15.0 Separation from Employment

  1. Separation from Employment

    1. Resignation

      Faculty members may terminate their appointments effective at the end of an academic year, provided that they give notice in writing at the earliest possible opportunity, but no later than May 15 or thirty days after receiving notification of the terms of appointment for the coming year, whichever date occurs later. Faculty members may properly request a waiver of this requirement of notice in case of hardship or in a situation where they would otherwise be denied substantial professional advancement or other opportunity.

    2. Retirement

      The University complies with the Age Discrimination and Employment Act. Amendments to this federal law have removed mandatory retirement based on age.

      All retired faculty members may have the following benefits: faculty discount at the Drago College Store, admission to convocations on campus, use of the facilities of the Library, use of the Putnam Student Center, faculty privileges for admission to athletic activities and use of the West Plains Civic Center swimming pool during Missouri State University sessions.

      Each faculty member retired from Missouri State University is entitled to continue the same medical insurance coverage he or she had before retirement, including dependent coverage. The retiree must assume the cost, which will be at the group rate that is currently in effect. This eligibility continues until the retiree is eligible for Medicare. Although a retiree is no longer eligible for the group term life insurance plan provided by the University, the retiree is guaranteed the option to convert to ordinary life insurance with the same company but at a higher rate based upon individual policy rates and the retiree's age. The director of human resources can provide more specific information regarding retirement and insurance.

    3. Teaching for Missouri State University-West Plains After Retirement

      From time to time, the University may offer individual retired faculty members the opportunity to teach one or more courses after retirement. For retired faculty members who have been granted emeritus status, the compensation for such teaching would be at the rate of 2.5 percent of the average annual salary per credit hour for the retiree's rank during his or her last year of employment at the University. If a retired emeritus faculty member wishes to teach a course that does not meet minimum enrollment guidelines, the administrator and faculty member may negotiate for a salary rate that is less than 2.5 percent of the average annual salary per credit hour for the retiree's rank during his or her last year of employment at the University. For retired faculty members who have not been granted emeritus status, compensation for teaching after retirement shall be at the regular per course rate.

      A retired faculty member who teaches part-time for Missouri State University after retirement will continue to receive his or her retirement benefits. The retiree must not work more than the equivalent of half-time employment. The teaching load would ordinarily be up to six hours per semester; special permission may be granted by the dean of academic affairs for a retired faculty member to teach more than six hours during a given semester, but no more than 12 hours during the academic year. The retiree can earn up to a specified amount each calendar year and still collect full Social Security benefits.

    4. Notice of Non-Reappointment of Tenure Track Faculty

      Policies regarding notice of non-reappointment of ranked faculty during the probationary period may be found in Section 3.9.

    5. Dismissal

      The following Missouri statutes provide the basis for the University's policy for dismissing tenured faculty members or for dismissing untenured faculty members prior to the expiration of a term appointment:

      174.140.--Each Board of Governors may appoint and remove the president or any professor or teacher in any state college in its district; may fix the duration, terms and conditions of their offices and compensation; may enter into agreements for and make contributions to both voluntary and statutory retirement plans for the chancellor, professors and teachers and under rules adopted by the board may extend the provisions of the workmen's compensation law to all employees thereof.

      (RSMo 1939 Sec. 10765, A.L. 1947 V.II p. 382, A.L. 1979 p. 288)

      Prior revisions: 1929, Sec. 9608; 1919, Sec. 11503; 1909, Sec. 11074 174.150.--

      1. No president, professor or teacher shall be removed except for incompetency, neglect or refusal to perform his duties, dishonesty, drunkenness or immoral conduct; nor shall such president, professor or teacher be removed until after ten days' notice, in writing, stating the nature and cause of removal and he shall have an opportunity to make a defense before the Board by counsel or otherwise and be allowed to introduce testimony which shall be heard and determined by the Board.
      2. In every case of suspension or expulsion by the faculty the person suspended or expelled shall be allowed an appeal to the Board from the decision of the faculty and the Board shall prescribe the manner and mode of proceeding in the matter of such appeal; but the decision of the Board upon such appeal shall be final.

