Fei Tian College - Faculty and Staff Handbook

1. Introduction

1.1 About Fei Tian College

Fei Tian College is a private, non-profit college with a religious affiliation. It holds an absolute Charter from the New York State Board of Regents with authorization to operate postsecondary educational programs. It is currently accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education. The mission of Fei Tian College is to provide an outstanding postsecondary education to students of diverse backgrounds that imparts knowledge and skills for professional success, fosters an appreciation of classical virtues, and prepares students for lifelong learning.

1.2 About this Handbook

This handbook presents the College policies and information of greatest relevance to the personnel of Fei Tian College. To the extent that any provision of this handbook conflicts with College policies or an applicable work agreement, College policies or the work agreement prevails. This handbook does not create a contract and should not be considered all-inclusive. It is intended as a set of guidelines, and may be changed by the College at any time. If you cannot find the information you need or you have questions about information contained in this handbook, please reach out to your Human Resources representative (for employment questions) or the Office of the Provost (for academic questions).


2. Faculty Policies

2.1 Academic Ranks and Faculty Titles

2.1.1 Definition of Faculty, Full-Time and Part-Time

Faculty represent the teaching or academic staff of the College involved in instruction, student advising, scholarship, and service. Full professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, teaching specialists, and academic staff with such other titles as may be approved by the Board of Trustees shall be the instructional faculty of the College. Faculty members ordinarily shall (1) have full- or part-time teaching duties or their equivalent, (2) fulfill all other faculty duties and responsibilities, and (3) satisfy the criteria for their academic rank.

Full-time – indicates that the faculty member gives full-time service and allegiance to the College. A full-time faculty member ordinarily has (1) full-time teaching duties or (2) the combined equivalent in teaching, scholarship/creative work, and service responsibilities (typically entailing a 40-hour workweek during the academic year).

Part-time – indicates that the faculty member is assigned less than full-time teaching duties or its equivalent at the College (typically entailing a less than 30-hour workweek during the academic year). Detailed duties and the terms and conditions of part-time appointment are articulated in the work agreement.

2.1.2 Definitions and Criteria of Academic Ranks

Definitions and Criteria of Academic Ranks

Academic rank is accorded to qualified individuals with a primary assignment in any of the major functions of the College: teaching, scholarship/creative work, or service. The regular academic ranks are: teaching specialist, instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor.

Appointment to a faculty position requires appropriate credentials that will include some combination of academic preparation and degree, professional experience, professional achievement, and/or teaching experience. Moreover, candidates for appointment should display a commitment to, and a philosophy of education compatible with, the mission and objectives of the College.

The following represent typical credentials used to qualify for faculty appointment. The College recognizes that different fields may have different criteria and requirements for faculty qualifications, and the College encourages academic departments to recruit truly qualified and effective faculty for their instructional and creative activities. At the same time, any deviation from the below stated minimums should be fully justified by the unit requesting appointment.

Teaching Specialist – is an experienced individual with demonstrated expertise in some specific branch of study who can offer instruction in that area, but who does not engage in the scholarship/creative work or service functions of the College. This rank usually does not lead to promotion.

Graduate Teaching Assistant is a graduate student who teaches, or assists in teaching, undergraduate students, while also studying in a specialized academic field.

Instructor – is an experienced individual with (1) demonstrated excellence or great promise in teaching and (2) a master’s degree, or its equivalent in professional experience, in a field related to one’s teaching specialization.

Assistant Professor marks entry-level professorship. An assistant professor has (1) demonstrated excellence in teaching, (2) evidence of scholarly/artistic growth or professional achievement, and (3) a terminal degree, or its equivalent, in a field related to one’s teaching specialization. Equivalence may be demonstrated with (i) a master’s degree in a related field plus 5 years of professional/teaching experience or outstanding scholarly/artistic contributions, or (ii) a bachelor’s degree in the arts plus 10 years of outstanding professional experience, or (iii) outstanding professional achievement.

Associate Professor signifies professorship of intermediate distinction. As associate professor typically has (1) 5+ years of demonstrated excellence in teaching, (2) evidence of substantial scholarly/creative activities or professional achievement, and (3) a terminal degree, or its equivalent, in a field related to one’s teaching specialization. Equivalence may be demonstrated with (i) a master’s degree in a related field plus 10+ years of related professional experience or outstanding scholarly/artistic contributions, or (ii) a bachelor’s degree in the arts plus 15+ years of outstanding professional experience. Post-doctoral teaching experience or other relevant professional experience may in certain circumstances count towards the requisite requirements.

Ultimately, candidate records should demonstrate (1) the knowledge and ability for effective teaching, (2) substantial scholarly/creative activities or professional achievement, and (3) dedication to instruction, fostering of student growth, and contributions to the work of their departments and the College.

Full Professor signifies professorship of high distinction. A full professor has (1) 10+ years of demonstrated excellence in teaching and professional experience, (2) evidence of substantial scholarly/creative activities or professional achievement, and (3) a terminal degree, or its equivalent, in a field related to one’s teaching specialization. Equivalence may be demonstrated with (i) a master’s degree in a related field plus 15+ years of related professional experience or outstanding scholarly/artistic contributions, or (ii) a bachelor’s degree in the arts plus 20+ years of outstanding professional experience.

Candidate records should demonstrate (1) significant scholarly/creative activities or professional accomplishments, (2) contributions to the work of their departments, (3) effective teaching and the fostering of student growth and development as a vibrant and fundamental activity, and (4) one’s role as a mentor and leader in the field, who is held in high esteem by one’s colleagues.

Distinguished Professor – is a special title conferred upon a faculty member who has achieved extraordinary international or national prominence in the individual’s chosen field(s) through remarkable scholarship/creative work including artistic achievement, thereby advancing the College’s mission and elevating its status and reputation. The title of Distinguished Professor is conferred by the Board of Trustees, upon recommendation by the President.

2.1.3 Definitions of Title Modifiers

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Adjunct – Adjunct faculty have a career path that lies primarily in another institution, and are appointed on an as-needed basis. Typically, adjunct faculty members have singular expertise or skills useful toward the accomplishment of their department’s goals.

Affiliated – Affiliated faculty work for a collaborating institution, and provide limited professional services to the College via an institutional collaboration agreement.

Of Practice Faculty of practice are individuals with extensive expertise and experience in the industry, or their field of practice, and may or may not have a terminal degree.

Joint – Joint appointment indicates that the faculty member is making a major contribution of time and effort to two or more academic departments. With joint appointments, one department is designated as primary and the other(s) as secondary. This designation is made at the time of initial appointment, but may later be changed with the permission of the relevant department Chairs. For purposes of reappointment and promotion, the primary department shall be responsible for carrying out the full review, whereas representatives from the secondary department(s) shall serve as members of the review committee.

Research – Research faculty engage primarily in research or scholarship/creative work.

Subject to Ph.D. – This is a supplemental designation used for appointment to the rank of assistant professor where the successful achievement of a Ph.D. degree is a criterion for appointment and the individual’s status is All But Dissertation (ABD). Such designation shall be removed once the individual receives the doctoral degree and submits documentation evidencing completion of all degree requirements.

Visiting – Visiting faculty are individuals who are appointed to teach or pursue other duties at the College only for a limited period of time, typically no more than two years.

Emeritus/Emerita Status – This is an honorary title that may be conferred upon a retired faculty member, upon the recommendation of his or her department and appropriate administrators, with approval by the Board of Trustees. It is a privilege that entitles the bearer to continued access to the College facilities and an office on campus as available. Retiring professors may be considered for emeritus status after ten or more years of service to the College.

2.1.4 Graduate Faculty

Graduate faculty membership is required of individuals who teach courses offered for graduate credit, assist with graduate student advising, or are members of graduate thesis committees. To chair a thesis committee, a faculty member must have served previously as a member or a co-Chair of a thesis committee.

To qualify as a graduate faculty member, a faculty member must ordinarily hold the rank of at least assistant professor. A graduate faculty member may be either full- or part-time.

