Officers of instruction are appointed to the grades of office defined in the University Statutes. Instruction may be offered only by individuals who hold an appointment in one of those grades. Officers of research, administration, and the libraries who are asked to teach a course, in full or in part, in addition to performing their regular duties, are given a second, part-time instructional appointment. Such an appointment is held only for the period during which the officer is teaching.
No officer of instruction may simultaneously hold more than one grade of instructional appointment.
The University does not make courtesy appointments as officers of instruction. Only those individuals who are providing instructional services may hold appointments in the grades defined below.
Appointments as officers of instruction may be grouped into five categories: research faculty, clinical faculty, practice faculty, special instructional faculty, and student officers of instruction. The first four are described here; the fifth is discussed in Chapter VII.
Appointment to a named professorship is a means of recognizing unusual academic distinction. New named professorships are proposed, on receipt of an endowment, by the dean or vice president of the division of the University in which its holder will serve, and are established by the Trustees, on the recommendation of the Provost and President, on such terms as the donor specifies in the gift document and the Trustees deem appropriate. The Jay Professorship of the Greek and Latin Languages, established in 1830, was the first to be created at Columbia. There are currently over 500 named professorships, most of which are held by members of the research faculty with the rank of full professor.
The Trustees make all appointments to named professorships. Nominations normally originate from the deans and vice presidents and require the approval of the Provost and President before they can be submitted to the Trustees. Before deciding whether to make a nomination, the dean or vice president may, at his or her discretion, consult with the named professors of equivalent or higher rank in the department or school in which the candidate will serve. If the number of named professors in a department or school is too few to ensure that the nomination has adequate support to merit consideration, the dean or vice president may seek the advice of named professors of equivalent or higher rank in cognate disciplines.
There are four principal grades of appointment in the research faculty:
Professors are scholars and teachers holding the doctorate or its professional equivalent who are widely recognized for their distinction. While they are ordinarily appointed for full-time service without stated term (i.e., with tenure or tenure of title), full-time appointments may also be made in certain instances at this rank for a stated term, which is renewable and is subject to the statutory limits on nontenured service.
In recognition of exceptional scholarly merit of the highest distinction and extended service to the University, the Trustees appoint a limited number of senior faculty members to the grade of University Professor. Only eight professors may hold this title at the same time, except when a University Professor reaches the age of 70, in which case the Trustees may make an additional appointment in anticipation of his or her retirement. Candidates for appointment as a University Professor are nominated to the Trustees by the President on the recommendation of the Provost and with the affirmative advice of the tenured members of the Executive Committee of the University Senate.
University Professors serve the University as a whole rather than a specific Faculty or department. Their course assignments, which may be within their own discipline or of a broader, interdisciplinary character, are determined by the Provost with the advice of the chairs of the departments in which they previously served and the appropriate dean or vice president.
Associate professors are officers holding the doctorate or its professional equivalent who have a demonstrated record of scholarly and teaching achievement and show great promise of attaining distinction in their fields of specialization. This is the first grade to which appointments are made for full-time service with tenure. In some Faculties, it is also the highest grade attained by a full-time nontenured faculty member before being considered for tenure. In such cases, the appointment is for a stated term, which is renewable, subject to the statutory limits on nontenured service.
Assistant professors are officers holding the doctorate or its professional equivalent who are beginning a career of independent scholarly research and teaching. They are appointed for full-time service for a stated term, which is renewable, subject to the statutory limits on nontenured service. Occasionally, a person who has been offered a position as an assistant professor has not completed the educational requirements before assuming the appointment. In these circumstances, the officer is initially given the title of instructor and is promoted to assistant professor at the start of the term following the receipt of the requisite degree. Proof of completion of all requirements for the degree, including, where appropriate, the deposit of the dissertation, may substitute for the actual degree in those cases where its formal conferral is delayed by the graduation schedule of the awarding institution.
Except at the Medical Center, instructors are officers appointed for full-time service who have been certified for candidacy for a doctoral degree, or its professional equivalent, and who will be promoted to assistant professor following its completion. Such promotions become effective at the beginning of the semester following receipt of the degree or the deposit of the dissertation. These appointments may not be held for more than five continuous years and generally are limited by the individual schools to a maximum of two years.
In the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, an instructor is an officer, holding the doctorate or its professional equivalent, who does not qualify for appointment as an assistant professor. These officers may be appointed for full- or part-time service for a stated term, which is renewable and is subject to the statutory limits on nontenured service.
Instructional appointments are also made in a visiting or adjunct capacity.
Appointments as visiting faculty are given to persons who are temporarily offering instruction at the University while on leave from another institution. Appointments may be made in the grades of visiting professor, visiting associate professor, and visiting assistant professor, depending on the qualifications of the officer. Appointments in these ranks are for full- or part-time service for a stated term of one year or less. These appointments are renewable but may not be held for more than two consecutive years without the prior permission of the Provost.
Adjunct officers of instruction are experts in special fields of knowledge who are appointed for a stated term to offer instruction part-time while pursuing their primary careers outside the University. With the prior permission of the Provost, these appointments may also be given to academically qualified persons holding full-time appointments at the University as officers of research, the libraries, or administration who are also teaching. These part-time appointments are made in the grades of adjunct professor, adjunct associate professor, and adjunct assistant professor, depending on the academic achievement of the officer. Part-time appointments as adjunct instructor may only be given at the Medical Center and only to individuals holding an appointment as instructor at the Cornell University Medical College. Adjunct faculty are appointed only for the period during which the officer is teaching, except in the case of officers with an appointment at the Cornell University Medical College who may be appointed for a stated term, which is renewable, of up to 12 months. Appointments in an adjunct grade are never made with tenure.
In extraordinary circumstances, the Trustees, on the recommendation of the President and Provost, may appoint a retired member of the faculty as a full-time special service professor. Such appointments are made for a stated term of up to 12 months and are renewable.
Appointments with clinical titles are made in the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, and Law. Within the Faculty of Medicine these appointments may be made in the clinical departments and in the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.
There are four clinical series at the Medical Center.
Titles in the first series are given to officers who are conducting substantial original research as well as teaching and participating in patient care. These titles are:
- professor of clinical (department)
- associate professor of clinical (department)
- assistant professor of clinical (department)
- associate in clinical (department)
- instructor in clinical (department)
- assistant in clinical (department)
These appointments may be for full- or part-time service.
Professors of clinical (department) and associate professors of clinical (department) may hold either annual appointments, which are renewable, or appointments without stated term if they are awarded tenure of title. Officers with other titles in this series may only hold annual appointments, which are renewable.
Appointment as assistant in clinical (department) is reserved for officers who have completed their clinical residency training and are participating in a postdoctoral clinical training program. The officer simultaneously holds an appointment as an officer of research in the rank of postdoctoral clinical fellow. Depending upon the source of funding, one of these appointments will be full-time and the other, part-time. Appointment in this rank may normally be held for a maximum of three years. Extensions for up to two additional years may occur with the prior permission of the Provost.
Visiting appointments are made in the grades of visiting professor of clinical (department), visiting associate professor of clinical (department), and visiting assistant professor of clinical (department), depending on the officer’s clinical credentials. Appointments in these ranks are given to individuals who are temporarily serving at the University while on leave from another institution. They are for full- or part-time service for a stated term of one year or less, which is renewable. These appointments may not be held for more than two consecutive years without the prior permission of the Provost.
There are four adjunct appointments in this title series: adjunct professor of clinical (department), adjunct associate professor of clinical (department), adjunct assistant professor of clinical (department), and adjunct instructor in clinical (department). These appointments are made for a stated term of part-time service of up to 12 months and are renewable. They are reserved for individuals holding appointments at the Cornell University Medical College in the ranks of professor of clinical (department), associate professor of clinical (department), assistant professor of clinical (department), and instructor in clinical (department).
There are three titles in the second clinical series at the Medical Center:
- clinical professor of (department)
- associate clinical professor of (department)
- assistant clinical professor of (department)
These are assigned to officers of instruction whose responsibilities consist primarily of patient care and teaching. Appointments to these titles are for a stated term only, which is renewable, for full- or part-time service. Part-time appointments may also be made for a stated term, which is renewable, of up to 12 months to the grades of adjunct clinical professor of (department), adjunct associate clinical professor of (department), and adjunct assistant clinical professor of (department). They are reserved for individuals holding an appointment at the Cornell University Medical College with a corresponding title without the adjunct modifier.
The third clinical series at the Medical Center consists of two full-time grades:
- professor at (an affiliated hospital or institute)
- associate professor at (an affiliated hospital or institute)
The qualifications for appointment in these grades are comparable to those for professors and associate professors. Officers in these ranks maintain an original research program of high quality, teach, and participate in patient care. They are appointed for a stated term, which is renewable, of up to 12 months. These appointments are never made with tenure or tenure of title.
The fourth clinical series at the Medical Center consists of two part-time grades:
- senior affiliate physician/dentist
- affiliate physician/dentist
These are given to officers in Columbia University’s physician and dental networks who are engaged in clinical care and teaching but whose level of involvement with the programs at the Medical Center does not merit an appointment in one of the other clinical series. They are made for a stated term, which is renewable, of up to 12 months.
Appointments may be made in the Faculty of Law in the grades of clinical professor of law, associate clinical professor of law, and assistant clinical professor of law, depending on the qualifications of the officer. Persons with these appointments conduct legal clinics for the School and give clinical instruction to its students. They may also teach nonclinical courses that are not part of the School’s core curriculum.
The clinical qualifications of these officers correspond to those of officers in equivalent grades among the research faculty. Clinical faculty in law are appointed annually or for a stated term of years for full-time service. They cannot receive tenure while holding a clinical title and ordinarily may not be considered for an instructional appointment with an unmodified title, either with or without tenure. Only in unusual circumstances, and with the prior permission of the Provost, will anyone who has held an appointment in the grade of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor be subsequently considered for a clinical appointment in law.
The programs in some professional schools require faculty who have substantial professional expertise but who may lack the scholarly training and credentials expected of the research faculty. Those faculty may be appointed full-time to one of the three grades in the practice faculty:
- professor of professional practice in (department)
- associate professor of professional practice in (department)
- assistant professor of professional practice in (department)
The professional qualifications of each correspond to those of the comparable grade in the research faculty.
A school must obtain the prior approval of the Provost and the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate to make nominations to the practice faculty. The conditions that warrant appointments to these grades are described in a report of the Faculty Affairs Committee, available on the University Senate’s web site at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/senate/. As of the publication of this Handbook, the School of the Arts, the Graduate School of Business, the School of International and Public Affairs, the Graduate School of Journalism, the School of Law, and the School of Social Work have been authorized to make such appointments.
Members of the practice faculty are not subject to the statutory limits on full-time nontenured service. However, they ordinarily may be appointed for more than eight years only if they have successfully passed a major review that is similar in nature to a review for tenure. (See “Appointment with Stated Term,” below.) Practice appointments are made for a stated term, which is renewable, and the incumbents of these appointments may not receive tenure while they hold practice titles.
Ordinarily, faculty may not switch from practice to nonpractice appointments or the reverse. Exceptions require the special prior permission of the Provost.
Special Instructional Faculty
The following titles are given to persons whose responsibilities are limited to offering instruction or who are otherwise participating as instructors in specialized programs:
- senior lecturer
- special lecturer
Senior lecturers are officers of instruction with substantial experience and accomplishments who possess the doctorate or its professional equivalent. Appointment to this grade may be for either full- or part-time service. Ordinarily, the appointment is for a stated term of no more than 12 months, which is renewable. With the prior approval of the Provost, full-time appointments may also be made in this grade without a stated term. Such appointments are contingent upon the faculty member successfully passing an evaluation similar in scope and nature to the major reviews of the practice faculty.
Lecturers are normally officers holding the doctorate or its professional equivalent who are appointed for full- or part-time service for a stated term of no more than 12 months, which is renewable.
