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KU Libraries: Academic Appointments in the University Libraries


To be the official statement on academic appointments in the KU Libraries.

Applies to: 

Those holding academic appointments in the KU Libraries.

Policy Statement: 


The following guidelines serve as the official statement and guide on matters relating to academic appointments in the KU Libraries. The KU Libraries abides by the policies and procedures outlined in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff, the handbook for Excellence in Diversity, the Employment Conditions policy of Human Resource Management (HRM). In addition, the KU Libraries adheres to the ACRL Standard for Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure of Academic Librarians  to “ensure that the library faculty and, therefore, library services will be of the highest quality possible.”

The caliber of appointments to the KU Libraries faculty is a concern of the whole University. The principal responsibility for recruitment lies with the Dean and the individual Libraries’ unit. Not only should the qualifications of the candidate be strong, but also demonstrate their commitment to the Core Values of Librarianship 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.”

Commitments on appointment terms shall be reviewed by LCPT. Once reviewed, the Dean 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 libraries that specifies all the terms of the offer, including the expectations regarding research, professional, and service obligations. This MAE is sent to HRM where the formal offer is communicated electronically to the candidate.


There are two kinds of regular faculty appointments within the KU Libraries that are tenure-related: 1) tenure-track (probationary) appointments and 2) tenured appointments. In addition, there are non-tenure-related academic appointments in the KU Libraries such as Librarian I, II, and III; Assistant, Associate, and Senior Specialist.

The appointment of a probationary faculty member who has completed all requirements for the terminal degree (usually an ALA‐accredited master’s program or equivalent from a foreign institution in library and information studies; see: Criteria for Academic Ranks of Library Faculty (June 2017)) is made at the rank of Assistant Librarian. Only in exceedingly rare circumstances is a probationary appointment made at the Associate Librarian level without tenure. Furthermore, it should be rare that time (years) toward Tenure be granted and should only occur when the faculty member has held a tenure-track appointment at a previous institution. Before the appointment of a probationary faculty member at the Associate Librarian level without tenure or granting time (years) toward tenure, the Dean shall seek the recommendation of the Library Committee on Promotion and Tenure (LCPT).

Tenured Appointments

Before the University of Kansas Libraries can formally extend an offer of tenure with the rank of Associate or Full Librarian, the recommendation of the Library Committee on Promotion and Tenure (LCPT) is required. The review should generally occur within two weeks after the complete dossier is provided. It should be noted that reviews occurring when LCPT 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 Dean, the candidate is eligible for a tenured position at KU, the candidate with the assistance of Libraries’ Human Resources, must compile and submit a dossier within two weeks of the candidate consisting of the following:

  1. Curriculum vitae.
  2. Statements of 1) professional performance, philosophy, and goals (between 500-1,250 words); 2) program of research/scholarship/creative or artistic performance (between 500-1,250 words); and 3) a brief description of your library, university, professional, and, if applicable, public service at local/state, national, and international levels (between 250-750 words). The candidate’s cover letter, if detailed enough, may serve.
  3. Representative publications selected by the candidate.
  4. Letters of external evaluation. At least two external peer evaluations to provide an independent, unbiased evaluation of the candidate’s scholarly attainment (evaluators to be selected by the candidate and Chair of search committee). The Office of Faculty Affairs document “External Evaluation Guidelines” outlines the details concerning external reference letters. The recommendation letters should be addressed to the “Library Committee on Promotion and Tenure.” In lieu of letters, scheduled interviews between LCPT and the external reviewers may serve.
  5. The Dean will forward the dossier and letters from Libraries HR to the Library Committee on Promotion and Tenure (or a subcommittee of at least three members if the full committee is not available) for review. The committee of LCPT 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, professional performance, 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 LCPT 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.

Non-Tenure-Track Appointments

In addition to the two types of tenure-related appointments, there are also other academic appointments. These include Librarian I, II, and III and Assistant, Associate, and Senior Specialist.

None of these appointments is tenure accruing. While these appointments are rare, occasionally they will be made in the libraries. Appointments of unclassified academic staff are governed by several University policies that the libraries follow:

Our Equal Opportunity policies require that the same scrutiny be given non-tenure track appointments as are given to tenure-track (probationary) and tenured appointments.

Librarian I, II, III

Use of non-tenure track (NTT) faculty appointments in the libraries applies under exceptional circumstances that require (a) temporary (less than a year) or limited term (typically 1-5 years) positions or (b) part-time faculty employment (see: Criteria for Academic Ranks of Library Faculty (June 2017)). Appointments at these ranks should be rare and made at the discretion of the Dean.

Assistant Specialist, Associate Specialist, and Senior Specialist

Appointments at these ranks should be rare and made at the discretion of the Dean in close consultation with the appropriate associate dean of the unit and LCPT. See Criteria for Academic Ranks of Library Faculty (June 2017).


Office of the Dean
KU Libraries
University of Kansas
Watson Library 502
1425 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045

Approved by: 
KU Libraries Dean; KU Libraries Faculty Assembly
Approved on: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Effective on: 
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
academic appointments, faculty appointments, tenured appointments, probationary appointments, joint appointments
Change History: 

01/18/2024: Updated Faculty Development to Faculty Affairs.
06/05/2023: New policy added to Policy Library.
05/23/2023: Guideline approved by KU Libraries Faculty Assembly.

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