A candidate for the graduate faculty may be nominated by the department Chair upon a majority vote of all existing graduate faculty members in the department.

While both the undergraduate faculty and graduate faculty are expected to perform duties in teaching, scholarship/creative work, service, and professionalism, it is expected that for graduate faculty scholarship/creative work and service will play a more significant role in determining eligibility for promotion.

Graduate faculty members are evaluated as members of the departments in which they hold their appointments.

2.1.5 Honorary Status

Honorary appointments are made for individuals who are not under a contract with the College but who render service to the College’s mission in a manner that justifies recognition through bestowal of an honorary title.

2.2 Faculty Appointment, Evaluation, and Promotion

2.2.1 Recruitment, Selection, and Appointment

Recruitment and Selection – Requests for additional faculty members normally originate at the department level. Such requests should be based upon demonstrated need and shall be transmitted to the Provost. If approval is obtained, the academic departments have the responsibility of carefully and confidentially reviewing all applications. The department Chair is responsible for informing applicants about the departmental, campus, and College policies. The Chair, in consultation with the Provost, shall select candidates for interviews.

Appointment – All appointments of faculty are made by the President, with concurrence by the Board of Trustees, on the recommendation of the department Chair and the Provost. Successful appointees will be notified by the department Chair who will schedule a time for contract signing. The typical term of appointment for full-time faculty is three years. Part-time and adjunct faculty members are typically appointed on a yearly basis. The precise terms and conditions of each appointment will be clearly stated in the initial work agreement. Unless explicitly stated, all initial appointments include a probationary period.

Onboarding – New faculty will be guided by various College offices to (1) complete their work authorization and contract signing, (2) set up their email and voicemail accounts, (3) set up their Canvas learning management system accounts, (4) arrange for parking, (5) and orient themselves with College and campus policies and faculty resources, including for campus safety.

2.2.2 Faculty Evaluation Process

All faculty members will be evaluated periodically by their department Chair or responsible administrator on the progress of their performance and professional growth. Such assessments may be used to support recommendations regarding appointment decisions.

An annual faculty performance assessment will be conducted for all faculty members not on leave to (1) evaluate each faculty member’s progress toward achieving his or her goals in teaching, scholarship/creative work, and service, (2) give constructive feedback, and (3) set future goals. Each department Chair is responsible for coordinating the annual faculty performance assessment of all faculty members in the department, which may utilize the following:

Meeting – This is an evaluation meeting between the individual faculty member and the department Chair or responsible administrator, during which the following reports and reviews may be discussed along with future goals and suggestions. A written statement of each annual faculty performance assessment shall be kept on file by the department Chair and accessible by the individual faculty member.

Activity Report – The faculty member undergoing assessment may be requested to prepare an activity report in a specified format, which summarizes activities since the previous faculty evaluation.

Faculty Peer Review – Fellow faculty of the same department may be asked to evaluate a faculty member’s performance through an observation and a meeting. A written statement of each peer review should be kept on file by the department Chair and accessible by the individual faculty member. The reviews are considered formative reviews, but are also included in the faculty file.

Teaching Evaluation – Review may include student course evaluations, evidence of active student engagement (essays, publications, projects, etc.), classroom observations, a critical self-evaluation of the faculty member’s teaching, and evidence of efforts to improve teaching.

Administrative Review (for new junior faculty only) – New junior faculty with the rank of assistant professor or below shall be observed by a member of the administration for the first five years at the College. Specifically, an annual administrative review will be conducted for which a written statement shall be kept on file by the department Chair and accessible by the individual faculty member. This is considered a summative review and will be looked at closely during the annual faculty performance evaluation. After five years, a post-observation meeting will be conducted.

2.2.3 Reappointment

Faculty members will ordinarily be notified of the terms and conditions of their renewal work agreement at least one month before the expiration of their current appointment, unless they receive notice of non-reappointment. To be reappointed, an individual must demonstrate (1) ability or definite promise in teaching, scholarship/creative work, or extension activities, (2) potential to direct teaching, research/creative work, or extension activities, and (3) ability and willingness to participate in College and departmental affairs.

2.2.4 Promotion

Candidates for promotion must provide appropriate documentation for evaluation of their teaching, scholarship and creative activities, and service. Such documentation shall be contained in a Faculty Dossier, which the faculty member is responsible for compiling and updating. The College provides a template that faculty should base their compilation of documents on, which will include comprehensive data on the following: (1) introductory information (proposal form, table of contents, curriculum vitae), (2) teaching records (including the candidate’s teaching philosophy statement, course list, mentoring table, student letters, peer reviews, teaching awards, and a departmental teaching evaluation), (3) scholarship/creative work records (including the candidate’s scholarship/creative work philosophy statement, list of publications and artistic works, list of presentations and performances, scholarly/creative awards, reviewer letters, and departmental scholarship/creative work evaluation), (4) service records (including the candidate’s service philosophy statement, list of service activities, and departmental service evaluation), (5) professional development (list of professional development activities and departmental evaluation), and (6) any additional statements.

The department Chair shall validate eligibility for promotion, review the candidate’s Faculty Dossier and verify the information is in good order, to the best of his or her ability, and submit the Dossier to the Provost. The department Chair must make a recommendation, and present it before a meeting of the Appointment and Promotion Committee, during which action is taken on applications. The President shall consider the recommendations of the preceding reviewers and make the final decision on the candidates, after which the candidates will be individually notified.

Early Promotion – A department Chair may recommend early promotion based on a positive vote of all faculty members in the department with rank at or above the rank to which the faculty member would be nominated for promotion.

2.2.5 Tenure

Fei Tian College does not have a tenure system. The Board of Trustees is presently considering adoption of a tenure system for its faculty.

2.3 Faculty Duties and Responsibilities

As members of the academic profession, the faculty share the responsibility of transmitting knowledge, advancing student growth, and improving society. The faculty of Fei Tian College also have a special obligation to understand the College’s mission and values, to appreciate its unique character, and to improve its overall effectiveness. The following briefly summarizes the College’s expectations for the faculty.

2.3.1 Code of Professional Conduct

The College seeks to inspire and host an academic community dedicated to the cultivation of classic virtues, knowledge, and skills, in accordance with its mission. Our community and environment are built upon, and preserved through each member’s commitment to, conduct that reflects the moral ideals and standards of the College.

All personnel are expected to set a good example of a life that: combines the quest for higher learning with the cultivation of classic virtues; conducts work in a professional manner consistent with the values of the College; and refrains from conduct that would adversely affect fulfillment of the institutional mission.

The cornerstone of this policy is the Honor Code, which states in part: By accepting appointment, continuing employment, being admitted, or continuing enrollment, each member of the College community personally commits to observe these Honor Code standards:

  • Act honestly.
  • Live a life of virtue.
  • Respect others.
  • Obey the law and comply with College policies and campus regulations.
  • Cultivate a noble and responsible character.
  • Encourage others in their commitment to abide by the Honor Code.

In addition, personnel are expected to demonstrate the following standards:

  • Seek opportunities to serve others and commit to providing high-quality professional service.

  • Support and value one another’s contributions.

  • Carry out duties in good faith to advance the College’s mission and values, safeguard its resources, and protect its reputation.

  • Take individual responsibility and be accountable for one’s own actions.

  • Be stewards for the property entrusted to us and protect them against theft or misuse.

  • Protect the privacy of those who entrust confidential or privileged information to us, and use such information only for the purposes for which access was provided.

  • Ensure all documents prepared or used in furtherance of College operations are accurate and complete to the best of one’s ability.

  • Exercise care so that personal interests do not conflict with the College’s interests.

  • Act honestly and respectfully at all times towards students, parents, colleagues, and members of the greater community.

  • Promote a diverse culture free from unlawful discrimination.

  • Refrain from abusing the authority entrusted to us and refrain from harassing others.

  • Bring suspected unethical conduct to the attention of College officials when one has a good faith belief that the conduct has occurred, and cooperate with any related investigations.

  • Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards.

