Faculty Handbook: The Faculty

2.1 History of the Faculty

Thomas Jefferson conceived of faculty as a peer group responsible both for instruction and administration of the University. Administrative functions have diversified during subsequent growth of the University, but the tradition of faculty participation in governance continues.

The original faculty met for the first time on April 12, 1825, elected a chair, and organized the instructional program. From its founding until 1856 the University changed little. Then, as now, student enrollment determined the number of faculty; during the first twenty years the average attendance was only 190. By 1860 there were thirteen faculty and three major divisions: the literary and scientific schools, the School of Law, and the School of Medicine.

When student enrollment recovered from the hiatus of the Civil War and began to grow, major changes started to occur. Virginians became a majority of the student body for the first time. New fields of study especially focused on the applied aspects of mathematics, biology, agriculture, engineering, and chemistry. The humanities established a separate professorship of English language and literature, as well as professorships of modern languages, history, and economics. By 1901 the medical school had expanded by offering a four-year course of study and a training school for nurses; faculty in Business Administration and Law had increased as well. .

The system of faculty ranks that we have today began in 1899, when an associate professor was appointed to help with instruction in romance languages. When the number of students grew too large for the professor of romance languages to instruct both undergraduate and graduate students, the work was divided and an adjunct professor was appointed to assist. With experience, adjunct professors could become associate professors and, finally, a professor. In this way the faculty ranks diversified as the number of students increased. The undergraduate program became known as the College, and the graduate program was identified as the University.

General Faculty

The term "General Faculty" came into use around the turn of the century. The faculty as a whole still governed the University, but committees of professors had assumed independent oversight of students and curricula in the various specialized areas of study, especially in the professional schools. Soon the General Faculty formally recognized and delegated its powers over students and curricula to these school faculties. After 1903 the faculty as a whole was known formally, as it is today, as the General Faculty of the University. As the number of administrative and supporting staff with faculty status grew after 1970, the term "general faculty" was used to identify those who were elected to the General Faculty of the University but not to the tenured ranks of faculty of the schools. In 2006, the University ceased to use this term officially and now distinguishes this category of faculty as "non-tenure-track." The primary policy governing the employment of non-tenure-track faculty is maintained by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, although non-tenure-track faculty are responsible for reviewing all policies regarding faculty employment (see section 2.3).

The Faculty Senate

The General Faculty of the University delegates certain functions and authority to The Faculty Senate, among which are: approval of the establishment of new degree programs; major modifications of existing degree programs; and other actions affecting all faculties, or more than one faculty, of the University. Furthermore, the Faculty Senate may advise the vice president and provost, the president, and the Rector and Board of Visitors concerning educational policy and related matters that affect the welfare of the University. Among these is the responsibility to oversee the educational program planning process as a basis for recommending allocations of the University's resources.

The Faculty Senate is a representative body consisting of eighty members elected from the schools. Its presiding officer is the president of the University, who with the vice presidents of the University and the deans of schools comprise the twenty ex officio members with voice and vote. The senate has an elected chair and an executive council. The chair has the power to call meetings of the Faculty Senate on behalf of the executive council. The chair's role, therefore, is analogous to that of chair of the faculty in Jefferson's original scheme of faculty organization.

The Constitution and By-laws of The Faculty Senate can be found online.

School Faculties

Faculty whose primary responsibility is teaching and research are elected to one of the following school faculties: architecture, arts and sciences, commerce, continuing and professional studies, education, engineering and applied science, business administration, law, medicine, and nursing. They are also members of the General Faculty of the University.

The faculty organization of each school consists of the president of the University, the dean of the school, and all professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and instructors in the school. The vice president and provost is an ex officio member of each school’s faculty but votes only in that school in which he or she holds tenure. Instructors, lecturers, visiting professors, and those elected to research or clinical positions are not normally voting members of the school faculties, unless their school faculty grants them voting rights. A school faculty may nominate a faculty member of another school to its membership.

The College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences administers graduate degree programs in the basic medical sciences, architectural history, the Ph.D. in nursing, and all graduate programs of the departments in arts and sciences. Other graduate degrees are awarded by the respective schools.

Each of the school faculties formulates its own policies governing admission of its students, approves all courses, establishes all degree requirements, enacts and enforces rules governing academic work, approves candidates for degrees, and exercises jurisdiction over all other educational matters pertaining to that school, subject to the authority of the General Faculty of the University and the Faculty Senate in matters affecting general policy.