      (RSMo 1939, Sec. 10766)

      Prior revisions: 1929, Sec. 9609; 1919, Sec. 11504; 1909, Sec. 11075

      When, in the view of the chancellor, there are substantive grounds under the law for the dismissal of a tenured faculty member or the dismissal of a faculty member previous to the expiration of a term appointment, the chancellor or his delegate will frame with reasonable particularity a statement of charges. This step will be taken only when less drastic courses of action do not produce or promise to produce, a remedy. Those less drastic courses of action may include but not be limited to the following: (1) discussions between the faculty member and appropriate administrative officers and (2) informal inquiry by the Academic Personnel Review Commission which may, failing to effect an adjustment, determine whether in its opinion dismissal proceedings should be undertaken, without its opinion being binding upon the chancellor (3) peer review process. Instigation of the peer review process is at the discretion of the chancellor.

      1. Dismissal Procedures

        The chancellor will initiate formal dismissal proceedings by addressing a written communication to the faculty member informing him or her of the statement of charges and that he or she will be dismissed or suspended without pay as of a date specified in the written communication, but in no case less than thirty working days from the date of delivery of the communication. The faculty member will also be notified by the chancellor that he or she may file a formal grievance with the Academic Personnel Review Commission within thirty days from the date of the delivery of the communication. If a grievance is filed, the hearing officer will hear the case. If no grievance is filed, the dismissal or suspension will take effect as indicated in the written communication specified above.

        Pending final decision, the faculty member will be suspended or assigned to other duties in lieu of suspension, only if immediate harm to the faculty member or others, including students and the education process, is threatened by continuance. Before suspending a faculty member, pending an ultimate determination of the faculty member's status through the grievance process, the administration will consult with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee concerning the propriety, the length and the other conditions of the suspension. Salary will continue during the period of suspension. The faculty member may request review by the Board of Governors of the dismissal or suspension without pay, as provided in 174.150, R.S.Mo. The faculty member may agree to the review being on the record of the hearing before the hearing officer.

    6. Check-Out Procedures for Faculty Members Leaving the Employ of the University

      All faculty members leaving the employ of the Missouri State University-West Plains must complete a property clearance form which is available from the business office. A copy of this form is required by the business office before final paychecks are issued.

    7. Reduction in Force Due to Financial Exigency

      1. Preliminary Considerations

        Declaration of the existence of a financial exigency is the responsibility of the Board of Governors. This declaration will take place only if there is a financial crisis of such magnitude that all other reasonable measures have been taken and there is no alternative to the termination of University faculty who otherwise would have the expectation of continuing employment. The measures which precede this declaration of exigency and the process leading to its declaration are detailed in The Missouri State University-West Plains Financial Exigency Policy, included in the Faculty Handbook as Appendix B. This policy will be changed only through the procedures specified for amendment of the Faculty Handbookin Section 16.0. Actions taken will be in accordance with the principles stated below, subject to the condition that special care will be taken so that the burden of financial exigency does not fall disproportionately on those for whom affirmative action was taken:

        1. The preservation of viable academic programs for the University shall be the primary goal.
        2. The faculty must not bear an undue proportion of the budgetary cutbacks. Every reasonable effort will be made by the administration to reassign faculty members to other mutually acceptable professional work for which they are qualified at Missouri State University-West Plains, in order to prevent the termination of employment of faculty members.
      2. Faculty Reductions

        If the financial exigency requires a reduction in the personnel services budget for academic affairs, faculty members' employment will be terminated according to the process detailed in The Missouri State University-West Plains Financial Exigency Policy (Appendix B) following these priorities:

        1. First: Termination of part-time, unranked personnel in all departments to the degree that their duties could be absorbed by full-time faculty members and still retain student enrollments.
        2. Second: Within academic divisions, full-time faculty members will be terminated according to the following priorities:
          1. First: Termination of unranked faculty members to the degree that their duties could be absorbed by ranked faculty members.
          2. Second: Termination of non-tenured ranked faculty members with six or fewer years of service to Missouri State University-West Plains to the degree that their duties could be absorbed by tenured faculty members.
          3. Third: Termination of tenured faculty members with fewer than twelve years of service to Missouri State University-West Plains to the degree that their duties could be absorbed by other tenured faculty members.
          4. Fourth: Termination of tenured faculty members with twelve or more years of service to Missouri State University-West Plains.
      3. Program Reductions

        If the crisis created by the financial exigency cannot be managed by distributed personnel reductions as detailed in The Missouri State University-West Plains Financial Exigency Policy (Appendix B), it may become necessary to eliminate one or more academic programs. Such program elimination shall be accomplished according to the process detailed in The Missouri State University-West Plains Financial Exigency Policy.

