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Faculty and Staff Handbook

The purpose of the UAFS Faculty and Staff handbook is to help employees in their individual roles at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith by introducing them to the university. It is intended to provide information about the institution’s policies and procedures related to employment and employee benefits and to serve as a guide to programs and services available to faculty and staff .
 
Employees who wish to have a printed copy of the UAFS Faculty and Staff Handbook may request one . It is the responsibility of each employee to be aware of and keep current on all published policies and procedures and abide by them.
 
The policies and information within should be seen as broad internal guidelines . As guidelines their applicability may vary with case-specific circumstances; regardless of circumstances, consistency and fairness are values we seek in each decision.
 
While we have done our best to ensure that the material in this document is accurate, circumstances may occur that will require policies and other information in the handbook to change from time to time . The chancellor reserves the right to modify policies and procedures at any time at sole and absolute discretion. When policy changes are made, the master document will be amended and changes will be announced to the campus community through email.
 
While the university will attempt to provide employees with advance notice of any change, the university reserves the right to alter these policies at any time without advance notice . This handbook should not be construed as a legal document . The material is not all-inclusive as much of the material in the handbook is summarized . Nothing contained in this document or any verbal statement should be construed as creating any type of employment contract, either expressed or implied, between the university and any employee or a legal document of any kind . Further, nothing in this handbook or any other manual, handbook, or policy should be viewed as limiting the right of the employee or the university to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause.
 
Individual colleges and/or departments of the university may establish operating policies and procedures specific to their college or department . Those policies and procedures cannot be in conflict with university policies and procedures or state or federal law.
 
This document supersedes any previous policy manuals, handbooks, or unwritten policies.
 
 

Addendums

These addendums supersede policy information listed in the pdf version of the handbook. 

Date: May 7, 2021

Title: Faculty Office Hours Policy

Background/Rational: Whereas the purpose of office hours is to allow faculty to be accessible to students; 

Whereas faculty accessibility to students is evaluated by students each semester via the Student Evaluations of Teaching;

Therefore bit it resolved that the Faculty Office Hours policy be updated to reflect the multiple ways that faculty are accessible to students. 

Action Requested: 

Current Office Hour Policy States:

F.2.2 Office Hours. Full-time faculty must clearly post and keep regularly scheduled office hours. Faculty members will schedule two (2) office hours per every three (3) credit hours of classes they teach each week. Faculty teaching face-to-face courses may elect to have some of their office hours online, but no more than half of their hours can be online. Faculty teaching hybrid and alternative hybrid courses should have a mix of face-to-face and online office hours. No faculty member will be required to keep more than eight (8) office hours per week. Instructors should make a reasonable effort to be available by appointment should extenuating circumstances prevent a student from meeting with a faculty member during regularly scheduled office hours (UAFS Faculty and Staff Handbook, Section F.2.2., Office Hours, page 121)

Action Requested:

  • Eliminate set number of office hours per week.
  • Faculty will continue to include in their syllabi a statement that describes their accessibility to students.
  • Faculty may conduct office hours face-to-face, via email, and via other forms of electronic communication.
  • Revised Office Hours Policy will State:

F.2.2 Faculty Availability to Students Outside of Class. The number and type of office hours will be determined by the faculty member. Full-time faculty must include in their syllabi an availability policy. This policy will state the times that faculty will be available to students outside of class hours and the means by which faculty will be available during those times. Means of availability will be determined by the faculty member and may include, but not limited to, a combination fo such means as face-to-face traditional "office hours," virtual "office hours," and email. 

Faculty Senate Action

Number of Senate Members Present: 15

Final Vote Tally: For - 12.  Against - 3. Abstain - 0 

Senate Chair: Todd Timmons

Date: 05/07/2021

VIEW ORIGINAL RESOLUTION. 

 

Date: May 7, 2021

Title: Final Exam Schedule

Background/Rational: Whereas the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith faculty need the final exam schedule for the coming semester well before the start of the semester in order to adequately plan their courses, make course calendars, and include major course dates, if they so choose, in their syllabus;

Whereas the final exam schedule is often not officially published to the UAFS website until the week before the semester begins, making it impossible for faculty to finalize course materials before the start of the term;

Whereas one of the functions of Faculty Senate is to review and provide advice on academic calendars and schedules, including the final exam schedule;

Therefore be it resolved that UAFS provide the forthcoming final exam schedule to Faculty Senate for review and provide a copy to faculty the semester before the schedule will be used.

Action Requested:

Final exam schedules should be submitted to Faculty Senate for review, comment, and possible changes. Spring final exam schedules should be submitted to Faculty Senate ahead of their October meeting, and fall final exam schedules should be submitted to Faculty Senate ahead of their March meeting. Finalized versions will be distributed to all faculty, including adjuncts who have classes scheduled by November 1, for the spring final exam schedule, and May 1, for the fall final exam schedule. New, visiting, and adjunct faculty assigned classes after these dates will be given the relevant final exam schedule as soon as possible. The final exam schedule published to the website for public use should be published by August 1, for the fall final exam schedule, and January 3, for the spring final exam schedule. 

