Subsection A. Appointments
For purposes of these Regulations, faculty and administrative employees include all faculty of Northern Illinois University and those administrative and/or professional (hereafter "administrative") personnel of the university who are not Civil Service employees.
2. Authority to Employ
a. Position Authorization
The Board of Trustees is designated by statute as the employing authority for all faculty and administrative employees of Northern Illinois University.
The president will seek Board concurrence for new positions at the vice presidential or dean's levels. Faculty and administrative positions shall be authorized by the president or designee.
- (1) Major Administrative Appointments
- Board approval is required for the appointment of personnel to vice president or dean positions, including acting or interim appointments to such positions, and shall be requested by the president. The Board shall be advised in a timely manner of vacancies in such positions and the procedures and timetables for filling them.
- (2) Regular Appointments
- Regular appointments are tenured faculty, faculty serving in probationary status on tenure track, other faculty designated as regular appointments and administrative/professional positions not designated as temporary positions. The president or designee is authorized to make such appointments in accordance with Board Regulations as necessary and justified by prudent financial management. Initial appointments to tenure-track positions shall be reported to the Board for information at the next regular meeting of the Board.
- (3) Adjunct Appointments
- The president or designee is authorized to make adjunct faculty appointments as necessary and in accordance with Board Regulations and Human Resource processes. Adjunct appointees shall enjoy the normal benefits and working conditions of the faculty with the following exceptions: They will be appointed on an annual or semester basis and will not be eligible for tenure.
- Appointees may be utilized in teaching duties, on thesis and dissertation committees, as consultants for or as codirectors of research projects or public service programs, and in other activities in support of university programs. Adjunct appointments for teaching credit courses shall be less than 50% FTE.
- Exceptions to the use of adjunct appointments shall be approved by the president or designee.
- (4) Temporary Appointments
- Temporary appointments shall be for a specific period of one year or less. There shall be no presumption of renewal or extension of temporary appointments. Each temporary appointment is a separate, noncontinuous appointment. Instructors in the bargaining unit shall be appointed on temporary instructional faculty contracts according to their collective bargaining agreement. The president or designee is authorized to make such appointments in accordance with Board Regulations and as necessary and justified by prudent financial management.
- (5) Visiting Appointments
- The president or designee is authorized to make visiting faculty appointments to approved positions in accordance with Board Regulations as necessary and justified by prudent financial management. Visiting appointments shall be made for persons employed outside the university or on temporary leave from such employment or retired from such employment. Visiting appointments shall be for a specific period of two years or less. There shall be no presumption of renewal or extension of visiting appointments. Visiting faculty shall not be eligible for tenure.
3. Academic Ranks, Promotion and Related Titles
a. The academic ranks that shall be conferred within Northern Illinois University are: professor, associate professor, and assistant professor. Recommendations for promotion within the academic ranks shall be presented by the president to the Board for approval.
b. Normal Prerequisites for Academic Ranks
The following educational requirements are considered to be the normal prerequisites for appointment at or promotion to academic ranks.
- (1) Professor. Employment at or promotion to the rank of full professor is conditioned upon the possession of an earned doctorate or the appropriate terminal degree and a superior record of continuing excellence in teaching, research and service.
- (2) Associate Professor. To qualify for the rank of associate professor, the candidate must possess the earned doctorate or the appropriate terminal degree, demonstrated excellence in teaching and a significant record of achievement in research and service.
- (3) Assistant Professor. Candidates for the rank of assistant professor must possess the earned doctorate or appropriate terminal degree or be a candidate for such a degree with the expectation of timely completion.
- (4) Adjunct Ranks. Adjunct faculty shall be appointed with academic rank or other appropriate titles (e.g. adjunct professor, adjunct associate professor, adjunct assistant professor) and must have credentials equivalent to those of persons appointed to comparable ranks (titles) on the regular faculty.
In the case of faculty without the earned doctorate or appropriate terminal degree, educational requirements may be met by equivalencies appropriate to the discipline; however, appointment at or promotion to a rank above that for which individuals are educationally qualified should be limited to exceptional circumstances.
