Revised February 9, 2018
1. General Considerations
This document describes appointment, reappointment, evaluation and promotion procedures for Research Professor Series titles faculty (Research Assistant Professors, Research Associate Professors, Research Professors). It should be noted that the term Research Faculty includes Research Professor titles as well as Research Associates and Senior Research Associates. This document focuses on Research Professor titles, and not Research Associate and Senior Research Associate titles, since appointments, reviews, and reappointments of faculty members with these titles take place in their home units. In the following descriptions the terms Research Professors and Research Professor titles are used synonymously unless otherwise specified.
This document complements the policy statements outlined in the Faculty Handbook and in the memoranda of Bruce Ekstrand (Research Faculty--Implementation of New Titles, 24 June 1986) and Robert Sievers (Research Faculty Titles, 12 September 1986). In the current document, particular emphasis is directed towards clarifying the criteria for appointments, reappointments, and promotions; a list of supporting material to be submitted by the nominating departments or institutes meeting minimum standards is also provided.
Moreover, this document does not address any additional expectations, requirements and specifications that departments and institutes may have related to Research Professor tracks or titles in their units prior to February 17, 2014.
Research Professors are expected to obtain external research funding through grants and contracts for support of their research programs, which are administered by the campus. Research Professors are considered to be members of the regular faculty. Research Professors can be appointed in departments and perform their work in centers or institutes, or they can be appointed directly in institutes and may have affiliations with departments as appropriate.
While Research Professors will mainly be affiliated with departments and/or institutes on our campus, many may have affiliations with local federal laboratories, although in most cases their research funding is administered by the campus. Research Professors do not normally receive salary from general-fund sources at the university, unless they receive special compensation for classroom teaching or backstop funding from the home unit, if such funding has been confirmed in the appointment letter. This matter is described in further detail in Section 5.3.
The campus does not restrict departments and institutes to specific limits on the number of Research Professors; however, relevant units’ governing entities such as Personnel, Executive or Fellows Committees, may individually decide on how many non-tenure-track and non-tenured faculty, including Research Professors, can be appointed in their units and become voting members. While newly appointed Research Professors might not initially be given voting rights, the department faculty might at a later date extend invitations to Research Professors to become members of the voting faculty according to the unit’s bylaws.
Research on other University of Colorado campuses cannot transfer their Research faculty member status to the Boulder Campus (UCB) without proper review in accordance with this document. Thus the process below will be followed by all Research Professor appointments on the Boulder campus.
a. Research Professor – appointments are normally initiated by an academic department or by a research institute. In special situations Research Professor appointments can be initiated by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation with the objective to have these individuals housed in a department or institute at a later date, subject to approval by the chair or director, as well as faculty and governing committees of the units contingent on the bylaws of the unit. Appointments to the Research Professor series that are sponsored by a research institute can be co-sponsored by an academic department that will be the beneficiary of the potential instructional contributions of the research faculty member, but classroom instruction is not required; however, mentoring and advising of students is considered a requirement. Likewise, appointments to the Research Professor series that are sponsored by an academic department can be co-sponsored by an institute, which will be the beneficiary of potential advising and mentoring of graduate students by the faculty member.
b. The sponsoring unit(s) assumes (assume) the responsibility for providing members of its Research faculty with appropriate resources not normally funded by grants and contracts, such as appropriate office and/or laboratory space. The sponsoring unit must indicate, at the time of nomination of a person to the Research Professor series, that such resources will be available.
c. Appointments will normally carry the title of the sponsoring unit (e.g., Associate Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience or of Behavioral Genetics), unless otherwise agreed to by sponsoring or co-sponsoring units. Each academic department and/or institute will use its own procedures for the recruitment, selection and nominations of candidates for these positions. Whenever recruitment is possible, the sponsoring unit will follow hiring guidelines pertaining to tenure-track and tenured faculty recruitment. It is recognized, however, that these titles and appointments will often be extended to individuals who are already present in the university system, or who have worked closely with university colleagues for periods of time. In many of these cases an actual external search following the standard affirmative action procedures will not be possible. Research Associates or Senior Research Associates at the university may be promoted or appointed to appropriate Research Professor titles based on merit following nominations by the home units. Also, the availability of a position may depend upon the receipt of an external grant or contract by a particular individual selected by the funding agency, and thus it would not be appropriate or possible then to search for another individual to fill the position. Because of this limitation, sponsoring units must be especially sensitive to affirmative action principles in attracting and developing a research faculty member.
