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6.14 / Program/Unit Discontinuance Procedures for Unclassified Professionals

Purpose:
Establish procedures to be used when proposals are submitted for the discontinuance or merger of programs/units employing unclassified professional personnel.

Preamble:
Program/unit discontinuance in both academic and nonacademic units has already occurred at WSU as a result of environmental and economic pressures on the University. Future economic, social, technical and educational demand trends may lead to further reallocation decisions as the University responds to the interests of its many constituencies. Excellence in a time of scarce resources comes at a price of careful investment in programs/units. Programs/units may be required to merge with other programs/units or be eliminated entirely as the University responds to future environmental and economic pressures. Decisions to make changes in programs/units should consider the mission of the University (the University’s mission can be found at Section 1.02 of the Wichita State University Policies and Procedures Manual).

When faced with the necessity of program/unit change that may require discontinuance or merger, unclassified professional personnel must take an objective and informed viewpoint toward the issues involved. Actions must be taken and directed in ways congruent with the University mission.

Decisions regarding specific positions to be eliminated should be guided by consideration of functions, skills and/or the unique knowledge and experience required by the University. No unclassified professional staff member should be terminated to create or find a position or vacancy for a faculty member or for a classified staff member.

Discontinuance and merger decisions must be guided by a comprehensive statement of principles and procedures to ensure that the University’s mission is properly served; that the well being of the students is served to the greatest possible extent; and that the University’s responsibility, over and beyond its contractual obligations, to deal candidly, openly and supportively with its unclassified professional personnel is recognized and honored. This document sets forth appropriate guidelines and procedures to be followed in the event of proposals for discontinuance or merger of existing programs or units. This document is not intended to address financial exigency as defined by the Kansas Board of Regents Policy Manual.

Definitions:

Unclassified Professional Personnel: Persons with unclassified professional appointments that require special technical or administrative skills of a professional nature or teaching roles distinct and separate from teaching/research roles of the faculty or the direct administrative responsibility for faculty supervision (unclassified professional appointments are defined at Section 6.03 of the Wichita State University Policies and Procedures Manual).

Program/unit: Both academic and non-academic organizational units with employees identified as faculty, unclassified professionals and/or classified staff. Academic programs may be defined as those units that provide a degree program. Non-academic units provide a wide variety of service and support activities for the University, its students, staff, faculty and the community.

Program/unit discontinuance: University actions taken that eliminate a program/unit.

Program/unit merger: The union of two or more programs/units or the absorption of one or more programs/units into another.

Procedures:
Ultimately the President of Wichita State University will make decisions for program/unit discontinuance or merger after due consideration of all affected programs/units.

A.  The initial recommendation of program/unit discontinuance or merger could originate from several sources including the budget officer or budget review officer of the affected program or units, or the appropriate vice president.

B.  Proposals for program/unit discontinuance or merger will be, upon inception, made in writing. The proposal shall include the circumstances leading to the recommendation, detailed rationale for the recommendation, statement of the projected impact on the University’s mission, and a statement of the projected impact on students and on the personnel within the program/unit including the impact on the University’s equal opportunity priorities. Financial needs will be identified and positions likely to be affected will be stated. There shall be full disclosure of where reallocated funds will be used.

C.  Proposals originating from either the budget officer or the budget review officer of the affected program/unit will be reviewed by both the budget officer and budget review officer prior to being submitted to the appropriate vice president. The vice president will have two weeks after receiving the proposal to respond in writing. The response of the vice president will go to the budget officer and budget review officer of the program/unit affected, Director of Equal Opportunity and the President of the Unclassified Professional Senate.

Proposals originating from a vice president must be submitted for review to both the budget officer and the budget review officer of the affected program/unit. The time required for this process shall not be included in the time given to the program/unit for response.

D.  Budget officers and budget review officers of programs/units affected will be given four weeks to respond to the vice president and provide input on the impact of the recommendations. During this four-week period, programs/units, or unclassified professional personnel within the affected programs/units, may use a meeting of the Unclassified Professional Senate as a forum for discussion of the proposal and the ramifications thereof. The appropriate vice president and/or President of the University will attend the discussion forum. The recommendations from the affected program/unit as to specific individual positions may take into consideration the following criteria:

  1. Retention of necessary skills and knowledge
  2. Function/role of individuals
  3. Transfer potential of individuals
  4. Length of service and appointment status
  5. Voluntary resignations
  6. Retirement eligibility
  7. Regulatory and accreditation requirements
  8. Compliance with the University’s Equal Opportunity Plan
E.  Based on consideration of all relevant factors, the vice president will make a recommendation to the President of the University regarding the proposal for program/unit discontinuance or merger. The recommendation will be forwarded to the budget officer and budget review officer of the affected program/unit, Director of Equal Opportunity and the President of the Unclassified Professional Senate.

F.  If the vice president recommends that there be program/unit discontinuance or merger, the unclassified professional individuals affected in the program/unit have two weeks to appeal using the grievance procedures for unclassified professionals (these procedures can be found at Section 6.13 of the Wichita State University Policies and Procedures Manual). If a grievance is filed, the Grievance Steering Committee will immediately notify the President of the University.

G.  The Unclassified Professional Senate Grievance Steering Committee, after consideration of all relevant factors, will make a recommendation to the President of the University regarding the proposal within two weeks of the grievance being filed. These recommendations will be sent to the budget officer and budget review officer of the affected program/unit, Director of Equal Opportunity and the President of the Unclassified Professional Senate.

H.  At the next meeting of the Unclassified Professional Senate, the Senate President will report the proposed program discontinuance or merger and the action of the Grievance Steering Committee on that matter. No Senate action is required but the Senate may, by majority vote, choose to record a position of agreement or disagreement with the proposed program discontinuance or merger that shall be forwarded to the President of the University.

I.  Absent any grievances, the President of the University will render a final decision regarding the proposal for program/unit discontinuance or merger within four weeks after receiving the vice president’s recommendation. If a grievance is filed, the President will make a decision within four weeks after receiving the recommendation from the Grievance Steering Committee. The President’s written decision will be distributed to the budget officer and budget review officer of the affected program/unit, Director of Equal Opportunity, President of the Unclassified Professional Senate and the appropriate vice president. A plan and timeline for implementation of the proposed action will be included.

J.  Whenever possible, established procedures for notice of non-reappointment for unclassified professionals will be followed.

Effective Date:
June 1, 2000

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