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Appointment and Promotion

Policies and resources for the life cycle of all academic appointees - from signing on to signing off. The philosophy and policies on appointments and promotions at the University. 

Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy for Faculty and Other Academic Appointees

Participation in outside professional or commercial activities makes important direct and indirect contributions to the strength and vitality of the University and adds to the knowledge and understanding that is relevant and useful to teaching and research. It is essential, however, to have a policy in place to gaurd against the dangers of inappropriate or excessive outside interests or participation. This policy serves to protect the interested of "Covered Persons" through advancing a very positive goal: defense of the integrity and objectivity of the research and scholarship carried out at the University. The policy is available in full in the attachment below. 

Disability Assistance

Faculty and other academic appointees with disabilities who believe they may need workplace accommodation should contact their departmental chair or dean. The Associate Provost and Director of the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs may be contacted directly to initiate the disability determination and reasonable accommodation process.

Discontinuous-effort and Uncompensated OAA Appointments

The University makes compensated and uncompensated OAA appointments. Compensated appointments may qualify for benefits or not. What follows applies to individuals who are benefits-ineligible.

Principles:

  1. The existence of an appointment itself does not establish an employment relationship with the University.
  2. Whether the University is compensating a benefits-ineligible appointee for scheduled, compensated effort during the appointment determines whether the appointee is in an employment relationship with the University at that time.

Illustrative Examples:

Some OAAs are University employees only during part of the appointive term. That is, they may not be performing scheduled, compensated effort in all three (AWSp) or four (in BSD) quarters of the year although the appointment spans one or more “off” quarters. Individuals with these appointments are not in an employment relationship with the University during those off quarters; however, because the appointees remain affiliated with the University, they are subject to its policies (Unless they are regular, salaried benefits-eligible employees, Lecturers are unaffiliated with the University in quarters in which they have no scheduled, compensated teaching effort).

In BSD there are clinical, educational, or other functions carried out by appointees with Clinical Associate, Clinical Instructor, Clinical Assistant Professor, etc. titles. When there is no effort compensated by the University with salary, these appointees are not in an employment relationship to the University.

Because non-employee appointees remain affiliated with the University during the term of appointment, they are subject to its policies and the University has the right to end such appointments, upon written notice to the appointee, without additional process and without liability. If an appointment includes Medical Staff privileges as a condition at the time the appointment is initiated, at the time when privileges end or are suspended, the appointment will end immediately. 

Diverse Searches

Recruiting Academics to the University

President Zimmer has challenged the University to build a scholarly community comprising a mix of individuals who through their own diverse experiences, backgrounds, and viewpoints contribute to our intellectual culture. The related documents below describe both required and recommended steps for conducting successful searches and for using the Academic Career Opportunities Website.  Department chairs, department and school administrators, and search committee members should familiarize themselves with this information, which is intended both to help units attract large and diverse applicant pools for every open academic position at the University, and to allow the department, dean, and provost to monitor the search and evaluation processes that preceded a recommendation to make an academic appointment.

Attracting and recruiting outstanding academics, particularly from underrepresented groups, requires extra effort to develop the applicant pool for every open position. African American or Black, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native are underrepresented group designations.  In many fields women constitute an underrepresented group. Additional effort in the humanities and social sciences may be required to recruit Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islanders into applicant pools.

Fundamental Principle: The most effective way to identify top talent is to be continually on the lookout for excellent candidates regardless of a unit’s short-term hiring needs. At the junior level, graduate students and postdocs come onto the market each year, not just in years when we want to search for them. Conducting a successful search requires preparations that begin well before the start of the official search. (The Survey of Earned Doctorates tabulates PhD recipients by field, and is useful for estimating the size and composition of the national pool of people with academic training. Summaries of the Survey are provided by the Provost’s Office to the offices of all the deans.)

Diversity Statement

The University of Chicago is distinctive in many respects, but perhaps in none more so than our singular commitment to rigorous inquiry that demands multiple and often competing perspectives. The nature of questions being asked and the perspectives being engaged are often a function of the diversity of experiences and outlooks of those participating. Diversity for the University is therefore particularly germane to our core perspective. We must ensure that our scholarly community is composed of a rich mix of individuals who, through their own distinctive viewpoints, contribute to the intellectually challenging culture of the University.

For over one hundred years, our commitment to diversity has shaped the course of research and education at the University and has contributed to groundbreaking work in a variety of disciplines. The University has always been open to women as well as men. The first doctorate earned by a black woman in the United States was awarded in 1921 at the University of Chicago. We were among the first major non-historically black universities to tenure a black faculty member. Contributions by Asian American scholars in 1920s were essential to the University’s landmark research in sociology. At a time when other elite institutions discriminated against Jews, the University refused to set quotas. The University has long been a magnet for students from Mexico and South America. Since the founding of the Center for Gender Studies in 1996, the University has become a major center for research and graduate training in fields that examine issues of gender and sexuality. Throughout its history, the University has benefited when there has been a wide range of views represented on campus.

Our commitment to diversity affects our relationship to the community as well. As a large educational institution and employer, we have commitments and opportunities due to our location on the South Side of Chicago. Our students and members of the community forge ties through programs supported by the University Community Service Center. Community residents contribute their knowledge and skills to the University as members of the faculty and staff. The University of Chicago Medical Center is working in partnership with other health care providers to build a strong health care network for South Side residents. The Center for Urban School Improvement and its charter schools have worked with the community to develop schools that have improved the education of children in the neighborhood. Both the University and the community are made stronger by a mutual exchange of ideas and resources.

A commitment to diversity is central to our mission of discovery. The way the University has been organized and has evolved over the years, the intensity of our intellectual culture, the resulting education that is so engaging and powerful, and the nature of the contributions the University has made to scholarship and to society are all derived from our focus on inquiry. We have an obligation to see that the greatest variety of perspectives is brought to bear on the issues before us as scholars and citizens. We therefore celebrate our tradition of inclusion and recognize that our success as an institution depends on its ongoing renewal.

Robert J. Zimmer, President
Kenneth W. Warren, Deputy Provost for Research and Minority Issues
October 10, 2007

Governance (Secretary of the Faculties)

For information on University Governance, please visit the Office of the Secretary of the Faculties site.  

