I:02:01 General Personnel Policy 

The following General Personnel Policy defines authority and delegation of authority for appointment, change in status, compensation, and termination of all categories of employees at Middle Tennessee State University.  This policy is in accordance with Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Policy 5:01:00:00 General Personnel Policy.

I. SCOPE OF DELEGATION 

A. Presidents

 The appointments and terminations which require the prior approval of the President and the Chancellor include:

1. All Vice Presidents or other executives reporting directly to the President (academic, business, student affairs, etc.) including all interim appointments.

2. Directors and chairs of the Centers of Emphasis and Excellence, including interim appointments;

3. Any other positions which may be designated by the Chancellor.

The President is authorized to appoint, determine the compensation and change of status of, and terminate all other employees at the institution subject to the provisions of this and other relevant TBR and institution policies and procedures and the TBR approved Compensation Plan Guideline.

The President may delegate the foregoing authority to a designated person or persons at the institution provided that all appointments and compensation of faculty and administrative personnel shall be subject to the approval of the President.  Subsequent references to the President of an institution include the President or his or her designee.

Notwithstanding any other policy or agreement in the event of a severe state budget shortfall or state impoundment, the Chancellor may give specific written authorization to presidents upon their request to reduce compensation across the board for the remainder of the fiscal year, to mandate furloughs without pay and/or to reduce the amount of time to be worked, on an institution by institution basis. Any request submitted by Presidents shall include a description of the campus constituent groups represented on the Presidents committee advising on the budget reduction process.

The Chancellor has approved the following delegation of authority made by the President at MTSU:

The Vice Presidents and University Provost shall have the authority to appoint, change the status of, and compensate employees within their divisions.  Further, the University Provost has designated the Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the College of Graduate Studies as the authority for the appointment, change of status, and compensation of Graduate Assistants within the division of Academic Affairs.

II. APPOINTMENTS

A. The President is authorized to appoint and employ personnel within the scope of delegation provided in Section I for positions which have been approved by the TBR in an operating budget (work program) at a level of compensation which does not exceed the amount specified in the operating budget; provided that new appointments to approved positions may be made at a level of compensation in excess of the amount specified where funds are available, subject to confirmation of the transfer of budgeted funds by the Chancellor.

B. No employment agreement, or contract, or letter of agreement shall be used in the appointment or employment of personnel unless the form of agreement, contract, or letter has been approved by the Chancellor.

C. New administrative positions shall not be established in the institution’s administrative organization, and no major change in the administrative organization of an institution shall be made, unless approved by the Chancellor.

D. The minimum qualifications for the appointment of faculty shall be the Minimum Rank Criteria for Professional Personnel in Instruction, Public Service, and Research set forth in TBR Policy 5:02:02:20 Faculty Promotion at Universities, which is incorporated herein by reference. All part-time or temporary faculty must be appointed according to the provisions of TBR Policy.

E. The minimum qualifications for the appointment of all personnel other than faculty shall be determined by the President (or his or her designee), based upon the duties and responsibilities of the position, and shall be recorded and maintained by the institution, subject to any minimum qualifications for personnel positions which may be established by the TBR.

III. NATURE OF APPOINTMENTS

A.  Faculty shall be employed pursuant to the types of appointments specified in TBR Policy 5:02:07:10 Faculty Appointments at Universities and MTSU Policy II:01:05D Faculty Appointments, which are incorporated herein by reference.

B. Personnel other than faculty shall be appointed to serve at the pleasure of the President.

C.  All full-time personnel, including faculty, shall be required to devote a minimum of 37.5 hours per week to the institution, and shall maintain appropriate office hours as determined by the President (or his or her designee). The President is authorized to use flexibility as appropriate in determining the structure of the workweek for faculty to recognize variations from traditional instructional formats such as afforded by online instruction, distance education, or other unique methods of instructional delivery.  Calculation of the 37.5-hour week shall follow such guidelines as promulgated by the Chancellor.