d. Reviews of recommendations for appointment to the Research Professor series will be similar to the review and approval procedures for tenure-track and tenured faculty. However, the requirements for research and adjoint faculty differ from regular tenure-track faculty as follows. In addition to a recommendation from the sponsoring unit, approval from the following individuals is required: (1) the relevant dean (for research institutes this will be the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, Dean of the Institutes, the department Chair or Institute Director. Final appointment to these ranks is made by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation.
e. Research Professors will be placed on limited-term appointments and are not eligible for tenure. The term of appointment for a limited-term appointment refers to the length of time a person holds the faculty title and not to the length of time the University may provide interim (back-stop) funding (see section 5.1.a).
f. Following the convention for tenure-track faculty positions the minimum appointment for a Research Professor will be at 50%. Exceptions to this policy can be granted by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation.
1.2 Salary and Performance Evaluations
All ranks of the Research Professor series will be subject to performance evaluations carried out according to the procedures of the sponsoring unit, analogous to the salary-increment reviews of regular faculty. This review will be used to establish the appropriate salary level for the research faculty member as well as to provide constructive feedback to the faculty member concerning his/her performance and progress in the unit. Salary adjustments at times other than the annual performance evaluation will normally not be allowed. Research Professors who receive general fund support through contributions to the unit’s teaching mission or through previously agreed-on salary-backstop agreements will receive salary adjustments in the same time frame as tenure-track and tenured faculty in their academic department or institutes.
2. Appointment Procedures
The evaluation of nominees for appointment should focus on promise in graduate student advising and mentorship, classroom teaching as appropriate (keep in mind, many federal granting agencies do not allow or provide for teaching as part of their research grant or contract funding to the university), and research as well as the potential of the candidate to obtain sustained external funding. Although similar criteria can be used to evaluate the three Research Professor categories, the level of expectation increases with the rank and should be consistent with the respective position descriptions.
2.1 Description of the Positions
Assistant Research Professor
This title is parallel in importance to the department tenure-track faculty rank of Assistant Professor, but the requirements are different in various respects. It is used for persons possessing the terminal degree appropriate to the discipline, who show demonstrated promise of independent research contributions (e.g., judged by external and internal letters of support from leading researchers in the candidate’s field, the assessment of their thesis or postdoctoral advisor, research funding and publication record), and who are qualified to participate in instructional activities, including advising and mentorship at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Potential instructional activities should include supervision of graduate students, and possible supervision of undergraduate students (e.g., through the NSF-REU and/or UROP programs); it may also involve optional participation in a formal course (ranging from several guest lectures to full instructor-of-record, i.e., course responsibility), and such activities as organizing summer programs, etc. The term of appointment is three (3) years and is renewable upon the recommendation of the home unit, and favorable review and recommendation by RIO (see section 3).
Associate Research Professor
This title is parallel to the tenure-track or tenured faculty rank of Associate Professor. It is used for persons holding the terminal degree appropriate to the discipline, who also have made significant contributions in research judged by their publications, funding history and external and internal letters of evaluation. Appointments at this rank will require a demonstration of the applicant's current or planned involvement with the instructional activities of the host department, which includes graduate student advising and mentoring, and may include classroom teaching (again, this is optional as some federal grants and contracts do not allow or provide for classroom teaching activities as part of the funding). These activities will be of the same type as described above. The term of appointment is five (5) years and is renewable (see Section 3).
This title is parallel to the tenured faculty rank of Professor. It is used for persons who hold the terminal degree appropriate to the discipline and who have made outstanding contributions in research and have demonstrated ability to generate substantial external funding and lead groups or teams of research personnel. Appointments at this rank will require a demonstration of the applicant's current or planned involvement with the instructional activities of the host department, which includes graduate student advising and mentoring, and classroom teaching as appropriate. These activities will be of the same type as described above. The term of appointment is five (5) years and is renewable upon the recommendation of the home unit and contingent on favorable review and recommendation by RIO (see section 3).
