Policies on Appointments and Promotions for Research Scientist and Research Professor tracks

Research Faculty Home

NOTE: Changes to this document made Nov. 7, 2013 are summarized here.

CONTENTS

  1. Appointment Authority
  2. Guidelines for the Appointment and Promotion of Research Faculty
    Issued by the Office of Research and the Offices of the Provost (Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint Campuses)

CRITICAL INFORMATION

  1. Resource Commitment to Create a New Research Faculty Position and Appointment Structure(s)
  2. Notice of Non-Reappointment
  3. Time-in-Rank and Mandatory Reviews
  4. Extension of Time to Review for Childbearing or Dependent Care
  5. Criteria for Entry into the Research Scientist Track versus the Research Professor Track
  6. Performance-Based Terminations

  1. Criteria for Appointment and Promotion to Research Faculty Ranks
    • Research Scientist Track
    • Research Professor Track
  2. Expectations Regarding Appointments and Promotions
    • Research and Scholarly Contributions
    • Independence
    • Service
    • Teaching
  3. Time-in-Rank Limits for Research Investigator and Mandatory Review Cycles for the Research Scientist Track
  4. Mandatory Review Cycles for the Research Professor Track
  5. Appointment Date Calculation
  6. Movement Between the Research Scientist Track and the Research Professor Track
  7. Special Cases
    • Dry Research Faculty Appointments
    • Adjunct Research Faculty Appointments
    • Visiting Research Faculty Appointments
  8. Bridging Support for Research Faculty
  9. Reduction-in-Force
  10. Research Faculty Governance

Appendices

Unit Specific Procedures for Appointments and Promotions

Sections 1-17 of this document serve as the University’s base guidelines for research faculty appointments and promotions in both the Research Scientist Track and Research Professor Track. Appointing units may adopt more restrictive criteria. When the approved, unit specific guidelines (see appendices) include more restrictive criteria, these criteria govern appointments and promotions made in the unit.

1. Appointment Authority

Contingent on the approval of guidelines for the appointment of research faculty consistent with Regents Bylaw 5.24 Research Scientists and Research Professors, the delegation of authority to appoint and promote research faculty is described below.

Ann Arbor Campus

The Deans of the Schools and Colleges and the Directors of the Institute for Social Research (ISR) and the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) have the authority to appoint individuals to the rank of Research Investigator, and to appoint or promote to the ranks of Assistant Research Scientist and Research Assistant Professor, as delegated to him/her by the Vice President for Research and the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Appointment or promotion to the ranks of Associate Research Scientist and Research Scientist require the recommendation of the Dean or Director and then the approval of the Vice President for Research.

Appointment or promotion to the ranks of Research Associate Professor and Research Professor require the recommendation of the Dean or Director, the review and consent of the Vice President for Research, and the approval of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Dearborn and Flint Campuses

The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs has the authority to appoint individuals to the rank of Research Investigator, and to appoint or promote to the ranks of Assistant Research Scientist and Research Assistant Professor, as delegated to him/her by the Vice President for Research. The Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs may at his/her discretion delegate this appointment authority to the Deans at the school/college level.

Appointment or promotion to the ranks of Associate Research Scientist and Research Scientist require the recommendation of the Dean, the review and consent of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and the approval of the Vice President for Research.

Appointment or promotion to the ranks of Research Associate Professor and Research Professor require the recommendation of the Dean, the review and consent of the Vice President for Research, and the approval of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

In the rest of this document, the term “designated authority” will be used to signify the individuals identified in this section as having that authority.

2. Guidelines for the Appointment and Promotion of Research Faculty Issued by the Office Research and the Offices of the Provost (Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses)

The Office of Research and the Office of the Provost on each campus annually review and issue guidelines for the appointment and promotion of research faculty at the ranks of Associate Research Scientist, Research Scientist, Research Associate Professor, and Research Professor, where applicable.  Current guidelines and other information regarding research faculty are available on the following websites:

Provost’s Office (Ann Arbor) – http://www.provost.umich.edu/

Provost’s Office (Dearborn) – http://www.umd.umich.edu/provost/

Provost’s Office (Flint) – http://www.umflint.edu/provost/

Research – http://research.umich.edu/


CRITICAL INFORMATION

3. Resource Commitment to Create a New Research Faculty Position

Resource Commitment

Research faculty appointments are established with the expectation that the research faculty member will participate in and/or develop a sustainable research program.  To create a new position the appointing unit is required to identify funding sources (current and anticipated) that are reasonably expected to support the first three years of the appointment.

Appointment Structure(s)

Research Investigator appointments are established as an annual, renewable appointment with a maximum duration of four years. (Reference: Section 10)

Assistant Research Scientist appointments are initially established for a three-year term.  Based on a positive assessment at the mandatory third year review the faculty member may be appointed to a second three-year term.  The results of the sixth year review determine future appointment structure. (Reference: Section 10)

Research Assistant Professor appointments are initially established for a three-year term.  Based on a positive assessment at the mandatory third year review the faculty member may be appointed for a second term.  The duration of the second term will vary by school/college: see Section 11.

