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PS-10.A.20 - Non-Tenured & Non-Tenure Track Academic Appointments

EFFECTIVE DATE: June 14, 2021

ISSUE #: 3

PRESIDENT:  Loren J. Blanchard

​​​​PURPOSE

This Policy Statement (PS) describes the titles and ranks used in non-tenured and non-tenure track academic appointments at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). Full and parttime non-tenured and non-tenure track appointments are made using titles and ranks appropriate to the academic mission and programs of UHD. 

DEFINITIONS​

2.1 Faculty: The faculty at UHD consists of full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members, full-time faculty members who are employed in non-tenured and non-tenure track positions, and part-time faculty members employed in non-tenured and non-tenure track positions.

2.2 Project Award: Amount of funding made to support a project. The maximum award may vary between award cycles, but is limited to a maximum of 10% of the total funds available in the award cycle. The maximum award will be listed on the Award Announcement for the funding cycle.

2.3 Tenure-Track Positions: The following ranks are considered part of the tenure track: instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, and professor.

2.4 Non-tenured & Non-Tenure Track Faculty Employees: These faculty members include individuals who hold non-tenured and non-tenure track appointments of limited duration, such as appointments for a single semester, and appointments for non-reoccurring service. Non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty include: lecturers and senior lecturers, adjunct faculty, research associates and clinical faculty, visiting faculty, and graduate assistants.

POLICY

3.1 Commitment to Diversity: This policy statement incorporates the provisions of PS 02.A.20 Affirmative Action Policy and PS 02.A.21 Equal Opportunity Policy, which applies to all employees and employment applicants. The University of HoustonDowntown is committed to a diverse academic environment that prepares students to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century workforce.

3.2 Commitment to Quality: The University is committed to recruiting and employing the most highly qualified individuals available for all academic appointments.

3.3 Commitment to Procedures: The University of Houston-Downtown will appoint faculty members in accord with the procedures established in all relevant UHD policy statements and University of Houston System Administrative Memorandum 06.A.09 Academic Personnel Policies.

3.4 Titles and Ranks Used in Non-Tenured and Non-Tenure Track Academic Appointments: Non-tenured and non-tenure-track academic appointments are considered time-limited appointments. An initial appointment will not exceed one year, except in special cases as approved by the dean of the appointing college. A renewed appointment to a non-tenured and non-tenure track academic position shall be for a specified period of time not to exceed three years. An initial or a renewed appointment may be made with or without compensation and cannot be converted to a tenure-track position without utilizing the process of an open search as outlined in PS 10.A.13 Faculty Employment Policies. Instructional time served in a non-tenured and non-tenure track position will not be counted toward tenure if the non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty member is later hired to a tenure track position. Faculty serving in a non-tenured and non-tenure track position may not constitute the majority of any departmental or college committee unless specifically designated. All individuals holding non-tenured and non-tenure track appointments will receive UHD identification cards and will have access to UHD computer facilities, the library, athletic facilities, and parking.

3.5 The following non-tenured and non-tenure track academic titles/ranks may be used for academic appointments at UHD:

3.5.1 Adjunct Faculty: This title is given when a qualified person from business, industry, government, private practice, or another institution of higher education is appointed to teach a course or participate in the instructional processes for a department or program. Adjunct faculty are not assigned rank (assistant, associate, or full). Adjunct faculty must meet minimum departmental requirements for professional, experiential and/or scholarly preparation and requirements of any accrediting agency. Adjunct faculty will possess a strong record of professional experience and/or teaching, or strong preparation and/or potential in teaching, in areas of need for a particular department.

3.5.1.1 Adjunct faculty will be hired according to written procedures outlined by the hiring department and in accordance with PS 10.A.22 Adjunct Policy. Adjunct appointments will be made for a semester or term.

3.5.1.2 The performance of adjuncts will be evaluated according to written procedures outlined by the hiring department and in accordance with PS 10.A.22 Adjunct Policy. Adjuncts are not eligible for merit pay increases.

3.5.1.3 Adjunct appointments may be renewed based on favorable evaluation and departmental need. There is no guarantee of continued appointment for adjunct faculty.

