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Faculty Ranks, Appointment Tracking, and Working Title Guidelines

CONTENTS

Overview
Faculty Rank Structure and Codes
Rank Definitions (Tenure Track)
Rank Definitions (Fixed Term)
Faculty Working Title
Working Titles and the UNC Campus Directory
Determining Primary Ranks
Department Chair Appointments
Faculty Members Hired into Tier I or Tier II EPA Non-Faculty Positions

Overview

Embedded throughout our faculty personnel business processes is the concept of “rank” or “appointment” which is the basic mechanism used to track faculty positions. Examples of faculty ranks are: Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, and Professor of the Practice. Faculty members may also hold administrative ranks or titles such as Director, Dean, or Vice Chancellor. Each rank represents a different type of faculty appointment and has associated with it various policies and procedures which may govern compensation, reappointment, performance evaluation, and end of appointment.

An individual employee may hold multiple ranks although for each individual, one rank must be designated as “primary” and for individuals with one or more faculty ranks, one of the faculty ranks must be designated as the “primary faculty rank”. Each rank is also associated with a specific university department (represented by the department number) which is responsible for the individual’s appointment and reappointment to that rank.

The department associated with a given rank is often referred to as the “rank department” or “department of rank”. There is also a “base department” designation for each faculty member apart from any individual rank. Often the “base department” and the department associated with the primary rank are the same. In general, the base department tends to exercise primary “supervisory” responsibility for the faculty member although other departments may share in this responsibility based on the presence of a secondary or joint appointment. Ultimately, the base department is considered each faculty member’s “administrative home” for reporting purposes.

Faculty Rank Structure and Codes

To permit appropriate tracking of all faculty appointments, a rank structure has been developed which helps in classifying the various types of faculty members and in administering and reporting on faculty personnel activities. The basic faculty rank structure and related rank codes follow below.

  • 01 – Professor
  • 02 – Associate Professor
  • 03 – Assistant Professor
  • 04 – Instructor
  • 05 – Lecturer
  • 06 – Professor of the Practice
  • 07 – Senior Lecturer
  • TBD – Master Lecturer

In addition, certain faculty members may also hold administrative ranks which are either primary for the duration of the administrative appointment or secondary in that the faculty member’s employment is still governed by the Tenure Code. In the case of administrative appointments, the following EPA non-faculty ranks and codes may apply:

  • 09 – Chancellor
  • 10 – Provost
  • 11 – Vice Chancellor
  • 12 – Dean
  • 13 – Director
  • 14 – Department Chair

Note: In the case of Department Chairs, the Chair’s primary rank is always their faculty rank and the Chair rank represents a secondary administrative title rank.

Rank Definitions (Tenure Track)

Professor

Appointment or promotion to the rank of professor confers permanent tenure.

Associate Professor

Appointment to the rank of associate professor is for a probationary period of five years. Under very special circumstances, an initial appointment with permanent tenure may be made. Promotion to the rank of associate professor from the rank of assistant professor confers permanent tenure.

Assistant Professor

Appointment to the rank of assistant professor, or promotion to the rank of assistant professor from the rank of instructor, is for a probationary term of four years. Reappointment is for a term of three years. A second reappointment at this rank confers tenure. Reappointment at the rank of assistant professor following expiration of the second probationary term should be made only in clearly exceptional circumstances.

Instructor

This rank is appropriate for persons for whom there is reasonable expectation that in the normal course of events he or she will progress to the rank of assistant professor. The appointment is for a probationary term of one year, renewable for three additional successive one-year terms, a total of four years. No reappointment beyond four years is allowed.

An appointment or reappointment at the rank of instructor may be made with the special condition that automatically upon conferral of a specified academic degree the instructor shall be reappointed at the rank of assistant professor. Section 2.b.(3) of the Tenure Regulations, states that promotion at any time from the rank of instructor to that of assistant professor constitutes an initial appointment at the latter rank. In such cases the appointment to assistant professor shall be retroactive to the effective date of instructor or to July 1 or January 1 immediately preceding the conferral of the degree whichever is nearest in point of time.