2.2 Faculty Role in University Governance

Authority for the governance of the University is vested by statute in the Board of Visitors by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The board's responsibilities, specified by state statute, include but are not restricted to the appointment of the University president; appointment, promotion, and granting of tenure; removal of members of the faculty; the prescription of faculty responsibilities; the setting of faculty salaries; the determination of student tuition, fees, and other charges; and the government and discipline of students. The board prescribes the duties of the president, and the president has supreme administrative direction of the University, subject to the authority of the board. The board has delegated certain authority and responsibilities to the president and the chief academic officer, who have delegated certain of these responsibilities to the faculty.

University faculty members have played an important role in assisting the board in fulfilling its responsibility from the University's founding to the present day. Through the work of the Faculty Senate, a representative body consisting of members elected from each of the schools, faculty recommend approval of the establishment of new degree programs and major modifications to existing degree programs. Faculties also approve the conferral of all degrees and oversee the development of curricula in their respective schools and departments. Faculty members serve as non-voting consulting members on committees of the Board of Visitors, as well as on standing administrative committees of the University, including the University Policy Review Committee, which reviews administrative policies. The Faculty Senate also provides the executive vice president and provost with advice and counsel on other academic matters. Through all of these mechanisms, faculty members share their expertise and insights on academic matters with the provost, the president, and members of the Board of Visitors.

2.3 The Faculty

The Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty

The Board of Visitors has exclusive authority to confer faculty status. It does so by "electing" an individual to the faculty in a formal resolution. The term "election" therefore has a special meaning and is used only when action by the Board of Visitors is required. By comparison, the president makes administrative appointments to assist that office and other administrative officers in conducting the business of the University. (The Board of Visitors approves only the appointment of the president, the vice presidents, and the chancellor of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Other appointments are merely reported by the president.) "Appointment," therefore, is an action taken by or for the president and reported to the Board of Visitors. Thus, a clear distinction is maintained between faculty status and administrative assignments.

The University has no single, formal, written contract with a faculty member. Currently, when a person is invited to join the faculty, the relevant dean writes a letter specifying the proposed conditions of employment. If accepted by the candidate and if approved by the Board of Visitors, these conditions are the basis of formal action by the Board of Visitors which passes a resolution stating the title, salary, and term of the election. If the election is for a defined period of time, it is an election with term. If no time limit is specified, the election is without term, the equivalent of tenure. Usually, when an administrative appointment is involved, the Board of Visitors elects the faculty member to a term that is the same as the period of administrative appointment.

The statutes of the Commonwealth of Virginia do not provide specifically for tenure, but when the Board of Visitors elects an individual to the faculty of the University of Virginia without term it, in effect, grants tenure. This action and its effect have been recognized by the Commonwealth (Faculty Tenure and Activity, Senate Document No. 7, Commonwealth of Virginia, 1977).

By long tradition, the University of Virginia recognizes the importance of academic freedom for faculty and students as an essential ingredient of an environment of academic excellence. An election without term is a fundamental means of achieving academic freedom in the University community. Faculty members may be elected without term after a probationary period as assistant professor and promotion to a higher rank, as associate professor (with or without a probationary period), and as professor. Only full-time teaching faculty may be elected without term. All part-time elections and all administrative appointments are made for limited periods.

The teaching and research functions of the University are performed by a variety of individuals with various titles, some of which may lead to tenure, others of which remain of fixed (or limited) term.

The Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

Non-tenure-track faculty may perform an array of functions including teaching, research, or public service, as well as providing academic support in areas such as student services and the libraries, and performing administrative duties that relate directly to management policies and procedures or the general business and administrative operations of the institution.

The primary policy regarding the employment of non-tenure-track faculty is maintained by the Office of the Vice President and Provost and is available through that office’s web site. This policy recognizes two categories of non-tenure-track faculty: academic and administrative/professional. In the event of a grievance, academic non-tenure-track faculty use the procedures administered by the Faculty Senate. Administrative and professional non-tenure-track faculty use a separate procedure, the Grievance Procedure for Administrative Faculty. In the event of staffing reductions, consult the Guidelines for General Faculty Staffing Due to Financial Stringency.

Appointment Types and Titles

Tenure-Accruing Titles

The normal sequence leading to an election without term is assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. These are referred to as the "professorial ranks." If elected to one of these ranks with a term of two years or more, the position is on the tenure track, and full-time service at the University of Virginia counts within the probationary period. Instructors and some assistant professors, if elected for nonrenewable terms, are not tenure-track positions. In several respects, procedures and timetables may vary for faculty in particular schools.

Instructor

An instructor is a junior faculty member who generally holds at least a master's degree. A large number of instructors are part-time. Instructors are elected to terms of one year or less and may be re-elected.

