Trinity University
Faculty and Contract Staff Handbook

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(3)    Faculty Governance Policy

(3A)    ACADEMIC FREEDOM, RESPONSIBILITY, AND EMPLOYMENT OF FACULTY (POLICY STATEMENT)

(3B)    DOCUMENTATION FOR CANDIDATES FOR PROMOTION AND TENURE

(3C)    ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATIVE GOVERNANCE

(3D)    DISTINGUISHED PROFESSORSHIPS

(3E)    FACULTY APPOINTMENTS AND EVALUATION (OTHER POLICIES)

(3F)    FACULTY RECORDS


(3D)    DISTINGUISHED PROFESSORSHIPS
(Also known as the Statement on Distinguished Professorships.)

For a summary of recent changes to this chapter, see Chapter 9A: Summary of Recent Revisions to this Handbook.

Contents of this page: 

  1. Search CommitteesComposition

  2. Search Committee Duties

  3. University Distinguished Professorship Committee

  4. Negotiation Procedures by the President

  5. General Considerations

  6. Implementation and Amendment

A Distinguished Professorship is the most prestigious faculty appointment of Trinity University. These professorships are supported by special endowments, are limited in number, and are reserved for individuals who are widely recognized for their scholarly and creative attainments. Holders of Distinguished Professorships are certain to have a profound effect on students and faculty colleagues and often will have a significant influence in the community. Thus, extraordinary care must be taken in selecting and appointing individuals to these positions.

Two committees shall be involved in the selection process: the University Distinguished Professorship Committee, a standing University committee; and a separate Search Committee for each vacancy to be filled.

Two categories of criteria shall be applicable to the Distinguished Professorships: general criteria applicable to all Distinguished Professorships and specific criteria applicable to a particular appointment. The general criteria shall be developed by the University Distinguished Professorship Committee and submitted to the Academic Faculty for approval. The specific criteria shall take into account the wishes of the donor as well as University needs and expectations; these specific criteria shall be developed by the Search Committee and submitted to the University Distinguished Professorship Committee for approval.

I.    SEARCH COMMITTEES—COMPOSITION

A.    Tenured Distinguished Professorships

1.    If the departmental location of the tenured Distinguished Professorship is clear, the Search Committee shall include the tenured members of this department and shall ordinarily be Chaired by the departmental Chair. The Search Committee shall ordinarily have at least one extra-departmental tenured faculty member with relevant expertise. Determination of the exact number of extra-departmental members and the formal appointment of the Search Committee shall be made by the Vice President for Faculty & Student Affairs after consultation with the University Distinguished Professorship Committee.

2.    If the divisional location, but not the departmental location, of the tenured Distinguished Professorship is clear, the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs shall appoint the Search Committee and its Chair after consultation with the University Distinguished Professorship Committee. If practicable, the Search Committee shall have at least one tenured faculty member from each of the departments that could conceivably award tenure to the holder of the Professorship.

3.    If neither the departmental nor the divisional location of the tenured Distinguished Professorship is clear, the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs shall appoint the Search Committee and its Chair after consultation with the University Distinguished Professorship Committee. The members of the Search Committee should be representative of a wide variety of academic areas, with particular attention to the representation of any areas that might be most likely locations of the appointment.

4.    The Search Committee should consider using consultants from outside the Trinity University Faculty.

B.    Visiting Distinguished Professorships

1.    If the departmental location of the Visiting Distinguished Professorship is to remain the same from year to year, the Search Committee shall include the tenured members of this department and shall ordinarily have at least one extra-departmental tenured faculty member with relevant expertise. Determination of the exact number of extra-departmental members and the formal appointment of the Search Committee shall be made by the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs after consultation with the University Distinguished Professorship Committee.

2.    If the departmental  location of the Visiting Distinguished Professorship is not to remain the same from year to year, but the Professorship is to remain within the same division, the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs shall appoint the members of the Search Committee to serve staggered three-year terms and shall appoint the Chair of the Committee, after consultation with the University Distinguished Professorship Committee. If practicable, the Search Committee shall have at least one tenured faculty member from each of the departments in which the Visiting Distinguished Professor’s primary area of training and expertise is most likely to lie.

3.    If neither the departmental nor the divisional location of the Visiting Professorship is to remain the same from year to year, the members of the Search Committee shall be nominated by the Faculty Senate and appointed by the Vice President for Faculty & Student Affairs  to serve staggered three-year terms. At least one member of the Search Committee shall come from each of the academic divisions of the University, with particular attention to the representation of any areas most likely to be the actual locations of the appointment. Ordinarily, members of the Search Committee shall be tenured members of the faculty. After consultation with the University Distinguished Professorship Committee, the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs shall appoint the Chair of the Search Committee from among the members of the Committee. 

4.    The Search Committee should consider using consultants from outside the Trinity University Faculty.


II.    SEARCH COMMITTEE DUTIES

A.    Tenured Distinguished Professorships

1.    The Search Committee shall prepare a set of criteria applicable to the particular appointment being considered and shall submit it for approval to the University Distinguished Professorship Committee.

