Committee’s Recommended Best Practices Related to Fixed-Term Faculty
Updated March 2018
The Committee on Fixed-Term Faculty recommends the following “best practices” for the employment and professional support of full‐time Fixed‐Term Faculty at UNC‐Chapel Hill. These recommendations come from an extensive survey of UNC Fixed-Term Faculty as well as practices from other universities.
1. FIXED-TERM TITLES AND RANKS. The Board of Governors approved the following use of titles and progressive ranks for fixed-term faculty as of July 1, 2017.
Teaching Assistant Professor (replaces Lecturer in some units)
Teaching Associate Professor (replaces Senior Lecturer in some units)
Teaching Professor (the same as previously recommended)
2. LENGTH OF CONTRACT When an appointment for fixed-term fills an ongoing role in the appointing unit’s academic program, employment contracts should be longer than one year. Thus, except in unusual circumstances, the following guidelines will be observed.
|Years of Service to the University||Contract Length|
|< 1 year||1 year|
|1-5 years||3 years|
|> 5 years or Associate/Full Professor level||5 years|
Note: The College of Arts and Sciences has adopted a policy of recommended contract length based upon rank.
Assistant Teaching Professor 1-3 years
Associate Teaching Professor 3 years
Teaching Professor 5 years
3. NON-RENEWAL NOTICE Decisions not to renew the appointments of Fixed-Term Faculty will be made with adequate notice, at least six months prior to the end of the first year’s appointment. Except in cases of urgent financial contingency, notice in advance of nonrenewal will progressively increase to twelve months. Individuals with appointments that fill an ongoing role in the unit whose contracts are not to be renewed should have access to an expedited process of review, so that a final decision is made in a timely and responsible manner.
4. CLEAR PROFESSIONAL PROGRESSION Academic units should have a clear career ladder system for full‐time (>75% FTE) fixed-term positions, and appointments should be made with predictable ranks and titles. This document will be updated and revised every five years. Criteria should include responsibilities for teaching, service, and scholarship (e.g., scholarship of education, scholarship of application, scholarship of discovery).
5. COMMUNICATION Standards and criteria for reappointment and progression in rank will be written and widely distributed to both full‐time Fixed-Term Faculty and those who perform the evaluations and make recommendations and decisions. The process of reappointment will be communicated to individuals who are offered a fixed-term appointment. At the point of inception, it will be made clear if a career ladder system is in place in the unit and whether or not its benefits might extend to the position. Individuals under consideration for reappointment will be given an opportunity to prepare evaluation dossiers and make a case for their continued participation in the appointing unit’s academic program.
6. CAREER DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES AND OPPORTUNITIES Fixed‐Term Faculty members will be formally mentored as part of the Departmental Mentoring Program and should receive regular feedback (at minimum yearly) on their performance, as well as the support necessary to advance their careers. They should be supported, including access to training, competitive leaves, internal grants and awards, and travel funds.
7. INCLUSION When they have met the criteria for faculty voting rights as specified in the Faculty Code of University Government, Fixed‐Term Faculty should be fully integrated into their departments and into departmental governance. This inclusion includes, but is not limited to, the following items.
- Participation in faculty meetings
- Voting privileges that include the opportunity to vote on all issues except personnel issues of tenure and promotion above the person’s own rank. In most cases, Fixed-Term Faculty members do vote on new hires in the department.
- Listing of names in University academic catalogs, faculty building directories, and departmental websites, as consistent with school policies
- Inclusion in all routine departmental and university mailings
- Inclusion in curriculum discussions
- Consideration for leadership development opportunities and service within the department.
8. SALARY Weigh compensation with duties and develop policies for regular salary increases.
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