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tennessee technological university

Faculty Senate

Procedures of the Faculty Affairs Committee

I. Membership

A. The Faculty Affairs Committee is a standing committee of the Faculty Senate. The Committee is composed of two representatives of the College of Arts & Sciences (one from the Humanities and Social Sciences and one from the Natural and Mathematical Sciences), one representative from each of the University's other colleges, and two at-large members. All members of the Faculty Affairs Committee shall be tenured members of the faculty. no officer of the Administration shall serve on the Faculty Affairs Committee. The members of the Committee will serve three year terms.

B. Representatives from the various colleges and schools shall be elected by secret ballot (unless a candidate is unopposed) in the same manner as members and alternates are elected to the Academic and Administrative councils. Representatives elected to the Faculty Affairs Committee may be, but are not required to be, also members of the Faculty Senate. These members shall take office at the beginning of the Fall semester following their election.

At-large members of the Faculty Affairs Committee shall be appointed by the President of the Faculty Senate from among the members of the Faculty Senate, with the advice and consent of the Senate, at the first Senate meeting of the Fall semester.

C. The Committee will elect its own chairperson in the spring semester to serve the following academic year. A chairperson may be re-elected.

D. The Committee, through its chairperson, reports directly to the President of the Senate or, at his request, directly to the Senate.

II. Procedure

A. Purpose

The primary role of the Faculty Affairs Committee is to resolve grievances in a mutually satisfactory manner. To do so the Committee must have the confidence and respect of both the faculty and administration. Hence, the Committee must make every effort to fully inform itself about the issue in question and must attempt to reach a just and impartial solution.

B. Hearing

1. Any faculty member who alleges cause for grievance may petition in writing the Faculty Affairs Committee for redress.

2. The petition will set forth in detail the nature of the grievance and will state against whom the grievance is directed.

A grievance is defined as a complaint that an action or decision has unjustly adversely affected an individual in his/her professional or academic capacity.

3. Submission of a petition will not automatically entail investigation or detailed consideration thereof. Having decided not to hear further on the grievance, the Committee will notify the petitioner in writing as to the reasons. (See section II.D.)

4. When the Committee has consented to hear a grievance, it will seek information from all parties to the grievance by informing the person or officer against whom the grievance is lodged of the substance of the grievance and inviting that person or office, along with the grievant, to submit any pertinent information. Refusal to do so establishes a prima facie presupposition in favor of the grievant.

5. Having reviewed the evidence submitted, and any other relevant information gathered by the Committee (such as policy and procedure statements, statements from knowledgeable persons not party to the grievance, etc.) The Committee shall come to a decision on an appropriate course of action. Having reviewed the evidence the Committee may decide:

a. No valid grievance exists.

b. A valid grievance exists, but not to the extent or against the person or office stated in the petition.

c. A valid grievance exists.

C. Resolution

1. In the event of situation 5a above the Committee will notify the petitioner in writing of its decision and the reasons.

In the event of situations 5b or 5c above, the Committee shall attempt to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution of the grievance in keeping with University policies and generally accepted professional principles. This may be done either by correspondence or in meetings of all parties with the Committee.

2. Should a mutually acceptable resolution be unobtainable, the Committee shall notify the President of the Faculty Senate with a recommendation for further action, after notifying both parties in writing that the case could not be mutually resolved.

a. Should the Committee find in favor of the grievant but fail to reach resolution with the person or office against whom the grievance was filed, the President of the Senate shall notify in writing the Committee's findings to the appropriate administrative office of committee of the University to whom that person or office reports.

b. If no action is taken within a specified period of time, a second written notification shall be sent to the above mentioned office or committee and to the office or committee to whom that office or committee reports.

c. Should there still be no appropriate remediation within a specified time, the President of the Senate shall refer the matter to the full Senate for consideration.

D. Appeals

Any decision of the Faculty Affairs Committee can be appealed to the full Faculty Senate for reconsideration.

E. Decisions

1. All decisions of the Faculty Affairs Committee shall be reached by a majority vote of the Committee. The minority may file a dissenting opinion for the record.

2. The chairperson of the Committee shall be empowered to vote on all matters before the Committee.

3. In the event that a member of the Committee be party to a grievance, or feel that he/she cannot render an impartial decision of whatever reason, that member shall excuse himself/herself from the Committee deliberations.

F. Records

1. A written record shall be kept of all information received by the committee, of all efforts of the committee to react and come to mutually acceptable resolution of the grievance, and of all actions of the committee, the President of the Faculty Senate, and in cases where a resolution is not achieved, of the full Faculty Senate.

2. During the Committee's deliberations, the written records of the committee's activities will be kept by the chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee. The record will be open only to members of the committee, the parties involved in the grievance, or the office of committee to whom an appeal is being made.

3. After resolution of a grievance, the written record shall be placed in a confidential file in guardianship of the President of the Faculty Senate.


  • [Adopted by the Faculty Senate May 11, 1987]
  • [Amended April 3, 1989]
  • [Amended by the University Assembly November 19, 2003]
  • [Amended by the University Assembly April 16, 2008]