3.5.2 Lecturer: To meet instructional needs, lecturers are appointed to augment and complement the instructional goals of a department. Lecturers are full-time, nontenured and non-tenure track faculty who are not assigned rank (assistant, associate, or full). Lecturers will possess a strong record of teaching and expertise in the teaching area. Lecturers are responsible for 100% FTE teaching or the equivalent per semester. Under special circumstances a portion of a lecturer’s instructional assignment may include other academic or service activities. Lecturers are provided office space and other support for instruction. 

3.5.2.1 Lecturer positions must be filled via the use of open searches as outlined in PS 10.A.13 Faculty Employment Policies, with the exception of the emergency process defined in Section 3.4.3.2.4. Lecturers must meet minimum requirements for professional, experiential and scholarly preparation for teaching in the discipline and any accrediting agency requirements. Lecturers will possess a strong record of teaching and/or professional experience in areas of need for a particular department. Lecturer appointments are determined by instructional need, and generally are for one academic year.

3.5.2.2 The performance of lecturers will be evaluated annually in the area of teaching and service according to the specific duties outlined in the appointment letter. Performance evaluations of lecturers will be carried out according to written procedures outlined by the hiring department and in accordance with procedures outlined in PS 10.A.21 Lecturer Policy. Lecturers may be promoted to the title of Senior Lecturer as per section PS 10.A.21 Lecturer Policy.

3.5.2.3 Lecturer appointments may be renewed based upon favorable annual evaluations and departmental need. There is no guarantee of continued appointment for lecturers.

3.5.2.4 A lecturer may be hired on an emergency basis to meet the educational needs of a department until a formal search may be conducted. These lecturers may be hired without a formal search, at the discretion of the department chair and appropriate dean. These lecturer appointments are for one academic year only and cannot be renewed without a search process. These lecturers may apply for other available positions for which they are qualified with no guarantee of continued employment. 

3.5.3 Senior Lecturer: This title is reserved for exceptional lecturers who have served the University as a lecturer for more than five consecutive years with consistently high performance evaluations. A lecturer who has been at UHD for more than five consecutive years and wants to be considered for the senior lecturer shall follow the procedures established in PS 10.A.21. Senior lecturers are non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty that are not assigned rank (assistant, associate, or full). Senior lecturers are responsible for 100% FTE teaching or the equivalent per semester and service to the department as appropriate to the discipline. Under special circumstances a portion of a senior lecturer’s instructional assignment may include other academic activities such as grading, tutoring, assistance with instructional technology, course development, service on committees, or advising. Senior lecturers are provided office space and other support for instruction as is usually accorded to full-time faculty.

3.5.3.1 Senior lecturer appointments are contingent upon programmatic need, and shall be provided as a three-year, renewable contract. 

3.5.3.2 The performance of senior lecturers will be evaluated annually in the area of teaching and service according to the specific duties outlined in the appointment letter. Performance evaluations of senior lecturers shall proceed in accordance with PS 10.A.21 Lecturer Policy

3.5.3.3 Senior lecturer appointments may be renewed based upon favorable annual evaluations and programmatic needs. There is no guarantee of continued appointment for senior lecturers. 

3.5.3.4 Should a senior lecturer’s performance be deemed unsatisfactory (as indicated typically by being evaluated as not meeting expectations during an annual performance evaluation, or atypically through some other documented measure of underperformance), then the three-year contract of a senior lecturer shall revert, upon 30-days written notice from the dean of the college and the chairperson of the department and with the approval of the Provost, to a one-year fixed-term contract which would terminate at the conclusion of that current contract year. As is true for all faculty, the contract for a senior lecturer may also be revoked in the event of dismissal for cause, bona fide financial exigency, the elimination of programs, and retirement or resignation of the senior lecturer. 

3.5.4 Clinical Faculty: The appointment of clinical faculty supports academic programs with special programmatic or research needs such as client or fieldbased programs, or specialized laboratory assistance. Clinical faculty will have substantial experience in non-instructional discipline-appropriate contexts, at minimum a master’s degree, and other requirements established by the hiring department. Clinical faculty members are expected to be active practitioners in their field who bring to the curriculum current perspectives and practices in their field. 

3.5.4.1 All Clinical faculty positions must be filled via the use of open searches as outlined in PS 10.A.13 Faculty Employment Policies. Clinical faculty must meet the specific requirements for professional, experiential and scholarly preparation outlined by the hiring department. Clinical faculty are non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty who may be assigned with the ranks of Clinical Instructor, Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, and Clinical Professor. Individuals at each rank will have experience and expertise necessary for their instructional responsibilities assigned by the department. Clinical faculty appointments are determined by instructional need, and generally are for one academic year. All aspects of the appointment of a clinical faculty member must be approved by the Provost/VPAA. Appointments may be with or without compensation and are typically made for one academic year, but longer or shorter appointments are possible.