Rank Definitions (Fixed Term)

Lecturer

Appointment to rank of lecturer may be made for a fixed term of one to five years. Lecturer titles cannot have any of the modifiers listed below, i.e., Clinical, Research, or Adjunct. The following guidelines and policies apply to lecturer appointments:

  • the individual primarily will be engaged in teaching activities;
  • subsequent appointments may be made in succession or at intervals;
  • tenure may not be acquired in the lecturer rank;
  • the individual may not be promoted within this rank, but may receive salary increases;
  • the amount of time that an individual contributes to University-related activities may vary from 5% to 100% effort.

Senior Lecturer

This fixed-term rank is appropriate for a lecturer who has rendered long and distinguished service to the University as evidenced by such distinctions as awards for teaching or service. Ordinarily, because of the level of distinction by awarding this rank, an appointment term of five years should be considered.

Master Lecturer

This fixed-term rank is appropriate for a lecturer who has a minimum of six consecutive years’ full-time (i.e., 1 FTE) service as a Senior Lecturer, or, if the candidate is from another institution and identified in a national search, six consecutive years of full-time (1 FTE) service as a Senior Lecturer or faculty equivalent. A Senior Lecturer may not be promoted to the rank of Master Lecturer until six consecutive years of 1 FTE service at the rank of Senior Lecturer have elapsed. A Lecturer is not eligible to be promoted directly to the rank of Master Lecturer. A Master Lecturer candidate must provide demonstrable evidence of distinguished teaching and distinguished service to the appointing department, beyond that which is expected of a Senior Lecturer, in accordance with standards defined by the unit in which the candidate is promoted.

Clinical

The titles Clinical Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Assistant Professor, or Clinical Instructor may be used. The following guidelines and policies apply to individuals with clinical appointments:

  • engaged in teaching, providing a practice or service activity in such a way that it serves as a framework for teaching, and/or supervising students in academic, clinical or field settings.
  • appointments may be renewed for fixed terms of one to five years
  • tenure may not be acquired in the clinical rank.
  • appointment to a higher rank is possible within the clinical ranks (based on appropriate criteria).
  • the amount of time that an individual contributes to University-related activities may vary from 5% to 100% effort.

Research

The titles Research Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Assistant Professor, or Research Instructor may be used. The following guidelines and policies apply to individuals with research appointments:

  • engaged primarily in research activities; may be invited to teach a course once a year
  • appointments may be renewed for fixed terms of one to five years
  • tenure may not be acquired in the research ranks
  • appointment to a higher rank is possible through the research ranks (based on appropriate criteria).
  • the amount of time that an individual contributes to University-related activities may vary from 5% to 100% effort.

Adjunct

The titles Adjunct Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, or Adjunct Instructor may be used. The following guidelines and policies apply to individuals with adjunct appointments:

  • employed outside the University, or has a primary appointment in a University unit different from that making the adjunct appointment
  • engaged in the following activities: limited responsibilities in the department making the adjunct appointment; may be in involved in teaching, research, practice or service; does not receive regular salary from the appointing department, but may receive compensation for specific services or activities performed; full-time University employment prohibits additional compensation from the department making the adjunct appointment
  • appointments may be renewed for fixed terms of one to five years
  • appointment to a higher rank is possible through the adjunct ranks (based on appropriate criteria).
  • normally, the title “adjunct” connotes a part-time commitment of the individual to the appointing department; however, in some cases, “adjunct” may be used for full time employment

Visiting

If it is necessary to make temporary appointments for less than one year, the prefix “visiting” should be added to the appropriate rank designation. All visiting faculty can be appointed up to one year in length for a maximum of two successive one year appointments or two consecutive one-semester appointments up to a year in length. The indicator “Visiting” must be given to any faculty who will hold more than a half-time position for which a search is not done.

On the EPAWeb action, check “Yes” for Visiting and use one of the fixed term modifiers (adjunct, clinical, or research) in the Current Rank field. If this is an appointment preceding the approval of a tenure track appointment, the Visiting indicator should be checked “Yes” and a modifier used to indicate the fixed term appointment. Initiate a letter to the EVC&P requesting benefits effective the date of the initial appointment. Once the tenure-track appointment is approved, remove the visiting status, change the tenure status and correct the current rank to indicate the tenure track title.

A minimum of one semester’s break in service from University payroll is required before another visiting appointment may be made.