"Equivalency" or "exceptional" appointments or promotions should be carefully deliberated by appropriate reviewing bodies at the department, college and institutional levels. Such equivalency or exceptional appointments will be presented for concurrence to the president or designee.
d. Related Academic Titles
In addition to the above academic ranks, the university is authorized to make other academic appointments to positions utilizing additional and related titles (e.g., instructor, lecturer, faculty associate, faculty assistant, research associate, training associate, presidential/distinguished teaching professor, presidential/distinguished research professor, presidential engagement professor/distinguished engagement professor).
4. Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
In accordance with applicable statutes and regulations, NIU is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, physical and mental disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, or any other factor unrelated to professional qualifications, and will comply with all applicable federal and state statutes, regulations and order pertaining to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and affirmative action.
5. Position Administration
The university shall use recruitment practices aimed toward identifying, securing and maintaining equitable representation and toward seeking full utilization of minorities and women in all organizational units and job classifications. The university shall also maintain affirmative action policies and procedures consistent with state and federal legal requirements which shall provide for the fair, impartial and equal treatment of applicants for employment and promotion. The president or designee will administer internal promotion/applicant processes as well as external search procedures for vacant positions. Position design, reorganization processes, titles and compensation practices will be administered in accordance with university needs as determined by the president or designee.
Title changes, consistent with changes in scope of assigned responsibilities or internal promotions can be implemented subject to approval by the president.
Search committees shall be utilized in searches for new or vacant instructional faculty positions and for newly funded or vacant deanships. Search committees shall be utilized in searches for administrative and staff positions in cases where a vacancy is to be filled unless the division head, with the concurrence of the president, fills the position with a qualified internal candidate pursuant to campus promotion/reassignment policies. In searches for noninstructional employees, and whenever practicable, for instructional employees as well, search committees shall be directed to provide a list of more than one and preferably at least three acceptable candidates from which a final selection can be made. Further, in all instances, the role of search committees shall be advisory in character and the final authority to select new employees shall belong to the president or designee. Search committee activities shall be conducted so as to reasonably assure that the university recruits from an appropriate pool of available qualified applicants. Search committees need not be utilized in such cases when a position is being filled on an acting or temporary basis.
6. Physical Examinations
Northern Illinois University shall establish, where appropriate, procedures for physical examinations of new employees consistent with applicable Illinois or federal statutes and with the requirements of the university.
Northern Illinois University shall exercise caution and provide internal controls to limit the number of full-time instructional faculty appointments of its own master's and doctoral program graduates.
8. Family Relationships
Faculty and administrative employees are selected for employment and promotion without regard to relationship by blood or marriage or civil union in accordance with appropriate qualifications for the performance of specified duties. However, no individual shall participate in personnel decisions involving employment, retention, promotion, salary, leave of absence or other direct benefit to an individual employee who is a member of the same immediate family or immediate household. Immediate family includes an employee's spouse, party to a civil union, parents, brothers, sisters, children, and children of an employee’s party to a civil union.
In accordance with P.A. 96-1513, a party to a civil union shall be defined as a person who has established a civil union pursuant to this Act. "Party to a civil union" means, and shall be included in, any definition or use of the terms "spouse", "family", "immediate family", "dependent", "next of kin", and other terms that denote the spousal relationship, as those terms are used throughout the law. A civil union is a relationship between two people of either the same or opposite sex.
9. Rehiring of Retirees
The employment of personnel retired under the State Universities Retirement System (SURS) shall be in accordance with university procedures authorized by the President. Compensation for employment of a person receiving a retirement annuity under the SURS shall not exceed limitations set forth in relevant provisions of the Pension Code, including Article 15 and/or other applicable statutes, nor any limitations set forth in Public Act 97-0968 that would create employer obligations pursuant to rules and definitions pertaining to an Affected Annuitant.
Retirement (annuity) or separation refund (lump sum distribution) under retirement plan options available under the SURS constitutes resignation of employment from Northern Illinois University, subject to any subsequent re-employment authorized pursuant to this Regulation.
10. Notification of Appointment and Termination
a. Employment Contracts or Official Notifications of Reappointment
Upon approval of appointments and salaries:
- (1) Those persons who hold or are to be appointed with academic rank shall be notified of this by means of either an official notification of reappointment or a faculty contract which shall specify the beginning and ending dates of the contract appointment, the type of appointment, the rank of such person, salary arrangements with a "contingent upon availability of funds" provision, and other conditions of employment specified by the university.
