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Academic Appointments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


To serve as the official statement on matters relating to academic appointments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Applies to: 

Those holding academic appointments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

Policy Statement: 


The following guidelines serve as the official statement and guide on matters relating to academic appointments in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. The College abides by the policies and procedures outlined in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, the handbook for Excellence in Diversity, and the Employment Conditions policy of Human Resource Management (HRM). In addition, the College adheres to the Higher Learning Commission’s guidelines on determinining qualified faculty “to ensure that all faculty are qualified and meet the requirements of the criteria for accreditation.”

The caliber of appointments to the College faculty is rightly a concern of the whole faculty. The principal responsibility for academic recruitment lies with the individual unit. It is the task of each unit to serve as a steward for the interests of the College faculty in ensuring appointments of distinction in scholarship and teaching. The College is part of a comprehensive University, one emphasizing scholarship in its broadest sense (i.e., the generation and dissemination of knowledge within and outside the classroom). All faculty appointments shall be made only after the unit and the Dean are satisfied that the candidate exemplifies the highest possible scholarly caliber. Not only shall the quality of the candidate be strong, but also the commitment to affirmative action and cultural diversity shall be high and evident at every stage of the search process.

As noted in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, “In light of the University’s commitment to interdisciplinary teaching, research and scholarship, members of the faculty may hold joint appointments in more than one unit. Special policies and procedures apply to joint appointments.”

Searches and Hiring

Authorization for Search

During the summer, the Dean, in consultation with college staff, will reach a decision on hiring priorities and whether a search will be authorized. Should a faculty search be approved, the Dean will send written authorization to the unit outlining the parameters of the search. Searches are normally expected to be completed within the academic year.

The Search

A search committee is appointed in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the unit, College, provost, and the recruitment resources of Human Resource Management. The search committee works with the associate dean overseeing the search as they follow the guidelines outlined in the Excellence in Diversity search process.

Units should be mindful of the participation of students on a search committee insofar as students should never vote when that vote directly affects the outcome of the process. Non-binding votes from students, however, can be taken at any time. These votes, however, are advisory to the faculty only. Finally, the faculty may or may not consider student input when casting their votes in the process.

The search committee chair is required to have Excellence in Diversity training. If so desired, other members of the search committee may avail themselves of the training opportunity. The search committee must endeavor to solicit candidates from underrepresented groups (i.e., women and underrepresented racial minorities). Units should contact the college Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Vice Provost for Diversity and Equity.

Search Committee Composition to Include Outside Faculty Member

For positions wholly within a single unit, those units may rely upon a search committee that is representative of the unit. Given the University and College goal of strengthening cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary networks, the College requires the service of an outside faculty member on every search committee. Chairs of unit and chairs of search committees must consult with the associate dean overseeing the search about the selection and invitation of this individual. For interdisciplinary positions, the Dean’s Office will need to approve the composition of the search committee in order to verify adequate representation of the other unit(s) affected by this hire.

On-Campus Interviews

The Dean’s Office will provide funds to bring three candidates to campus for interviews. If they wish to do so, units may fund on-campus interviews for additional candidates. Every candidate who is interviewed on campus shall be interviewed and evaluated as follows:

  • Candidates for tenure-track positions may be scheduled for 30-minute interviews with the associate dean overseeing the search. A unit wishing to exercise this option should contact the associate dean.
  • Any candidate who might be hired with tenure must be scheduled for the following:
    • a 30-minute interview with the associate dean overseeing the search and the Dean of the College (one interview with both of them jointly)
    • the Office of Research (interviewer will be determined by that office)
    • the Office of the Provost (interviewer will be determined by that office)

All chairs and directors shall consult and follow the Domestic Partner Accommodation in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences policy: http://policy.ku.edu/CLAS/domestic-partner-accommodation.

In addition, the unit shall include in the interview schedule representatives of allied units and affected classes. Members of allied units should be encouraged to attend a colloquium or seminar presentation by the candidate.

The Offer

The offer a unit makes to the selected candidate should be a firm one and not subject to contingencies. In accordance with the American Association of Universities (AAU) guidelines and KU policy (http://policy.ku.edu/provost/faculty-appointment-offers), an offer of appointment for the fall semester cannot be made later than the immediately preceding May 1 if a candidate holds a position at another AAU university. It is recognized that in special cases, it might be appropriate to make an offer after May 1, but in such cases, there should be an agreement by all concerned parties, including the provosts at both institutions.

At the conclusion of the interview process, the unit should forward a recommendation for a verbal offer to the associate dean overseeing the search. All commitments to be made to the candidate, including salary, starting date, appointment terms, space, start-up costs, etc. shall be discussed with the associate dean overseeing the search before a verbal offer is made. Once approved, the chair will contact the candidate and make a verbal offer. Once the candidate accepts the verbal offer, a Memorandum of Appointment Expectations (MAE) document is produced by the College that specifies all the terms of the offer, including the expectations regarding research, teaching, and service obligations. This MAE is sent to HRM where the formal offer is communicated electronically to the candidate.