Note:  Section 13 “Appointment Date Calculation” should be referenced to determine the appropriate end date for the term appointment.

All research faculty appointments at the associate level or higher are established as open-ended appointments.

Special Case:  Term-limited appointments are to be used when the period of appointment is aligned with the requirements of a specific project and there is no expectation of developing a research program.

Note:  All layoffs due to lack of funding must be approved by Academic HR and UMOR per Section 17: Reduction-in-Force.

4. Notice of Non-Reappointment

All term-limited appointments are considered terminal upon completion of the terms and conditions of employment.  However, for research faculty it is the University’s intent that these individuals receive a notice of non-reappointment at least 90-days prior to their end date.

For all other non-disciplinary actions (e.g. RIF, performance reviews) that result in a termination of the employment relationship the research faculty member should receive a notice of non-reappointment at least 90-days prior to their end date, but not for a period in excess of 1 year.

5. Time-in-Rank and Mandatory Reviews

The University has established a time-in-rank limit for Research Investigators and mandatory review processes for Assistant Research Scientists and Research Assistant Professors.  Associate Research Scientists and Research Associate Professors may request periodic reviews.  The specifics for each rank are detailed in this document.  The appointing unit must communicate this information to the research faculty member at the time of his/her appointment..

6. Extension of Time to Review for Childbearing or Dependent Care

Extensions to time of review for research faculty will follow the policy and procedures developed for tenure track instructional faculty as outlined in SPG201.92 “Tenure Probationary Period:  Effects on Tenure Clock of Childbearing and Dependent Care Responsibilities.”

7. Criteria for Entry into the Research Scientist Track versus the Research Professor Track

Units must develop specific criteria to determine the appropriate track for newly hired individuals or Research Investigators seeking promotion.

 Individuals appointed as Assistant Research Scientists should:

  1. Have the potential for scholarly development, possibly as part of a research group,
  2. Have an academic record of peer-reviewed publications in which they are a primary author or co-author, and
  3. Provide evidence of participation in relevant academic or professional meetings.

Additional criteria for individuals appointed as Research Assistant Professors are described below:

  1. **Have responsibilities through which they will ** develop a substantial record of non-didactic teaching,
  2. Be considered by the appointing unit as having the potential to develop a scholarly reputation at a rate that is consistent with that of an assistant professor on the tenure track, and
  3. Be considered by the appointing unit as having the potential to develop a substantial independent research program, which is required for promotion to Research Associate Professor.

More details about the expectations of Assistant Research Scientists and Research Assistant Professors are provided in this document.  Units are discouraged from appointing candidates as Research Assistant Professors who do not meet all of the required criteria described above.

8. Performance Based Terminations

If the unit decides to terminate a candidate as the result of a review conducted pursuant to these guidelines, a disciplinary review conference under SPG 201.12 is not required.


9. Criteria for Appointment and Promotion to Research Faculty Ranks

The criteria for appointment and promotion to research faculty ranks are defined using four fundamental characteristics of all faculty positions: scholarship, teaching, independence, and service.  The Research Scientist Track is differentiated from the Research Professor Track on the basis of all four criteria.  The level of and potential for scholarship and independence differs between the tracks.  Teaching and service are not required activities for any rank in the Research Scientist Track.

In addition to the criteria listed below, candidates for all research faculty appointments must have demonstrated personal characteristics consistent with good scholarship and professionalism..

Research Faculty Rank Specific Criteria for Appointment and Promotion to the Research Scientist Track

Research Investigator

Key Characteristic

Requirements

Scholarship

Scholarly reputation equivalent to a person who has recently completed a Ph.D. and/or postdoctoral training.

Independence

Independence not expected, but may be a goal of training.

Teaching

No requirement for teaching.

Service

No requirement for institutional service.

Assistant Research Scientist

Key Characteristic

Requirements

Scholarship

• Potential for scholarly development, possibly as part of a larger research program.
• Record of peer-reviewed publications.
• Participation in relevant academic or professional meetings.

Independence

Independence not required, but may be developing.

Teaching

No requirement for teaching.

Service

No requirement for institutional service.

Associate Research Scientist

Key Characteristic

Requirements

Scholarship

• Strong local and growing national scholarly reputation on the basis of research productivity and contributions over several years, possibly as part of a larger research program.
• Record of peer-reviewed publications.
• Participation in relevant academic or professional meetings.

Independence

Independence not required, but may be developing.

Teaching

No requirement for teaching.

Service

No requirement for institutional service.

Research Scientist

Key Characteristic

Requirements

Scholarship

• Strong national and international scholarly reputation on the basis of sustained research productivity and contributions.
• Substantial record of peer-reviewed publications.
• Significant, sustained participation in relevant academic or professional meetings.

Independence

A record of independent scholarship and funding.

Teaching

No requirement for teaching.

Service

No requirement for institutional service.

