Faculty Appointments

Expectations of the Faculty

It is expected that all faculty will contribute to fulfilling the mission of the school through effective teaching, scholarly activity, research, student advising and mentoring, community service, and participation in the overall work of the school and/or University. 

Overview of Criteria for Faculty Appointment

Faculty appointments are made in response to institutional needs and interests, and are typically made after a search carried out in compliance with University policies. Before the search is commenced, it is important to determine the expected track and rank of the faculty  member that would be most beneficial to the program, department, and institution. The chair, in consultation with the dean, will make this determination; it is incumbent upon the chair to inform the Office of the Dean what faculty appointments they anticipate making in a given fiscal year. Once a successful candidate is identified, this decision is revisited before the appointment process begins.

The determination of correct track and rank is important for two reasons. First, if the incorrect track is chosen, the faculty member may find their path to promotion made more difficult. (Note: when a faculty member is promoted, they may change tracks, but there is a minimum number of years before promotion can be considered.) Likewise, if the incorrect rank is chosen, the faculty member must wait at least 2 years as an instructor, 3 years as an Assistant Professor, or 5 years as an Associate Professor to change their rank.

The new faculty member’s past accomplishments will usually suggest the correct rank and track. In addition, the new faculty member, in consultation with the chair, should choose areas of academic accomplishment (teaching, service, scholarly activity) in which to focus their activities. This choice may also suggest the appropriate track for appointment.

Following are the different tracks with suggested criteria for the different ranks:

Unmodified Track:

This track is used for full-time faculty who have demonstrated or are expected to demonstrate significant scholarly works, including publications in peer-reviewed journals. The ranks within this track differ according to the accomplishments in scholarly activity.

  • Instructor: This is the entry level rank for faculty without previous academic experience who have potential for academic advancement. These faculty are beginning their academic careers and ordinarily hold a minimum of a masters degree or equivalent.
  • Assistant Professor: This is the entry level rank for the unmodified track. Faculty at the assistant professor rank exhibit “commitment to teaching and scholarly or professional work of high caliber, and participates in University affairs at least at the department level.”*
  • Associate Professor: Faculty at this rank meet “the requirements for appointment as an assistant professor, enjoys a national reputation as a scholar or professional, shows a high degree of teaching proficiency and commitment, and demonstrates public, professional, or University service beyond the department.”*
  • Professor: A professor in the unmodified track “meets the requirements for appointment as an associate professor, and, in addition, has a distinguished record of accomplishment that leads to an international or, as appropriate, national reputation in his or her field.”*

Clinical Track:

Faculty in this track typically teach and may be less than full-time. They may also pursue excellence in scholarly activity or service. 

  • Clinical Instructor: This rank is usually used for new faculty members who do not have advanced recognized specialty training or any experience with didactic teaching or scholarly activity.
  • Clinical Assistant Professor: New faculty who have graduate training and/or experience in teaching or research may be appointed as clinical assistant professors.
  • Clinical Associate Professor: This rank is used when a new faculty member has significant history in either teaching, scholarly activity, or service, usually after three or more years at the assistant professor level. Such individuals may also have experience with school or university committees or service to professional organizations. Clinical associate professors typically have developed a local or regional reputation and are on a path that will lead to increased productivity and prominence.
  • Clinical Professor: Clinical Professors have demonstrated mastery and leadership in their chosen areas of excellence. At this level, there should be two areas of excellence from among teaching, service, and scholarly activity. These faculty members should have attained national or international prominence.

Research Track:

Faculty in this track are primarily engaged in research, typically in assigned projects under a senior scientist, and thus depend on others for funding and direction.

  • Research Assistant Professor:  This is the entry level rank for the research track. Faculty appointed to this track are expected to engage almost entirely in research.
  • Research Associate Professor:  Faculty appointed as research associate professors have typically served at the assistant professor level in any track for at least three years. They must demonstrate excellence in research and scholarship and have publications in reputable journals, usually as lead author. They should also be developing a notable reputation externally.
  • Research Professor: Research professors should have a notable national or international reputation and have demonstrated continued development in research over time as measured by publications in reputable journals and national or international awards. These faculty usually will have served elsewhere as associate professor for at least five years. 

*https://www.bu.edu/handbook/appointments-and-promotions/classification-of-ranks-and-titles/ 

Appointment Process

Once the offer letter for the faculty position has been signed by the dean, the chair of the hiring department determines the track and rank of the new faculty member and prepares the dossier to submit to the appointment process. This process is identical to the process used for promotion (see Promotions Process) in terms of the letters of evaluation and the workflow.