D.  Within the requirement of a minimum of 37.5 hours per week, faculty shall be required to carry a full teaching load, which shall be fifteen (15) credit hours or the equivalent per term for undergraduate courses, twelve (12) credit hours or the equivalent per term for graduate courses, two hundred and twenty-five (225) non-credit contact hour or the equivalent per term. All equivalent teaching load activities shall be subject to prior review and approval by the President or his or her designee.

E.   In addition to the requirement of Section III.C. above, full-time administrative personnel shall be required to devote sufficient time to complete their assigned duties and responsibilities.  When administrative personnel are appointed on an academic year basis, such personnel shall be required to devote sufficient time to fully perform the administrative responsibilities for the academic year, including periods preceding or following the academic year.

F. Personnel who are appointed on an academic year basis shall be on duty for not less than nine months, which shall commence from the time designated by the President prior to the institution's first day of class for the fall term of each year through the time designated by the President at the end of the spring term, and shall be subject to call for duty during that period regardless of whether classes are in session.

The President has designated the date of the General Faculty Meeting in the fall as the beginning of the duty period for faculty and the date of spring commencement as the ending of the duty period each year.

IV. COMPENSATION

A.  The President is responsible for compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations, and all TBR policies and directives, concerning compensation for employees, and compensation for employees shall be subject to limitations imposed by the TBR or the General Assembly.

B.  All regular full-time salaried personnel, whether on an academic or fiscal year appointment, shall be paid twelve (12) monthly installments each year, provided that exceptions may be made upon termination, or as approved by the Chancellor.

C.  All full-time and part-time employees are required to participate in the automatic deposit program for the direct deposit of their salaries. Direct deposit is also required for student workers on campus as long as there is no change to the student unless exempted by Federal Work Study Guidelines.

D.  Part-time instructional personnel shall be paid on the basis of the credit or non-credit hours taught, pursuant to such guidelines and/or schedules as may be established by the TBR.

E.   The President shall insure that all employees shall be paid equal wages or salaries for equal work in positions the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where pay differentials are based upon:  (a) market factors, (b) a merit or evaluation system, (c) length of service, or (d) any other proper, non-discriminatory basis.  When any of the foregoing bases are relied upon to justify pay differentials for employees in similar positions as described above, the basis and the attendant circumstances shall be substantiated in writing and maintained by the institution.

F.   Overtime payments are available to employees not exempt from the FLSA.  The Chancellor is authorized to issue guidelines relative to payment of overtime and the rates.

G.  Faculty members may be asked to temporarily assume administrative responsibilities which entail moving from an academic year to a fiscal year contract with the assignment of additional duties.  This temporary appointment may be on a long-term or short-term basis but is still considered a temporary appointment subject to this policy. This does not apply when a faculty member is hired into a permanent administrative position such as a deanship which requires a twelve-month contract.

Temporary administrative responsibilities may necessitate the awarding of an administrative stipend in addition to the previously established salary.  The stipend amount or any other understanding concerning compensation must be set out in a newly-executed contract. The contract (1) should include a statement that the stipend is awarded as compensation for the additional administrative responsibilities and will be removed at the time the administrative responsibilities end or (2) should otherwise address how compensation would be affected at the end of an administrative appointment.

The awarding of an administrative stipend is an issue separate from that of conversion from an academic year to a fiscal year basis.  When the conversion is to take place, the institution should just convert the salary from the academic year contract by adding 25% and then adding any stipend amount determined necessary.

The following illustrates the procedure defined above.  A faculty member making $20,000 on an academic contract is converted to a fiscal year contract at a salary of $25,000.  In addition, a $1,500 administrative stipend is added and so indicated because of additional duties.  The total amount of salary is then $26,500.  At the time the faculty member serving as administrator returns to a faculty position on an academic year basis, the administrative stipend will end.  Then the base faculty salary is reduced to an academic year contract at a rate no less than 80% of the fiscal year contract.  The institution may choose to exceed the 80% number on the basis of comparable faculty salaries, including rank, merit, length of service, experience, degrees and yearly percentage increase in salary.

In the case where the faculty member was already appointed to a permanent administrative position before filling an interim position and is returning to a teaching position, the above calculations shall be based on the permanent administrative position and not the interim salary.

