Skip to main content


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.

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
  • 06 – Professor of the Practice
  • TBD – Teaching Professor

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 EHRA 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.

Tenure / Tenure Track Job Codes  Fixed Term Job Codes


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

Associate Professor

Appointment to the rank of associate professor can be 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.

Section 2.b (2) of the Tenure Regulations, state- with the written approval of the immediate supervisor of the department chair obtained in advance of the initiation of formal appointment procedures, an initial appointment to the rank of associate professor with permanent tenure may be initiated and made effective upon subsequent approval of the appointment by the regularly prescribed procedures for initiation, review and final approval.

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 (With Special Provisions)

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.

Tips for Promotion and Tenure Practices APT Dossier Schedule 2020-2021 Provost's Report on Engaged Scholarship in Promotion and Tenure


The titles Teaching Assistant Professor, Teaching Associate Professor, or Teaching Professor may be used. The following guidelines and policies apply to individuals with teaching 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 teaching rank;
  • the amount of time that an individual contributes to University-related activities may vary from 5% to 100% effort.
Teaching Assistant Professor

Appointment to rank of Teaching Assistant Professor may be made for a fixed term of one to five years.

Teaching Associate Professor

This fixed term rank is appropriate for Teaching faculty who have rendered outstanding service to the University as evidenced by such distinctions as awards for teaching or service. Ordinarily, because of the level of recognition by awarding this rank, an appointment term of three to five years should be considered.

Teaching Professor

This fixed term rank is appropriate for a Teaching Associate Professor who has a minimum of six consecutive years’ full-time (i.e., 1 FTE) service., 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 Teaching Associate Professor or faculty equivalent is required. A Teaching Assistant Professor is not eligible to be promoted directly to the rank of Teaching Professor. A Teaching Professor candidate must provide demonstrable evidence of distinguished teaching and service to the appointing department, in accordance with standards defined by the unit in which the candidate is being promoted.


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 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.


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.


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


Criteria For Visiting Appointments

“Visiting” appointments are generally made where an individual with a faculty appointment at another academic institution will perform short-term temporary (e.g., typically for one year or less) faculty duties at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Such appointments may also be authorized for individuals who may not presently hold faculty credentials at another institution but who are otherwise qualified for faculty rank.

Maximum Duration Of Visiting Appointments

The following time limits are relevant for visiting appointments:

  • Visiting faculty appointments generally may not exceed one-year at a time in duration.
  • An additional consecutive appointment for a one-year or less is permissible when the needs of the Department/School justify such continuation.
  • Visiting appointments in any circumstance are limited to a maximum of two consecutive appointments (four consecutive semesters) of one year after which a minimum of one semester’s break in service from the University is required before another visiting appointment may be initiated for this same individual.
  • If it is necessary to make temporary appointments for less than one year, the prefix “visiting” should be added to the appropriate rank designation.

On the ConnectCarolina Hire ePAR, check “Yes” for Visiting and select a fixed term faculty Job Code. If this is an appointment preceding the approval of a tenure track appointment, you should not indicate the appointment as “Visiting” but should follow the instructions for “Nominated” faculty.

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.

Visiting vs Temporary Appointments

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.

Departments wishing to employ faculty members with benefits arriving “early” whose tenure track or tenured appointment are pending final approvals and no longer will hold faculty rank at another institution are processed using a one-year fixed term appointment. This one-year fixed term appointment should be amended to the proposed tenure track or tenured appointment once final approvals for the permanent appointment are confirmed using a ConnectCarolina Hire ePAR. It cannot be used for current benefit earning employees.

More Information

What is the Variable Track?

The variable track was created out of the necessity to provide schools an opportunity to allow faculty additional transition/research time to determine their career trajectory. The variable track is a three year fixed term position; however, a review and decision should take place by the end of the second year to determine if the faculty member will remain in a fixed term position or move on as a tenure track Assistant Professor or Associate Professor without tenure.