Research Faculty Rank Specific Criteria for Appointment and Promotion to the Research Professor Track

Research Assistant Professor

Key Characteristic

Requirements

Scholarship

• Potential for scholarly development at a rate consistent with that of an assistant professor on the tenure track.
• Record of peer-reviewed publications in which they are a primary author or co-author.
• Participation in relevant academic or professional meetings.

Independence

• Strong potential for or documented evidence of extramural funding. • Strong potential for development into an independent scholar

Teaching

Evidence of, or the potential for, substantial non-didactic teaching and mentoring of postdoctoral fellows, junior research colleagues, or students at any level within the context of one or more research fields (e.g., laboratory bench science, social science, or other disciplinary setting).

Service

Institutional service expected, but not at the level expected for an assistant professor on the tenure track.

Research Associate Professor

Key Characteristic

Requirements

Scholarship

• Strong local and national reputation on the basis of research productivity and contributions over several years consistent with that of a tenured associate professor.
• Substantial record of peer-reviewed publications.
• Significant, sustained participation in relevant academic or professional meetings.

Independence

Independent scholarship and funding.

Teaching

A record of substantial non-didactic teaching and mentoring of postdoctoral fellows, junior research colleagues, or students at any level within the context of one or more research fields (e.g., laboratory bench science, social science, or other disciplinary setting).

Service

Institutional service expected, but not at the level expected for an tenured associate professor.

Research Professor

Key Characteristic

Requirements

Scholarship

Exemplary and sustained national and international reputation and achievements equivalent to a tenured professor.

Independence

Independent scholarship and independent sustained funding.

Teaching

A record of substantial non-didactic teaching and mentoring of postdoctoral fellows, junior research colleagues, or students at any level within the context of one or more research fields (e.g., laboratory bench science, social science, or other disciplinary setting).

Service

Institutional service expected, but not at the level expected for a tenured professor.

10. Expectations Regarding Appointments and Promotion

Research and Scholarly Contributions

The basic expressions of a research faculty member’s scholarly work are found in peer-reviewed publications authored and/or co-authored by the research faculty member.

In evaluating the scholarly merit of publications, a major consideration is the level of the researcher’s participation in, and contributions to, the work, especially multi-authored contributions.  Peer-reviewed publications are generally expected and preferred.  If non peer-reviewed work is offered as part of the portfolio, the appointing unit should seek an assessment of its academic contribution from external reviewers.

It is expected that nominees for the senior ranks (associate and above) will have achieved a level of national or international recognition in their fields.  “National and international recognition” means that leaders in the field are able to recognize excellence in the nominee’s published work, and to identify contributions he/she has made to the field.  National and international recognition is judged primarily from the responses provided by external “arms-length” reviewers.  Additional information may also be obtained based on the frequency of citations of an individual’s publications in the appropriate citation indexes for the field of study.

A record of research funding as a principal investigator from outside sources does not, by itself, guarantee research competence, just as inability to attract research funding does not necessarily demonstrate a lack of research competence.  On balance, however, a record of peer-reviewed research funding reflects well on the nominee’s standing in the scientific community, and funded research of various types provides evidence that the nominee has satisfied the first two criteria for advancement.  Having secured research funding reflects particular credit on the nominee when he/she has obtained it through a competitive, peer-reviewed process at the national level, such as that required by NIH and NSF.

Independence

The scholarly independence of a faculty member is evidenced when he/she undertakes leadership in the conception, execution, and dissemination through publication of important scholarly work.  Candidates can demonstrate this by serving as the Principal Investigator on research projects, by serving as the sole author, lead author, or primary author on a fair proportion of publications, by demonstrating other major contributions to the preparation of manuscripts, and by achieving recognition from their peer group through invited lectures, awards, etc.  Comments from external reviewers are also used as a measure of the nominee’s creativity, initiative and productivity that can reveal the level and growth of a faculty’s scholarly independence.

Service

Nominees will have demonstrated a reasonable level of contribution to service at various levels, such as their departments, the school/college, or the University as a whole, as well as in various activities at community, state, national, or international levels.

Teaching

Research Scientist faculty appointments are intended for individuals whose primary activity is research.  Faculty appointed on the Research Professor Track are expected to participate in significant levels of non-didactic teaching.

If a research faculty member takes part in instructional track teaching while holding a research faculty appointment, it is expected that the unit for which the research faculty member is teaching will establish a fractional instructional appointment for the teaching.  Appointments to non-tenure track instructional titles covered by the collective bargaining agreement between the University and the Lecturers’ Employee Organization (LEO) are governed by the terms of that agreement.  If a research faculty member accepts a fractional instructional teaching appointment, the appointing unit for his/her research appointment must make arrangements to reduce the percentage of the faculty member’s research appointment to the appropriate fractional level, with a corresponding reduction in his/her compensation.

When units evaluate the teaching done by a research faculty member, as described above, they should apply the same criteria the unit uses in evaluating the teaching of instructional faculty.

