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E04.0 Faculty Employment Policies

Scope This policy applies to all members of the RIT faculty

1. Recruiting, Interviewing and Hiring Procedures

University recruiting, interviewing, and hiring procedures for faculty are dependent on the classification of faculty.  For most classifications, this information is listed on the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention website.

In order to ensure that all potential applicants receive consideration, it is the responsibility of the dean to ensure that position vacancies are properly announced to the appropriate professional communities and other sources of potential candidates.  A copy of all faculty contracts will be maintained in the HR office.

See E6.0, Policies on Faculty Rank, for faculty classifications and ranks.

  1. Tenure-track Faculty

    Tenure-track searches are to be facilitated by search committees.  Search committees shall follow both university procedures and college procedures.  University procedures for the search committees are to be approved by the provost and posted at the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention website.  College procedures for the search committees are to be approved by the tenure-track faculty of each college, acting through their college governance structure, as well as by the dean of the college and posted in the same location as the college’s other policies.  If the search committee is not a committee-of-the-whole, the committee is also expected to seek the input of the department’s tenure-track faculty as part of the formal recommendation process.

    A candidate may be invited to the campus for interviews with the members of the faculty, the department head, and the dean of the college to which the candidate has applied.  The provost and/or president may require an interview with the preferred candidate before approval, particularly when the candidate is being considered for a high faculty rank. 

    See E5.0, Policy on Tenure, Section 3.c.(5) for procedure to offer a position with faculty rank and tenure.

    Offer of employment to a prospective tenure-track faculty member is made upon recommendation of the department head to the dean and approved as specified or delegated by the provost and the president of the university.

    Agreement among the department head, college dean, and provost will be reached on the terms and conditions of all offers of employment to preferred candidates subject to the final approval of the president. No employment arrangement is final until a contract has been issued by the Department of Human Resources and signed by the appointee.

    The typical contract period is for the 9.5 month academic year.

  2. Lecturers

    Information regarding the final list of candidates for the rank of lecturer shall be shared with the home department faculty for feedback at least two weeks prior to the initial offer.

  3. Visiting Faculty

    Information regarding the candidate(s) for visiting faculty shall be shared with the home department faculty for feedback at least two weeks prior to the initial offer.

  4. Adjunct Faculty

    Home department faculty will be notified of all adjunct faculty hires within one week of contract finalization.

  5. Research Faculty

    Information regarding a final list of candidates will be shared in a meeting with faculty in the home department to seek input at least two weeks prior to the initial offer.

  6. Clinical Faculty

    While clinical faculty are usually not RIT employees, information regarding the candidate(s) will be shared with home department prior to the initial offer.

2. The Academic Year

The academic year at the university typically begins a week prior to fall orientation and typically concludes on the Friday prior to summer session.  The specific dates that define a given academic year are provided before the end of the preceding academic year.  This fulfills the 9.5 month appointment period, or contract period, and allows the faculty member to take full advantage of externally-funded summer contracts. The periods immediately preceding the opening of fall session and following the close of spring session should be utilized for curriculum projects, getting laboratories in condition for the opening of school, and for other work which necessarily must be accomplished while classes are not in session. Academic department heads are responsible for assigning specified duties, where these may be required.

3. Breaks, Vacations, Absences, and Holidays

  1. Breaks and Vacations

    A faculty member on a 9.5-month contract observes the school break schedule established for the academic year. Information on vacation for all faculty on 12-month contracts is available on the HR web site. (http://finweb.rit.edu/humanresources/benefits/timeoff/vacation.html).

  2. Expectations for Contact during Absences

    It is often necessary to contact a faculty member on short notice.  If a faculty member is to be out of town or unavailable at the university for any appreciable length of time during their contract period (e.g. two or more working days), he or she will inform and provide the contact information to the department head.  It is also the responsibility of the faculty member to reschedule or make arrangements to fulfill teaching and/or other scheduled responsibilities and to notify the department head regarding the arrangements. 