Faculty Senate Vote

Number of Senate Members Present: 14

Final Vote Tally: For - 12. Against - 2. Abstain - 0

Senate Chair: Todd Timmons

Date: 05/07/2021

VIEW ORIGINAL RESOLUTION

I. Policy Statement 

The University of Arkansas Fort Smith is committed to providing an environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member of its community and that is free from harassment and discrimination. Such an environment is necessary to a healthy learning, working, and living atmosphere. The University expects students, applicants for admission, employees, applicants for employment, affiliates, subcontractors, on-site contractual staff, community members, and visitors to uphold the University’s commitment to nondiscrimination and harassment by conducting themselves in manner that is appropriate and consistent with this policy. Accordingly, all acts of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are prohibited. The University will take prompt and equitable action in response to complaints about such conduct. 

II. Policy Scope and Relationship to Title IX 

“Discrimination” under this policy refers to action or conduct that (1) is based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, age, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or genetic information and (2) materially affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a program or activity. 

“Harassment” under this policy means detrimental action or a course of conduct that is based on one of the foregoing categories and that is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe and/or pervasive) and objectively offensive to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities or when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment. 

Reports and complaints regarding sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, and similar conduct should first be made to the Title IX Coordinator under the University’s separate policy on sexual assault and harassment. Other forms of discrimination and harassment may be the subject of an initial complaint under this policy. In addition, this policy may be used to address complaints of sexual harassment or assault that may negatively affect the campus community but are dismissed by the Title IX Coordinator based on lack of jurisdiction. In such situations, the appropriate office will have discretion on whether to commence an investigation under this policy. 

III. Offices Hearing Complaints 

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment against faculty, staff, and administrative employees. The Office of the Dean of Students is responsible for investigating complaints of harassment and discrimination against students. A complaint to the appropriate office, using the Complaint Form, should be made within 30 days of the 

act of discrimination or harassment. The time limit may be waived or extended by the Department of Human Resources or the Office of the Dean of Students if good cause is demonstrated. 

IV. Investigation 

After receiving the complaint, the appropriate office will explore whether the matter can be resolved informally, without disciplinary action or a finding that discrimination or harassment has occurred. If the issue can be resolved informally, no further action will be taken. 

If the complaining party chooses to proceed with a formal complaint, the individual against whom the complaint is filed (i.e., the “respondent”) will be instructed to provide a written response to the allegations within five (5) working days of the request. The matter will then be investigated promptly. 

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigating office will issue a written determination of responsibility and provide the decision to the complaint and respondent. The determination shall also identify any sanctions or remedies that the investigator believes should be imposed. In the case of employee-respondents, the proposed sanctions and remedies shall serve as a nonbinding recommendation to the appropriate campus administrator. 

The institution reserves the right to address, as an administrative matter, conduct that does not constitute a violation of this policy, but nevertheless is inappropriate in a professional work or educational environment. 

V. Appeal 

If a student-respondent is dissatisfied with the decision, the respondent may request that the Dean of Students convene a hearing. The request for a hearing must be made within 5 working days of the decision. After receiving the request, the Dean of Students will promptly schedule a hearing that generally follows the procedures used for cases of student misconduct. 

If an employee-respondent is dissatisfied with the decision, the respondent may appeal the matter to the Chancellor or his/her designee. A respondent who chooses to appeal must, within five (5) working days of receiving the decision, deliver a written statement to the Chancellor or designee that concisely explains why the decision should be overturned or modified. The Chancellor or his/her designee may elect to convene a committee to review the allegations, consider the evidence, and make a recommendation; alternatively, the Chancellor or designee may decide the matter in the absence of a committee. The final decision shall be rendered as soon as practicable and ordinarily no later than 10 working days after receiving the written appeal. 

VI. Retaliation 

It is a violation of this policy to take an action against an individual because that person has opposed any practices forbidden by this policy or because that person has filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in an investigation or proceeding under this policy. Retaliation includes intimidating, 

threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s opposition, complaint, or participation. Adverse action is retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this policy. 

VII. Confidentiality 

The University requests confidentiality from all parties and witnesses involved in an investigation. During an investigation, it may be necessary for the investigator to provide details to individuals with a legitimate need to know about the allegations. This may include: (1) information provided to respondents to allow them to fully respond to the allegations, (2) information provided to witnesses or other people with whom investigators communicate in order to obtain or verify information; (3) where appropriate, information provided to management during or following an investigation to allow any necessary actions to be taken. In addition, the identity of the investigation participants and the details of the investigation may become known for reasons outside the control of the investigator. 

VIII. False Reports 

Willfully making a false report of discrimination (including discriminatory harassment) is a violation of University policy and is a serious offense. Any person who willfully makes or participates in making a false report under this policy may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion. 