Associates are officers appointed annually for full- or part-time service because of special competence in a given field who do not qualify for the title of lecturer.
Assistants are officers in the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health who hold the doctorate and who conduct instruction under the direction and supervision of an officer of higher rank. They are appointed annually for a stated term, which is renewable, for full- or part-time service.
Special lecturers are retired Columbia University officers of instruction who, because of special competence, are appointed for part-time service to give instruction for a stated term of one year or less, which is renewable.
A separate title series exists for officers who meet a programmatic need for instruction in specialized fields that cannot be filled by members of the tenured and tenure-track faculty:
- senior lecturer in (discipline)
- lecturer in (discipline)
- associate in (discipline)
The qualifications for these appointments are the same as those for comparable grades without the disciplinary modifier.
Appointments in these grades are made for full-time service for stated terms, which are renewable, and are not subject to the limits on nontenured service. Senior lecturers in (discipline) and lecturers in (discipline) may be appointed for renewable terms of up to three years, and associates in (discipline) for renewable terms of up to two years.
A school must obtain the prior approval of the Provost and the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate in order to make nominations for appointment in these grades. The conditions that warrant such appointments are described in the report of the Faculty Affairs Committee, which may be found on the University Senate’s web site at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/senate/. As of the publication of this Handbook, they may be used in the Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School of Business, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and in the Graduate School of Journalism.
After they retire, senior members of the faculty with the rank of professor may be awarded the distinction of professor emeritus in recognition of distinguished service to the University and eminence in their discipline. The emeritus designation may also be conferred on full- or part-time faculty holding the title of professor at (affiliated hospital or institute), professor of clinical (department), clinical professor of (department), professor of professional practice in (department), and adjunct professor.
Nominations for the emeritus distinction originate from the retired faculty member’s chair or dean and require the endorsement of the Provost. It is bestowed by the Trustees on the recommendation of the President, who consults with the University Senate as part of the nomination process. Should a chair or dean choose not to nominate a professor, the Senate may ask for an explanation of the reasons and, if it is not satisfied, recommend that the President nonetheless nominate the faculty member to the Trustees for the distinction.
Last Revised November 2008
Appointments to the grades of professor and associate professor and to the postretirement grade of special service professor are made by the Trustees. Other instructional appointments are made by the President, with the exception of student officers who are appointed by the Secretary of the University.
Officers of instruction are appointed to provide academic service in one or more of the University’s departments of instruction. The only exceptions are University Professors who serve the University as a whole. While officers of instruction may also be members of institutes, centers, laboratories, programs, and the University’s other multidisciplinary units of academic activity, no instructional appointments are made in those units.
Full-time faculty outside the Medical Center render service over a nine-month period, with the exception of those in the Graduate School of Business who are on an eight-month calendar. In the Faculties of Dental Medicine and Medicine, full-time officers of instruction are compensated for service during a 12-month academic year. Those in Nursing and Public Health may be appointed for either nine or 12 months of service. Their dean or department chair informs them of their expected length of service in writing before their appointment begins. Faculty in Nursing and Public Health may be transferred from 12-month to nine-month calendars only in special circumstances and with the prior permission of the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and the Provost. It is the responsibility of the dean or department chair to inform the faculty member in writing of such a change before it takes place.
Except when they are on sabbatical leaves or authorized leaves of absence without salary, full-time faculty may not hold appointments at other universities or receive salary from another institution without the prior approval of their dean or vice president and the Provost. Regardless of whether they are on leave, they must obtain prior permission from their dean or vice president and the Provost to create courses or teach outside of Columbia for any entity, including other universities, nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and for-profit corporations. With the exception of faculty appointed in a visiting rank, they may hold appointments, with tenure, at other institutions only in rare circumstances and only with the prior special authorization of the Provost. In pursuing their outside interests and activities, they need to be careful that they do not create a conflict of interest or commitment with their responsibilities to the University (see “Outside Interests and Employment,” in Chapter VI).
Full-Time and Part-Time Status
The responsibilities and expectations of faculty vary according to the type of instructional appointment they hold and the Faculty within which they serve. Consequently, there are variations in what constitutes a full-time and part-time appointment. However, full- and part-time faculty within a department or school are generally distinguished by their teaching loads, whether they are expected to engage in research or provide administrative services, and by their salaries.
Part-time faculty teach no more than half of the normal full-time course load within the department or school in which they serve. In applying that requirement, the University looks at the total number of courses taught during a term rather than over an academic year. Moreover, any course or course section counts against that limit, regardless of whether it covers a full term or a shorter period of time and regardless of whether the officer is its sole instructor or is co-teaching with other faculty. Typically, part-time faculty are also paid substantially less than full-time faculty, are not expected to maintain active programs of research as a condition for their appointment, and provide little or no administrative service to the University.
Procedures for Appointment and Promotion
Responsibility for initiating nominations for appointment and promotion has been delegated to the individual Faculties in recognition of the fact that the diversity of knowledge within the University makes centralized decisions on academic recruitment and development neither desirable nor practical. Collegial selection ensures that decisions about officers’ appointments are made by those who can best evaluate the nominee’s achievements and promise. This process also gives the schools and departments the flexibility to pursue policies that look beyond the qualifications of the individual, to anticipate new trends in their disciplines, and to mobilize talent selectively in accordance with program priorities. At the same time, the recommendations of the individual schools and departments are subject to review to ensure that comparable standards of appointment are used throughout the University and that the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action are observed.
Nominations for appointment, reappointment, and promotion originate within one of the University’s departments of instruction after it has received budgetary permission from the appropriate dean or vice president. Some officers may be nominated for joint appointments in more than one department, given the breadth of their backgrounds and the expectation that they will contribute to the teaching and research programs of multiple parts of the University. At the Medical Center, officers at the rank of assistant professor or higher may also be given interdisciplinary appointments when they are qualified by disciplinary background for appointment in one department or school but are working in another department, school, institute, or center. The privileges and duties of faculty with interdisciplinary and joint appointments at the Medical Center and the division of responsibility for their salaries and space are defined in a letter of agreement that is signed by the chair, director, dean, and, where appropriate, vice president of each of the units as well as the individual.
All appointments and promotions require the approval of the appropriate deans and vice presidents. They are also reviewed by the Provost, or a representative, to ensure that the nominee has the appropriate academic qualifications, before they are submitted to the appropriate appointing authority.
For appointments with stated term (i.e., without tenure or tenure of title), the Provost relies primarily on the advice of the Vice President for Arts and Sciences, the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, and the deans of the professional schools. The process by which faculty are considered for reappointment in a nontenured capacity varies by school and by type of appointment, as described in a later section of this chapter of the Handbook. (See “Appointment with Stated Term.”)
Under the provisions of the University Statutes, faculty with unmodified titles (professor, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor, senior lecturer, lecturer, associate, and assistant) may continue in a full-time instructional capacity for no more than eight counted years of appointment. Those with modified titles (including those in the clinical, of clinical, at affiliated hospital or institute, professional practice, and in discipline series) described above (see “Instructional Titles”) are not subject to the statutory limits on nontenured service but normally are reviewed for reappointment at periodic intervals (see “Appointment with Stated Term,” below).
For appointments with tenure, the Provost establishes an ad hoc committee to advise on the qualifications of the nominee, except for those in the School of Law where the tenured faculty, serving as a substitute for the ad hoc committee, provides that advice (see “Appointment to Tenure,” below). The Provost also refers a nomination to tenure of title to an ad hoc committee when the nominee will be appointed with an unmodified title. If the nominee will hold a clinical title, the Provost relies upon the advice of the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences.
Following the appropriate review, the Provost forwards all proposed appointments and promotions to the Trustees, President, or Secretary for their approval.
Affirmative Action Policies and Procedures
As the chief executive officer of the University, the President has the legal responsibility for ensuring compliance with the laws governing equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, and affirmative action, and for overseeing the University’s Affirmative Action Programs. The President has delegated those general responsibilities to the Provost who also directs the implementation of the University’s affirmative action policies for officers of instruction, research, and the libraries. The Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action exercises overall management of these policies and programs on behalf of the Provost. For the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, the Provost has assigned responsibility for the implementation of the affirmative action policies for academic officers to the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences. No one who will hold a full-time appointment that is subject to those requirements can start to work or be paid in any manner until clearance is given.
Every appointment of an officer of instruction of the University must be made in accordance with the University’s Affirmative Action Plan. Since the affirmative action procedures followed at the Medical Center differ in some respects from those used in the rest of the University, they are described in separate documents. The policies and procedures for making appointments to the faculty (and as officers of research and the libraries) both at the Medical Center and on the Morningside campus may be obtained from the web site of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action http://eoaa.columbia.edu/recruitment/faculty.
Notification of Appointment
Every offer of appointment or reappointment as an officer of instruction is confirmed in writing by the department chair or dean. The offer letter includes the officer’s rank, salary, and responsibilities, whether the appointment is full- or part-time, and such other terms and conditions of service as the chair or dean deems appropriate. It also states that the offer is subject to the approval of the Trustees, President, or Secretary of the University. In the case of appointments to tenure or to tenure of title with an unmodified title, the letter contains the further condition that it is contingent upon a favorable ad hoc review. In the Arts and Sciences these letters are approved by the Vice President before they are sent, and in other parts of the University by the dean of the Faculty within which the nominee will serve.
The Secretary of the University issues the formal letter of appointment. For officers on the Morningside campus and in the Faculty of Dental Medicine, the letter states the title, full-time or part-time status, period of service, and salary. For officers in the Faculties of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, the letter states the title, full-time or part-time status, and period of service, but not salary. Faculty with stated terms (i.e., without tenure or tenure of title) are sent letters each time their appointment is renewed. Those appointed without stated term are sent an appointment letter when they are awarded tenure or tenure of title. Thereafter, they receive an appointment letter only if they are promoted from associate to full professor or are given a named professorship. The Secretary will, however, send a letter informing tenured faculty outside of the Faculties of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health of their new salaries each year.
Officers should bring any discrepancy between the formal letter of appointment and the letter of the chair or dean to the attention of the Assistant Provost for Academic Appointments so that it can be resolved.
Last Revised February 2012
All instructional appointments that do not carry tenure are made for a specified term. Such appointments may be for full-time or part-time service.
In accordance with Section §71d of the University Statutes, new full-time officers of instruction with stated terms are appointed for only one year. Reappointment may be for a longer period, with its duration depending on the officer’s title. Full-time nontenured faculty appointed with unmodified titles may be reappointed for one, two, or three years; full-time clinical faculty, practice faculty, and members of the special instructional faculty with the modifier “in (discipline)” in their titles may be offered reappointment for up to five years. Part-time officers of instruction are appointed only for the terms in which they are offering instruction and for no more than one year at a time.
Under the University’s “Code of Academic Freedom and Tenure” (see Appendix B), full-time officers of instruction in some grades of appointment are limited to a maximum of eight counted years of full-time continuous service, unless they are granted tenure. Periods of appointment with a visiting title count against that limit. An exception to the eight-year rule is made only when, by prior and special permission of the Provost, a review for tenure is deferred until the officer’s eighth year. If the outcome of the review is negative, the officer is offered reappointment for a ninth and terminal year without being deemed to have received tenure (see “Ninth-Year Exception,” below). Additionally, the Provost may authorize a one-year extension to allow the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate to complete an investigation of a grievance by a faculty member in the eighth counted year of appointment (see “Grievance Procedures,” below).
These limits apply to full-time nontenured faculty, with the exception of those with clinical and practice appointments, faculty at the Medical Center appointed as professor at (affiliated hospital or institute) or associate professor at (affiliated hospital or institute), and members of the special instructional faculty holding the titles of senior lecturer in (discipline), lecturer in (discipline), and associate in (discipline).
Officers of instruction with unmodified titles indicating appointment “in an affiliated hospital or institute” are also statutorily exempted from the provisions limiting nontenured service. However, it is the policy of the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health not to extend their appointments beyond eight years of full-time continuous service unless they are granted tenure of title or successfully pass a major review for renewable term contracts as professor at (affiliated hospital or institute) or associate professor at (affiliated hospital or institute).
