Unclassified Academic Staff Titles and Related Administrative Practices
This document provides the definitions of unclassified academic staff titles and administrative practices.
The University of Kansas, Lawrence campus
Unclassified Academic Staff (Faculty-equivalent Positions)
The titles for unclassified academic staff are comparable to those used for faculty. These titles facilitate common application of University regulations and policies concerning eligibility for employment and procedures for recruitment, retention, promotion and job security. To distinguish state funded employees from grant and contract funded employees, two separate sets of titles are used. For those unclassified academic staff supported by State funds the titles are assistant, associate, senior scientist, curator, or specialist. For unclassified academic staff funded from grants and contracts, the titles are assistant research professor, associate research professor, or research professor. For unclassified academic staff in designated academic programs whose responsibilities to the University require direct clinical practice, clinical education, and scholarship, the titles are assistant clinical professor, associate clinical professor, or clinical professor.
No new academic staff positions that are fully State funded or partially grant/State funded will be created without the written approval of the Provost. Vacancies of all existing academic staff positions must be filled through a recruitment or search waiver process.
Since the creation of these titles, the administrative practices as outlined below have governed the use of the titles.
- These titles are viewed as matching the equivalent faculty ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. For example, an assistant scientist, assistant clinical professor, or assistant research professor is viewed as comparable in academic rank to an assistant professor.
- Promotions among the ranks of the academic staff titles are handled through the promotion and tenure process applied to faculty promotions. Criteria for promotion should be consistent with the expectations for promotion in faculty rank with recognition of the varying programmatic, instructional, and service missions of the positions.
- A probationary period of six years applies to assistant staff rank unless the staff member achieves promotion to the associate rank within the six-year period. A probationary period of three years applies to appointments at the associate level. Unlike faculty, unclassified academic staff are not required to go through a mandatory promotion review during their sixth year of KU employment. However, the performance of all State funded academic staff at the assistant rank should be evaluated carefully and thoroughly during the six-year probationary period, with special emphasis on the sixth-year review. Appointment to a seventh year of consecutive full-time service will normally mean that the probationary period has been completed satisfactorily and the position will be terminated only for adequate cause, including budget constraints.
- The acquisition of a terminal degree is not justification to move from an unclassified professional staff title into an academic staff title. All academic staff positions must be filled through the recruitment or search waiver processes.
- No new academic staff positions that are fully State funded or partially grant/State funded will be created without the written approval of the Provost. Vacancies of existing positions must be filled through a recruitment or search waiver process.
- New fully grant funded academic positions may be created. However, they must be filled through a recruitment or search waiver process.
- The primary appointment of unclassified academic staff with research professor titles must be in a research center (designated by the Vice Chancellor for Research). A joint or courtesy appointment may exist in an academic unit (department, School, or College).
- Clinical professor titles are restricted to academic staff who engage in direct clinical practice, clinical teaching, scholarship, and public service in designated units that require clinical positions for accreditation or meet specific unit or school needs and have a University of Kansas clinical unit or student clinical program. These titles will be used for full time unclassified academic staff in designated academic degree programs.
Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs
University of Kansas
1450 Jayhawk Boulevard
Strong Hall, Room 145
Lawrence, KS 66045
Background on Development of the Clinical Instructor and Professor Titles:
As a matter of administrative policy, the Provost’s Office added the following titles to the Unclassified Academic Staff policy: assistant clinical professor, associate clinical professor, and clinical professor. The change was due to accreditation requirements of specific disciplines, transfer of the Pharmacy Practice program to the Lawrence campus from the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), and the need for consistency in titles for joint Lawrence and KUMC clinical education programs. The titles shall be restricted to full-time unclassified academic staff in specific disciplines designated by the Provost's designee in consultation with Fauclty Senate Executive Committee whose primary commitment is clinical education, scholarship, and provision of direct clinical service in clinic settings.
The definition outlined above for academic clinical staff was provided in an administrative memorandum to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee by the Provost’s Office July 19, 2006. While this was an administrative change, discussion by FacEx was consistent with the University’s practice of shared governance. The use of these titles, within the requirements specified above, was effective with Provost Richard W. Lariviere’s signature of approval (October 3, 2006).
Scientist, Curator and Specialist Titles: Engages in research, public service, and teaching in units that support the academic mission. Education, degrees and experience are equivalent to those of academic faculty. Eligible for sabbatical leave if 100% commitment of state funding supports the position. Not eligible for tenure. Promotion emphasizes research & service.
Research Professor Titles: Designated as Principal Investigator by the University. Normally the title is applicable for duration of the grant/contract funding. Not eligible for sabbatical or tenure. Status reviewed annually for continued use of title. Funded by grants and contracts.
Clinical Instructor and Professor Titles: Engages in direct clinical practice, clinical education, scholarship, and public service in a University of Kansas Lawrence or KUMC academic program that requires clinical professor appointments for accreditation or meet specific unit or school needs and which includes a clinical unit providing direct service to the community or includes a student clinical program. Education, degrees, and experience are equivalent to those of academic faculty with the additional requirement of demonstrated effective clinical practice in the discipline/field. Eligible for sabbatical if 100% commitment of state funding. Not eligible for tenure but have the same security accorded other non-grant funded unclassified academic staff. Promotion emphasizes clinical education and scholarship.
12/15/2022: Updated contact section.
06/14/2019: Updated policy.
12/11/2014: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
07/09/2014: Technical edits: selected 'Lawrence' for Campus; updated formatting; updated references to 'Vice Chancellor for Research' to reflect accurate title; added Keywords.
05/18/2011: Amended to include all unclassified academic staff.
10/03/2006: Amended text to incorporate the addition of the clinical instructor and professor titles and clarifies administrative practices on hiring and review of unclassified academic staff.
05/30/2001: Issued as an administrative memo from Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor.