Calling the Hearing
When a faculty member has received written notice of non-renewal or non-promotion, and wishes to appeal that decision, the faculty member may elect either of two courses of action:
(1) The faculty member may ask for a reconsideration of the case by the Dean. Such a request must be made within 30 days of receipt of the notice of non-renewal or non- promotion; the faculty member may accompany this request with any additional materials in support of his or her case which the faculty member may wish to submit. This reconsideration must be completed within 90 days of its request. If, upon reconsideration of the faculty member's case, the Dean reaffirms the original decision, the Dean shall so notify the faculty member and, on the request of the faculty member, the Dean shall furnish the faculty member with a written statement of reasons for non-renewal or non-promotion within 90 days of the original request for reconsideration. If the faculty member has reason to believe he or she has been treated unjustly, the faculty member may request a formal hearing by an Appeals Panel.
(2) The faculty member may elect not to ask for reconsideration but may, instead, immediately request that the Dean provide the faculty member with a written statement of reasons for non-renewal or non-promotion. Such a request must be made within 21 days of receipt of the notice of non-renewal or non-promotion; and the written statement of reasons for non-renewal or non-promotion must be furnished to the faculty member within 14 days of the request. If the statement is not provided within 14 days, the faculty member may then request a formal hearing by an Appeals Panel.
Upon receiving a written statement of reasons for non-renewal or non-promotion, the faculty member has 30 days in which to submit a request to the Dean for a hearing.
The Dean shall inform the Secretary of the Tenure Council that a hearing has been requested. The Secretary of the Tenure Council, in the presence of the aggrieved faculty member and the Dean, shall choose by lot 11 members of the Tenure Council to serve as an Appeals Panel in the case. No member of the aggrieved faculty member's department, nor of any Review Committee that has previously considered the faculty member's case, shall serve on the Appeals Panel. A member of the Tenure Council who has served on an Appeals Panel in a given year may not normally serve again in the same year until all other members have served. At the time of the drawing the aggrieved faculty member and the Dean each may choose to challenge up to two names so drawn. The Secretary of the Tenure Council will then draw seven names from the names remaining, and the first five will constitute the Appeals Panel and the remaining two will serve as alternates.
This Appeals Panel shall normally be convened within 30 days of the faculty member's request, and in no case later than 60 days, excluding the month of August, following such request.
These hearing procedures shall not be used to handle grievances concerning salary, teaching assignments, or other aspects of work load.
These hearing procedures may be used to review an actual decision not to promote a tenured Associate Professor but may not be invoked if there had not been a prior evaluation at the departmental level.
Each Appeals Panel shall elect a Chairperson and keep an account of its proceedings. This shall be stored in the Office of the Provost for as long a period of time as the University Counsel may specify.
The Appeals Panel may request the Department Chairperson concerned and the Dean to give testimony. If the case has been previously considered by a Review Committee, a copy of the Review Committee's report shall be furnished to the Appeals Panel, and the Appeals Panel may ask the Chairperson of the Review Committee to give testimony.
At or prior to the first session of the Appeals Panel called to hear the case, the aggrieved faculty member shall furnish the Panel with a written statement of the grounds for appeal. The Appeals Panel need not confine itself to the issues that the aggrieved faculty member may have raised in this written statement. The aggrieved party has the right to present any documents, evidence, supporting testimony, and advocates in his or her behalf. The aggrieved party shall also have the right to receive a summary of the substance of other materials presented as evidence or testimony in the case, but the sources of such materials shall remain confidential.
Appeals proceedings shall be conducted in closed sessions, with witnesses appearing one at a time. Each Appeals Panel should feel free to limit the number of witnesses and to limit the allocated time for presentation of testimony by each witness, keeping in mind the written guidelines for all Panels, considerations of fairness to the appellant, the need to preserve the confidentiality of the proceedings, and the practical need to bring the hearings to a timely conclusion.
Purpose of the Hearing
The Appeals Panel shall decide on the basis of the evidence put before it whether the decisions by the department, the Review Committee, and the Dean were ones that reasonable men and women acting disinterestedly might have reached. The Appeals Panel shall also seek to determine whether there were inadequacies or improprieties in the treatment of the aggrieved faculty member's case, and, if there were such inadequacies or improprieties, whether these were of such moment as to have prejudiced the outcome of the case.
It is not appropriate to challenge the participation of a faculty member in a review process on the grounds that that person had some familiarity with the candidate's work or had expressed professionally based opinions about some of the work.
If a Review Committee member is accused of personal bias in an appeal proceeding, there shall be a requirement that evidence be presented to substantiate the allegation and, if the Appeals Panel does not itself reject the allegation, the person against whom the allegation is made shall be given an opportunity to appear before the Appeals Panel to learn of the allegation and to respond to it.
The Chairperson of the Appeals Panel shall submit the findings of the Appeals Panel in writing to the Provost, together with the written record of the Panel's proceedings. The findings shall be in the form of a summary determination of the facts, accompanied by one of the following recommendations:
(1) that the Dean's decision be allowed to stand;
(2) that the case be reconsidered at the departmental level;
(3) that the case be referred to a Review Committee;
(4) that the Provost ask the Dean to reconsider the Dean's action;
(5) that the Provost reconsider the Dean's decision.
A copy of the findings shall be provided by the Chairperson of the Appeals Panel to the Dean, the Chairperson of the Department concerned, and the aggrieved faculty member.
The timeliness of notification of non-renewal shall be considered to be adequate if the original notification was sent within the required period even if requests for reconsideration, for written reasons, or for a hearing are made after the required period for notification.
* The University's Faculty Reviews and Appeals Policy 02-02-10 can be found here: https://www.policy.pitt.edu/faculty-reviews-and-appeals-02-02-10