Faculty at the Medical Center may be given a clinical or “at affiliated hospital or institute” appointment after having served in a full-time rank that is subject to the statutory limits on nontenured service. However, they may not subsequently be nominated for tenure if the total period of full-time instructional appointment exceeds eight years. Full-time faculty in the rest of the University may not be switched between appointments whose duration is limited by the University Statutes and those that are exempt from those limits. They also are not considered for an appointment with tenure. Exceptions to these rules are permitted only in unusual circumstances and require the special permission of the Provost, which the nominating vice president or dean must obtain prior to authorizing the school or department to initiate a review of the faculty member.
This section of the Handbook describes the University’s policies governing nontenured appointments and its procedures for reappointment in a nontenured capacity. It begins with a discussion of appointments subject to the limits on nontenured service and then reviews the policies governing the appointment of nontenured faculty with modified titles whom the University Statutes exempt from those limits.
Limits on Nontenured Service
Full-time faculty appointments in the grades of assistant professor, instructor, lecturer, associate, and assistant are subject to the limits on nontenured service. Such appointments may also be made in the grades of professor and associate professor, but faculty are not normally appointed with those titles for more than three years without receiving tenure or tenure of title. As already noted, full-time faculty with titles indicating an appointment “in an affiliated hospital or institute” are also subject to the policies described below.
The Office of the Provost calculates the date beyond which each nontenured faculty member who is subject to the statutory limits on nontenured service may no longer serve in a full-time instructional capacity. This “up-or-out” date does not guarantee the individual eight years of appointment. Any full-time appointment may be terminated at the end of its stated term prior to the completion of eight years of service, as long as the officer is given adequate written notice (see “Termination,” below).
The limits on nontenured service govern full-time instructional appointments in the University as a whole and not in an individual Faculty and department. Therefore, prior periods of full-time service are counted when an officer moves from one part of the University to another without a break in appointment. This provision applies to service at Barnard College and Teachers College as well as other Faculties. Thus, if an officer is initially appointed in one of those colleges and, without an interruption in service, becomes a member of another Faculty of the University, the statutory limits on nontenured service are calculated from the date of the first full-time appointment at Barnard or Teachers College.
Occasionally, an interruption in full-time service will occur that has a bearing on the limits on nontenured service. Such a break may result from any of the following:
- nonrenewal of a full-time instructional appointment;
- service as a full-time officer of research or administration of the University, provided that the individual has no instructional responsibilities;
- appointment in a clinical or practice rank;
- appointment with an unmodified title at an affiliated hospital or institute;
- appointment to the special instructional faculty with a title containing the modifier “in (discipline)”; or
- a change from full-time to part-time instructional service (except in the case of the part-time career appointment for parents, as described below).
Under the provisions of the University Statutes, the eight-year limit is recalculated from the date on which the officer is reappointed in a full-time instructional capacity whenever a break in service occurs. However, in keeping with the spirit of the statutory provisions, the total period of the full-time instructional appointment, including any time as a full-time faculty member in a rank that is not subject to the limits on nontenured service, normally does not extend beyond eight counted years.
Some periods of instructional appointment are not counted toward the eight-year limit, and in some instances this causes the up-or-out date of the officer to change. Except as noted below for officers who are primarily responsible for children under the age of one, the officer does not need to apply for those exclusions. The Office of the Provost will automatically make the appropriate adjustment and inform the officer and his or her department chair and dean or vice president.
Up to one full year of appointment in a nonprofessorial rank (i.e., instructor, senior lecturer, lecturer, associate, or assistant) or one year of a leave of absence is routinely excluded from the eight-year limit. Semesters of partial leave in which the officer performs 50 percent or less of normal service are treated as if they were half semesters of full leave. A single such partial leave does not affect the limits on nontenured service. Two or three are treated as a one-semester leave and four as one year of leave. Semesters of partial leave in which the officer performs more than 50 percent of normal service are counted toward the eight-year limit.
Ordinarily, no more than one year of full-time appointment may be excluded in determining the limits on nontenured service. However, when a leave of absence is granted for medical reasons, child care (including exemptions from teaching duties under the workload relief plan), military service, or personal hardship, the Provost may rule that it will not be counted in calculating the up-or-out date, regardless of whether periods of service have been excluded for other reasons. (See “Leaves of Absence,” below.) As a general rule, the Office of the Provost excludes leaves for these purposes in determining the officer’s up-or-out date as long as they are at least two months in length.
At the sole discretion of the Provost, an additional year may also be excluded when a faculty member has been denied tenure after an ad hoc review and grieves the decision to the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate if the Committee needs additional time in order to complete its investigation.
Under Section §71c(2) of the University Statutes, the Provost may stop the tenure clock of nontenured faculty if they assume the primary responsibility for the care of a child less than a year old, even if they do not take a leave of absence for that purpose or participate in the University’s workload relief program. (See “Leaves of Absence,” below.) An officer is considered the “primary parent” if she or he is a single parent or, where there are two parents, if the other is working full-time or is enrolled as a full-time student. Faculty may employ a day-care provider and still qualify for this exclusion. When both parents work at the University, only one may be considered primary at any given time.
Faculty may have the tenure clock stopped in this manner for up to one year of appointment for each of two children. To be eligible for an exclusion under these provisions, officers of instruction must be the primary parent for a minimum of three months. If they take a child care leave or participate in the parental workload relief program, the maximum time that can be excluded from the tenure count for any combination of those options and these statutory provisions is one year for each child.
The Office of the Provost does not have access to information on when faculty become new parents. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the faculty member to request time off of the tenure clock under these provisions. They should write as early as possible directly to the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Administration to request the exclusion and affirm that they meet the eligibility requirements for it. The letter should state that the faculty member will be the primary care giver, indicate that the other parent is either working full-time or is a full-time student, and include the date of the child’s birth or adoption. On receipt of the request the Office of the Provost will change the faculty member’s up-or-out date and inform the appropriate department chair and dean or vice president as well as the individual.
Since it is in the interest of neither the individual nor the University for an appointment to end mid-year, every up-or-out date is set at June 30. Applying the principles set forth above, most individuals will have completed eight years of counted service on that date. Some, however, will have served for eight-and-one-half years, given the manner in which the limits on nontenured service are calculated. In such cases, the officer does not receive tenure as a result of the additional half year of appointment.
Each spring the Office of the Provost sends the vice presidents, deans, and department chairs a summary report of the appointment histories of the full-time officers of instruction in their respective units whose appointments are subject to the limits on nontenured service. For each officer listed, the report includes the up-or-out date. It is the responsibility of the deans and department chairs to convey this information to their junior faculty. It is also their responsibility to provide nontenured faculty whose appointments will be terminated with written notice of nonrenewal that is clear, unambiguous, and timely (see “Termination,” below). Officers with questions about the limits on nontenured service should consult their dean, vice president, or chair. They may also contact the Assistant Provost for Academic Appointments.
Part-Time Career Appointment for Parents
To assist full-time officers of instruction who must prepare for a tenure review while raising a family, the University allows those who are subject to the limits on nontenured service and have young children to retain their full-time status, and its associated benefits and privileges, while providing part-time service. Because of the purpose for which it was created, faculty with tenure and those who are exempt from the limits on nontenured service may not hold this type of appointment.
To be eligible for the part-time career appointment, the faculty member must be primarily responsible for the care of a child under the age of nine and plan to devote the time freed up by the appointment to that responsibility. For the purpose of determining eligibility, the University follows the definition of a primary parent described earlier in this section of the Handbook.
Each year of a part-time career appointment is treated as a half-year in determining the officer’s up-or-out date, thereby providing additional time before the officer must be reviewed for tenure. Full-time service, either before or after holding such an appointment, is counted in the normal manner.
While they are on a part-time career appointment, faculty perform half of their normal responsibilities and are paid half of their normal salary but remain eligible to participate in the University’s benefits programs. Faculty on such an appointment may not work for compensation outside of the University.
A part-time career appointment is authorized by the Provost on the recommendation of the department chair and dean or vice president. Faculty may hold such an appointment as long as they meet the eligibility requirements for it and annually inform their chair and dean or vice president of their intention to continue to serve in a part-time capacity. They may return to full-time service upon providing timely written notice to their chair and dean or vice president.
An officer of instruction is normally considered for tenure by an ad hoc committee no later than May 31 of the seventh year of counted service, as required by the Statutes of the University, and given a final year of appointment if the outcome is negative. In unusual circumstances, it may be necessary to postpone the review until the officer’s eighth year. If the outcome of the evaluation is unfavorable, or if the Provost, President, or Trustees do not accept a favorable recommendation, the individual is offered an appointment for a ninth and terminal year. Reappointment in these cases does not result in tenure.
The Ninth-Year Exception requires the prior, special permission of the Provost. Requests for the Exception should be made by the executive committee of the department or school before the end of the officer’s sixth year of counted service, have the support of the appropriate dean or vice president, and meet the following conditions:
- There is already substantial evidence of the candidate’s excellence.
- There are specific, compelling reasons for deferring the tenure review. Generally, the only acceptable grounds for deferral are that the candidate is expected to publish scholarly work during the forthcoming year that will have a material effect on the outcome of the ad hoc review. The research should be completed, and the results should already be written up in a form that has been accepted for publication, will be presented at a conference, or is scheduled for release in another scholarly forum. More importantly, the expected scholarship should be qualitatively better than the candidate’s earlier work and of such significance that it does not make sense to proceed with the tenure review until it is available to the candidate’s discipline and the ad hoc committee.
- The tenured faculty of the department have, by a formal vote, affirmed both their support for the Exception and their expectation that their internal review of the candidate in the following year will result in a positive recommendation. (The granting of the Ninth-Year Exception does not, however, guarantee that an ad hoc review will be held, merely that the candidacy will be considered by the department or school during the eighth year of counted service.)
In evaluating requests for Ninth-Year Exceptions, the Provost may consult with scholars in the candidate’s field of specialization inside and outside the University.
In addition to situations in which the Provost decides to defer an ad hoc review for the reasons described above, there may be instances in which a review that is scheduled for an officer’s seventh year of service is not completed until the eighth, owing to administrative delays. In these cases, the officer will also be entitled to a ninth year of appointment without being deemed to have received tenure in the event that the outcome of the ad hoc review is negative.
Reappointment with an Unmodified Title
Full-time nontenured faculty with unmodified titles are subject to periodic review by their department or school. These reviews provide timely advice that encourages their professional development while serving as the basis for the decision on whether to reappoint them in a nontenured capacity.
The Arts and Sciences has a comprehensive system of review for faculty originally appointed as full-time assistant professors and instructors that consists of evaluations in their first, third, fifth, and seventh years of counted service. These reviews are progressively more rigorous in their character.
- Early in the spring of the first year of appointment, the department conducts a Confirming Review to determine if a faculty member should be reappointed for up to three additional years or given notice that his or her appointment will be terminated on June 30 of that year.
- Faculty in their third year of counted service undergo a Developmental Review that provides guidance to help them develop as scholars and teachers while evaluating them for possible reappointment through their sixth year of counted service. If their progress is deemed to be unsatisfactory, they may be reappointed for a lesser period or given notice of nonrenewal at the end of the fourth year. In unusual cases, this review may also lead to a recommendation that the faculty member should be promoted to nontenured associate professor.
- The fifth year or Critical Review determines if a nontenured faculty member exhibits the qualities of a scholar and educator that are likely to merit a nomination to tenure at Columbia or an institution of comparable quality by the seventh year of service. It is also the occasion for deciding if the faculty member should be reappointed through the eighth year of service and should be promoted to the rank of nontenured associate professor. A positive recommendation resulting from this review represents a statement about the likelihood of being proposed for tenure but does not guarantee an eventual nomination.
