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E04.0 Faculty Employment Policies

Scope: This policy applies to all members of the RIT faculty with exception of certain administrators who hold faculty rank, e.g. dean, provost, president.

Table of contents

I. Recruiting, interviewing and Hiring Procedures 

II. Faculty Responsibilities

Introduction

A. Teaching

B. Scholarship 

C. Service 

III. Supplemental Faculty Activities

IV. Faculty Commitment in an Appointment Period 

A. The Academic Year

B. Appointment Year Faculty Obligations 

C. Absences

1. Expectations for Contact during Absences

2. Fulfilling Obligations during Absences

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

4. Religious Observances

5. Other Absences

D. Expectation for Office Hours

V. Salary Considerations

A. Annual Salary Review

B. Salary Payments

C. Benchmarking Salaries

D. Salary Grievances

VI. Ending employment

A. Resignations

B. Non-Reappointment

C. Terminations

 

I. Recruiting and Hiring Procedures 

University recruitment and hiring procedures for faculty may vary and are dependent on the classification of faculty as defined in E01.0 Classification of Employment and E06.0, Policies on Faculty Rank and Promotion.  Upon hire, regular faculty as defined in E01.0 shall be classified in one of the following job categories: instructional, administrative, or research faculty.  These designations may change with a change in job title and responsibilities.

When conducting a search, college search committees shall follow both university and college procedures, if they exist.  University procedures are to be approved by the provost and posted on the websites of the Department of Human Resources and the Office of Faculty Recruitment.  College procedures for hiring faculty shall be no less specific than and must be consistent with university procedures.  College procedures should be posted in the same location as the college’s other policies and linked to the websites of the Department of Human Resources and the Office of Faculty Recruitment. It is the responsibility of the dean to ensure that all hiring procedures are followed.

An offer of employment to a prospective faculty member, including all terms and conditions, is made upon recommendation of the department head to the dean and approved by the provost or designee.  

No offer of employment is final until it has been issued in writing by the college dean, signed by the appointee, and all contingencies are met. Once the appointee signs the offer of employment, a copy will be maintained in the Department of Human Resources.

II. Faculty Responsibilities 

Faculty are expected to comply with all university policies as they relate to their responsibilities, position and employment.

Faculty responsibilities are divided in the following three broad and overlapping categories of teaching, scholarship, and service.  Proportions of professional time devoted to and direction of teaching, scholarship, and service will be determined by individual faculty plans of work. Each category is defined below.  The responsibilities associated with different faculty ranks are identified in E06.0.  The criteria for granting tenure can be found in E05.0.

A. 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 are hallmarks of RIT. Consequently, the basic consideration, both in initial appointments to a tenure track faculty or a non-tenure track teaching position and in 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 communicating special knowledge and expertise based on an understanding of curricular objectives and the learner’s needs and abilities. Further, effective teaching entails advising and mentoring related to areas such as research projects, capstone projects, and thesis advising, 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. To support teaching in and out of the classroom, instructional faculty may be involved in the development of new courses and curriculum. Instructional faculty are expected to be available outside of scheduled classes to support student success and to post that availability each semester.  

B. Scholarship

Faculty are expected to engage in disciplinary, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary scholarship as measured by professional standards of documentation, peer review and dissemination. Colleges shall accept all categories of scholarship listed below.  Priorities for scholarship at the university are to enhance the education of our students and RIT’s reputation and promote strategic initiatives of the university. Each college is responsible for defining what constitutes documentation, peer review and dissemination for its faculty.  The college definitions must be approved by the college’s tenured faculty and made accessible.  The extent to which a faculty member is involved in scholarship is dependent on several factors, including but not limited to rank, as defined in E6.0 and designation as noted above. Categories of “Scholarship” at the university include the following (in no particular order of importance):

  • 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.*

  • Scholarship of engagement: When faculty engage in scholarship that combines rigorous academic standards in any of the four other dimensions of scholarship, and is developed in the context of reciprocal and collaborative community partnerships. Community is broadly defined to include audiences external to the campus that are part of an active collaborative process that leads to new understanding and knowledge that contributes to the public good.

Faculty engaged in either sponsored or unsponsored scholarship in any of the areas defined above are expected to disseminate the knowledge acquired in these endeavors through appropriate scholarly means.

All 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.

There will be considerable variation, however, in the amounts and types of scholarship in which different faculty engage within the same departments and colleges, as well as throughout the university. 

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 C01.0 Externally Sponsored Projects Disclosure Policy.

