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Faculty Handbook

4.4 Administrative Procedures

4.4.1. Grants and Contracts

The Office of Research (OR) (http://www.kennesaw.edu/ogc/), an organizational unit under Academic Affairs, is the service and support office for external funding activities.  This office provides services to support faculty throughout the proposal and grant process.  The OR is responsible for all pre-award and post-award functions and provides a full array of services such as identification of funding sources, interpretation of guidelines, project/program development, technical writing and editing, budget development, proposal submission, award and contract negotiation, technical reporting, and project accounting and billing.  The earlier the OR is informed about an upcoming submission, the more comprehensive these services can be.  All proposals for external grant or contract funding must be routed through the OR and should be forwarded to the OR at least five working days prior to the submission date.  The proposal must be accompanied by a Proposal Routing Form (PRF) which is available online at http://www.kennesaw.edu/ogc/preaward_toolkit/forms.htm. The PRF must be signed by the project director, department chair, and dean; other signatures may be required, if applicable. Prior to submission, the OR will review the proposal for compliance with all federal, state, and University regulations; obtain the final signatures on the PRF and proposal (if applicable); and complete the submission process.

Once a grant or contract has been awarded to the University, the OR negotiates and finalizes the terms and conditions of the award with the sponsor.  The OR works closely with faculty in the fiscal management of grants and contracts awarded to the University. Once an award has been finalized, the staff contacts the project director and sets up a meeting to go over the award conditions. The OR is responsible for insuring that the business interests of the University are protected and that the University complies with award provisions.  The staff maintains auditable records in support of direct and facilities and administrative charges to contracts and grants and prepares and files fiscal reports required by the sponsor.

A few reminders:

  • Kennesaw State University is the legal applicant for all proposals submitted by faculty.
  • Funds and resources of the University cannot be obligated without the required approvals explained above.
  • The Vice President for Operations (or his designee) is the official authorized representative for signing all contracts.
  • Line-item budgets that include facilities and administrative costs (indirect costs) must accompany all proposals and awards; contact OR for assistance. 

4.4.2. Procedures for Handling Student Complaints Against Faculty Members

Introduction
From time to time, students may feel that they have legitimate complaints against a faculty member. It is important that they and the accused faculty member have a common understanding of how such complaints may be resolved. To alert students, faculty, and administration to channels available for complaints, the following procedure is presented. This procedure is not applicable to cases involving discrimination, sexual harassment, or violation of stated grading policy. In those instances, the established KSU procedures (see KSU undergraduate catalog) should be followed.

Procedure
It is the responsibility of the student to bring his/her concerns or complaints for resolution.

Complaints against a faculty member should be resolved at the lowest level possible. When a student has a complaint, s/he should follow the procedures below in the order stated. Attempts to circumvent the procedure will be redirected to the appropriate level of resolution. For example, the president, Provost and vice president, or dean will refer grievants to the faculty member or to the department chair as the first level of resolution.

Step 1
Whenever a student has a complaint against a faculty member, s/he should first talk with the faculty member and attempt to reach a solution.

Step 2
If the student has attempted to resolve the complaint with the faculty member and fails to reach a resolution or if s/he feels uncomfortable discussing his/her problem with the faculty member because of the highly sensitive nature of the complaint, s/he may bring the complaint to the department chair.

Step 3
If the issue is not resolved at the level of the department chair, the student may direct his/her complaint, in writing, to the dean of the college.

Step 4
If the issue is not resolved at the level of the dean, the student may direct his/her complaint, in writing, to the Provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Step 5
If the issue is not resolved at the level of the Provost and vice president, the student may direct his/her complaint, in writing, to the president of the University. The president’s decision is final as far as institutional grievance procedures are concerned.

Just as students may file a written appeal of a decision to the next level, faculty may also appeal a decision, in writing, to the next level of review. The faculty member will receive copies of any written documents produced during the complaint resolution (at any level) and will be given the opportunity to respond to each document. The faculty member will be informed at any point at which written documents concerning the complaint are placed into his/her personnel file and will be allowed to respond, in writing.

4.4.3. KSU Faculty Conflict Resolution Procedures

I. Overview

Kennesaw State University is committed to the prompt and fair resolution of the concerns of faculty. The Faculty Conflict Resolution Procedures described below have been formulated to help members of the Faculty resolve interpersonal workplace disagreements.  No person’s status with Kennesaw State University will be adversely affected in any way as a result of using these conflict resolution procedures. Any attempt to retaliate against a person for participating in conflict resolution under these procedures will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.  These procedures do not in any way restrict the right of aggrieved Parties to seek resolution of their grievances, either through the courts, or through agencies of the State or Federal government.