      4. Rights of Terminated Faculty Members

        At the termination of a faculty member due to financial exigency, Missouri State University-West Plains will provide the affected faculty member with a written notice of termination including a summary of the information and data used to make the termination decision as well as a description of the manner in which the decision was reached. This notice of termination must be provided according to the same requirements of timely notice of non-appointment of ranked faculty members during the probationary period, as prescribed in section 3.9 of this Handbook, except in the case of an extraordinary financial exigency which, as agreed to by the Faculty Senate and the chancellor, would make it impossible for Missouri State University-West Plains to give such notice. This notice of termination for tenured faculty must be provided at least 12 months before the effective termination date.

        Faculty given notice of termination have the right to a full hearing before a faculty committee to assess the validity of the educational judgments and the criteria for identification for termination and to determine whether the criteria are being properly applied in the individual case. The faculty committee shall consist of five members, including the two members of the Academic Personnel Review Commission (APRC), plus one additional tenured faculty member selected by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, one additional academic administrator selected by the chief academic officer and one additional tenured faculty member (not currently serving as an academic administrator) chosen by agreement of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and the chief academic officer. A recording of the hearing will be made. The faculty member will be permitted to introduce documentation and testimony determined by the chair of the hearing committee to be relevant. The administration would be permitted to similarly respond. Both the faculty member and the administration may be represented by legal counsel. Any request for hearing must be made within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the notice of termination. The faculty committee must report its decision, the number of votes cast on each side (but not identifying the votes of the individual committee members) and a rationale for its decision within ten (10) calendar days of the hearing.

        Either the faculty member or the administration may appeal the decision of the faculty committee to the Board of Governors. An appeal to the Board of Governors must be made in writing and must be filed with the chancellor within ten (10) calendar days following the decision of the faculty committee; otherwise, the opportunity for appeal will be lost. Upon receipt of the written appeal, which must state the basis for the appeal, the chancellor will notify the president of the Board of Governors. At the next regular Board meeting or as otherwise determined appropriate by the president of the Board, the Board will decide whether to hear the appeal. If the Board refuses to hear the appeal, the decision of the faculty committee is affirmed. If the Board agrees to hear the appeal, the hearing may be formal or informal and the time and place of such hearing will be communicated within a reasonable time to all parties involved. The Board or its designated committee shall have access to all facts and information it may feel are relevant and material to the issue. Parties to the appeal may be represented by legal counsel. The presiding officer selected by the Board of Governors will rule on all questions of evidence or procedure. Upon conclusion of such appeal, the Board or its designated committee, will render a finding in writing that will be final.

        During the 12 months prior to effective termination, the faculty member will be permitted to continue in professional duties at Missouri State University-West Plains with full salary and benefits. Salary shall be paid monthly for the duration of the 12-month period or until the faculty member obtains full-time outside employment. If the faculty member obtains full-time outside employment at a pay rate and with benefits that are less than the Missouri State University-West Plains pay rate and benefits, then Missouri State University-West Plains shall pay the difference for the remainder of the 12 month period. If the faculty member chooses to leave Missouri State University-West Plains during this 12-month period for any reason other than to accept full-time outside employment, Missouri State University-West Plain's salary and benefit commitment will cease. The faculty member and Missouri State University-West Plains retain the option to negotiate individual alternative arrangements by mutual agreement between the parties.

        Missouri State University-West Plains will provide reasonable assistance to faculty members who are terminated as a result of financial exigency in their search for other employment.

        Faculty members terminated because of a financial exigency will have the following rights of recall and seniority, in reverse order of termination. A replacement for a faculty member's position shall not be appointed within three academic years after the effective date of the termination of said faculty member. During this three-academic-year period, prior to the appointment of any new faculty member in a terminated faculty member's position, Missouri State University-West Plains shall offer reappointment by registered mail to such terminated faculty member at his or her last known address. Said faculty member shall have 30 calendar days within which to accept or decline the offer in writing. Should said faculty member indicate in writing that he or she desires to accept reappointment at Missouri State University-West Plains, then such reappointments shall be held open by Missouri State University-West Plains for such a period of time as may be necessary for the faculty member to fulfill any commitment he or she may have made to the faculty member's then-current employer, provided that such commitment does not extend beyond the period of one academic year. A recalled faculty member shall be reinstated to those years of service credits that he or she had accrued at the time termination occurred.