3.5.4.2 The performance of clinical faculty will be evaluated annually in the area of teaching and professional responsibilities according to the specific duties outlined in the appointment letter. Performance evaluations of Clinical faculty occur according to a rubric and guidelines established by the hiring department. Clinical faculty members may serve on (but not chair) thesis committees or departmental committees at the option of the department. 

3.5.4.3 After a minimum of six years of continued employment, clinical faculty at the rank of instructional, assistant or associate may be promoted to the next academic rank. Promotion of clinical faculty is predicated upon continued high performance evaluations, a recommendation of the departmental rank and tenure committee, department chair, college dean, and Provost. Promotion of clinical faculty will occur according to a rubric and processes established by the hiring department. Clinical faculty cannot be hired in a department until the department has developed promotion and evaluation rubrics and processes for clinical faculty and these have been approved by the dean.

3.5.5 Visiting Faculty: Visiting faculty appointments are non-tenured and non-tenure track appointments typically made for one year that may be renewed for additional years at the discretion and approval of the faculty and chair of the relevant department and dean of the relevant college. Visiting faculty cannot be converted to tenure-track positions (PS 10.A.01 Rank and Tenure System; PS 10.A.13 Faculty Employment Policies) although they may apply for posted tenure-track positions. Time served as visiting faculty does not count toward tenure at UHD. Visiting faculty may be appointed to honor their accomplishments as a scholar, artist, or professional, to complete or assist with the development of research or creative projects (for external funding or otherwise), or for the purposes of teaching. Any activities of a visiting faculty member do not accrue toward a tenure-track position at UHD.

3.5.5.1 Visiting faculty must possess appropriate academic credentials in the form of a terminal degree or comparable distinguished record of accomplishment.

3.5.5.2 Visiting faculty will have teaching, research, and/or other duties as described in the appointment letter.

3.5.5.3 Visiting faculty may be a paid employee of the university or may not receive remuneration from or employment at the university.

3.5.5.4 Visiting faculty’s performance will be evaluated according to the rubric and processes established by the hiring department and approved by the dean.

3.5.6 Faculty-in-Residence (includes Artist-in-Residence, Writer-in-Residence, Scholar-in-Residence, or Executive-in-Residence): These honorary titles are reserved for distinguished individuals such as artists, writers, scholars, or executives who have recognition in their fields. The appointment of a distinguished scholar, writer, artist or executive to one of these titles and their subsequent presence on campus is designed to inspire students, faculty, and community constituents to greater creativity and innovation. Individuals holding any of these non-tenured and non-tenure track titles may teach, meet with students and faculty, and give lectures, readings, demonstrations, or performances for the University and greater Houston community as described in the appointment letter. The purpose of the position is to provide an extra measure of experience and insight to students, faculty, and community members.

3.5.6.1 Faculty-in-Residence appointments are non-tenured and non-tenure track appointments that may be for up to one year, and may be renewed for additional years based on favorable annual evaluation, faculty support, and departmental need, as approved by the President. Appointments to these positions are made by written agreements that specify expected duties, remuneration (if any), employee benefits, office and other work space, and other University support. Noncompensated appointments are paid at adjunct rates for any courses taught. There is no guarantee of continued appointment for Faculty-inResidence. Time spent as a Faculty-in-Residence does not accrue toward a Tenure-Track appointment at UHD.

3.5.6.2 Faculty-in-Residence appointments are reserved for distinguished individuals recruited from outside the University faculty.

3.5.6.3 UHD faculty members who have developed a national or international reputation for professional accomplishments may hold a Faculty-inResidence appointment at another institution with the approval of the President.

3.5.6.4 The performance of Faculty-in-Residence will be evaluated annually in the relevant area according to the specific duties outlined in the appointment letter. The performance of Faculty-in-Residence will occur according to a rubric and guidelines established by the hiring department. Faculty-in-Residence cannot be hired in a department until the department has developed evaluation rubrics and processes for Faculty-in-Residence and these have been approved by the dean.