Dress and Grooming Standards – Dress and grooming should be modest, neat, and clean. Clothing is inappropriate when it is revealing, sleeveless, strapless, short (skirt and pants length should be knee- length or longer), excessively form-fitting, or unnaturally ripped or faded. In addition, logos or symbols that promote inappropriate messages should not be worn. Footwear should not have excessively high heels. Heavy and dramatic makeup and unnatural-looking hair dyes should be avoided. Exposed tattoos and piercings or jewelry affixed to the nose, tongue, cheek, lip, or eyebrow are inappropriate.

Confidentiality and Privacy – Community members receive and generate on behalf of the College various types of confidential, proprietary, and private information. It is imperative that each community member complies with all federal laws and state laws, and College policies and principles pertaining to the use, protection, and disclosure of such information; such policies apply even after the community member’s relationship with the College ends.

Compliance with Laws – Members of the College community must transact College business in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and College policies and procedures. Managers and supervisors are responsible for training supervisees and monitoring compliance. When questions arise pertaining to interpretation or applicability of a policy, the responsible office should be contacted. Unresolved questions and requests for an interpretation of laws and regulations should be referred to Legal Counsel. If a concerning situation arises and specific laws or College policies do not appear to govern, guidance may be sought from a supervisor, College official, or Legal Counsel.

The College will investigate reports of suspected non-compliance with this Code of Professional Conduct, and implement corrective or disciplinary action when necessary.

2.3.2 Faculty Performance Criteria

While advancement for faculty members is not guaranteed, promotion may be considered at any time (though normally only after five years of service to the College). Promotion is based on merit in teaching, scholarship/creative work, and service, including professional competence and activities, as explained below.

Faculty members are evaluated based on four criteria: teaching, scholarship, service, and professionalism.

Teaching Since the primary function of the College is the instruction of students, careful evaluation of teaching is essential. Teaching effectiveness looks at such qualifications as (1) command of the subject area, (2) professional growth in the field, (3) ability to present subject matter clearly and imaginatively, (4) a personal teaching philosophy that demonstrates integrity, open-mindedness, and hard work, (5) effectiveness of teaching as demonstrated through assessments, (6) effectiveness in student support and advising, and/or (7) quality of pedagogical material published by the faculty member.

Scholarship/Creative Work Effective teaching requires involvement in scholarship or creative work in the individual’s field. To a large extent, each discipline and academic department must determine how much and what quality of scholarship/creative work is appropriate for promotion and judge its candidates accordingly. An individual’s scholarship/creative work should be evaluated in terms of its quality, its significance to the particular discipline, its impact on teaching in the classroom, and its level of recognition among peers. Evidence may include (1) artistic works and performances, (2) creation of pedagogical materials, (3) publications, (4) reviews of creative and scholarly works, (5) special projects, and (6) inventions.

Service – The College’s effectiveness depends on faculty members' participation in service to the College as well as to their academic and profession disciplines. This necessitates undertaking a reasonable number of non-teaching assignments (such as committee and task group work, assisting in the recruitment and mentoring of new faculty, and development and implementation of new academic programs), attending meetings, and participating in the decision-making process. Service may also include positions held and committee assignments performed for professional associations and learned societies, as well as editorships, the refereeing of manuscripts, or the judging of competitions and events.

Professionalism – Professionalism refers to the ability of a faculty member to work in a team environment. It encompasses many aspects, from readily accepting assignments, complying with College and departmental policies, accepting decisions and acting accordingly, being punctual with assignments, and meeting classes on time and being available outside of class time, to being dependable and following through, respecting colleagues, accepting the worth of other disciplines, and being collegial in one’s association with others. The desire for continual professional development is a valued trait of professionalism.

2.3.3 Teaching

Classes – Faculty members are expected to meet their classes punctually and to conduct them at a level appropriate to the level of instruction at which they are offered.

Examinations – The College requires that a final examination or assignment be administered in every course during the official examination period. Any change to the official schedule requires the approval of the department Chair and the Provost.

Course Syllabi – Faculty members must prepare a comprehensive syllabus for each of their courses and make them available to students during the first week of classes in the semester. In addition, during the first week of each course, the instructor should explain course policies on attendance and adding/dropping the course. The College provides a standard syllabus template for reference.

Each course syllabus should serve the following functions: (1) describe the focus and scope of the course, (2) identify course goals, (3) identify any prerequisites, (4) detail logistics, (5) provide a sequence or schedule of instruction, (6) identify performance objectives, (7) reference materials for the course, (8) establish a course evaluation system, and (9) establish a grading system.

Grades – The instructor of record, or the lead instructor in a team-taught course, bears the responsibility for assigning all final grades in the course.

Deadlines – Each faculty member is responsible for meeting any appropriate deadlines established by the department Chair, the Provost, the Registrar, and the Office of Academic Services, and various College committees.

Course Evaluations – All courses are to be evaluated through student surveys. The course instructor will also be asked to provide a written self-evaluation at the end of each course. The faculty member’s primary department should also conduct annual peer reviews of the faculty member’s teaching. These materials are to become a part of the faculty file and may play an integral part in future appointment decisions. The Office of the Provost will compile the evaluation materials generated by each department and will conduct regular evaluations of teaching effectiveness at the College.

2.3.4 Student Advising

Student Advising – While other offices provide specialized counseling to students, each faculty member is in a unique position to advise the students taking courses taught by the faculty member, and to recognize and direct those students who may be in need of remedial assistance. In addition, faculty members may serve in the capacity of major advisor for students (graduate students and undergraduates in their junior and senior years).

Faculty Availability – All teaching faculty are required to provide sufficient opportunity for their students to seek their assistance. The minimum hours of assistance should be the same number of hours as the number of lecture hours per week. Faculty for studio or performance courses may hold fewer office hours.

2.3.5 Faculty Workload

The College seeks to assign a reasonable workload to each faculty member, taking into account the entirety of a faculty member’s duties to the College. Such duties may include, but are not necessarily limited to: (1) assigned teaching and administrative duties, (2) activities toward professional growth and development, (3) preparation of course and materials, (4) student advising, (5) directing independent studies, (6) supervising teaching, and (7) participation in College governance.

The current average teaching assignment for a full-time employed faculty member is 2 to 3 courses (up to 12 credits for undergraduate teaching, or up to 9 credits for graduate teaching) per semester. The workload for a part-time or adjunct faculty member is generally 6 or fewer credit hours per semester.

It is assumed that for every credit hour of teaching, faculty will put in an additional 2 to 3 hours of work for preparation, evaluation, and office hours. Thus, a 3-credit course should be considered equivalent to 9–12 hours of academic responsibilities. However, the preparation work needed to prepare multiple sections of the same course will generally be weighted 50%, unless the number of students and the nature of the course demand significantly more grading time. (For example, if an instructor teaches a 3-credit course, repeated in 3 sections, the total workload is 3+(3+3)*50% = 6 credit hours.)

Each department Chair is responsible for assigning faculty workloads to meet the department’s teaching, scholarship/creative, and service objectives.

2.3.6 Faculty Professional Development

Each faculty member is expected to maintain his or her competence in the field and to find appropriate ways to maintain a state of professional growth and development. The College encourages the professional growth and development of the faculty and provides various assistance to eligible faculty members.

Professional Development Program – The Board of Trustees and administration recognize the importance of encouraging activities by all faculty members that improve the quality of teaching. The Professional Development Program provides funding and/or resources to faculty members to undertake such activities. The Office of the Provost is responsible for developing and administering this program.

Faculty Mentoring Program – The College facilitates a mentoring program for new and junior faculty members during their first year at the College. Mentors are assigned under either of two conditions: at the request of the new or junior faculty member and/or at the suggestion of the department Chair. The Chair is responsible for advising new faculty on matters pertaining to faculty evaluation and promotion.

A mentor is a trusted and experienced advisor who has a direct interest in the development of a less experienced individual. The faculty mentor has the potential to greatly assist a new junior faculty member in various capacities, such as by helping him or her to adapt to a new environment and to set specific objectives for the coming year.