2.2. Nomination Documents
a. A current curriculum vita (including samples of not more than five (5) publications). In the case of scholars working with others or as member of a group, the distinctive role that the individual played or how the nominee contributed to sets of multiple-authored publications is requested. The curriculum vita should also include the funding history and proposal writing activity of the nominee. The vita will include publication records and should also include a record of instruction, including advising and mentoring of students.
b. At least five (5) letters of reference, of which no more than two (2) are letters of reference or support solicited by internal university faculty. The nominating department’s chair/institute director, or the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation will prepare the main support and Nominating letter that give clear indication of the nominee's ability to conduct independent research (or in the case of team efforts, is/her collaborative experience or talents), originality, and quality of his or her work, as explained in the position descriptions in section 2.1.
c. An assessment by the nominating department chair/institute director of the external funding record of the nominee, including the amount of funding received, when it was received, and whether the nominee was the P.I. or co-P.I., for those contracts/awards. If the nominee is a co-P.I., then the name of the P.I. should also be given. This letter should also include the following:
- the departmental (or institute) vote count on the nominee's appointment, or the vote by a special committee appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation.
- a description of the nominee's expected and planned contributions to the specific research project(s) he/she will be involved in; if relevant, the nominee's role and responsibility when he/she is a co-P.I. or a participant in a team project
- a description of the nominee's potential instructional activities during the appointment period (including classroom teaching, if appropriate), including graduate student advising or mentorship; if relevant, the anticipated impact of the nominee's research/instructional activities on other units in the University; the interdisciplinary nature of such activities.
d. A brief statement (1-2 pages) from the nominee describing his/her research plans and objectives.
e. A brief statement (1-2 pages) from the nominee describing his/her proposed instructional contributions, such as graduate student advising and mentorship, engaging undergraduates in research, serving on graduate student committees, as well classroom teaching plans if appropriate, is required. It is important to note that if the Research faculty member can be engaged in classroom teaching, the funds that will be used to compensate the research faculty member will in most cases need to come from General Fund sources.
f. A statement from the sponsoring department chair/institute director indicating at what level the department/institute will support the nominee with resources, if a title is conferred. The level of support should reflect the department's/institute's continued commitment to the functional and operational support of the nominee (e.g., providing office or laboratory space), excluding salary and fringe benefits, and should provide the review committee with a strong sense of the department's/institute's desire to have the nominee be associated with the department/institute.
g. A statement from the sponsoring department chair/institute director indicating what fraction of a potential financial back-stop (described in section 5) for salary, in the event of grant or contract funding discontinuity, that it is willing to provide. (This information is necessary to monitor the financial viability of the program.)
3. Reappointment Procedures
If reappointment is desired by the faculty member in consultation with the home unit, an application for reappointment is required six months prior to the end of the current appointment period for all Research Professor Professor titles. It is the responsibility of the department chair/institute director, or Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation in the event the candidate does not have a home in a department or institute, in consultation with the candidate to prepare the application for reappointment.
3.1 Evaluation Guidelines
The evaluation of nominees for reappointment will focus on four areas: performance in classroom teaching (as appropriate) or graduate student advising and mentoring, research, service, and the ability of the candidate to obtain sustained funding. Although similar criteria may be used to evaluate the three research professor categories, the level of expectation increases with the rank and should be consistent with the respective position descriptions (section 2.1).
The evaluation of nominees for reappointment at the same rank should focus on four areas:
- the nominee's research performance during the previous appointment period
- the nominee's impact on the general research activities of the department/institute
- the nominee's classroom teaching performance during the previous appointment period, if appropriate (i.e., ONLY in the event the sponsoring department is able to support the nominee’s classroom teaching from General Funds or in the event the funding agency allows classroom teaching as part of a cooperative agreement, research grant or contract, etc.)
- the nature of the nominee's teaching activities
- Advising and mentoring of graduate and/or undergraduate students in his/her field.
