing within 30 days of receipt of official (written) notification of the decision.  Initial submission of an appeal can be done by email but this should be followed by a hard copy.

A letter of appeal should be sent to the Chair(s) of FSC, addressing the following:

  • Stating what decision or action is being appealed (e.g., denial of tenure);
  • Identifying the grounds for the appeal.

Additionally, provide a separate letter, signed by the appellant, granting permission for FSC to access the appellant's confidential records (e.g., the tenure file at the Office of the Provost, personal files at HRS). 

Documents giving relevant background information and names of people who might be interviewed can be attached at the appellant's discretion but are optional.

In cases of tenure denial, the Faculty Manual lists three grounds for appealing to FSC:

  • Procedural error, viz., specific procedures described in the Faculty Manual were not followed;
  • Inadequate consideration, viz., an aspect of the appellant's record was not considered when the decision being appealed was made;
  • Violation of academic freedom (FM II.A)

 Any or all of these may be applicable.  It is important to understand that the FSC does not second-guess or reconsider administrative evaluations.  In that regard, appeals based on “inadequate consideration” need to document that specific accomplishments of the candidate were not considered.  It is not inadequate consideration if other faculty, in their ballots, or administrators, in their evaluations, did not value an accomplishment to the level the candidate may think justified.

 

What to Expect When Appealing to FSC

The following describes the typical course of an appeal to FSC and is intended only to provide background information for appellants and potential appellants.  It should not be construed as an official set of guidelines for all situations.

In conducting an investigation, FSC's goal is to thoroughly understand how the decision under appeal was made, i.e., what procedures were used at each stage, whether all aspects of the appellant's record were considered, and whether academic freedom was respected. The scope of an investigation is not necessarily limited to specific issues raised by the appellant.

After deciding to investigate an appeal, the first step in the investigation is to appoint a subcommittee; members who believe they have a conflict of interest will be recused from participating in the case.  Members of the subcommittee review relevant documents, conduct interviews, periodically discuss their progress with the full committee, and ultimately write a report on their findings.  The report must be approved by the full committee before it is transmitted to the President and to the appellant.  In the report the FSC may make no recommendation to the President, it may recommend that the decision under appeal be set aside, or it may recommend that the decision stand.  The appellant is informed of any recommendations made.  The President may accept the recommendation of the FSC, but need not.  After making its report, the FSC has no further involvement.

After receiving an appeal, FSC has 90 days to conclude an investigation.  However, the committee normally counts only days in the regular academic year.  Thus, it is possible for an appeal to be filed during the Spring semester, held in abeyance over the summer, and acted on in the Fall.  The appellant is notified if that is the case.

 

Recent FSC Reports to the Faculty Senate and the Faculty:

Current Faculty Status Committee Members:

Name

Term

Greg Matthews, Co-Chair
Libraries
Phone: (509) 335-1833
Email: greg.matthews@wsu.edu 

2018

Peter Boag, Co-Chair
History
Phone: (509) 335-0182
email: boag@wsu.edu

2019

Christina Chi
Hospitality Business
Phone (509) 335-5828
cgengqi@wsu.edu

2018

Dick Gomulkiewicz
Biological Sciences
Phone: (509) 2527
gomulki@wsu.edu

2018

Shira L. Broschat
School of Electrical Eng & Computer Science

Phone: (509) 335-5693
shira@wsu.edu
2019

Courtney L. Meehan
Dept of Anthropology
Phone: (509) 5416
cmeehan@wsu.edu

2019

Mel Haberman
College of Nursing
Phone: 509-324-7358

haberman@wsu.edu
2020

Carolyn F. Ross
School of Food Science
Phone: 509-335-2438
cfross@wsu.edu

2020

Sarah Ullrich-French
Dept. of ELSSECP, COE
Phone: 509-335-6858
sullrich@wsu.edu

2020


Updated 8/17/2017

Faculty Senate, PO Box 1038, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-1038, 509-335-3424, Contact Us