Failed Search

If, during the search process, no offers are made or all qualified candidates decline the offer of employment, the chair of the department must contact the associate dean overseeing the search concerning the next steps to be taken. The College will then notify Human Resource Management, as well as the Provost’s Office, about the search status.

Types of Academic Appointments in the College

There are two kinds of regular faculty appointments in the College that are tenure-related: 1) tenure-track (probationary) appointments and 2) tenured appointments. In addition, there are non-tenure-related appointments in the College such as teaching professor, professor of the practice, visiting professor, lecturer, multi-term lecturer, and Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA).

The College follows the policies and procedures regarding appointment of tenured and tenure-track faculty found in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, Part II., B. 1.and 2.:

  • Employment Conditions
  • Faculty Appointment Offers, Last Date
  • Guidelines for Joint Appointments: Sharing faculty resources across traditional disciplinary lines and/or between budgetary units
  • Policy on Spoken English Competency
  • Distinguished Professorships, University Committee on; Procedures and Criteria for Appointment
  • Board of Regents Policy on Regents Distinguished Professorships (Regents Policy Manual II.C.3.a.)

Tenure-Track (Probationary) Appointments

As stated in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, “Appointment as a faculty member, including rank and tenure status at the time of appointment, is made by the Provost based on the recommendation of the academic or administrative unit (and any intermediate unit) in which the faculty member will serve. Specific procedures for conducting searches and making hiring decisions are established by units within the parameters set by university policy. Consistent with Board of Regents policy, University policy requires that, with only a few exceptions, prospective faculty whose first language is not English have their spoken English competency assessed prior to employment. Those who do not meet the competency levels set shall have remediation conditions attached to their appointments.”

A tenure-track (probationary) contract is for one year only, but it is annually renewable for a probationary period not to exceed a total of six years. In addition, these tenure-track appointments will be renewed unless timely notice has been given.

The appointment of a probationary faculty member who has completed all requirements for the terminal degree (normally the Ph.D.) is made at the rank of Assistant Professor. Only in very rare circumstances is a probationary appointment made at the Associate Professor level. In the case of an appointment of a candidate without the terminal degree (e.g., ABD), the initial appointment will be made at the rank of Acting Assistant Professor. In such cases, the College specifies that within 12 months of the candidate’s initial appointment date, the degree must be completed. If the degree is not completed by that time, the candidate’s next academic year (or second year of appointment) will constitute the candidate’s terminal year appointment. For candidates for whom this applies, departments must communicate this statement in the Memorandum of Appointment Expectations (MAE) document that is transmitted to the candidate.

Tenured Appointments

Before the University of Kansas can formally extend an offer of tenure with the rank of Associate or Full Professor, the recommendation of the College Committee on Appointments, Promotion and Tenure (CCAPT) is required.  In order for the CCAPT review to be conducted in a timely manner, the chair of the department contacts the Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs well in advance, to discuss details of the process. It should be noted that reviews occurring when CCAPT is in deliberation on internal Promotion and Tenure cases or Progress Toward Tenure Review cases may take longer.

To initiate this process and if, in the judgment of the unit, the candidate is presumptively eligible for a tenured position at KU, the unit must compile a dossier of the candidate consisting of the following:

  1. Curriculum vitae.
  2. Record and evaluation of teaching (covering the last three years); this should include a teaching statement philosophy.  Data summarizing the evaluation of teaching can be either quantitative or qualitative data.
  3. Representative publications.
  4. Letters of recommendation.  The Promotion and Tenure Procedures for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences outlines the details concerning external reference letters. In this specific case, the recommendation letters should be addressed to “College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure, University of Kansas.”
  5. Departmental/program letter of support from unit P&T Committee that addresses the teaching, research, and service qualifications of the candidate.   The letter should also be addressed to “College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure.”
  6. Departmental/program letter of support from the unit chairperson/director that addresses the teaching, research, and service qualifications of the candidate.   The letter should also be addressed to “College Committee on Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure.”

The Dean will forward the dossier and letters from the unit to a subcommittee of the College Committee an Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure for review. The subcommittee of CCAPT will forward to the Dean a report assessing the tenure potential of the candidate, as well as confirmation of appropriate rank. Provision of a concise statement of research, teaching, and service with the recommendation for appointment with tenure will guide the Dean in making an independent assessment. The Dean’s Office will report the recommendations of CCAPT and the Dean to the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.

Any candidate for a Distinguished Professorship must be interviewed by representatives of the University Committee on Distinguished Professorships (UCDP) and/or a committee of current Distinguished Professors.

As a general rule, the College does not grant “instant tenure” to a candidate who has not held a tenured position elsewhere. A unit seeking an exception for an outstanding candidate must make the case for it to the Dean. If the Dean finds the case compelling, the Dean will initiate the CCAPT vetting process.

Non-Tenure-Track Appointments

In addition to the two types of tenure-related appointments, there are also other academic appointments. These include Teaching Professor, Professor of the Practice, Visiting Professor, lecturer, multi-term lecturer, and Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA). None of these appointments is tenure accruing. From time to time these appointments will be made in a unit. In addition, appointments of unclassified academic staff, including Specialist, Scientist, Curator, Research Professor, or Clinical Professor are available to units and are governed by the a number of policies that the College follows:

Our Equal Opportunity policies require that the same scrutiny be given to all of these appointments that are also given to tenure-track (probationary) and tenured appointments.

