California State University Faculty

Assistance in Editing and Strengthening Responses to the Working Personnel Action File in Tenure and Promotion Cases

A problem I had when I was a professor was responding to each successive reviewing agency's assessment of my teaching, research/creative activity, and service when my tenure or promotion portfolio passed up the line to the final decision-maker. The more responses I wrote during a personnel action cycle, the more the responses overlapped and began to look like cut-and-paste jobs. This is not an efficient way to correct errors or biased judgments when your future is on the line. I realized that the problem was that I was too close to the situation and that I grew mentally fatigued making the same arguments repeatedly.

I recently helped a CSU professor during her tenure review. I think the value I added was twofold: I brought a detached mind to the process, and I was able to edit her first drafts in a way to make them clear and the arguments in them stronger. Of course, the fact that I used to do these things for myself, albeit less well than if I had an attorney-version of me to help, means, unlike most other lawyers, I know the academic culture and the mentality of academic administrators.

I can help you file memos to your Working Personnel Action File, specifically when you file a Response to review by the Program Personnel Committee (PPC), a Response to a review by the Dean, a Response to a review by the University RTP Committee (URTPC), and/or a Response to a review by the Provost.

Finally, if there are procedural violations during your personnel action, I can file and represent you on a grievance of those violations, which, because it will be heard by a panel of faculty, gives you a whole new chance to obtain a positive outcome. For more on representation for grievances on this and other matters, see the next section.

Representation of California State University Faculty Grieving under Article 10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement

Under Article 10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) between The California Faculty Association (“CFA”) and The Board of Trustees of The California State University (“CSU”), Unit 3: Faculty, effective through June 30, 2024, CSU faculty can grieve issues covered by the CBA and matters subject to grievance under Section 89542.5 of the Education Code.

Importantly, under Article 16 of the CBA, grievable issues include “discrimination against faculty unit employees on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, pregnancy, age, disability, medical condition, or veteran status.”

If you choose to grieve, you have the right to be represented by an attorney or by a faculty representative of your Campus CFA.

With all due respect to professor faculty union representatives, who do you think will put on the more vigorous presentation of your grievance as it courses its way through the administration before being argued in front of a Faculty Hearing Committee, someone who advocates for a living or someone who advocates as a sideline as part of service to his or her colleagues while simultaneously trying to meet all the other duties of a CSU professor?

Representation of California State University Faculty Who Have Received a "Notice of Pending Disciplinary Action"

If you receive a "Notice of Pending Disciplinary Action," pursuant to provision 19.9 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) between The California Faculty Association (“CFA”) and The Board of Trustees of The California State University (“CSU”), under Article 10 of the CBA, you have the right to appeal before disciplinary actions can be imposed.

If you decide to appeal, you have the right to have an attorney file a written notice of appeal demanding arbitration, a hearing of the matter by the State Personnel Board, or a hearing of the matter by a Faculty Hearing Committee. You also have the right to have your lawyer represent you at whichever appeal proceeding you select.

I have completed the full cycle of representation for a CSU professor who received a "Notice of Pending Disciplinary Action." I represented my client at the arbitration hearing, and filed a closing brief on his behalf with the arbitrator.

Contact Me

To schedule a free initial consultation, call me at (805) 845-8223, or email me at (please replace the "7" with the "at symbol"), or Click to send me an e-mail.

During the initial consultation, I will gather the relevant facts from you to determine if I can offer legal services that might help you, and then, if you want me to, I will send you a fee agreement showing how much those services would cost you.

I will not offer affirmative advice - do this, don't do that - during the initial consultation. I only do that once you become my client. I don't review documents prior to the initial consultation, I only do that once you become my client. And finally, if your matter does not involve the application of California law or of Federal law to a matter that arose in California, I will inform you during the initial consultation that I cannot provide any advice because by doing so I would be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, which is forbidden by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the California State Bar.

The use of the Internet for communications with me will not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please note that messages containing confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent. Pursuant to Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1-400, the matter herein must be labeled as a newsletter.


In front of the Superior Court for the County of Santa Cruz
on Ocean Street
after arguing successfully, on behalf of a UCSC faculty member/client
April 25, 2018

Copyright @ Michael J. DeNiro