College of Science and Engineering policy for hiring, renewal, and promotion of term faculty members

Policy Statement

Consistent with the Regents Policy on Faculty Tenure (as amended June 10, 2011), term faculty appointments are appropriate in collegiate units under certain circumstances. Such appointments are governed by specific University policies (“Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions”, updated May 2008, and “Recruitment and Selection of Faculty and Academic Professional and Administrative Employees”, updated October 2012) and procedures (“Hiring Term Faculty (94XX)”).

Subject in some instances to approval by the Dean of the College, departments and programs may appoint individuals to term faculty positions, including contract, adjunct, visiting, and temporary faculty positions. Proposed individuals may be chosen with or without a formal search process, as appropriate for the specific position.

During the course of their appointments, term faculty members serving for one or more years will receive annual performance reviews. Term faculty members eligible for promotion will be provided specific criteria governing promotion decisions associated with their positions. Changes in appointment will take effect in the College’s next fiscal year unless otherwise approved by the Dean.

Non-renewal of the appointment of a term faculty member may be based on no reason or any reason which does not violate the legal rights of the P&A employee. Non-renewal is not a dismissal for cause.

College of Science and Engineering procedures for hiring, renewal, and promotion of term faculty members

Definitions

The following comprise possible faculty appointments and best practices for usage within the College of Science and Engineering.

Regular faculty: This group includes tenured faculty and probationary tenure-track faculty.

Term faculty: Non-tenure/tenure-track faculty are grouped into the following 4 categories:

Contract faculty: Contract faculty are appointed for specific terms that can exceed one year. And, even if the term of appointment is for only one year, the position is the primary employment of the contract faculty member and there is an expectation of a long-term relationship between the appointing department and the faculty member.

Adjunct faculty: Adjunct faculty have primary positions elsewhere in the University or in the outside community and are appointed for short terms with appointment levels of 33% or lower.

Visiting faculty: Visiting faculty are academicians temporarily at the University of Minnesota while holding regular appointments at another institution.

Temporary faculty: Temporary faculty are appointed for specific terms of less than or equal to one year, usually to cover specific teaching needs associated with temporary shortages of other faculty (e.g., arising from sabbaticals, single semester leaves, or other circumstances). However, even if the term of appointment is for a full year, there is no expectation that there will be a long-term relationship between the appointing department and the faculty member.

Faculty ranks: For both regular and term faculty, available ranks include instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. The rank of instructor is rarely used for regular faculty (usually only while awaiting conferral of a doctoral degree that has not yet been awarded) but it may be used for term faculty as appropriate. Regents professor is an additional rank available to regular faculty.

Faculty-like professional and administrative (P&A) staff: P&A staff members may have duties that are categorized as faculty-like, that is, they include teaching (and possibly research) responsibilities. For such staff, associated ranks are teaching specialist, lecturer, and senior lecturer. When considering whether to appoint individuals as term faculty vs. P&A staff, it is worth noting that P&A staff at 75% appointment level or higher accrue both retirement benefits and severance benefits (the latter begins immediately, the former may take up to 3 years depending on salary) while contract faculty at 75% appointment level or higher accrue retirement benefits immediately but do not have a severance benefit.

Contract faculty

The primary responsibilities of contract faculty may focus on research (Academic Job Code 94xxR), or on teaching (Academic Job Code 94xxT), but it is acceptable for their responsibilities also to include other contributions. For example, a department may expect that a research or teaching faculty member will serve on departmental, collegiate, or university committees. In rare instances, a contract faculty member may have blended research and teaching (and possibly other) responsibilities (Academic Job Code 94xx without a suffix), but in such instances there must be a clear justification with respect to why the position has not been filled with a regular faculty appointment. Research contract faculty may be appointed initially for a probationary term of three years; other contract faculty may be appointed initially for terms of one to five years.

Hiring. The following steps are followed for the hiring of contract faculty:

  1. A position description with responsibilities and qualifications is prepared.
  2. If highly qualified individuals have already been identified within the College, permission to promote internally should be secured from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. If instead a search process is undertaken, it should conform to the steps outlined in the University procedure “Hiring Term Faculty (94XX)”.
  3. Irrespective of whether there is a full or limited search, all candidates must provide at least two letters of recommendation and a confirmation of receipt of their doctoral (or other appropriate terminal) degree.
  4. Consideration of candidates should follow a process analogous to that followed by individual departments for regular faculty appointments. That is, opportunities for departmental faculty to meet the candidate should be provided, and presentations by the candidate in public or private forums should be scheduled, consistent with typical departmental protocol.
  5. The same procedure for soliciting departmental faculty input on the proposed hire should be used as would be used for a regular faculty hire, with the exception that other non-regular faculty in the unit having responsibilities encompassing those of the proposed appointee should also be included in the group from which opinions or votes are solicited. Thus, if a department is considering hiring a teaching contract faculty member, and that department in general votes on hiring decisions, then the voting pool should include both the regular faculty of the department and the other teaching contract faculty in the department, but not the research contract faculty, as the latter would not have responsibilities encompassing those of the proposed appointee.
  6. The level of appointment (assistant vs. associate vs. full) may take into consideration the candidate’s post-graduate experience. If a candidate has five years of experience in relevant activities, appointment at the level of contract Associate Professor may be considered. Ten years of experience are required for appointment as a full contract Professor.
  7. The head of the department will prepare a dossier summarizing the hiring process and making a recommendation to the Dean. The dossier will include a completed UM Form 1538 “Contract Term Faculty Template” (found at http://policy.umn.edu/categories/hr/form/contractfacp.pdf).
  8. The Dean will consider proposed contract faculty hires beginning January 1 of each new calendar year. Approved hires may be appointed at the beginning of the subsequent fiscal year.