- The Tenure Review in the seventh year is the point at which the department normally decides if it wishes to consider a nontenured faculty member for nomination to tenure. Nontenured faculty may request a review for possible nomination to tenure in an earlier year of counted service.
The first step in the Tenure Review, regardless of the year in which it occurs, consists of a determination of whether the financial and other resources necessary to support a tenured position are available and whether it is desirable to make such an appointment in the officer’s area of specialization. If the resources do not exist or there is no desire to tenure in the officer’s area, the review is deemed to have ended, and there is no subsequent consideration of the individual’s academic credentials. In instances where the decision has been made to initiate a review, a department is expected to evaluate the faculty member in comparison with others in the same specialization and to nominate the candidate only if he or she meets the University’s criteria for tenure, as described in the next section of this Handbook (see “Appointment to Tenure”).
Faculty in the Arts and Sciences who are initially appointed as associate or full professor are reviewed on a different schedule. All receive a Confirming Review in their first year. Those who are eligible for consideration for tenure are given a Tenure Review in the third or fourth year of counted instructional service. Faculty in these ranks on nonrenewable appointments may request a Developmental Review in their third year to help them prepare for their careers after they leave Columbia.
Every year the Vice President for Arts and Sciences sends the departments guidelines for conducting these reviews. Nontenured faculty may obtain copies of those guidelines from their department chair. While the evaluations are performed by the departments themselves, their outcomes are transmitted in the form of recommendations to the Vice President who makes the decisions on whether to nominate the faculty for reappointment in a nontenured capacity, to promote to the rank of nontenured associate professor, and to review for tenure by an ad hoc committee.
This model for reviewing full-time junior faculty is also followed on the Morningside campus by the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the Faculty of Social Work and, to a lesser extent, the Faculty of Journalism. However, the process by which the Faculties conduct the successive reviews may differ in their details. The other Faculties on the Morningside campus and those at the Medical Center use separate procedures for evaluating full-time nontenured faculty for possible reappointment.
Since the Faculties follow different policies in deciding whether to reappoint in a full-time nontenured capacity and for how long, nontenured faculty should address any questions about how they will be evaluated to their chair or dean, who is responsible, insofar as possible, for keeping them informed of the likelihood of their reappointment, promotion, and nomination to tenure or tenure of title.
Appointment to the Practice Faculty
The Provost, with the concurrence of the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate, has authorized some schools to make appointments as professor of professional practice, associate professor of professional practice, and assistant professor of professional practice in order to fill programmatic needs that are clearly distinguishable from the responsibilities of the regular professorial faculty. (See “Instructional Titles,” above.) These appointments are typically given to individuals with distinguished nonacademic careers whose professional experience allows them to meet curricular needs that fall outside the expertise and interest of the regular faculty.
While professionally distinguished, practice faculty normally do not have the academic qualifications for tenure and, therefore, are not subject to the statutory limits on nontenured service. They are appointed for a specified term of years, which is renewable, following a suitable review. The term of appointment and the nature of the review are determined by their length of service.
Except in the School of Law, as described below, practice faculty are initially appointed to a one-year term. Following a review that is completed no later than February 28 of the first year, they may be reappointed for a three-year term or given notice that their appointments will end on June 30 of that year. After increasingly rigorous reviews in each of the third and fifth counted years of service, practice faculty may receive further three-year appointments. After each of these reviews, the school may, at its discretion, appoint the officers for shorter terms or end their full-time appointments by giving them a year’s notice of non-renewal, as required by the University Statutes.
No later than the end of the seventh year of counted appointment, members of the practice faculty undergo a Major Review whose outcome is either an offer of a five-year appointment or written notice of nonrenewal after an eighth and terminal year of full-time appointment. Members of the practice faculty may ask to have the Major Review occur in an earlier year of appointment. In addition, the school may conduct the Major Review before the seventh year of counted service, particularly in the case of the practice faculty initially appointed at the full or associate professor level. Normally, the timing of the Major Review for professors and associate professors of professional practice is determined at the time the officer is recruited and is communicated to the officer in the offer letter. No one may hold a practice appointment for more than eight counted years of service without successfully passing the Major Review.
Following the Major Review, practice faculty are reviewed for reappointment at five-year intervals during the fourth year of the term of appointment. In the event that the faculty member’s performance is found to be unsatisfactory or the dean believes that a more extensive evaluation is required, the dean initiates another Major Review, or its equivalent, before deciding whether to reappoint for a further five-year term or to give the individual notice of nonrenewal after a final year of full-time appointment.
In the School of Law, practice faculty are appointed for terms of three years or less, both before and after the Major Review. No later than the beginning of the final year, they may ask to be evaluated for a further reappointment. Normally, the third such review, occurring before the start of the ninth year of appointment, serves as the Major Review. If a subsequent evaluation suggests that a practice faculty member no longer meets the criteria for appointment, the School conducts a further Major Review before deciding whether to reappoint for a further three-year term or give the officer notice of nonrenewal after a final year of full-time appointment.
Each school that is authorized to make practice appointments has prepared a statement that describes the procedures and criteria it uses in deciding whether to reappoint in those ranks. Members of the practice faculty may obtain a copy of that statement by contacting the office of their dean or vice president.
Appointment as Lecturer in (Discipline)
Appointments as senior lecturer in (discipline), lecturer in (discipline), and associate in (discipline) are given to faculty whose instructional contributions to the programs of the departments and schools make it desirable to continue their full-time affiliation with the University beyond the eight counted years the University Statutes permit for other members of the special instructional faculty. As in the manner of the practice faculty, the departments and schools need to obtain the authorization of the Provost and the Faculty Affairs Committee before starting to make these appointments. (See “Instructional Titles,” above.)
While the statutory restrictions on nontenured service do not apply to faculty with these appointments, none may be appointed for more than eight years of counted service without successfully passing a substantial review conducted in a manner defined by the individual department and school. These officers are subject to periodic evaluation for reappointment both before and after the substantial review, which typically occurs in the seventh year of counted service. As of the publication of this Handbook, only the Arts and Sciences, the Faculty of Business, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Faculty of Journalism have permission to appoint in these ranks. Each has established a set of procedures for reviewing faculty with these appointments, which are modeled after the methods they use for evaluating nontenured and practice faculty. Faculty should contact the office of the appropriate dean or vice president for information on those procedures.
Appointment in a Clinical or “at an Affiliated Hospital or Institute” Rank
The schools at the Medical Center and the School of Law have their own procedures for evaluating faculty with clinical titles for appointment and promotion, which vary in their details. At the Medical Center, appointments to those titles are supervised by the Committee on Appointments and Promotions (COAP) of the individual schools.
Appointments as associate professor at (affiliated hospital or institute) and professor at (affiliated hospital or institute) are given to individuals in a clinical field who combine original research and teaching with involvement in patient care but do not qualify for tenure. While the appointments are exempt from the limits on nontenured service, they are subject to a second review beyond the department by the Medical Center’s Committee on Appointments and Promotions (CUMC COAP). The approval of the committee is also needed for promotions from associate professor at (affiliated hospital or institute) to professor at (affiliated hospital or institute).
Appointed by the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, the CUMC COAP consists of seven senior faculty who serve staggered terms of three years and the Executive Vice President or a representative. When the committee considers a nomination from Dental Medicine, Nursing, or Public Health, it is augmented with an eighth voting faculty member from the school. In addition to approving “at affiliated hospital or institute” appointments on behalf of the Executive Vice President, the CUMC COAP reviews changes in appointment involving tenure or tenure of title, including nominations of faculty with either status for promotion from associate professor to professor and for joint or interdisciplinary appointments.
Faculty with clinical or “at affiliated hospital or institute” titles who have questions about their appointments and the procedures used for evaluating them for reappointment and promotion should direct them to their department chair or dean.
Last Revised November 2008
Appointments to tenure are made in the grades of professor and associate professor following the process of peer review described below. Consideration for tenure begins with an evaluation by the Faculty in which the officer will serve. If the results of that evaluation are positive, the dean or vice president submits a nomination to the Provost, who establishes an ad hoc committee to conduct a second, University-wide review. Only nominations from the Faculty of Law, those for deans, and department chairs in the Faculty of Medicine are not subject to ad hoc review. If the recommendation of the ad hoc committee is positive and the Provost concurs, or if the Provost decides not to accept a negative recommendation by the committee, the nomination is forwarded to the President. Upon approval by the President, the nomination is presented to the Trustees, who make the final decision on all appointments to tenure.
Officers with tenure hold appointments without stated term until they retire. Tenure necessarily implies some financial obligation, but it does not guarantee a specific level of compensation.
Tenured faculty members may be dismissed for cause or suspended in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the “Code of Academic Freedom and Tenure” (see Appendix B), or the “Rules of University Conduct” (see http://facets.columbia.edu/university-regulations/rules-university-conduct). They may also be released due to the discontinuation of an academic unit (see “Termination,” below).
Criteria for Appointment to Tenure
An appointment to tenure is made in the University only when an individual of widely recognized excellence is found to fill a scholarly need that is demonstrably vital to a discipline central to the University’s purposes. The process of tenure review, therefore, is concerned with both the state and objectives of the nominating department or school and the qualities of the nominee.
The rapidly changing nature of research and the diverse ways in which it is conducted make it impossible to expect any university, even one that is rich in resources, to have tenured faculty in every disciplinary specialty. Appointments to tenure are offered only to the most able scholars in those areas of research of the highest priority to the University. Nomination to tenure, therefore, is the occasion for a department or school to consider its condition and to restate its objectives, both within its discipline and the University. It is part of the work of an ad hoc committee to test the strength of these claims and thus the appropriateness of the appointment.
Even more critical than the academic need for a tenure appointment are the qualifications of the individual proposed to fill it. In every instance, the nominee must be an outstanding scholar; a person who has demonstrated the capacity for imaginative and original work and who shows promise of continuing to make significant contributions to research. Excellence as a teacher is also an important prerequisite for tenure.
Regardless of academic age, every candidate should have produced work of truly outstanding quality. The quantity of publications is of lesser concern. A candidate need not be one who has published much, provided his or her scholarly work meets the University’s high standards of excellence. Tenure, moreover, is not simply a reward for past accomplishments. It is also a vote of confidence that the candidate will continue to be an important and productive scholar. Thus, a candidate must continue to have an active scholarly agenda that shows strong promise of yielding answers to fundamental questions in his or her discipline.
Peer esteem is a valuable measure of scholarly ability. Established scholars must be widely recognized as among the leaders in their disciplines. Younger scholars must have achieved a level of scholarly accomplishment that demonstrates extraordinary promise. If a younger scholar lacks recognition, it must be for reasons of academic age alone. Serious consideration should be given only to those younger scholars who can be expected, with a high degree of confidence, to become leaders in their disciplines.
Nor is any lesser standard to be applied when the candidate is in a professional or artistic discipline. The customary academic measure provided by publications and papers may be augmented or replaced by other considerations, such as journalistic achievements, built architectural projects, or creative works of art. However, in every case, candidates must have a record of highly original accomplishments, exhibit the potential for continuing to make influential professional or artistic contributions, and be regarded by their peers as among the very best in their fields.
These criteria must necessarily be interpreted with flexibility to take into account the differing disciplines of the candidates and the missions of their Faculties. Nonetheless, all candidates must be or have the potential of becoming leading figures in a field that is intellectually vital and important to the University. The burden of demonstrating that a candidate meets those criteria rests with the nominating department or school. If the ad hoc committee believes that the department or school has not made a compelling affirmative case for the nomination, it should not hesitate to recommend against awarding tenure. If the committee is satisfied that the candidate is truly an outstanding scholar in mind and in performance, it should recommend in favor of the appointment.
Nomination to Tenure
The nomination process begins with budgetary consideration of the desirability of the appointment. Because of the financial implications of tenure, no school or department may fill a tenure position without financial authorization from the dean or vice president of the Faculty that will fund it. Budgetary authorization will generally specify the subfield or set of subfields within which the school or department may make a tenure appointment, thus implying a decision on academic priorities. But it is not a substitute for the case the nominating Faculty must make, and the ad hoc committee must review, for the appropriateness of awarding tenure.
