Guidelines for Developing School/Unit-Specific Policies for Academic General Faculty

Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, January 2017

School policies are a supplement to, not a substitute for, the provost’s policy (PROV-004, Employment of Academic General Faculty Members).

At a minimum, the school policy needs to address:

  1. The ways in which academic faculty members will be involved in shared governance of the school. This includes specifying how academic general faculty members will be represented appropriately in the hiring, evaluation, and promotion of academic general faculty members. Some schools may wish to specify in their policies that academic general faculty members will be represented in the hiring and evaluation of tenure-track and tenured faculty members but the provost’s policy does not require them to do so.
  2. The tracks a school will use for academic general faculty. Only the School of Medicine is allowed to use tracks that differ from those defined in the provost’s policy (and changes to these tracks must be approved by the provost). For all other schools, those who do not intend to use one or more of the three tracks should stipulate which tracks will be used in the school’s policy. Schools that do not intend to use the lecturer and/or instructor ranks should stipulate this in their school policy. Schools that intend to use the practice track must define the nature and quantity of “practice” that will be used to define whether a position should hold professorial rank or lecturer/instructor rank.
  3. If relevant, the ways in which the school will approve working titles for use when formal faculty titles are not required by the provost’s policy (for example, in email signatures, department websites, business cards, conference presentations, etc.). Note that the formal title as defined in the provost’s policy must be used in all communications related to the faculty member’s employment, including offer letters, renewal letters, the report of faculty actions to the Board of Visitors, etc.
  4. The criteria and process that will be used to evaluate academic general faculty members for promotion in the professorial ranks on each track (teaching, research, and practice) and for promotion in the lecturer/instructor ranks. These criteria should align with the criteria defined more generally in the provost’s policy and provide greater specificity as to what standards the school will use to evaluate faculty for promotion to associate and full professor on each track or to senior and distinguished lecturer/instructor. Schools may opt to detail the promotion review process for academic general faculty within their existing promotion and tenure policy, rather than developing a separate promotion review policy for academic general faculty. In the event the school chooses to integrate academic general faculty members into its P&T policy, the revised policy must be submitted to the provost for review and approval.

The policies need to be developed in consultation with each school’s faculty. The mechanisms for engaging faculty in developing these policies will likely vary by school. Some deans have formed advisory committees that include tenured, tenure-track, and academic general faculty members. Other schools may elect, instead, to discuss policies in faculty meetings or ask a standing faculty committee to assist in developing the policies. Whatever the mechanism, deans need to ensure that academic general faculty members are represented among the faculty who help develop the school’s policy. Deans should make their draft policies available for review by their school’s faculty and provide opportunities for faculty to provide feedback before submission to the provost for final review and approval.

Due Date for Submission to the Provost’s Office: June 1, 2017

Kerry Abrams and Laura Hawthorne are available for questions and discussion throughout the spring semester as schools develop their policies. We will be scheduling meetings with each school’s leadership over the next 1-2 months to:

  1. discuss the development of these policies;
  2. make sure we’re in agreement as to how the policy applies to new faculty positions the school may be posting this spring and in the future; and
  3. discuss the process the school will use for retitling and promoting any faculty who will need to be retitled under the policy.

Once policies have been finalized by the school and approved by the dean, they should be forwarded to Laura Hawthorne, associate vice provost for administration, for the provost’s review and approval.