Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

Appointment to the University faculty carries with it the rights and responsibilities set forth in this Faculty Handbook or in any policies, contracts, or letters of appointment applicable to the faculty member.

The responsibilities of tenure-line faculty members include teaching, research, and service. The specific responsibilities of other faculty members shall be set out in applicable campus policies and in their individual contracts or letters of appointment.

If a faculty member’s rights are violated by administrative action, he or she may seek remedy through the Faculty Grievance Procedure (Section III.G), the Affirmative Action Grievance Procedure (Section IV.A), or other applicable procedures. Failure to fulfill his or her responsibilities may subject the faculty member to appropriate disciplinary action (Section III.G.C). No failure by administrators or faculty to enforce or exercise the provisions or requirements of this Faculty Handbook shall be deemed a waiver, and no such failure to act shall affect the right at a later time to enforce or exercise these provisions or requirements or to pursue related remedies.

Faculty rights and responsibilities shall include but not be limited to the following:

1.  Academic Freedom

Free inquiry and unconstrained publication of the results of inquiry are at the heart of a university. Our University commitment to academic freedom supports all faculty (and professional librarians) in research, teaching, and professional service in and beyond the University by protecting free inquiry and free expression. Faculty enjoy academic freedom in the classroom, the laboratory, the studio, the library, and all the domains of their academic activity. Academic freedom promotes intellectual honesty and requires respect for the academic rights of others. While all faculty enjoy academic freedom, this right is reinforced by the institution of tenure, whereby a select body of faculty are appointed without limit of term and under special conditions (specified elsewhere in this Handbook), and with a responsibility to participate in shared governance. The principles of academic freedom and shared governance give tenured faculty an additional responsibility to help protect all who engage in the University's research, teaching, learning, and service.

2. Research

Research advances knowledge and understanding, and takes different forms in different fields. It includes scholarly inquiry, scientific investigation, and artistic expression that is published or otherwise disseminated.

  1. Compliance with Applicable Regulations

    Faculty members have a responsibility to comply with all regulations governing research imposed by law or University policy, including but not limited to the Conflict of Interest Policy and the policies and procedures of the Institutional Review Board, the Radiation Safety Committee, and the Animal Care and Use Committee.

  2. Sabbatical Leave

    Sabbatical leave is granted by the University in order to allow tenured faculty the periodic opportunity to concentrate on research. With an approved application, eligible faculty may take a sabbatical leave after every six years or twelve semesters of counted service. See section III.C.10.c.

3. Teaching

Faculty members have the following specific responsibilities in connection with their teaching:

  1. To remain current in their subjects and courses.
  2. To instruct assigned courses, as scheduled or otherwise approved (promptly beginning and ending each class), on the assigned subject, at the assigned level, and with the degree of rigor/standards appropriate to that level.
  3. To select the materials and approach in assigned courses, make the assignments, and evaluate student academic performance, except when Department or School policy specifies the allocation of authority in team taught or multi-section courses, or when the objectives, materials, and assignments in courses are part of a structured curriculum.
  4. To have the course approved by a duly authorized faculty review body if required by department, school, or campus policy.
  5. To set out in writing clear and appropriate expectations for students at the beginning of the course.
  6. To make arrangements to cover or reschedule any class missed.
  7. To foster free discussion, inquiry, and expression in the classroom while maintaining the course’s academic standards and objectives.
  8. To take appropriate steps to ensure that required books and other course materials are accessible when needed.
  9. To hold office hours, or the equivalent consistent with campus policy, and to be available to students outside the classroom on a regular and reasonable basis throughout the academic year, including registration, reading, and exam periods.
  10. To complete in a professional, timely and responsible manner all other teaching and academic assignments which the faculty member has accepted as, or been assigned, including for example, submitting grades, mentoring or reading dissertations or theses, administering comprehensive or qualifying exams, writing letters of recommendation, and conducting tutorials.
  11. To avoid using his or her position as a faculty member to coerce, intimidate, or manipulate students.
  12. To follow the policies and procedures of the Institutional Review Board whenever applicable to course-related activity.
  13. To comply with applicable department, school, or campus policies relating to teaching.
4. Grading

Academic freedom includes the faculty member’s right freely to evaluate student academic performance in his or her classes. A faculty member’s teaching responsibilities include providing grades in the manner and within the deadlines specified by the Registrar, doing so honestly, fairly, and without bias, using appropriate criteria and following stated procedures.

