APP 1-14 Departmental Voting Procedures

Summarizes the Academic Senate Bylaw governing faculty voting rights in departments and indicates the importance of the faculty vote in the academic personnel review process.

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A. Background

Departmental opinion on proposed academic personnel actions is in part obtained and reported by means of taking votes. These votes should be recorded in such a manner that subsequent review levels receive information about departmental opinion in a coherent and understandable form. Regulations governing departmental voting rights may be found in the Manual of the Academic Senate under Bylaw 55.

B. Summary of Bylaw 55

Bylaw 55 stipulates that each department determines its own form of administrative organization, but that no department may be organized in a way that would deny to any of its faculty who are voting members of the Academic Senate (emeritus faculty are an exception) the right to vote on substantial departmental questions, excepting only certain personnel actions, as indicated below:

  1. Designation of Voting Rights
    1. All tenured faculty in a department have the right to vote on all new departmental appointments that confer membership in the Academic Senate. Prior to such a vote, all the departmental members of the Academic Senate must be afforded an opportunity to make their opinions known to the voters.
    2. Professors have the right to vote on all cases of promotion to the ranks of Professor and Professor in Residence and Professor of Clinical (e.g., Medicine). Professors and Senior Lecturers with Security of Employment (SOE) have the right to vote on all cases of appointment or promotion to the rank of Senior Lecturer SOE.
    3. Professors and Associate Professors have the right to vote on all cases of promotion to the ranks of Associate Professor and Associate Professor in Residence and Associate Professor of Clinical (e.g., Medicine). Professors, Associate Professors, Senior Lecturers SOE, and Lecturers SOE have the right to vote on all cases of appointment to the rank of Lecturer SOE.
    4. For voting purposes, all cases that involve the removal of the Acting modifier from the title of a member of the Academic Senate shall be treated as promotions to the rank in question.
      NOTE: On this campus, Acting Assistant Professors are appointed with the intention that they be regularized as soon as they complete all Ph.D. requirements. Therefore, the department vote on the original appointment is considered sufficient consultation, unless the department indicates otherwise at the time.
    5. All cases of non-reappointments or terminations of Assistant Professors, Assistant Professors in Residence and Assistant Professors of Clinical (e.g., Medicine), or Lecturers PSOE and Senior Lecturers PSOE, shall be voted upon by those faculty eligible to vote on promotions to the ranks of Associate Professor and Associate Professor in Residence, Associate Professor of Clinical (e.g., Medicine), or appointments to the titles Lecturer SOE and Senior Lecturer SOE, respectively.
    6. In none of the instances specified above may the right to vote be delegated to a committee. The actual method of voting shall be determined by the eligible voters, subject, however, to the provision that no voter may be denied the option to require a secret ballot.
    7. The tenured faculty members of a department shall establish the method by which personnel matters other than those listed above are determined. The method adopted must have the approval of the Academic Senate Council on Academic Personnel or its equivalent.
  2. Extension of Voting Privileges
    1. Emeriti/ae* as a class may be accorded the right to vote on all non-personnel matters within a department from which they have retired upon a majority vote by secret ballot of the total non-emeritus/a Academic Senate membership of that department. Voting privileges on personnel matters within any department may be extended to emeriti/ae as a class and/or to other Academic Senate members of that department upon at least a two-thirds majority vote by secret ballot of those faculty entitled to vote on the cases in question under the provisions of Article B of Bylaw 55 (summarized above). Any extensions of the voting privilege must remain in effect for at least one year; thereafter, any faculty member entitled to a vote under the provisions of Article B may request reconsideration. Votes to reaffirm or to withdraw extensions of the voting privilege shall be taken by the appropriate procedure just specified above. Neither emeriti/ae nor other Academic Senate members to whom voting privileges have been extended shall participate in any vote to extend or to withdraw voting privileges with respect to personnel matters.
    2. Emeriti/ae* on Recall status retain voting rights on all academic matters except personnel matters. Voting on personnel matters may be extended to Recalled Emeriti/ae as a class by the procedures described above.
      *This term encompasses as a class all female and male faculty who have attained this status.
C. UCI Policy and Procedures

On the UCI campus, the Council on Academic Personnel finds it most helpful when departments or programs go beyond the minimum and have all members of the Academic Senate vote on all appointments, promotions, and merit increases with the votes recorded by rank. It is assumed that votes on personnel matters are taken after those faculty eligible to vote have consulted the pertinent dossiers and after they have had an opportunity for a full and informed discussion of the issues. Consultation with faculty members on leave is a matter of courtesy — the Senate Bylaws neither prohibit nor mandate such consultation.

