2.10 Faculty Rights and Obligations

Persons with faculty appointments are both members of the college [university] and of the academic profession more broadly. As a result of this dual membership, faculty members have correlative rights and obligations, rooted in both the general standards of one’s profession and the particular character and standards of the college [university].

2.10.1 Academic Freedom

It is fundamental to the health of an academic institution and ultimately to the health of society at large that faculty members exercise their responsibility and freedom to search for truth and to speak truthfully. A truly Catholic institution of higher learning is “animated by a spirit of freedom and charity; it is characterized by mutual respect, sincere dialogue and protection of the rights of individuals” (John Paul II, Ex Corde Ecclesiae, 21).

Both the college [university] and each faculty member shall respect the rights and fulfill the responsibilities implicit in the 1940 “Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom” (from the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Colleges and Universities), adapted here:

  1. In research and in publication of the results, faculty members are entitled to full freedom, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties. Research for pecuniary returns should be based upon an understanding with the academic officers of the college [university].
  2. In the classroom, faculty members are entitled to freedom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. Faculty members should respect the Catholic and Benedictine character of the college [university] in their teaching.
  3. When faculty members speak or write as citizens, they should be free from college [university] censorship or discipline. Nevertheless, their special position in the community imposes special obligations because they are not only citizens but also members of a learned profession and officers of the college [university]. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and the college [university] from their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the college [university].
2.10.2 Code of Professional Ethics

Although no set rules or professional conduct can either guarantee or take the place of a faculty member’s personal integrity, the college [university] endorses the 1987 “Statement on Professional Ethics” promulgated by the American Association of University Professors, adapted here:

  1. Faculty members, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end, faculty members devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty although they may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously impair or compromise their freedom of inquiry.
  2. As teachers, faculty members encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before their students the best scholarly and ethical standards of their disciplines. Faculty members demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors. They make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that the evaluation of students reflects each student’s true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student and avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from students and protect students’ academic freedom.
  3. As colleagues, faculty members have obligations that derive from common membership in the community as scholars. They do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas, faculty members show due respect for the opinions of others. They acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in the professional judgment of colleagues. They accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution.
  4. As members of an academic institution, faculty members seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although they observe the stated regulations of the college [university] provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Faculty members give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within the college [university] in determining the amount and character of work done outside it. When considering the interruption or termination of their service, faculty members recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the college [university] and give due notice of their intentions.
  5. As members of their community, faculty members have the rights and obligations of other citizens. They measure the urgency of these obligations in light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to the college [university]. When they speak or act as private persons, they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for the college [university]. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, faculty members have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.
2.10.3 Faculty Responsibilities

Membership in the academic profession carries with it responsibilities for the advancement of knowledge, the intellectual growth of students, and the improvement of society. Faculty members should order and evaluate their activities in relation to these goals, as well as in relation to their own personal and professional development. Moreover, faculty members of the college [university] have a special obligation to understand the nature of this institution of higher learning and to appreciate its unique characteristics and its philosophy, mission and goals. They should strive to improve the intellectual and practical effectiveness of the college [university] and should bear their share of the faculty’s responsibilities for the various curricula of the college [university].

A faculty member’s overall responsibilities include: effective teaching, which is paramount; scholarship and creative work as appropriate to their field; academic advising; service; and the development of professional identity, as described in Section 2.5, “Faculty Evaluation: Policy, Criteria, and Evidence.”

A faculty member is responsible for carrying out satisfactorily the duties agreed to in the individual faculty assignment. Faculty Assignment

Each faculty member’s assignment of responsibilities is determined annually by the department chair in consultation with the faculty member and with the approval of the divisional dean. [Graduate faculty assignments are determined by the dean of the School of Theology in consultation with the faculty member.]

The actual faculty assignment will vary from person to person considering the following factors:

  1. the department curriculum, the number of courses and preparations required, the number of students in the assigned courses;
  2. use of teaching methods and resources consistent with quality education;
  3. number of student contact hours in laboratory sections, methods, courses, private lessons, etc;
  4. number of individual learning projects or internships;
  5. committee assignments;
  6. extraordinary circumstances within a department;
  7. number of advisees; and/or
  8. administrative work.

The following guidelines are used in the determination of faculty assignments:

  1. Faculty members should be occupied chiefly with the academic growth and development of students.
  2. Individual learning projects and internships are an important part of the education process. In addition to normal course assignments, faculty members are expected to be responsible for such teaching from time to time. However, no faculty member need be responsible for more than three concurrent individual learning projects and/or internships without a corresponding reduction of other duties.
  3. A faculty member will neither be assigned more than three 4-credit courses, nor more than 100 students in a given semester unless the college [university] provides assistance to make working with a larger number of students feasible.
  4. The vitality of the core curriculum depends on the active involvement of faculty members. Faculty members are expected to teach core courses. While departmental needs may sometimes prevent faculty members from teaching extra-departmental courses in the core, faculty members are strongly encouraged to do so periodically.
  5. Faculty members in the School of Theology face explicit expectations for scholarship that should be taken into account in a determination of their annual faculty assignment. Other Faculty Responsibilities
  1. Faculty members are expected to conduct classes in a manner appropriate to the type and level of the course assigned; to establish and inform students of course objectives, requirements, and schedules; and to deal with student papers and examinations in a timely manner.
  2. Faculty members are expected to hold office hours for consultation on course work and the advising of students.
  3. A faculty member who must be absent from a class due to illness or other due cause should try to make arrangements for alternative instruction or inform the department chair or dean of the college [university] to arrange for timely notification of students.  Graduate faculty should notify the dean of the School of Theology.
  4. Faculty members are expected to take up other responsibilities as the situation may call for: moderating senior theses or research projects, assisting in the recruitment of prospective students, teaching for a colleague in an emergency, assisting in summer registration, etc.
  5. Faculty members are expected to participate in the decision-making, curriculum development, and assessment processes of the department and the college [university]. Faculty members are not expected to serve on a college [university] standing or ad hoc committee before the year in which they apply for third-year review.
  6. Although faculty members have a primary responsibility to their own department, they are also members of a larger collegial community and should make every effort to work cooperatively with members of other departments and with the administrators of the college [university], respecting appropriate deadlines established by various administrative officers.
  7. Faculty members are required to attend the fall faculty workshop and spring commencement exercises.  If faculty are unable to attend, they should notify the Office of Academic Affairs in advance.  Faculty members are also expected to attend other major academic convocations.
  8. In addition, each faculty member has a responsibility to be familiar with his or her roles and responsibilities as described in the Faculty Handbook. If questions of interpretation arise, clarifications should be sought from the president, the provost, the dean of the college, the department chair [the dean of the School of Theology], or the Faculty Handbook Committee. Any exceptions mutually agreed upon should be in writing and signed by all parties concerned. Outside Activities