Guidelines on Faculty Appointment, Reappointment, & Promotion Cases

 

I. General Principles

II. Components of a Case

III. All New Cases at All Ranks

IV. For new appointments without tenure

V. For re-appointments without tenure

VI. For re-appointments and tenure

VII. For Professor promotions

VIII. Early promotions to tenure or to full Professor

IX. Periods of reduced effort

X. Timing of the Case

XI. Appointment Offers to Faculty Members at Other Institutions


The University’s continued excellence depends on the quality of our faculty and that, in turn, depends on the thoroughness of searches and the rigor of processes of evaluation undertaken by departments and schools. We in the Provost’s Office are continually considering the criteria and processes for faculty appointments and promotions in light of the many and various cases we review each year. These guidelines apply to appointments to the University Faculties, that is, individuals who are or will be appointed under University Statute 11.1, which includes tenure-track faculty members.

Although we have no wish to establish an inflexible checklist of required items for every case, thorough documentation is essential. The better a case is made, the better it will do its job and the more expeditiously we can deal with it. When cases are initiated in departments and/or sections, we encourage you to share these guidelines with department chairs and section chiefs.

When a case arrives in the Provost’s Office, we read it with in the light of the general principles articulated below, drawn from the Shils Report, we read it with care and evaluate the case’s argument and evidence in support of the action it recommends.

I. General Principles

Every appointment, reappointment, and promotion must be solidly grounded in actual accomplishment which, when coupled with evidence of future promise, gives rise to a strong likelihood that the candidate will bring continued and increasing distinction to the University over the entire course of the candidate’s academic career here.

That means that we hire as assistant professors only those for whom achieving tenure is judged to be eminently achievable. We re-appoint assistant professors to a second term only when there is a clearly discernible path linking what they have already accomplished to a body of work that by the end of the term will be recognized as fundamental and significant scholarship holding promise for sustained contributions of increasing distinction over at least the next ten years. We promote to Associate professor with indefinite tenure only for such a body of work, coupled with evidence that scholarly contributions will continue, that there is an identifiable path leading to promotion to full Professor, and that promotion within a reasonable period of time is likely.

II. Components of a Case

2.1 Documentation of deliberation

Reports. Every Faculty case should include a report of the internal ad-hoc or search committee on the candidate, if there is such a report.

Chair’s and Dean’s letters. Every Faculty case should include a memorandum from the department Chair or from the Dean of the School (reporting, among other things, on the faculty discussion and vote on the case).1 The letter should include a research précis written for the non-specialist that explains the major research contributions and their importance to the field. If the case is from a Division, letters are also required from the Dean of the Division, Dean of the College, and Master of the relevant Collegiate Division. These letters need not repeat information found elsewhere in the file. In particular, we ask that they not quote extensively from the letters of referees, all of which we will read. It is the Chair’s or Dean’s and Master’s own independent and candid judgment of the strengths and weaknesses of the case that is valuable to the Provost’s Office. These letters should be written while keeping in mind the criteria in the Shils Report. Appointments without tenure are offered to candidates who show promise for achieving tenure; tenure is awarded to candidates whose accomplishments demonstrate that the likelihood is high that even greater accomplishments will follow and warrant promotion to full professor in the foreseeable future. Every member of the Faculty of the University should have achieved or be on a path to achieve distinction in a field. A well-made case is one that presents evidence and arguments that the candidate is on that path. However, the nature and quantity of evidence available will change over time, as a career develops, and so these letters must be adapted to the career-stage of the candidate.

“Fit” and contributions to the University. The letters also should speak to the candidate’s “fit,” broadly understood, and not simply in terms of filling gaps in the unit. Questions to be addressed (with specific examples) regarding candidates include:

For current faculty— 

  • How have they enhanced the intellectual life of the University? (This topic has in the past been comprised within “service.”)
  • In what ways does their presence “multiply” the contributions of others?
  • Do they foster (or facilitate) otherwise unlikely collaborations?
  • Have they instigated new things?
  • Why is the broader University enhanced by their presence?

For new hires—

  • What are the prospects for the above?
  • Is there evidence to suggest it is likely, e.g., already seeing this at on-campus interviews?

2.2 Items to be obtained from the candidate

  • Current curriculum vitae. In order to document “fit” as defined above, candidates for reappointment or promotion should be urged to include a version of their CV that documents service to the University’s intellectual community.
  • Research and teaching statements. (These are particularly useful for junior appointments.)
  • Where the research is collaborative and the publications co-authored, an explanation of the respective roles of the various participants and of the specific contributions of the candidate is important.
  • The teaching statement should include a summary of teaching activities and an explication of teaching philosophy and goals.
  • A selection of writings (or other appropriate work). In addition to published work, this might include material in press, under review, or in preparation, if particularly relevant to the analysis of the case.

2.3 Letters from External referees

Letters are expected for new appointments without tenure, all promotions, and lateral appointment. Letters from external referees are not required by the Provost for the reappointment of an assistant professor to a second term. If you choose to solicit them, we advise that you keep their number to a minimum, since the pool of qualified referees is limited. Moreover, a letter in a tenure case that quotes extensively from the referee’s earlier letter in a re-appointment case can seem to present a judgment formed at an earlier stage in the candidate’s career.

When there is a letter case submitted, we require:

1. A list of all external scholars invited to submit evaluations of the candidate.

  • This list should note who selected the external referees, why the particular referees were chosen and, if a referee declines, the reasons given for such refusal.
  • In general, we recommend that mentors of the candidate not be solicited for recommendations beyond that of initial appointment. If such letters are included, the list should identify the candidate’s dissertation mentor and/or postdoctoral supervisor and explain why they were solicited.
  • Co-authors may be solicited, particularly when they can help to clarify the particular contributions of a candidate to collaborative research.
  • If the candidate requested named referees or requested that named referees not be solicited, include a copy of the correspondence or contemporary notes of the discussion, along with a description of the unit’s policies for dealing with such requests.