Acting Assistant Professor

Acting assistant professors are full-time faculty members who have completed all requirements for the doctoral degree except the dissertation. Acting assistant professors are elected for one-year terms. They are expected to receive the doctoral degree (or other terminal degree in the professional schools) by the end of the initial term of election, despite full-time teaching commitments. When the degree is awarded, "acting" is removed from the title. The time spent as an acting assistant professor is included in the probationary period leading to an election without term.

Assistant Professor

The first professorial rank for teaching faculty who hold the terminally qualifying degree is assistant professor. (In some professional schools, e.g., architecture, a professional degree is qualification for election to assistant professor. In other schools a doctorate is the customary qualifying degree.) The basic qualification for this rank is evidence of potential as an independent scholar and teacher as judged by the school or department in which the position exists. Tenure-track assistant professors are elected initially for fixed terms and may be reelected by the Board of Visitors up to a limit of seven years aggregate full-time service. During the sixth year of this probationary period, if not before, an assistant professor is considered for promotion and election without term.

Associate Professor

Associate professors are elected to this rank after a period in which they have demonstrated scholarly work and effective teaching that have earned them an acceptable level of national standing in their disciplines or professions. An individual who meets this standard may be elected initially as an associate professor. Promotion to this rank from assistant professor ordinarily is accompanied by an election without term. However, associate professors may be elected with a specified term and serve a probationary period not to exceed the seven-year period.

Professor

The title professor is reserved for individuals who have achieved advanced standing among scholars in their fields throughout the academic world. Whether by internal promotion or initial election, professors ordinarily are elected without term.

Chair Holders

Chair holders are particularly distinguished professors who are elected to named chairs. Chairs have been established by private donors, by the Alumni Association, and by the Commonwealth of Virginia under the Eminent Scholars Program. Over 350 chairs are listed in the current University Data.

Refer to the Policy on the Appointment of Endowed and Eminent Scholars Chairs for information on faculty appointed to chairs established by private donors, by the alumni association, or by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

University Professor

Upon nomination by the executive vice president and provost, the president may designate a limited number of faculty who teach or conduct research that crosses school boundaries as University professors. They report directly to the president. With approval of the president, a University professor may teach or supervise research in one or more of the schools or departments. In that case, a University professor is responsible academically to the relevant dean or deans, but continues to make an annual report to the president.

Emeritus Rank

The honorary rank of professor emeritus or associate professor emeritus may be conferred on senior academic faculty at the time of their retirement from the University to honor extraordinary contributions to the University over the course of their careers. All nominations for emeritus status are subject to the approval of the president and the Board of Visitors. While retired faculty members who hold emeritus rank may continue to be involved with the University community and may be employed part-time (see Policy on Part-Time Employment of Retired Members of the Faculty) or appointed as unpaid faculty (see Policy on Appointment of Unpaid Faculty), emeritus rank in itself does not constitute employment nor does it confer employment rights or benefits. Such appointments are formalized with an appointment letter and have limited terms.

Titles with Limited Term

The following titles are either part-time or limited in term. Falling outside the sequence of professorial ranks, they do not carry elections without term, even though they are associated closely with teaching and research activities.

Lecturer

Lecturers are faculty with special experience or professional qualifications. Many offer part-time instruction. The title may be used to recognize a faculty member who contributes to or affiliates with a school or department outside of the primary affiliation.  Administrative and professional faculty normally hold the academic rank of lecturer and a functional title.

Research Professor

Faculty members whose principal assignment is to conduct research on sponsored programs may be given the titles research instructor, research assistant professor, research associate professor, or research professor. Any teaching or guidance of graduate students is generally directly related to the professor's research program. Renewal of these term elections is subject to availability of research funds.

Visiting Professor

The title "visiting" is limited to persons who hold professorial rank, usually who are on leave from another institution or professorial affiliation.

Visiting Scholar

Visiting scholars are elected, often for short terms, so that they may participate in scholarly or research activities in a sponsoring department or school. They serve without pay and usually do not participate formally in instruction.

Professor of Practice

Eminently qualified leaders who have made major impacts on fields and disciplines important to academic programs at the University of Virginia may be employed as non-tenure-track faculty members holding the rank of professor of practice. The rank of professor of practice recognizes individuals with a long and distinguished record of professional accomplishment. (The ranks of assistant and associate professor of practice do not exist at the University.)  Professors of practice do not earn tenure and are not eligible for the Expectation of Continued Employment.

Diplomat-in-Residence

This title is reserved for specially qualified individuals who participate in instruction and research in the Department of Politics.

Appointment of Academic Administrative Officers

In accord with Jefferson's original conception that teaching faculty should be responsible for operating the University, academic administrative officers are chosen from faculty whose primary interest is teaching and scholarship. Often eminent scholars, they assume the tasks of institutional leadership temporarily and when their administrative terms are completed, they resume their teaching and research. The manner in which academic administrators are selected is exemplified by the provost's policy on selection of academic deans. This policy and procedure should be followed in the selection of department chairs and, usually, other line officers of academic administration.