Annual Reviews. If a contract faculty member’s period of appointment exceeds one year, the candidate’s performance must be reviewed annually. Such reviews will be used to inform possible promotion decisions.

Probationary Period for Research Contract Faculty. It is expected that research contract faculty will support all or a substantial fraction of their salaries and benefits through their activities as principal investigators on sponsored projects. At the end of the second year of appointment of a contract faculty member, the department Head will report to the Dean on the contract faculty member’s activities with respect to seeking and receiving external support. The Dean will then make a decision with respect to the reappointment of the research contract faculty member beyond the third year.

Promotion of Contract Faculty. The procedures for promoting contract faculty should generally conform to those for regular faculty, except that recommendations are transmitted by the department head directly to the Dean and do not require any higher level of approval (nor do they require consideration by the Collegiate Promotion and Tenure Committee).

At their first annual performance review, departments and programs will provide contract faculty with (i) a copy of this policy/procedures and (ii) specific criteria that will be employed for promotion decisions relevant to their appointments. These criteria should be entirely analogous to unit 7.12 statements that govern the promotion (and tenure) of regular faculty to the extent that specific activities and accomplishments indicative of merit should be enumerated and described. Indeed, units may choose to employ relevant subsections (e.g., the research or teaching components) of their 7.12 statements within the distinct contract faculty promotion criteria. At the same time that these criteria are provided to the contract faculty member, they should also be forwarded to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for retention at the College level.

Promotion criteria for contract faculty should be designed such that individuals might reasonably be expected to be qualified for promotion after having been in rank for 5 years. Promotion will not be based on time in rank, but to the extent that merit includes the maintenance of a sustained level of contributions to unit activities these time frames may be regarded as guides. Exceptional merit may be the basis for more rapid promotion decisions.

Following an agreement between the department head and the contract faculty member, the following steps should be followed for promotion recommendations for contract faculty.

  1. The candidate should prepare a dossier equivalent to that prepared by regular faculty for promotion, except that portions of the dossier designed to cover activities not included in the contract faculty member’s position description may be excluded.
  2. For contract faculty having research responsibilities, letters from six external reviewers having relevant expertise should be sought (following all the same procedures as those employed for regular faculty). For contract faculty not having research responsibilities, six letters are also required, but they may be internal to the department, College, and University (e.g., a letter from the Center for Teaching and Learning might be appropriate for a teaching contract faculty member).
  3. The complete dossier, including all letters, should be provided to the regular faculty, and other contract faculty members having responsibilities encompassing those of the candidate, having equivalent or higher rank to that proposed for the candidate. Thus, for example, those voting on a promotion to teaching full professor would include the regular full professors and other teaching full professors in the unit, but not research full professors.
  4. The result of the vote, along with the complete dossier and the department head’s recommendation, is then submitted to the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering. After review of the case, the Dean will notify the candidate and the department head of his/her decision.
  5. The Dean will consider contract faculty promotion recommendations beginning January 1 of each new calendar year. Approved promotions will take effect at the beginning of the subsequent fiscal year.
  6. Promotions for contract faculty will occur with the same salary augmentations as those mandated for regular faculty.

Graduate Faculty Status. Contract faculty may serve as members of the graduate faculty at the levels of Senior Member, Affiliate Senior Member, Member, or Affiliate Member. Individual graduate programs may define which of the four membership categories can be held by contract faculty members.

Adjunct faculty

Adjunct faculty appointments are appropriate for individuals whose principal occupation in their profession is elsewhere–either within a different unit at the University of Minnesota or outside of the institution. If the appointment includes a salary, it should not exceed 33% time. An adjunct faculty member may be primarily focused on teaching, research, or service; the College does not distinguish this with job classifications such as Adjunct Research Professor or Adjunct Teaching Associate Professor, etc.

