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III. Faculty Employment Policies and Procedures

III.B. Faculty Status, Positions and Ranks

III.B.1. Faculty Status                  

III.B.2. Faculty Positions

III.B.3. Special Appointments

III.B.4. Academic Faculty Ranks


III.B.1. Faculty Status

The Commonwealth of Virginia defines a faculty member as a nonclassified employee of an institution of higher education. Classified staff members are not covered under the terms of this handbook.

III.B.2. Faculty Positions

A faculty member may be either an instructional faculty member or an administrative and professional (A&P) faculty member, and may be either full-time or part-time.

III.B.2.a. Instructional Faculty
A faculty member whose primary responsibility includes teaching, research and service. Instructional faculty also have specific guidelines for employment set forth in the University Faculty Handbook.

Each instructional faculty member, including those with primary assignments in an administrative unit, shall have an academic unit identified as the faculty member’s home unit, in which his or her academic responsibilities reside.

III.B.2.b. Administrative and Professional (A&P) Faculty

Administrative faculty and professional faculty are normally referred to collectively, as both require advanced learning acquired by prolonged formal instruction and/or specialized training and work experience; however, the university recognizes administrative faculty and professional faculty as distinct position types.

Administrative Faculty positions are generally administrators who perform work related to the management of the educational and general activities of the university, for at least fifty percent (50%) of their work. Typically, administrative faculty serve in executive leadership roles such as vice president, provost, dean, assistant or associate vice president or dean, assistant or associate vice provost. Other administrative faculty roles can include (1) those responsible for the administrative direction of separately designated divisions or departments of institutional activity; (2) positions whose primary responsibility is to attract external funds; or (3) positions that are characterized by active, continuing involvement in formulating, interpreting and implementing institutional policy, and exercise substantial independence, authority and discretion in areas such as program planning, design and allocation of resources. The organizational reporting relationship for administrative faculty is normally not lower than three levels below Executive Council positions. For Academic Affairs, this would include: Vice Provost/Dean (level 1), Academic Unit Head/Director (level 2) and Associate Director (level 3).

Professional Faculty require advanced learning and experience acquired by prolonged formal instruction and/or specialized work experience. Typical professional faculty positions are librarians, counselors, coaches, physicians, lawyers, engineers or architects. Other professional positions may support education, research, university life and other such activities. Professional faculty positions must require the incumbent to regularly exercise professional discretion and judgment and to produce work that is intellectual and varied and not standardized.

III.B.3.c. Professional Librarians
Instructional faculty who are affiliated with Libraries & Educational Technologies. Their responsibilities include instruction, research/scholarship and service as defined in the Libraries’ Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.

III.B.2.d. Academic Unit Head
An academic department head or the functional equivalent of that position. Academic unit heads are considered instructional faculty members. For more details, see Academic Affairs Policy #2: Academic Unit Heads Policy.

III.B.2.e. Administrative Appointments
Instructional faculty members may be assigned administrative responsibilities, with or without a salary increment, and may be given titles such as center director, program coordinator, and other appropriate titles reflecting administrative duties.  Administrative responsibilities include work directly related to the management of activities of the institution, department or work unit. Faculty members with administrative assignments hold their titles and assignments at the pleasure of the institution, and the appropriate administrator who assigns the title and responsibilities may remove the assignment and accompanying title, salary increment, and responsibilities at any time for any reason. Removal of an administrative assignment is not an appealable action, but a grievance may be filed under Section III.K.

III.B.2.f. Full-Time Faculty
Individuals who have appointments with a full-time workload for the academic year or fiscal year are defined as full-time faculty members. Most full-time instructional faculty members assume the full spectrum of duties in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service, although the relative weights of the three performance areas may be negotiated each year. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.E.4. Full-time A&P faculty members assume duties associated with administration and professional services, but may also teach or perform research. Full-time faculty appointments are made at the following ranks: professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, and lecturer.

III.B.2.g. Part–Time Faculty
Faculty members who are employed for less than a full academic year, or who are employed for at least an academic year at less than a full work load, are considered Part-Time Faculty. For details see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2104, Part-time and Adjunct Faculty.

III.B.3. Special Appointments

A faculty member may be given any of the following designations, in addition to being designated instructional or A&P, and full-time or part-time, or in the case of emeritus faculty members, on the event of their retirement from the university.

III.B.3.a. Adjunct Faculty
Individuals who teach at the university on a limited, special or provisional basis, but perform no other duties. For qualifications and other details see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2104, Part-time and Adjunct Faculty.