3.5.6.5 Faculty-in-Residence may serve on (but not chair) thesis committees or departmental committees at the option of the department.

3.5.7 Research Associate: A research associate is a non-tenured and non-tenure track appointment employed to perform specific research or administrative duties associated with a grant or contract and employment is contingent upon the continuation of the funding source. Research associates will normally have fulltime appointments in support of scholarly/creative activity. A Research associate is a non-tenured and non-tenure track employee who is eligible for employee benefits and access to UHD facilities. The position is renewable based on favorable annual evaluation and departmental need. 

3.5.7.1 Research associates usually hold a doctoral degree; however, a highly qualified individual with a master’s degree may be employed in such a position. 

3.5.7.2 Research associates perform duties designed to meet the goals of a research grant or contract. The grant or contract can be awarded externally or allocated internally. 

3.5.7.3 Research associates’ performance will be evaluated according to a rubric and processes established by the hiring department and approved by the dean. 

3.5.7.4 Research associates may serve on (but not chair) thesis committees or departmental committees at the option of the department. 

3.5.7.5 Research associate appointments may be renewed based upon favorable annual evaluations and departmental need. There is no guarantee of continued appointment for research associates. 

3.5.8 Graduate Assistant: Graduate assistants are non-tenured and non-tenure track registered graduate students in good academic standing who work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year in support of the educational mission of the University. Graduate assistants are paid a monthly stipend. Graduate assistants are selected using procedures developed by each department and are appointed to an assistantship by the college dean based upon departmental recommendations. Renewal is dependent upon the favorable performance evaluation, maintaining good academic standing, and departmental needs. A graduate assistant who is competently carrying out their duties is eligible for a waiver for out-of-state tuition under Texas Education Code section 44.212. All graduate assistants who have contact with students must have minimum English Language Proficiency as required by the university.

3.5.8.1 Graduate Teaching Assistant: Graduate teaching assistants (TA) at UHD are graduate students who have direct student contact in a formal instructional setting but who do not have primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit; they perform under the instructor's direct supervision and provide general assistance to the instructional process. Graduate teaching assistants attend classes, may be required to teach laboratory or studio sections of a course, grade papers or examinations, hold office hours, tutor students, act as a student mentor, or conduct other activities that support the instructional mission of the University.

3.5.8.2 Graduate Teaching Fellow: A Graduate teaching fellow is a UHD graduate student whose responsibilities include formal instruction and may be instructor of record for a course. Teaching Fellows (TF) should possess at least a master’s degree in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, regular inservice training, and planned and periodic evaluations. Graduate students employed as TFs are not allowed to be instructors of record for courses that carry graduate credit.

3.5.8.3 Graduate Research Assistant: Graduate research assistants (RA) assist in the research function under the supervision of a faculty member. They may conduct experiments, organize or analyze data, present findings in a publication, collaborate with faculty in preparing publications, oversee the work of other graduate research assistants, or engage in other activities as assigned.

3.5.8.4 Graduate Administrative Assistant: Graduate administrative assistants participate in the instructional process for a department or program under the supervision of an appointed supervisor. They may engage in course preparation, undertake program-related assignments, or engage in other instructional related duties as specified by the department or program.

3.5.8.5 Graduate assistants’ performance will be evaluated according to a rubric and processes established by the hiring department and approved by the dean.

PROCEDURES 

4.1 This section addresses hiring, evaluations, and dismissal procedures for all non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty positions. 

4.2 Hiring: Searches for individuals who will hold non-tenured and non-tenure track positions aslecturers or visiting faculty shall follow the general policy and employment processes and guidelines established in the PS 10.A.21 Lecturer Policy, PS 10.A.22 Adjunct Policy, and other relevant policies. Requests for appointments of one year or more will be included in the annual planning process, with appointment processes as described below. In cases of hiring needs unforeseeable in the planning process, the emergency procedures described in PS 10.A.13 Faculty Employment Policies may be invoked. 

4.2.1 Lecturers and Senior Lecturers: All lecturer positions, except for when the process in Section 3.4.3.2.4 is used, must be filled via the use of open searches as outlined in PS 10.A.21 Lecturer Policy

4.2.2 Visiting Faculty and Clinical Faculty: The search and employment processes shall follow guidelines below: 

4.2.2.1 The department chair, after discussion with and concurrence of the dean, requests approval of the Provost/VPAA to fill the position for a term length appropriate to the position being filled. 