11. Time-in-Rank Limits for Research Investigators and Mandatory Review Cycles for the Research Scientist Track

For research faculty who hold an active appointment (greater than 0% effort) in the Research Scientist Track, appointing units are expected to undertake the reviews described below.  If the research faculty member holds additional faculty appointments, the expectation is that where appropriate, all faculty appointments will be reviewed concurrently.

Research Investigator

After two years in rank, Research Investigators may be promoted to the rank of Assistant Research Scientist or Research Assistant Professor, following review and approval by the appointing unit, consistent with its approved appointment and promotion guidelines.

The University has established a maximum time-in-rank policy for the rank of Research Investigator.  After a Research Investigator has been in this position for four years without promotion, the appointing unit must move him/her out of the rank in one of the ways described below.

In the event that the candidate is not qualified for promotion, the unit has two options, as described below, contingent on the approval of the designated authority (see Section 1: Appointment Authority).

  1. If the unit decides to continue to employ the candidate, the unit may appoint him/her to an appropriate staff position.
  2. If the unit decides to terminate the candidate, it must provide appropriate notice to him/her of this decision. The terminal time period must be a minimum of 90 days and may be as long as one year.

The maximum time-in-rank parameters described above apply to all Research Investigators with appointment fractions greater than 80% effort averaged over the four years in rank.

For Research Investigators with less than 80% effort averaged over the four years in rank, units must conduct a complete review during the candidate’s fourth year in rank to determine whether the candidate is making sufficient progress for promotion to Assistant Research Scientist.  If, based on the review, the appointing unit decides the Research Investigator’s progress warrants a continuation in rank, the unit may re-appoint the Research Investigator for up to two more years, contingent on the approval of UMOR.

To ensure newly appointed Research Investigators are aware of the maximum time-in-rank policy, UMOR requires all hiring units to include a signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) that includes a statement about this policy as part of the appointment offer.  The MOU should specify that the Research Investigator is entering the Research Scientist Track.

Assistant Research Scientist

The University has established a mandatory review policy for the rank of Assistant Research Scientist.

The first period of appointment will be three years.  During the third year of appointment, the appointing unit will perform a review of the candidate.  Based on the results of the third-year review, the unit may determine that any of the three possible outcomes listed below are appropriate.  Note that if the unit determines that the candidate is not yet qualified for promotion, but is making sufficient progress to remain in rank (outcome #2), the unit does not need to submit a plan to UMOR at the third-year review period.

When an Assistant Research Scientist has been in rank for five years without promotion, the appointing unit must do a comprehensive review during his/her sixth year to determine his/her eligibility for promotion or continuation in rank.  The unit must do a full review, compiling a casebook that is equivalent with the unit’s procedures for promotion of tenure track instructional faculty.  The unit must submit the results of this review to UMOR for review.

If the Assistant Research Scientist also holds a tenure track position in a School or College with a tenure probationary period other than six years in length, the appointing unit for the research appointment may ask UMOR and the relevant Provost’s Office to change the length of the review period for the research appointment to the same length as the faculty member’s tenure probationary period.

There are three possible outcomes of the third-year and sixth-year reviews, contingent on approval by the designated authority, where applicable.  The possible outcomes are described below:

  1. Contingent on approval from the designated authority, the appointing unit may promote the candidate to either Associate Research Scientist or Research Associate Professor.
  2. The unit may determine that the candidate is not yet qualified for promotion but is making sufficient progress toward meeting the criteria for promotion to remain in the Research Scientist Track as an Assistant Research Scientist.
  3. The unit may decide that the candidate is not presently qualified for promotion and that his/her performance to-date is insufficient to justify continuing him/her in the Research Scientist track.  The unit may appoint him/her to an appropriate staff position or terminate the candidate’s employment, as described below.

For research faculty who are reappointed after the third-year review, the subsequent review will take place in the sixth year, as previously stated.

If, after the sixth-year review, the unit decides to submit a request to UMOR to reappoint the candidate (outcome #2 above), the appointing unit will prepare a professional development plan that will outline what steps, if any, are needed for the candidate to progress toward successfully meeting the promotion criteria at the time of his/her next review.  This development plan will include a time frame for a subsequent review.  The date of the subsequent review will be determined by the appointing unit contingent on approval by UMOR.  The appointing unit will include the development plan in its request to UMOR to reappoint the candidate.

If, at the three-year review, the unit recommends that the candidate be transferred to the Research Professor Track, the candidate may be appointed as a Research Assistant Professor.  Nonetheless, the candidate will still undergo the mandatory sixth-year review based on the original appointment date (i.e., after five years from having been appointed as an Assistant Research Scientist).

If the appointing unit decides the candidate is not qualified for promotion or continuation, the unit has two options, as described below.  In each case, the Dean or Director of the appointing unit must approve the decision.

  1. If the unit wants to continue to employ the candidate, the unit may appoint him/her to an appropriate staff position.
  2. If the unit decides to terminate the candidate, it must provide appropriate notice to him/her of this decision. The unit must notify the faculty member at least 90 days before the date on which the unit will terminate his/her appointment or up to or no longer than one year before the date of termination.