2.    The Search Committee shall submit for approval a position description, a recruiting plan, a position announcement, and a plan for documentation of the search to the University Distinguished Professorship Committee. The announcement, after approval by the University Distinguished Professorship Committee, shall be published in national organs such as The Chronicle of Higher Education and in appropriate professional journals.

3.    The Search Committee members individually and collectively shall identify persons whom they regard as superior candidates and shall solicit written nominations of candidates with no restrictions placed on the source of nominations.

4.    The Search Committee shall reduce the list of candidates for the Distinguished Professorship to the three to five individuals who best meet both the general and the specific criteria. The Search Committee shall submit written confirmation that the tenured faculty of the candidate’s projected department are in agreement as to the appropriateness of the candidate for interview and potential appointment. The names of these individuals, together with a written statement explaining why each is recommended for campus interview, and all other relevant materials shall be forwarded to the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs for review by the Affirmative Action Officer of the University. The Vice President shall then present the names, statements and accompanying materials to the University Distinguished Professorship Committee. In submitting the names and the accompanying materials, the Search Committee may rank the candidates if it wishes.

5.    Following the campus interviews, the Committee shall formulate a written evaluation of each candidate. These statements and all other relevant materials shall be forwarded to the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs. The Vice President shall then present the recommendation and accompanying materials to the University Distinguished Professorship Committee. In submitting the evaluations and the accompanying materials, the Search Committee may rank the candidates if it wishes.

B.    Visiting Distinguished Professorships

1.    If the departmental location of the Visiting Distinguished Professorship is to remain the same from year to year:

a.    The Search Committee shall prepare a set of criteria applicable to the particular appointment being considered and shall submit it for approval to the University Distinguished Professorship Committee.

b.    Each year, the Search Committee shall identify individuals whom it regards as superior candidates for the Visiting Distinguished Professorship.

c.    The Search Committee shall maintain from year to year a list of such superior candidates, adding and/or deleting names each year.

d.    Each year, the Search Committee shall rank the individuals included in its list of superior candidates on the basis of the criteria that have been approved.

e.    Each year, the Search Committee shall submit to the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs for review by the University Distinguished Professorship Committee and then for submission to the President of the University the names of the top-ranked three to five individuals, together with a written statement explaining why each is included and all other relevant materials. Before submitting the names and the accompanying material, the Search Committee shall informally determine the interest of the candidates.

2.    If the divisional location, but not the departmental location, of the Visiting Distinguished Professorship is to remain the same from year to year:

a.    The Search Committee shall prepare a set of criteria applicable to the particular appointment being considered and shall submit it for approval to the University Distinguished Professorship Committee.

b.    Each year, the Search Committee shall invite departments and programs within the division to submit the names of persons whom they regard as superior candidates for the Visiting Distinguished Professorship, together with documentation of their qualifications. The departments or programs shall informally determine the interest of the candidates before submitting their names and documentation. The Search Committee may also identify additional candidates for the Professorship, with the understanding, however, that the appropriate department or program will, in each case, be given an opportunity to register its approval or disapproval of any such candidate.

c.    The Search Committee shall maintain from year to year a list of such superior candidates, adding and/or deleting names each year on the basis of submissions from the departments and programs within the division and its own identification of candidates.

d.    Each year, the Search Committee shall rank the individuals included in its list of superior candidates on the basis of the criteria that have been approved.

e.    Each year, the Search Committee shall submit to the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs for review by the University Distinguished Professorship Committee and then for submission to the President of the University the names of the top-ranked three to five individuals, together with a written statement explaining why each is included and all other relevant materials. Before submitting the names and the accompanying material, the Search Committee shall informally determine the interest of the candidates.

3.    If neither the departmental nor the divisional location of the Visiting Distinguished Professorship is to remain the same from year to year:

a.    The Search Committee shall prepare a set of criteria applicable to the particular appointment being considered and shall submit it for approval to the University Distinguished Professorship Committee.

b.    Periodically, the Search Committee shall invite all departments and programs in the University to submit the names of persons whom they regard as superior candidates for the Visiting Distinguished Professorship, together with documentation of their qualifications. The appropriate department or program will be given an opportunity to register its approval or disapproval of any candidate.

c.    The Search Committee shall maintain a list of candidates nominated by the departments and programs, periodically adding and/or deleting names on the basis of such nominations. The Search Committee may also identify and include within its list additional candidates for the Distinguished Professorship, with the understanding, however, that the appropriate department or program will, in each case, be given an opportunity to register its approval or disapproval of any such candidate.

d.    When an appointment is to be made, the Search Committee shall rank the individuals included in its list of superior candidates on the basis of the criteria that have been approved.

e.    The Search Committee shall submit to the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs for submission to the President of the University the names of the top-ranked three to five individuals, together with a written statement explaining why each is included and all other relevant materials. Before submitting the names and the accompanying materials, the Search Committee shall informally determine the interest of the candidates.


III.    UNIVERSITY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSORSHIP COMMITTEE

A.    Composition

The University Distinguished Professorship Committee shall consist of the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs, ex officio, and six tenured faculty members. The six faculty members shall be representative of a wide variety of academic areas and shall be appointed by the Faculty Senate to serve staggered three-year terms. The Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs shall serve as Chair of the Committee.