The real issue is what the opinion of the faculty is on a given recommendation, not simply a count of votes. Every effort should be made to assure suitable consultation. Assistant Professors should be consulted regarding proposed merit increases for Assistant Professors. Faculty eligible to vote on promotions to tenure should be consulted regarding mid-career appraisals. It is the responsibility of the Department Chair to report faculty opinion clearly, though, of course, the Department Chair’s own recommendation may disagree with that opinion.

Also, please note that faculty who hold joint WOS appointments have a right to vote if they hold an eligible title, though they may choose not to exercise this right.

Statements made or positions taken by individual faculty are deemed confidential. Faculty members should avoid revealing to anyone, whether through inadvertence or by design, all matters expected to be confidential, including the opinions of others in the department, the identity of members of confidential review committees, the identities of extramural evaluators, and the positions taken by the several reviewing agencies outside the department.

Department chairs should review departmental voting procedures as filed on Form UCI-AP-53. Annually, if there are any changes, a new form should be submitted to the Office of Academic Personnel prior to the beginning of the review cycle.

D. Multilevel Review Process

In the UCI multilevel review process for academic personnel actions, it is important to avoid individual involvement in a review at more than one level.  Each individual involved can only participate in one level.

  • Eligible faculty member participates in discussion and casts vote on an academic personnel file at the Department/unit level.
  • Department Chair can either vote with the department or write an independent letter that indicates their recommendation, but cannot do both.
  • Faculty members, within the same department/unit as the faculty under review, selected to serve on a Dean’s level committee must only participate on the academic personnel file at one level, this can be at Dean committee level, or at the Department/unit level but not both.
  • Dean/Associate Dean write independent letters with their recommendation, but do not participate in department discussion or vote, even if they are a member of that department.
  • Council on Academic Personnel (CAP) members may not participate in academic personnel actions at lower levels.  CAP members must recuse themselves from the discussion and vote at CAP on any files they previously weighed in on at lower levels of review.
  • Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, and/or Chancellor write letters with their recommendation, render decisions, but do not participate in discussion or votes at any lower level of review.
E. Departmental Recording of Votes

All votes should be recorded by rank (Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor) with an indication of the number at each level eligible to vote. The votes of the Professors in Residence may be included with the corresponding professorial ranks. If a department has only one member at any rank, his/her vote may be recorded with those of the next rank in order to provide confidentiality. Any opinions of non-Senate members must be recorded and identified separately from those of Senate members.

Votes should be recorded as “for,” “against,” or “abstain.” If faculty members are on leave or otherwise unavailable, this should be indicated. Faculty members may vote in absentia if that is the agreed upon procedure for the department. If there are absences or abstentions on procedural grounds (deans, CAP members, near relatives, etc.), the number of such instances should be recorded separately. Negative votes should be explained in the department letter.

Department Voting Grid Terminology

FORThe voter is in favor of the proposed action.
AGAINSTThe voter is not in favor of the proposed action.
ABSTAINThe voter is available, but has elected to refrain from voting.
ABSENTThe voter is unavailable for voting due to an approved leave or other absence from campus.
ELIGIBLEThe members of the department eligible to vote.

The method of taking votes will continue to be left to the discretion of the department. It is important that this be done in some way that will result in a clear picture of faculty opinion about the proposed action. That opinion must be reported in such a way that those who review the case will be able to understand it without having to send the dossier back to the department for clarification.

The following two samples of departmental vote summaries display the vote in ways that are easy for reviewers to read:

Department Vote Sample #1

Assoc. Professors**11011214
Asst. Professors8021014
Assoc. Professors11001116
Asst. Professors305810
* The Chair abstains on all departmental votes.
** Lecturers SOE counted with Associate Professors to preserve confidentiality.

Department Vote Sample #2

Assoc. Professor
Asst. Professor
*The Chair records her vote separately.
** A faculty, who is a member of CAP, was absent from the department meeting.

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