The mentor should contact the new faculty member in advance of his or her arrival at the College and then meet with the new faculty member on a regular basis over the course of the first year (depending on the individual’s academic rank and teaching experience). The mentor should provide informal advice to the new faculty member on various aspects of teaching, scholarship/creative work, and committee or task group work, or be able to refer the mentee to other individuals who might be more suited. Often the biggest assistance a mentor can provide is simply to identify which individual to approach for which task. The mentor should treat all communications as confidential to the extent protectable by law.

The new faculty member should keep his or her mentor informed of any problems or concerns that may arise. When the new faculty member desires input, he or she should give sufficient time to allow the mentor the opportunity to review and critique drafts of writing, teaching plans, or other teaching materials.

The mentor will also observe the new faculty member’s lecture or studio courses. The mentor will complete a final evaluation of the new faculty member after the conclusion of the mentoring period (one semester to one year) and present it to the department Chair. If the final assessment is positive, the new faculty member will no longer require mentoring. If the mentor and department Chair determine that the faculty member needs additional assistance, the mentoring period can be extended for an additional semester or a year.

Support for Existing Faculty – Faculty members who have been identified as needing additional support in their instruction will be assigned a mentor from the faculty. This process of faculty support will follow the same basic procedure as that used for new junior faculty. However, the scope will often be narrowed to specific areas identified as needing improvement, such as student engagement, planning and pacing, and assessment.

2.4 Faculty Rights and Privileges

2.4.1 Academic Freedom

Academic freedom has an institutional and an individual component. Institutional academic freedom refers to the right of an educational institution to determine its unique mission free from governmental intervention. Individual academic freedom exists within the framework of the institution’s autonomy to pursue this unique mission. Therefore, faculty are free to engage in discipline-related scholarly inquiry—in teaching, learning, research, publication, and service—without undue interference or restriction, so long as it is consistent with the institutional mission and values.

On this foundation, the College affirms the following statement set forth in the 1971 Statement of Academic Freedom and Responsibility formulated by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities:

“Academic freedom is the right of members of the academic community freely to study, discuss, investigate, teach, conduct research, publish, or administer as appropriate to their respective roles and responsibilities. It is the responsibility of administrators to protect and assure these rights within the governing framework of the institution. The teacher is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing his/her subject, but he or she should be careful to present the various scholarly views related to the subject and to avoid introducing into his/her teaching controversial or other matter which has no direct relation to his/her subject. The teacher is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results there from, subject to the adequate performance of other academic duties.”

2.4.2 Faculty Rights in Governance

Faculty participation on College committees and in open meetings with senior administrators is an important component of the shared governance at Fei Tian College. To be eligible for election to committees, members of the faculty must have taught at the College for not less than one full academic year, full-time or part-time, at the time of nomination or appointment and must hold a faculty rank.

The College currently has five standing college-wide committees, which advise the senior administration on various matters that affect the College. Each of these committees is composed of members to include representatives from among the faculty and, as appropriate, from among the staff, administrators, and students, as described below. Members are appointed for a two-year term with the possibility of reappointment. The President is a member, ex officio, of all standing College committees with the exception of the Appointment and Promotion Committee.

The Academic Standards and Student Services Committee

The Academic Standards and Student Services Committee administers academic policies as approved by the faculty and receives and takes action on petitions regarding exceptions to academic policies. In addition, the committee reviews and makes recommendations regarding social and cultural issues, programs, services and policies that affect the quality of student life and the campus environment.

This committee is composed of the Provost (ex-officio with vote), the Senior Director of Student Services (ex-officio without vote), four faculty members—including the chairperson (elected at large by faculty vote at an annual or semester open meeting), and two students. Its chair is one of the faculty members of the committee selected by committee members.

The Appointment and Promotion Committee

The Appointment and Promotion Committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Provost and, when appropriate, to the President on matters pertaining to faculty appointment actions.

This committee consists of one senior faculty member (must hold the faculty rank of full professor and have taught full-time at the College for not less than five full academic years) from each of the academic departments (elected by faculty vote at a department meeting). If any academic department is without a senior faculty member, an administrator may be appointed instead by the Provost. Its chair is one of the faculty members of the committee selected by committee members.

The Curriculum Committee

The Curriculum Committee provides guidance, advocacy, and supervision of College curriculum design, development, and revision. It evaluates requests from and the needs of the academic departments, instruction and instructional methods, and resources and materials. It helps to ensure that the curriculum is academically sound, comprehensive, and responsive to the evolving needs of the College, thus serving the College mission, goals, and educational needs of the students. It also evaluates programs, certificates, degrees, and program changes or deletions, making sure such changes meet various educational standards. The committee makes its recommendations to the Provost, who reports to the President. Its charge includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Establishes and maintains the standards and integrity of the College curricula.
  • Reviews existing curricula periodically and recommends changes where appropriate.
  • Encourages development of new courses, concentrations, and programs consistent with the institutional mission by providing a College-wide forum for consideration of new courses and program proposals.
  • Reviews curriculum proposals for their conformity to the institutional mission and educational objectives.
  • Reviews and approves the final draft of the curricular offerings in the College Catalog.
  • Makes recommendations regarding all curriculum proposals to the faculty.

The Curriculum Committee is composed of one faculty member from each of the academic departments (elected by faculty vote at a department meeting), the Provost (ex-officio with vote), and the Registrar (ex-officio without vote). Its chair is one of the faculty members of the committee selected by committee members. The committee meets at least once a semester, unless otherwise requested by the Provost.

The Judicial Committee

The Judicial Committee serves as a formal mechanism for resolving formal grievances of a non-academic nature among students, faculty, and staff. The committee makes recommendations to the President who makes a final decision on behalf of the College. It also advises the President and the Board on the institution’s internal complaint resolution procedures.

The Judicial Committee consists of three faculty members (elected at large by faculty vote at an regular open faculty and staff meeting), two administrators or staff members (elected by staff vote at a regular open faculty and staff meeting), and two students (elected by student vote at a regular student assembly). Its chair is selected by committee members.

The Planning Committee

The Planning Committee oversees institutional planning to ensure that all College-wide plans adhere to and support the mission, values, and strategic plan of the College. Its charge includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Facilitates the development of skills and expertise within the committee and the institution to write effective plans;
  • Oversees the development of the institutional strategic plan;
  • Reviews and makes recommendations for revisions to the institutional mission, values, and vision statements, as needed and is vetted through the College governance structure
  • Monitors the tracking of institution-wide plans, and validates their alignment to the institutional strategic plan
  • Annually reviews the progress of plans, the alignment of resource allocation with plans, and the effectiveness of institutional plans through an evaluation process;
  • Recommends to the Board annual and multi-year institutional strategic direction(s), including goals, objectives, and action steps;
  • Supports matters related to institutional accreditation by tracking and monitoring plans.

The Planning Committee is composed of two senior administrators, two faculty members (elected at large by faculty vote at a regular open faculty and staff meeting), and two staff members (elected by staff vote at a regular open faculty and staff meeting). It is chaired by two co-chairs selected by committee members.

2.4.3 Institutional Supports

Office Facilities – The College provides office facilities, including electronic mail and Internet access and duplication services, to support its goals of teaching and learning, scholarly research, creative activities, and public service. The Provost or designee makes individual office assignments to authorized personnel. Personnel may also file supply requests for essential office equipment and supplies. Faculty may receive mail at their departmental address.

College Library Services – The faculty is invited to avail themselves of the College Library collections and services, which include circulation services, technology-based services, workshops, and individualized research assistance. The Library contains an extensive collection of open-stack books, CDs, and DVDs, and a collection of rare and limited-edition traditional Chinese literature and arts books.

Use of College Facilities and Campus Services – Faculty members are permitted to use College facilities and campus services, subject to availability and to campus policies and charges. The main instructional facilities house the library, classrooms, dance studios, music rooms, eateries, lounges, recreation room, and performing arts theater. Hours for all College facilities and campus services are posted on site.

