Faculty Recruitment and Appointment

Policy number: 2.4

Policy section: Academic Affairs

Revised Date: February 28, 2022

1.  Policy Statement

The University is committed to recruiting, selecting, and appointing an outstanding and diverse faculty. The Office of the Provost oversees the recruitment and hiring of full-time faculty to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws and regulations and University policy.

2.  Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline the general principles of the faculty recruitment, selection, and appointment process. Complete details of this process including strategies for increasing the diversity of candidate pools can be found in the document “SMU Model for Faculty Search and Recruitment” described in Section 5 below.

3.  Position Request Process for Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty

  1. Departments (in schools where they exist) should develop a hiring plan for tenure-track/tenured faculty aligned with the strategic plans of the department, school/college, and University.Position requests based on the department’s plan should be submitted to the Dean (typically in the middle of the fall semester). These requests should include information such as proposed salary, start-up budget, rationale for appointment, alignment of the request with the strategic plans of the school/college and University, etc.
  2. After reviewing department position requests and consulting with an advisory group as needed, the Dean should prioritize the requests and make a recommendation to the Provost early in the spring semester. This recommendation should include pertinent information relevant to the position requests as discussed above.
  3. The Provost and Dean may meet to further discuss the position requests and future hiring directions for the school/college. The Provost will send a follow-up letter indicating the searches that have been approved.
  4. Under special circumstances, the Dean may submit off-cycle position requests for consideration by the Provost (outside of the annual process discussed above). The Dean should still submit the pertinent information discussed above with the request.

4.  Position Requests for Non-Tenure Track Faculty

Position requests for non-tenure track faculty must be authorized by the Dean following discussions with the department chair (in schools where they exist).

5.  Recruitment of Full-Time Faculty

Complete details of the faculty recruitment process may be found in the document “SMU Model for Faculty Search and Recruitment” created by the Office of Institutional Access and Equity. This document includes forms for gaining approval for the proposed search committee and recruitment plan (Appendix B), for the proposed on-campus interview pool (Appendix N), and for permission to hire a candidate (Appendix Q). A general outline of the plan is as follows:

  1. Create a diverse search committee with a mix of members in terms of gender and ethnicity. Search committees should include at least one person from outside the department/division, outside the school/college, or external to the University.
  2. Develop a recruitment plan. The department should advertise the position widely and encourage all qualified candidates to apply. Recruitment for tenured/tenure-track faculty should involve a national/international search. Faculty positions must be open for a minimum of 30 days.
  3. The search committee should consider applications received from all qualified candidates and select those candidates whose credentials most nearly coincide with the criteria of the position. The short list of proposed candidates and the proposed on-campus interview pool are submitted for approval.
  4. Candidates invited to campus are typically interviewed by the faculty of the department or academic unit. Scholarly presentations are highly recommended and candidate interview with students are recommended. The Dean or the Dean’s designate should interview all candidates for full-time faculty positions except for research or visiting positions. The Provost or the Provost’s designate should interview all candidates for tenured positions.

6.  Exceptions

It is the intent of the University to adhere to the policies and processes discussed in the last section in the recruitment of all faculty; however, experience has shown that on rare occasions it is necessary to dispense with the standard search and recruitment process. Exceptions to this policy may only be made upon the submission of written justification to the Provost and then only after the Provost has approved such justification.

Visiting faculty may be appointed for a one-year term without following the search and recruitment process described above.

7.  Appointment of Full-Time Faculty

The Provost has the authority to make all faculty appointments. Full-time faculty appointments are reviewed and approved by the President and confirmed by the Board of Trustees. The Provost has delegated the responsibility for letters of appointment to the Deans except for letters of appointment for tenured faculty and endowed chairs.

A draft letter of appointment and the faculty permission to hire form will be prepared by the Dean and submitted to the Provost for review. The precise terms and conditions of each faculty appointment shall be stated in writing including the teaching load and whether there are service and administrative responsibilities. Any additional changes to the appointment letter after approval by the Provost should be resubmitted for review. The letter shall make provision for the signature of the candidate indicating acceptance of the conditions set forth. The contract of employment shall be executed by both the University and faculty member, and a fully executed copy of the contract shall be in the possession of the faculty member and University before the appointment is valid.

Care should be taken not to communicate, orally or in writing, any terms or conditions of employment as being approved or offered by the University prior to approval of the appointment letter. All faculty hiring is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of a background check and contingent on the candidate’s ability to demonstrate work authorization pursuant to immigration laws. Each candidate must submit an official transcript of the highest degree awarded.

8.  Terms of Appointments of Faculty

More detailed descriptions of the academic positions listed below may be found in University Policy 2.11, Guidelines for the Award of Rank and Tenure for tenured and tenure-track faculty and University Policy 2.3, Faculty Ranks, Academic Titles, and Voting Rights for non-tenure track faculty.