2. A sample copy of the letter sent to external referees soliciting an evaluation of the candidate.

  • The letter of solicitation should be clear about the proposed rank.
  • There is no required language for inclusion in letters requesting references, but we do expect that specific questions be asked of referees. Some examples:
    • What is the candidate’s standing in the field(s) in which s/he works?
    • What particular contributions has the candidate made to the field(s) in which s/he works?
    • What are the most important publications in the candidate’s bibliography, and which ones constitute essential reading for others who work in the field
    • Who, in the opinion of the referee, are the scholars doing the most important work in the field, and how, specifically, does the candidate compare with them?
    • In the cases of recent PhD’s, where letters are likely to come from dissertation supervisors or postdoctoral mentors, what is the candidate’s potential, and how does s/he compare with other students/postdocs the referee has advised?

3. An indication of what materials were provided to referees.

2.4 Letters of support from internal referees

Letters from colleagues at the University are valuable when they are analytical, and provide evidence for the ways in which the candidate has made palpable contributions to the work of others. For new appointments, we would like to know about the prospects for such contributions.

 

Effective immediately all proposals for new Faculty appointments must contain (a) a draft proposed offer letter to the candidate and (b) information about the full set of resources that the proposed appointment will entail, if not already included in the offer letter. This includes all resources, including (but not limited to) salary and benefits, housing commitments, administrative or other allowances, teaching reductions, guaranteed paid leaves, guaranteed summer salary, build-out, staff and students, research funds, travel funds, and start-up expenses.

In addition, the proposal should indicate the projected dollar amount of these resources that would likely be spent in each of the next two academic years, how these expenses will fit into your approved budget, and the extent to which any non-renewable (i.e., gift) funds will be used.

It is important to note the offers of employment can only be made after review and approval by the Provost. No offers should be tendered to prospective faculty before the Provost’s approval is received. Candidates who will be proposed for appointment should be informed that an offer can only be tendered after it has first been approved by the Provost, and they should not be given to believe that this is a mere formality. As proposals for new appointments are reviewed going forward, the Provost shall do so with regard not only to the academic merit of the proposal, but also to the budget implications.

See also section 4.5 below.

IV. For new appointments without tenure

4.1 Letters from the Chair or Dean

We would like to know how you evaluate the prospects for the candidate in view of the candidate’s experience to date, and what reasonably foreseeable issues could arise that could diminish expected progress toward tenure during the appointment term. How does the department/School propose to assist the candidate to recognize these issues early in the term and deal with them effectively? Are there issues specific to the candidate that should be taken into account in effecting the department’s mentoring program?

These questions and their answers are particularly important for initial appointments as second-term Assistant Professor, as the remaining tenure clock is much compressed, aspects of the candidate’s trajectory may have been fashioned for a tenure system with different expectations from ours, and making the transition from one institution to another introduces additional distraction.

4.2 Letters from outside referees

At the earliest stages of a career, although outside letters are of limited value, we expect them in all cases. Three to four letters will usually suffice.

4.3 Evidence of Teaching effectiveness

Evidence of effective teaching cannot reasonably be expected in all cases for early-career appointments. Chairs/Deans should request evaluations from the candidate’s institution, if at all possible. When there is evidence, it should be included and analyzed.

If students have participated in the selection of a new appointment, departments may wish to invite them to contribute letters stating their impressions.

When the candidate will be coming to us from a non-US system, the “Letter to the Provost” and Draft offer letter should set out what the department or school will do before the new assistant professor begins to teach, so that he or she can get off to a good start.

4.4 Draft offer letter

For assistant professors, the draft offer letter must set forth the career development plan in the unit. Career development resources must be committed as part of every offer to an assistant professor.

4.5 Documentation of the Search

For all new appointments, we require documentation of the search process. Refer to “Recruiting Academics to the University.”

 
5.1 Letters from the Chair or Dean
 
How has the candidate moved beyond the original dissertation research? What significant new scholarly contributions has the candidate made since the last appointment review? What is in the pipeline? Critically, since promotion will depend heavily on the extent to which the 8 candidate’s scholarship is changing their field in the judgment of experts, will enough work have been published for experts to gauge the candidate’s impact on the field?
 
Each unit also should describe the activities undertaken by its senior faculty to carry out the unit’s commitment to advise the candidate about career development. We have provided information describing a number of mentoring best practices; no unit is required to adopt a particular plan, but every unit is expected to have a plan that suits its needs and culture.
  • When a reappointment case is not strong we will continue to ask for an intervention plan.
  • This plan should now include reference to modifying or intensifying the existing career development resources when it is reasonable to believe that there may be a path to tenure for the candidate.
5.2 Letters from Outside Referees
 
Refer to section 2.3 above
 
5.3 Evidence 

We wish to understand both the extent and the quality of the candidate’s teaching. Useful information includes:

  • A complete list of the courses taught in the previous three years. For clinical faculty the list would instead focus on major clinical training responsibilities.
  • Internal letters from graduate (or sometimes undergraduate) students, discussing the candidate as a teacher/mentor. If students have participated in the selection of a new appointment, departments may wish to invite them to contribute letters stating their impressions.
  • Copies, or complete summaries, of all the candidate’s undergraduate and graduate teaching evaluations in the last three years, accompanied by an explanation for those courses for which we have no such evaluations. We recognize that types of evidence about teaching varies across the University.

5.4 Draft "letter to the candidate"

We have provided templates a letter that gives the candidate realistic and unambiguous feedback about where the candidate is on the path to tenure, including what has been accomplished and what a successful case will have to look like.

We require that this letter describe the past and future activities undertaken by the unit’s senior faculty to carry out the unit’s commitment to advise the candidate about career development. We have provided information describing a number of mentoring best practices; no unit is required to adopt a particular plan, but every unit is expected to have a plan that suits its needs and culture. When a reappointment case is not strong we will continue to ask for an intervention plan. This plan should now include reference to modifying or intensifying the existing career development resources and explain why it is reasonable to believe that there may be a path to tenure for the candidate.

 
6.1 Letters from the Chair or Dean
 
What is the trajectory of the candidate’s research program, what is the likelihood of promotion to Professor within 5-10 years, and on what will the promotion likely be based? In accord with the criteria of the Shils Report, the letter should describe and evaluate the candidate’s research, teaching, and contributions to the intellectual community both within the University and at large. We recognize that a faculty committee may have written an extensive report to the tenured member of the department or school; however, the dean’s analysis is critical. In particular, if the department does not provide it, the Provost must rely on the dean to provide an analysis that does not presuppose a specialist’s knowledge of the field and an explanation of why the senior faculty deem the candidate’s research to be fundamental and significant.
 