  1. The grade submitted by a faculty member to the Registrar at the end of the course may be overruled only as the result of an appeal procedure approved by the faculty governance body responsible for academic policy in the campus or school governed by the policy.

    1. Any such appeal procedure should be designed to protect students against evaluation in which the professor uses inappropriate criteria or ignores stated procedures and grading standards.
    2. Such procedures should provide for a faculty committee to review the appeal and authorize any resulting change in a grade.
    3. Deans may resolve an appeal only if the faculty committee fails to act in the time specified.
    4. Faculty have a responsibility to cooperate fully with grade appeals conducted according to the approved procedures.
  2. The faculty member’s ability to change a grade after it has been recorded by the Registrar is limited by School policy.

  3. School policies may also authorize the Registrar or Dean to record administrative Fs when faculty members fail to turn in grades, retroactively withdraw students from courses, and convert letter grades when a course is taken pass/fail.

5. Service

Through service, faculty members play a central role in shaping the future of the University.

  1. Service includes a broad range of activities that complement and support teaching and research and contribute to the University, the profession, or the public. Service may be performed in leadership positions (e.g., committee chair, department chair, unit or program director, governance body officer) and in other roles.
  2. Service may be performed at any level of the University (department, program, school, campus, or University-wide). In any service to the University, faculty members have a responsibility to bring their best judgment of what constitutes good teaching and research, and of the conditions that promote them, to bear on matters of academic policy, institutional priorities, peer evaluation, faculty appointment and promotion, and selection of administrators.
  3. Faculty members are encouraged to provide service to their profession and the public. Through service to the public, faculty use their academic expertise to promote the public welfare. Service to the profession promotes teaching and research. Service done well involves using time and talent resourcefully to advance the good of the whole University.
  4. Faculty members who have a service responsibility are expected to accept a reasonable number of service assignments.
  5. In the evaluation of a faculty member, the quality and quantity of service at all levels of the University, as well as service to the profession or public, will be counted appropriately and equitably.
6. Commencements and Convocations

Faculty members have a responsibility to attend commencements and convocations as directed by their Executive Vice President, Dean, or Chair.

7. The Academic Year

The Academic Year of the Main Campus, the Law Center, and the School of Nursing and Health Studies runs from the beginning of the fall semester to the end of the spring semester as defined by the annual academic calendar approved by the appropriate Executive Vice President. The Academic Year for the Medical Center (except for the School of Nursing and Health Studies) runs for 12 months from July 1 to June 30.

8. Shared Governance
  1. Faculty members have the right and responsibility to participate in the governance of the University in accordance with the constitutions or bylaws of established governance bodies. (See Section III.A.)
  2. Faculty members have the right to seek change in department, program, school, campus, or University policy through the appropriate faculty governance body.
  3. Except as limited elswhere in the Faculty Handbook:
    1. Voting members of departments and other governance bodies have a responsibility to attend their meetings.
    2. Tenure-line faculty members have voting rights, and the responsibility to exercise those rights, in the academic unit of their primary appointment except as limited elsewhere in the Faculty Handbook.
    3. Tenure-line faculty members with secondary appointments may have additional voting rights as specified in campus policies.
9. Outside Professional Activities
  1. All faculty members are expected to belong to, and participate in the affairs of, the important professional and educational associations and societies in their respective fields.
  2. To the extent possible, faculty members are expected to deliver papers at meetings of professional and educational organizations and to contribute to professional and educational journals and publications at reasonable intervals. Within the limits of the budget, the Chair of the Department may authorize such active participation of a full-time faculty member in the meetings of an important society. Requests for such travel must be made in due time and must be accompanied by an estimate of cost so that the Chair may have opportunity to consider the budget. All expense accounts for authorized trips, itemized and accompanied by receipts, should be submitted through the Chair to the appropriate University Office for payment. Similar approval must be obtained in cases of travel chargeable to grants or contracts.
  3. A regular full-time faculty member shall not accept regular or part-time employment as a full- or part-time teacher during the academic year in another institution, without the approval of the Department Chair and the appropriate Dean(s).
  4. While full-time status will not afford much extra time, faculty members may serve as consultants. Such consultation or other remunerative occupation outside the University, however, should not exceed an average of eight hours a week and must not be undertaken until the Chair of the Department is satisfied that teaching, research, mentoring, and committee and other school obligations will be met.
  5. Occasional participation in traditional scholarly activities such as, but not limited to, service on study sections and review panels, delivery of academic seminars, the review, presentation or writing of scholarly papers, and service on editorial boards is considered part of the routine academic duty of faculty members. No advance review is required for activities of this type so long as they do not conflict with other faculty duties. Major and ongoing extramural academic commitments that are expected to require commitment of University resources and/or to conflict with other faculty duties do require advance consultation and agreement with the Department Chair, the Dean, or other appropriate administrative officer to assure that teaching, research, mentoring, and committee and other school obligations will be met.
  6. When Faculty members use University equipment or facilities in professional work for clients outside the University, the University shall be compensated for the actual burden, including direct costs, borne by the University for such use, and such compensation shall be at a rate determined by the Chair of the Department and the Dean of the School in question, or by other officials of the University who are concerned with the matter.
10. Absence and Leave
  1. Absence during the Academic Year