  1. Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors – Appointed to a term ranging from one year to a term without limit.
  2. Instructors – Appointed to a one-year term. The Instructor’s Dean may recommend the faculty member to the Provost for a second one-year term and the Provost may, at his or her sole discretion, appoint the Instructor to serve a second one-year term. If the faculty member has not provided a transcript indicating the awarding of the terminal degree by the end of the one-year term or second one-year term if granted by the Provost, the faculty member will be terminated.
  3. Lecturers and Senior Lecturers – Appointed to a term ranging from one year to five years. Though these terms are renewable, a person holding one of these titles should not have an expectation of reappointment or a progression of titles.
  4. Research Professor, Research Associate Professor, and Research Assistant Professor – Appointed to a term as specified in the appointment letter. Unless specified otherwise in the appointment letter, the appointment terminates contemporaneously with the termination of external funding. In no case may a person holding one of these titles have an expectation of reappointment or a progression of titles.
  5. Clinical Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, and Clinical Assistant Professor – Appointed to a term ranging from one year to five years. Though these terms are renewable, a person holding one of these titles should not have an expectation of reappointment or a progression of titles.
  6. Professor of Practice, Associate Professor of Practice, and Assistant Professor of Practice – Appointed to a term ranging from one year to five years. Though these terms are renewable, a person holding one of these titles should not have an expectation of reappointment or a progression of titles.
  7. Scholars (Writers, Composers, Artists, Executives, Researcher)-in-Residence – Appointed to a term ranging from one year to five years. Though these terms are renewable, a person holding one of these titles should not have an expectation of reappointment.
  8. Visiting Faculty – Appointed to a term of one year or less. These appointments may be extended for one additional year with approval from the Office of the Provost. Visiting appointments beyond two years will not be approved.
  9. Adjunct Faculty (part-time faculty) – Appointed for a term of one year or less and are usually paid for a particular assignment such as teaching a course.

The terms of the above positions are as stated unless otherwise required by the school’s accrediting agency.

A title change within one of the non-tenure track categories c through f discussed above may be made by the Dean of a school after having received and considered the recommendation of the faculty of the department, division, or school and after receiving written approval from the Provost. Schools and departments should have written guidelines and procedures for the promotion of non-tenure track faculty.

9.  Terms of Appointments of Administrators and other Faculty Positions

  1. Department Chairs and other Faculty Administrators – Appointed to a stated term determined by the Provost.
  2. Endowed Chairs – Typically appointed to five-year renewable terms. It is expected that faculty in endowed chairs that remain research active will be renewed throughout their career.
  3. University Professors – Appointed to a term without limit.
  4. University Distinguished Professors – Appointed to a five-year term that is renewable for an additional five-year term.

10.  Notice of Decision Not to Reappoint for Non-Tenure Track Faculty

Non-tenure track full-time instructional faculty should not have an expectation of reappointment. Notice of the intention not to recommend reappointment for faculty whose contract will soon expire shall be given to the faculty member in writing in accordance with the following schedule:

  1. Not later than March 1 of the first academic year of service, if the appointment expires at the end of the academic year; or, if a one-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least three months before its termination.
  2. Not later than December 15 after one or more years of service, if the appointment expires at the end of the academic year; or, if the appointment terminates during an academic year, at least six months before its termination.

Non-tenure track faculty may be dismissed for inadequate performance of duty or for misconduct without the proper notice detailed above. Adequate cause for an involuntary dismissal will be related, directly and substantially, to the fitness of the faculty member in his/her professional capacity as a teacher or researcher. Dismissal will not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom. Non-tenure track faculty with unexpired terms are protected by the same university policies concerning academic freedom and dismissal for cause as all full-time faculty members.

11.  Early Termination of Appointment by the Faculty Member

A faculty member with a fixed-term contract may terminate his/her appointment before the termination date set forth in the faculty member’s contract provided the early termination is effective at the end of an academic year, and provided further that he/she gives notice in writing at the earliest possible opportunity, but not later than May 15, or 30 days after receiving notification of the terms of his/her appointment for the coming year, whichever date occurs later. The non-tenure track faculty member may properly request a waiver of this requirement of notice in case of hardship or in a situation where he/she would otherwise be denied substantial professional advancement or other opportunity.

12.  Appointment of Tenure-Track Faculty to Non-Tenure Track Faculty Position

  1. A faculty member who (1) holds a tenure-track appointment and (2) has begun the process of tenure review at Southern Methodist University may not be appointed to a non-tenure track faculty position. The process of tenure review begins when the tenure-track faculty member and academic unit select external reviewers for the tenure case.
  2. A person who has, or has had, a tenure-track appointment at the University may be appointed to a non-tenure track faculty position if the person has (1) not begun the process of tenure review or (2) has not been employed by the University for at least one academic year prior to appointment. In both cases, the person must have competed with other applicants through the normal faculty search and recruitment process.

13.  Questions

Questions regarding this policy are to be directed to the Office of the Provost.

Revised: February 28, 2022

Adopted: October 18, 2005