Identification Card and Keys – The College requires that all faculty members carry an official Fei Tian College faculty identification card. Valid faculty ID cards are the official means for authorizing faculty access to the campus. Faculty ID cards are and remain the property of the College and must be returned upon request. Only the most recently issued faculty ID card is valid; previously issued faculty ID cards must be returned. A faculty member may have only one faculty ID card in his or her possession at any given time. A replacement card can be obtained free of charge if there is a name change, the photograph needs updating, or the card is damaged. If the requesting faculty member is unable to return the old card, a charge shall be assessed.

2.4.4 Faculty File (Dossier)

A faculty member’s individual faculty file will include, but is not limited to: (1) information relating to the faculty member’s academic and professional accomplishments, (2) copies of evaluations of the faculty member’s professional performance, (3) copies of all work agreements issued to the faculty member, (4) materials necessary to document faculty teaching competencies, and (5) personnel information. The faculty file will be kept in confidence under the joint authority of the Provost and Human Resources, and will be available for confidential use only by college personnel with a legitimate need to review and use such information for the purpose of performing an appropriate College function, and the individual faculty member. However, the faculty member may authorize in writing access to the file by additional persons.

Moreover, the College may permit access to such files pursuant to a lawful request by a government authority relevant to pending proceedings before it and to accrediting organizations and state or federal education authorities using the files for auditing, evaluating, or enforcing legal requirements of educational programs.

2.4.5 Faculty Grievance Procedure

The purpose of this policy is to establish an internal process for the good faith review and resolution of work-related conflicts at the College. The conflict resolution process shall be available to personnel of the College who believe existing laws, policies, or procedures have been violated, misapplied, or misinterpreted, resulting in a perceived adverse effect on their professional standing.

The College encourages open and honest communication between supervisees and their supervisors. Most conflicts and differences of opinion can be resolved between the involved parties by directly addressing issues and jointly exploring alternatives. In addition, there are a variety of individuals who may be called upon to assist in informal conflict resolution.

If a personnel grievance arises, the individual should first attempt in the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation to resolve the dispute or complaint through a meeting and open exchange with the concerned individual(s) or the department Chair or responsible administrator. In the case of an impasse, the individual should then attempt a meeting with the Provost. If the informal grievance process does not bring about a resolution, the individual may file a grievance petition and begin the formal grievance process.

Grievance petition – A grievant can formally file a grievance petition with the Judicial Committee. A grievance petition must state (1) a misinterpretation, misapplication, or other violation of a law or College policy or procedure and (2) a resulting adverse effect on the individual’s professional standing. The complaint generally must be filed within three months of the adverse event.

Preliminary investigation – Upon receipt of the petition, the Judicial Committee shall conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether it will hear the matter. Grounds for declining to hear a grievance case include (1) failure to identify a cognizable grievance, (2) untimeliness, (3) an incomplete petition, (4) a petition based on the same facts submitted in a prior petition, or (5) existence of a related pending outside proceeding. Dismissal of a grievance case is not appealable, and cannot serve as the basis for filing a new grievance. In conducting its preliminary investigation, the Judicial Committee may meet with the grievant and may obtain information from any source and in any manner it determines to be necessary or useful in reaching a decision.

Recommended action – If the Judicial Committee decides to hear the case, it will schedule a meeting with the involved parties as soon as is feasible, typically within three weeks. Based on the meeting and documents provided by the parties, the Judicial Committee makes a written advisory determination and recommended action as soon as is feasible, typically within three weeks of the meeting. At this time, the committee will provide all parties with a written copy of its recommendation.

Presidential review – As soon as is feasible, but no later than one month after issuance of the Committee’s recommendation, the College President shall issue a decision adopting, rejecting, modifying, or remanding the Committee’s recommendation.

Discretionary appeal – Within ten working days after issuance of the decision, the parties may appeal to the Board of Trustees. If the Board declines to accept the appeal, the decision of the President shall become final. If the appeal is accepted, the Board shall receive written statements and evidence from the appealing party. After review of the materials, the Board shall either render a decision based on the written materials or schedule a hearing on the matter at which the parties may present arguments in support of or opposition to the appeal. The Board then makes a final decision to (1) uphold the decision and deny the appeal, (2) uphold the appeal and reverse or amend the decision, or (3) return the matter to the President for further findings or clarification of the initial decision. The decision on appeal is final and shall not be subject to further review.

Since personnel are encouraged to use the College grievance procedures when they believe that they have been unfairly treated, there must be no retaliation taken against any individual who gives information or appears before the Judicial Committee. Retaliation will not be tolerated and will subject an individual to College disciplinary procedures.

Complaints alleging that the President personally engaged in a work-related conflict shall be referred to the Chair of the Board, who shall determine whether the conflict resolution process must be adjusted to ensure fair consideration of the matter.

2.5 Termination of the Professional Relationship

Some occasions may necessitate terminating the professional relationship between a faculty member and the College. Reasons for termination include, but are not limited to: dismissal, non-reappointment, resignation, retirement, financial exigency, prolonged illness or incapacity, or changes in the educational program.

2.5.1 Dismissal

Dismissal is the action by which the College ends its professional relationship with a faculty member for adequate cause before the appointment term ends. Adequate cause includes but is not limited to (1) professional incompetence, (2) neglect of academic duties, (3) serious misconduct, and (4) failure to comply with College policies.

Prior to dismissal, excepting in very severe cases, the Provost will give the faculty member written notice specifying the reason(s) for dismissal.

If the faculty member wishes to be given a hearing, he/she must respond in writing within ten days of receiving notice. The faculty member shall thereafter be given a hearing before the Judicial Committee, which will review all material presented and forward a recommendation to the College President. On the basis of the Committee’s recommendation and all material and information presented, the President will determine the final action to be taken.

2.5.2 Notice of Non-reappointment

Non-reappointment means that the College decides not to renew a faculty member’s appointment at the conclusion of its term. Recommendations for non-reappointment normally originate from department Chair or responsible administrator. The decision not to reappoint rests with the Provost, which is usually made in consultation with the department Chair and with the approval of the President. Since a notice of non-reappointment is not a dismissal for cause, it is unnecessary for the College to set forth its reasons.

2.5.3 Resignation

Resignation is the action by which a faculty member ends the professional relationship with the College. A faculty member may resign at the end of an academic year provided that he or she gives written notice at the earliest possible opportunity, but in no case less than one month before the intended last working day.

2.5.4 Retirement

There is no set age of retirement at the College. Faculty members should make thorough preparations well in advance of retiring. Two to three semesters before retirement, the faculty member is encouraged to consult his/her retirement system representatives to make specific arrangements for retirement. If appropriate, a retired faculty member may be invited to serve on departmental and/or College committees or to teach in a limited capacity in his or her former department.

2.5.5 Termination for Other Reasons

The College may terminate its professional relationship with a faculty member before the end of an appointment term for circumstances unrelated to performance. Such circumstances may include, but are not necessarily limited to: (1) financial exigency of the College, (2) prolonged illness or incapacity of the faculty member, or (3) changes in the educational program.

The decision to terminate for such reasons will be made only after the faculty member has been notified of the basis of the proposed appointment action and has been afforded an opportunity to respond. A faculty member may appeal a proposed termination by requesting a hearing by the Judicial Committee, which will submit its recommendations to the President for a final disposition.

2.5.6 Post-termination

Each faculty member is responsible for taking the necessary steps regarding their taxes and payroll matters, as applicable, and for requesting any post-termination benefits. At the time of termination, the faculty member must return his or her College identification card, keys, and all other College property.

2.6 Faculty Benefits and Services

2.6.1 Contracts and Compensation

Faculty work agreements shall specify the type of appointment, the remuneration package, the term of appointment, and any special terms and conditions of appointment. Full-time employees are entitled to all benefits that have been approved by the Board of Trustees, as well as those required by applicable law; part-time employees are entitled to a pro-rata share of such benefits.