    Faculty members are expected to meet their applicable academic responsibilities throughout the academic year. However, absences may be necessary and are permissible to the extent that academic responsibilities are met or adequately covered and campus policies and procedures have been observed.

  2. Leave Requests and Limits

    Requests for leave must be made in writing by the faculty member through the Department Chair or unit director and the appropriate Dean to the EVP or Provost, whose final decision will be addressed to the faculty member in writing. The decision will take into account the proposed activity during the period of the requested leave and the impact of the faculty member's absence.

    Leave approval will include a specified term of no more than four semesters (two academic or calendar years). Only in exceptional circumstances will an extended leave be approved for a consecutive period of more than four semesters up to maximum of four years. Such requests will be considered by the Provost or EVP.

    Any request for consecutive leave and leave extension for a combined period of more than four years will be granted only if the proposed leave is recommended by the Provost or EVP and approved by the President. Such approval will be granted only in the most exceptional cases.

    A faculty member who does not return from approved leave following the specified term will be terminated from his or her position and, as applicable, relinquish tenure.

  3. Sabbatical Leave

    Tenured faculty are eligible for a sabbatical leave after accruing six years or twelve semesters of counted service. Rules regarding counted semesters of service are determined by campus policy.

    An application setting forth a research proposal must be in writing and should be submitted by December 1 of the academic year preceding the year of absence. Sabbatical leaves will be granted when the research proposal is meritorious, the University will not suffer undue academic inconvenience by the absence, and the faculty member is eligible for a sabbatical. Applications will be reviewed by the department chair and deans, as appropriate. Their recommendations will be forwarded to the Provost or Executive Vice President for decision.

    The purpose of a sabbatical leave is to promote research. Sabbatical leaves are usually devoted exclusively to carrying out a research project, but may also consist of a course of study designed to learn new research skills essential for future projects. Any teaching or other paid professional activity during the period of the sabbatical leave must be approved by the Provost or Executive Vice President in advance of the activity. Approval will be based on whether the activity complements the approved sabbatical project.

    At the Main Campus and Law Center, the terms of sabbatical leave will be either one academic year at half base salary or one semester at full base salary. At the Medical Center, the terms are six months at full base salary or twelve months at half base salary. At the end of the leave period the faculty member is to report in writing on the progress of research or formal study during that time. This report is to be submitted to the Provost or appropriate Executive Vice President upon completion of the sabbatical.

    Sabbatical leave is intended to benefit the University and the individual. By the acceptance of a sabbatical leave, faculty members commit to resume their regular academic duties at Georgetown for at least one year. Faculty members who fail to honor this commitment will be required to return any salary received from Georgetown funds during their sabbatical leave.

  4. Family Care Leave

    Faculty members who are employed by Georgetown University to work at least 75% time are eligible for Family Care Leave.

    Family Care Leave can be used for child care during the first year after the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. In the case of a woman giving birth, she first receives paid Disability Leave during the post-partum recovery period, and then she can start Family Care Leave. Family Care Leave can also be used for the serious illness of children, spouses or parents.

