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02/08/88 Melva Jean Foley, v. the Human Rights

February 8, 1988

MELVA JEAN FOLEY, PETITIONER-APPELLANT

v.

THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT

519 N.E.2d 129, 165 Ill. App. 3d 594, 116 Ill. Dec. 539 1988.IL.152

Petition for review of order of Human Rights Commission.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE WELCH delivered the opinion of the court. KARNS and LEWIS, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WELCH

This cause is before us on administrative review from a decision of the Illinois Human Rights Commission (hereinafter the Commission), finding that appellee, McKendree College, had not discriminated against appellant Melva Jean Foley in failing to renew her employment contract. We affirm.

On August 18, 1981, Dr. Melva Jean Foley was hired as an associate professor of education by McKendree College under a nine-month probationary contract. Her duties were to teach a full load of 23 to 26 hours of classes per semester. Seventeen of these hours were to be spent in traditional classroom/lecture-style classes, while the remaining hours were to consist of supervising and advising student teachers who were not in a classroom/lecture setting. The student teachers were, however, to meet with Dr. Foley in periodic seminar-type classes. Dr. Foley's responsibilities also were to include arranging for placement of the student teachers.

Dr. Foley also was hired as the chairperson of the division of education. Her duties in this regard were to include recruiting faculty, preparing budgets, assisting faculty, scheduling and representing faculty on committees. Dr. Foley testified that approximately 10% of her time was spent in her duties as chairperson of the division of education.

Pursuant to her employment contract, Dr. Foley was subject to an evaluation process, the purpose of which was to determine whether her contract should be renewed for the following academic year. The evaluation process consisted of self-evaluation, student evaluations, colleague evaluations and evaluation by the dean of the college. These evaluations were submitted to a "Contract Renewal, Promotion and Tenure Committee" (hereinafter the CRPT), a committee consisting of five faculty members, which reviewed them and made a recommendation to the president of the college. The college dean also made an independent recommendation to the president, who made the final decision regarding contract renewal.

The colleague and dean evaluations were based on personal observations of one of Dr. Foley's classes. Dr. Foley was evaluated by two of her colleagues in the education division. Both were tenured members of the faculty. Both presented evaluations which were positive and highly complimentary of Dr. Foley. The evidence disclosed that both of these evaluators entered the classroom discretely and remained in the back of the room so that the students were unaware of their presence.

The dean's evaluation was also generally positive. However, he expressed that his major concern was that:

"Dr. Foley lectures in a somewhat diffident way which lacks the kind of forcefulness or excitement needed to bring this material to life. In her teaching of teachers, she is teaching as much by example as by content. I would wish for more imagination, excitement and forcefulness in her example . . .."

Dr. Foley testified that when the dean attended her class he seated himself in the middle of the students and appeared to fall asleep. This disrupted the class and the students appeared less responsive as a result of his presence. Also, that particular class presentation had been planned around use of an overhead projector which failed to operate properly. This necessitated a last minute reorganization of the presentation.

The student evaluations were completed by students enrolled in Dr. Foley's courses, including those in nonclassroom, student teaching courses. Dr. Foley's composite score for all courses was 3.88 on a scale of from 1 to 5. However, her composite score ...


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