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October 15, 1998

Cases over the past decade

During the last decade, 26 Pitt faculty members have appealed what they saw as unjust decisions to deny them promotions and/or tenure.

According to Provost's office records (which do not identify the individuals involved), only two appellants won their cases:

* In a 1991 case, then-Provost Donald Henderson overruled a dean's decision and recommended that the appellant be promoted to associate professor with tenure.

* In 1990, Provost Henderson ruled against a faculty member who then took the case to a University hearing board, the equivalent of a Supreme Court in Pitt's appeals process. The board ruled in the appellant's favor, and promotion with tenure was granted.

"The deans are very careful to get their procedures right," Provost James Maher said. "By the time a case gets all the way to me for a ruling, in general it isn't a case where the deans have gotten something wrong." Maher said appeals panels sometimes recommend that he send a case back to a dean or regional campus president to make sure that University procedures were followed in determining whether the appellant should be promoted. "In those cases, I have sent it back," he said. "Typically, those cases come back to me with the same decision [to deny promotion] but with the procedures cleared up."

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 31 Issue 4

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