V. CHANGES OF STATUS AND TERMINATIONS

A.  The President is authorized to approve changes of status (i.e., transfers, promotions, demotions, or other changes in duties or responsibilities) of personnel within the scope of the delegation provided for in Section I, provided that when a change of status would cause the employee to be within the scope of positions subject to approval of the Chancellor, the change of status will be subject to the Chancellor's approval.  The President may establish procedures for accomplishing promotions, demotions, and transfers between institutions within the TBR System, in such manner as to ensure fair and equitable treatment to all personnel, and in accordance with established TBR policies.  Any such action must be taken within the parameters of the institution's or central office's Affirmative Action Plan, and must be reviewed and certified by the institutional Affirmative Action Officer.

Inter-institutional promotions, demotions, and transfers must be discussed and approved by the appointing authorities of the two institutions concerned prior to any discussion with the candidate. Any candidate promoted must meet all established minimum qualifications as determined by the appointing authority.

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

A promotion is defined as an increase in position or rank brought about by means of assuming the duties of a vacant position of higher classification, or assuming duties which warrant a reclassification of present position to one at a higher level.

A demotion is defined as a decrease in position or rank brought about by means of assuming the duties of a vacant position of lower classification, the realignment of duties presently performed which warrant a reclassification of present position to one at a lower level, or the assignment of a position at a lower classification subsequent to the disciplinary procedure or disqualification from present duties as a result of mental or physical incapacity to perform the required work.

A reclassification occurs when an employee’s duties and responsibilities change and may include an appropriate salary adjustment.

A lateral transfer is defined as the assumption of duties of another position at the same level.

B. Promotion of Faculty - The promotion of faculty shall be subject to TBR Policy 5:02:02:20 Faculty Promotions at Universities and MTSU Policy II:01:05A Policies and Procedures for Tenure.

C. Promotion of Non-Faculty - Promotion of personnel other than faculty shall be subject to MTSU Policy IV:07:21 Promotions of Classified, Executive and Administrative Employees

Promotions and transfers are an acceptable means of filling vacancies.  However, such promotions and transfers must be achieved within the parameters of institutional affirmative action plans.  In addition, any vacant position created by that promotion must be filled within the provisions of this Policy and applicable guidelines.

D.  Terminations and Transfers - The President is authorized to terminate and transfer all personnel within the scope of the delegation of authority provided for in Section I, provided that terminations of faculty shall be pursuant to the provisions of TBR Policy 5:02:03:60 Academic Tenure for Universities and MTSU Policy II:01:05A Policies and Procedures for Tenure

E.   Termination for Gross Misconduct - Gross misconduct may include, but is not necessarily limited to: any act or omission which may seriously disrupt or disturb the normal operation of the institution; any work-related conduct which would subject the employee to criminal conviction; theft or dishonesty; gross insubordination; destruction of institution property; falsification of records; acts of moral turpitude; reporting for duty under the influence of intoxicants; the illegal use, manufacture, possession, distribution, or dispensing of controlled substances or alcohol; disorderly conduct; provoking a fight; and/or such other similar acts involving intolerable behavior by the employee.  In determining eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits, the definition of gross misconduct utilized by the Tennessee Department of Employment Security is not affected by the definition outlined in this paragraph. 

In the case of gross misconduct, immediate disciplinary action up to and including termination should be taken.  An employee suspected of theft of institutional property may not resign as an alternative to discharge after the investigation has been completed.  Any exceptions to this requirement must be made by the institution's President after consultation with the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance.  If the employee resigns during the investigation, the employment records must reflect the situation at the date of resignation and the outcome of the investigation.

Refer to MTSU Policy IV:07:04 Leave Policies, Section III and Section IV regarding the loss of unused leave if termination of employment is due to gross misconduct.  Refer to T.C.A. §§ 8-35-124 and 8-50-807d for the loss of retirement benefits related to gross misconduct termination.

