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Definition of the Policies Concerning Research Faculty Appointments for the members of the faculties of Tufts University

Voted by the Board of Trustees May 30, 1981
Amended by the Board of Trustees February 24, 1990
Board of Trustees voted November 1, 2003 that full-time research faculty appointments no longer require trustee approval.

Research Faculty appointments are multiple-year full-time appointments based on external funding – appointments designated as “research faculty” are not eligible for tenure.  Such faculty members are appointed following existing procedures for renewable fixed terms, with a safety clause if their external support disappears; carry titles which reflect their research orientation; and are evaluated for rank in their respective schools or colleges based on appropriate criteria.

Specific provisions of the full-time non-tenure research faculty appointments:

  • Areas in which used:
    Such appointments may be made in any academic department in any school or college, where so permitted by the appropriate bylaws.
  • Ranks, titles, terms:
    Proposed ranks and titles are as indicated, with terms not to exceed those stated:
Research Professor: five-year term
Associate Research Professor: five-year term
Assistant Research Professor: three-year term
  • These terms are subject to termination as provided below. At the discretion of the University, the appointment may be renewed until the individual reaches normal retirement age.
  • Approvals required for appointment:
    The appointment process for full-time research faculty members would be the same as that now used for all full-time faculty members not involving tenure, as follows:
Research Professor: recommendation by dean, final approval by Provost and President
Associate Research Professor: recommended by dean, final approval by Provost
Assistant Research Professor: recommended by dean, final approval by Provost
  • Notice of non-reappointment:
    The provisions of the trustee policy on Academic Freedom, Tenure and Retirement with respect to non-reappointment will apply to research faculty members, except as provided below.
  • Termination during the appointment term:
    In each research faculty member’s appointment letter, it will be specified that the individual is expected to obtain his or her full compensation and associated indirect costs through external grant or contract support. The appointment is terminated at any time the full external support terminates or is reduced to a level which is insufficient to provide full compensation and associated indirect costs. However, the dean of the school involved may, with the concurrence of the Provost and the availability of budgeted funds for the purpose, carry the individual whose support is reduced or terminated at full salary for an additional period of up to twelve months, to allow time to reestablish funding. The School in which the individual is appointed is responsible for the unsupported salary during the additional period.

Subject to the availability of funds budgeted for this purpose by the school involved, an unsupported period of up to one year may be provided at the outset of an individual’s first such research appointment, to enable him or her to attract initial support. It is hoped and expected that the majority of such research appointments will be for individuals who will bring grant support with them.

  • Evaluation:
    Each dean seeking to appoint a research faculty member will recommend initial rank, drawing on such faculty committee involvement as is provided for in the bylaws of the school concerned. Research faculty members will normally be evaluated for promotion only at the time of reappointment; evaluations will be carried on by the dean and the appropriate faculty committee. The faculty evaluation committee will take into account appropriate differences in the character of professional expertise expected of full-time research faculty members and of full-time tenure-track faculty members.

It is anticipated that normal professional development might make a research faculty member eligible for promotion to the Associate Research Professor rank at about the same time that tenure-track faculty members are achieving tenured status. If a research faculty member fails to demonstrate such progress, the department chairman, the faculty evaluating committee and the dean should reevaluate the individual’s status as a faculty member.

  • Definition of full-timeness:
    Full-time research faculty members are expected to dedicate their full professional commitment to research (and associated educational activities) in their department and school, under terms of the grant or contract which provides their support.
  • Teaching:
    Research faculty members enrich the University’s teaching programs in significant ways. Such persons may be given responsibility for one major course per semester, or they could lecture in areas of their specialty, supervise students at various levels in related research projects, and participate in seminars, conferences and similar activities. Indirectly, they also benefit the students by their enrichment of the discipline and their colleagueship in the departments they serve.
  • Switching between tracks:
    A faculty member’s letter of appointment will state clearly whether he or she is on a tenure track or on a research (non-tenure-eligible) track. A faculty member on the research track will be eligible to apply for and be considered for an opening on the tenure track. If selected for that opening, the faculty member would “switch” (i.e., receive a new appointment) to the tenure track. None of the time served at the University on the research track will count toward the tenure probationary period, but the individual could, of course, request consideration for tenure at any time.

A person appointed to the tenure track could not switch to a research track at any time. If a person is considered for tenure and tenure is not granted, he or she will not be eligible for subsequent employment at the University on a research faculty appointment.

Click here to download the Research Faculty Appointments Policy.