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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 2 - Faculty and Academics
Publication Date: October 15, 1996
Responsible Executive: VP for Academic Affairs

2.38 Academic Program Abandonment

  1. Preamble

    Part One, Chapter III, Section 6.(11) of the UT System Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations authorizes the President of the university to determine when to eliminate academic programs or occupied academic positions in the absence of financial exigency. The President is required to determine institutional procedures for an in-depth review to inform and guide decisions on these matters. The policy and procedures relating to the review required by Section 6.(11) are as follows.

  2. Policies and Procedures
    1. Decisions regarding the elimination of an academic program shall be made only after thorough consideration of viable alternatives. The criteria for the elimination of academic programs, in the absence of financial exigency, shall be based on bona fide academic reasons. The President, acting under the authority of the Regents' Rules and Regulations, Part One, Chapter III, Section 6.(11), has the responsibility for determining when to eliminate an academic program. Once the President decides to initiate consideration of elimination of a program or programs, that consideration must include, but is not limited to, a current review conducted under the UT San Antonio Academic Program Review Policy. For the purposes of the Academic Program Abandonment Policy, such a review under the Academic Program Review Policy is considered current if it was concluded within the previous three years.
    2. Upon identifying one or more academic programs for potential elimination, the President shall notify the University Assembly, along with the administration and faculty of the affected programs. When such action may result in terminating the employment of tenured faculty members, the President shall appoint an ad hoc committee of seven individuals to review the proposed actions. Four of the members of the committee shall be tenured members of the UTSA faculty, some of whom may hold administrative responsibilities. The four tenured members of the committee will be appointed by the President from among a group of not less than eight faculty nominated by the Faculty Senate, provided that such nominations are made within 14 days after the request from the President to the Faculty Senate unless an extension is granted by the President. Three committee members shall be appointed at the discretion of the President.
    3. The committee's considerations shall be based on academic program criteria. They shall include an assessment of the impact of the proposed actions on current and future students and the impact on the integrity and vitality of the university's other academic programs. Tenured faculty whose positions would be eliminated by the proposed actions will be provided the opportunity to contribute to the committee's review process and have those contributions considered. The committee shall consider and may offer advice on alternatives by which terminations of tenured faculty members can be avoided or minimized and how the negative effects of any necessary terminations can be mitigated.
    4. Unless an extension is approved by the President, the committee shall complete its work in a period of time no longer than 120 days. The committee's analysis and recommendations shall be presented in the form of a written report addressed to the President and routed through the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Provost will review the committee's analysis and recommendations and forward the committee report, along with the Provost's independent recommendations, including the names of any faculty whose positions are to be terminated, to the President within 30 days after receipt, unless an extension is approved by the President.
    5. After reviewing the committee's report and the recommendation of the Provost, if the President decides to proceed with the process of eliminating one or more academic programs that would eliminate academic positions occupied by tenured faculty, the President shall forward the decision, along with a copy of the committee's report, to the University Assembly and to the programs and faculty members directly affected and shall request approval of the proposed actions, including a proposed date of program termination, from the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The date proposed for the termination of the program shall be no sooner than eighteen months after the President forwards the decision to the University Assembly and the programs and the faculty directly affected and shall coincide with the end of a spring semester (May 31).
    6. Upon approval by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the affected faculty member(s) will be notified by the Provost, and any tenured faculty member(s) will be asked to inform the Provost in writing of the tenured faculty member's request for reassignment within the remaining academic structure of UTSA. The requests must be filed in writing with the Provost no later than 14 days after receiving notification of approval by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and must be accompanied by the details related to the tenured faculty member's qualifications to teach in other academic programs.
    7. The Provost shall meet individually with the tenured faculty who respond and discuss possible reassignment and shall notify such faculty member in writing regarding the outcome of these discussions within a period of time no longer than 30 days after the meeting, unless the President approves an extension. A reassignment could involve relocation into another academic program, changes in title, changes of duties and responsibilities, and changes in salary and tenure status. In exploring possible academic reassignments for affected tenured faculty, the Provost shall consult with the Dean(s) and faculty of the academic programs for which the tenured faculty member may be qualified. If a mutually satisfactory reassignment cannot be arranged for a tenured faculty member, the faculty member will be informed in writing by the Provost with a statement of the reasons why the tenured faculty member will not be retained in another position.
    8. The employment of a tenured faculty member terminated under this policy shall not extend beyond the date of the termination of his or her academic program, as stated in the President's request to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Prior to the date for termination and for one additional academic year, the terminated tenured faculty member shall have the right to first consideration among equally qualified candidates for any faculty position at UTSA for which a recruitment and hiring process is conducted and for which the faculty member formally applies.
    9. Any faculty member who is terminated pursuant to this policy will be informed of employee benefits available, such as retirement, accrued leave, and available insurance continuation, and will be offered assistance with regard to alternative employment opportunities outside the University.

Editorial Amendment Issued January 4, 2007