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OM 5.8.0 Research Faculty and Research Associates

About This Policy

Effective Date: April 1, 2017
Last Updated: May 2021
Responsible University Office: Human Resources
Responsible University Administrator: Chief Inclusion and Human Resources Officer

Policy Contact:

Human Resources

5.8.1 Definitions

The research professor titles (research assistant professor, research associate professor, and research professor) are available only for long term, non-tenure track faculty members who are distinguished and highly experienced individuals in a relevant field of research.

  1. Standards by Academic Rank
    1. A Research Assistant Professor shall have
      1. The appropriate terminal degree in research content area
      2. Demonstrated promise of independent research
      3. Demonstrated promise in mentoring at both the undergraduate and graduate levels
    2. A Research Associate Professor shall have
      1. Consistent and substantial contributions in research
      2. Demonstrated engagement in the academic life of the host unit
      3. Evidence of continuing commitment to student mentoring
      4. Significant potential for continued excellence in research
    3. A Research Professor shall have
      1. Evidence of outstanding contributions in research
      2. Demonstrated ability to generate substantial external funding and lead groups or teams of research personnel
      3. Evidence of continued engagement with academic life of the host unit
      4. Evidence of continuity in research excellence
  2. Term of Appointment
    1. Full-time Research Appointments
      Terms of positions bearing these titles shall normally be up to five years. Unless otherwise specified, they shall be renewable, pending review, indefinitely. 
  3. Duties and Responsibilities
    1. Primary responsibilities include initiating new research activities; creating and managing research laboratories; seeking funding opportunities, submitting proposals, and fulfilling the terms of research grants and contracts; planning, conducting and reporting on original research; and representing their research groups externally. Persons appointed to these titles may serve routinely as principal investigators on grants and contracts.
    2. The research professor titles may not be used for positions whose responsibilities substantially replicate those of tenure-track faculty. Accordingly, such individuals normally are not permitted to teach courses for credit. In the event that the appointing department requests some teaching of courses for credit, this teaching must be consistent with the terms of the individual’s funding and approved by the dean. When such teaching is assigned, care must be taken not to shift teaching expense inappropriately to research grants or contracts. In no case should such an individual teach for an extended consecutive period.
    3. Research Professors are members of the non-tenure track Faculty and have University Voting Rights. They are nonvoting members of their school or department faculty unless given the right to vote by the particular faculty.
  4. Procedures for Evaluation and Reappointment of Research Faculty
    1. The procedures for the continuing evaluation (annual evaluation) of research faculty shall be substantially similar to those specified for tenure-track faculty in Section 5.4 of the Operations Manual.
    2. The decision whether to reappoint a research faculty member to another term shall be at the discretion of the Dean of the research faculty’s school or director of the research faculty’s institute. In cases where the decision is not to reappoint, an appeals process may begin at the request of the research faculty member. When there are department and/or school-level committees that address tenure and/or promotion vases, these committees shall also make a recommendation about proposed reappointments.
  5. Procedures for Promoting Research Faculty
    1. The procedures for promoting research faculty shall be substantially similar to those specified for tenure-track faculty in section 5.6.C of the Operations Manual, except that standards shall be those listed in Section A and the promotion process explicitly shall be the charge of the Promotions Committee.
  6. Use of Research Faculty Titles
    1. Research appointees whose primary work is the conduct of research shall have one of the titles in Sections 5.8.1.A and 5.8.1.B. (Other titles such as “Research Fellow,” “Research Scientist,” and “Research Scholar” may not be used.) Research faculty appointees whose work primarily supports the research of others shall have an appointment in one of the staff employee groups in Section 3.1.1.A at a level and with a title appropriate to the appointees’ job description and qualifications.

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5.8.2 Duties

The specific duties of Research Associates and Research Faculty are stated in their contracts. Research Associate contracts should include a career development plan showing forward movement at the time of hire.

Research Faculty may serve as Co-PI and sole PI on research proposals

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5.8.3 Appointment and Promotion

Initial appointment of Research Faculty, and change from one Research Faculty rank to another, shall be consistent with the research-related criteria for faculty that are listed in Section 5.3.B, “Standards by Academic Rank.” Approvals of initial appointment of Research Faculty, and change from one Research Faculty rank to another, are required by the Department Chair and final approval from the designated senior administrator.

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Approved by Faculty Senate November 2006

Approved by Administrative Council January 2007

Revised November 2016

Revised May 2021

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