2.6.2 Leavetaking Options

Sabbatical Leave – The College plans to design a sabbatical leave program to provide time for artistic creation or other creative work, research, or study that contributes to the professional growth and effectiveness of the faculty member as an academician and a teacher. Faculty with regular appointments will normally be eligible for a one-year sabbatical leave after having completed seven continuous years of teaching at the College. The College will provide up to 50 percent of the salary and all of the benefits for a faculty member during his or her sabbatical leave. A faculty member who is awarded a sabbatical leave must return to the College for at least one full year afterwards or pay back the 50 percent of the salary to the College.

Parental Leave – Subject to applicable state and federal laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, most full time members of the faculty may be eligible for unpaid parental leave for up to 12 weeks for a birth or adoption. A request for parental leave should be submitted to the appropriate department chair as early as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Leave without Pay – When a faculty member wishes to take a leave without pay, he or she must initiate a request to the department Chair. This request should be accompanied by a brief statement of the reasons for which the leave is sought. Leaves without pay are generally limited to one year in length. A year or semester on leave without pay does not normally count as a year or semester of service to the College, except in the case of recipients of nationally or internationally competitive fellowships. The time of the unpaid leave of absence will not be counted toward eligibility for sabbatical leave.

Jury Duty and Subpoenaed Witnesses – A faculty member who has been summoned for jury duty will be allowed absence for the period of jury service. A faculty member who has been subpoenaed as a witness will be allowed absence with pay for the period of his or her testimony.

Other Types of Leave – Faculty members may be eligible for other types of leave, with or without pay, including for scholarly purposes and military service. A faculty member who wishes to request a leave must contact the department Chair and Human Resources for details.

2.6.3 Social Security

During the period of employment, the employee and the College both contribute funds to the Federal government to support the Social Security Program. This program is intended to provide the employee with retirement benefit payments and medical coverage once he/she reaches retirement age.

2.6.4 Workers' Compensation

Any employee who is unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness and who is eligible for workers' compensation benefits will be provided an unpaid leave for the period required. The first 12 weeks will be treated concurrently as a family and medical leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) for eligible employees.

The College carries workers' compensation insurance for eligible employees and pays the entire cost of the insurance program. An employee who suffers an injury or illness in connection with the job is usually eligible to receive payment through the insurance company for lost wages. In addition to disability payments, necessary hospital, medical, and surgical expenses are covered under workers' compensation, with payments being made directly to the hospital or physician. Workers' compensation benefits to injured workers also include assistance to help qualified injured employees return to suitable employment.

2.6.5 Additional Benefits and Services

Campus Events – Personnel are welcome to attend a variety of events on campus, which offer free admission. Departments and other units will be notified of lectures, concerts, and other artistic and cultural events which may be of interest to members of the College community.

Use of College Facilities and Campus Services – Faculty members are permitted to use College facilities and campus services, subject to availability and to campus policies and charges. The main instructional facilities house the library, classrooms, dance studios, music rooms, eateries, lounges, recreation room, and performing arts theater. Hours for all College facilities and campus services are posted on site.


3. General Staff Policies

3.1 General Staff Appointment

The staff refer to all individuals, including with academic, administrative, or support roles, who ensure the achievement of the College’s mission and goals at all levels, from leadership to entry-level support, who lead, plan, direct, implement, analyze, and support various functions across the institution.

This section contains information of relevance to all staff of the College. For faculty, where there is no existing faculty-specific policy on a particular matter, this section’s general staff policies shall govern.

3.1.1 Defining Personnel Categories

This policy defines personnel categories at the College. Individuals within each category and functional group are governed according to applicable Board policies, other College policies and procedures, and contracts.

Definitions

“Classification” shall mean the grouping that includes all positions of sufficiently similar range of responsibilities or job duties.

“Exempt” shall mean employees primarily performing work exempt from or not subject to the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and for whom overtime pay is not required by federal law.

“Full-time” shall mean a work status entailing a 40-hour workweek during a 12-month period.

“Non-exempt” shall mean employees primarily performing work subject to the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and for whom overtime pay is required by federal law.

“Part-time” shall mean a work status entailing at least a ΒΌ-time appointment but less than a full-time appointment.

Personnel Categories – Personnel at the College shall be categorized for purposes of Human Resources as one of the following: employees; workers under an institutional collaboration agreement; independent contractors; or volunteers. The terms, conditions, and arrangements of work for personnel are specified in their individual agreements with the College.

3.1.2 Onboarding

New staff will be guided by various College offices to (1) complete their work authorization and contract signing, (2) set up their email and voicemail accounts, (3) set up their Canvas learning management system accounts, (4) arrange for parking, (5) and orient themselves with College and campus policies and staff resources, including for campus safety.

3.2 General Staff Duties and Responsibilities

3.2.1 Code of Professional Conduct

The College seeks to inspire and host an academic community dedicated to the cultivation of classic virtues, knowledge, and skills, in accordance with its mission. Our community and environment are built upon, and preserved through each member’s commitment to, conduct that reflects the moral ideals and standards of the College.

All personnel are expected to set a good example of a life that: combines the quest for higher learning with the cultivation of classic virtues; conducts work in a professional manner consistent with the values of the College; and refrains from conduct that would adversely affect fulfillment of the institutional mission.

The cornerstone of this policy is the Honor Code, which states in part: By accepting appointment, continuing employment, being admitted, or continuing enrollment, each member of the College community personally commits to observe these Honor Code standards:

  • Act honestly.
  • Live a life of virtue.
  • Respect others.
  • Obey the law and comply with College policies and campus regulations.
  • Cultivate a noble and responsible character.
  • Encourage others in their commitment to abide by the Honor Code.

In addition, personnel are expected to demonstrate the following standards:

  • Seek opportunities to serve others and commit to providing high-quality professional service.

  • Support and value one another’s contributions.

  • Carry out duties in good faith to advance the College’s mission and values, safeguard its resources, and protect its reputation.

  • Take individual responsibility and be accountable for one’s own actions.

  • Be stewards for the property entrusted to us and protect them against theft or misuse.

  • Protect the privacy of those who entrust confidential or privileged information to us, and use such information only for the purposes for which access was provided.

  • Ensure all documents prepared or used in furtherance of College operations are accurate and complete to the best of one’s ability.

  • Exercise care so that personal interests do not conflict with the College’s interests.

  • Act honestly and respectfully at all times towards students, parents, colleagues, and members of the greater community.

  • Promote a diverse culture free from unlawful discrimination.

  • Refrain from abusing the authority entrusted to us and refrain from harassing others.

  • Bring suspected unethical conduct to the attention of College officials when one has a good faith belief that the conduct has occurred, and cooperate with any related investigations.

  • Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards.

Dress and Grooming Standards – Dress and grooming should be modest, neat, and clean. Clothing is inappropriate when it is revealing, sleeveless, strapless, short (skirt and pants length should be knee- length or longer), excessively form-fitting, or unnaturally ripped or faded. In addition, logos or symbols that promote inappropriate messages should not be worn. Footwear should not have excessively high heels. Heavy and dramatic makeup and unnatural-looking hair dyes should be avoided. Exposed tattoos and piercings or jewelry affixed to the nose, tongue, cheek, lip, or eyebrow are inappropriate.

Confidentiality and Privacy – Community members receive and generate on behalf of the College various types of confidential, proprietary, and private information. It is imperative that each community member complies with all federal laws and state laws, and College policies and principles pertaining to the use, protection, and disclosure of such information; such policies apply even after the community member’s relationship with the College ends.

Compliance with Laws – Members of the College community must transact College business in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and College policies and procedures. Managers and supervisors are responsible for training supervisees and monitoring compliance. When questions arise pertaining to interpretation or applicability of a policy, the responsible office should be contacted. Unresolved questions and requests for an interpretation of laws and regulations should be referred to Legal Counsel. If a concerning situation arises and specific laws or College policies do not appear to govern, guidance may be sought from a supervisor, College official, or Legal Counsel.

The College will investigate reports of suspected non-compliance with this Code of Professional Conduct, and implement corrective or disciplinary action when necessary.