IX. Training 

One All new employees should receive training on preventing, reporting, and addressing discrimination (including discriminatory harassment) within 30 days of beginning employment or enrollment. Employees must receive refresher training at least every two years. 

X. EEOC and NSF Reporting 

Although complainants are encouraged to resolve their grievances related to discrimination by utilizing this policy, they may have the right to file a complaint directly with the appropriate agency. The contact information for the EEOC and NSF are as follows: 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) 

820 Louisiana St., Suite 200 

Little Rock, AR 72201 

Toll Free: 1-800-669-4000 

Telephone: 501-324-5060 

TTY: 800-669-6820 

Fax: 501-324-5991 

View Full Policy

Date: May 7, 2021

Title: Faculty Handbook 2020-2021 Course Overload Assignments

Background/Rational: Whereas the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith Faculty and Staff Handbook in F.1.4 Overload Assignment currently stipulates that "Stipends for overload hours will be paid at the end of the spring semester. Faculty receiving course load reductions (release time) are not eligible for overload pay. Twelve-month faculty with no reassignments are eligible for overload pay during the fall and spring semesters. Any exceptions must be approved by the college dean and provost, in writing, prior to the onset of the assignment."

Whereas faculty with course load reductions, including department heads/directors and deans/associate deans, are frequently asked to teach overload assignments without extra compensation.

Whereas other system schools including the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock do not have a policy precluding faculty with course load reductions from being compensated if circumstances arise where they are required to teach an additional course.

Whereas other state universities, such as Arkansas State University, specifically allow faculty receiving course load reductions, including deans and department heads/directors, to be compensated if they take on an overload assignment.

Whereas Arkansas Systemwide Policy 440.2 Extra Compensation (2016) provides that "Stipends for extra compensation must be authorized to be paid at the regular payroll period for the time period in which it is earned."

Whereas 440.2 Extra Compensation is in effect at other system schools including the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Whereas not compensating faculty for their time and/or not compensating faculty when they do extra work in a timely fashion causes retention and promotion issues for faculty.

Therefore be it resolved that F.1.4 Overload Assignment be amended to allow faculty receiving course load reduction (release time) to be be eligible for overload pay if asked to teach an additional course assignment. The section should also be amended to follow the Arkansas System Board policy on Extra Compensation.

Action Requested:

We propose the following revision for section F.1.4 Overload Assignment, and we ask for this revision, if approved by the chancellor and provost, to be effective July 1, 2021:

F.1.4 Overload Assignment

Occasionally, because of scheduling conflicts or unexpected extended faculty vacancies, overload teaching assignments may become necessary. On those occasions when a faculty overload becomes necessary, a faculty member ay need to teach a load that is more than their customary stated load for their college or disciplines. An overload teaching assignment occurs only when:

  • a 9-month contract faculty member with a 24-hour load is assigned a teaching load of more than 12 hours per semester;
  • a 9-month contract faculty member with a 30-hour load is assigned a teaching load of more than 15 credit hours per semester;
  • a department head/director isassigned a teaching load of more than six credit hours per semester;
  • a dean is assigned a teaching load of more than three credit hours per semester.

Faculty and academic administrators asked to teach an extra course when they have a course release or reassigned time to perform other duties are expected to receive overload pay. Faculty and academic administrators with a course release or reassigned time will also be compensated for any extra duties that are normally compensated such as but not limited to payment for teaching undergraduate and graduate independent studies and acting as a lead instructor for concurrent credit courses.

When an overload teaching assignment occurs, arrangements should be made by the department head or dean to provide for extra compensation (according to the Arkansas System Board Extra Compensation Policy), reassignment time at a future time, or other compensation, as appropriate. Care should be taken to limit overload teaching.

Stipends for overload hours will be paid during the period in which the overload assignment occurs, unless the faculty member elects to bank the hours for reassignment time in the following semester. Faculty must elect to bank the hours for reassignment, and it must be in writing and agreed upon prior to the start of the semester. Banked hours cannot cross fiscal years. Banked hours not used prior to the end of the academic year will be converted to overload pay.

Any exceptions to the above policies, such as those that may be required by accrediting bodies, must be approved by the college dean and provost, in writing, prior to the onset of the assignment.

According to system policy, an employee's total compensation for the fiscal year cannot exceed the line-item-maximum (LIM) for the position, and if an employee's compensation exceeds 125 percent of annual LIM with extra compensation, then the compensation must be paid through private funds and the request for exemption must be approved by the chancellor, vice chancellor for academic affairs, the president of the University of Arkansas System, and the Board of Trustees.

Faculty Senate Vote

Number of Senate Members Present: 15

Final Vote Tally: For - 15. Against - 0. Abstain - 0

Senate Chair: Todd Timmons

Date: 05/07/2021

VIEW ORIGINAL RESOLUTION