F.  Absence from Duty-An employee who is absent from duty for more than three (3) consecutive business days without giving notice to the appointing authority or appropriate manager concerning the reason for such absence and without securing permission to be on leave or who fails to report for duty or to the immediate supervisor or the appointing authority within two (2) business days after the expiration of any authorized leave of absence, absent unusual circumstances causing the employee's absence or preventing the employee's return, is considered as having resigned not in good standing.

VI. NON-DISCRIMINATION REQUIREMENTS

The President shall insure that all appointments, changes of status, compensation, and terminations are all in compliance with TBR Policy 5:01:02:00 Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action and MTSU Policy I:01:10 Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Nondiscrimination which are incorporated herein by reference and that no person is discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, religion, creed, age (as applicable), disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, status as a covered veteran, genetic information, color, ethnic or national origin and any other category protected by federal or state rights law in any area of employment.  An annual compliance audit will be conducted by the System Affirmative Action Officer. 

VII. EMPLOYMENT PRACTICE COMPLAINTS

Upon receipt by an institution of any charge or claim alleging violations of state or federal laws or regulations in any area of employment by any state or federal agency, a copy of the notice of the charge or claim shall immediately be transmitted to the Office of the University Counsel.  The President shall forthwith initiate an investigation of the charge, and shall report to the University Counsel the results of the investigation.  The Office of the University Counsel will coordinate and approve all responses to the appropriate agency.  The President shall transmit to the University Counsel copies of all correspondence from or to the state or federal agency involved.  All interactions with the state or federal agency shall be coordinated through the Office of the University Counsel.

Internal complaints, charges, or claims concerning matters related to discrimination in employment practices shall be referred to the University Affirmative Action Officer.  Internal complaints, charges, or claims concerning employment practice or working conditions of Regular Employees not related to discrimination shall be handled through the university grievance procedures established in MTSU Policy IV:07:11 Employee Grievance/Complaint Procedures.  In any case where the President makes a decision which is adverse to the charge or claim of the person, the President shall advise the person of any right of appeal provided by TBR Policy.

VIII.  ACADEMIC CREDENTIALS TO COMPLY WITH T.C.A. §49-7-133

It is a Class A misdemeanor to misrepresent academic credentials.  A person commits the offense of misrepresentation of academic credentials who, knowing that the statement is false and with the intent to secure employment at or admission to an institution of higher education in Tennessee, represents, orally or in writing that such person:

A. Has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees or diplomas from an accredited institution of higher education;

B. Has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees or diplomas in a particular institution of higher education; or

C. Has successfully completed the required course work for and has been awarded one (1) or more degrees or diplomas in a particular field or specialty from an accredited institution of higher education. 

IX.  RECORDS AND REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

The President shall maintain full and complete records on all personnel, including all appointments, compensation, change of status, and termination as specified in TBR Guideline G-070 Disposal of Records.

X.  MOVING ALLOWANCE

Newly hired full-time employees who relocate from their former residence to a new residence may be issued a one-time moving allowance, if deemed appropriate by the President (or his or her designee). The contract for moving allowances should be executed at the time of employment.  If the institution recruits and hires more than one person from the same family, only one moving allowance is permitted.

To be eligible to receive a moving allowance and to comply with the current guidelines published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the move must meet the minimum IRS distance test of 50 miles from the location of the former residence.  For example, if the location of the former workplace was 3 miles from the employee’s former home, the location of the employee’s new workplace must be at least 53 miles from the employee’s former home.  If the employee did not have a former workplace, the new workplace must be at least 50 miles from the employee’s former home.  The distance between the two points is the shortest of the more commonly traveled routes between them.

A. Arranging for Moving and Payment

The moving allowance is paid directly to the employee, reported as taxable income, and is subject to all tax liability at the time of payment.

1. The amount of the moving allowance will be included in boxes 1, 3, and 5 of the employee’s W-2.

2. The employee will make all arrangements for the move without the involvement of the institution.

3. The employee does not submit moving expense receipts to the institution, but is advised to keep them for personal tax return purposes.

a. The employee may be able to remove the income tax withheld by filing the appropriate IRS forms with their tax return (IRS Form 3903 Moving Expenses).

b. This recovery is dependent on the IRS regulations in force at the time of payment.

c. The employee receiving the moving allowance will be responsible for documenting expenses on their federal tax return required by IRS Publication 521 Moving Expenses.