Hiring. An individual must have a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree to be appointed as an adjunct faculty member. Appointment may be made without a search for appointments at the 33% level and below. Appropriate documentation of the candidate’s qualifications is required. Departmental faculty will be informed of the potential hire and have the opportunity to review and comment on the candidate’s qualifications. The level of appointment may take into consideration the candidate’s post-graduate experience. If a candidate has five years of experience in relevant college-level activities, the department may consider an appointment at the level of adjunct associate professor. Ten years of relevant experience are required for appointment as an adjunct professor. The appointment need not be approved by the Dean and is limited to one year in length. Each academic year at the end of the second semester, departments should report to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs all adjunct faculty that were employed during that academic year.

Annual Reviews. If an adjunct faculty member’s period of appointment is to be renewed, the candidate’s performance must be reviewed annually. If they are no longer involved with the department, their appointment should be discontinued.

Promotions for Adjunct Faculty. As adjunct faculty appointments are for at most one year, there is no formal promotion process. At the time of reappointment, the department may consider a change in rank.

Voting Rights of Adjunct Faculty. Adjunct faculty are not eligible to vote on the hiring or promotion of other term faculty members.

Graduate Faculty Status. Adjunct faculty may serve as members of the graduate faculty at the levels of Senior Member, Affiliate Senior Member, Member, or Affiliate Member. Individual graduate programs may define which of the four membership categories can be held by adjunct faculty members. Note that adjunct faculty status is not required for a person to serve as a member of a student’s thesis committee (membership criteria are established in the University policy “Appointments to Graduate Examination Committees” updated February 2011).

Visiting faculty

Visiting faculty appointments are appropriate for individuals who have faculty appointments at other colleges or universities and who are temporarily visiting the University of Minnesota. The appointment may or may not include a salary. A visiting faculty member may be primarily focused on teaching, research, or service; the College does not distinguish this with job classifications such as visiting research professor or visiting teaching associate professor, etc.

Hiring. Appointment of a person as a visiting faculty member requires a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree, but does not require a search. Appropriate documentation of the candidate’s qualifications is required. The level of appointment is based on the level of the candidate’s appointment at his/her home institution. The appointment does not require approval of the Dean.

Annual Reviews. If the period of appointment exceeds one year, the candidate’s performance must be reviewed annually.

Promotions for Visiting Faculty. Visiting faculty have the rank set by their home institution. If they are promoted by their home institution while serving as visiting faculty members at the University of Minnesota, their title/appointment may be changed to reflect the new rank.

Graduate Faculty Status. Visiting faculty may serve as members of the graduate faculty at the levels of Senior Member, Affiliate Senior Member, Member, or Affiliate Member. Individual graduate programs may define which of the four membership categories can be held by adjunct faculty members. Note that visiting faculty status is not required for a person to serve as a member of a student’s thesis committee (membership criteria are established in the University policy “Appointments to Graduate Examination Committees” updated February 2011).

Temporary faculty

Temporary faculty appointments are appropriate for individuals being hired to cover responsibilities that are not expected to lead to a relationship with a department that exceeds one year, and more typically perhaps only one semester (e.g., to cover a course for which no other faculty member is available to teach).

Hiring. It is preferred that an individual have a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree to be appointed as a temporary faculty member, but it is not required (however, individuals lacking a Ph.D. must be appointed to the Instructor rank). Appointment may be made without a search for appointments at the 33% level and below. Appropriate documentation of the candidate’s qualifications is required. Departmental faculty will be informed of the potential hire and have the opportunity to review and comment on the candidate’s qualifications. The level of appointment may take into consideration the candidate’s post-graduate experience. If a candidate has five years of experience in relevant college-level activities, the department may consider an appointment at the level of temporary associate professor. Ten years of relevant experience are required for appointment as a temporary professor. However, if individuals have developed that experience primarily or entirely at the University of Minnesota, consideration should be given to a contract faculty appointment as a long-term relationship will have been established. Temporary faculty appointments need not be approved by the Dean and are limited to one year in length. Each academic year at the end of the second semester, departments should report to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs all temporary faculty that were employed during that academic year.

Annual Reviews. If a temporary faculty member’s period of appointment is to be renewed, the candidate’s performance must be reviewed annually. If such reappointments are expected to recur, consideration should be given to a contract faculty appointment as a long-term relationship will have been established. If temporary faculty are no longer involved with the department, their appointment should be discontinued.

Promotions for Temporary Faculty. As temporary faculty appointments are for at most one year, there is no formal promotion process. At the time of reappointment, the department may consider a change in rank.

Voting Rights of Temporary Faculty. Temporary faculty are not eligible to vote on the hiring or promotion of other term faculty members.

Graduate Faculty Status. Temporary faculty may serve as members of the graduate faculty at the levels of Senior Member, Affiliate Senior Member, Member, or Affiliate Member. Individual graduate programs may define which of the four membership categories can be held by temporary faculty members. Note that temporary faculty status is not required for a person to serve as a member of a student’s thesis committee (membership criteria are established in the University policy “Appointments to Graduate Examination Committees” updated February 2011).