Selection of Academic Deans

The president of the University is responsible for appointing academic deans, with the advice and consultation of the appropriate faculty. The executive vice president and provost has certain responsibilities in implementing this policy, namely the selection of search committees and the reporting of their progress and conclusions to the president. Search committees consist primarily of faculty members, normally faculty members of the school involved, and may also include students and alumni. Search committees solicit faculty views, including those of department chairs, weigh these views, and make their recommendations to the executive vice president and provost and the president. Deans of school faculties are expected to exhibit leadership qualities based on high standards of academic achievement, experience, and ability to work with people. Deans serve for a stated term (usually five years) and may be reappointed. The procedure for reappointment of a dean involves a similar process of faculty advice and consultation.

Reappointment of senior administrators is contingent on the recommendation of an advisory committee reporting to the appropriate vice president or immediate supervisor.

2.4 Employment Policies

General

Teaching faculty in most schools of the University are employed on an academic year basis from August 25 to May 24 and paid monthly beginning October 1 and ending June 1. The nine-month salary is considered the basic rate of pay for most teaching faculty members. Each school has the option to use twelve-month employment for full-time instructional faculty, if duties are assigned throughout the year and if funds are available to support the assignment over an extended period. Twelve-month assignments also may be used wherever full-time instructional, research, or administrative duties extend for a period of years. Faculty members on twelve-month assignments do not receive extra compensation for summer teaching or sponsored research. The University will perform background checks on all new faculty hires prior to making a final offer of employment. Background check requirements and procedures provide consistent administration of the background check process.

Faculty Salaries

Faculty salaries are used to attract, develop, retain and recognize qualified faculty.  It is the University’s practice to award salary increases to faculty through the annual merit increase cycle when feasible and to provide flexibility to respond to exceptional circumstances such as retention, additional responsibilities, and administrative errors. Compensation arrangements will be subject to applicable legislative appropriation and will comply with state and federal law. For more detailed information, see the University Policy on Faculty Salaries and Bonuses online.

Faculty Roles and Responsibilities

Part of a typical faculty member's time is spent in scheduled classroom instruction, part directly on research and individual direction of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, and part on departmental and other professional activities. Faculty members are expected to participate in the work of their departments and schools outside of the classroom, to provide academic advising to students, to serve in governance of the University, and to conduct research. The individual scheduled teaching load, therefore, varies in accord with the work being done by the faculty member, and departmental chairs and deans have the authority to set such loads.

Each faculty member is expected to maintain sufficient scheduled office hours to accommodate the students who want consultation. The responsibility for academic advising and counseling is divided between the teaching faculty and the offices of the academic deans. The advising of entering students is coordinated with the Orientation Program conducted by the Office of the Dean of Students prior to fall semester registration. The faculty and the deans of undergraduate schools have devised special programs to give academic advice to students during their first year or two at the University. After a student selects a major, the departmental or school faculty involved perform the advising functions.

Faculty members are responsible for fair grading practices. They must announce at the beginning of each semester's classes the basis for grading that will be in effect for each class. Faculty are responsible for submitting grades in a timely manner, in most schools within forty eight hours of the examination. Final examination papers must be retained long enough for students to receive and react to their grades, i.e., until the start of the next registration period. Student examination files must be retained for one year after the term for which the grade was received, or until resolution of pending or ongoing litigation, claims, or audit reviews. Faculty who anticipate a lengthy absence from the classroom (e.g., more than one week) must consult with their chair and dean prior to the absence regarding reasons for the absence and arrangements for covering their responsibilities. When a faculty member is unable to meet a class, arrangements must be made for alternative coverage, or the class must be rescheduled.

Annual Performance Reviews

All faculty members should undergo an annual performance review, conducted by their vice president, dean, department chair, or unit head. This review includes student evaluations of each course taught, supplemented in appropriate cases by teaching portfolios, peer attendance of classes, or other measures of teaching performance. As part of this review, each faculty member must submit an annual report in a prescribed format that summarizes teaching, research, service, and outside consulting activities for the reporting period as well as other information deemed relevant by the provost, dean, department chair, or unit head.

