The use of non-Senate personnel in Ad Hoc Personnel Committees

[Advice to Vice Provost Barbara Horwitz on 1/27/2003 and 2/6/2003]

Part I (1/27/03)

CERJ believes that non-Senate members may not participate in Ad Hoc committees.  The reason, however, is not found in ASB 55, but in the Standing Orders of the Regents.  ASB 55 governs departmental voting rights, and as such does not apply directly to Ad Hocs.  Instead, we note that the Standing Orders grant the Academic Senate authority over the curriculum and with determining the competence of instructors who deliver that curriculum.  It would, then, be inappropriate to permit non-Senate members to evaluate personnel on curricular questions.  Our rationale is consistent with the advice that we gave you in a letter dated 17 October 2001 to the effect that non-Senate members should not evaluate Academic Federation or other non-Senate personnel on matters related to instruction.

Part II (2/6/03)

The follow-up question was whether a non-Senate member with special expertise could serve on the committee provided that he or she did not participate in the evaluation of the instructional component of the candidate's portfolio?

Ad Hoc committees are not Senate committees; therefore, Senate rules pertain to them only with respect to their association with duties assigned to the faculty by the Standing Orders of the Regents.  The Standing Orders assign the authority over all courses and curricula offered for academic credit to the Senate.  This was the basis for CERJ's previous opinions that only Senate members may evaluate a (Senate or non-Senate) candidate's performance in those areas.  The evaluation of no other area of faculty performance is similarly restricted by the Standing Orders.  Therefore, in principle, you could appoint an Ad Hoc with non-Senate members whose remit extended only to non-instructional questions.

We would emphasize, however, that this freedom is in principle only.  Practically, CERJ believes that it would be a grave mistake for you to do so.  There is no mechanism by which you could maintain a strict separation within the committee between those areas permissible and impermissible to the non-Senate member.  Even if such a member did not vote on instructional matters, how could you guarantee that he or she did not influence the  vote?  This strikes us as a privilege-and-tenure case just waiting to happen.

Furthermore, would you ask for separate votes on the instructional and non-instructional aspects of the case?  If so, what would the overall decision of the committee be?  There might not be any clear-cut result. In a three-member (or any odd-number-member) Ad Hoc, if one member were unable to vote on the instructional aspects of the case, the committee could end up divided one to one and, again, there would be no clear cut result.

If the problem is finding an appropriate assessor for a tricky personnel case, there would not be any objection that we can see to having an outside evaluation submitted at the level of the departmental review (much as outside letters are currently submitted in some cases) that would then go forward with the packet to be evaluated by a Senate-only Ad Hoc.  But to introduce non-Senate members into the Ad Hoc itself seems to beg appeals and protests.