Recommendations for continuation as an Assistant Research Scientist, or for promotion to the rank of Associate Research Scientist, require the approval of the Vice President for Research. Recommendations for transfer to the Research Professor Track with promotion to the rank of Research Associate Professor require the approval of the relevant Provost, after review and consent from the Vice President for Research.  In cases where the Vice President for Research does not consent to the promotion, the VPR will communicate with the relevant Provost about the case.

To ensure newly appointed Assistant Research Scientists are aware of this mandatory review policy, UMOR requires the appointing unit to include a signed MOU that includes a statement about this policy as part of the appointment documentation.

Associate Research Scientist

There is no limit to the amount of time an Associate Research Scientist can remain in rank.  The appointing unit may conduct an evaluation for promotion any time after the first three years in rank.  On a six-year cycle, the unit must conduct a formal review of the faculty member in response to his/her request.

Recommendations for promotion to Research Scientist must be approved by the Vice President for Research. Recommendations for transfer to the Research Professor Track with promotion to either Research Associate Professor or Research Professor must be approved by the relevant Provost, after review and consent from the Vice President for Research. In cases where the Vice President for Research does not consent to the promotion, the VPR will communicate with the relevant Provost about the case.

Research Scientist

There is no limit to the amount of time a Research Scientist can remain in rank.  At any time after the first three years in rank, the appointing unit may conduct an evaluation of the faculty member for promotion to Research Associate Professor or Research Professor.  On a six-year cycle, the unit must conduct a formal review of the faculty member in response to his/her request.

Recommendations for promotion to Research Associate Professor or Research Professor require the approval of the relevant Provost, after review and consent from the Vice President for Research. In cases where the Vice President for Research does not consent to the recommendation for promotion, the VPR will communicate with the relevant Provost about the case.


12. Mandatory Review Cycles for the Research Professor Track

The mandatory review cycle for the research professor track is intended to parallel each school/college’s review cycle (tenure clock) for tenure track instructional faculty.  Appointing units that are not authorized to appoint tenure track instructional faculty will follow the review cycle used by the majority of the schools/colleges on their campus.  The following section documents the example of the timing for a seven-year tenure clock review cycle. Please note that all research assistant professors should undergo a unit review at three years; the timing of the comprehensive university-based review will vary by school/college, and will be consistent with the time to tenure track assistant professor review.

Research Assistant Professor

The University has established a mandatory review policy for the rank of Research Assistant Professor.

The first period of appointment will be three years. During the faculty member’s third year, the appointing unit will perform a review.  Based on the results of the third-year review, the unit may determine that any of the three possible outcomes listed below are appropriate.  Note that if the unit determines that the candidate is not yet qualified for promotion, but is making sufficient progress to remain in rank (outcome #2), the unit does not need to submit a plan to UMOR at the third-year review period.

When a Research Assistant Professor has been in rank for five years without promotion, the appointing unit must conduct a comprehensive review during his/her sixth year to determine his/her eligibility for promotion or continuation in rank.  As part of this review, the unit must compile a casebook that is equivalent with the unit’s procedures for promotion of tenure track instructional faculty.  The results of this review will then be submitted to UMOR and the relevant Provost’s Office for review and a decision.

If the Research Assistant Professor also holds a tenure-track position in a School or College with a tenure probationary period other than six years in length, the appointing unit for the research appointment may ask UMOR and the relevant Provost’s Office to change the length of the review period for the research appointment to the same length as the faculty member’s tenure probationary period.

There are three possible outcomes of the third-year and sixth-year reviews, contingent on approval by the designated authority, where applicable.  The possible outcomes are described below:

  1. Contingent on approval from the designated authority, the appointing unit may promote the faculty member to Research Associate Professor or Associate Research Scientist.
  2. The unit may determine that the candidate is not currently qualified for promotion but is making sufficient progress toward successfully meeting the criteria for promotion to remain in the Research Professor Track as a Research Assistant Professor.
  3. The unit may decide that the candidate is not presently qualified for promotion and that his/her performance to-date is insufficient to justify continuing an appointment on either research faculty track.  The unit may appoint him/her to an appropriate staff position or terminate the candidate’s employment as described below.

For Research Assistant Professors who are reappointed after the third-year review, the subsequent review will take place in the sixth year, as previously stated.

If, after the sixth-year review the unit recommends the candidate for a continued appointment in the Research Assistant Professor rank, the unit will prepare a professional development plan that will outline what steps, if any, the candidate and the unit will take to help the candidate continue to develop toward meeting the criteria for promotion at his/her subsequent review.  The unit will propose a time for the subsequent review as part of this development plan.  The appointing unit, contingent on approval by UMOR and the relevant Provost’s Office, will decide the date of the subsequent review. The appointing unit will include the development plan in its request to UMOR and the relevant Provost’s Office to reappoint the candidate.

If, at the three-year review, the unit recommends that the candidate be transferred to the Research Scientist Track, the candidate may be appointed as an Assistant Research Scientist.  Nonetheless, the candidate will still undergo the mandatory sixth-year review based on the original appointment date (i.e., after five years from having been appointed as an Research Assistant Professor).