The Tenure Regulations state:

Persons other than regular members of the faculty may be appointed as visiting members of the faculty with rank designations, prefixed by the word “Visiting,” appropriate to their status in their regular employment. Such appointments shall be for a term of not more than one year. One successive appointment for a term of not more than one year may be made. Appointments are made in accordance with the procedures for appointment of an instructor. During such terms of appointment the visiting faculty member may not be suspended, discharged or terminated except upon the grounds and by the procedures provided respectively in Sections 3 and 6 hereof.

Professor of the Practice

This fixed-term rank is appropriate for a senior field-specific expert whose contribution to teaching, research, or service upon joining the University community has its foundation in a prior career of distinguished non-academic achievement. It is not appropriate to employ the rank distinctions “associate” or “assistant” with this appointment. However, if the appointing unit internally employs field identifiers in tenure-track appointments e.g., professor of management), it is appropriate to employ those identifiers with this rank.

Faculty Working Title

The EPAWeb Personnel Action System provides the ability to assign each individual EPA employee a “working title” which can be used to more specifically reflect the duties of the employee beyond what the standard rank or rank modifiers provide. For example, a Professor’s working title can be “Kenan Eminent Professor” or an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition can have a working title of “Associate Professor of Nutrition” to more explicitly reflect the duties of the position. Faculty members with administrative appointments can also have that reflected in their working title, for example: “Prof of Medicine & Dir, Ctr for Res”.

Working titles are generally at the discretion of the department or unit subject to higher level approval authorities for the unit in question. Academic Personnel in the Office of the EVC&P will review proposed working titles when approving related personnel actions to ensure they reasonably reflect the responsibilities and level of the employee in question and do not conflict with established protocols. Departments should use good judgment in assigning working titles that do not imply authorities or status beyond what is appropriate for a given position (e.g., implying tenured status for a non-tenured faculty appointment).

Working Titles and the UNC Campus Directory

The working title field in the EPAWeb Personnel Action System is automatically passed to the UNC enterprise directory system and displays as the person’s primary title in the UNC Campus Directory as well as to the HR Data Warehouse for reporting purposes. When there is no working title entered for an individual in EPAWeb, the Campus Directory displays their primary rank as their principal working title. A working title may be modified in EPAWeb using the Appointment Data Change action.

Determining Primary Ranks

If an individual has only a single rank and it is a faculty rank, that rank will be designated as both the Primary Rank and Primary Faculty Rank.

Unless otherwise specified in our faculty personnel guidelines (e.g., Distinguished Professorships or Distinguished Term Professorships) or directed by Academic Personnel, if a faculty member has multiple faculty ranks, the relevant department chairs shall determine which department is designated as the “primary” department for faculty appointment purposes. The faculty rank associated with that department is then designated as the “Primary Faculty Rank” among multiple faculty ranks that may be present and tracked in the EPAWeb Personnel Action System.

Department Chair Appointments

Department Chair Appointments are considered an administrative rank (title) that is secondary to the Chair’s faculty rank. They should not be considered primary EPA non-faculty senior academic and administrative officer (SAAO) positions nor is an EPA non-faculty position or position number assigned for these appointments.

Note that faculty members may also be assigned non-faculty “administrative” titles such as Associate or Assistant Dean, or Director of a special research program or center. While these administrative duties may be compensated using an administrative supplement, they are not EPA non-faculty appointments and the individual retains their faculty rank as their primary appointment and is not subject to EPA non-faculty employment policies. This is appropriate when the administrative duties are part-time in nature and the individuals duties principally remain those of their faculty appointment.

Faculty Members Hired into Tier I or Tier II EPA Non-Faculty Positions

When a faculty member is hired into a formally established Tier I EPA Non-Faculty position (e.g., Chancellor, Provost, Dean) or a Tier II Non-Faculty position (e.g., Director of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health, Director of the Center for Aging), as opposed to a non-faculty administrative title, their faculty rank is secondary to their non-faculty appointment. In these instances, the EPA non-faculty appointment will be considered their primary rank and the individual is subject to the EPA non-faculty employment policies. Their faculty rank will be considered secondary although the faculty rank must still be designated as the primary faculty rank. When there is only a single faculty rank present, that is always classified as the primary faculty rank present.