Recruitment and Posting

  • Must be posted for a minimum of 30 days.
  • Qualifications should be the same as tenure track positions. Variable track is not interchangeable with Instructor with Special Provisions.
  • Require two letters of recommendation.
  • Appointment is for three years with possibility of track change to tenure track.

Variable Track Process Flow

  • Department notifies APO of Variable Track employee (add note to the hire ePAR in the comments section indicating employee is Variable Track)
  • APO submits a ServiceNow ticket which is sent to HRIM.
  • HRIM will update the Variable Track Appointment flag (making it a ‘Yes’). HRIM will update the Decision date. This will be viewable on the Job Data page in ConnectCarolina as seen below:

Review for Tenure Track Appointment

  • Reviewed at the end of the second year of variable track appointment.
  • Promotion to Assistant Professor or Associate Professor without tenure.
  • The work unit (school/department) will follow the Dossier: Format for Tenure Track Faculty Review initial appointment guidelines if the faculty member selects to transfer into an Assistant Professor or Associate Professor tenure track position.
  • If the decision is to remain in the fixed term track, work unit (school/department) should follow internal fixed term guidelines on reappointment.

Tenure / Tenure Track Standard Order Tables

Fixed Term Standard Order Tables

ConnectCarolina provides the ability to assign a “UNC Long Title” for each job, which can be used to more specifically reflect the duties of the employee beyond what the Job Code provides. For example, a Professor’s UNC Long Title can be “Kenan Distinguished Professor” or an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition can have a UNC Long Title of “Associate Professor of Nutrition” to more explicitly reflect the duties of the position.

UNC Long 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 UNC Long 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 UNC Long 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).

Learn More
Faculty members are appointed to perform research, teaching, or service on either a nine or twelve-month basis which is referred to as the “service period.”

Faculty appointments must be classified as either a nine or twelve-month appointment, but may not be both. In either case, salary is paid and benefits are provided all twelve months of the calendar year both to provide a consistent monthly income and to enable the provision of University benefits across the full calendar year.

Certain faculty employment policies differ depending on whether an individual holds a nine or twelve-month appointment and, in such cases, the relevant policies will often stipulate which benefits or privileges apply to nine-month faculty, twelve-month faculty, or both.

For specific policy provisions regarding either nine or twelve-month faculty members, refer to the Tenure Code or the detailed text of the relevant personnel policy.

Learn More
Full-Time Equivalent. FTE is a unit that indicates the workload of an employed person in a way that makes workloads comparable across various contexts. An FTE of 1.0 is equivalent to a full-time worker and represents a primary schedule of 40 hours per week, while an FTE of 0.5 signals half of a full workload.

Less than Full-Time Work Schedules

Reduction in hours for tenured and tenure track faculty

When a faculty member is appointed to an administrative role that is ongoing, e.g., assistant/associate chair of a unit, director of a clinic, assistant dean of a school, etc., then a ConnectCarolina Secondary Hire ePAR must be submitted with a letter from the dean or chair attached.

More Information

A faculty member may hold more than one academic appointment at the University, but there may be only one “home” or primary appointment in a department. An additional fixed term rank added in addition to the primary professorial rank in a different department is referred to as joint/secondary appointments and may be salaried or non-salaried. The need for an additional appointment may be contributed to a faculty member teaching in more than one department or collaborating on research activities with colleagues in other departments. Specific terms and conditions of the secondary/joint appointment are negotiated between the two department heads and defined in a written appointment letter.

Secondary appointments may also be administrative appointments in the “home” or primary department or a different unit, e.g., department chair, director, or assistant director where supplemental funds are added for increased duties and responsibilities. Lump sum payments are not the mechanism for remuneration for these additional assignments.

More Information
Policy on Qualifications of Course Instructors
This policy is designed to ensure that faculty and other instructors of credit-bearing courses are qualified to teach according to the University’s standards of quality and the Principles of Accreditation established by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). It defines the academic degrees and disciplinary requirements instructors must meet to teach courses at specific levels and within appropriate content areas, describes procedures for obtaining approval for exceptions, and identifies the credentials the University requires to document individual instructor qualifications.
Minimum Faculty Credentialing Requirements