If the appointing unit decides the candidate is not qualified for promotion or continuation, the unit has two options, as described below.  In each case, the Dean or Director of the appointing unit must approve the decision.

  1. If the unit wants to continue to employ the candidate, the unit may appoint him/her to an appropriate staff position.
  2. If the unit decides to terminate the candidate, it must provide appropriate notice to him/her of this decision. The unit must notify the faculty member at least 90 days before the date on which the unit will terminate his/her appointment or up to or no longer than one year before the date of termination.

Recommendations for continuation as a Research Assistant Professor, or promotion to the rank of Research Associate Professor, require the consent of the Vice President for Research and the approval of the relevant Provost. In cases where the Vice President for Research does not consent to the continuation or promotion, the VPR will communicate with the relevant Provost about the case.  Transfer to the Research Scientist Track with promotion to the rank of Associate Research Scientist, is contingent on the approval of the Vice President for Research.

To ensure newly appointed Research Assistant Professors are aware of this mandatory review policy, UMOR requires the appointing unit to include a signed MOU that includes a statement about this policy as part of the appointment documentation.

Research Associate Professor

There is no limit to the amount of time a Research Associate Professor can remain in rank.  An evaluation for promotion to Research Professor may be conducted at any time after the first three years in rank.  A formal review for promotion may be requested by the candidate on six-year cycles. This review should be conducted with the same process and in parallel with promotion reviews of tenure track instructional faculty.

Promotion to Research Professor is contingent on the consent of the Vice President for Research and the subsequent approval of the relevant Provost.  In cases where the Vice President for Research does not consent to the promotion, the VPR will communicate with the relevant Provost about the case.

13. Appointment Date Calculations

For time-in-rank limits, mandatory review cycles and promotions, appointment dates are determined from the hire date as follows:

  • For hire dates between September 1 and December 31, for the purposes mentioned above, the University considers the appointment begin date to be September 1 of the calendar year during which the faculty member is appointed.
  • For hire dates between January 1 and August 31, for the purposes mentioned above, the University considers the appointment begin date to be September 1 of the calendar year during which the faculty member is appointed.

Exception: If a school/college has adopted a fiscal year appointment schedule, the actual appointment start date should be used to calculate the time-to-promotion review for faculty in the research professor track.

14. Movement Between the Research Scientist Track and the Research Professor Track

The general criteria and procedures for movement between the Research Scientist Track and the Research Professor Track within each eligible rank are summarized here because of their importance.

Research Investigator to Research Assistant Professor

The Vice President for Research has established a four-year maximum time-in-rank policy for the rank of Research Investigator.  After four years without promotion, the appointing unit must move a Research Investigator out of the rank.

After two years at the rank of the Research Investigator, the unit may review the faculty member to consider whether he/she has met the criteria for transfer to the Research Professor Track with a promotion to Research Assistant Professor.  The unit must conduct this review using the same process as when it reviews tenure track instructional faculty for promotion.

Assistant Research Scientist to Research Assistant Professor or Research Associate Professor

At any time during the first six years of an Assistant Research Scientist’s appointment, if the unit decides that the candidate has met the criteria for transfer to the Research Professor Track as a Research Assistant Professor, the unit may transfer the candidate to this rank, following unit procedures.  However, such a transfer does not affect the timing of the appointing unit’s full review of the candidate for continuation or promotion to the rank of Research Associate Professor, which will occur during the faculty member’s sixth year based on his/her original appointment date as an Assistant Research Scientist.  Continuation of the appointment as a Research Assistant Professor beyond the sixth year is contingent on the approval of UMOR and the relevant Provost’s Office.

If, based on the review, the unit decides that the Assistant Research Scientist has met the criteria for promotion to Research Associate Professor; the unit may recommend promotion to this level. This review should be conducted following the same process and, where applicable, in the same time frame as reviews for promotion of tenure track instructional faculty.

Recommendation for promotion to Research Associate Professor by the unit will be jointly reviewed by UMOR and the relevant Provost’s Office.  Promotion to Research Associate Professor requires the review and consent of the Vice President for Research and the subsequent approval of the relevant Provost. In cases where the Vice President for Research does not consent to the promotion, the VPR will communicate with the relevant Provost about the case.

Associate Research Scientist to Research Associate Professor or Research Professor

An Associate Research Scientist can remain in rank indefinitely.  An evaluation for promotion to Research Scientist may be conducted at any time after the first three years in rank.  A formal review for promotion may be requested by the candidate on six-year cycles.  Candidates recommended for promotion to Research Scientist by the unit must be approved by UMOR.

If, during an evaluation for promotion to Research Scientist, the unit decides that the candidate has met the criteria for transfer to the Research Professor Track as a Research Associate Professor, the transfer from the Research Scientist Track to the Research Professor Track may be considered. This review should be conducted with the same process and in parallel with promotion reviews of tenure track instructional faculty.