    Because some faculty members may have close relationships with persons who do not fall exactly within the categories outlined above, but the relationships are very similar in nature to the defined ones, faculty may petition to be granted the Family Care Leave for closely similar circumstances (e.g., the serious illness of an aunt who has been a faculty member's de facto mother). There is no entitlement to such leave, however, and the decision in such cases is left to the discretion of the relevant Executive Vice President.

    Applicable leaves will run concurrently with a faculty member's entitlements under the FMLA Leave Policy.

    Tenure-line faculty on the Main Campus are eligible for the New Parent Leave Option.

  1. How Family Care Leave works

    Under the Family Care Leave policy, a faculty member may take up to four months of leave without pay or work half-time for up to four months at half pay. Upon return, the faculty member will be fully reinstated to his or her position. Also, if the family care required is periodic in nature, such as for recurring chemotherapy treatments, periodic Family Care Leave may be scheduled.

    Health and other insurance benefits may be continued throughout the leave if the faculty member pays the employee portion of the premiums.

  1. Applying for Family Care Leave

    A faculty member should apply for Family Care Leave as soon as possible before starting the leave. The application must state when the Family Care Leave will start, the faculty member's best estimate of how long it will last (if possible), and the reason for seeking leave. If possible, the faculty member should schedule leave to avoid disruption of his or her responsibilities. Documentation to support the request must accompany the application.

    Leave will be granted unless the faculty member's department head or dean receives permission from a committee composed of the 3 Executive Vice Presidents to deny it. If the faculty member's department head seeks permission to deny a Family Care Leave, the faculty member will receive a copy of this request.  The faculty member has the right to provide the Executive Vice Presidents with a written statement of the hardship to the faculty member and his or her family which would be caused by a denial. The faculty member may also suggest ways to alleviate his or her department's hardship or state why granting the leave would not cause severe hardship to the department.

  1. Extensions of Family Care Leave

    In certain cases, a faculty member may be able to take up to one year of Family Care Leave, but the department head or dean must approve the extended leave. The request for extension may be denied if, in the opinion of the faculty member's department head or dean, the faculty member's extended absence would seriously diminish the department's functioning.  The faculty member may appeal such a denial to the appropriate Executive Vice President.

    If the faculty member has used less than four months of Family Care Leave in a period of one calendar year measured from the first date of usage of Family Care Leave, and a new situation arises requiring use of Family Care Leave, the faculty member may ask to use the remaining time. This request may be denied if the faculty member's absence would seriously diminish the department's functioning.  The faculty member may appeal such a denial to the appropriate Executive Vice President.

  1. Options for untenured tenure-line faculty

    Untenured tenure-line faculty may have any Family Care Leave of a semester or more excluded from the time counted for the tenure probation period. (A semester's leave means that the entire academic year in which that semester occurred will not be counted toward tenure.)

    An untenured tenure-line faculty member who is in a position to take Family Care Leave but cannot afford the loss of salary, may apply to extend the 7 year tenure probationary period by one year.  This will allow the untenured faculty member to teach full-time at full salary, fulfill all responsibilities regarding the supervision of students (including the supervision of graduate student research where applicable), and continue his or her service obligations, but reduce his or her research workload for one year.

    An untenured faculty member must apply for extension of the tenure probation period at the time of the family care circumstance, and not at the time of seeking tenure. The one year probationary period extension may not be secured retroactively at the time of tenure consideration.

    To request a one year extension, the faculty member shall submit a statement detailing his or her reason for requesting the extension. The request shall be given to the appropriate Executive Vice President via the department head and dean. The request may be denied only for lack of substantiation of the circumstances.

11. Professional Conduct
  1. Compliance

    Faculty members must comply with all applicable department, program, school, campus, and University policies, and with applicable law.

  2. Fair Treatment

    Every member of the University has the right to be treated fairly, courteously, and professionally by students, colleagues, the Department Chair and by all members of the University administration, and to be protected from arbitrary or capricious action on the part of any such persons. Every member has a correlative responsibility to treat other members accordingly.

    Faculty members are to be free from arbitrary or capricious action on the part of the University Administration with respect to the determination of his or her own individual annual compensation. In this regard, faculty members have the right to receive full information concerning all factors material to the determination of his or her own individual annual compensation, provided that an individual is not entitled to receive any information concerning the salaries or the factors material to the salaries of others, nor may the faculty member by this provision be entitled to receive any information received by the University in confidence relevant to initial appointment, the grant of tenure, promotion or retention.