Except when conduct is alleged to violate established policies and procedures, a grievance review will not be available to dispute claims about:

  1. investigations or decisions reached under Kennesaw State University’s Title IX/Sexual Misconduct or Non-Discrimination Policy (See KSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion),
  2. promotion and tenure decisions (See Kennesaw State University Faculty Handbook Section 3.5 – General Expectations for Tenure, Promotion, and Post-Tenure Review),
  3. performance evaluations (See Kennesaw State University Faculty Handbook Section 3.7 – Faculty Review Process),
  4. hiring decisions (See Kennesaw State University Faculty Handbook Section 4.1.5 – Filling Vacant Faculty Positions and Faculty Search and Screening Process),
  5. changes to administrative appointments (See KSU Faculty Handbook Section 1.1),
  6. administrative changes to student grades,
  7. salary decisions (See Kennesaw State University Faculty Handbook Section  4.2 – Compensation & Benefits),
  8. transfers or reassignments (See Kennesaw State University Faculty Handbook Section 4.1.7 – Redirection and Reassignment of Filled Faculty Positions),
  9. removal of a faculty member or non-renewal of a contract of a non-tenured faculty (see KSU Faculty Handbook Section 4.1.9; BoR Policy Manual 8.3.9.1, 8.3.9.2, 8.3.9.3),
  10. termination or layoff because of financial exigency or program modification (Board of Regents Policy Manual  8.5.2 – Layoffs or Terminations; 8.3.7.10 – Termination/Layoff of Tenured Personnel due to Program Modification),
  11. normal supervisory counseling (for example, chair discussing classroom management issues with a faculty; dean discussing handling of personnel issues), and
  12. scholarly misconduct (KSU University Handbook Section 5.2.3).

II. Informal Procedures for Resolving Conflict

While informal resolutions are not required, all faculty are strongly encouraged to work through conflicts informally beginning with the person with whom they have differences.  As necessary, a faculty member may also informally resolve conflicts by contacting their immediate supervisor. The supervisor should then arrange a meeting with the faculty member, and all concerned should make a good faith effort to resolve the problem.  Good faith efforts to informally resolve the conflict may include conferring with University administrators to evaluate and assist with the informal resolution of the conflict. 
If the faculty member’s conflict is with his/her first line supervisor or some other person that the faculty member does not wish to approach directly, the faculty member may talk with their next line supervisor or the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Office of the Ombudsman provides confidential and informal assistance in the resolution of university-related concerns.  An Ombuds cannot impose solutions, but can help identify options and strategies for resolution.

Parties interested in consulting with the Ombuds are encouraged to contact the office as soon as possible, but may seek informal assistance at any point in their attempts to resolve a conflict or grievance. 

If the conflict cannot be resolved through the efforts outlined above, then a faculty member may pursue a formal grievance review and resolution as described below. 

III. Formal Procedures for Resolving Grievances

A grievance is a written complaint.  A grievance review will be available to handle claims that a person has been harmed by any action that violates the policies of either Kennesaw State University or the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.  These procedures assure that any faculty member within the University community who has a complaint will have access to an internal process that provides fairness to all Parties involved and that has as its objective the resolution of the conflict.

These procedures are not intended to discourage faculty from attempting to resolve a conflict themselves through discussion with the involved parties. These procedures should not be interpreted as a means to eliminate or weaken first-level supervisory or administrative roles of individuals or to prevent them from attempting immediate and impartial resolution of conflicts that develop within their areas of responsibility. While the Ombuds is available to consult with anyone at any time during the formal process, the Ombuds is never a part of the formal process.

Formal Grievance Resolution

In general, all formal grievances should be reviewed at a minimum of two levels if possible, within the complainant’s college/unit including the head of the academic or administrative unit or his/her designee.  If the respondent (individual against whom complaint is brought) is the faculty member’s immediate supervisor, then the review process will start at the next administrative level below the level of the Provost. If two levels of review are not possible, then the grievance is reviewed by the Associate Vice President for Faculty prior to submission to the Grievance Hearing Committee (see “Routing of Formal Grievance Complaint Form” and flowchart below). 

Supervisory Level Review

A complainant (aggrieved faculty member) must file a formal written grievance using the Grievance Form, by the last day of the next semester (fall and spring semesters only) of the event that has given rise to the grievance. Within 21 calendar days of receipt of the grievance, the complainant’s immediate supervisor must investigate and provide a written response to the complainant’s grievance including sources of information used to make a decision.  The investigation may include:

    1. meeting with complainant, respondent (and any other necessary parties) to develop an understanding of the grievance,
    2. reviewing appropriate written policies and procedures, and
    3. consulting with the appropriate University administrators, as needed, for advice and clarification of any policies or procedures.