Promotion to Research Associate Professor or Research Professor requires the consent of the Vice President for Research and the approval of the relevant Provost.  In cases where the Vice President for Research does not consent to the promotion, the VPR will communicate with the relevant Provost about the case.

Research Scientist to Research Associate Professor or Research Professor

A Research Scientist can remain in rank indefinitely.  An evaluation for promotion to Research Professor may be conducted at any time after the first three years in rank at the request of the candidate.  A formal review for promotion may be requested by the candidate on six-year cycles. This review should be conducted with the same process and in parallel with promotion reviews of tenure track instructional faculty.

Promotion to Research Associate Professor or Research Professor requires the consent of the Vice President for Research and the subsequent approval of the relevant Provost.  In cases where the Vice President for Research does not consent to the promotion, the VPR will communicate with the relevant Provost about the case.

Research Assistant Professor to Assistant Research Scientist or Associate Research Scientist

If, within the six years of the Research Assistant Professor appointment, the unit decides that the candidate is better suited for the Research Scientist Track, the unit may transfer the person from the Research Professor Track to the Research Scientist Track at the rank of Assistant Research Scientist.  However, the appointing unit must perform a full review for continuation or promotion to the rank of Associate Research Scientist during the sixth year based on the original appointment date as a Research Assistant Professor.  Continuation of the appointment as a Assistant Research Scientist beyond the sixth year is contingent on approval by UMOR.

Alternatively, a Research Assistant Professor may be promoted to Associate Research Scientist if the candidate meets the qualifications for that title.  Promotion to Associate Research Scientist is subject to approval by the Vice President for Research.

Research Associate Professor to Research Scientist

A Research Associate Professor can remain in rank indefinitely.  An evaluation for promotion to Research Professor may be conducted at any time after the first three years in rank.  A formal review for promotion may be requested by the candidate on six-year cycles. This review should be conducted with the same process and in parallel with promotion reviews of tenure track instructional faculty.

The candidate may request to be considered for promotion to a Research Scientist. An evaluation for appointment to Research Scientist may be conducted at any time after the first three years in rank.  A formal review for such a change of appointment may be requested by the candidate on six-year cycles. Recommendation for promotion to Research Scientist must be approved by the Vice President for Research.

15. Special Cases

Dry Research Faculty Appointments
Units may appoint a faculty member to a Research Professor Track or Research Scientist Track dry appointment (0% effort on all research faculty appointments) for up to three years without review.  Subsequently, the School, College, or unit must determine whether the connection of the faculty member to the appointing unit justifies the renewal of the dry appointment.  The unit must do this type of determination at least every three years.

Adjunct Research Faculty Appointments
Adjunct research faculty appointments are used when an individual’s primary employment responsibilities lie outside the University.  An adjunct faculty appointment indicates that the individual is working for a limited, part-time portion of his/her work effort on research.  Appointing units may offer adjunct appointments at any research faculty rank, consistent with the person’s professional qualifications as specified in this document. Adjunct appointments are for one year or less in duration.

Visiting Research Faculty Appointments
Visiting research faculty appointments are for scholars visiting the University for a predetermined time (one year or less) to conduct research.  Typically such an individual holds his/her primary appointment at another academic/research institution, and the appointing unit expects him/her to return to that position.  Appointing units may offer visiting research faculty appointments at any research faculty rank, consistent with the person’s professional qualifications as specified in this document.

16. Bridging Support for Research Faculty

UMOR manages a central, cost-shared, “bridging support” program for research faculty on the Ann Arbor campus. On the Dearborn and Flint campuses, the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs is responsible for maintaining an equivalent program.

Bridging support addresses the need for salary and fringe benefit support for research faculty who experience a temporary loss in external (sponsored) funding due to factors beyond their control.  The duration of support is determined by both the rank of the research faculty member and their years of service in a bridging eligible rank. Funding eligibility is detailed below.  The bridging program requires a minimum of a dollar-for-dollar match from the appointing unit.  This program does not cover severance pay or terminal leaves for research faculty whose appointments at the University are ending.

Each unit that appoints research faculty is responsible for developing, administering, and funding its portion of the bridging support program for its research faculty.  Bridging fund programs administered by the units must adhere, at a minimum, to the following guidelines:

Eligibility

Rank

Years of Service*

Funding Eligibility

(Salary and benefits in any five-year period)

Research Investigator Not eligible
Assistant, Associate & Research Scientist and Research Assistant Professor
Less than 3 years of service
3-5 years of service
5-10 years of service
10+ years of service
Not eligible
Up to 2 months of salary & benefits
Up to 3 months of salary & benefits
Up to 6 months of salary & benefits
Research Associate Professor and Research Professor
Less than 3 years of service
3 or more years of service
Up to 6 months salary & benefits
Up to 12 months salary & benefits

* Includes all years above the rank of Research Investigator

Research faculty in the above ranks who hold joint research and non-tenured faculty appointments in any faculty track are eligible for bridging on the research appointment.  Part-time research faculty in these ranks are eligible for bridging based on their reduced effort if they have met the years of service requirement.

