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Joint Appointment of a Faculty Member (Policy 4570)

University Policy 4570

Download a Printable Version of Policy 4570


Effective Date

April 2012

Responsible Party

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, (208) 426-1202

Scope and Audience

This policy applies to all tenure-track and tenured faculty members (does not include academic administrators as defined by State Board of Education Policy II.G.6.i).

Additional Authority

State Board of Education Policy II.G


1. Policy Purpose

Establish the principles and procedures for the joint appointment of a faculty member to multiple academic or research units within the university.

2. Policy Statement

The university recognizes that some faculty members have interests and capabilities that draw them into collaborations with colleagues from different fields. These faculty members are particularly important to efforts that cross the disciplinary boundaries between academic departments or programs. To encourage interdisciplinary activities, the university provides for the joint appointment of faculty members to multiple academic or research units. The proper formation of a joint appointment is dependent on adherence to principles and procedures that promote clarity, administrative efficiency, and the success of the academic and research units as well as the faculty member.

3. Definitions

3.1 Joint Appointment

A faculty member is said to hold a joint appointment if he or she holds appointments in two or more academic or research units.

3.2 Administrative Home

The administrative home of a faculty member who holds a joint appointment is the unit that is responsible for the execution of all personnel processes; the administrative home carries out these responsibilities in coordination with all units participating in the joint appointment.

3.3 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Designates the administrative home, addresses all principles outlined within this policy and is considered the terms of the joint appointment.

3.4 Dry Joint Appointment

A dry joint appointment to an academic or research unit is an appointment that is honorific or unfunded (i.e., 0 FTE).

4. Responsibilities and Procedures

4.1 Principles

a. A faculty member can enter a joint appointment at different career stages (new and existing faculty members). For new faculty positions, the search committee shall include representatives from two or more of the units involved. A draft MOU shall be developed before hiring.

b. Joint appointments shall be structured such that the faculty member actively participates in all of the units involved.

c. It is expected that each unit participating in the joint appointment will take responsibility to integrate the faculty member into the unit.

d. The terms of a joint appointment should be expressed in language that is clear and direct such that participating units understand their responsibilities and commitments.

e. The terms of a joint appointment should address the following issues:

(i.) The administrative home and its responsibilities to the faculty member;

(ii.) The manner in which the administrative home interacts with the other units;

(iii.) The rights and responsibilities of the faculty member relative to each unit, including access to resources;

(iv.) The processes for promotion, tenure, annual evaluation, annual salary adjustment, and dispute resolution;

(v.) The %FTE allocated to each unit, and the associated resource implications i.e. salary, travel, research support;

(vi.) The allocation of Facilities & Administrative dollars return for externally funded research;

(vii.) The assignment of workload units to participating departments/programs/units; clearly identify the retreat rights should the joint appointment be terminated;

(viii.) The processes for tenure and promotion) should be a single joint process;

(ix.) The process for annual evaluation and annual salary adjustment should be a single joint process that incorporates input from each unit;

(x.) A process for an annual assessment to measure the appropriateness of the administrative terms of the appointment should be clearly stated;

(xi.) The processes for promotion, tenure, annual evaluation, and annual salary adjustment should account for the advantages and disadvantages of multiple commitments and interdisciplinary work;

(xii.) Expectations for workload, promotion, tenure, annual evaluation, and annual salary adjustments shall be comparable to those of faculty with single appointments;

(xiii.) Total access to resources should be comparable to total access by faculty members in single appointments;

(xiv.) The university supports dry joint appointments and requires them to convey rights and responsibilities within each participating academic or research unit; and

(xv.) Retreat rights for jointly appointed faculty need to be identified in the event the joint appointment is terminated.

4.2 Procedure

a. Deans and/or Chairs of relevant units will develop an MOU to address the principles outlined above.

b. The MOU is not considered finalized until it has been reviewed and signed by the faculty member, by the Chairs and Deans of the relevant units, and by the Provost or his/her designee.