An annual performance review that incorporates reviews of teaching, scholarship, and service provides information for determinations of salary, but it can and should be much more. Done correctly, it is a good personnel practice, providing an occasion for self-evaluation and reassessment of the role a faculty member is playing, which may evolve significantly during the course of a career. It is an opportunity to acknowledge and recognize good work, point out areas for improvement, and, in a few cases, identify productive new uses of a faculty member's talents. It is a means of ensuring that the diverse talents of the entire faculty are productively applied to the many responsibilities of the University. In addition, performance reviews can help identify resource targets--places where additional resources could energize a faculty member whose energy or morale has run low or could lift an already productive member to new levels of achievement.

To be most effective, the review should, at least periodically, not only deal with the previous year's performance, but also take a longer view, one that is consistent with the cycle of academic performance and change. There should be a clear link between annual performance reviews and faculty rewards. In the event that improvements in performance are necessary, the faculty member and her or his supervisor should develop an appropriate response. In the event of more serious deficiencies that render the faculty member's performance unacceptable in one or more respects, the supervisor will take measured steps to require that performance be brought to an acceptable level within a prescribed period of time or, if performance does not improve to an acceptable level, will impose appropriate sanctions in accordance with procedures outlined below.

It is the responsibility of each school or unit to publish written policies describing how these requirements will be implemented and of each dean or unit head to ensure that they are implemented in a meaningful manner.

Renewal, Promotion, and Tenure

The executive vice president and provost of the University publishes written policies governing promotion and tenure decisions and the renewal of term appointments. In addition, each school publishes written policies for promotion and tenure decisions and for renewal of term appointments that apply uniquely to the school. These documents are available on the Internet and through the offices of the provosts and the school deans.

Faculty elections and appointments that from the beginning are intended to be of short or limited term do not require prior notice of non-renewal. For example, visiting professors and part-time appointments of one year or less do not require formal notification of non-renewal.

The Policy on Employment for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty provides information on performance reviews and the expectation of continued employment for non-tenure-track faculty. It is the responsibility of each school or unit to publish written policies describing how annual performance reviews will be implemented and of each dean or unit head to ensure that they are implemented in a meaningful manner.

Renewal of Term Elections and Evaluation for Promotion

The Executive Vice President and Provost has established detailed procedures regarding evaluation for renewal, promotion, and tenure for tenured and tenure-track faculty. Please refer to the Promotion and Tenure Policy for more information. Non-tenure-track faculty should refer to the Policy on the Employment of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty.

In addition, each school has their own policies and procedures for promotion and tenure unique to the school. These documents are available through the office of the academic deans of the respective schools.

Faculty elections and appointments that from the beginning are intended to be of short or limited term do not require prior notice of non-renewal. For example, visiting professors and part-time appointments of one year or less do not require formal notification of non-renewal.

Faculty Resignation and Retirement Notice

A faculty member who intends to resign or retire from his/her position must provide that intent in writing to the immediate supervisor or department chair.

Resignation

Members of the teaching faculty who do not intend to return to the University for the upcoming academic year are expected to indicate their intention in writing to their dean or department chair as soon as possible, generally between October 1st through May 1st, but no later than May 15th of the academic year in which he or she intends to resign.

Members of the administrative and professional faculty and other 12-month non-teaching faculty wishing to resign are expected to give written notice of resignation as far in advance as reasonably possible. One month is generally the minimum acceptable notice for such faculty provided the proposed resignation date is accepted by the immediate supervisor and responsible dean or other manager. Offers of resignation should be made in writing prior to the expiration of an existing appointment, and accepted in writing by the immediate supervisor, responsible dean, department head and/or vice president. Once an offer of resignation is accepted, it may not be rescinded except with the written approval of both the responsible dean and/or the vice-president.

Retirement

A teaching faculty member who wishes to retire should inform the department chair, dean and the executive vice president and provost in writing by March 1 of the year in which retirement is planned.

A member of the administrative and professional faculty or other 12-month non-teaching faculty who wishes to retire should inform the immediate supervisor and responsible dean or other manager in writing as soon as possible in the year in which retirement is planned.

For more details, see the Faculty Resignation and Retirement Notice policy online.

Termination or Suspension of University Employment

Employment at the University may be terminated by nonrenewal of a term election, by resignation, by retirement, or by termination for financial stringency or for adequate cause. Suspension of a faculty member from University employment is available as a sanction for unacceptable performance disclosed as part of the faculty performance review process or as a disciplinary sanction for a serious breach of University policy. See the Policy on Disciplinary Suspension or Termination of Academic Faculty.

Information on termination or suspension of non-tenure-track faculty can be found in the policy regarding employment the Guidelines for General Faculty Staffing Due to Financial Stringency should be used. These guidelines govern both academic general faculty and administrative general faculty (excluding research professionals and faculty who hold academic tenure or academic tenure-track appointments). The employment of "research professionals" is governed by the related policy document entitled Professional Research Staff--Terms and Conditions of Employment.