Ineligible Faculty

  • Research faculty who also hold a tenured instructional track appointment are not eligible for bridge funding.
  • The Institute for Social Research has a separate bridge funding program that meets or exceeds the requirements specified above.  For this reason, research faculty appointed in ISR are not eligible for bridge funding through UMOR.
  • Research faculty with 0% (dry) appointments are not eligible for bridge funding.

 

Evaluation Criteria

Criteria used in the evaluation of bridging support requests include:

  • The quality and significance of the researcher’s work;
  • The researcher’s past experience in obtaining external support for his/her work;
  • The researcher’s potential for obtaining such support in the future;
  • Evidence that the applicant has a grant application which is expected to be funded in the near future (1-6 months) by an external agency;
  • Evidence that the researcher’s work is in keeping with unit and institutional priorities; and
  • A statement by the applicant’s appointing unit as to the applicant’s continued employment.

Instructions for applying for bridging support can be found at http://orsp.umich.edu/funding/UM_Sources/OVPR.html.

17. Reduction-in-Force

Research faculty reduction-in-force (RIF, layoff) actions are governed by Standard Practice Guide (SPG) 201.72 – “Reduction-in-Force.”  In addition to the requirements established by SPG 201.72, the joint approval of UMOR and the Office of Academic Human Resources (AHR) is required before a unit may issue a RIF notification to a research faculty member.  The appointing unit must submit the RIF proposal to UMOR, which will work jointly with AHR to review the proposal.  All proposed RIF actions should be submitted to UMOR with sufficient lead-time to allow for the appropriate coordinated review.  Additional requirements are provided below:

  • For all research faculty, appointing units must provide a minimum notice of 90 days before a RIF takes effect.
  • For RIF proposals that would affect research faculty with less than three years of service, the appointing unit must provide substantial documentation of why the unit is unable to fulfill its original three-year commitment.
  • Reduction of research faculty will be determined at the research group level.  The order of reduction will begin with the research faculty member with the least University service, except that the University may retain research faculty, irrespective of service, who possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform the available work which are not possessed to the same degree by other research faculty members in the same research group.
  • At a minimum, appointing units should provide the information on the list below in an RIF proposal:
    • Offer letter and hiring Memorandum of Understanding (MOU);
    • Funding history;
    • Status of all current sources of funds;
    • Role (PI or Co-PI) on active grants, term of award and funding commitment;
    • Role (PI or Co-PI), funding level and probability of success on all pending grants; and
    • Other known pending grants with support for research faculty member.


 18. Research Faculty Governance

Faculty governance rights and privileges for research faculty are determined at the level of the School, College, or unit, in accordance with the policy and procedures of the School or College, or unit.

APPENDICES

Sections 1-18 of this document serve as the University’s base guidelines for research faculty appointments and promotions in both the Research Scientist Track and Research Professor Track.  Appointing units may adopt more restrictive criteria.  When the approved unit specific guidelines (see appendices) include more restrictive criteria, these criteria govern appointments and promotions made in the unit.

Unit Specific Procedures For Appointments And Promotions

Regent’s Bylaw 5.24 allows an academic or research unit to appoint research faculty if they have adopted policies to authorize such appointments in accordance with the bylaws of that unit and have been approved by the Vice President for Research and relevant Provost.

This section is for the unit specific procedures governing appointments and promotions of research faculty.  These should be conducted with the same process and in parallel with appointment/promotion reviews of tenure track instructional faculty.

If an academic or research unit has been previously approved to appoint research faculty, but they have not updated their guidelines to comply with current policy, the University’s base guidelines will govern their appointments

Summary of changes posted on Nov. 15, 2013

Note: New sections that have been added change the numbering of sections from the previous version of these guidelines. The changes below reflect the new numbering.

  • Section 3 – Resources commitments to create a new research faculty position and appointment structure(s)
    • Resource Commitment – revised and clarified the resource commitments required to establish a new research faculty position.
    • Appointment Structure – provides clarifying information on research faculty appointments to be established consistent with the review/term-limit requirements.
    • Special Case – Clarification on when term-limited appointments may be considered.
  • Section 4 – Notice of Non-Reappointment
    New section to clarify the notice requirements in situations of non-reappointment.
  • Section 6 – Extension of time to review for childbearing or dependent care responsibilities.
    Revised to align with SPG210.92.
  • Section 10 – Expectations Regarding Appointments and Promotions
    Relocated for consistency of information flow; was previously at the end of the document.
  • Section 12 – Mandatory Review Cycles for the Research Professor Track
    Introductory paragraph added to clarify alignment of review cycles to parallel the school/college review cycle (tenure clock) for tenure track instructional faculty.
  • Section 13 – Appointment Date Calculation
    New information on how to calculate the time-to-promotion review if the school/college has adopted a fiscal year appointment schedule.
  • Section 17 – Reduction-in-Force
    New information to clarify that when reductions are necessary, they will be determined by the home research group.