B.    Duties

1.    The Committee shall recommend to the Academic Faculty a set of General Criteria for Distinguished Professorships.

2.    The Committee shall act on recommendations from the Search Committees regarding specific criteria for particular Distinguished Professorships.

3.    The Committee shall act on recommendations from the Search Committees regarding announcements and search procedures and shall seek the approval of the Affirmative Action Officer of the University through the office of the Vice President for  Faculty & Student Affairs for the position descriptions, the recruiting plans, the position announcements, and the search documentation plans.

4.    Except in the case of Visiting Distinguished Professorships, the Committee shall review the written statements and accompanying materials regarding the candidates recommended by a Search Committee for interviews. The Committee may seek additional information and may ask for additional names from the Search Committee. These materials shall be forwarded to the President of the University, together with the Committee’s judgment as to whether the candidates satisfy the criteria.

5.    The University Distinguished Professorship Committee shall, following campus interviews where appropriate (in which the Committee shall participate) and reception of the Search Committee’s recommendation, review all relevant materials. The Committee may seek additional information and may ask for additional names from the Search Committee. The Committee shall then forward to the President these materials, along with its final judgment as to the candidates’ having satisfied the criteria, including, where applicable, Affirmative Action compliance. In the case of tenured Distinguished Professorships, the materials regarding each candidate must include written confirmation that all existing University policies regarding the award of tenure and appointment to the rank of Professor have been followed.

6.    If an undesignated tenured Distinguished Professorship should become available, the President shall determine the academic area of the Professorship after consultation with the University Distinguished Professorship Committee.

7.    Other items relating to Distinguished Professorships shall be within the purview of this Committee.

8.    The Committee may consider policies and recommendations regarding other categories of faculty appointment involving special funding, such as endowed Chairs.


IV.    NEGOTIATION PROCEDURES BY THE PRESIDENT

After the Search Committee and the University Distinguished Professorship Committee have completed their work and all materials have been submitted to the President of the University, negotiations will begin with the individual approved by the President to determine his/her availability. These negotiations will be conducted by a person authorized by the President. If the first person approved by the President is not available, then negotiations will begin with the next approved individual, and so on down the list. In the case of Visiting Distinguished Professorships, negotiations should be envisioned as encompassing at least a two or three-year period, so that if the individual who is the President’s first choice cannot be secured for the coming year his/her availability for subsequent years should be determined. At this point, the selection process would move on to the next approved individual to determine his/her availability for the coming year. This process would continue until an individual is secured or the list is exhausted. If no individual can be secured for the coming year, a further list may be obtained.


V.    GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

A.    Confidentiality and Negotiations

Confidentiality is extremely important and must be maintained at all levels of consideration. Invitations to visit the campus related to the search process and appointment offers will be made only by or with the approval of the President of the University. The President will be responsible for the negotiations.

B.    Affirmative Action

Efforts will be made to identify minority and women candidates, and no one will be excluded from consideration on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, marital status, national origin, disability, veteran status, or disabled veteran status. Records will be maintained so that efforts to identify minority and women candidates are well documented. The Affirmative Action Officer of the University will certify that the University is not in violation of Affirmative Action guidelines.

C.    University Policies Regarding Tenure and Rank

In the case of tenured Distinguished Professorships, all existing University policies regarding the award of tenure and appointment to the rank of Professor must be followed.


VI.    IMPLEMENTATION AND AMENDMENT

A.    Implementation

The Trinity University Statement on Distinguished Professorships shall become effective when approved by 

  1. a two-thirds majority of the membership of the Trinity University Faculty Senate; 

  2. a simple majority of the members of the Trinity University Academic Faculty; and 

  3. the Trinity University Board of Trustees.

B.    Amendment

The Trinity University Statement on Distinguished Professorships may be amended by 

  1. a two-thirds majority of the membership of the Trinity University Faculty Senate; 

  2. a simple majority of the members of the Trinity University Academic Faculty; and 

  3. the Trinity University Board of Trustees. 

Amendments may be initiated by the Faculty Senate, the Academic Faculty, or the Board of Trustees. Before voting upon a prepared amendment, at least fourteen days notice shall be given in writing to the membership of the Faculty Senate, the Academic Faculty, and the Board of Trustees.


(VII.) ADDENDUM:    GENERAL CRITERIA FOR TRINITY UNIVERSITY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSORSHIPS
(Prepared by the University Distinguished Professorship Committee and approved by the Academic Faculty)

Search committees should observe the following General Criteria in developing specific criteria:

The Distinguished Professor at Trinity University should have:

A.    A national reputation as recognized by those in the relevant discipline or profession;

B.    An established record of excellence in teaching and a commitment to excellence in undergraduate education;

C.    An established record of excellence in scholarship or creative endeavor;

D.    A desire to continue to make significant advances in scholarly or creative activities;

E.    An awareness of national and global social issues and problems;

F.    An appreciation of the role of higher education in society;

G.    An understanding of, and appreciation for, the University’s liberal arts traditions; and

H.    A willingness to support the educational goals of the University in as diverse a manner as possible.


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