The selection of an external candidate is usually preceded by a full outside search. However, situations may arise in which a search is not appropriate. For example, the school or department may have a rare opportunity to appoint an individual widely recognized to be among a very small group of leading scholars, none of whom would normally be expected to be available. Although the department or school may also conduct a search before recommending one of its nontenured faculty members for promotion to tenure, it is not required. The decision on whether to forego a search is made by the Vice President for Arts and Sciences for the departments of the Arts and Sciences or by the dean of the Faculty considering the candidate in other parts of the University.
The various Faculties follow different methods for evaluating candidates for tenure. In the Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, Medicine, and Public Health, candidates’ qualifications are reviewed first by the departments in which they will serve. Following an affirmative vote by the department, nominations in the Arts and Sciences are reviewed by the Vice President; in the Faculty of Medicine by the Medical Center’s Committee on Appointments and Promotions, acting on behalf of the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences; in Public Health by the School’s Committee on Appointments and Promotions, acting on behalf of the dean; and in Engineering and Applied Science, by ad hoc committees that are established by and report to the dean. Since the other Faculties are themselves single departments of instruction, the review is conducted by the full tenured faculty who vote on whether to propose a nomination to the dean. In the case of some of those Faculties, this review is preceded by an evaluation by a division or by a standing committee on academic appointments. Regardless of the form of the school’s internal review, the final decision on whether to nominate a candidate for tenure rests with the vice president or dean.
Nominations from Dental Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health also require the endorsement of the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences before they can be forwarded to the Provost for ad hoc review. Therefore, they are reviewed by the Medical Center’s Committee on Appointments and Promotions after the completion of the school’s internal reviews.
For information on the policies and procedures governing the departmental and Faculty reviews, officers should contact the office of the dean or vice president.
At a minimum, nominations for ad hoc review require a favorable vote by a majority of the tenured faculty in the department or school, or by a majority of an appointments committee duly authorized to make judgments on tenure on their behalf. Individual departments and schools may specify a higher percentage as necessary to nominate as long as they consistently apply the requirement they establish to all potential candidates they review. Joint appointments require positive votes from all of the nominating departments and schools, and the approval of the appropriate deans and vice presidents. When one department or school votes not to nominate, a second may not initiate a review of the candidate without the prior permission of the Provost. The decision on whether to nominate is made by an open vote or by signed ballots so that any faculty who vote “no” can be identified and asked to provide the ad hoc committee with an explanation of the reasons for their opposition.
A department or school may reconsider a candidate whom it previously decided not to nominate for tenure if there is evidence of substantial scholarly development since the first review. For candidates who already hold full-time instructional appointments at the University, the new evaluation must be permitted by the provisions of the University Statutes governing the limits on nontenured service. The vice president or dean will forward the nomination of a candidate who has previously been turned down at the departmental or school level on being satisfied that there has been a sufficient improvement in the quality of the individual’s work since the first review such that the original negative decision is no longer valid. In those cases, the dossier submitted in support of the nomination includes a full description of both the original and new review, including a full explanation of the reasons for the initial negative decision.
Ad Hoc Review
The University, including Barnard College but excepting the Faculty of Law, follows a regular system of review by an ad hoc committee whenever a school or department recommends a candidate for tenure. The purpose of this system is to ensure that the same standards of judgment are applied to all appointments to tenure, regardless of the school or department originating the nomination, and thereby to secure a faculty of exceptional quality and distinction throughout the University.
Ad hoc reviews, with the exception of those for candidates from Barnard College, are conducted according to the policies and procedures set forth in detail in the Provost’s statement, Principles and Customs Governing the Procedures of Ad Hoc Committees and University-Wide Tenure Review, which is reissued every year. Because there are some differences in procedures, a separate statement governs the review of nominations from Barnard. Copies of both documents can be obtained from the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Administration, which administers the ad hoc system on behalf of the Provost. They are also posted on the Office’s web site at www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/docs/tenframe.html. The remainder of this section summarizes the ad hoc process for nominations outside Barnard College.
Each ad hoc committee consists of five tenured faculty, one of whom serves as its chair. Ad hoc committees and their chairs are appointed by the Provost in consultation with the Tenure Review Advisory Committee (TRAC), which includes at least nine tenured faculty who are selected annually, plus the Vice President for Arts and Sciences, the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, and the Executive Vice President for Research, who serve ex officio.
The members of an ad hoc committee are chosen primarily from the tenured members of the University faculty who are familiar with the candidate’s field of specialization. They may hold appointments in any Faculty of the University, including Barnard College. Faculty with tenure of title who have passed an ad hoc review may also be asked to serve, as may retired tenured members of the Columbia faculty when TRAC and the Provost conclude that they can bring a needed expertise to the evaluation of the candidate.
Since the purpose of the ad hoc system is to provide a second, entirely independent review of each nomination, members of the nominating department or school are not asked to serve on the committees for its candidates. Similarly excluded are faculty from other departments who have collaborated with the candidate, voted on the nomination, written letters of evaluation, served on a search committee that selected the nominee for the tenure position, or served on a Faculty-wide personnel committee that assisted the dean or vice president in deciding whether to forward the nomination to the Provost.
While every effort is made to avoid asking professors on leave or department chairs to serve, it may sometimes be necessary to appoint them to ad hoc committees. A professor already sitting on one committee is appointed to a second only when the Provost and TRAC consider his or her expertise to be essential to the conduct of the review.
The Provost routinely selects one person from outside the University, and sometimes more, to serve on ad hoc committees. The outside member of an ad hoc committee may not be someone who has collaborated with the candidate or supervised his or her doctoral studies or postdoctoral training. Similarly, individuals who have written an evaluation of the candidate are not asked to serve. Given these restrictions, the selection of an outside member normally occurs before the department or school solicits external evaluations for a candidate to ensure that the most appropriate individuals can be considered for that role.
The Senior Vice Provost for Academic Administration conducts the search for an outside member. In compiling a list of recommendations for the consideration of TRAC and the Provost, the Senior Vice Provost normally consults with the appropriate department chair or dean and with scholars at other universities. The Senior Vice Provost typically starts by asking the chair or dean for suggestions. Before responding, that officer may consult with other members of the Columbia faculty or scholars at other institutions, but not with the candidate. Along with the recommendations for the outside member, the chair or dean submits the names of several scholars at other institutions with whom the Senior Vice Provost can consult for further suggestions, the proposed referee and comparison lists, and an electronic copy of the candidate’s curriculum vitae. Before submitting a list of possible outsiders to the members of TRAC and the Provost, the Senior Vice Provost will give the chair or dean an opportunity to comment on their suitability. It is the responsibility of the chair or dean to raise any questions about the appropriateness of a proposed outsider at that time. The Provost will take such information into consideration but reserves the right to ask anyone he or she deems to have the expertise needed to evaluate the candidate.
While the various Faculties appropriately follow different methods for nominating candidates for tenure, every nomination sent to the Provost is accompanied by the same types of materials for the ad hoc committee’s review. The department or division originating the nomination may take the lead in preparing these materials, but it is the responsibility of the dean or vice president to ensure that they are complete, accurate, and submitted to the Office of the Senior Vice Provost in a timely fashion. The dean or vice president may supplement the dossier with additional materials after its original submission at any point up to the date of the ad hoc review.
In conducting its review, an ad hoc committee relies on evidence of three kinds:
- The nominating department or school prepares three written statements. One analyzes its current state and objectives; the second reports on the process by which the candidate was selected; and the third assesses his or her qualifications. With these statements, the department or school also submits the nominee’s curriculum vitae; a representative set of his or her written work, published and unpublished; a statement from the candidate on his or her current research, teaching, and future scholarly projects (with the permission of the Provost, this statement may be omitted for external candidates); evidence of the nominee’s contribution to the educational programs of the department or school and teaching performance; and any other information it wishes the committee to consider. For a candidate in the Arts and Sciences, the supporting materials also include an assessment of the individual’s qualifications by the nominating department’s counterpart at Barnard College and a record of the counterpart department’s formal vote on whether he or she should receive tenure.
- Recognized experts in the candidate’s specialization are asked to write letters evaluating the nominee’s qualifications and comparing him or her with other prominent scholars in the field. Referees include the leading individuals in the candidate’s field of specialization. Other established scholars and professionals who can assess the quality of the nominee’s work and its contribution to his or her broader discipline may also be asked for evaluations, especially in those cases where the field of specialization is narrow and the number of individuals working in it is limited. In selecting the comparison scholars, care is taken to define the field of specialization in a manner that is appropriate and yet not so narrow that the referees find it difficult to make a meaningful comparative evaluation of the candidate. The comparison list includes the most outstanding of the candidate’s peers. When the nominee is a younger scholar, it will also include more senior individuals who are judged to be the best in the field. In those cases, the referees are asked if the nominee has the potential of reaching the level of achievement of the more senior comparison scholars.
- The Provost arranges for witnesses to appear before the ad hoc committee who can speak to the need for the tenure appointment and the nominee’s qualifications. The dean or department chair normally makes the case for the nomination, although he or she may delegate that responsibility to another tenured member of the nominating unit. The department or school may have a second witness appear to provide further testimony on the candidate’s scholarship and teaching. Additional witnesses may be asked to testify at the discretion of the ad hoc committee. In particular, when there is evidence of disagreement within the nominating department or school, care is taken to ensure that the committee hears from individuals representing the full range of opinion on the candidate’s qualifications. When a nominee will have major responsibilities in more than one school or department, the chairs or deans of all of the relevant units are routinely invited to appear as witnesses or submit letters of evaluation.
A detailed description of the materials included in a tenure dossier may be found in the Provost’s annual statement, Principles and Customs Governing the Procedures of Ad Hoc Committees and University-Wide Tenure Review, which is posted on the web at www.columbia.edu/cu/vpaa/docs/tenframe.html.
The Provost has established a schedule, which may be found in the annual Ad Hoc Guidelines, for submitting the dossier of materials that accompanies a nomination. Failure to observe that schedule may result in the postponement of the ad hoc review to the following academic year or, in the case of an internal candidate in the seventh year of counted service, lead to a decision not to hold a review, in which case the individual’s full-time instructional appointment will be terminated after an eighth and final year.
The work of an ad hoc committee begins with a careful evaluation of the materials submitted in support of the nomination. This includes a critical reading of the candidate’s scholarly work. The letters of evaluation provide the committee with the views of leading scholars on the candidate’s work. However, they cannot substitute for the members’ own reasoned assessment of the quality of the candidate’s scholarship.
The ad hoc committee chair is responsible for ensuring that the dossier is sufficient to meet the committee’s needs. The chair is expected to consult with the rest of the committee in advance of its meeting to determine if further information is needed and to alert each member to any special concerns that the others might have about the nomination.
The members of an ad hoc committee are expected to seek whatever additional information they feel they need to perform a thorough and careful review of the candidate. For example, they may ask the Provost to solicit additional referee evaluations or written statements from the nominating unit, or they may ask that additional witnesses, even from outside the University, be invited to give testimony. They also may make further inquiries, both within and outside the University, by telephone or personal interview. While all members of the committee may make such inquiries, they should take special care to coordinate their efforts with their chair and act with the greatest discretion to ensure the confidentiality of the ad hoc review.
The ad hoc committee meetings are scheduled by the Coordinator for Tenure Reviews in the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Administration. While the Coordinator makes every effort to find a time that is convenient for everyone involved with a review, it is not always possible to avoid conflicts with other responsibilities. Since tenure decisions are of the highest importance to the University, it may be necessary to ask participants to reschedule other commitments to attend a committee meeting. Ad hoc meetings take precedence over all other committee assignments and all administrative duties within the University. In some cases, it may even be necessary to ask participants to rearrange consultations with students and, in very rare instances, classes in order to provide sufficient time for the committee’s deliberations.