- (2) New or continuing staff members who are appointed on a contingency basis (salary and/or rank dependent upon completion of a degree, or other required graduate credits) shall, upon the university's receipt of evidence of the completion of the contingency, be reappointed immediately, according to the terms of the contract or the official notification of appointment. If a change of salary is also specified as part of the contingency, it shall become effective the first day of the first month thereafter.
- (3) Employees who do not hold or are to be appointed without academic rank and who have been exempted from Civil Service shall be provided notice of appointment by means of either an official notification of reappointment or by a contract which shall specify the beginning and ending dates of the contract appointment, the position to which appointed, salary arrangements with a "contingent upon availability of funds" provision, and other conditions of employment as specified by the university or the Board of Trustees.
- (4) Each contract or official notification of reappointment shall be signed by the president of the university or a designee. Designees of the president shall be authorized in writing. A copy of the written signature authorization shall be on file with the President's Office.
b. Notification of Termination or Nonrenewal of Contract
- (1) Those persons who hold regular appointments with academic rank and who are not tenured shall be guaranteed the following dates of notification (in the absence of a financial exigency) concerning the university's decision not to renew their appointment: (a) Not later than March 1 of the first academic year of service, if the appointment expires at the end of the year; or, if a one-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least three months in advance of its termination. (b) Not later than December 15 of the second academic year of service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year; or, if an initial two-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least six months in advance of its termination. (c) At least 12 months before the expiration of an appointment after two or more years in the institution. A faculty appointment is deemed to expire on the last day of the calendar month in which the faculty contract or official notification of reappointment ends.
- Every faculty appointment for a specific term must be accepted by the faculty member with the understanding that such an appointment entails no assurance or implication, except for the provisions for notification set forth above, that it will be renewed or that tenure will be granted. In the event there are insufficient appropriated funds to continue the appointment, notice must be given as soon as possible.
- (2) Employees with regular appointments and without academic rank shall be entitled to the following notification in the event of nonreappointment or nonrenewal of contract.
- (a) One year or less
- For employees with one year or less of consecutive full-time service at the time of notification, a four-month notice of nonrenewal shall be required with the provision that termination not occur before the end of the current contract period, except for cause.
- (b) More than one year and less than three years
- For employees with more than one year and less than three years of consecutive full-time service at the time of notification, a six-month notice of nonrenewal shall be required with the provision that termination not occur before the end of the current contract period, except for cause.
- (c) Three years or more
- For employees with three years or more of consecutive full-time service at the time of notification, a 12-month notice of nonrenewal shall be required with the provision that termination not occur before the end of the current contract period, except for cause.
- This period of notice shall not be required in the case of persons filling positions in any intercollegiate athletic program, in positions exclusively dedicated to fund raising, or in the case of employees whose positions are fully funded and contingent upon grants and/or contracts for the provision of services to parties external to the university. Every appointment without academic rank for a specific term must be accepted by the appointee with the understanding that such appointment entails no assurance or implication that it will be renewed.
c. Termination of Temporary, Visiting Appointments
Temporary and visiting appointments automatically terminate on the last day of the appointment period set forth in the contract. No additional notice is required.
d. Notification of the President
The president shall be notified on a timely basis of those cases in which the termination of a faculty or administrative employee is appealed by the employee within the university or to an external agency.
The president or designee may officially accept resignations and retirements tendered by employees.
11. Reporting on Personnel Transactions
The university shall annually provide the Board of Trustees with a summary of all new faculty and administrative appointments which have occurred under authority of these regulations during the previous 12-month period.
a. General Provisions
Tenure appointments shall be for an indefinite term and may be terminated only by (1) retirement, (2) acceptance of resignation, (3) demonstrable financial exigencies, (4) discharge for cause, or (5) the reduction or elimination of a department or similar academic unit. Only faculty that hold full-time regular appointments at the rank of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor shall be eligible for tenure appointments. While a faculty member holding a contingent appointment with the rank of instructor shall not be eligible for tenure, service under that appointment shall count toward the probationary time period prior to a tenure decision. Employees holding other academic titles shall not be eligible for tenure but, with the concurrence of the university and the Board of Trustees, campus regulations may be adopted to safeguard the academic freedom of and provide reasonable job security for other faculty and teaching personnel.