Full-time faculty members are expected to devote their full working time to this employment.  Nonetheless, consulting and other outside activities of a professional nature are encouraged by the college [university] where such activities give the faculty member experience and knowledge valuable to professional growth while making a positive contribution in society. In order to keep a balance in this matter, no outside service or enterprise, professional or other, should be undertaken by a faculty member that might interfere with his or her primary responsibility to the college [university] as defined in Section 2.10.3, “Faculty Responsibilities.”

The following procedures apply:

  1. Although a faculty member need not obtain prior authorization before engaging in outside professional activities, the faculty member should consult with the chair and the divisional dean prior to any instance where a conflict between his or her contractual responsibilities to the college [university] and the outside activity may arise.
  2. If outside activities harm a faculty member’s performance of professional responsibilities, the chair [and/or the dean of the School of Theology] should speak directly to the faculty member about the matter. If the situation does not improve sufficiently, additional assistance will be available from the divisional dean and/or the provost. See Section 2.13.6, “Discipline and/or Dismissal for Cause.”
  3. Faculty members may use their offices, library services, and, to a limited extent, secretarial staff (if available after completion of official work) to assist in the preparation of professional manuscripts, creative work, or other outside professional activity.
  4. Except for incidental use of office equipment (e.g., word processing, local phone calls), faculty members may use college [university] facilities for nonprofessional outside activities only with written approval of the department chair, the dean of the college [university], [and/or the dean of the School of Theology], and the person responsible for operating that facility or equipment.  In such cases, the faculty member or his or her outside employer or sponsor will pay the reimbursement rate established by the college [university] for such use.
  5. Faculty members may employ official college [university] stationery in outside professional activities. They should not use official stationery or the college’s [university’s] name or seal in any offer of goods or services by any outside organization without prior permission of the divisional dean [and/or the dean of the School of Theology]. The college [university] assumes no responsibility for the competence or performance of the outside activities (either professional or nonprofessional) of any faculty member. Faculty members must be careful not to represent themselves as acting on behalf of the college [university].
  6. Faculty members uncertain about their responsibilities with regard to a conflict between their work as a faculty member and their outside activities should consult with their chair and their divisional dean [and/or the dean of the School of Theology], concerning their compliance with college [university] policies.
2.10.4 Working Conditions

In order to assist faculty members in the performance of their duties, the college [university] provides the facilities and services listed below. Specific details governing these matters are described in Part III.

  1. office space
  2. media services
  3. computer services
  4. library services
  5. office keys
  6. identification cards
  7. secretarial services
  8. duplicating services
  9. official stationery
  10. postage for official correspondence
  11. health services
  12. counseling services
  13. on-campus parking
  14. academic regalia [Saint John’s University only]
  15. notary public
2.10.5 Related College [University] Policies

Faculty members are responsible for following college [university] policies. Policies are grouped in the Faculty Handbook not by their subject matter or function but according to the procedures employed to amend them. Appendix to Part II

Policies included as appendices to Part II can be amended only through the full revision procedure for the rest of Part II, described in Section 2.16, requiring action of the faculty, the president, and the Board of Trustees [Regents]. The provost coordinates and transmits to the president all of the Faculty Handbook amendments passed by the Joint Faculty Assembly.

  1. “Joint Human Rights Policy”
  2. “Joint Sexual Assault Policy” Part III of the Faculty Handbook: Administrative Policies

Policies included in Part III are created by the appropriate college [university] administrator and are amended by administrative update from that administrative officer. Policies in Part IV of the Faculty Handbook

Policies included in Part IV are created and amended through approval of the Assembly and the president. The provost coordinates and transmits to the president all of the Faculty Handbook amendments passed by the Joint Faculty Assembly.

2.10.6 Violations of Faculty Rights, Academic Freedom and Professional Ethics

Disputes involving a charge that a faculty member’s rights or academic freedom have been abrogated or that professional ethics have not been maintained are to be settled through the established grievance procedures (see Section 2.15 and Section 4.1). While affirming academic freedom as a right, the college [university] recognizes that, in some circumstances, the questions of academic freedom become enmeshed in questions of professional irresponsibility. In the effort to distinguish between these sometimes confused issues, the guiding principle is that charges of professional irresponsibility shall not be used to limit academic freedom; nor shall appeals to academic freedom be acceptable as a shield for professional irresponsibility.