It is not always possible to arrange for all members of the ad hoc committee to attend the meeting in person. The Provost may, therefore, choose to have members participate by videoconferencing or by telephone, especially those from other institutions.
When the schedules of the committee members conflict with those of others who will participate in the review, the Coordinator gives priority to the former. While every effort is made to accommodate the witnesses, it may be necessary to ask the dean or chair of the nominating unit for someone else to testify on behalf of the candidate or to proceed with the ad hoc review without the individual who cannot attend. If the dean or chair considers both of those alternatives detrimental to the case for the nominee, he or she may ask the Senior Vice Provost to delay the ad hoc meeting to a time when the witness is available. The Coordinator will also schedule meetings at times when the administrators who have the right to attend as observers are unavailable rather than unduly delaying the completion of the review.
To ensure that the members of an ad hoc committee have adequate time to prepare for their meeting, the Coordinator normally does not start to schedule the review until the committee members have received the candidate’s full dossier. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the nominating department or school to submit the supporting materials for a candidate in a timely manner in order to avoid delays in the completion of the review.
The committee chair conducts the meeting of the ad hoc committee. The Provost or a representative is present at all ad hoc committee meetings and may actively participate in the questioning of witnesses and in the discussion of the committee. When appropriate, other administrators, such as the Vice President for Arts and Sciences, the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, or the Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, are invited to attend.
If the committee decides that additional information, testimony, or deliberation is required, further meetings are scheduled. Once the committee concludes its deliberations, its five members vote on the nomination, and the chair conveys their recommendation to the Provost in writing.
The ad hoc committee serves in an advisory capacity to the Provost, who is not bound by its recommendation. In particular, a split vote in favor of a candidate is not a strong recommendation. In addition to its final vote, the Provost weighs the evidence presented to the committee and the discussion of the members at their meeting before deciding whether to forward the nomination to the President and the Trustees. The Provost may also obtain additional information after the ad hoc meeting, such as written assessments from the members of the committee and further evaluations, verbally or in writing, from experts at other institutions. Any such additional information is normally not shared with the chair or dean of the nominating department or school.
Upon completion of his or her review, the Provost will submit a recommendation to the President on whether the candidate should be awarded tenure. A nomination is forwarded to the Trustees for their approval only if the Provost and President are satisfied that the candidate deserves tenure. Candidates from the Faculty of Medicine who pass their ad hoc reviews are also reviewed by the Faculty Council before they are proposed to the Trustees for appointment without stated term.
After the President reviews the nomination, the Provost informs the appropriate department chair and the vice president or dean of the decision, who will then inform the candidate. In those unusual cases where the Provost, President, or Trustees do not accept the formal recommendation of the ad hoc committee, the Provost informs its members of the reasons. A candidate who is denied tenure may meet with the Provost to discuss the decision.
A similar process exists for evaluating a nomination from the Faculty of Law, even though the review is performed by the tenured faculty of the School rather than by an ad hoc committee. The School’s tenured faculty serve in an advisory capacity to the Provost. Following the completion of their review and the acceptance of a positive recommendation by the dean, the candidate’s dossier is submitted to the Provost who may obtain additional information before deciding whether to forward the nomination to the President and the Trustees.
A second ad hoc review may be conducted for a candidate who is denied tenure if the Provost determines that the first was marked by procedural irregularities of a magnitude that materially affected its outcome. In such cases, the Provost may choose either to reconvene the original ad hoc committee or, if he or she feels that the irregularities compromise its ability to reach a reasoned decision, to appoint a new committee to consider the nomination.
In the absence of procedural irregularities, a candidate is reconsidered only in rare instances when the Provost is satisfied that there is evidence of substantial scholarly growth following the original negative decision. It is incumbent upon the school or department to obtain the approval of the Provost to conduct a new review before it solicits any further letters of evaluation, votes on the candidate, or begins to prepare for a new nomination in any other way. Requests from departments for new reviews require the endorsement of the dean or vice president before they are forwarded to the Provost. In support of such requests, the nominating school or department submits a statement that explains why it believes the new work meets the standard for a second review. That statement should deal only with the new materials and not with the work considered during the first review. The Provost may seek the advice of selected scholars in the candidate’s field before reaching a decision on whether to reopen consideration of the nomination.
When the rationale for the new review is scholarly growth, the Provost normally reconvenes the original ad hoc committee to conduct a second review, replacing only those members who are not available. The committee does not reassess the quality of the materials submitted in support of the original nomination. Instead, the new evaluation focuses on the work completed after the first ad hoc and on whether it is of sufficient quality to overcome the reservations that led to the initial negative decision on the candidate’s nomination.
The ad hoc review can only provide the type of rigorous yet fair examination needed to ensure tenure decisions of the highest quality if all of its aspects are kept confidential. Confidentiality is also an act of civility to everyone involved in the review, especially the candidate and those who are asked to evaluate his or her credentials. Consequently, only those who are directly involved in a review are informed of the membership of a committee and when it is scheduled to meet. Information about the committee’s deliberations and vote is similarly restricted to its members, the Provost, and the President. Committee members, witnesses, deans, department chairs, and any others who are involved with a review in any way are expected to maintain confidentiality at all times.
While candidates are not told of the membership, date, and deliberations of their ad hoc committees, the Office of the Provost does inform them of the process by which their nominations are evaluated. Following the receipt of a nomination, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Administration sends the candidate a copy of the Ad Hoc Guidelines and invites the individual to call with any questions about how the evaluation will be conducted. The candidate may also ask to meet with the Senior Vice Provost to discuss the process. Further information may be obtained from the deans or department chairs who have a special responsibility, consistent with the requirement of confidentiality, for advising their candidates on how ad hoc reviews are conducted.
Last Revised November 2008
Certain full-time officers of instruction in the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health who are not eligible for tenure may nonetheless receive tenure of title. While those appointments are without stated term, they do not provide a guarantee of salary from the University.
The appointments of officers with tenure of title may be involuntarily terminated for cause or the discontinuation of an academic department (see “Termination,” below). In addition, those who hold University appointments as members of an affiliated hospital or institute may lose their appointments if the affiliation agreement comes to an end or if they cease to be connected with the hospital or institute.
Officers eligible for tenure of title are considered first by their department or division, then by their school, and then, if nominated, by the Medical Center’s Committee on Appointments and Promotions. In the Faculty of Medicine, all nominations for tenure of title are also reviewed by the Faculty Council before they are proposed to the Trustees for appointment without stated term.
If the faculty member will have an unmodified title, the Provost will conduct an ad hoc review before deciding whether to forward the nomination to the President. The Trustees make the final decision, on the recommendation of the Provost and President, on whether the faculty member should receive tenure of title.
Last Revised November 2008
The President has the power to grant leaves of absence for reasonable cause and for such length of time as he judges the occasion may require. He has delegated that responsibility to the Provost for officers of instruction, research, and the libraries. This section of the Handbook describes the policies governing faculty leaves. Chapter IV contains similar information for officers of research.
The primary objective of the University’s policies on leaves is to free its academic officers from their normal duties to conduct research, write, or otherwise engage in scholarly or professional activity. There are three types of faculty leaves for scholarly and professional purposes: sabbaticals, research leaves with or without salary, and exemptions from teaching duties. In addition, faculty are given leaves for medical reasons, child care, military or public service, and compelling personal need.
Leaves contribute to the University’s dual mission of research and education by allowing faculty to pursue their scholarly goals and acquire knowledge that makes them better teachers. With the exception of sabbaticals, however, leaves for scholarly purposes are not an entitlement. They are granted at the discretion of the Provost on assurance from the department or school that they will not interfere with the staffing of its curricular obligations. If the number of faculty interested in taking leaves compromises the ability of a department or school to meet its responsibilities, the chair or dean may require some to defer their proposed leaves until a later time. In such cases, sabbaticals are given priority over other types of leaves.
Only full-time faculty are ordinarily entitled to leaves. As a general rule, part-time officers of instruction must resign or refuse appointment if they cannot carry out their duties during the stated terms of their appointments. Exceptions to this policy are permitted primarily when a part-time faculty member:
- is a member of the United Doctors Association of Harlem Hospital and meets the requirements for taking leaves stated in their collective bargaining agreement with the University;
- qualifies for a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, as described later in this section of the Handbook; or
- qualifies for a military leave under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (see “Other Leaves,” below).
Full-time faculty may request leaves of absence for scholarly purposes and exemptions from teaching duties (ETDs) if they hold an appointment in a professorial rank, with the exception of those with visiting titles. This privilege is not ordinarily available to full-time faculty in nonprofessorial ranks. Exceptions require the prior permission of the dean or vice president and the Provost.
Professors and associate professors with tenure or with tenure of title who have successfully passed an ad hoc review are eligible for sabbatical leaves. Clinical faculty with tenure of title may not take sabbaticals.
All full-time faculty, regardless of rank, may receive leaves for medical reasons, child care, military or public service, or compelling personal need.
General Policies and Procedures
Sabbaticals, leaves of absence for scholarly purposes, and exemptions from teaching duties normally correspond to an academic term or year. The University also seeks to coordinate child care and public service leaves with the academic calendar. Other types of leave – medical, military, and for compelling personal reasons – may begin and end on other dates.
Most leaves are authorized for no more than one year at a time, but the Provost may approve a second consecutive year on the recommendation of the dean or vice president. Faculty normally may be on leave for a maximum of two consecutive years. Further extensions are rarely given, except in the case of long-term leaves for medical reasons or military service.
Faculty, with certain exceptions described below, are expected to return to the University for at least one year of full-time service after a leave of absence. Those who do not return after a leave with salary are expected to reimburse the University for its cost. The Provost may waive these requirements on the recommendation of the dean or vice president.
All faculty are expected to be in residence for at least two years of full-time service between leaves of any kind. Exceptions to these provisions require the approval of the chair, dean or vice president, and the Provost.
Faculty must request a leave when they plan to be absent from the University for more than a week during a regular academic term. Such requests, with the exception of sabbaticals as described below, are made in writing to the officer’s department chair or dean prior to the anticipated beginning of the leave. In the four Faculties with multiple departments – the Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, Medicine, and Public Health – the chair forwards the requests to the dean or the vice president. The deans and vice presidents may authorize leaves of one month or less on behalf of the President. Requests for leaves of longer duration require the prior approval of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Administration on the President’s behalf.
Leaves of absence and ETDs may affect an officer’s benefits, depending upon the terms of the benefits program, the amount of base salary the individual receives, and whether the period of absence can be classified as a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (see “FMLA Leaves,” below). Faculty should contact a counselor in Human Resources for detailed information about their benefits while they are on leave.
Each professor and associate professor with tenure is entitled to a sabbatical leave of one year at half base salary or a half year at full base salary after completing 12 terms of full-time teaching. Professors and associate professors with unmodified titles who have been awarded tenure of title following a University-wide ad hoc review enjoy a similar entitlement.
All terms of full-time teaching in a nontenured professorial rank, other than those with a visiting title, count toward a sabbatical. Periods of non-sabbatical leave, including partial leave, do not, nor does a term of full-time teaching during a year in which a professor takes a one-term sabbatical leave at full salary.
Department chairs in the Arts and Sciences and in Engineering and Applied Science receive additional semesters of credit toward their sabbatical leaves to compensate for the administrative duties that take time away from their scholarly work. In Engineering and Applied Science, they are credited with four semesters for each three-year term completed. In the Arts and Sciences, the credit, which can range from two to six semesters, is based upon the size and complexity of the department. Information on the credit for each department may be obtained from the Office of the Vice President for Arts and Sciences. With the approval of the Vice President, a chair in the Arts and Sciences may receive prorated credit for serving less than a three-year term.
Faculty who take other types of leaves are expected to serve in a full-time capacity for at least two years before taking a sabbatical, regardless of the number of semesters of credit they may have accumulated. Exceptions require the prior approval of the department chair and the dean or vice president as well as the special permission of the Provost.