- appropriate internal campus and external service by the nominee to the mission of the department or institute (see section 4)
- details of the financial resources for sustained funding of the nominee and his/her research program during the reappointment period
3.2 Reappointment Documents
a. Current curriculum vita (including publications). In the case of scholars working with others or as member of a group, the distinctive role that the individual played or how the nominee contributed to sets of multiple-authored publications is requested. The vita should also include the funding history and grant or contract proposal writing activity of the nominee.
b. A letter from the nominating department chair/institute director assessing the nominee's performance. This letter should include:
- a report of the departmental (or institute), or special committee appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation’s vote count on the nominee's reappointment
- the nominee's contributions to the specific research project(s) he/she was involved in during the previous appointment period; the nominee's role and responsibility in such projects.
- an evaluation of the nominee’s instructional activities, including classroom teaching, if appropriate, and advising performance during the past appointment period; development of any innovative courses, etc.
- the impact of the nominee's research/instructional activity on other programs within the University; the interdisciplinary nature (if any) of his/her research/instructional activities, including student advising.
- an assessment of the nominee's efforts in securing grant/contract funding, a list of proposals submitted and awarded; award duration and amounts and the role the nominee played in such proposals (P.I., co-P.I., co-I. or other)
c. Annual "Faculty Reports of Professional Activities" completed during the previous appointment period.
d. A summary of FCQs for any course(s) taught by the nominee and letters of evaluation from the graduate/undergraduate students supervised by the nominee on research projects or creative work.
e. At least two letters of evaluation from other faculty in the nominating department/institute (or other departments/institutes in the University) familiar with the nominee's research and, if appropriate, teaching activities; the impact of such activities.
f. A brief plan written by the nominee summarizing his/her proposed research activities during the reappointment period.
g. A brief plan written by the nominee summarizing his/her proposed instructional activities, in particular graduate student advising or mentorship during the reappointment period, if appropriate.
h. A statement from the sponsoring department chair/institute director indicating at what level the department/institute may continue to support the nominee during the reappointment period. The level of support should reflect the department's/unit's continued commitment to the functional and operational support of the nominee (e.g., providing office or laboratory space), excluding salary and fringe benefits, and provide the review committee with a solid sense of the department's/institute's desire to reappoint the nominee.
i. A statement from the sponsoring department chair/institute director indicating what fraction of a financial back-stop (described in section 5) for salary between grants the department/institute is willing to provide.
4. Promotion Procedures
4.1 Promotion Process
After two consecutive reappointments and contingent on expected progress in research, education and service, Assistant and Associate Research Professors and the host department chairs/institute directors should consider seeking promotion of deserving research faculty members to Associate and Full Research Professors, respectively. Chairs and directors are encouraged to consider standards of performance as written for associate and full professors, when considering the advisability of suggesting that a given individual be advanced in rank.
4.2 Evaluation Guidelines
The evaluation of nominees for promotion should focus on four areas, and significant growth in research, education, in particular graduate student advising, and service should be documented. Although similar criteria can be used, the level of expectation increases with the rank and should be consistent with the respective position descriptions (section 2.1).
- the nominee's research performance
- the nominee's history and future potential to secure funding
- the nominee's impact on the general research activities of the department/institute and on the University in general
- the nature of the nominee's teaching activities
- graduate/undergraduate student and postdoc advising/supervising activities
- graduate/undergraduate core/elective courses taught (if appropriate)
- the nominee's classroom teaching performance (if appropriate)
- development of new courses (if appropriate)
- the nominee's service activities in the department/institute and campus as well as externally in the candidate’s professional organizations
- details of the financial resources for funding the nominee and his/her research program during his/her continuing appointment period at the higher rank
4.3 Promotion Documents
a. A current curriculum vita and not more than 5 sample publications. In the case of scholars working with others or as member of a group, the distinctive role that the individual played or how the nominee contributed to sets of multiply-authored publications is requested. The vitae should also include the funding history and proposal writing activity of the nominee.
b. A letter from the nominating department chair/institute director, or the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation for candidates who do not currently have a sponsoring department or institute, assessing the nominee's performance. This letter should include:
- a report of the department/institute, or a special committee appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, vote count on the nominee's promotion
- the nominee's contributions to the specific research project(s) he/she was involved in during his/her appointment period; the nominee’s role and responsibility in such projects
- an evaluation of the nominee's classroom teaching/advising performance in the event the candidate has taught formal courses; development of any innovative courses, teaching techniques etc. In the event the candidate is only able to engage in mentoring and advising of graduate students a formal evaluation of the effectiveness and impact of the educational activity must be made.