Next Level Review

The complainant will have 10 calendar days from the date of the immediate supervisor’s decision letter to appeal to the next level within the complainant’s employment unit.  The next level supervisor will review the grievance, investigate and provide a written response within 21 calendar days. The investigation may include:

  1. meeting with complainant, respondent (and any other necessary parties) to develop an understanding of the grievance,
  2. reviewing appropriate written policies and procedures, and
  3. consulting with the appropriate University administrators, as needed, for advice and clarification of any policies or procedures.

Petition for Review

If a complainant wishes to appeal after completion of the next level review of the matter, a petition for review (the completed Grievance Form) must be submitted to the Grievance Hearing Committee through the Associate Vice President for Faculty within 10 calendar days of the date of the final decision letter of the head of the academic or administrative unit or his/her designee. A copy of the petition for review will be provided to the respondent(s).  

To ensure that the petition clearly identifies pertinent issues, the Grievance Form must be completed in its entirety that will include the following:

  1. Name of complainant;
  2. Complainant’s job title;
  3. Name of complainant supervisor (or next level supervisor if direct supervisor is named as a respondent);
  4. Name(s) of the respondent(s);
  5. The nature of the problem or complaint including any attempts at an informal resolution; all relevant documentation must be included at this time;
  6. The event(s) that has/have led to your grievance against the respondent;
  7. The communication that has taken place between the complainant and his or her academic department head, supervisor and/or next level supervisor concerning the matter;
  8. Responses from supervisor(s);
  9. The reason the complainant disagrees with the response from your supervisor (or 2nd level supervisor if direct supervisor is a respondent);
  10. The complainant's suggestion for proper resolution of the matter;
  11. Identification of any witnesses who may have relevant information regarding the complaint; and
  12. Signature of complainant and date (electronic submission of Grievance form constitutes your signature).

Pursuant to Section IV of this policy, the Associate Vice President for Faculty will constitute the Grievance Hearing Committee within 15 calendar days of receipt of the petition for review.  Within 14 calendar days of the establishment of the Grievance Hearing Committee, the Associate Vice President for Faculty will convene the initial organizational meeting of the Grievance Hearing Committee. The Chair of the Grievance Hearing Committee will schedule a meeting to review the petition for review within 10 calendar days of the initial organizational meeting, unless reasonable cause is documented to the parties as to why it should take longer than the prescribed time frame. 

The respondent will have an opportunity to identify witnesses and provide documents to the Grievance Hearing Committee.  A copy of the documents will be provided to the complainant.

A complainant who wishes to address the Grievance Hearing Committee orally must make the request in the written petition. If no oral presentation is requested, the review will be based upon the written record. The Grievance Hearing Committee may call a hearing if they deem necessary.  If a hearing is called, it must be conducted within 21 calendar days, unless reasonable cause is documented to the parties as to why it should take longer than the prescribed time frame.   

When a hearing is called, the following procedures will apply:

  1. The Grievance Hearing Committee chair will notify complainant and respondent of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
  2. The hearing will be recorded via audio recording.  Tapes and records of the hearings may be subject to disclosure under the Georgia Open Records Act.  Archives will be kept in Faculty Affairs.
  3. The petition will be heard by members of the Grievance Hearing Committee.
  4. Members of the Grievance Hearing Committee will be excused from service on a particular case under the following circumstances:
    1. If they have a personal or professional relationship with any party to the case which would prejudice them from rendering an objective judgment in the case.
    2. If the case involves a student, faculty member or staff member in the same department or unit as a member of the Grievance Hearing Committee.
    3. In the event a committee member is excused from service on a particular case, the Faculty Senate, Chairs’ and Directors Assembly, or Deans’ Council will select an alternate from the appropriate constituency to serve on the committee for that case.
  5. If an oral hearing is to be held, the complainant making the appeal shall present first in the hearing; respondent(s) shall present after the complainant.
  6. The respondent against which the appeal is directed will be afforded the opportunity to attend and participate orally in the hearing if one is granted.
  7. The Grievance Hearing Committee has the discretion to limit the presentation time of all parties; time limits will be determined in advance of any testimony and the same time limits will apply to all parties.
  8. A faculty member may utilize an advisor of his/her own choosing to assist and advise the faculty member; however, attorneys are not authorized to participate in hearings before the Grievance Hearing Committee.  Any Kennesaw State University faculty member may participate as an advisor in Grievance Hearing Committee hearings because of the faculty member’s designation as a Kennesaw State University faculty member.  The advisor is for advice and moral support.  The advisor is not a witness and will not make statements to the Grievance Hearing Committee or present evidence at the hearing. 
  9. The Grievance Hearing Committee may invite witnesses identified by either party or any other witnesses that they deem necessary to participate by meeting with the Grievance Hearing Committee; if they prefer they may respond in writing to the Grievance Committee's request for information.
  10. The Grievance Hearing Committee has the discretion to accept any additional information from either party as they deem necessary, and to request additional information from other university sources.
  11. If an oral hearing is to be held, the chair of the Grievance Hearing Committee will choose the option that the complainant and respondent appear (a) separately, or (b) together. Parties will not be permitted to cross-examine each other during the hearing. Formal legal rules of evidence do not apply in the hearing.
  12. The complainant has the burden of proving by the preponderance of the evidence that he/she has been wronged. If, at the conclusion of a review, the Grievance Hearing Committee is unable to reach a decision, the complainant fails to carry this burden and the finding should be in the respondent’s favor.

