Section 1.7 Faculty Peer Committees

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension has established peer committees in compliance with the contractual agreement between Associated Faculties of the University of Maine System (AFUM) and the University. Peers include all Cooperative Extension faculty members, whether or not they are AFUM members. Peer committees give advice concerning faculty evaluation, reappointment or non-reappointment, promotions, continuing contract status, outside employment and similar considerations.

Peer committees are distinct from standing and ad hoc committees whose purposes relate to educational programs and activities. Peer committees are elected by the faculty; program and ad hoc committees are appointed by the director, members either volunteering or being invited to serve.

Policy Advisory Committee (PAC)

This committee was created in 1983 to initiate action related to contract issues and to oversee peer functions, such as personnel recommendations and evaluation procedures (through the Promotion Review Committee), outside employment decisions and communication between faculty and administration. Specifically, the PAC

  1. oversees elections of the PAC, the Promotion Review Committee (PRC), the Outside Employment Committee (OEC), and other peer committees, including the university faculty senate and acts as a faculty peer committee making recommendations in salary adjustment requests;
  2. facilitates faculty discussions at full faculty meetings where concerns are raised, clarified, approved as issues, and sometimes resolved;
  3. assumes responsibility for the resolution of issues approved as needing action, by appointing ad-hoc committees, investigating and clarifying Cooperative Extension or AFUM policy, and reporting results back to the faculty;
  4. resolves faculty and administration impasses by taking issues to the AFUM representative and the bargaining committee and facilitating priority consideration;
  5. appoints members and chairpersons of search committees to fill faculty vacancies; and
  6. enhances communication among faculty, peer committees and administration.

The PAC operates on a majority vote of faculty in attendance at full faculty meetings or by majority vote of ballots received in written vote from a full faculty mailing.

The PAC does not have the authority to act on issues raised by the administration without consulting the faculty as a whole.

The PAC will only initiate issues raised by faculty members. The faculty will determine if the concern warrants time and consideration. If it does, the PAC has the responsibility to initiate action.

Issues submitted to the PAC must be written down and addressed to all committee members, or issues can be raised at meetings of the full faculty.

Actions taken as a result of faculty decisions, and outcomes, will be reported back to the faculty.

It is the tradition of the PAC to share the workload among its members.

The PAC, by tradition, may or may not request the presence of an administrative liaison at its meetings.

Meetings of the PAC are not called on a regular basis, but convene as a result of issues raised or just before statewide faculty meetings. Committee meetings may be face-to-face or via phone conference.

It is important to distinguish between the role of AFUM (the faculty collective bargaining agent) and the PAC.


  • gets a sense from the whole faculty;
  • considers collective bargaining and management issues that affect faculty; and
  • communicates with the AFUM president as appropriate.


  • deals with individual issues;
  • deals with collective bargaining issues;
  • will refer members to PAC when an issue is outside the scope of the collective bargaining agreement.

Composition of the PAC: The PAC shall consist of six members, with no fewer than two of any of the following: educators, specialists, females, males. Terms are three years, beginning in July and are staggered to ensure continuity. Two members serving their second year generally act as co-chairpersons.

Composition of search committees, as appointed by the PAC: For educator positions, a minimum of six members, consisting of four educators and two specialists, with no fewer than two women or two men. For specialist positions, a minimum of six members, consisting of four specialists and two educators, with no fewer than two women or two men. See Search Committees for additional information on the composition of search committees.

Authorship date: January 2013; Authored by: PAC; Approved by faculty vote: 2-25-13; Published on Plugged-In: 6-13-13.

Promotion Review Committee (PRC)

The PRC represents UMaine Cooperative Extension faculty members in the application of evaluation and rank criteria and standards for the purpose of recommending faculty personnel actions. The information provided here is an overview: for current procedures, criteria, and standards please refer to: Cooperative Extension Faculty Annual Evaluation, Reappointment, Promotion and Continuing Contract Process.

The PRC makes written recommendations to the director regarding reappointment, continuing contract and promotion. The committee consists of five faculty members with continuing contract and four alternates, randomly selected from the pool of all faculty members with continuing contract. Committee members serve for a three-year term. Members may not serve consecutive terms, nor can they serve during a deliberation on their own personnel action. The PAC facilitates the selection of PRC members.

The PRC selects a chairperson annually at its first session in January. The PRC is convened by a member of the Extension Leadership Team appointed as liaison to the committee. The Extension Leadership Team member is available during the committee’s deliberations and may be present during the deliberations of the PRC, but does not participate in the discussions and does not vote.

Resources used by the PRC include the Cooperative Extension evaluation criteria and the criteria and standards for UMaine Cooperative Extension faculty rank (see Sec. 3.2 in this manual) as well as the relevant sections of the current AFUM collective bargaining agreement (procedures for reappointment, non-reappointment, promotion and continuing contract status).

Information from the candidate’s personnel file is also available to the PRC.

Peer Committee (PC)

1. Primary Responsibilities

  • Guide the Faculty member in compiling their personnel action packet using Section II and Section III
  • Provide feedback on the Faculty member’s packet prior to submission to the PRC
  • Provide the Faculty member with ongoing peer support and feedback throughout their professional career with UMaine Cooperative Extension

2. Composition

The Peer Committee shall consist of at least three UMaine Cooperative Extension Faculty members, including:

  • At least one member from outside the Faculty member’s immediate program area
  • At least one member with continuing contract

Faculty members are encouraged to include at least one member who has achieved a positive personnel action within the past five years. Additional committee members may include peers from outside UMaine Cooperative Extension.

For additional information about Peer Committees, refer to Formulating & Working with an Effective Peer Committee.

3. Length of Term

Peer committee members are appointed for three year renewable terms that run from January through December. Peer committee members are appointed on a rotating basis.

Committee to Review Outside Employment

In accordance with Article 23 of the AFUM contract, this committee has been established to review those plans for outside employment that have been disapproved by UMaine Cooperative Extension administration. The committee includes three members, two Educators and one Specialist. Each member is elected for a three-year term; the terms are staggered to ensure continuity. Members can be re-elected once.

Search Committees

For each faculty position to be filled, the PAC will select the faculty search committee members that will be considered the “appropriate unit faculty” for the appointment process. The rest of the committee will be appointed by the Extension administration as follows:

For faculty positions the search committee will be comprised of four faculty total (one as chair or two serving as co-chairs), one professional staff member, one hourly staff member and one stakeholder. If the faculty member being hired has a split appointment there would be one faculty member from the partnering unit. The total composition of the search committee must be gender diverse. This is the ideal composition and may vary slightly due to the unique circumstances of the position.