Grievance Procedure for Academic faculty

The Grievance Procedure for Academic Faculty from the tenured, tenure-track, and academic non-tenure-track faculty ranks is administered by the University's Faculty Senate.

The University of Virginia Faculty Senate’s Faculty Grievance Committee, Standing (FSGC) provides an avenue of appeal for teaching faculty who feel mistreated in their relationship(s) with another faculty member or the administration of the University.

Summer Employment and Appointments

During the summer, a faculty member who is elected on an academic year basis may receive a maximum of one-third of the previous academic year salary from all University sources. These sources include, for example, the total of teaching in the Summer Session, research on a sponsored program, and teaching or public service with the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The limit is based on the past academic year salary, not on the upcoming salary.

A faculty member who is appointed for twelve months may not receive extra compensation, including pay during the vacation period, except as overload payment as provided by the Policy on Consulting.

Appointments for summer teaching are made by the director of the summer session and special academic programs through the schools and departments. A full load consists of teaching two courses (three semester hours each) over the nine-week session or one course over a three, four and one-half, or six week period. A special salary schedule prepared by the director of the summer session, determined by the summer session and special academic programs budget, is the normal basis for compensation. Faculty may not be paid overload for teaching in summer session.

The summer session faculty handbook explains the details of summer appointments and other administrative matters.

Leaves of Absence

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost maintains information on the various types of leave available to faculty members to support their professional and personal lives. For complete information on the types of leave available, the required approvals, and the conditions under which faculty may request leave, see the Policy on Leaves of Absence available through the faculty policy portal maintained by the Provost’s Office.

Other than personal leave taken under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (see below), no form of leave is guaranteed. Any request for leave will be considered in light of the faculty member’s particular situation and the needs of the faculty member’s department or unit.

The relevant department chair and dean must approve a leave of absence for an academic faculty member. The faculty member’s supervisor and the relevant vice president (or, in the case of librarians, the University Librarian) must approve a leave of absence for an administrative or professional faculty member.

A leave of absence, whether full or partial, will not be granted for longer than two consecutive years, except under exceptional circumstances. The duration of a leave of absence counts within the probationary period for a tenure-track faculty member, unless specifically exempted in advance by the dean with approval from the executive vice president and provost.

Certain faculty benefits are affected by a leave of absence. Although the benefits associated with each leave type are summarized below, these summaries are general and may vary according to the circumstances of a particular situation. Faculty members considering a leave of any kind should consult with their dean’s office and a counselor at the University Human Resources Benefits Division.

Family, Medical, and Military Leave (FMLA)

The University provides an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks (60 workdays; 480 work hours) of unpaid family or medical leave (up to 26 weeks in the case of qualified Military Leave) in a Leave Plan Year for the following reasons:

  • the birth of a child (to be taken within 12 months of the child’s birth);
  • the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care (to be taken within 12 months of the child’s placement);
  • the employee is needed to care for a family member (child, spouse, or parent) with a serious health condition;
  • the employee's own serious health condition makes him or her unable to do his or her job; or military leave for a qualified exigency or to care for a covered service member’s serious illness or injury.

For more details see the University Policy on Family, Medical and Military Leave.

Disaster Leave

The University provides paid time off in the form of two types of disaster leave to its employees. The amount of leave permitted on an annual basis is 5 business days for faculty, postdoctoral research associates, and senior research staff; and 40 hours for staff and research assistants. The opportunity exists to extend the leave an additional 5 business days/40 hours, respectively. See the University Policy on Use of Disaster Leave.

Faculty Holding Appointments at Other Institutions or Organizations

The primary commitments of time and intellectual energy by a member of the University faculty should focus on the University’s educational, research, service, and/or patient care missions as appropriate for the nature of the position and in proportion to the corresponding percentages of compensated effort. A request by a faculty member for a leave of absence for educational purposes (per the Faculty Leaves of Absence policy) to assume a visiting appointment at another institution or organization must be submitted in writing to the department chair and school dean. The request should describe one's professional development goals as well as the potential benefits for the school and the University that may be accomplished from the visit. The proposal to visit should address the school’s need for workload assignments and other support.

2.5 Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

Academic Freedom

Thomas Jefferson helped establish the principles upon which academic freedom is based when he said of the University of Virginia, This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left to combat it.

The University endorses fully the statement on Academic Freedom in the 1940 Statement of Principles of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the following specifically:

(a) Teachers are entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of their other academic duties; but research for pecuniary return should be based upon an understanding with the authorities of the institution.

(b) Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject. Limitations of academic freedom because of religious or other aims of the institution should be clearly stated in writing at the time of the appointment.