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

C. Service

Services performed by faculty members are an indispensable part of the university’s daily life. Faculty members are expected to provide some forms of service to the university, their college, their department, their professional community, or the community at large according to their rank or category (see E6.0). Faculty are encouraged to provide service at different levels and areas of the university. 

Typical faculty service activities include but are not limited to the following: administrative assignments, 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; and service to the faculty member’s professional societies, such as reviewing articles, organizing professional conferences, or serving a professional organization.

The university recognizes the importance of a constructive and cooperative environment (more generally referred to as "collegiality") in order for faculty to fully achieve success in teaching, scholarship, and service.  The university expects all faculty to exhibit the qualities of collegiality and to uphold the principles outlined in the university's Honor Code (P3.0), Core Values (P4.0), Diversity Statement (P5.0), and Commitment to Environmental Sustainability (P6.0).  This is not intended to be used to violate the principle of academic freedom but to encourage civil discourse.

III. Supplemental Faculty Activities

Initiatives 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 encouraged by the university and should be reported through the university’s conflict of interest reporting policy as outlined in the university policy, C04.0 - Individual Conflict of Interest and Commitment Policy. If the activity does not present a conflict of interest, a faculty member should obtain additional details as to the practices in the department from the department head. If the activities affect his or her plan of work, a plan shall be negotiated with the faculty member’s department head. If necessary, a department head shall advise a faculty member of the necessity to modify or cease supplemental activities if such activities detract from the faculty member's capacity to fulfill the faculty member’s responsibilities or plan of work (see E7.0 for more information about a faculty member’s plan of work).

If such activities require significant use of university resources as defined in C03.0 Intellectual Property Policy, it is the responsibility of the dean or appropriate divisional vice president to evaluate situations and determine if substantial use of resources has occurred. Faculty members have an obligation to notify their supervisor or primary contractual RIT contact person when their work may involve more than nominal use.  (See policy C03.0, Intellectual Property Policy, section III.S).

IV. Faculty Commitment in an Appointment Period

A. The Academic Year

The academic year includes all semesters, terms, or sessions where classes are held beginning with the fall semester and ending with summer term. 

B. Appointment Year Faculty Obligations  

With the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, for faculty with a 9-month appointment, obligations typically begin a week prior to the start of fall semester (the week which includes student orientation). The specific dates that define the appointment period are provided before the end of the preceding academic year.  During the 9-month appointment period or other appointment periods of less than twelve (12) months, faculty are expected to be available consistent with their departmental assignments and program responsibilities for the entire period of time when university classes are officially in session and during the entire final exam period of each term in addition to the week prior to the start of the fall term and week following the end of the spring term.  Final exams and other final evaluative educational activities shall be offered during the designated finals week consistent with Policy D11.0 – Final Examination Policies.  

Faculty with an appointment period of twelve (12) months accrue vacation days.  Information on vacation for these faculty is available on the HR web site. Arrangements for vacation shall be made in consultation with the faculty member’s immediate supervisor.

C. Absences

1. Expectations for Contact during Absences

If a faculty member is to be out of town or unavailable at the university for a planned absence of two or more working days during their appointment period, the faculty member shall inform the department head and provide contact information during the absence.  

In the case of an unplanned absence, the faculty member shall inform the department head as soon as reasonable.

2. Fulfilling Obligations during Absences  

It is the responsibility of the faculty member to reschedule or make arrangements to fulfill teaching or other obligations during absences and to notify the department head regarding such arrangements. 

In the case of an unplanned absence where the faculty member is unable to fulfill their obligations, the department head is responsible for making necessary arrangements.

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

It is the responsibility of the faculty member to notify the department head when it is necessary to cancel or reschedule a class.  The faculty member is responsible for notifying the students and ensuring the planned learning outcomes for the class period(s) are met.  

If the faculty member is not able to notify the students, the department head shall notify the students and if necessary, ensure the planned learning outcomes for the class period(s) are met. 

4. Religious Observances

Days of religious observance shall be granted in accordance with applicable law to a faculty member upon notification to the department head. The faculty member may reschedule classes or make arrangements with other faculty members to fulfill teaching or other obligations that may fall on this religious day of observance and shall inform the department head of those arrangements. In the event the faculty member is unable to make arrangements, the department head shall make the arrangements. Faculty members with appointment periods of twelve (12) months must use vacation time for these observances.

5. Other Absences

For other absences, such as illness, visit the Benefits Health and Wellness page on the HR website.

D.  Expectations for Office Hours

Faculty are expected to be available to their students during regularly scheduled office hours which are at times other than scheduled classes. The times of the office hours are to be posted outside the faculty member’s office (if an office is assigned), provided to the faculty member’s department, and included on each course syllabus.  Under certain circumstances, the department head may allow alternative means for conducting office hours.

