“Regular” Appointments for Special Research Faculty

Commission on Research

Resolution 2000-01A

Approved by the Commission on Research: October 11, 2000
First Reading, University Council: November 13, 2000
Approved by the President: November 13, 2000
Approved by the Board of Visitors:

Whereas, certain research centers and programs have a long history of substantial and diversified sponsored funding and the prospect of continued funding into the foreseeable future; and

Whereas, being able to attract and retain skilled researchers in some fields where demand for qualified individuals is great and the supply, particularly of U.S. workers, is very scarce, requires us to make our jobs more attractive in order to be competitive with other opportunities; and

Whereas, currently, special research faculty are required to be “restricted” employees with no expectation of continued employment even in instances where the funding source is a grant of multiple years; and

Whereas, their status as “restricted” employees does not allow for demonstration of commitment to longer-term employment required from an employer for an application for permanent residency should the only qualified candidates be international researchers; and

Whereas a regular appointment, as contrasted with a restricted appointment, also provides the employee with a payout of accumulated annual leave upon resignation or termination, provides the employee with immediate protection of 1040 hours of sick leave with rapid reaccrual, and commits the unit to covering possible gaps or shortfalls in sponsored funding for a period not less than the required notification for non-reappointment (3 or 6 months depending on the length of employment).

Therefore be it resolved, that a research center or program may seek approval from the relevant department head, dean (or appropriate administrators as defined in Policy 3020) and the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies (or designee) to advertise and fill certain special research faculty positions as “regular” rather than restricted appointments under certain conditions.  The criteria and expectations for such approval are as follows:

1.                  The research program or center must have a documented record of substantial past funding, usually from diversified sources, generally over more than five years.  In the case of a new center with multi-year funding, documentation of the new funding supported by the history of funding for the principal researchers may be considered.

2.                  The research program or center must have documented prospects for continued funding at a level equal to or greater than its current funding. 

3.                  The unit must be able to guarantee payment of salary and fringe benefits from sponsored grants or contracts (or other appropriate sources) for a minimum of three years in order to advertise a special research faculty position as a regular appointment.

4.                  The unit must be able to guarantee funding of annual leave payout, sick leave, and salary following non-reappointment in the case of insufficient grant funds.  The source of such payouts or salary support must be non-sponsored funds, such as indirect or state funds.

5.                  The unit will advertise and conduct a national search for regular positions.  Search exemptions may be approved only under certain very limited conditions, such as unique qualifications or unit restructuring.  However, a search MUST be conducted if there is an intention of supporting an international candidate for permanent residency.  In such a cases, the hiring unit should work closely with the Graduate School to ensure compliance with current INS regulations.  (A document titled “Search Committee Procedures for Hiring International Faculty” is available from the Graduate School.  Appropriate documentation of the search process and selection is a critical element in supporting an application for permanent residency.)

6.                  In supporting the request for a regular faculty appointment, the unit and/or department (or approving unit) is thereby committing itself to covering shortfalls in funding between grants, or whenever there is insufficient funding for the salary, from other sources.  Should this occur, duties may be reassigned in order to match the available source of funds.

7.                  The Research Division may grant approval to the unit to conduct searches for regular positions for a period of three to five years at which time the financial capabilities and commitments of the unit would be reviewed and authorization granted for another period of 3-5 years, if appropriate.

8.                  Approval for the unit to advertise and fill some special research faculty positions as regular appointments does not in any way suggest that all positions in the unit should be so designated.  Indeed, careful thought should go into the shaping of such positions, the identification of talents and skills needed in the research group, and the availability of qualified individuals that may necessitate this more generous commitment of resources.

9.                  Postdoctoral associates are considered temporary or short-term appointments by definition and are not appropriate for “regular” appointments.

And let it be further resolved that a notice of non-reappointment for special research faculty be established as follows:

·        at least three months for those who have been in regular appointments for less than two years

·        at least six months for those who have been in regular appointments for two years or more.

·        for those special research faculty appointed to “regular” positions before the effective date of this policy, the notice of reappointment shall be the same as that specified in the Faculty Handbook, section 2.10.3.


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