    8. Reduction in Force Due to Elimination of Academic Programs for Reasons other than Financial Exigency

      1. Definition

        "Academic program" means any course of study approved through the curricular process of Missouri State University-West Plains and appearing in the curricular offerings of Missouri State University-West Plains listed in the Program Inventory for Public Institutions published by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education of the State of Missouri.

      2. Procedures for Eliminating Academic Programs

        Except as provided in Section 15.7.3, an academic program will be considered for elimination only if the program is no longer viable for academic, enrollment or accreditation reasons. Any proposal to eliminate an academic program will be forwarded to the dean of academic affairs. If the dean concludes that the proposal has merit, she/he will forward it to the Faculty Senate for its action. The Faculty Senate will receive recommendations from the academic division(s) involved and the Budget Review Committee before taking action.

        Reorganization of academic programs cannot result in the elimination of any academic program without utilization of the procedures required herein.

      3. Rights of Faculty Members in Eliminated Programs

        Non-tenured ranked faculty members with teaching assignments in the academic program to be eliminated will be given notice of non-appointment as prescribed elsewhere in this Faculty Handbook. Tenured faculty members with teaching duties in the program to be eliminated will be assigned other available responsibilities for which they are qualified within the department. In those cases where there is no alternative assignment available within the department, at least one of the following courses of action shall be offered in good faith by the University in consultation with the tenured faculty member and the affected department(s):

        1. Early retirement
        2. Transfer of teaching duties to a different department
        3. Transfer of assigned duties to another professional position within the University, without loss of tenure
        4. Retraining for a position inside or outside the University

        If none of the courses of action listed above is mutually agreeable, the tenured faculty member will be released from service to the University. The University will provide the affected faculty member with a written statement including the information and data used to make the termination decision as well as a description of the manner in which the decision was reached. This statement of notice of termination must be provided at least one full calendar year prior to the effective date of the termination.

        The terminated tenured faculty member shall be given severance pay consisting of the continuation of his or her regular monthly salary (including fringe benefits) for a period of 12 months, plus an additional 30 calendar days' salary payment for each year of academic service to Missouri State University, to a maximum of 12 years of service. As an alternative and at the University's option, the terminated tenured faculty member shall be given extended notice, during which he or she will continue in professional duties with full salary and benefits, equivalent to 12 months plus an additional 30 days' notice for each year of academic service to Missouri State University to a maximum of 12 years' service. Salary shall be paid monthly until the severance pay benefits or extended notice ends or until the faculty member is recalled by the University or until the faculty member obtains outside employment. If the faculty member obtains outside employment at a pay rate and with benefits that are less than the University pay rate and benefits, then the University shall pay the difference for the period of eligibility for severance pay.

        When tenured faculty of eliminated academic programs and the administration have mutually agreed to retraining, the retraining will consist of the following components: (1) the retraining period of the affected tenured faculty member may be for as long as one academic year's duration whether the retraining is for a position with the University or for a position outside the University; (2) retraining may consist of course work or practical work completed on the Missouri State University campus or course work or practical work completed on another campus; (3) during the faculty retraining period, the tenured faculty member shall receive his/her salary and fringe benefits at the same level he/she would receive on sabbatical leave and (4) the University will, for a faculty member undergoing retraining on the Missouri State University campus, waive course fees to a total of 30 hours of credit. For a faculty member undergoing retraining on another campus, the University will pay the tuition or fees to a total of the cost of 30 hours of credit on the Missouri State University campus.

        Faculty members who accept a retraining program for a position outside of the University are not eligible for additional severance benefits.

        Faculty members terminated because of academic program elimination will have the following rights of recall and seniority. If the academic program or similar academic program is reinstated, a replacement shall not be appointed within 36 calendar months from the effective date of the termination of said faculty member. During this period, prior to the appointment of any new faculty member, the University shall offer reappointment by registered mail to all qualified terminated faculty members in inverse order of their termination at his/her last known address Said faculty member(s) shall have 30 calendar days within which to accept or decline the offer in writing. Should a faculty member to whom an offer of recall is made indicate in writing that he/ she desires to accept reappointment at the University, such appointment shall be held open by the University for such period of time as may be necessary for the faculty member to fulfill any commitment such member may have made to his/her then-current employer, provided that such commitment does not extend beyond a period of 365 calendar days from the date of offer.

        A recalled faculty member shall be reinstated to all years of academic service to Missouri State University accrued at the time of termination.