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Lincoln University halting tenure, sabbatical for now

Lincoln University halting tenure, sabbatical for now

Curators also modified collective bargaining rules, summer school pay

April 21st, 2017 by Bob Watson in Local News

Lincoln University

Lincoln University faculty won't be getting new tenure designations or sabbaticals in the near future, Curators President Marvin Teer announced Thursday.

"In light of all of the changes that we are being forced to necessarily shepherd," he said, "it's really ill-advised to even consider these at this time.

"I'm sure that they will play a significant role in the future, and we will be happy to revisit and entertain those requests and those suggestions."

Sabbaticals allow a faculty member to do an intensive study or research, or work on a book, while still being paid; the university also has to hire someone to cover the faculty member's classes.

"I think the finances are that tight throughout the state," LU President Kevin Rome said after the meeting, noting the University of Missouri and other state schools also are announcing budget cuts.

"We're being, pretty much, mandated by the state to reduce. A sabbatical is needed for faculty, but some people would say, 'Is it essential at this particular time?'

"For tenure and promotion, it's difficult to (approve) when you may be in a position where you're going to have to eliminate some positions."

The curators spent more than three hours in closed session Thursday, but made no announcement of any decisions.

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Teer noted LU is facing a rough future with budget cuts from the state, departmental restructuring and negotiations with faculty over a "viable collective bargaining agreement."

Curators on Thursday unanimously approved changes to LU's new collective bargaining policy, which the board adopted Nov. 10.

The board approved new language making "all terms and conditions of employment" subject to "management rights" until an initial contract is reached.

And the new language said the "university shall not be required to bargain over matters of managerial rights," including university functions, service standards, overall budget, organizational structure and selection of new employees.

The board also approved new language allowing an employee to have a grievance "heard and settled without the intervention of any labor organization," and language allowing a majority of the members of an existing, recognized bargaining unit to petition the curators to decertify their bargaining representative at any time.

The board also modified its summer school course and pay policies, effective this summer.

They raised the minimum number of students needed for upper-level undergraduate courses from 10 to 15, matching the existing minimum for lower-level classes, and setting a flat rate of $4,000 pay for teaching summer school classes with at least 15 students.

Pay would be pro-rated for classes with fewer students.

Curators voted 4-1 to approve a contract with PGAV Architects, Kansas City, to design a reconstruction of the Dickinson Research Facility, which was heavily damaged in a 2015 fire, just two days after the school had received bids for an expansion of the facility.

Since then, there have been settlement issues with LU's insurance carrier.

The new plan is to raze the old building and replace it, using a combination of insurance settlement money and a federal facilities grant.

The plans would be finished by the end of the year, with bidding completed by the end of February and construction taking about 400 days after a contract is awarded.

The project budget is estimated at $3.3 million.

Curators also approved a new three-year, $171,409 contract for a learning management system with "Instructure" from Canvas, the school's current provider.