University at Albany
 

Procedures for Promotion and Tenure Review

Procedures for Joint Appointments

 

A joint appointment exists when a faculty member is appointed to one department, but has an appointment to another department as well.  In such cases, a primary department is designated at the point of initial employment and has responsibility for all personnel actions related to that individual, including term renewals, leaves, discretionary salary awards, and the tenure review process.

The nature of such joint appointments varies, and the degree of involvement and participation in research, teaching, and service in the secondary department will differ by department and candidate.   For example, a jointly appointed faculty member might be invited to department meetings, be involved in curricular discussions, offer cross-listed courses, and have voting rights in the secondary department. The Dean and the two department Chairs should sign a letter of agreement that clarifies the candidate’s responsibilities to each department.

The Chair of the secondary department should be asked to provide input for every evaluation for a jointly appointed faculty member.  In the case of tenure review, the secondary department Chair should be asked to provide a letter describing the nature and extent of the candidate’s involvement in, and contribution to, the secondary department.  The secondary department might choose to meet and vote on a candidate’s tenure and promotion request, but it is not essential to do so, and any such vote would not be official.  Rather, that vote would inform the secondary department Chair’s letter about the candidate.

In the dossier, it is important to document how the candidate’s time is being spent, and contributions to each department need to be clearly documented.

In some instances, a faculty member may be affiliated or have a courtesy appointment in another department.  These arrangements represent more loose affiliations, and are made because a faculty member has some reason to be affiliated (e.g. because of disciplinary expertise or teaching).  However, in these cases, the faculty member may or may not have voting rights in the affiliated department, and their contributions may be more minimal.  These arrangements must be described in a tenure and promotion dossier, but whether a letter is requested from the Chair of the affiliated department depends on the extent of the candidate’s expected involvement in that department.

A dual appointment exists when a faculty member’s effort is distributed across two units; typically this means the faculty member is appointed in equal budget increments to two different departments or colleges.  Although one of these departments is designated as the primary department, there is a set distribution of time, effort, and FTE across the two departments.  These arrangements are rare, and when they exist, care must be taken to create a statement regarding the faculty member’s division of responsibility that is appropriate for that faculty member’s dual appointment arrangement.  The relevant Chairs and Deans should create such a statement, in writing, early in the faculty member’s employment, which should then be approved by the Provost.

In cases of dual appointment, both departments should have a formal role, and vote, in the tenure review process, so that the candidate gets due consideration of all contributions he or she has made across both departments.  The statement, described above, which delineates the faculty member’s responsibility to each department, should also clearly delineate how the tenure review process will proceed.  This statement should describe, for example, whether each department will form an ad hoc committee to oversee the case, or whether a joint committee comprised of faculty members from each department will be formed.  The statement should also describe who will vote on the case, and the timing of how the voting process will be carried out across the two units.

This document should be included in the candidate’s dossier.  In addition, the Chair’s letter should describe the nature of the candidate’s appointment across the two departments.