If future layoffs are required at Fort Lewis College, tenured faculty will be granted a terminal year of employment before they are dismissed under changes approved to the Faculty Handbook on Friday by the Board of Trustees.
The additional year, called a “terminal year,” would be granted to any tenured faculty member whose position is eliminated in a reduction of force or for any tenured faculty member whose department is eliminated in program reductions.
“A terminal year is another way of Fort Lewis College saying to people who invest their skills, their efforts, their passions and their professional careers in this institution that they are valued, and we are just not going to dump you out on the street,” said Gary Gianniny, a geosciences professor and the faculty representative on the board.
Under the change, professors who are terminated would have to be notified by March 15 in the term preceding their terminal year that their position is being eliminated.
Two other changes were unanimously approved to the Faculty Handbook:
The evaluation process for adjunct, renewable and visiting faculty was clarified to ensure they will receive feedback through a review process from either a departmental personnel committee or the departmental chairman. The changes align the Faculty Handbook with the recommended review process for contingent faculty suggested by the American Association of University Professors.A regular evaluation schedule for adjunct, renewable and visiting faculty was put in place and the criteria for the evaluation is now detailed in the handbook.
The due process rights were strengthened for faculty members who are charged with behavior or activity that could warrant sanctions or dismissal. The change adds an informal process that could lead to resolution of the issue. The faculty member in question may choose a review by a faculty committee before entering a hearing process that is already in place.In addition, if the provost or the president believes a faculty member’s continued employment poses a significant risk of harm to people, property or the best interests of FLC, the professor can be placed on administrative leave with pay while the disciplinary process is underway.
In other action:
Emeritus status was granted for former FLC President Dene Thomas and for Glenna Sexton, vice president of student affairs. Thomas has retired and continues to live in Durango. Sexton will be retiring soon, although her final day at FLC is not yet set.Enrollment for fall 2018 was listed at 3,317 students. Director of Admissions Jessica Savage said 4,195 people completed applications for admission and 3,813 students were granted admission.New President Tom Stritikus, in his first official Board of Trustees meeting, said he will be forming a Student Presidential Advisory Committee that will advise him principally about issues of retention of students and the climate on firstname.lastname@example.org