Policy Number: E6.0

Policy Name: Policy on Faculty Rank and Promotion

Scope: All RIT Faculty

I. Faculty Responsibilities, Classifications and Ranks

Faculty responsibilities are divided into the following three categories: (a) teaching; (b) scholarship; and (c) service, as defined in E4.0 Faculty Employment Policies. The balance among these responsibilities varies by classification and rank. The table below lists all faculty classifications and ranks that may exist at the university.  In certain, very unusual circumstances, the provost may approve a faculty rank preceded by “distinguished” for a person widely recognized for his/her knowledge and expertise.



Tenure-track faculty

Instructor*, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor**

Non-tenure track: Lecturers

Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Principal Lecturer

Non-tenure track: Research faculty

Assistant Research Professor, Associate Research Professor, and Research Professor

Non-tenure track: Visiting faculty

Visiting Lecturer, Visiting Assistant Professor, Visiting Associate Professor, and Visiting Professor

Non-tenure track: Clinical faculty

Clinical Instructor, Assistant Clinical Professor, Associate Clinical Professor, and Clinical Professor

Non-tenure track (temporary): Adjunct faculty

Adjunct Professor

Non-tenure track: Emeritus/emerita faculty

Title granted to permanent faculty at time of retirement if awarded emeritus status

*No new tenure-track faculty will be hired into the rank of instructor.

**In this policy, "Professor" means a faculty member with the rank of professor.

II. Promotion of Tenure-track Faculty

  1. General Guidelines

Each college faculty shall develop, approve, and publish its own promotion policy and criteria, including qualities and achievements as well as acceptable forms of evidence and documentation based on the general criteria in E4.0 and this policy. College-level policies and criteria may be more but not less stringent than, and must be consistent with this policy and E4.0. In addition, the college's schedule for promotion must be consistent with the schedule in E6.0.D.5, and the “Dates for Faculty Actions and Academic Ceremonies” as distributed by the Provost’s Office.

  1. Instructor to Assistant Professor
  1. Assistant Professor to Associate Professor
  1. Associate Professor to Professor

    1. Criteria for Promotion to Professor

III. Rank and Responsibilities of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty

  1. Definition of Non-Tenure Track

A non-tenure-track faculty member is an employee of the university engaged in research or in teaching credit courses, non-credit courses, or special courses typically under the auspices of one of the colleges, whether full-time or less than full-time. A non-tenure-track faculty member is employed for a specific period of time and the university is not committed to provide employment beyond the time specified. Appointment to any of the non-tenure-track classifications presented in this policy does not qualify a person for consideration for tenure or other privileges accorded to tenure-track faculty.

  1. Non-Tenure-track Teaching - Lecturer Ranks

    1. Definition
  1. Promotion Process for Non-Tenure-Track Lecturers and Senior Lecturers

    1. Nominations
  2. Nominations for promotion of a candidate to senior or principal lecturer may be initiated by the department chair, tenured faculty, non-tenure-track faculty senior to the candidate’s present rank, or by the candidate.  Moving the nomination forward is based upon departmental needs and available resources.

  1. Promotion Committee 

The Promotion Committee will be established and have the responsibilities as described in E6.0.II and the college procedures shall ensure the committee membership will include a non-tenure-track lecturer senior to the candidate's present rank for evaluation of the non-tenure-track lecturer if one exists within the college. The Promotion Committee will review the candidate based on the promotion criteria of the university as outlined in this policy and those of the college; the candidate’s documentation; and all written letters of review or evaluation.  The Promotion Committee shall follow the voting guidelines set forth in E6.0.II.c and shall forward its recommendation to the dean of the college.

V. Rank and Responsibilities for Non-Tenure-Track Research Faculty

  1. Definition of Non-Tenure-Track Research Faculty
  1. Promotion Process for Non-tenure-Track Research Faculty

    1. Nominations: Nominations for promotion may be initiated as identified in E6.0.II.D.2 or a non-tenure track research faculty senior to the candidate’s present rank. After appropriate consultation with and endorsement of the faculty of the relevant department or program, the department chair will recommend the applicant to the college dean. The dean forwards the department’s recommendation to the provost for approval.

    1. Promotion Committee: The promotion committee will be established and have the responsibilities as described in E6.0.II, the college procedures shall ensure the committee membership will  include a  non-tenure-track research faculty senior to the candidate’s present rank for the evaluation of a research faculty member.

    2. Process

      1. Promotion to the rank of associate research professor or research professor is based on meeting promotion criteria and demonstrated evidence of outstanding research, mentorship and successful performance of other duties as assigned and where appropriate.

      2. Process and time-line set forth in E6.0.II will be used for the promotion of research professors.

      3. Criteria: The candidate for promotion to associate research professor shall assemble a portfolio that documents his/her accomplishments for the most recent five-year period of full-time employment as an assistant research professor. For promotion to research professor, the candidate shall assemble a portfolio that documents his/her accomplishments for the most recent five-year period of full-time employment as an associate research professor.
      4. The portfolio for promotion shall focus primarily on the candidate’s research expertise with examples of how s/he has enhanced the education of RIT students and advanced the field in which s/he is engaged through peer-reviewed publications. The portfolio will also include documentation of the candidate’s efforts to develop professionally as well as evidence of other areas of activity that have been included in the candidate’s plan of work and as required for eligibility for promotion. The portfolio shall include all administrative reviews for the specified time period.

VI. Definitions for Other Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Ranks

  1. Visiting Faculty (instructor, assistant professor, associate professor or professor)
  1. Clinical Faculty (instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor)

This title is usually limited to practitioners who are assigned regular and continuing responsibilities in a clinical setting in institutions with a formal affiliate relationship with the university.

  1. Adjunct Faculty (adjunct professor)

This is a category of temporary, part-time employment as defined in E1.0 Employee Classification and Status.  This title may be assigned to those with significant experience in a field that qualifies them to teach specific course(s).

  1. Emeritus/Emerita Faculty

This title recognizes meritorious service to the university by an individual professor in terms of teaching, scholarship, and service to the university.  A tenured Professor or associate professor who retires in good standing or who retires in good standing but continues to teach may be granted the title of professor emeritus/emerita. The title may also be given to Professors who have left for another institution but are still working full time. Recommendation as to the award of the emeritus/emerita title are initiated by the dean and directed to the provost and to the president for final action. In special circumstances, the provost may ask the college (of the candidate) promotion committee to evaluate the request to award the title of “emeritus/emerita” to the faculty member.  Professors emeriti/emerita may retain privileges as agreed upon by the college and the university.

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 June 22, 1959

Policy History:
Revised May 2008
Revised May 2009
Revised May 2010
Revised April 5, 2012
Revised April 18, 2013