Tenured faculty are ordinarily not entitled to sabbatical leaves while serving as officers of administration. Exceptions require the approval of the Provost and President. The time spent as an administrator is considered equivalent to full-time teaching and is credited toward a sabbatical leave, which should be taken at the first opportunity after the officer relinquishes the administrative post.
Tenured faculty may ask to advance their sabbatical leaves by up to one year to meet departmental needs or for compelling personal reasons. Such an arrangement requires the approval of the chair and dean or vice president as well as that of the Provost. Following an early sabbatical, terms of full-time teaching are credited first toward completing the 12-term requirement for that leave.
A dean or vice president may ask the Provost to waive the eligibility requirements for a sabbatical so that a faculty member may take a paid leave prior to completing 12 semesters of full-time teaching. This occurs most commonly when the dean or vice president agrees to compensate a newly recruited tenured faculty member for sabbatical credits accumulated at his or her prior university, but it can also happen for other reasons. In these cases, the Provost grants an exemption from teaching duties in lieu of a sabbatical. In return, the faculty member agrees to give up any semesters of credit toward a sabbatical leave earned at Columbia prior to the leave.
A sabbatical may be postponed with the prior approval of the chair and the dean or vice president. If it has not been taken by the end of the second year after it was originally due, only one year of teaching during the period of the postponement is ordinarily counted in determining eligibility for the next sabbatical. Exceptions to this policy are made in two circumstances:
- when the postponement is required to meet the instructional or administrative needs of the department, school, or University, the entire period is counted toward the next sabbatical; and
- professors who are eligible for a sabbatical immediately upon promotion to tenure may postpone it for one additional year without incurring a penalty, in recognition of their need for additional time in which to make sabbatical plans.
It may be necessary to ask professors to postpone their sabbaticals if the number of requests for leave in a given year will adversely affect the instructional work of the department or school, including the supervision of dissertations. In such cases, however, sabbaticals are given priority over other leaves of absence for scholarly purposes and exemptions from teaching duties.
A sabbatical is granted only if a professor intends to return to the University for at least one academic year of full-time service. The Provost will allow an exception to this requirement only for faculty eligible for a sabbatical during the year in which they will retire, provided that they do not intend to assume a position at another institution. Faculty who leave the University for another position within a year of taking a sabbatical are expected to return their sabbatical salary or have their new institution reimburse the University for that cost.
A professor may not teach or undertake any full-time employment at another institution during a sabbatical, since the primary purpose of such a leave is to provide an uninterrupted opportunity for research and intellectual refreshment. This restriction does not apply to a research position at another institution.
Periods of sabbatical leave are considered part of the officer’s service and, therefore, count toward fulfilling any service requirements in the University’s benefits programs. Faculty continue to participate in all of the University’s benefits programs for officers during a sabbatical leave. Faculty may also be insured while traveling during a sabbatical if it is for scholarly purposes or University business.
Each year the Office of the Provost distributes sabbatical forecasts to each department chair and dean on the Morningside campus. For each tenured professor in the department or school, the forecast includes the projected date of the next sabbatical and information on how that date was determined. Faculty with questions about their sabbatical eligibility should consult with their chair or dean. They may also contact the Assistant Provost for Academic Appointments.
The Office of the Provost sends an application each year to faculty who are due a sabbatical, except in the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, where the application must be obtained from the Office of the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences. Included with the application is information on the University’s travel insurance. A professor who intends to take a sabbatical in the year in which it is due, except in the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, returns the completed application directly to the Office of the Provost. Sabbaticals in the Medical Center require, as appropriate, the approval of the chair, dean, and the executive vice president before they are forwarded to the Office of the Provost. Requests for postponement should be submitted to the professor’s department chair and, where appropriate, dean or vice president. Forms for faculty in the Arts and Sciences should be returned to the Office of the Provost by March 15. All other forms, except those from the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, must be returned to the Office of the Provost by April 15. Forms returned after that date, whether for sabbatical leaves or for postponements, require the approval of the dean or vice president before being submitted to the Office of the Provost.
Leaves of Absence for Scholarly Purposes
Leaves of absence are granted when full-time officers of instruction in a professorial grade, with the exception of those with a visiting title, wish to be relieved of their normal responsibilities, in full or in part, to conduct research or otherwise engage in scholarly activity. Nonprofessorial faculty are usually not eligible for these leaves. Exceptions may be made with the special permission of the dean or vice president and the Provost.
Research leaves are authorized only when the officer’s absence will not adversely affect the instructional program of the department or school, including the supervision of dissertations. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the officer to submit a request for the leave to the department chair or, where appropriate, the dean sufficiently far in advance to allow the department or school to plan for a replacement.
Exemptions from Teaching Duties
Exemptions from teaching duties (ETDs) are granted for periods during which a professor is receiving salary from the University but is excused, in full or in part, from teaching and other responsibilities. An ETD is appropriate when an external agency gives the University funding to free up a faculty member to conduct research or a school provides support for a paid research leave. An ETD may be partial or full, depending on the percentage of normal responsibilities performed and the amount of salary received.
The Arts and Sciences has created three special programs to support ETDs for research purposes:
- TFRP Leave: The Tenured Faculty Research Program (TFRP) credits tenured faculty in the Arts and Sciences with the equivalent of one-ninth of their base salary each year. Faculty may bank those credits toward an ETD, with full salary, for one semester. Alternatively, they may use the credits to pay for research and administrative assistance or turn them into annual increments to their salary.
- Junior Faculty Development Leave: Assistant professors and nontenured associate professors in the Humanities and Social Sciences are entitled to a one-semester ETD at full salary after their first six semesters of full-time teaching in a professorial rank or as an instructor, provided that they have been reappointed for the period during which the leave will be taken and will return to the University for at least one year of full-time service after its completion. Normally, the leave is taken during the fourth year of counted service, but it may be deferred with the approval of the department chair and the Vice President for Arts and Sciences. These leaves, like sabbaticals, have priority over other types of research leaves.
- Chamberlain Fellowships: Upon completion of six terms of teaching in the Core Curriculum of Columbia College, nontenured faculty are entitled to a one-semester ETD at full salary, provided that they will resume their full-time responsibilities for at least one year after its completion.
The decision on when these leaves are taken requires the approval of the department chair and the Vice President for Arts and Sciences, as well as the Provost. Further information on the programs and applications may be obtained from the Office of the Vice President for Arts and Sciences.
Full-time nontenured faculty in Social Work are eligible for a one-semester ETD, funded by the School at full salary, in any term within their first four years of appointment. Alternatively, they may take the equivalent of a one-semester ETD as workload reduction spread out over multiple terms during those years. They are also eligible to apply for two types of School-supported developmental awards that provide for a partial reduction in workload. Information on these programs is outlined in the School’s Faculty Workload Policy, which is available in the Dean’s Office.
The restrictions on leaves of absence for scholarly purposes also apply in the case of ETDs. They are usually granted only to faculty in a professorial rank, excluding those with a visiting title, and may be taken only when they do not interfere with the instructional program of the faculty member’s department or school.
Since professors receive salary from the University during an ETD, all their benefits are continued, although pension contributions, which are based on a percentage of salary, will be reduced if they receive less than their normal pay.
Full-time officers of instruction who cannot perform their responsibilities because of illness or injury are given leaves of absence with full salary for up to six months from the onset of the disability. If the disability continues for a longer period of time, the faculty member should apply to the University’s insurance carrier for long-term disability. If approved, he or she is given a medical leave without salary and may receive a portion of his or her salary from the University’s insurance carrier according to the terms of the University’s long-term disability program. Officers who are able to perform some of their normal responsibilities will be given a leave of absence with partial salary that may be supplemented with prorated disability payments from the insurance carrier.
Information on the long-term disability program may be obtained from the annual publication Benefits in Brief, which can be accessed through a link on the web site of the Office of Human Resources at www.hr.columbia.edu/hr/benefits/page-section.html or by contacting a counselor in that office.
The first 12 weeks of medical leave, with or without salary, are deemed to meet the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (see “FMLA Leaves,” below).
A faculty member requesting a leave of absence for medical reasons is expected to provide documentation from a physician specifying the nature and anticipated duration of the disability. Faculty may submit this documentation to their department chair or dean. If they wish to keep information about their disability confidential, they can direct it to the Manager of the Return to Work Program in the Office of Human Resources who will advise the dean or vice president and the Provost on how long the faculty member will be unable to perform his or her normal responsibilities. The University, at its expense, may have the individual examined by a physician of its choosing if there is any question about whether a disability exists.
The University, at its expense, may also require a faculty member to undergo a medical examination by a physician of its choice when the individual contests the existence of a disability that prevents the performance of his or her academic duties. Should the physician confirm that the faculty member is disabled, the University reserves the right to relieve the officer of all responsibilities.
A faculty member who wishes to return to active service after recovering from a disabling illness or injury should submit a letter from a physician stating that he or she is physically capable of returning to work. If special working arrangements are needed for the individual to return from the disability, the physician should also specify the nature of the accommodations required. This information may be submitted, at the faculty member’s discretion, to either the department chair or dean or to the Manager of the Return to Work Program in the Office of Human Resources. The University may have the individual examined by a physician of its choice before agreeing to the reinstatement.
The appropriate department chair, dean, or vice president may notify a nontenured faculty member at any point during a period of disability that his or her appointment will not be renewed after the end of the leave of absence, provided that the leave extends beyond the minimum period specified by the University Statutes for notice of nonrenewal (see “Termination,” below). Such notice is given in writing. In the absence of a letter of nonrenewal, a nontenured faculty member will be returned to active service at the end of a medical leave.
Child Care Leaves
Full-time faculty may take advantage of several types of leaves that are designed to assist them in taking care of newborn and newly adopted children. Medical leaves for childbirth and full or partial leaves for child care are described below. The University’s workload relief plan is discussed in the next section of this chapter.
The University treats disabilities arising from pregnancy and childbirth like any other nonoccupational disability. A pregnant officer is entitled to a medical leave of absence for the period surrounding the birth of her child during which her doctor certifies that she is unable to work. The officer receives full salary and benefits under the University’s salary continuation plan if the period of leave is six months or less. If the officer is disabled for a longer duration, she should apply to the University’s insurance carrier for long-term disability. If approved, she is placed on a medical leave of absence without salary and the University’s long-term disability carrier starts to make payments equal to a portion of her salary. As with other medical leaves, the University reserves the right to have the officer seen by a physician of its own choosing.
Full-time faculty with newborn infants may take a leave of absence without salary to care for the children. They may also teach a reduced course load on a partial leave of absence for that purpose. Similar privileges are given to full-time faculty who are primarily responsible for the care of a newly adopted child of less than school age, or if the child is disabled or meets New York State’s legal definition of “hard to place,” is less than 18 at the time the leave begins. Same-sex domestic partners of women who give birth and of individuals who adopt are also eligible for these leaves.
Parental leaves must begin within the first year after the birth or adoption of the new child but may end after it is over. The total period of leave, including the time during which a faculty member who has given birth is on a medical leave, normally may not exceed one year. Exceptions are permitted in cases of extended disabilities arising from pregnancy and childbirth.
The first 12 weeks of any child care leave, including medical leaves required by pregnancy and childbirth, are deemed to be leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) as described below.
Faculty members are expected to request medical leaves for childbirth and child care leaves sufficiently early to permit their departments and schools to plan for their absence. A faculty member who will give birth should provide written documentation from her physician stating the anticipated duration of the disability. If the actual period of disability differs from the original projection of her physician, she should submit new documentation from her physician so that the medical leave can be changed. She may, at her discretion, submit the information on her disability to her department chair or dean or to the Manager of the Return to Work Program in the Office of Human Resources. If she chooses the latter, she still needs to ask for the leave from her department chair or dean and should indicate in her request that the documentation on the disability has been sent to the Manager of the Return to Work Program.