(c) College or university teachers are citizens, members of a learned profession, and officers of an educational institution. When they speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position in the community imposes special obligations. As scholars and educational officers, they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution.

Faculty members should avoid expressing their personal views on University letterhead. For more information on the expression of personal views, faculty should consult the Policy on Political Activity.

Professional Ethics

The University of Virginia subscribes to a Code of Ethics approved by the Board of Visitors and the Statement on Professional Ethics of the AAUP (AAUP Policy Documents & Reports, 2001 Edition, pp. 133-134). The applicable portions of the introduction and the AAUP statement are reprinted here:

In the enforcement of ethical standards, the academic profession differs from those of law and medicine, whose associations act to ensure the integrity of members engaged in private practice. In the academic profession, the individual institution of higher learning provides this assurance and so should normally handle questions concerning propriety of conduct within its own framework by reference to a faculty group.

Professors, guided by a deep conviction of the worth and dignity of the advancement of knowledge, recognize the special responsibilities placed upon them. Their primary responsibility to their subject is to seek and to state the truth as they see it. To this end professors devote their energies to developing and improving their scholarly competence. They accept the obligation to exercise critical self-discipline and judgment in using, extending, and transmitting knowledge. They practice intellectual honesty. Although professors may follow subsidiary interests, these interests must never seriously hamper or compromise their freedom of inquiry.

As teachers, professors encourage the free pursuit of learning in their students. They hold before them the best scholarly and ethical standards of their discipline. Professors demonstrate respect for students as individuals and adhere to their proper roles as intellectual guides and counselors, Professors make every reasonable effort to foster honest academic conduct and to ensure that their evaluations of students reflect each student's true merit. They respect the confidential nature of the relationship between professor and student. They avoid any exploitation, harassment, or discriminatory treatment of students. They acknowledge significant academic or scholarly assistance from them. They protect their academic freedom. As colleagues, professors have obligations that derive from common membership in the community of scholars.

Professors do not discriminate against or harass colleagues. They respect and defend the free inquiry of associates. In the exchange of criticism and ideas professors show due respect for the opinions of others. Professors acknowledge academic debt and strive to be objective in their professional judgment of colleagues. Professors accept their share of faculty responsibilities for the governance of their institution. As members of an academic institution, professors seek above all to be effective teachers and scholars. Although professors observe the stated regulations of the institution, provided the regulations do not contravene academic freedom, they maintain their right to criticize and seek revision. Professors give due regard to their paramount responsibilities within their institution in determining the amount and character of work done outside it.

When considering the interruption or termination of their service, professors recognize the effect of their decision upon the program of the institution and give due notice of their intentions. As members of their community, professors have the rights and obligations of other citizens. Professors measure the urgency of these obligations in the light of their responsibilities to their subject, to their students, to their profession, and to their institution. When they speak or act as private persons they avoid creating the impression of speaking or acting for their college or university. As citizens engaged in a profession that depends upon freedom for its health and integrity, professors have a particular obligation to promote conditions of free inquiry and to further public understanding of academic freedom.

Policy on Release of Information from Faculty Personnel Records

Faculty personnel files in the offices of department chairs and deans consist of initial letters offering employment, records of professional development revealed by annual reports, evaluations for tenure and promotion, and other matters of concern at the school level. An official personnel file is also kept in the Office of Human Resources and contains material related primarily to state employment matters. Information in these files which is not exempt from disclosure is available to faculty members, who may request the opportunity to review their personnel files from the department chair or dean or from the supervisor of faculty records. By University policy, confidential letters and statements of recommendation and evaluations of qualifications for employment, retention, or promotion are not available for access to faculty members. The University adheres to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Virginia Privacy Protection Act of 1976. Categories of personnel information considered public information under the Freedom of Information Act are an individual employee's "position, job classification, official salary or rate of pay [above $10,000]...and allowances or reimbursements for expenses." Faculty salary information is publicly available as part of the budget summary in Alderman Library. In most cases, information requested under the FOIA is released through the Office of Public Affairs.

2.6 Faculty Development

The University of Virginia offers a variety of faculty development opportunities throughout the year.

Each fall, the University holds an annual new faculty orientation. This orientation provides an opportunity for new faculty to learn about resources available to them, as well as an opportunity to interact with the vice presidents, provost, vice provosts, academic deans, unit heads, and other faculty. The president hosts a reception at his or her residence, followed by a dinner to provide a social venue for welcome, introduction, and networking.

Pan-University professional development opportunities are provided by the following offices:

Information Technology and Services (ITS) offers faculty and technology development through the Instructional Technology Group. This group focuses on the University’s teaching mission and assists in teaching through training, consulting, and development of instructional materials and their deployment.

