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E09.0 Visiting Scholar Policy

Scope: All colleges

Visiting scholars can expand the academic, intellectual, and artistic community at RIT. A full-time RIT faculty sponsor may nominate a candidate with an academic appointment at another university (active or on leave), or who is engaged in relevant professional or creative activities to visit RIT for an extended period to collaborate on research, scholarship, or artistic projects. Note that students enrolled in any RIT degree program are not eligible for appointment, and visiting scholars may not enroll in RIT degree programs. This policy defines the position, the criteria and conditions for appointment, and describes the procedures for nominating and reviewing candidates.

  1. Criteria: Visiting Scholar Definition

    To be appointed as a visiting scholar at RIT, an individual must meet the following eligibility criteria:
     
    1. The candidate must provide some benefit to the academic, intellectual, or artistic community of the unit sponsoring the appointment.
    2. The individual must hold an appointment with another academic institution, or be engaged in relevant professional or creative activities.
    3. The individual must hold a terminal degree in his/her field or have recognized expertise in that field.
    4. The individual must demonstrate that s/he has financial support and health insurance for the duration of the visit; visiting scholars do not receive regular RIT compensation or benefits.

      Faculty visiting RIT on sabbatical leave from their home institution or qualified visitors from industry, government or other organizations (including retirees) who visit RIT on an unpaid basis may be designated as visiting scholars. The designation is not for individuals who would otherwise be considered RIT students, trainees, or postdoctoral fellows.
       
  2. Term of Appointment

    Visiting Scholars are typically appointed to self-terminating terms of three to twelve months. Appointments may not be extended, but visiting scholars may apply for additional term(s) if sponsored by a full-time RIT faculty member. The maximum term is 24 months. (See Section 4 for Expedited Review of Short-term Visiting Scholars.)
     
  3. Procedures

    Any full-time RIT faculty member may sponsor a candidate meeting the eligibility criteria (see Section 1).
     
    1. The faculty sponsor shall submit documentation consisting of the following items to the faculty of the sponsor’s home department,  the department head of the home department, and to the dean of the home college.
       
      1. A cover letter requesting approval for appointment of the visiting scholar. The letter shall specify the term and a list of resources the visiting scholar will require during his/her visit (e.g., office, lab, or studio space; library, computing, or other shared resources).
      2. A letter of support from the RIT faculty sponsor.
      3. The candidate’s current CV.
      4. A letter from the candidate detailing the intent of the visit and confirming that s/he has financial support and health insurance for the duration of the visit.
      5. This documentation shall clearly indicate that the visiting scholar satisfies the criteria described in Section 1.
         
    2. Home-department faculty vote: Each member of the faculty sponsor’s department voting faculty shall have five (5) business days after the complete submission to vote on the visiting scholar’s application. Votes may be in person, by paper ballot, or electronic.  Each faculty vote shall indicate either support or non-support for the appointment. Failure to vote shall be considered neither support nor non-support.
       
    3. Within ten (10) business days of the complete submission, the faculty sponsor’s department head shall write a letter clearly stating whether s/he supports the appointment.
       
    4. By the 10th business day after the complete submission, the faculty sponsor’s department head forwards the documentation to the dean of the college of the sponsor’s home department. The documentation shall include:
      1. The documents described in (3.a, above)
      2. The tally of the department vote (3.b, above)
      3. A letter from the department head (3.c, above)
         
    5. Within fifteen (15) business days of the original submission, the dean shall review the documentation (including the letter from the department head and the department vote tally) and this policy, and notify the faculty sponsor and department head in writing whether the appointment has been approved.
       
    6. If the appointment is approved, the notification shall specify the term, resources, if any (office, lab, studio, etc.), and any other conditions of the appointment. If the appointment is not approved, the notification shall specify the reason(s) why it was not approved. If the dean approves the appointment despite a majority of department faculty expressing non-support or a negative recommendation of the department head, the dean shall specify the reason(s) for overriding the faculty or department head.
       
    7. If approved, the department head shall notify the candidate in writing of the appointment, work with the faculty sponsor to arrange for the approved resources, ensuring that visiting scholars can join the RIT community without adversely affecting the home department. The department chair is also responsible for assuring that the visiting scholar receives any relevant training and is provided with a copy of this policy, and a link to the RIT Policy Library.
       
  4. Expedited Review of Short-term Visiting Scholar

    Visiting scholar candidates who meet the criteria in Section 1, but who plan to spend less than three months at RIT and require only shared incremental resources such as library and computing access for their visit (i.e., who will share existing office, laboratory, or studio space under the faculty sponsor’s direction), may follow the following expedited review process.
     
    1. Term of Appointment

      Short-term visiting scholars may only be appointed to self-terminating terms with a maximum duration of three months. Individuals may be appointed as short-term visiting scholars no more than once per academic year.
      If a short-term visiting scholar wishes to stay at RIT beyond the three-month maximum, or if a need develops for access to more than shared incremental resources, short-term visiting scholars are eligible to apply for appointments as visiting scholars under the criteria, terms, and procedures described in Section 1.
       
    2. Procedures

      Any full-time RIT faculty member may sponsor an eligible candidate (see Section 1).
       
      1. The faculty sponsor shall submit documentation consisting of the following items to the faculty of the sponsor’s home department and the department head of the home department.
        1. A letter of support from the RIT faculty sponsor
        2. The candidate’s current CV
        3. A letter from the candidate detailing the intent of the visit and confirming that s/he has financial support and health insurance for the duration of the visit
        4. A cover letter requesting approval for appointment of the visiting scholar. The letter shall specify the term and state that the visiting scholar will not require incremental office, lab, or studio space.

          ​​​​​​​This documentation shall clearly indicate that the visiting scholar satisfies the criteria described in Section 1 and Section 4.
           
    3. Each member of the faculty sponsor’s department voting faculty shall have five (5) business days after the complete submission to vote on the visiting scholar’s application. Votes may be in person, by paper ballot, or electronic.  Each faculty vote shall indicate either support or non-support for the appointment. Failure to vote shall be considered neither support nor non-support.
       
    4. Within ten (10) business days of the original submission, the department head shall review the documentation (including the department vote tally) and this policy, and notify the faculty sponsor and dean in writing whether the appointment has been approved.
       
    5. If the appointment is approved, the notification shall specify the term and any other conditions of the appointment. If the appointment is not approved, the notification shall specify the reason(s) why it was not approved. If the department head approves the appointment despite a majority of department faculty expressing non-support, the department head shall specify the reason(s) for overriding the faculty vote.
       
    6. If approved, the department head shall notify the candidate in writing of the appointment, work with the faculty sponsor to arrange for the approved resources, ensuring that visiting scholars can join the RIT community without adversely affecting the home department. The department chair is also responsible for assuring that the visiting scholar receives any relevant training and is provided with a copy of this policy, and a link to the RIT Policy Library.
       

V.  Avoidance of Conflict of Interest

If the faculty sponsor is the department head, the department head shall ask the college dean to select a Professor from the home department to replace the department head in the above processes. If no Professors are available in the home department, the college dean shall select a Professor from the college.
If the faculty sponsor is the dean, the dean shall ask the provost to select a dean from a different college to replace the dean in the above processes.

Responsible Office:
Academic Senate and Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Inquires may be directed to:
Academic Senate - asenate@rit.edu
​​​​​​​Office of the Provost - academicaffairs@rit.edu

Effective Date:
Approved May 11, 1994

Policy History: 
Edited September 2010
Edited October 2010
Revised November 15, 2012 - Review process revised
Revised March 29, 2018 by Academic Senate
Approved as an interim policy June 2018

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