- the impact of the nominee's research/teaching on other programs within the University; the interdisciplinary nature (if any) of his/her research/teaching activities
- an assessment of the nominee's efforts and success in securing grant/contract funding, a list of proposals submitted, awarded, rejected; award duration and amounts and the role the nominee played in such proposals (P.I., co-P.I., co-I. or other)
- an assessment of the nominee's University, public and professional service.
c. At least five (5) letters of evaluation assessing the nominee's research and other professional efforts, from scholars outside the university who are qualified to assess the research, scholarly or creative work by the nominee.
d. At least two (2) additional letters of evaluation from colleagues within the University, who are familiar with the educational activities of the nominee, assessing the nominee's contributions to the educational mission of the University.
e. A summary of FCQs for any course(s) taught by the nominee, and letters of evaluation from the graduate/undergraduate students supervised by the nominee on research projects and creative work.
f. Annual "Faculty Reports of Professional Activities" completed during the past appointment period.
g. A brief statement (1-2 pages) from the nominee describing his/her research plans and objectives.
h. A brief statement (1-2 pages) from the nominee describing his/her instructional plans and objectives.
i. Any other information submitted by the nominee that the nominee believes will assure an adequate consideration and evaluation of his/her appointment, or promotion.
j. A statement from the sponsoring department chair/institute director, or the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation indicating at what level the department/institute/Research & Innovation Office will continue to support the nominee with resources. The level of support should list specifics and reflect the department's/institute's continued commitment to the functional and operational support of the nominee (e.g., providing office or laboratory space), excluding salary and fringe benefits, and provide the review committee with a solid sense of the department's/institute's desire to promote the nominee.
k. A statement from the sponsoring department chair/institute director or Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation indicating what fraction of any financial back-stop (described in section 5) for salary between grants that it is able and willing to provide.
5. University Obligations
5.1 Definitions and Terms of Appointments
a. The term related to a limited-term appointment refers to the length of time a person holds the faculty title and not to the length of time the University may be obliged to provide interim funding. The normal length of appointment term will be a function of the rank, with 3-year terms for Assistant Research Professors, and 5-year terms for Associate and Full Research Professors. Appointments are renewable, although the University does not accrue any obligation to renew any research faculty appointments. Appointments automatically expire at the time specified in the appointment letter, and no further notification is required. Renewal is contingent upon satisfactory performance and upon a continuing need for and interest in the research work of the individual, as judged by the sponsoring unit(s) at the time of consideration for reappointment. Renewal is also contingent upon the sponsoring unit(s) being able to provide the appropriate support for the research (e.g., the physical space).
All Research faculty are subject to immediate dismissal for cause on the same grounds as are applicable to tenure-track and tenured faculty members.
b. With the exception of the required instructional contribution, if allowed by the funding agency or provided by the unit, the duties and responsibilities of research professor track faculty are determined largely by the sponsored-research program that is funding the position, and not by an academic department or institute. Research faculty will not be eligible for faculty fellowships and sabbaticals funded by the University. Also, they will not normally be eligible for campus-wide grant support that is normally aimed at tenured and tenure-track faculty.
c. Upon retirement Research faculty may become eligible for emeritus titles, i.e., Research Professor Emeritus. Nominations for such emeritus titles originate with the home units.
d. Eligibility to participate in faculty governance activities will be determined by the Boulder Faculty Assembly. Participation in the governance of the sponsoring units (e.g., voting privileges) is at the discretion of the sponsoring unit.
e. The salary and fringe benefits for research faculty members are to be paid from non-general funds except as provided herein below.
5.2 Provision of General Fund Support for Research Professors
General fund support is normally not provided for individuals in the Research Professor series; however, individual units may agree to provide interim or backstop financial support in the event of discontinuity in external funding. Such backstop funding must be described in writing in the appointment or offer letter.
The exact details about the accrual and use of University general fund support are stated below. In the event these individuals are to be supported by general funds, they will be expected to carry out work in support of the University's principal missions of teaching, research, and service; i.e., they may be required to teach and/or perform functions in support of service or research such as proposal preparation and general assistance to the service or research activities of the sponsoring unit.