6.2 Evidence of Teaching effectiveness
 
We wish to understand both the extent and the quality of the candidate’s teaching. In addition to the items listed in section 5.3 above, we wish to have a list of all undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees. Please assure that the candidate has provided this information on the CV submitted with the dossier.
 
 
7.1 Letters from the Chair or Dean

As in all cases, we wish to see documentation of the unit’s deliberation. We expect deliberations at a minimum to address the following questions:

  • What has happened since promotion to tenured Associate Professor that justifies the promotion?
  • What are the indicators that the candidate has achieved distinction in the field?
  • What is the evidence that points to continued sustained impact in the field going forward?

These questions should be addressed for lateral appointments as well. They are particularly important to discuss when the appointee is at the rank of Associate Professor at his or her current institution.

 
7.2 Letters from outside referees at the rank of Professor
 
Letters should be solicited from those who are at peer institutions and are recognized as being among the most distinguished people in the field.
 
7.3 Evidence of teaching and mentoring of both students and junior faculty
 
We wish to know about the candidate’s contributions both to training students and postdocs, and to mentoring junior faculty.
 
 
We recognize that the pressure to promote early can be strong, owing to circumstances such as unusually prestigious recognition that the candidate may have received, outside offers, etc. Although we certainly stand willing to consider exceptional cases, our strong presumption is generally against early action, without unambiguous evidence and justification. All such recommendations should be preceded by consultation with the Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs.
 
 
If an untenured candidate for reappointment or promotion has had a “stop-the-clock,” please discuss whether and how you have taken that into account.
 
 
Cases are reviewed carefully in the Provost’s Office and this vetting takes time. Normally, a review can be completed within about two weeks.2 If faster action is necessary, please let Steve Gabel (2-0790) know well in advance; please also flag the case as requiring immediate review.
 
 
The University observes the AAUP policy, which stipulates that offers for fall appointments to individuals currently on the faculty at other institutions must be made by 1 May so that they may resign from their present institutions by 15 May. To meet this deadline, proposals for such appointments should be received in the Provost’s Office by 7 April of each year.
 

2. The Provost’s Office does not ordinarily begin the review of the case until all required materials have been received. For appointments in the Divisions, those materials typically includes the review and recommendation of the Dean of the College and the corresponding Collegiate Master. During some times of year, especially between November 1 and December 15, over Winter break, and during the Summer Quarter, case loads and vacations may cause the review time to extend beyond two weeks.


Revision History

  • 8 August 2016; Initial version.

  • 13 October 2016; Minor corrections and clarifications.

  • 9 November 2016; Correct typographical errors.

  • 24 January 2017; The nontechnical research précis should be part of the Department and/or Dean’s letter. The earlier version had this as material to be obtained from the candidate.

 

Guidelines on Faculty Appointment, Reappointment, & Promotion Cases (PDF)

Immigration Assistance

The University provides all faculty members with legal assistance in the application for both temporary and permanent visas. Faculty should contact their departmental administrator on this matter. 

Nepotism Policy for Faculty and Other Academic Appointees

The University seeks to hire and retain the most qualified individuals and to foster a work environment of trust and good will. Nepotism is favoritism in the workplace based on kinship and ordinarily consists of making employment decisions based on a family relationship. Nepotism is inconsistent with the University’s longstanding policy of making employment decisions based solely on unit needs and individual qualifications, skills, ability and performance. The purpose of this policy is to avoid favoritism, the appearance of or potential for favoritism, and conflicts in interest and loyalty often associated with nepotism.

Policy

No faculty member or other academic appointee may make, participate in, or attempt to influence employment decisions involving a relative. The same is true vis a vis an individual in a current or recently concluded consensual romantic or sexual relationship.

Key Definitions

Academic employee: University faculty and other academic appointee within the meaning of the University’s Statutes.

Employment decisions: the full spectrum of employment related actions, including but not limited to decisions related to hiring, supervision, direction of work, promotion, compensation, work hours, performance evaluation, termination, and all other terms and conditions of employment.

Relative: the spouse; domestic or civil union partner; and, whether by blood, adoption, marriage or domestic or civil union partnership, the child, parent, grandparent, sibling, grandchild, aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, or any person residing in the immediate household of the University faculty member or other academic appointee.

Guidelines and Commentary

  1. This policy does not prohibit the University from simultaneously employing relatives. Indeed, relatives are permitted to work in the same University department or unit so long as the relatives comply with the requirements outlined above, e.g., there is no direct reporting or supervisory relationship between the relatives and all employment decisions are made by others.
  2. Faculty members and other academic appointees are obligated to self-report to the head of their organizational unit before they make, participate in or attempt to influence decisions prohibited by this policy. If the at-issue relationship involves the leader of an organizational unit (e.g., a Department Chair or Director), the self-report must be made to the academic leader to whom the employee is accountable (e.g., Dean or Provost).
  3. This policy is applicable to instances of nepotism that existed before the enactment of this policy; those situations thus prospectively must be evaluated and managed within the parameters of this policy.
  4. Legitimate issues may arise and thus must be disclosed and managed under this policy with regard to favoritism of:
    • relatives who do not fit the definition of relative provided above;
    • individuals with whom an academic employee has or has recently concluded a consensual sexual or romantic relationship; and
    • situations where the faculty member or other academic appointee is directly or indirectly involved in the University’s engagement or potential engagement (e.g., as a contractor) of a relative or individual with whom an academic employee has or has recently concluded a consensual sexual or romantic relationship.
  5. Exceptions to this policy are at the discretion of the President and Provost. For example, if one of the related parties is uniquely qualified to work for the other based on qualifications for a position and performs work in direct support of teaching, research or patient care, the President or Provost may permit the related persons to continue to work together, provided that an appropriate management plan is developed, implemented and administered, as described below in Paragraph 6.
  6. The fundamental goal of the management plan is to mitigate actual and perceived favoritism and conflicts of interest and loyalty by establishing appropriate processes for employment decisions. Depending on the employment classification (e.g., staff, academic) of the individual with whom the faculty member or other academic appointee has a relationship, a management plan should be devised by, as appropriate, the unit’s academic affairs administrator, senior human resources representative or University Human Resource Services, and must be approved by the head of the academic organizational unit (e.g., Dean, Director, Chair or Section Chief) and by the Provost or his or her designee. At a minimum, management plans must:
    • address reporting relationships, supervision, and evaluation in a way that will assure that there will be no participation in employment decisions as prohibited by this policy and
    • establish a review and approval process for expenditures to sufficiently mitigate or preclude favoritism or the appearance of favoritism. To ensure continuity and appropriateness, review and, as needed, revision of the approved management plan should occur at least annually and also whenever there is a germane change in reporting relationships. If the at-issue relationship involves the leader of an organizational unit, the management plan must be reviewed and approved by the academic leader to whom the at-issue unit leader is accountable (e.g., Dean or Provost).
  7. Complaints about violations of this policy should be submitted to the cognizant Dean or the Office the Provost. All such complaints will be treated as confidentially as feasible and will be addressed by the cognizant Dean or the Office of the Provost.

Related Policies

Updated: January 9, 2012

Non-discrimination Statement

 

In keeping with its long-standing traditions and policies, the University of Chicago considers students, employees, applicants for admission or employment, and those seeking access to University programs on the basis of individual merit. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin, age, status as an individual with a disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, or other protected classes under the law (including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972).For additional information regarding the University of Chicago’s Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct, please see: http://harassmentpolicy.uchicago.edu/page/policy.

The University official responsible for coordinating compliance with this Notice of Nondiscrimination is Bridget Collier, Associate Provost and Director of the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs. Ms. Collier also serves as the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer, and Section 504/ADA Coordinator.  You may contact Ms. Collier by emailing bcollier@uchicago.edu, by calling 773.702.5671, or by writing to Bridget Collier, Office of the Provost, The University of Chicago, 5801 S. Ellis Ave., Suite 510, Chicago, IL 60637.

Read more about Title IX

Other Academic Appointees (OAA) Guidelines

 

In a 1977 memorandum, Provost D. Gale Johnson announced the “administrative policies of the University” applicable to the ranks now enumerated in Statute 11.2.4.1 The policies were never modified to take account of several important changes in practices that units instituted during the last thirty years. This document brings up to date, modifies and expands the 1977 document.

Persons covered in this memorandum have certain ERISA and other employee benefits. Policies published on the University Web site set forth what benefits are available to persons in each academic rank or title enumerated here.

It should be noted that there are persons who have a primary appointment or position in the University, including in Staff or Postdoctoral Researcher positions, while holding a secondary academic appointment. In those instances, the benefits they receive will be determined with reference to the primary position they hold in the University.

1. The Statutes enacted in June 2010 by the Board of Trustees renumbered the sections in Statute 11. Throughout this document the most recent numbers are used.

 

II. Relevant Statutes

11.2. Other academic appointees. The University also makes academic appointments that are not Faculty appointments, and are for a specified or unspecified length of term. Each of the following appointments shall be made for periods and upon terms consistent with the applicable administrative policies of the University, which are subject to change. No appointments under this section shall be eligible for or carry any implication of indefinite tenure. At the end of the term of appointment, employment by the University ceases unless the appointment is renewed, and the failure to give or receive a notice of termination shall not give rise to any contrary presumptions or implications either as to (1) promotion, or (2) reappointment. These other appointments are as follows:
 
11.2.4. Research Associates, and Lecturers. Research Associates are classified as follows: Research Associate (Professor), Research Associate (Associate Professor), Senior Scientist, Senior Research Associate, Research Scientist, Research Associate (Assistant Professor), Research Associate (Instructor), and Research Associate. Lecturers are classified as follows: Lecturer and Senior Lecturer.
 
11.4.1 All appointees under §11 are subject to removal for inadequate performance of duty or for misconduct.
 

III. Policies: Appointments, reviews, and termination

Without exception, all offers of appointment, reappointment or promotion require the prior approval of the Provost.
 
Appointments are normally in a department, school, or institute with appointive authority, must be approved by the Chair or Director, and recommended to the Dean with appropriate documentation.
 
An appointment with a specified end date is a term appointment. Term appointments terminate automatically at the end date specified in the appointment, absent a decision to reappoint. Unless the applicable Statute or written policies in the Provost’s Office state otherwise, no prior notice is required that the appointee will not be reappointed.
 
Although for some appointments the date of termination is undetermined and not specified at the time of initial appointment, these appointments are not tenured or eligible for tenure, and are not more permanent that term appointments. They may be ended for programmatic reasons, due to the unavailability of external funds, or because of deficiencies in performance. Appointees must be notified at least one year prior to the date determined for the end of the appointment.
 
With the exception of Lecturers, part-time appointment, reduction of effort, personal leave, and academic leave are not normally available.
 
All appointees are subject to periodic review at prescribed minimum intervals, unless otherwise specified. All reviews are to be conducted by the faculty. Generally, reviews of appointments with an indeterminate end date are to be conducted every three years. Otherwise reviews are required at the time of reappointment, or at promotion. For appointees on one-year appointment, a full review is required at three-year intervals. Although a minimum period for review is stated, this shall not preclude the faculty from conducting a review at any time.
 
In cases of removal for inadequate performance of duty or misconduct, or in cases of long-term disability, notice periods do not apply.
 
Any decision to terminate an appointment prior to its scheduled end date, or to determine an end date for appointments where one has not been determined, must be reviewed by the Provost before it is communicated to the appointee or becomes effective.

 

IV. Research Appointees not in the Biological or Physical Sciences Divisions

Research Associates without Parenthetical Rank

Research Associate2

The “Research Associate” title is not routinely used to make primary appointments in any unit of the University except in the Oriental Institute and the Urban Education Institute.

Description/Qualification: These appointments shall be held by people who hold a Ph.D., are engaged in research and are expected to make a substantial contribution to that research as part of a research group or in association with a faculty member.

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: A Research Associate shall be appointed for a term of up to one year. There is no limitation on the number of years an individual may be serve as a Research Associate. 

Senior Research Associate

Description/Qualifications: These appointments shall be held by persons with established professional skills. The primary activity of Senior Research Associates shall be research as part of a research group or in association with a faculty member. Senior Research Associate is the highest rank of research associate without parenthetical rank.