4.2.2.2 The department chair will consult with the Affirmative Action Officer to discuss opportunities which may exist to use the hire to enhance more representative staffing efforts. 

4.2.2.3 The department chair will work with Employment Services and Operations office to appoint a search committee which includes faculty in the discipline in which the applicant may be employed. 

4.2.2.4 Once approved by the Provost/VPAA, the position will be posted on the UHD website for a period of at least two weeks. Applicants may be external as well as internal. However, any party in the process from the Department Chair to the President may request that national or regional advertisements for the position be placed to ensure that the most highly qualified individual available is given an opportunity to apply. 

4.2.2.5 All applicant materials will be reviewed by the search committee. 

4.2.2.6 The hiring process must include opportunities for interviews with department faculty, department chair, and college dean. 

4.2.2.7 The search committee will make recommendations to the department chair. 

4.2.2.8 The department chair, after review of search committee recommendations and concurrence of the dean and Provost/VPAA, decides upon the primary candidate and enters into unofficial negotiations with the candidate. 

4.2.2.9 When an unofficial offer is accepted, the file is completed and forwarded to the dean. 

4.2.2.10 The Provost/VPAA forwards his recommendation and the selected candidate's completed file to the President. Forwarding the file is the Provost/VPAA’s certification that all required documents are included. 

4.2.2.11 The official offer is made by the Provost/VPAA and the terms of initial appointment are agreed upon. When the offer letter and terms of initial appointment are signed and returned to the Provost/VPAA’s office by the candidate, copies of the letter and terms of initial appointment are added to the completed file and forwarded to the Employment Services and Operations office. 

4.2.3 Faculty in Residence: Tenured or tenure-track faculty members, in consultation with the department chair, nominate individuals for these positions and supply supporting materials for the nomination. Both the department chair and faculty in the discipline review the supporting materials and consider the nomination based on the department’s needs. If approved by the chair, an invitation to the nominee is initiated by a majority vote of department faculty. The chair sends the nomination to the dean, and if approved, the dean forwards the nomination to the Provost/VPAA for final approval and consultation with the President. 

4.2.4 Adjuncts: The search and evaluation processes for adjunct faculty shall follow the procedures described in PS 10.A.22 Adjunct Policy

4.2.5 Research Associates: The President, Provost/VPAA or the college dean may require that national or regional advertisements for the position be placed to ensure that the most highly qualified individual available is given an opportunity to apply. The research associate conducts research under the supervision of a principal investigator, who is responsible for the hiring, evaluation, and funding of the individual. If paid by external funds, hiring is done by the principal investigator in consultation with the department chair. If paid by internal funds, hiring will be done by the hiring manager in consultation with disciplinary faculty. Evaluations are conducted annually by the immediate supervisor, based on initial hiring conditions/job description and any other requirements that may be imposed by external funding agencies. 

4.2.6 Graduate Assistants: An academic college or department must establish its own guidelines and processes for securing the most highly qualified graduate students to fill graduate assistant positions. Prior to advertising such positions, the procedures to be used for selecting graduate assistants must be approved by the college dean or the dean’s designee. 

4.3 Dismissal: Non-tenured and non-tenure track faculty are subject to "dismissal" as defined in UH SAM 06.A.09.

REVIEW PROCESS

Responsible Party (Reviewer): Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost 

Review: Every five years.

Signed original on file in Employment Services and Operations. 

POLICY HISTORY

Issue #1 04/11/17

Issue #2 05/31/19

REFERENCES

Texas Education Code Section 51.943 – Renewal of faculty Employment Contracts

SAM 01.D.04 Affirmative Action Policy

SAM 06.A.09 Academic Personnel Policies

SAM 08.A.04 Naming Opportunities

PS 02.A.20 Affirmative Action Policy

PS 10.A.01 Rank and Tenure System

PS 10.A.02 Faculty Grievance Policy

PS 10.A.05 Faculty Performance Evaluations

PS 10.A.06 Faculty Dismissal Policy

PS 10.A.07 Faculty Non-Reappointment of Probationary Tenure-track Policy

PS 10.A.13 Faculty Employment Policies

PS 10.A.16 Performance Evaluation of Tenured Faculty

PS 10.A.21 Lecturer Policy​

PS 10.A.22 Adjunct Policy

Last updated 4/4/2022 6:51 PM