4. All allowances require approval of the President (or his/her designee).  For persons hired that require the Chancellor’s approval, approval of the moving allowance will be included in the hiring approval.

B. Other Provisions

1. Moving allowances will be paid only after a contract is executed between the employee and the institution.  See Attachment A.

2. All payments must be made within twelve (12) months of the date employment begins for new employees or relocation occurs for relocated employees.

3. The agreement on the amount of moving allowances to be paid should be clearly understood in writing between the employee and the institution.

4. The institution shall assume no liability whatsoever for personal injuries, property damages, or other losses which may be sustained in connection with any moves undertaken pursuant to these regulations.

5. In consideration for the Institution paying a moving allowance, the employee agrees to remain employed by the Institution for a period of at least one year.  For faculty appointed on an academic basis, one year is defined as one regular academic session (Fall and Spring Semesters, nine months).  For all other annual faculty and employees, one year is defined as twelve months.  Should the employee voluntarily leave employ prior to completion of that year, the employee will be liable to the Institution for the moving allowances  If the employee is terminated for cause during the first year, the Institution may seek reimbursement of the moving allowances.

XI.  IMMIGRATION EXPENSE ALLOWANCE 

New employees may receive reimbursement for immigration expenses when considered to be in the interest of the institution and when such payment is a part of the employment negotiation with a new employee or the relocation of a current employee from another employer or institution.  Reimbursement/fee allowance for immigration fees must be approved in advance by the President or his/her designee.

This provision applies only to candidates who are required to pay immigration fees to work and live in the U.S.  No TBR employee may receive reimbursement more than once.

No payment shall be made unless the employee agrees in writing to remain in the service of the institution for a period of twenty-four (24) months following the effective date his/her employment agreement, unless separated for reasons beyond his/her control and acceptable to the institution.  The service agreement statement should be maintained in the employee’s personnel file.  In case of a violation of such an agreement, any funds expended by the institution for such allowance shall be recoverable from the employee as a debt due the institution in the same manner as educational allowance payments.  See Attachment B.

Reimbursement shall be in the maximum amount of $4,500 and shall not exceed the employee’s actual, documented expenses.  The allowance cannot be used to defray non-immigration-related costs or any costs not associated with the individual employee’s immigration expenses.

Reimbursable fees include:  fees charged by a licensed immigration attorney retained in connection with the application, filing fee, permanent residence fee, fee for any application to enter the U.S., fee for application to remain in the U.S., and associated fees required in the application process, such as medical examination, fingerprinting, photo identification, postal/courier fees, and costs of evaluating foreign academic credentials or translations of foreign documents.

The employee is responsible for making arrangements for representation, completion of paperwork, assistance in the immigration process, and submission of all bills and/or invoices for which reimbursement is sought.  Faculty may submit a claim for reimbursement by sending a request with original receipts to the Chief Academic Officer.

XII. EXCEPTIONS

The Chancellor is authorized to approve exceptions to the provisions of this policy, or to suspend the provisions of this policy as to any or all institutions when necessary to ensure proper compliance with TBR policies, guidelines, and procedures.

 ATTACHMENT A 

ATTACHMENT B 

Revisions:  December 16, 2002; September 19, 2003; September 27, 2010; November 14, 2014. 

Cross-references: TBR Policies 5:01:00:00 General Personnel Policy; 5:02:02:20 Faculty Promotion at Universities; 5:02:07:10 Faculty Appointments at Universities; 5:02:03:60 Academic Tenure for Universities; 5:01:02:00 Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action; TBR Guideline G-070 Disposal of Records; MTSU Policies II:01:05B Policies and Procedures for Promotion of Tenured and Tenurable Faculty; II:01:05D Faculty Appointments; II:01:05A Policies and Procedures for Tenure; IV:07:21 Promotions of Classified, Executive and Administrative Employees; IV:07:04 Leave Policies; I:01:10; T.C.A. §49-7-133.