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: Appointment to the position of Senior Research Associate may be made either with an undetermined end date or for a term of no more than five years. There is no limitation on the number of years a person may serve as a Senior Research Associate.

The faculty of the appropriate academic unit shall make an academic review of each Senior Research Associate with an undetermined end date at least every three years, or prior to reappointment. Termination of a Senior Research Associate with an undetermined end date may be made only after notice of termination has been given to the person at least one year before the date set for termination. Notice of termination for appointees on a five-year term shall be given at least five-and-one-half months in advance. For appointments for a term of fewer than three years, the termination of the individual's employment at the University requires no further notice. 

2. The “Research Associate” title was for many years used for people who were in the early postdoctoral stage of their research careers. Now, the University uses the title, “Postdoctoral Scholar.

 

Research Associates with Parenthetical Rank

Description/qualifications: Research Associates with parenthetical rank are independent researchers, normally holding a Ph.D. They are expected to stand alone on their scholarly accomplishments, and should meet the customary Chicago research standards of the rank they hold. Appointees are engaged in research and expected to make a substantial contribution to that research as part of a research group or in association with a faculty member. 

Research Associate (Instructor)3

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: A Research Associate (Instructor) shall be appointed for a term of up to one year. No person shall hold the rank of Research Associate (Instructor) for more than four years. When a Research Associate (Instructor) is not to be reappointed for the second or third year, notice of termination shall be given not later than March 15 of the last year of the appointment. When a Research Associate (Instructor) has held a full-time appointment for three years, and is reappointed for a fourth year, the appropriate academic unit shall review the case and recommend to the appropriate Dean that the Research Associate (Instructor) either be promoted at the end of the fourth year or not be reappointed at the end of the present term of appointment. The Research Associate (Instructor) shall be given notice of the decision no later than March 15 of the fourth year of the appointment. Persons whose appointive years end at dates other than June 30 or September 30 shall be given comparable notice.

Research Associate (Assistant Professor)

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: A Research Associate (Assistant Professor) shall be appointed or reappointed for a term of up to three years. In no case shall a person hold the position of Research Associate (Assistant Professor) for more than six years. In the last year of the term of the appointment the appropriate academic unit shall review the case and recommend to the appropriate Dean either that the Research Associate (Assistant Professor) be reappointed as Research Associate (Associate Professor) or not be reappointed. The Research Associate (Assistant Professor) shall be given notice of the decision not to reappoint no later than January 15. Persons whose appointive years end at dates other than June 30 or September 30 shall be given 5.5 months notice.

Research Associate (Associate Professor)

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: Appointment to the position of Research Associate (Associate Professor) shall normally be with an undetermined end date, or may be for a term of no more than five years. There is no limitation on the number of years a person may serve in this rank. 

Termination of the employment of a Research Associate (Associate Professor) appointed with an undetermined end date may be made only after notice of termination has been given to the person at least one year before the date set for termination. When appointed for a specified term, the Research Associate (Associate Professor) shall be notified whether the appointment is non-renewable, in which case it terminates automatically on the end-date specified, or renewable. If the appointment is renewable, the Research Associate (Associate Professor) shall be given notice of the decision not to reappoint at least five-and-one-half months prior to the date set for termination.

Research Associate (Professor)

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: Appointments of Research Associates (Professor) shall be made upon the recommendation, appropriately documented, of the Department or other appropriate academic unit and the Chair of that unit to the Dean of the Division or School, who shall make recommendations to the Provost.

Normally appointment to the position of Research Associate (Professor) is with an undetermined end date. Termination of the employment of a Research Associate (Professor) with an undetermined end date may be made only after notice of the termination has been given to the person at least one year before the date set for termination. Since appointment to Research Associate (Professor) should be made only for individuals with exceptional research abilities, termination of the appointment should be considered only when there are changes in the research program of the University or circumstances that would make the conduct of this particular research work no longer financially feasible at the University of Chicago. 

3. Note: This rank is in the 1977 scheme of four parenthetical ranks for Research Associates, which parallels the four faculty ranks. However, in the last decade the University has made an insignificant number of appointments at this rank. 

 

V. Research Appointees in the Division of the Biological Sciences

Research Associate (Assistant Professor)

Description/Qualification: Shall be held by doctoral-level individuals who participate in the research program of a faculty member, and for whom salary support is generally available from research grants and contracts.

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: Appointment may be made for up to three years. Reappointment requires high quality scientific contributions, increasing peer recognition of high quality scientific accomplishments, and participation in research grant support. In the Division of the Biological Sciences, there is no limitation on the number of years a person may serve in this rank. In the last year of the term of the appointment, the appropriate academic unit shall review the case and recommend to the appropriate Dean either that the Research Associate (Assistant Professor) be reappointed as Research Associate (Assistant Professor) or not be reappointed. The Research Associate (Assistant Professor) shall be given notice of the decision not to reappoint at least five-and-one-half months prior to the date set for termination.

Research Associate (Associate Professor)

Description/Qualification: Shall be held by doctoral-level individuals who participate in the research program of a faculty member, and for whom salary support is generally available from research grants and contracts.

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: Appointment can be made for up to five years. Reappointment requires high quality scientific contributions, increasing peer recognition of high quality scientific accomplishments and participation of research grant support. There is no limitation on the number of years a person may serve in this rank. In the last year of the term of the appointment, the appropriate academic unit shall review the case and recommend to the appropriate Dean either that the Research Associate (Associate Professor) be reappointed as Research Associate (Associate Professor) or not be reappointed. The Research Associate (Associate Professor) shall be given notice of the decision not to reappoint at least five-and-one-half months prior to the date set for termination.

Research Associate (Professor)

Description/Qualification: Shall be held by doctoral-level individuals who participate in the research program of a faculty member, and for whom salary support is generally available from research grants and contracts.

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: Appointments at this rank are normally made with an undetermined end date. Appointment requires high quality scientific contributions, increasing peer recognition of high quality scientific accomplishments and participation of research grant support. Termination of the employment of a Research Associate (Professor) appointed with an undetermined end date may be made only after notice of termination has been given to the person at least one year before the date set for termination. 

