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XVII. Termination Of An Appointment For Reasons Of Financial Exigency, And/Or Discontinuance Of A Discipline Or Department Of Instruction

A. Financial Exigency

Financial exigency in this context is defined as an imminent financial crisis threatening the College as a whole that is unable to be alleviated other than by termination of faculty appointments.

Termination of an appointment with continuous tenure, or of a probationary or special appointment before the end of a contractually specified term may occur under extraordinary circumstances because of a demonstrably bona fide instance of financial exigency, i.e., a severe financial crisis that compromises the fundamental academic integrity of the institution as a whole, and that cannot be alleviated by less radical means.

Ultimate authority over the decision to terminate appointments in cases of financial exigency rests with the College President and the Board of Visitors.

However, there is the expectation that an inclusive and informed process will take place in the case of termination of appointments. Therefore, the criteria for selecting which appointments are to be terminated should be determined by the College President and Board only after the President has consulted with the Dean of Finance and Administration and his/her staff, the Dean of Faculty, and the Faculty Assembly, or a representative body of faculty elected by the Assembly in response to news of the crisis for the purpose of advising the President on faculty concerns, and acting as a liaison between administrative attempts to abate it on the one hand, and the broad-based faculty interests representing the Assembly on the other.

Once the President, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the College, and the latter’s staff have determined a case of financial exigency exists, but before any faculty appointment is terminated, the members of the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Instructional Programs Committee, and the College faculty more broadly, will be informed.

Next, the Dean of Faculty with concurrence from the President, in consultation with the Faculty Assembly, or the elected body representing Assembly members, shall determine the criteria for identifying faculty whose appointments are to be terminated. The Dean of Faculty and the Faculty Assembly or its elected representatives will consult programs or departments affected as part of their deliberations.

Below are a number of considerations that should inform the process as it unfolds:

As a first step, the Assembly or the elected faculty governance body should be included—though there is no requirement to do so—in the process of deciding that a condition of financial exigency exists or is imminent, and that all feasible alternatives to termination of appointments have been pursued, including expenditure of one-time money or reserves as bridge funding, furloughs, pay cuts, deferred-compensation plans, early-retirement packages, phased-retirement packages, and cuts to non-educational programs and services, including expenses for administration.

Judgments determining where within the overall academic program termination of appointments may occur involve considerations of educational policy, including affirmative action, as well as faculty status, and should therefore include the faculty or an appropriate faculty body.

The case of a faculty member given notice of proposed termination of appointment for reasons of financial exigency may be governed by the following provisions.

  1. Before proposals for program discontinuance on grounds of financial exigency are made, the faculty or an appropriate faculty body will have opportunity to make recommendations regarding the institution’s financial
  2. Academic disciplines cannot be defined ad hoc; programs should be recognized academic units that existed prior to the declaration of financial The term “discipline” should designate a related cluster of credit-bearing courses that constitute a coherent body of study comparable to similar coherent bodies as recognized by other VA institutions of higher education. When feasible, the term should designate a department or similar administrative unit.
  3. Faculty members in a discipline being considered for discontinuance because of financial exigency will promptly be informed of this activity in writing, and provided at least thirty (30) days in which to

If the institution, because of financial exigency, terminates appointments, it will not at the same time make new appointments, except in extraordinary circumstances where a serious distortion in the academic discipline would otherwise result. The appointment of a faculty member with tenure will not be terminated in favor of retaining a faculty member without tenure, except in extraordinary circumstances where a serious distortion of the academic discipline would otherwise result.

Before terminating an appointment because of financial exigency, the institution, with faculty participation, will make every effort to place the faculty member concerned in another suitable position within the institution if feasible.

B. Discontinuance of a Discipline for Educational Reasons

Termination of an appointment with continuous tenure, or of a probationary or special appointment before the end of the specified term, may occur as a result of bona fide formal discontinuance of an instructional discipline. The following standards and procedures will apply.

Faculty members in a discipline being considered for discontinuance for educational considerations will promptly be informed of this activity in writing, and provided at least thirty (30) days in which to respond to it.

Academic disciplines cannot be defined ad hoc; disciplines must be recognized academic units that existed prior to the decision to discontinue them. The term “discipline” should designate a related cluster of credit-bearing courses that constitute a coherent body of study.

Before the administration issues notice to a faculty member of its intention to terminate an appointment because of formal discontinuance of a discipline of instruction, the institution will make every effort to place the faculty member concerned in another suitable position when feasible. If placement in another position would be facilitated by a reasonable period of training, financial and other support for such training will be proffered when feasible. If no position is available within the institution, with or without re-training, the faculty member’s appointment then may be terminated, but only with provision for severance salary when feasible equitably adjusted to the faculty member’s length of past and potential service, an amount which may well exceed but not be less than the amount prescribed in what follows.

If the appointment is terminated, the faculty member will receive salary or notice when feasible in accordance with the following schedule: at least three months, if the final decision is reached by March 1 (or three [3] months prior to the expiration) of the first year of probationary service; at least six [6]months, if the decision is reached by December 15 of the second year (or after nine [9] months, but prior to eighteen [18] months) of probationary service; at least one (1) year, if the decision is reached after eighteen (18) months of probationary service, or if the faculty member has tenure.

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