UAS approves slight changes to faculty handbook

Audra Gamble

The University Academic Senate at Grand Valley State University has voted to approve a slight change to the faculty handbook for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.

The change will be found in section 3.01 C of the handbook, regarding service of faculty members. While the change is not drastic, the wording now encourages faculty members to report all service contributions. The change also notes that service may be done at different levels.

“We rewrote other language to make it clear that each faculty member may elect to perform service in any of the various categories,” said Karen Gipson, chair of the executive committee of the University Academic Senate.

These categories include the faculty member’s unit, college, university and/or community.

In addition to the service categories, another wording change makes it clear that not only evidence of service, but also reporting of that service “is significant in decisions on tenure, promotion and salary increments.”

However, there is not a set amount of service that is recommended across the university.

“The only university-wide criteria (for tenure, etc.) are those in the faculty handbook,” Gipson said. “The faculty handbook is intentionally worded in a somewhat generic way to allow each college to cite the examples that make the most sense for the disciplines within that college.”

The impetus for the changes to this section of the faculty handbook came about in response to comments made at the annual faculty forum in the fall of 2013, hosted by the University Academic Senate.

“At that forum, many ideas were raised about ways to better recognize service contributions,” Gipson said. “Reporting on service was one such idea to ensure that faculty receive appropriate acknowledgement for their service work.”

While these changes are set to appear in the faculty handbook this upcoming fall, the changes are minimal. Mainly, the wording merely clarifies what faculty already need to report in their yearly faculty activity report.

According to Gipson, the slight changes allow for more accuracy.

“Faculty will receive appropriate acknowledgement for their service work, and the university will have an accurate record of the work that faculty are doing,” she said.