General fund salary support at other times (e.g., at the beginning of an appointment with the University) is not normally provided and will be available only in exceptional circumstances. Such circumstances might occur when a specific regular course assignment is part of the formal appointment.
5.3 In the Event of Funding-Support Discontinuity
By definition, it is expected that faculty holding Research Professor titles will have their salaries and benefits funded by sponsored research programs. In the past the University has been called upon to provide temporary support, e.g., when there is a gap between external funding of two or more research grants or contracts. However, such backstop funding is beyond the financial capacity of most academic departments and institutes.
Eligibility for such interim or backstop funding must be agreed on in writing in advance of the individual’s appointment. (Note: prior service in the Research Associate ranks will not normally count toward such interim funding support). At that time, they are eligible for up to two months of interim salary support. Thereafter, for each year of fully-funded service on sponsored research, these faculty members may accrue two additional months of potential University salary funding, up to a maximum accrual of 12 months of support (which could be reached after seven (7) years of service). Any utilization of University funding would, of course, reduce the accrued balance. Replenishment would occur up to the 12-month limit at the normal rate of two months for each year of fully-funded service. It should be noted that not all departments, institutes or the administration are capable of providing financial/salary backstop to research faculty, since only a small fraction of indirect-costs are returned to units. It is very important that the research faculty member and the appointing unit are aware of any salary-backstop commitments that have been made.
The following will apply regarding utilization of the University interim support fund:
a. Salary level will be no higher than the salary paid on the most recent sponsored project of the faculty member.
b. The faculty member will be expected (unless there are exceptional circumstances) to have appropriate applications for external funds submitted and pending at one or more external funding agencies; i.e., the faculty member must be engaged in good-faith efforts to secure external funding.
c. The faculty member must apply for the interim funding to the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, who will communicate with the department/institute regarding financial/salary backstop commitments or obligations to determine the amount of funding to be awarded to the research faculty member. Funding will be for the maximum described in the prior section 5.3 or until sponsored-research funds are available, whichever comes first. Applications must be supported by the units that are the sponsors and co-sponsors of the appointment.
d. While drawing funding from University resources, the faculty member will be responsible to the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation, who, in consultation with the head of the sponsoring unit, will determine an appropriate workload and job responsibilities for the faculty member. Faculty members drawing University support may be required to contribute additionally to the instructional programs of the University or they may be required to contribute to the University's research or service program(s) as assigned by the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation.
e. Faculty will not normally be eligible to draw from the University fund unless they have experienced a complete lapse of funding: i.e., the first obligation against their existing research grants and contracts should be to pay their own salaries and benefits.
f. Accrued time for University funding cannot be used immediately prior to retirement or resignation. Accrual does not imply cash value upon retirement or upon leaving University employment for any reason. If the research faculty member terminates his/her connection with UCB by retirement or resignation within one year of receiving accrual time pay, the individual must refund to the University in full the accrual remuneration received.
g. Vacation earned while on a funded grant must be taken during the period of funding and may not be carried forward and taken while funded by the University general fund. The person is required to use accrued vacation time before becoming eligible to use any form of back-stop funding that may be provided by the unit depending on prior agreement.
The commitments to research faculty members, specified in this document, may be considered as the minimal commitments. Sponsoring units are free to negotiate additional commitments with particular members of the research faculty; however, any such negotiations are subject to the approval of the relevant dean(s) and the Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation. Sponsoring units are likewise free to set their own policies with regard to additional responsibilities of the members of their research faculty, so long as those policies do not contradict this policy or any other official University policy.
Individuals in the research professor series are eligible to participate in University medical, life and retirement plans. Individuals should contact the university benefits office, http://www.cu.edu/employee-services/benefits, for details of eligibility and plans. The cost of all benefits (except required employee contributions) shall be borne by the sponsored projects and not by the general fund, except during those times when the individual's salary is being borne by the general fund.
Doc.EAC.Policy Implementation.Revised 2/17/2012 (Original version:4/4/96; Revised 2/97; Revised 4/06, Revision 11/13, 2/14, 10/14)