 

VI. Research Appointees in the Division of the Physical Sciences

Research Scientist

Description/Qualifications: Normally a Research Scientist will be several years beyond the Ph.D., will have exhausted eligibility for a Postdoctoral Researcher position, and will be actively involved in the research led by a faculty member.

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: Appointments of Research Scientists shall be made upon the recommendation, appropriately documented, of the Department or other appropriate academic unit and the Chair of that unit to the Dean of the Division who shall make recommendations to the Provost.

A Research Scientist shall be appointed or reappointed for a term of up to three years. In no case shall a person hold the position of Research Scientist for more than six years. In the last year of the term of the appointment the appropriate academic unit shall review the case and recommend to the appropriate Dean either that the Research Scientist be reappointed as Research Scientist, promoted to Senior Research Associate, or not be reappointed. The Research Scientist shall be given notice of the decision not to reappoint at least five-and-one-half months prior to the date set for termination.

Senior Research Associate4

Description/Qualifications: The primary activity of Senior Research Associates shall be research as part of a research group or in association with a faculty member. Qualifications for the ranks of Senior Research Associate in the Division of the Physical Sciences include significant publication record beyond thesis, strong evidence of independent research, a research program that would likely be funded for several years, and at least two outside letters and two internal letters of support.

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: Appointment to the position of Senior Research Associate may be made either with an undetermined end date or for a term of no more than five years. There is no limitation on the number of times term appointments may be renewed. The faculty of the appropriate academic unit shall make an academic review of each Senior Research Associate with an undetermined end date at least every three years. Those on term appointment must be reviewed prior to renewal, with a full academic review at least every three years. Termination of a Senior Research Associate with an undetermined end date may be made only after notice of termination has been given to the person at least one year before the date set for termination. Notice of termination for appointees on a five-year term shall be given at least five-and-one-half months in advance. 

Senior Scientist

Description/Qualifications: The primary activity of Senior Scientists shall be research as part of a research group or in association with a faculty member. Qualifications include evidence of major independent scientific research, excellent published research contributions, potential for additional contributions to the field, international recognition, and a research program that is likely to be funded for several years. Cases must include at least 3 outside letters and 2 internal letters of support.

Terms of Appointment/Reappointment: The terms of appointment for Senior Scientists are the same as the terms of appointment for Research Associate (Professor). Senior Scientists are exempt from periodic review.

4. PSD uses this title differently from the rest of the University.

 

VII. Teaching by Research Appointees Appointed in Any Unit

Before any research appointee engages in teaching, other than an occasional lecture in a course, it should be determined that such teaching is consistent with the source of funds used to pay the appointee. In most cases government financed research projects cannot be charged for the part of the appointee’s time and effort that are devoted to teaching. An appointee’s teaching must be approved by: (a) the unit in which the appointee is affiliated, (b) the department and dean of the academic unit in which the teaching is performed, and (c) the Provost’s Office. Normally a Lecturer appointment will be sought in the unit in which the course is offered. 
 
Lecturer & Senior Lecturer
 
Lecturer
Description/Qualifications: This position shall be held by people whose contribution is to be primarily in teaching, normally in scheduled, for-credit courses. Appointments to the position of Lecturer may be for a term of up to three years. There is no limitation on the number of years a person may serve in this rank. The Lecturer position is not on a promotion track. Therefore, Lecturers are never automatically or routinely considered for appointment as Senior Lecturer.
 
To be considered full-time, during every quarter of the appointive year a Lecturer should have assigned duties, including teaching courses, teaching or advising in less formal settings, laboratory oversight, directing performances in an instructional program, or performing similar activities within an instructional program. Time devoted to research is not a constituent of one hundred percent effort for a Lecturer. If administrative duties are assigned, reduction of teaching load of more than 25% of the established full-time load must be consistent with the written policies of the department, division, school, or the College, and requires the approval of the Provost.
 
The faculty of the appropriate academic unit shall conduct an academic review of each Lecturer at least every three years, or at the time of reappointment. Lecturer appointments end on the date specified and no further notice is required.
 
Senior Lecturer 
This position shall be held by people who have exceptional competence in teaching and superior academic credentials or professional competence, and who perform, in addition to the normal Lecturer role of classroom or laboratory teacher, in a substantial and sustainable role that requires one or more of the following:
  1. Outstanding effectiveness and competence in teaching, including, e.g., advanced training in how students learn, program assessment, training new teachers in a field, and development or deployment of learning technology. Student evaluations alone are not evidence of this sort of competence.
  2. Exceptional mastery of the subject matter taught (but excluding related subject matters, viz., exceptional language teaching is not a qualification to teach literature or history). Evidence of such mastery may be in the form of publications or letters from those competent to judge.
  3. External recognition, in the form of invitations to present at professional conferences, to consult with or review external programs, peer-reviewed publications, or other published work.
  4. A Ph.D. or other terminal degree when appropriate; or, professional experience sufficient to establish superior professional credentials.

The roles – or the work that needs to be done – might include the supervision and coaching of professional Lecturers, the responsibility for training and evaluating graduate students in their instructional roles, engagement with advanced graduate students in specialized course-work or, with the specific consent of the departmental faculty, on dissertation committees, or other plausible roles in addition to classroom teaching. Ongoing evaluations must put considerable weight on both how well that classroom work is done, and on the additional roles.

Appointments in this rank may be for a term of between one and five years, or with an undetermined end date. There shall be an academic review of each Senior Lecturer appointed with an undetermined end date at least once every three years. Senior Lecturers appointed for a specified term are to be reviewed prior to reappointment. Termination of employment of a Senior Lecturer on a five-year term may be made only after notice of termination has been given to the person at least five-and-one-half months before the date set for termination. Termination of the employment of a Senior Lecturer appointed with an undetermined end date may be made only after notice of termination has been given to the person at least one year before the date set for termination.

Residence Requirements (Faculty and Other Academic Appointees, Statute 14)

Statute 14. Residence Requirements for Academic Appointees. Individuals appointed under Statute 11 for full-time service during each appointive year shall perform service (in instruction, research, and other activities) as may be recommended by the appropriate Dean and approved by the Provost. Work under such assignments shall be considered to be service in residence, and shall normally be performed within the University, but such service may be rendered outside the University when recommended by the Dean and approved by the Provost. Periods of freedom from assignment, when extended to one Quarter or more, are considered to be out of residence unless otherwise specified in the Statutes. A member of the Faculty or an academic appointee under Statute 11.2 during the Quarters of residence may not engage in consultation, teaching at other universities, regular compensated lecturing, compensated editorial activities, or other substantial outside employment, unless such activity is consistent with the faculty member’s or academic appointee’s obligations to the University, is not inimical to the fullest development of scholarly activities, and meets with the approval of the faculty member’s or academic appointee’s Chair and Dean.

