College Protocols, Policies, and Procedures
What are the College Protocols, and why do we need them?
The College Protocols are not new policies invented out of whole cloth by the dean. The Protocols are guidelines that the Dean’s Office develops in order to implement the Faculty Handbook.
The Faculty Handbook is our law, our Constitution and, like the Constitution, it is often vague, sometimes frustratingly vague, and the Dean’s Office must “fill in the blanks.” Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes remarked that “General propositions do not decide concrete cases.” And that is true with the Faculty Handbook; its general propositions do not always provide clear and specific answers.
- For example, the Faculty Handbook says that faculty will be evaluated “at regular intervals.” In the Business School, they do it every year; that’s how they interpret and apply this provision. The College has different evaluation cycles for each faculty rank. That is our approach, which is laid out in our Protocols.
- The Faculty Handbook also requires that the dean “ensure appropriate standards” in evaluating faculty. Here too, the Dean’s Office has had to flesh out the meaning of that phrase and develop protocols and procedures which insure rigor and fairness in the faculty evaluation process.
Sometimes the Dean’s Office has to alter the College Protocols in order to reflect Faculty Handbook changes and new administrative practices. For example, when the Faculty Handbook added “Lecturer” as a new faculty category, the Protocols had to be updated. As another example, when PeopleAdmin came on-line, hiring procedures described in the Protocols had to be updated to reference PeopleAdmin. Sometimes the Protocols merely restate university policies, as in the case of the rules for paying independent contractors or signing contracts.
The most important point to understand about the Protocols is that they are the Dean’s Office attempt to be consistent and transparent in following the Faculty Handbook.
- First, we try to be consistent rather than arbitrary and capricious. When questions come up about hiring or faculty evaluations or tenure and promotion, we neither want to “make it up as we go along” nor provide different answers to the same question. We want uniformity and consistency.
- Second, we write the guidelines down and publish them, so they are transparent, not opaque. The other Schools do not publish their protocols or invite faculty feedback. We---the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office---publish our Protocols because of our commitment to transparency. The Dean’s Office updates the Protocols every summer and invites the department chairs to review them each September. After all, chairs are on the front lines, actually applying these Protocols; their feedback has proven to be essential. In addition, town hall meetings inviting faculty feedback were held in both the 2013/14 and 2014/15 academic years.