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Termination of Employment

a.  Voluntary Termination

Shepherd University accepts the AAUP‘s positions that faculty mobility in higher education is desirable and that institutions and individuals both have responsibilities for ensuring that mobility is minimally disruptive to both.  Upon accepting an appointment elsewhere, the faculty member should inform the Department Chair promptly and in writing.

Upon notice of resignation, the employee’s supervisor will file the Request for Personnel Action Form.

b.  Voluntary Phased Retirement

A Phased Retirement System (PRS) shall be available for tenured full-time faculty.  The Phased Retirement System shall include all of the following elements:

  1. Beginning effective in the contract year immediately following an individual’s 60th birthday, the individual may elect to contract with the University to enter the PRS. The period in which an individual may enter the PRS shall last until the conclusion of the fourth contract period within which the individual would have been eligible to enter the PRS, and thereafter the eligibility will expire.
  2. To enter the PRS an individual must notify in writing his or her Dean and secure the written agreement of the Provost. Generally, notice must be given at least 6 months in advance of the proposed effective date.   If such permission is granted, an individual who opts to enter the PRS will be offered continued employment by the University as a faculty member until the end of the fourth regular academic semester (i.e., fall and spring semesters) of participation.   Employment during the summer semesters while in the PRS would be subject to the mutual agreement of the faculty member, the Department Chair, the College Dean and the Provost.  At the end of the designated period of phased retirement employment, the faculty member will have no vested employment rights with the University.
  3. An individual who is in the PRS may, without penalty, at the end of any academic semester, opt to terminate his or her employment with the University as a phased retirement employee. If this option is taken, at the termination of employment in the PRS the individual will have no vested employment rights with the University.
  4. The University will continue to provide an individual on phased retirement with all rights and privileges which are normally extended to faculty or staff who hold full-time status, except that benefits other than insurance benefits will be provided in proportion to the faculty or staff member’s contract time during the semester in which he or she is employed by the University. Base Salary during the period of participation in the PRS shall be reduced to either 75% or 50%, as of the effective date of the PRS contract, based upon the faculty member’s agreement to teach a 75% or 50% load. The faculty member’s subsequent pay increases during the remainder of participation in the PRS will be exactly the across-the-board pay increases provided to faculty in each contract year, and no merit pay.
  5. A PRS member may, in either contract year, opt to work with either a three-fourths time (75%) or a one-half time (50%) annual faculty academic year contract. The appropriate allocation of teaching and other assignments  during the academic year will be determined by discussion between the PRS participant and the department chair, with the approval of the College Dean; provided that if an individual chooses to teach full-time in the spring semester, all pay will be received during the spring semester.
  6. It is the responsibility of the individual who enters the Phased Retirement Plan to contact the Director of Human Resources, TIAA/CREF and other appropriate agencies to assure that the appropriate health insurance and other retirement options are properly maintained.
  7. Notwithstanding the provisions of Paragraph One of this policy, any faculty member who is 60 years of age or older as of the effective date of the revised PRS policy shall have a minimum period of eligibility to enroll in the PRS of up to May 15, 2008.

c.  Dismissal of Faculty

The dismissal of a faculty member shall be affected only pursuant to the procedures outlined herein and only for one or more of the following causes:

(1)        Demonstrated incompetence or dishonesty in the performance of professional duties.

(2)        Personal conduct which substantially impairs the individual’s fulfillment of institutional responsibilities.

(3)        Insubordination by refusal to abide by legitimate and reasonable directions of administrators or of the Board of Governors.

(4)       Physical or mental disability, for which no reasonable accommodation can be made, making the faculty member unable, within a reasonable degree of medical certainty and by reasonably determined medical opinion, to perform assigned duties.

(5)        Substantial and manifest neglect of duties.

(6)        Failure to return after a leave of absence; and

(7)        Maintenance of an unethical relationship with a current student by faculty or staff, sexual harassment, or acts of unlawful discrimination.

In dismissal for cause, the President shall institute proceedings by giving the faculty member a written notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested.  The dismissal notice shall contain:

(1)        Full and complete statements of the charge or charges relied upon; and

(2)        A description of the appeal process available to the faculty member.

d.  Termination of Faculty Due to Reduction or Discontinuance of an Existing Program

A faculty member’s appointment may be terminated because of the reduction or discontinuance of an existing program as a result of program review, in accordance with appropriate policy relating to review of academic programs, provided no other program or position requiring equivalent competency exists.  If, within two years following the reduction or discontinuance of a program, a position becomes vacant for which the faculty member is qualified, the President shall make every effort to extend first refusal to the faculty member so terminated.

If a faculty member is to be terminated as a result of program reduction, then the President shall institute proceedings by giving a faculty member written notice of such nonretention by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The dates of formal notification shall be those specified in the policy on nonretention during tenure-track faculty status.

e.  Termination Due to Financial Exigency

(1)        Declaration

Should the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, the Board of Governors, or the President, determine, define, and declare that a state of financial exigency does exist, then the University shall have the right to take extraordinary action, including a selective reduction in personnel and a selective elimination or curtailment of units or programs in either the instructional or non-instructional areas of the University, or both.  Such action shall be  and for reasons consonant with the long-range educational mission of the University.

(2)        Presentation of the Plan

A specific plan for the reduction of personnel and programs or units in either the instructional or non-instructional areas, or both, shall be presented by the President in consultation with the major administrators.   This plan, including the rationale used in determining the financial exigency and the rationale used by the University in recommending termination, shall be presented to Faculty and Staff.  A reasonable period of time will be allowed for written comment on the plan, subject to circumstances of the exigency.

(3)        Criteria

In considering where terminations should occur, the following factors, among others, shall be taken into consideration:

The conclusions reached ultimately remain at the sole discretion of the President and/or the governing board.

(4)        Termination of Personnel

When an employee terminates service with the University (voluntarily or involuntarily), the employee must surrender all keys issued to him/her and must account for all other property held in his or her custody.

A checkout form must be completed with appropriate signature assuring compliance and filed with the Vice President for Administration and Finance before the last paycheck will be issued to the employee.  The checkout forms for faculty are available in the Office of the Provost