UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook

23rd Edition, 2013 Version


Chapter VI:  Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures

6.7 Nonrenewal of a Probationary Academic Staff Appointment UWRF 7

6.7.1 Commencement of Consideration Process

In making a decision that may involve nonrenewal, the authorized official must start the process early enough to allow time for a possible reconsideration and no later than the notice periods stated in UWS 10.05link: Written notice that a probationary academic staff appointment will not be renewed shall be given to the appointee at least 3 months before the end of the appointment in the first year; 6 months before the end of the appointment in the second year; and 12 months thereafter. If proper notice of nonrenewal is not given in accordance with the above time line, the appointment shall be extended so that at least the required notice is provided. The policies and procedures of each institution may provide for longer notice periods for teaching members of the academic staff. Unless specifically enumerated in the institutional policies and procedures, the above provisions shall govern.

6.7.2 Reasons for Nonrenewal

Each nonrenewed member shall receive written notice that his or her appointment will not be renewed and such shall be made in accordance with UWS 10link and related policies and procedures adopted by UW-River Falls. A nonrenewed member of the academic staff shall be provided with an opportunity to receive, in writing, the reasons for nonrenewal. Such a request by the nonrenewed staff member shall be made in writing within five (5) working days of the receipt of the letter of nonrenewal. The authorized official shall have five (5) working days in which to provide the written reasons.

6.7.3 Appeals on Nonrenewal Decision

A nonrenewed member of the academic staff shall be provided with an opportunity to receive a review of the nonrenewal decision. A written appeal must be brought to the Academic Staff Council within twenty (20) days of the notice of nonrenewal (twenty-five [25] days if notice is by first class mail and publication). The review shall be held not later than twenty (20) days after the request, except that this time limit may be extended by mutual consent by the parties or by the order of the Academic Staff Council. The burden of persuasion in such a review shall be on the nonrenewed appointee. Academic Staff Council members must be disqualified if they participated in the nonrenewal decision. On the motion of either party in the case, any additional members of the Academic Staff Council may be disqualified by majority vote of the members, for cause. If any Academic Staff Council member(s) is disqualified, the remaining members shall select, by majority vote, a replacement(s) from among the academic staff.

6.7.4 Scope of Review (Impermissible Factors)

The scope of review shall be limited to the question of whether the decision was based in any significant degree upon one or more of the following factors, with material prejudice to the individual:

  1. Conduct, expressions, or beliefs which are constitutionally protected or actions which are consistent with an appropriate professional code of ethics;
  2. Employment practices proscribed by applicable state or federal law; or
  3. Improper consideration of qualifications for reappointment or renewal. For purposes of this section, "improper consideration" shall be deemed to have been given to the qualifications of a staff member in question if material prejudice resulted because of any of the following:
  1. the procedures required by the Chancellor or Board were not followed;
  2. available data bearing materially on the quality of performance were not considered; or
  3. unfounded, arbitrary, or irrelevant assumptions of fact were made about work or conduct.

6.7.5 Conduct of Hearing

  1. The hearing shall be open unless the Council votes to close it under the provisions of the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law,  §19.81link. The individual in question, however, may demand that the hearing be open; required public notices of the hearing must indicate this option (§19.81(1)(b).link The compliance guide to the Wisconsin Open Meetings Law can be found at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/AWP/2007OMCG-PRO/2007_OML_Compliance_Guide.pdfdocumentlink.
  2. The hearing body shall not be bound by common law or statutory rules of evidence and may admit evidence having reasonably probative value, but shall exclude immaterial, irrelevant, or unduly repetitious testimony.
  3. The hearing body shall give effect to recognized legal privileges and grant adequate due process to the staff member under charge, including provisions of UWS 11.05link.
  4. The hearing body shall be provided by the Chancellor with legal counsel and other assistance if it makes a request for assistance through majority vote.

6.7.6 Findings Report

Findings as to the validity of the appeal shall be reported in writing to the official making the nonrenewal decision and to the appropriate Dean or division head and the Chancellor. Such report may include remedies which may, without limitation because of enumeration, take the form of a reconsideration by the decision maker, a reconsideration by the decision maker under instructions from the hearing body, or a recommendation to the next higher administrative level. Cases shall be remanded for reconsideration by the decision maker in all instances unless the hearing body specifically finds that such a remand would serve no useful purpose. The hearing body shall retain jurisdiction during the pendency of any reconsideration.

6.7.7 Deadlines

Failure by the academic staff member to meet the deadlines in the above sections shall be considered a waiver of those procedures, and the authorized official will continue the procedures as outlined.