3.2.2 Personnel Performance Review and Professional Development

The personnel performance review and professional development process is undertaken between responsible administrators/supervisors and supervisees to assess, guide, improve, and recognize work performance for the purpose of making progress toward achievement of organizational and individual goals.

This process occurs over a three-year cycle, beginning with a planning session held at the start of the cycle, in which work position expectations are clarified and goals are set. Over the course of a cycle, there is ongoing informal communication as well as specific feedback and guidance for improvement, including a brief annual review. The end of cycle comprehensive review discusses and documents personnel performance level, strengths, areas for development, and expectations for the future.

3.2.3 Personnel Discipline

It is the policy of the College that personnel are expected to carry out their assigned tasks and responsibilities as instructed and to conduct themselves in accordance with reasonable rules and expectations for the workplace. Corrective action is taken when such is not the case. Disciplinary action, including discharge, is taken only for cause. College policy does not require that discipline be taken in any formal steps or order and recognizes that the determination of appropriate discipline will depend upon the facts and circumstances of the particular situation.

It is the responsibility of the supervisor to inform the supervisee of the expectations and requirements of the job and to give the individual the opportunity to meet these requirements and expectations. It is also the responsibility of the supervisor to provide appropriate coaching, which is the process of communication between a supervisor and a supervisee for the purpose of assuring that the individual learns and understands the job duties, performance expectations, and rules of conduct in the workplace.

Except in cases of gross misconduct, it is important that the supervisee not performing satisfactorily or not conducting him or herself properly be made aware of the seriousness of the situation so that he or she can make corrections. It is important that the individual be made to understand that, unless improvement takes place, his or her work is in jeopardy. When such warnings are oral, it is important for the supervisor to keep a record documenting the times and substance of the warnings. If oral warnings are not effective or the situation is sufficiently serious, it may be necessary to emphasize the significance of the situation to the supervisee in writing. Copies of the written warnings are placed in the individual’s personnel file.

Investigatory Suspension – An investigatory suspension is a temporary removal of an individual from work with or without pay pending completion of investigation and fact-finding. An investigatory suspension may be converted to a disciplinary suspension or termination after investigation and consultation.

Disciplinary Suspension – A disciplinary suspension—sending an individual home without pay for a period of time—is imposed in order to emphasize to the individual the seriousness of the situation and the fact that her or his job is in jeopardy.

Discharge – Attempts to correct problems may not always yield the desired results. In cases where such attempts fail to produce the necessary corrections, or in cases of gross misconduct, it may be necessary to consider discharge for just cause.

3.3 General Staff Rights and Privileges

3.3.1 Institutional Supports

Office Facilities – The College provides office facilities, including electronic mail and Internet access and duplication services, to support its functions. The Provost or designee makes individual office assignments to authorized personnel. Personnel may also file supply requests for essential office equipment and supplies. Staff may receive mail at their departmental address.

College Library – The staff are invited to avail themselves of the College Library collections and services, which include circulation services, technology-based services, workshops, and individualized research assistance. The Library contains an extensive collection of open-stack books, CDs, and DVDs, and a collection of rare and limited-edition traditional Chinese literature and arts books.

Use of College Facilities – Staff members are permitted to use College facilities, subject to availability and to the policies, procedures, and charges established by the appropriate offices and units of the College. The main instruction building is a modern-style facility that houses the library, classrooms, dance and music studios, recital hall, eateries, lounges, recreation room, and a performing arts theater. Hours for all services, including the library, eateries, lounges, and recreation room are posted on site.

Identification Card and Keys – The College requires that all staff members carry an official institutional staff identification card. Valid staff ID cards are the official means for authorizing staff access to the campus. Staff ID cards are and remain the property of the institution and must be returned upon request. Only the most recently issued staff ID card is valid; previously issued staff ID cards must be returned. A staff member may have only one staff ID card in his/her possession at any given time. A replacement card can be obtained free of charge if there is a name change, the photograph needs updating, or the card is damaged. If the requesting staff member is unable to return the old card, a charge shall be assessed.

Campus Events – Staff are welcome to attend a variety of events on campus, which offer free admission. Departments and other units will be notified of lectures, concerts, and other artistic and cultural events which may be of interest to members of the College community.

3.3.2 Personnel File

A staff member’s individual personnel file will include, but is not limited to: (1) information relating to the staff member’s professional accomplishments, (2) copies of evaluations of the staff member’s professional performance, (3) copies of all work agreements issued to the staff member, and (4) personnel information. The personnel file will be kept in confidence at Human Resources, and will be available for confidential use only by College personnel with a legitimate need to review and use such information for the purpose of performing an appropriate College function, and the individual staff member. However, the staff member may authorize in writing access to the file by additional persons. Moreover, the College may permit access to such files pursuant to a lawful request by a government authority relevant to pending proceedings before it.

3.3.3 Conflict Resolution Process for Personnel

The purpose of this policy is to establish an internal process for the good faith review and resolution of work-related conflicts at the College. The conflict resolution process shall be available to personnel of the College who believe existing laws, policies, or procedures have been violated, misapplied, or misinterpreted, resulting in a perceived adverse effect on their professional standing.

The College encourages open and honest communication between supervisees and their supervisors. Most conflicts and differences of opinion can be resolved between the involved parties by directly addressing issues and jointly exploring alternatives. In addition, there are a variety of individuals who may be called upon to assist in informal conflict resolution.

If a personnel grievance arises, the individual should first attempt in the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation to resolve the dispute or complaint through a meeting and open exchange with the concerned individual(s) or the department Chair or responsible administrator. In the case of an impasse, the individual should then attempt a meeting with the Provost. If the informal grievance process does not bring about a resolution, the individual may file a grievance petition and begin the formal grievance process.

Grievance petition – A grievant can formally file a grievance petition with the Judicial Committee. A grievance petition must state (1) a misinterpretation, misapplication, or other violation of a law or College policy or procedure and (2) a resulting adverse effect on the individual’s professional standing. The complaint generally must be filed within three months of the adverse event.

Preliminary investigation – Upon receipt of the petition, the Judicial Committee shall conduct a preliminary investigation to determine whether it will hear the matter. Grounds for declining to hear a grievance case include (1) failure to identify a cognizable grievance, (2) untimeliness, (3) an incomplete petition, (4) a petition based on the same facts submitted in a prior petition, or (5) existence of a related pending outside proceeding. Dismissal of a grievance case is not appealable, and cannot serve as the basis for filing a new grievance. In conducting its preliminary investigation, the Judicial Committee may meet with the grievant and may obtain information from any source and in any manner it determines to be necessary or useful in reaching a decision.

Recommended action – If the Judicial Committee decides to hear the case, it will schedule a meeting with the involved parties as soon as is feasible, typically within three weeks. Based on the meeting and documents provided by the parties, the Judicial Committee makes a written advisory determination and recommended action as soon as is feasible, typically within three weeks of the meeting. At this time, the committee will provide all parties with a written copy of its recommendation.

Presidential review – As soon as is feasible, but no later than one month after issuance of the Committee’s recommendation, the College President shall issue a decision adopting, rejecting, modifying, or remanding the Committee’s recommendation.

Discretionary appeal – Within ten working days after issuance of the decision, the parties may appeal to the Board of Trustees. If the Board declines to accept the appeal, the decision of the President shall become final. If the appeal is accepted, the Board shall receive written statements and evidence from the appealing party. After review of the materials, the Board shall either render a decision based on the written materials or schedule a hearing on the matter at which the parties may present arguments in support of or opposition to the appeal. The Board then makes a final decision to (1) uphold the decision and deny the appeal, (2) uphold the appeal and reverse or amend the decision, or (3) return the matter to the President for further findings or clarification of the initial decision. The decision on appeal is final and shall not be subject to further review.

Since personnel are encouraged to use the College grievance procedures when they believe that they have been unfairly treated, there must be no retaliation taken against any individual who gives information or appears before the Judicial Committee. Retaliation will not be tolerated and will subject an individual to College disciplinary procedures.