Grievance Hearing Committee Findings
When the Grievance Hearing Committee has received the information it deems necessary to render a recommendation in a case, it will determine by majority vote what the Grievance Hearing Committee’s findings and recommendations will be. Absent good cause, the findings and recommendations must be transmitted to the Provost, complainant and respondent(s), complainant and respondent’s supervisor, within 14 calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing or committee meeting. 

Decision of the Provost
Within 21 calendar days, the Provost, or his/her designee, will review the Grievance Hearing Committee’s findings and render a written decision to resolve the formal grievance. The Provost has the discretion to conduct further investigation. The complainant or respondent may appeal the Provost’s (or designee’s) decision to the President within 10 calendar days.  The Provost’s findings must be transmitted to the complainant, respondent(s), complainant and respondent’s supervisor, Chair of Grievance Hearing Committee.

Decision of the President
If the complainant or respondent appeals, the President or his/her designee will review the Provost’s decision and Grievance Hearing Committee’s findings in rendering Kennesaw State University’s final decision. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or her/his designee has the discretion to conduct further investigation into the complainant’s grievance.  The President will normally furnish a decision to the complainant and respondent, complainant and respondent’s supervisor, Chair of Grievance Hearing Committee, and Provost within 30 calendar days after receiving the Provost’s decision and Grievance Hearing Committee’s findings.  If the President’s review of a case requires longer than 30 days, the President will notify the parties of the delay. 

Discretionary Review by Board of Regents
Pursuant to Board of Regents Policy 8.6, a faculty member aggrieved by the President’s final decision in the matter may apply to the Board’s Office of Legal Affairs (“BOR Legal Affairs”) for a review of the decision. Review of the decision is not a matter of right, but is within the sound discretion of BOR Legal Affairs. If granted, the discretionary review shall be limited to the record from the institutional appeal process.  Any petition to BOR Legal Affairs must be submitted in writing to BOR Legal Affairs within a period of 20 calendar days following the decision of the President. BOR Legal Affairs will determine whether the application for review shall be granted.

IV. Formation of a Grievance Hearing Committee

The Associate Vice President for Faculty will constitute a Grievance Hearing Committee of five committee members after consulting the shared governance body(ies) ( Faculty Senate, Council of Academic Deans, and Chairs and Directors Assembly) of the complainant and respondent, ensuring that members of the Grievance Hearing Committee do not have a conflict of interest with the involved parties.  The appropriate shared governance bodies will recommend to the Associate Vice President for Faculty the names of up to eight potential Grievance Hearing Committee members.  The complainant and respondent may strike one each of the recommended Grievance Hearing Committee members. If either or both decline to strike a potential Grievance Hearing Committee member, the Associate Vice President for Faculty will randomly choose the five members.  The Associate Vice President for Faculty will also select one alternate Grievance Hearing Committee member from the recommended pool of potential Grievance Hearing Committee members.
Organizational Meeting

The Associate Vice President for Faculty will proceed to make all arrangements for a formal hearing before a Grievance Hearing Committee and assure that all materials submitted are available to the Complainant, the Respondent(s) and Grievance Hearing Committee members in advance of the formal hearing. The initial organizational meeting of the Grievance Hearing Committee will be within 14 calendar days from the date of selection of the Grievance Hearing Committee. Upon convening the Grievance Hearing Committee, and in the presence of both the Complainant and the Respondent(s), the Associate Vice President for Faculty will give a brief charge to the Grievance Hearing Committee, specifying the allegations and summarizing the University policy. The Grievance Hearing Committee will elect a Chair by majority vote. The meeting will then be turned over to the Grievance Hearing Committee Chair who will preside over all the meetings of the Grievance Hearing Committee until the review is completed. The Associate Vice President for Faculty will remain available to respond to procedural questions but will not be present during the hearing.

V. Amendment Process

These Conflict Resolution Procedures can be altered and/or amended only if presented in writing to the Faculty Senate, Council of Academic Deans, and Chairs and Directors Assembly, and approved by an affirmative vote of the majority of the Senate. The Grievance Oversight Committee has the responsibility of reviewing these procedures and recommending appropriate changes. No amendment or alteration will be in effect until it has been approved by the President.