b. Eligibility for Administrative Employees
Administrators and appropriate staff members of noninstructional divisions, departments or other service units may be appointed with faculty status. However, such individuals become eligible for academic rank only upon the recommendation of the academic unit in which such rank is to be held. Tenure applies primarily to faculty appointments. Full-time administrative personnel are eligible for tenure only if they hold academic rank and are recommended for tenure by a department or other academic unit after an evaluation based upon the same rigorous criteria that are applied in faculty tenure decisions. An individual holding academic rank at the time of assumption of administrative or noninstructional duties may retain such rank and eligibility for promotion and/or tenure.
c. Required Board Action
Tenure cannot be acquired automatically by length of service without action by the university and Board of Trustees. No appointment shall entail tenure unless the contract or official notification of appointment explicitly states this.
d. Locus of Tenure
Tenure appointments shall be held only in academic departments or similar academic units. The tenure affiliation of a faculty member shall not be transferred from one department or similar academic unit to another except by mutual consent of the faculty member, the departments or academic units involved, the university provost, the president and the Board of Trustees.
e. Probationary Service Expectations
Newly appointed faculty members ordinarily shall not be offered immediate tenure, and in no case without the concurrence of the provost and the president and approval by the Board of Trustees. Such authorization shall be requested prior to formal consideration of contract terms between the university and the prospective faculty member.
Faculty members normally will not be granted tenure prior to the completion of six years of full-time experience at a rank equivalent to assistant professor or above at one or more accredited institutions of higher education, including at least three years experience at Northern Illinois University.
Faculty members with full-time experience at a rank equivalent to assistant professor or above at accredited institutions of higher education may elect to apply up to three years of credit for such service at other institutions toward their total of six years. Acceptance of credit from other universities shall be agreed to by the faculty member and approved by the university in the initial appointment agreement but may be modified by mutual consent prior to the end of the first two semesters of service.
Time served on temporary appointment at Northern Illinois University shall not be countable toward completion of tenure probationary requirements unless the employee has been moved from temporary to tenure track status and the previous temporary service was full-time and consecutive as an instructor or ranked faculty member. In such a case, the university may shorten the probationary period but any such reduction must be agreed to by the employee and approved by the university provost in the initial tenure-track contract. However, under no circumstances shall the tenure probationary period be less than three years in length.
Time served on a visiting appointment shall not count toward completion of the tenure probationary requirements.
f. Evaluative Criteria and Procedures
In deciding whether to recommend awarding tenure, Northern Illinois University and its academic units shall give major attention to the quality of individual performance, but shall also consider other appropriate criteria including whether there is sufficient program staffing need based upon both short- and long-term considerations to warrant the addition of a tenured faculty member to the department or similar academic unit. The university shall establish procedures that are both fair and efficient and which utilize appropriate criteria to make this decision. Evaluations of the quality of teaching shall take into consideration student input and a university policy on student evaluations of teaching shall be established on campus for this purpose. The university may, at regular intervals, review and evaluate the performance of tenured faculty in order to offer constructive guidance and to encourage a continuing high level of faculty accomplishment.
g. Probationary Service and Leaves of Absence
Time spent on a leave of absence or sabbatical leave shall not be counted toward the probationary period of service unless the university and the faculty member agree at the time the leave is granted that the purpose of the leave is such that it should count in the probationary period. Ordinarily a leave of absence to pursue political activity will not count toward the fulfillment of the probationary period of service.
h. Review of Dismissals for Cause - Tenured Faculty
When tenured faculty are being dismissed for cause, the faculty member shall have a limited right to timely request a final procedural review by the Board of Trustees of the fact-finding process that led to the president's decision to terminate the appointment. To be treated as timely, the faculty member's request for a review must be communicated to the chair of the Board of Trustees within 30 calendar days from notification of the president's decision. Failure to file within the 30-day period waives the right to seek review.
An attorney in the Office of the General Counsel will conduct a procedural due process review on behalf of the Board.
Pending any requested review, fiscal portions of the president's decision may be implemented. The faculty member may be removed from all university duties and payrolls pending the outcome of the review. If the faculty member prevails, he/she shall be entitled to receive, as liquidated damages, all back pay from the effective date of the president's decision until the date of reinstatement.
i. Effective Date of Dismissal for Cause
The administrative action approved by the president shall be fully implemented upon final approval by (1) the president when no review is requested, or (2) the Board of Trustees when a procedural review is conducted and no prejudicial procedural error is found.