Faculty Handbooks - an Analysis of Human Resource Management Policies and Practices: A Case Study

By McCabe, Douglas M. | Competition Forum, July 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Faculty Handbooks - an Analysis of Human Resource Management Policies and Practices: A Case Study


McCabe, Douglas M., Competition Forum


INTRODUCTION

The development of sound faculty handbooks over the years in Universities and Colleges has made yeoman progress over the years. The adoption of well-written faculty handbooks into the overall human resource management function of Universities and Colleges has enhanced the relationship between faculty members and administrators in many cases. We may disagree as to whether the pace of the enhancement of a positive bilateral, symbiotic relationship is fast enough, but the direction is clear and encouraging. Simply put, this is an exciting area of human resource/human capital management that warrants more detailed research and scholarship (McCabe, 2015; Lester, 2013).

FIELD RESEARCH - A CASE STUDY

This author decided as preliminary field research - prior to a larger survey of Universities and Colleges to be undertaken in the future - to analyze a large and comprehensive (in terms of topics covered) faculty handbook of a major private University here in the United States. His research purpose was to examine and determine which topics of human resource management vis-à-vis administrators and faculty members were covered and ought to be covered in order to serve as a springboard hopefully pointed in the proper direction for the ultimate smooth resolution of problems arising in the administrator-faculty relationship.

An examination of this particular faculty handbook reveals the following key features which will be examined and analyzed.

First of all, the handbook's Preface states that the policies enunciated are the rights and responsibilities of faculty members and that they form the contractual obligations on the part of the University and the faculty.

Secondly, the handbook contains a statement regarding equal opportunity and non-discrimination in employment for all persons in all aspects of employment based upon all of the protected classifications.

Thirdly, the handbook states the University is committed to promoting the full realization of equal employment opportunity via an affirmative action program in compliance with applicable laws.

Fourth, the handbook moves on to discuss university governance and organization. It delineates the responsibilities and powers of the Board of Directors, the President of the University, the Provost, and the Deans of the various Schools within the University.

Fifth, a discussion of faculty governance bodies is undertaken in terms of the University Faculty Senate, the Campus Executive Faculties, and the Schools' executive Councils.

Sixth, the responsibilities of Chairs of Departments is outlined.

Seventh - and very important for any Faculty Handbook - there is a very detailed section on the rights and responsibilities of faculty members including the topics of academic freedom. research, sabbatical leave, teaching, grading, service, commencements and convocations, what constitutes the academic year, and outside professional activities.

Eighth - there is a superb statement in the Faculty Handbook that "Every member of the University has the right to be treated fairly, courteously, and professionally by students, colleagues, the Department Chair and by all members of the University administration, and to be protected from arbitrary or capricious action on the part of any such persons." Also, "Faculty members are to be free from arbitrary or capricious action on the part of the University Administration with respect to the determination of his or her own individual annual compensation."

Ninth, the handbook contains rules regarding financial conflicts of interest for faculty members. …

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