  3. Cancellation of Classes (for reasons other than official closing of the university)

    In cases of emergency, a faculty member has the primary responsibility for contacting the department head to determine whether or not it becomes necessary to cancel a class. If the decision is to cancel the class, the faculty member has the responsibility for notifying the students, unless circumstances are such that the department head will need to assist in some manner.

  4. Religious Holidays

    Days of religious observance or urgent personal concern may be granted to a faculty member upon request. The faculty member should make the request to the department head in advance of the holiday. The faculty member making the request is responsible for rescheduling or making arrangements with other faculty members to fulfill teaching and/or other scheduled responsibilities.

4. Faculty Responsibilities

Faculty responsibilities are divided in the following three broad and overlapping categories of teaching, scholarship, and service.  Each category is defined below.  Refer to E6.0, Policies on Faculty Rank, regarding the balance of responsibilities associated with different faculty classifications and ranks.

  1. Teaching

    The view that teaching is the foremost activity of our faculty is deeply rooted in the traditions of the university, and the primacy of teaching and high quality interaction between faculty and students continues to be a hallmark of RIT. Consequently, the basic consideration, both in initial appointments and matters pertaining to salary adjustments, promotion, and tenure is the extent to which high standards of teaching can be achieved and maintained.

    Effective teaching, among other things, consists of clearly and enthusiastically communicating special knowledge and expertise based on an understanding of curricular objectives and the learner’s needs and abilities. Further, it entails advising and mentoring, selecting and using appropriate instructional methods and materials which lead to learning, and providing fair and useful evaluations of the quality of the learner’s work. Effective teaching requires a sensitivity to and rapport with the learner.

    The university endorses the view that good teaching is undergirded and made possible by scholarship (E4.0, section 4b, below) and service (E4.0, section 4c, below). Academic and professional qualifications, past and present, in the form of licenses, honors, degree attainment, and sustained effort directed toward professional and career updates are critical.

  2. Scholarship

    While teaching is the foremost activity of our faculty, they are expected to engage in significant scholarship as measured by external disciplinary and professional standards of documentation, review, and dissemination and as acknowledged by the college, department, and program practices of faculty review.

    1. “Scholarship” at the university will encompass four elements:*

      Scholarship of discovery: When faculty use their professional expertise to discover knowledge, invent, or create original material. Using this definition, basic research as well as, for example, the creation of innovative computer software, plays or artwork would be considered the scholarship of discovery.

      Scholarship of teaching/pedagogy: When faculty engage in the scholarship of teaching practice through peer-reviewed activities to improve pedagogy. Using this definition, a faculty member who studies and investigates student learning to develop strategies that improve learning has engaged in the scholarship of teaching.

      Scholarship of integration: When faculty use their professional expertise to connect, integrate, and synthesize knowledge. Using this definition, faculty members who take research findings or technological innovations and apply them to other situations would be engaging in the scholarship of integration.

      Scholarship of application: When faculty use their professional expertise to engage in applied research, consultation, technical assistance, policy analysis, program evaluation or similar activities to solve problems. This definition recognizes that new intellectual understandings arise out of the act of application.

    2. The top priorities for scholarship at the university are to enhance the education of our students and RIT’s reputation. Faculty engaged in either sponsored or unsponsored scholarship in any of the four areas defined above are expected to disseminate the knowledge acquired in these endeavors through normal scholarly means.

    3. All four aspects of scholarship are important to the university and must be recognized, valued, supported, and rewarded in the tenure, promotion, and merit salary increment processes in each unit.

    4. Faculty should actively participate in the scholarship of their disciplines. There will be considerable variation, however, in the amounts of scholarship in which different faculty engage within the same departments and colleges, as well as throughout the university. Proportions of professional time devoted to teaching, scholarship, and service will be determined by individual faculty plans-of-work.

    5. The university will continue to fund faculty professional development for the benefit of the university, including discretionary seed funds to assist in the initiation of faculty research programs.