    Facultymembers must refrain from committing or inciting to acts of physical violence against individuals or property, or acts which interfere with the academic freedom of other persons within the University, or interfere with the freedom of speech or movement of such persons.

  3. Private Speech and Action

    A Faculty member has rights and responsibilities common to all citizens, free from institutional censorship. In furtherance of this principle, a Faculty member may be held accountable by the University for his or her private acts only as they substantially affect teaching, research or University service. A faculty member should not, however, speak or act for or on behalf of the University, or give the impression of doing so, unless appropriately authorized.

  4. Religious Tolerance

    Faculty members have a responsibility to respect the religious beliefs and practices of all members of the Georgetown community, and to recognize and respect that Georgetown University is a Jesuit university that is committed therefore to Catholic principles and religious values. Faculty members are under no obligation to conform with respect to their personal beliefs or religious practices.

  5. Academic Authority, Supervisory Responsibility, and Impartiality

    Faculty members, by virtue of their status in the University, wield significant power and authority over their students and supervisees.

    1. Personal Services
      A faculty member may not require students or supervisees to perform service that is outside the scope of their class work or job responsibilities.

      To avoid unfairly exploiting the power of their position, or appearing to do so, faculty members are cautioned against asking or allowing students or supervisees to perform any service for them outside the scope of their class work or duties. If a student or supervisee does perform such service, the faculty member should ensure that the arrangement is voluntary and beneficial to the student or supervisee, that it does not interfere with the individual's education or work for the University, and that it does not influence the faculty member's evaluation of the student or supervisee.

    2. Gifts
      For similar reasons, faculty members are cautioned against accepting more than token gifts from students or supervisees. (See also the “Financial Conflicts of Interest Policy,” Section IV.C.)

    3. Personal Relationships in General
      If a faculty member has any relationship with a colleague, student, or supervisee outside of the professional relationship that might affect the faculty member’s impartiality, the faculty member shall disclose the relationship to his or her own chair or dean, and may be required to recuse him or herself from certain supervisory and academic responsibilities with respect to that colleague, student, or supervisee. (See also the "Policy on Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships," Section IV.G).

    4. Teaching of Relatives
      Faculty members are prohibited from grading, formally evaluating, or serving as instructor of record for, their own relatives taking Georgetown courses for credit. Similarly, faculty members are prohibited from serving as formal advisor to their own relatives seeking degrees (including serving as a member or chair of their degree committees). Under extraordinary circumstances, the faculty member may request an exception to this policy by making a written request to the dean of the applicable school, indicating why an exception is warranted (and how conflicts of interest will be managed). In the event that the dean is teaching the course in question or has a potential conflict of interest, the written request should be submitted to the appropriate Provost or EVP. The dean or EVP will notify the student and faculty member of his or her decision and, if the exception is approved, may impose any necessary conditions to maintain fairness.

      For purposes of this section, a “relative” is a spouse, parent, child, child by adoption, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, cousin, niece or nephew of the faculty member or the faculty member's spouse or child. Relative also includes “step” relationships such as a stepchild and stepparent, and anyone who shares the faculty member’s household.

  6. Confidentiality

    While most aspects of university life benefit from open processes and free access to information, some require full information and candid evaluations that can be obtained only when protected by confidentiality.  Some information, moreover, is protected by law or University policy in the interest of privacy or fair treatment.  Faculty members’ basic responsibilities with respect to confidentiality are set forth below.  In addition, the Office of General Counsel may be consulted for advice concerning confidentiality requirements.

    The confidential designation of information in categories 2.a and 2.b does not preclude the use of such information by administrators or faculty authorized to participate in the review.   Nor does it prevent an authorized party from conveying to the faculty member the substance of an evaluation received, provided that in doing so the identity of the evaluator(s) is not revealed.;

    1. Members of the faculty have the responsibility to comply with all confidentiality requirements imposed by law or by University policies, including but not limited to:
      1. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and associated campus records policies,
      2. Health Information Privacy Protection Act,
      3. Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Statement,
      4. University Information Security Policy, and
      5. Policies stated elsewhere in this Handbook, including:
        1. Confidentiality and Transparency of the Rank and Tenure Process,
        2. University Faculty Grievance Code,
        3. Faculty Responsibilities Code,
        4. University Procedures for Alleged Misconduct in Research, and
        5. Grievance Procedures to Investigate Allegations of Discrimination and Harassment.  