V. Salary Considerations 

A. Annual Salary Review

The annual merit pool is established by the board of trustees.  The salary for each faculty member is determined annually by the dean and other appropriate administrators within the college and is specified in writing to the faculty member prior to the beginning of each academic year. Annual salary increments shall be determined on the basis of performance (see Policy E7.0 - Annual Review of Faculty) and gaps to market benchmarks within the constraints of the pool of available funding. The process for annual salary review is documented on the Department of Human Resources (HR) website.  

The process for allocating increments related to promotion in rank are documented on the HR website.  

B. Salary Payments

Starting with the 2017-2018 academic year, the majority of faculty work 9 months (the academic year as defined by the dates listed in the annual appointment notification). All faculty are paid over 12 months beginning July 1 through June 30. Salary payments for faculty members are distributed to each faculty member semimonthly on the fifteenth and the last business day of each month (or the closest Friday).

Salary and benefit payments paid during July and August are considered advance payments (paid but not yet earned). In the event that the employment of the employee terminates before the end of the period for which such advance payments are made, the employee agrees to repay any amounts which they received as an advance for which they do not subsequently work.

Pay for summer work may overlap regular academic year salary payments. The number of payments and when they are paid depend upon the specific employment conditions for the summer work.

C. Benchmarking Salaries

The Department of Human Resources is responsible for annually gathering salary benchmarking information from our peer universities and salary surveys.  This information is posted on the HR website.  

The process for determining and allocating market adjustments is documented on the HR website. If the information on the website does not answer specific questions about faculty salary benchmarks, contact the assistant director of compensation in the Department of Human Resources.

D. Salary Appeals

Questions about faculty salaries should be referred to the faculty member’s department chair.  If the department chair is not able to satisfactorily answer the faculty member’s question(s), the department chair should refer the faculty member to the dean.  It is the role of the dean to bring questions or concerns to the assistant director of compensation in the Department of Human Resources.  

If a resolution is not reached and the faculty member believes that there is a potential violation under C06.0 – Discrimination and Harassment, the process in C06.0 shall be followed.  

Should the faculty member believe that proper procedures were not followed or if followed, were not fairly administered, the faculty member may grieve this process, consistent with the provisions of E24.0.

If attempts to resolve the differences within a college or in consultation with the Human Resources Department are unsuccessful and the matter does not otherwise fall within the purview of C6.0 or E24.0, the faculty member may carry an appeal to the provost.

VI. Ending Employment

At times it may be necessary for the university or a faculty member to end their professional relationship. To protect the interests of both parties, the various ways of ending employment (i.e., non-reappointment, resignation, termination and dismissal) and the notification timeline, if required, are defined for regular employees in other policies as referred to below, or defined in the letter of appointment.

A. Resignation 

A faculty member who signs an appointment letter for an academic or calendar year is expected to remain with the university for the duration of the appointment period. However, under certain circumstances, if the faculty member sees a necessity to leave prior to the expiration of the appointment, a request for release should be made through the department head.  If a faculty leaves the university prior to the end of the appointment period, the faculty member shall repay any advance salary paid (see V.B., Salary Payments, above).

B.  Non-reappointment

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

See E05.0, Policy on Tenure for notification requirements for non-reappointment of a pre-tenured tenure track faculty member.

See E06.0, Policy on Faculty Rank regarding the specific length of time for non-tenure track faculty.  No commitment is intended by the university beyond the ending date of such an appointment.

C.   Termination

Termination is an action by which the university ends the employment of a faculty member that may or may not be related to the faculty member’s performance.

For terminations not related to a faculty member’s performance, see E20.0, Discontinuance or Reduction of Academic Programs or E22.0, Policy on Financial Exigency.

For terminations related to a faculty member’s performance, see E23.0, Dismissal of a Tenure Track Faculty Member for Cause or E23.1 Dismissal of a Non-Tenure Track 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
asenate@rit.edu
(585)475-2016

Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs:          
Assistant Vice President
2109 Eastman Hall
academicaffairs@rit.edu
(585)475-5572

Effective Date: The start of the 2017-2018 academic year

Policy History:
Approved prior to July 1975
Revised January 2003
Revised October 2004
Edited September 2010
Revised May 11, 2011
Revised March 31, 2016 – Sections II, II.B, IV, V, VI.  Policies E13.0 and E14.0 incorporated into this policy
Revised December 1, 2016 – Section II.B. – language added to address disciplinary, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary work

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