    6. While the university will accept externally funded proprietary and classified projects, knowledge acquired through such projects must be available within a reasonable time frame for wider dissemination through publications, classroom teaching, or application to other projects.  All projects must be in compliance with C1.0, Oversight Policy for Externally Sponsored Projects.

    *These definitions of “Scholarship” have been partially paraphrased and modified from definitions used by the American Association for Higher Education

  3. Service

    While teaching and scholarship are important faculty responsibilities, services performed by faculty members are an indispensable part of the university’s daily life. Faculty members at all ranks are expected to provide some forms of service to the university, their college, their department, their professional community, or the community at large. They are encouraged to provide service at different levels and areas of the university.

    The university values all forms of faculty service. Typical faculty service activities include but are not limited to the following: committee work at the departmental, college, or university level; improving the university’s program quality, reputation and operational efficiency; student academic or career advising; advising a student group; faculty mentoring; linking the professional skills of members of the faculty and students to the world beyond the campus; development of new courses and curriculum; and service to the faculty member’s professional societies, such as reviewing articles, organizing professional conferences, or serving a professional organization.

5. Supplemental Faculty Activities

See Individual Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy - C4.0

Initiative by faculty to undertake research, creative endeavors, consulting, participation in professional organizations and/or alternative career development activities adhering to collegially acceptable standards and beyond that specified by formal agreement with the university is desirable and the university encourages it. If such activities require a measurable use of university facilities, approval shall be obtained from the dean along with an agreement as to any fair use payment that may be made to the university. The application of professional skills in the public interest beyond the campus is also worthy of faculty consideration.

Supplemental activities will not be considered as reason for modifying teaching schedules. A faculty member should obtain additional details as to the practices in the department from his or her department head. A department head may advise a faculty member of the necessity to modify or cease supplemental activities if he or she determines that such activities detracts from the faculty member's capacity to fulfill the faculty responsibilities listed above. The university assumes no responsibility of any kind in connection with the supplemental activities of its employees.

6.  Summary of Policies Relating to Ending Employment

At times it may be necessary for the university or a faculty member to initiate severance of their professional relationship. To protect the interests of both parties, the various ways of ending employment (non-reappointment, resignation, termination and dismissal) are defined in detail in other policies as referred to below, or defined here if not covered elsewhere. 

  1. Non-reappointment

    See E20.0, Policy on the Discontinuance, Reduction, or Transfer of Academic Programs, section 5, for tenure-track faculty and for tenured faculty, see E20.0, section 4.

    A non tenure-track faculty member is appointed for a specific length of time. See E6.0, Policy on Faculty Rank.  No commitment is intended by the university beyond the ending date of such an appointment.

  2. Resignation

    A faculty member who signs a contract for an academic or calendar year is expected to remain with the university for the duration of the contract. However, under certain circumstances, if the faculty member sees a necessity to leave prior to contract expiration, a request for release should be made through the department head.

    A faculty member should not resign in order to accept other employment as of the end of the academic year later than May 15 or thirty days after receiving notification of the terms of continued employment for the following year, whichever date occurs later. It is recognized, however, that emergencies will occur. In such emergencies the faculty member may ask the appropriate officials of the university to waive this requirement.  If approved, the faculty member is expected to conform to their decision to end employment prior to contract expiration.

  3. Termination

    See E20.0, Discontinuance, Reduction or Transfer of Academic Programs, and E22.0, Policy on Financial Exigency.

    Termination is an action by which the university ends the employment of a faculty member without prejudice as to his/her performance.

  4. Dismissal for Cause

    See E23.0, Dismissal of a Faculty Member for Cause.

Responsible Offices:
Academic Senate and the Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.  Inquiries can be directed to:

Academic Senate:
Staff Assistant
2106 Eastman Hall

Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs:
Assistant Vice President
2109 Eastman Hall

Effective Date:
Approved prior to July 1975

Policy History:
Revised January 2003
Revised October 2004
Edited September 2010
Revised May 11, 2011


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