           

    2. Information in the following two categories is hereby designated as confidential, and may be shared only as indicated:

      1. Anything expressed by internal or external evaluators in connection with a formal review within the University of another faculty member, current or prospective, including but not limited to reviews that occur in connection with appointment or retention decisions, annual merit reviews, the award of tenure or promotion, grant applications, and grievance or disciplinary procedures.
          Confidential information in category ii.1 may be shared only when:
        1. the evaluator and person being evaluated provide express, written permission that it may be shared, and with whom; or
        2. A campus or University policy expressly permits such information be revealed to the faculty member under review.
      2. Material submitted by a faculty member, current or prospective, as part of any formal review of that individual.

        Confidential information in category ii.2 may be shared only when the individual provides express written permission that it may be shared, and with whom.

      The confidential designation of information in categories ii.1 and ii.2 does not preclude the use of such information by administrators or faculty authorized to participate in the review.   Nor does it prevent an authorized party from conveying to the faculty member the substance of an evaluation received, provided that in doing so the identity of the evaluator(s) is not revealed. 

    3. Members of the faculty have a responsibility not to reveal to unauthorized parties any other University-related information they receive with the understanding that it has been designated as confidential by the administrator who provides the information, unless otherwise required by law or University policy.

      If faculty members have concerns about whether information has been inappropriately designated as confidential and/or who is an authorized party, they must seek clarification from the administrator, or designee(s), who is responsible for secure management of data in this area before engaging in any conduct that could jeopardize the confidentiality of the information.  After seeking clarification, if faculty members wish to object to the confidential classification of information, they may submit a complaint to the Vice President responsible for the information at issue, whose determination will be final. 

  7. Financial Conflicts of Interest

    Faculty members must not allow outside obligations, financial interests or employment relationships to compromise their objectivity as teachers, researchers, clinicians, and administrators. In addition, members of the Georgetown University community who are supported by public funds bear a special obligation to preserve the public trust. To further these ends, Georgetown University has developed a policy for the identification and prevention of financial conflicts of interest. The full text of this policy is set out in Section IV.C.

12.  The University Policy Concerning Indemnification of Faculty Members

Georgetown University will defend, indemnify and hold harmless its faculty members from and against any and all expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees and disbursements, judgments or settlements, arising out of any act or failure to act by faculty members acting in good faith within the scope of their employment and in performance of their authorized or assigned duties. The University reserves the right not to defend or indemnify a faculty member where the injury or damage results from intentional wrongdoing, gross negligence, or willful violation or disregard of University policies and procedures. Nor will the University defend or indemnify a faculty member (1) in the event that the action or proceeding on a claim is brought by, on behalf of, or in the right of, the University, or (2) in the event that in the action or proceeding of the claim, the faculty member is aligned as a party adverse to the University. Acts or failures to act by faculty members rendering medical, nursing, legal, or other professional services not within the scope of their employment or not part of authorized or assigned duties are not included herein. In addition, indemnification shall not be available to a faculty member to the extent that any damage or loss is indemnifiable under other insurance covering the faculty member.

Defense and indemnification are conditional upon the delivery to the Office of the University Counsel of the original or a copy of any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand or pleading within 10 working days after service of such document. [1] Secondly, the University must be given the absolute and continuing right to take charge of the claim or litigation including the right to direct any litigation, to appoint counsel and to settle any and all claims in a manner deemed appropriate by the University. The University shall give prior notification to the faculty member of any settlement proposals and allow the faculty member the opportunity to comment upon the proposal and shall give reasonable consideration of such comments. To the extent that it is within its control the University shall maintain the confidentiality of all settlement proposals and agreements. Finally, the University and its counsel are to be given full assistance and continuous cooperation of the faculty member throughout the defense of any covered claim or litigation.

In deciding whether a faculty member will be defended or indemnified the University shall presume that the faculty member acted in good faith and within the scope of his or her employment until evidence to the contrary proves otherwise.