04.23.24 Ongoing negotiations around external letters for NTT faculty


Your UAOSU bargaining team and the administration team met from 9am until almost 1pm on Wednesday, April 17th at the LaSells Stewart Center.  Nearly the whole session centered on negotiating a Letter of Agreement (LOA) on eliminating the requirement for external review letters in promotion cases for non-professorial fixed-term faculty.  Your UAOSU team also passed 2 LOA proposals on promotion guidelines for the new Professor of Teaching category and promotion guidelines for Instructors and Faculty Research Assistants.



Use the links below to add these to your calendar.




Our website provides a table with links to the proposed and counter-proposed LOAs.


Most of the session consisted of the teams turning counterproposals on eliminating the requirement for external review letters in promotion cases for non-professorial fixed-term faculty.  


Last summer your union and the administration negotiated a 1-year pilot program to eliminate the requirement for external review letters in promotion cases for non-professorial fixed-term faculty, based on a request from the administration.  The administration team is now particularly eager to make this change permanent (read their initial LOA proposal here). We understand the need to come to an agreement soon since some units are already beginning to prepare promotion cases for the next cycle, but want to ensure the changes are made in ways that are fair to bargaining unit members.  We agree that in some instances the use of external letters is not central to a promotion case; however, where faculty believe they would provide more context for their promotion case, we want to make sure the option remains and is validated. We suggested extending the pilot program so that we can get complete data on how the process worked for the first promotion cycle. The administration team had no interest in that approach.


By the end of the session, it was clear that the main disagreement was on whether external letters submitted as part of (optional) Section X of promotion dossiers could be summarily ignored or deemed insignificant by supervisors and promotion committees (read our counter here). Another disagreement surrounded the use of language that the LOA is on a “non-precedent-setting basis”. They could not give a better explanation of its purpose than “it is a legal term of art” and claimed our team does not need to understand its significance to accept it.


We have agreed to reduce the burden of collecting external letters. However, if the candidate feels the need to include such evaluative letters it is important that supervisors and promotion committees authentically engage with them. To this end, we are trying to get a commitment to specific changes to the P&T Guidelines on Section X to reflect that external review letters included there must be taken seriously. Because our next bargaining session is not until May 8, we will continue to negotiate on this issue via email and hope to come to an agreement soon.


We also passed two additional proposed LOAs.  One was a proposed LOA on creating promotion guidelines for the new Professor of Teaching category while using the guidelines from the Professor of Practice category in the meantime. The other was a proposed LOA on adopting the Faculty Senate’s new proposed guidelines on promotions for Instructors and Faculty Research Assistants, which we believe represent a significant improvement relative to the current guidelines. 


The next bargaining session is 9am–12pm on Wednesday, May 8th in Cascade Hall 143.  Even if you can only drop by for half an hour, your attendance matters: show the administration that faculty are watching this process. 


You can find a list of the currently scheduled bargaining sessions, as well as read our updates and proposals at uaosu.org/bargaining.


Our power in negotiations comes from all of us working together as a united faculty. Becoming a member is the first step in supporting your bargaining team and securing a strong second contract. You can become a member online by going to uaosu.org/join


In solidarity,

Filix Maisch and Your Bargaining Team