Teaching Professor

All Teaching Professor positions, regardless of rank, are non-tenure track appointments that do not carry credit towards the acquisition of tenure and are not eligible for sabbatical leaves. Due to the percentage of effort focused upon instructional duties, all incumbents are expected to hold a PhD or terminal degree in the academic discipline and possess outstanding teaching skills. A position can be at the rank of Assistant, Associate, or Full Teaching Professor. Whatever the rank, appointments are for three-year terms and, in addition to regular annual evaluation, are reviewed prior to the end of each three-year term appointment to ensure expectations of performance are being met, and to determine eligibility for reappointment.

Professor of the Practice

The College adheres to the policy regarding Professors of the Practice. That policy states that “Professional programs increasingly are required by accrediting bodies to provide students access to instruction from individuals active in practice. The non-tenure track faculty position Professor of the Practice enables the University of Kansas to meet the professional instruction required in professional programs. This title is used by several Research I universities as a means to provide students with progressive professional instruction from faculty with extensive experience in the profession. The appointment of professors of the practice will not be used to offset or reduce the number of tenured or tenure-track faculty, but rather to provide flexibility for the University to meet professional training requirements in professional programs.”

Visiting Professor

Visiting Assistant, Visiting Associate, and Visiting Professors may be hired to perform instruction and research responsibilities; these positions may perform service responsibilities as well. These positions are beginning, intermediate, and senior level faculty positions that are limited term for no more than three academic years and are not eligible for reappointment. The Ph.D. or terminal degree is required for a visiting appointment. These positions do not count towards eligibility for tenure or sabbatical.


Lecturers may be hired on a full- or part-time basis to meet specific short-term instructional needs. Appointments are for a specified period within the academic year. After the initial appointment, subsequent appointments may be offered based upon performance, instructional needs, and funding. Cumulative full-term appointments must not exceed three academic years (or six semesters at full-time employment.) These appointments are not eligible for tenure or for senior or University lecturer designation. A lecturer may also be appointed as an Academic Program Associate, with duties related to the coordination and management of a unit’s academic programs.

Multi-Term Lecturer Track

The College has a policy on the appointment of multi-term lecturers. As stated in the policy, “In the spring semester of 2004, Faculty Council approved a new policy that permits the University to employ full-time lecturers on multiple-year contracts (see the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, section 11.C2).” The policy further states that lecturer appointments can never lead to tenure. The appointment of lecturers will not be used to “offset” the number of tenured or tenure-track faculty. A multi-term lecturer may also be appointed as an Academic Program Associate, with duties related to the coordination and management of a unit’s academic programs.

Lecturers in this track may be hired initially for a fixed period of no more than three years, with the contractual provision that a lecturer position does not lead to tenure or a tenure-track position. At the end of the contract term, absent action by the University, the contract ends. There is no automatic renewal of a lecturer appointment at the end of the contract. If, upon evaluation by a unit, it is determined that a lecturer has met all requirements and demonstrated potential for future term appointments, the University may offer a second three-year contractual appointment. Following the second contract appointment, a unit may offer subsequent contracts for a term of no more than five years each. However, in no event will an appointment as lecturer ever lead to tenure. Appointments as senior lecturer and University lecturer may occur after appropriate review at the unit and College levels, and with the approval of the Provost.

Joint Appointments

The College adheres to the university Guidelines for Joint Appointments as outlined in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, Section C.2.a.2., Guidelines for Joint Appointments.

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) are an important component of the teaching and research programs of the College. The purposes of GTA appointments are threefold: 1) to strengthen the graduate programs of the College, 2) to provide experience to students aspiring to be the faculty of tomorrow, and 3) to assist in providing undergraduate instruction. All GTA appointments are governed by the Memorandum of Agreement (available at https://humanresources.ku.edu/memoranda-agreement) between the University, Kansas Board of Regents, and the Graduate Teaching Assistants Coalition and the American Federation of Teachers - Kansas, which represents graduate teaching assistants on the Lawrence campus. All GTA appointments must conform to the terms of the memorandum. In addition, the College adheres to the guidelines and policies outlined in the GRA, GTA, and GA Appointments policy.


Office of the Dean
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
University of Kansas
200 Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Approved on: 
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Effective on: 
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
academic appointments, faculty appointments, tenured appointments, probationary appointments, joint appointments
Change History: 

01/22/2024: Updated Faculty Development to Faculty Affairs.
09/15/2021: Minor revisions to comply with new accessibility requirements.
08/07/2019: Replaced most instances of “Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs” with “associate dean overseeing the search.”
05/15/2019: Major revision to eliminate unnecessary material and accurately reflect current practice.
07/12/2016: Updated to remove gendered pronouns.
06/03/2016: Migrated from previous Policy Library system.

School/College Policy Categories: 
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