Report of the Senate Committee on Appeals

Senate Agenda - EXHIBIT VI - October 16, 1998

Annual Report to Senate

The membership of the Committee for the 1997-98 membership year was:

D. Bentley (Chair), D. Allison (Vice-Chair), D. Baer, A. Oosterhoff, A. Pearson, R. Shivers, S. Tse.

J. Good, N. Huner*, H. Laschinger, L. Murison, C. Neable, M. Spence, M. J. Toswell

N. Huner resigned as of June 30, 1998. His seat will be filled in November 1998.

The Senate Committee on Appeals (SCA) heard one appeal in 1997-98. This was against the decision of a Dean and a Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee in a departmentalized Faculty not to recommend promotion to the rank of Associate Professor. The appeal was denied.

In its statement of Reasons for Decision, the SCA affirmed three principles that it wishes to reiterate here:

  1. the deference of the SCA to the disciplinary standards established and applied by a candidate's department and/or faculty unless the SCA is persuaded that the department and/or faculty has held the candidate to criteria that are unfair or unreasonable;
  2. the sole responsibility of the Faculty Committee for determining the relative significance accorded to performance in teaching and performance in research for the purposes of tenure and/or promotion; and
  3. the dispensability of neither performance in teaching nor performance in research and scholarly activity for purposes of tenure and/or promotion.

These principles are based on a judicious and holistic reading of sections B.2 and B.3 of Conditions of Appointment, which state:

  1. that "[p]romotion and the granting of tenure by the University shall be on the basis of the record of performance established by the candidate in teaching, in research, in scholarly activities and in other contributions";
  2. that the candidate's "performance shall be considered with reference to the national and international standards within the candidate's discipline";
  3. that "[e]ach candidate for promotion and/or the granting of tenure is expected to establish a record of performance" in "teaching and associated activities," in "research...scholarly activity, and...where appropriate,...the fine and performing arts" and in "general contributions to the University, the academic profession, and the community"; and
  4. that, although "the significance accorded" to performance in teaching and performance in research "relative to each other should be approximately equal and individually greater than that for" general contributions, the "relative significance" of performance in teaching and performance in research "may be determined by the Faculty Committee on Promotion and Tenure as long as excluded."
The final sentence of Section B.3(a) -- "[a]n outstanding individual record of performance in either [teaching] or [research and scholarly activity] may be sufficient reason for promotion and/or the conferring of tenure" -- should not be read as sanctioning the dispensability of either performance in teaching or performance in research and scholarly activity in considerations of tenure and/or promotion, for the context in which the sentence occurs clearly establishes performance in both teaching and research and scholarly activity as the standard for tenure and/or promotion and prevents the exclusion of either the one or the other from consideration.

The SCA would also like to reiterate here the working definition of "performance in scholarly activity" that was articulated in the Committee's 1994-95 Report to Senate:

The words "performance in scholarly activity" in B.2(b) of Conditions of Appointment refer to the accepted conception and definition of scholarship in the University context -- namely, scholarship is research of such quality and creativity as to lead to the advancement or extension of knowledge and thus to achieve publication in peer-reviewed journals, books and other fora, including peer-reviewed conferences and proceedings. Scholarship of this calibre frequently, but not necessarily, flows from and results in competitive, peer-reviewed grants from agencies like MRC, NSERC, and SSHRC. Thus defined, scholarship is distinct from the transmission of existing information or knowledge through teaching, training, consulting, and technical reporting, as well as from pedagogical activities such as course and curriculum development. The latter activities are within the parameters of B.2(a). It is also distinct from "performance in general contributions to the University, the academic profession, and the community", the subject matter of B.2(c).

Signed by:

D. M. R. Bentley
Chair, Senate Committee on Appeals