Posted to: Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President Academic Affairs
Why do we have retention votes for Deans if the results are not going to be honored?
Response from Earle Traynham, Provost, Academic Affairs:
In the penultimate year of a dean’s appointment, a comprehensive evaluation is conducted as a part of the decision process to reappoint or non-reappoint the dean to a subsequent term. One required element of that comprehensive evaluation is a retention vote by the faculty under the dean’s leadership. The result of the retention vote is an important element of this evaluation. The UNF Constitution addresses the matter of the retention vote in Article 5, section 4:
“At the end of the College Dean’s term, if retention is an option, the College faculty shall individually vote by anonymous ballot on the question of retaining the College Dean. In that case,
the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall receive the vote and report the result to the College faculty. In the event the result is negative, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will meet with
the College faculty and explain any action other than replacement of the College Dean.”
Additionally, in the same section, the Constitution provides for the faculty to request a retention vote
at any time during a dean’s tenure.
“Academic Affairs to conduct an anonymous retention vote by the College faculty prior to the end of
the Nothing in this paragraph shall limit the authority of the faculty of the College or the Vice President for College Dean’s term.”
During the comprehensive review, annual performance appraisals, additional feedback from the faculty, feedback from external constituents, feedback from other university personnel, and other information are combined with the outcome of the retention vote to form the basis for a decision on reappointment or non-reappointment. In this sense, the retention vote is very important but advisory to the overall process. If the retention vote were to be binding, it would not be necessary, or even useful, to perform a comprehensive evaluation.
In cases where the faculty call for a retention vote, the results are absent a more comprehensive review and, therefore, while it is important to recognize the facu lty vote and related feedback, and discuss with them any concerns with college leadership, it would be irresponsible to act on one single event such as an out-of-cycle retention vote.