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Academic Senate

Professional Relations Committee Policies and Procedures

Definitions that apply in this document:

  • a staff member is any non-student employee of the college;
  • an administrator is any employee who supervises faculty;
  • a faculty member is any employee whose primary employment at the college makes them eligible for representation by the Faculty Association;
  • a student is someone registered for classes at the college whose involvement in Professional Relations matters is not as an employee of the college.

Membership:

The Academic Senate shall have among its standing committees a Professional Relations Committee, the members of which will be appointed by the Executive Committee but not necessarily be from the Executive Committee. The committee of the whole shall be composed of six tenured faculty members who meet as necessary to discuss procedures, policy, etc. Cases referred to the committee will be acted upon by a subcommittee of the three faculty members whose work at the college is furthest removed from the case under consideration. This subcommittee will be referred to as the Case Committee. The Professional Relations Committee will meet a minimum of once each year. The chair of the committee will be appointed by the Executive Committee for a term of two years. The rest of the committee will serve two year, staggered terms.

General Purpose:

The purpose of the Professional Relations Committee is to provide confidential interviews and conflict resolution for non-contractual conflicts involving faculty.

Invoking the Process:

In the event the conflict includes an administrator, a staff member, or a student in addition to a faculty member, this committee will collaborate with appropriate officers of the group pertinent to the non- faculty member administrative or classified staff prior to invoking a full process.

In order to be heard by the committee: a case involving a faculty member and an administrator must not have as its central issue anything covered by the faculty contract; a case involving a faculty member and a staff member must not be covered by other college/district procedures; in a case involving a faculty member and a student, their relationship must not involve the faculty member’s primary duties at the college. Once the Senate president determines that the case should be dealt with by the committee, the chair of the committee, in consultation with the Senate President, will select the members of the case committee.

Goals:

In all cases the Professional Relations Committee will attempt to achieve closure for all parties involved through a process of mediation. Mediation is a voluntary dispute- resolution process during which it is expected that all parties will cooperate with the committee in an attempt to resolve the conflict. Given successful mediation, the Professional Relations Committee will make findings of satisfactory closure and report those findings to the Academic Senate President. If conflict resolution is not successful, the Professional Relations Committee will make findings with regard to unprofessional and or unethical conduct and report those findings to the Academic Senate President. In cases of findings of unprofessional or unethical conduct, the Professional Relations Committee will make recommendations to place such findings in the appropriate faculty member’s personnel files.

Committee Procedures:

The activities of the Professional Relations Committee will be guided by the Faculty Professional Ethics Statement (a copy of which is also attached) and by the following procedures:

a. All discussions, deliberations, and recommendations of the Professional Relations Committee shall be confidential.

b. Any De Anza staff member, administrator, or student who feels that unprofessional or unethical conduct on the part of a Faculty member has harmed that staff member, administrator, or student, or is harming the institution may ask the Professional Relations Committee to intervene. Complaints by students must be about faculty members not acting as their current instructors or counselors. No anonymous requests will be accepted or considered. Following a written request to the Academic Senate President and a decision by the Academic Senate President to formally invoke the Professional Relations Process, the committee will convene to consider the issue.

c. When an intervention request is received by the Academic Senate President, the Academic Senate President, the Chair of the Professional Relations Committee, and the Faculty Association Conciliation Officer will meet to review it and determine whether or not the matter is a non-contractual subject within the scope of the Professional Relations committee's jurisdiction and, therefore, whether or not to formally invoke the Professional Relations process.

d. If the decision is made to review the situation, the Case Committee will select at least two of its members to conduct initial interviews of the involved parties. The selection by the committee will be made with careful consideration for any perception of conflict of interest. The purposes of the interviews will be to define the problem as perceived by both parties and to determine what, if anything, the person requesting the intervention wishes to have done to resolve the situation.

e. On the recommendation of the Professional Relations Committee Chair, the Professional Relations Committee can be temporarily augmented with the approval of the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate. The intent of this augmentation is to provide a balanced fact- finding subcommittee. For example, if one or more of the parties involved in a dispute is a part-time faculty member, it is recommended that the Committee be augmented with a part-time faculty representative.

f. After initial interviews, the Committee will meet to discuss any differences between the parties in their perceptions of the problem. The committee will then either formulate a presentation of a proposed written understanding between the parties or will hold meetings with each of the parties in attempts to get each to understand and acnowledge the perceptions and intentions of the other.

g. After the interviews, the Committee may undertake additional activities to resolve the situation. One appropriate activity might be to interview other persons who may have direct knowledge of the situation. Another approach could be to bring the parties together for a face-to-face discussion in an effort to achieve reconciliation or some other mutual satisfactory resolution of the matter. If a face-to-face meeting is held, careful preparations must be made by the committee, to include suggestions and questions for the parties and ground rules to be followed by both Committee members and the parties.

h. After the Professional Relations Committee has conducted all confidential interviews, the Committee will:

  • Attempt to resolve the conflict, develop a satisfactory compromise among parties involved, and present its findings to the Academic Senate President;
  • Decide the most appropriate way of disseminating their findings and recommendations to all parties concerned. (The Committee must decide if its recommendations could forestall or compromise a potential resolution among parties involved.) Options include:
    1. face-to-face meetings with individuals involved;
    2. call all parties involved to a face-to-face meeting;
    3. provide a written summary to all parties involved with recommendations as to how to resolve the conflict, with a due date for responses;
  • After the attempts have been made, if no resolution has been reached, the Committee must present a written summary of interviews, findings including the condition of non resolution, and recommendations to the Academic Senate President.
  • If, through the process of confidential interviews, unprofessional behavior has been found, the Committee may recommend to the Academic Senate President that censure is appropriate and or that the case be presented to the appropriate Vice President of the College to determine whether or not the report is to be entered into the personnel files of any/or all of the parties involved in the conflict.
  • If the complainant’s conduct is questionable or at-fault, such findings will become part of the Professional Relations Committee’s final report.

Any one of the parties involved may request of the Academic Senate President that a written copy of the findings be placed in his/her College Personnel file. i. At all times, the Professional Relations Committee shall act to resolve disputes in an expeditious manner without involving any outside parties unnecessarily.

j. Professional Relations Committee permanent records will be maintained by the Committee Chair in a locked file in the Academic Senate Office. All records of the Committee will be filed and passed on to subsequent Committee Chairs. Records of disputes and findings will be maintained for a minimum of four years.



Academic Senate
Email: Mayra Cruz

Office Location: Adm 117
Phone: 408.864.8358

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Last Updated: 9/4/13