14.1. Three-Quarter Appointments: Each Faculty member under this type of appointment shall perform service in residence during three Quarters of the member’s appointive year as may be recommended by the appropriate Dean and approved by the Provost.  Compensation for such service is payable in twelve equal monthly installments annually.

14.2. Four-Quarter Appointments: When certain types of continuous service are required, a member of the Faculty may be appointed to serve during the four Quarters (or equivalent thereof) of the academic year. Compensation shall be in twelve equal monthly installments. The different types of Four-Quarter appointments provided for are designated below by the symbol used in budget and appointment forms.

  1. 4 Q: Four-Quarter appointments requiring specified service in each Quarter are provided for members of the Faculty assigned to teaching, research, or administrative duties through four Quarters of the year. Persons receiving this type of appointment shall be entitled to four weeks of vacation  annually.
  2. 4 S: This type of Four-Quarter appointment is provided for members of the staffs of the clinics and clinical Departments of the Pritzker School of Medicine appointed under §11.1.1 to §11.1.4. Appointees are subject to the Divisional regulations on full-time service. Service in the classrooms, laboratories, and clinics, as may be approved by the Dean, is required throughout the appointive year, except that the appointee is entitled to four weeks of vacation annually. Fees charged for professional services shall be paid to the University, including income received for professional consultation and professional services outside the University.
  3. 4 CT: This type of Four-Quarter appointment is provided for members of the staffs of the clinics and clinical Departments of the Pritzker School of Medicine who are appointed under §11.1.5. Appointees are subject to the Divisional regulations on full-time service. Service in the classrooms, laboratories, and clinics, as may be approved by the Dean, is required throughout the appointive year, except that the appointee is entitled to four weeks of vacation annually. Fees charged for professional services shall be paid to the University, including income received for professional consultation and professional services outside the University.

Members of a Faculty who accept full-time appointment under these conditions, and who have served thereunder eleven Quarters or longer in the rank of Assistant Professor or higher, shall be eligible to apply for one full Quarter out of residence for each such eleven Quarters of service, with pay at the basic academic salary in force when such leave is taken, except that under no circumstances may a member of the Faculty accumulate more than two Quarters of leave in out-of-residence status and, when a second Quarter of such leave has been accumulated, no further accumulation is permitted until at least one full Quarter of such leave has been taken.

14.3. The President is authorized to make provision for less than full-time appointments.

 

To read this Statute in context, please see the University of Chicago's Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, and Statutes found here. Note that the Statutes do change, and the current edition (dated October 28, 2015) differs from older versions and will likely differ from versions yet to be approved.

Shils Report (Criteria for Academic Appointments)

“The University of Chicago should not aim to be a pantheon of dead or dying gods. Appointments to the University should not be made solely on the basis of past achievements but only to the degree that past achievements promise future achievement.” - The Shils Report

On 15 July 1970, The Committee on the Criteria of Academic Appointment was appointed by President Edward H. Levi. This Committee was charged with writing a report that would become the basis for evaluating faculty up for promotion. The Shils report dicatates that faculty at the University of Chicago must display distinguished performance in each of the following criteria when being considered for promotion:

  • Research
  • Teaching and Training, including the supervision of graduate students
  • Contribution to intellectual community
  • Service

This Committee understood that unless such high standards existed and were used, the University would - indeed - become a pantheon for dead or dying gods incapable of attracting the best minds from around the world.

The Shils Report is available in its full form below. Understanding this report allows for a clearer understanding of the University itself. 

Special Situation and Postdoctoral Appointments

In general, the kind of appointment (Title) flows from the rationale for the appointment. No one may come on a tourist visa. No one may work without compensation. Faculty members are responsible for knowing who is working in research facilities under their control, and for assuring that ALL of those individuals have signed an appropriate intellectual property agreement with the University of Chicago. Failure to have such agreements in place compromises our ability to comply with the terms and conditions of sponsored projects and to meet federal and sponsor requirements related to the handling of inventions. In addition, the use of University facilities for commercial or other non-University proprietary purposes could jeopardize the university's nonprofit status and our commitment to openness in research. For more information on this matter, please see the attached Special Situation and Postdoctoral Appointments document. 

Stopping the Clock on Review for Promotion

I. An Assistant Professor on the tenure track or an untenured Associate Professor on the tenure track who becomes the parent of a child by birth or adoption at least nine months prior to the date on which the University is required to make promotion notification will automatically be granted a one-year extension of the current term appointment for each pregnancy or adoption if the faculty member has equal or primary care giving responsibilities. A faculty member may elect to opt out of the automatic term extension granted for childbirth or adoption. This policy applies to both men and women and includes same-sex, registered domestic partners.

The Assistant Professor or Associate Professor should notify the appropriate Dean, Director, or (in the case of the Divisions) Department Chair of the birth or adoption within six months of the arrival of the child. The Dean should notify the Provost's Office immediately afterward so that proper records for the promotion case are maintained, whether the extension is taken or not. Chairs, deans, directors, and the Provost’s Office appreciate advance notice whenever possible.

In the case of twins or other multiple births, a one-year (not multi-year) extension is provided.

When both parents are members of the faculty and both share equally in care giving responsibilities, both will be granted a one-year extension as described.

II. An untenured tenure-track faculty member may request a one-time term extension for other reasons, such as to care for a sick or disabled immediate family member or to attend to his or her personal illness or disability. Requests to “stop the clock” should be in writing, addressed to the appropriate Dean, Director, or (in the case of the Divisions) Department Chair as soon as the circumstances justifying the request are known. All such requests will be granted at the discretion of the appropriate Dean with the approval of the Provost.

An Assistant Professor on the clinical scholar or undifferentiated track, tracks that are being phased out, is also eligible.

 

Related links

 

Effective: 1 July 2009
Last revised: 9 June 2016