Complaints alleging that the President personally engaged in a work-related conflict shall be referred to the Chair of the Board, who shall determine whether the conflict resolution process must be adjusted to ensure fair consideration of the matter.

3.4 Termination of the Professional Relationship

Some occasions may necessitate terminating the professional relationship between a staff member and the College. Reasons for termination include, but are not limited to: dismissal, resignation, and retirement.

3.4.1 Dismissal

Dismissal is the action by which the College ends its professional relationship with a staff member for adequate cause before the appointment term ends. Adequate cause includes but is not limited to (1) professional incompetence, (2) neglect of duties, (3) serious misconduct, and (4) failure to comply with College policies.

Prior to dismissal, excepting in very severe cases, the supervisor or responsible administrator will give the staff member written notice specifying the reason(s) for dismissal.

If the staff member wishes to be given a hearing, he/she must respond in writing within ten days of receiving notice. The staff member shall thereafter be given a hearing before the Judicial Committee, which will review all material presented and forward a recommendation to the College President. On the basis of the Committee’s recommendation and all material and information presented, the President will determine the final action to be taken.

3.4.2 Notice of Non-reappointment

Non-reappointment means that the College decides not to renew a staff member’s appointment at the conclusion of its term. Recommendations for non-reappointment normally originate from the responsible administrator. The decision not to reappoint staff must be approved by the President. Since a notice of non-reappointment is not a dismissal for cause, it is unnecessary for the College to set forth its reasons.

3.4.3 Resignation

Resignation is a voluntary personnel-initiated termination of the work relationship. Individuals who plan to resign from service at the College should provide their supervisor with a written notice as soon as possible, but no less than two weeks prior to their final day of work. The notice should state their last day of work and the reason for leaving the College. Personnel are expected to maintain an acceptable level of performance during their notice period.

Before leaving the College, an individual is expected to have an exit interview with Human Resources. The purpose of the interview is to collect information for the personnel file, to collect keys and/or other College property, and to explain the termination process.

3.4.4 Retirement

There is no set age of retirement at the College. Staff members should make thorough preparations well in advance of retiring; staff are encouraged to consult their retirement system representatives to make specific arrangements for retirement. If appropriate, a retired staff member may be invited to serve on College committees.

3.4.5 Termination for Other Reasons

The College may terminate its professional relationship with a staff member before the end of an appointment term for circumstances unrelated to performance. Such circumstances may include, but are not necessarily limited to: (1) financial exigency of the College or (2) prolonged illness or incapacity of the staff member.

The decision to terminate for such reasons will be made only after the staff member has been notified of the basis of the proposed appointment action and has been afforded an opportunity to respond. A staff member may appeal a proposed termination by requesting a hearing by the Judicial Committee, which will submit its recommendations to the President for a final disposition.

3.4.6 Post-termination

Each staff member is responsible for taking the necessary steps regarding taxes and payroll matters, as applicable, and for requesting any post-termination benefits. At the time of termination, the staff member must return his/her College identification card, keys, and all other College property

3.5 Personnel Benefits and Services

3.5.1 Contracts and Compensation

Staff work agreements shall specify the type of appointment, the remuneration package, the term of appointment, and any special terms and conditions of appointment. Full-time employees are entitled to all benefits that have been approved by the Board of Trustees, as well as those required by applicable law; part-time employees are entitled to a pro-rata share of such benefits.

3.5.2 Leavetaking Options

Parental Leave – Subject to applicable state and federal laws, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, most full-time members of the staff may be eligible for unpaid parental leave for up to 12 weeks for a birth or adoption. A request for parental leave should be submitted to the appropriate department chair as early as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Leave without Pay – When a staff member wishes to take a leave without pay, he or she must initiate a request to the department Chair. This request should be accompanied by a brief statement of the reasons for which the leave is sought. Leaves without pay are generally limited to one year in length. A year or semester on leave without pay does not normally count as a year or semester of service to the College, except in the case of recipients of nationally or internationally competitive fellowships. The time of the unpaid leave of absence will not be counted toward eligibility for sabbatical leave.

Jury Duty and Subpoenaed Witnesses – A staff member who has been summoned for jury duty will be allowed absence for the period of jury service. A faculty member who has been subpoenaed as a witness will be allowed absence with pay for the period of his or her testimony.

Other Types of Leave – Staff members may be eligible for other types of leave, with or without pay, including for scholarly purposes and military service. A faculty member who wishes to request a leave must contact the department Chair and Human Resources for details.

3.5.3 Social Security

During the period of employment, the employee and the College both contribute funds to the Federal government to support the Social Security Program. This program is intended to provide the employee with retirement benefit payments and medical coverage once he/she reaches retirement age.

3.5.4 Workers' Compensation

Any employee who is unable to work due to a work-related injury or illness and who is eligible for workers' compensation benefits will be provided an unpaid leave for the period required. The first 12 weeks will be treated concurrently as a family and medical leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) for eligible employees.

The College carries workers' compensation insurance for eligible employees and pays the entire cost of the insurance program. An employee who suffers an injury or illness in connection with the job is usually eligible to receive payment through the insurance company for lost wages. In addition to disability payments, necessary hospital, medical, and surgical expenses are covered under workers' compensation, with payments being made directly to the hospital or physician. Workers' compensation benefits to injured workers also include assistance to help qualified injured employees return to suitable employment.

3.5.5 Additional Benefits and Services

Campus Events – Personnel are welcome to attend a variety of events on campus, which offer free admission. Departments and other units will be notified of lectures, concerts, and other artistic and cultural events which may be of interest to members of the College community.

Use of Campus Facilities and Services – Personnel are permitted to use campus facilities and services, subject to availability and campus policies and charges. The hours for all campus facilities and services, including eateries, lounges, recreation room, and performing arts theater, are posted on site.


4. College Policies and Information

4.1 Administrative Policy Development (abridged)

The College establishes administrative policies to align its operations with the institutional mission, Board guidance, and the law. Administrative College policies focus primarily on formalizing regulations, standards, and procedures for the College community and external individuals who use College resources or services, as appropriate. They set behavioral expectations across the institution, mitigate institutional risk, and communicate policy roles and responsibilities when appropriate to do so, in accordance with the criteria below.

Criteria

College policies must:

  • advance the College’s mission;
  • be necessary to implement Board policy or directive or to achieve compliance with laws, rules, or regulations; and
  • meet at least one of the following criteria:
    • address a significant risk to the College that cannot be adequately addressed otherwise;
    • have significant impact, including, but not limited to, the number of people, campuses, or academic or operational units affected, and the level and number of risk factors involved; or
    • promote operational efficiency and effectiveness or good academic and business practices.

Campus-wide Policy Development

Individual campuses may develop campus-wide policies when:

  • there is no existing College policy or when unique campus factors necessitate modification of an existing College policy; or
  • the policy satisfies the criteria for College administrative policies.

Campuses may not create a campus-wide policy when:

  • it is prohibited by an existing College policy; or
  • it would be inconsistent with, or less restrictive than, a Board or other College policy.

Unit-specific Policy Development

College units, including academic departments and administrative offices, may develop local policies that pertain only to their own affairs, whether or not a corresponding College or campus-wide policy exists, if permitted by their campus or College processes.

However, units may not create a local policy when:

  • it is prohibited by an existing College or campus-wide policy; or
  • the policy is inconsistent with, or less restrictive than, Board policies, other College policies, or campus-wide policies.

Interim Action

In an emergency situation in which legal requirements or a significant institutional risk are reasonably believed to exist and there is insufficient time to complete the standard consultation process before publishing, the responsible office may request approval of an interim policy. The request shall include a plan for completing the standard consultation and approval process of the interim policy, which shall be completed during the approved interim period.

In addition, the President or designee may take any of the following actions to ensure the general order and welfare of the College community: approve an interim policy or amend, suspend, or retire an existing policy.

4.2 Additional Policies and Information

Further information about the College is available at: https://feitian.edu/.

Fei Tian College - Faculty and Staff Handbook