The Leadership Development Center provides a series of integrated programs and services designed to prepare, equip, and support people to succeed in fulfilling their leadership roles.

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost oversees education, research, and public service in the schools of the University, in the University's libraries and museums, and in numerous other academically related units. The office acts as a university-wide clearinghouse of those resources to which faculty and administrators can turn for ideas and assistance.

The Faculty Exchange Program provides for faculty exchanges between the University and another institution, whether foreign or domestic.

The Teaching Resource Center (TRC) conducts teaching consultations, programs, and workshops regularly throughout the year.

The University Teaching Fellowships are funded to help faculty develop and refine teaching expertise.

The Excellence in Diversity Fellows (EDF) Program has the primary goal of invigorating the intellectual climate by improving the retention rate of diverse faculty members. EDF offers incoming junior faculty one-year fellowships to help them develop productive long-term careers at the University of Virginia.

The Professors as Writers (PAW) Program supports faculty members' professional development as scholars. It assists faculty at all career levels with publishing and writing-related concerns, to increase success in academic publishing in support of faculty excellence, advancement and development.

In addition to the above pan-university institutional support, promotion of faculty excellence takes many forms. School level requirement and criteria, organizational culture, and expectation of faculty development and advancement differ by discipline. Support for practitioners is particularly heightened in professional schools. It is essential that the intricate work of promotion and support for faculty professional development takes place in individual schools or departments that offer their own programs and opportunities tailored to their faculty members.

University faculty are encouraged to contact their respective department chair and/or dean for information on opportunities for research funding, school-based professional development training, mentoring activities, release time for University service and other faculty development activities.

2.7 Faculty Benefits

Benefits are an important part of your total University package. As a University employee, you are offered a wide selection of benefits plans that are designed to help you meet your personal needs in dealing with work/life issues.

The Benefits web site is maintained by University Human Resources and provides a summary of employer-provided and optional benefits according to the employee's classification. Benefit programs are subject to change.

New faculty members should schedule an interview with the faculty benefits counselor within thirty-one days of their hire date to discuss and enroll in the various benefit programs.

2.8 Promotion and Tenure

The assignment of academic rank and the award of tenure safeguard the University's intellectual standards, its academic integrity, and, in the end, its academic freedom. Few decisions carry the degree of institutional importance or affect the University's future as much as those involving the promotion and tenure of academic faculty.

This document concerns teaching faculty in units that report to the Vice President and Provost of the University who have been elected by the Board of Visitors and who are on the tenure track. It applies to the renewal of term appointments, to the awarding of tenure, and to promotions up to and including the rank of full professor for all schools or divisions that report to the Vice President and Provost of the University.

Each school or division must have a written policy for promotion and tenure that reflects the standards of its disciplines and its own considered aspirations. Differences among disciplines are appropriate, indeed inevitable, but each set of standards must be justified against an articulated mission, must establish procedures that assure their fair and reasoned application, and must be consistent with the policies and procedures outlined below.

Tenure track elections are "with term" if there is a specified number of years for which the appointment extends under the employment agreement between the faculty member and the University entered into at the time of initial hiring or on a "with term" renewal. The complementary phrase "without term" is used to denote the award of "tenure." "Tenure" or a "without term" election refers to an appointment to the faculty of indefinite duration. Both faculty "with term" appointments and faculty "without term" appointments are subject to annual evaluations, to a system of merit pay, and to appropriate sanctions, including suspension or termination of employment, in the event of unacceptable performance of duties. See the policy on Promotion and Tenure online.

2.9 The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs

The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) sets the highest quality standards of ensuring equity and access for all.  EOP is committed to eliminating discrimination and advancing equal access in all opportunities, programs, and facilities of the University in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and University Policy..

Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Statement

The University of Virginia is committed to equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.  To fulfill this commitment, the University administers its programs, procedures and practices without regard to age, color, disability, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation or veteran status, and operates both affirmative action and equal opportunity programs, consistent with resolutions of the Board of Visitors and with federal and state requirements, including the Governor’s Executive Order on Equal Opportunity. 

The University’s policies on “Preventing and Addressing Discrimination and Harassment” and “Preventing and Addressing Retaliation” implement this statement.  The Office of Equal Opportunity Programs has complaint procedures available to address alleged violations of these policies.

This statement, the policies and the complaint form and procedures are available online, and in the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) located in Washington Hall, East Range, P.O. Box 400219, Charlottesville, Virigina, 22904, phone (434) 924-3200, TDD (434) 983-4327.  EOP also has pamphlets and other materials available upon request. 

EOP also maintains the University’s Affirmative Action Plan.  The Plan is available for review in the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, Alderman Library and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library.