III.B.3.b. Affiliate Faculty
Individuals holding a primary appointment in one academic unit may hold affiliate status in additional academic units, at the option of the additional academic unit. This affiliate status is normally associated with teaching, scholarship or service functions performed in the additional academic unit. Affiliate status will be determined by mutual consent of the academic units and the faculty member, but may be withdrawn at the option of the academic unit. The details of the affiliation with additional academic units should be communicated in writing, so that the faculty member's voting rights and responsibilities in the additional academic unit, evaluation procedures, assignment of duties, etc. are clearly defined.

Note: An affiliate faculty member is not the same as a university affiliate, defined in Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1337, Affiliates.

III.B.3.c. Joint Appointment
Faculty appointments may be shared between or among academic units. Individuals holding joint appointments will normally have a portion of their salary paid on a prorate basis by each of the units. Individuals holding joint appointments will be fully participating faculty members in each of the academic units, with teaching, scholarship and service expectations negotiated among the faculty member and the respective AUHs.

The details of the assignment of duties, evaluations, retention, and promotion and tenure issues should be communicated in a written document detailing the faculty member's voting rights in the academic units, evaluation procedures, assignments of duties, etc. Additionally, negotiated changes to those details should be memorialized in signed documents.

III.B.3.d. Graduate Faculty
A graduate faculty member is an individual who has been appointed to the graduate faculty under specific criteria. For details see Academic Affairs Policy #5: Graduate Faculty.

III.B.3.e. Emeritus Faculty
A retired instructional or A&P faculty member is eligible for emeritus status if the individual has served full-time for a minimum of 10 years on the university faculty, has attained the academic rank of lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor, and has retired in good standing. Emeritus rank is a privilege and not a right of any retired faculty member. For details see Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 2105, Emeritus Faculty.

III.B.3.f. Visiting Faculty
Appointments as visiting faculty members are for a fixed term to carry out instructional or research responsibilities within an academic unit. Professional credentials are required for appointment as a visiting faculty member. Tenure cannot be awarded to a visiting faculty member. Visiting faculty members may be primarily associated with another university or agency, or may be engaged as a research associate, post-doctoral faculty member, teaching associate or teaching fellow.

III.B.3.g. Scholar in Residence
A scholar in residence is an individual appointed to a fixed-term appointment on the basis of noteworthy experience and credentials.

III.B.3.h. Researcher
A researcher is an individual employed by the university either part-time or full-time specifically to work on one or more sponsored projects. A researcher may be affiliated with one or more academic units under specific terms and conditions set out in an agreement between the individual and the university.

III.B.3.i. Affiliated Researcher
Technically, an affiliated researcher is not a faculty member of the university. However, an individual who is not employed by the university, but is affiliated with an academic unit while seeking funding for employment under a proposed sponsored project, under specific terms and conditions set out in an agreement between the individual and the university, may be given affiliate status at the university under the provisions of Manual of Policies and Procedures, Policy 1337, Affiliates, and the title of Affiliated Researcher. The details of the affiliation with the academic unit should be communicated in writing, so that the individual's rights and responsibilities in the academic unit are clearly defined.

III.B.4. Academic Faculty Ranks

III.B.4.a. Instructor
Appointment at the rank of instructor is normally for a fixed term but may be employment at the will of the university with no fixed term. Appointment at the rank of instructor may also be used for a faculty member who is hired with the expectation of completion of a terminal degree by a specified date. Promotion to the rank of assistant professor may be made automatic on completion of the terminal degree in the terms of the appointment, subject to approval of the BOV.

III.B.4.b. Lecturer
Appointment at the rank of lecturer can be made in the case of an RTA. Individuals in the rank of lecturer are not eligible for promotion. See Faculty Handbook, Section III.D.4.

III.B.4.c. Assistant Professor
Appointment at the rank of assistant professor normally carries with it teaching, scholarship and service responsibilities, and normally requires a terminal degree in a relevant discipline.

III.B.4.d. Associate Professor
In addition to the requirements for assistant professor, appointment at the rank of associate professor is contingent upon substantial professional achievements, evidenced by an appropriate combination of teaching, scholarship and service.

III.B.4.e. Professor
In addition to the requirements for associate professor, appointment at the rank of professor is contingent upon recognition of outstanding professional accomplishment. Further details concerning academic faculty ranks and promotion are contained in Faculty Handbook, Section III.E.6.

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