If the total period of child care leave, including medical leaves required by pregnancy and childbirth, is at least two months in length, the Provost’s Office will exclude the term in determining the maximum period of time a nontenured faculty member may serve in a full-time instructional capacity at the University. The faculty member does not need to ask for the exclusion. (See “Appointments with Stated Term,” above.) In the case of tenured faculty, the period of leave does not contribute toward establishing sabbatical eligibility.
Parental Workload Relief Plan
In spring 1994, the University Senate adopted a resolution recommending that the deans and vice presidents adopt a parental workload relief plan for members of their full-time faculty who become new parents. The Faculties on the Morningside campus, but not at the Medical Center, have all adopted the workload relief plan.
There are three eligibility requirements for workload relief in addition to holding an appointment in a Faculty that has adopted the plan. An officer must
- be a full-time officer of instruction;
- hold an appointment with one of the following titles:
- professor, associate professor, or assistant professor, including those with the clinical or practice modifier but excluding those in a visiting rank;
- instructor; or
- senior lecturer, lecturer, or associate, including those with the modifier “in (discipline)” provided that the faculty member has taught full-time at the University in one of those two ranks for at least two years; and
- be primarily responsible for the care of a newborn child or a newly adopted child of less than school age or if the child is disabled or meets New York State’s legal definition of “hard-to-place,” less than 18 at the time the leave begins. For the purpose of this policy, an officer is the “primary parent” if he or she is a single parent or, where there are two parents, if the other is working full-time or is enrolled as a full-time student. Faculty may employ a day-care provider and still qualify as the primary parent. When both parents work at the University, only one may be considered the primary parent at any given time.
Eligible faculty members may receive workload relief for one term at full salary or one year at half salary. The period of workload relief must begin within the first year after the birth or adoption of the new child but may continue beyond that year. During the period selected, faculty are excused from teaching and from serving on administrative committees. They are, however, expected to make themselves available for consultations with students and to continue their research. Eligible faculty may also elect a year of workload relief at full salary by agreeing to teach half of their normal course load in each term and continuing to make themselves available for a comparable portion of the administrative assignments they normally perform as well as continuing to meet with students and conduct research.
While on workload relief, faculty are not permitted to accept assignments, either with or without compensation, outside the University.
The workload relief plan is designed to replace the combination of medical and/or child care leaves for individuals who meet their eligibility requirements. However, eligible faculty may still elect to take those leaves rather than ask for workload relief if they wish, for example, to provide no service while taking care of their new children.
If workload relief is not preceded by other periods of leave covered by the FMLA, the first 12 weeks are deemed to meet the requirements of that Act.
Full-time faculty are entitled to leaves of absence to fulfill their military obligations under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994. Part-time faculty are also entitled to these leaves if they meet the eligibility requirements specified in the Act. During the first 15 days of such leave each year, the faculty member receives full salary. Thereafter, they are placed on a leave without salary. For information on the policies governing military leaves, officers should consult with a counselor in the Office of Human Resources.
Full-time faculty are also granted leaves for public service. These leaves are granted for up to 12 months at a time and do not extend for more than two years in duration. Extensions beyond the two-year maximum require the prior special permission of the Provost and are rarely granted.
Full-time members of the special instructional faculty – senior lecturer, senior lecturer in (discipline), lecturer, lecturer in (discipline), associate, associate in (discipline), and assistant – and faculty with “clinical” in their titles – professor of clinical, associate professor of clinical, assistant professor of clinical, clinical professor, associate clinical professor, and assistant clinical professor – may apply for personal leaves of absence for professional development. Such leaves are granted only when their purposes are directly related to the officer’s instructional or clinical responsibilities. Full-time faculty in a professorial rank ordinarily may not take a leave to enroll in an educational program.
Full-time faculty may request a leave of absence without salary to deal with a compelling personal need. Faculty who take such leaves to care for seriously ill family members are entitled under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to at least 12 weeks of unpaid leave, subject to the requirements described below under “FMLA Leaves.” Longer periods of leave for that purpose and all other types of personal leave are granted at the discretion of the Provost on the recommendation of the appropriate department chair, dean, or vice president. Personal leaves are generally limited to a maximum of one year, but the Provost may authorize extensions on the recommendation of the department chair, dean, or vice president.
The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) gives certain full- and part-time employees of the University the right to unpaid leave to deal with the following:
- the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child;
- a medical disability;
- a serious illness of a spouse, child, or parent; or
- a qualifying exigency, as defined by the federal Department of Labor, arising from a spouse, child, or parent serving on or being called to active military duty.
An eligible employee with a family member in the military is entitled to 26 weeks of FMLA leave. The maximum period of FMLA leave for other purposes is 12 weeks in any 12-month period.
To be eligible for an FMLA leave, faculty must have been employed and paid by the University for at least 12 months immediately preceding the commencement of the leave. In addition, they must have provided at least 1,250 hours of service during that 12-month period. Any compensated employment – regardless of title and including periods on the casual payroll – counts in determining if the officer meets these requirements. Leaves with salary also count, but those without salary do not.
The leaves full-time faculty may take under University policies for the purposes covered by the FMLA are considerably more generous than those required by the Act, with the exception of certain benefits provisions. Consequently, the University considers the first 12 weeks of any such leave as fulfilling the requirements of the Family and Medical Leave Act, except for leaves arising from a family member’s military service in which case it counts for the first 26 weeks.
A further description of the Family and Medical Leave Act and the University’s policies and procedures for implementing its provisions may be obtained from the web page of the Office of Human Resources at www.hr.columbia.edu/hr/policies/ fmla/fmla/index.html or by contacting one of its counselors.
Last Revised November 2008
Full-time officers of instruction, with the exception of those appointed for only one term, are paid in 12 equal monthly installments for service rendered over academic calendars of varying lengths, as described in an earlier section of this chapter (see “Appointment and Promotion”). Full-time officers of instruction appointed for only one term are normally paid in six monthly installments.
Full-time faculty compensated for eight or nine months of service must return any salary received in advance of their teaching if they resign their appointments before the start of classes in the fall. Those who resign during the fall term are expected to return a prorated share of their July and August checks; those who resign during the spring term are entitled to a portion of the salary they would have received in June.
Part-time faculty are paid in equal installments during the period in which they are teaching. Those who also hold full-time appointments as officers of research, the libraries, or administration may be compensated for teaching one course per term up to a maximum of two during an academic year. The two-course limit applies to all classes, regardless of whether they are for credit or not and whether they are offered during a regular term or the summer. Before making a commitment to pay full-time non-instructional officers for teaching, the schools and departments must obtain the approval of the officers’ immediate supervisors and the chair, dean, or director of the units within which they are performing their primary responsibilities. The Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) must also authorize teaching appointments for officers of research, confirming that their grants do not prevent them from teaching. The Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian must authorize teaching appointments offered to officers of the libraries, while the Vice President for Human Resources exercises a similar responsibility for officers of administration. The Senior Vice Provost gives the final approval for courses offered on the Morningside campus on behalf of the Provost. At the Medical Center, the Provost has delegated that responsibility to the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences. When an officer appointed on one campus is asked to teach on the other, both the Executive Vice President and the Senior Vice Provost must approve the assignment.
The various Faculties have separate salary programs for determining the appropriate level of compensation for new faculty and for giving salary increases. Salaries for the same rank may vary from one Faculty to another and among the disciplines making up a single Faculty on the basis of an officer’s length of service and professional accomplishments, the prevailing rates of compensation in the discipline or subfield, and the need to meet outside offers.
Merit increases for full-time faculty are given once a year, normally on July 1, and are based on a review of professional achievement and service to the University.
All officers, including faculty, are paid on the last working day of the month.
All compensation for officers’ services are processed through the Human Resources Processing Center (HRPC) and are subject to withholding for federal, state, and local income tax, FICA, and Medicare, with limited exceptions described later in this section of the Handbook. The University does not pay other organizations, including personal corporations, for the services of the faculty, with the exception of universities and colleges to which it will transfer the salary and associated benefits costs for visiting faculty. It also does not pay faculty honoraria.
The University does not advise officers on the interpretations the Internal Revenue Service may make regarding the tax status of their compensation. Faculty should consult an accountant or lawyer about any income that they may not wish to consider as compensation for services rendered to the University.
Faculty Practice Plans
All full-time and part-time officers of instruction who engage in patient care activities at the Medical Center participate in faculty practice plans organized through their school or department. The practice plans outline the rights and obligations of participating faculty, including compensation arrangements. For further information on the faculty practice plans, officers should contact the Office of the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences or their dean.
Each month during the regular academic terms of their respective Faculties (eight or nine months on the Morningside campus, and nine or 12 at the Medical Center) full-time officers of instruction may receive up to 20 percent of their monthly base salary as compensation for providing extra services. Those who are paid for eight or nine months of service may earn another three-ninths of their base salary as additional compensation during the summer, or in the case of faculty in Business, in their trimester off.
The income full-time faculty at the Medical Center may earn through a faculty practice plan is not affected by these limitations, nor is that income taken into consideration in determining the amount of additional compensation they may receive from other sources.
Payments of additional compensation must be approved by the chair of the faculty member’s primary department and the appropriate dean or vice president, even if the services are rendered in another part of the University. They also require the approval of the Provost. For faculty in the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, the Provost has delegated this responsibility to the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences. In other parts of the University, the Assistant Provost for Academic Appointments authorizes the payments on the Provost’s behalf. No promises of additional compensation may be made until all of the necessary approvals have been obtained, nor may anyone start to work in anticipation of those approvals.
Requests for additional compensation paid from an externally sponsored award must comply with the requirements of the granting agency as well as the University’s policies and government requirements on salary augmentation. Therefore, such payments also require the prior authorization of the University’s Office of Sponsored Projects Administration before they may be submitted to the Assistant Provost for Academic Appointments or Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences. Full-time faculty at the Medical Center may receive additional compensation from a grant or contract only in unusual circumstances. Full-time faculty on the Morningside campus should consult with the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration to determine if they qualify for additional compensation from a grant or contract during the regular academic year. They may, however, receive up to the equivalent of one-third of their base salary from those sources during the summer months.
Full-time officers of instruction ordinarily may not be remunerated beyond their base salaries for teaching more than their normal course load during the regular academic terms. Exempted from this rule are noncredit continuing and special education courses. Exceptions to this policy require the prior approval of the Provost or, for faculty at the Medical Center, the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences. They are permitted only in unusual cases, such as when an officer is faced with a financial emergency or a department cannot find someone else with the necessary expertise to teach an essential course. It is the responsibility of the department or school that wishes to ask a full-time faculty member to teach an additional course to determine in advance if he or she may be compensated for the assignment.
Full-time faculty may receive additional compensation for other services such as giving individual lectures, special advising, the preparation of special academic material, and administrative services. Those on an eight- or nine-month calendar may also be paid for teaching in a summer term.
Several of the Faculties fund special programs that provide their full-time faculty with additional compensation and research allowances. In the Arts and Sciences, these include the Tenured Faculty Research Program (TFRP) and the Faculty Research Allowance Program (FRAP). The Graduate School of Business offers significant opportunities to teach in its Executive Education Programs. Certain members of its full-time faculty are also eligible for research grants, as are some in the School of Law. Other schools may have similar programs for their faculty. For information on any such programs, faculty should contact the office of their dean or vice president.
If it is necessary to increase the instructional responsibilities of part-time faculty beyond their original levels, their base salaries are adjusted to reflect the additional service to the University. Part-time officers who do not have any other University appointment may receive extra compensation for other services as long as the total services rendered to the University are not equivalent to those of a full-time officer. Those who hold full-time appointments as officers of research, the libraries, or administration are ordinarily not eligible for compensation beyond their base salary except for teaching as described above.
No faculty member or other officer may receive consultancy fees or honoraria from the University. All payments for extra services must be made in the form of additional compensation and are subject to withholding for taxes. Similarly, faculty research fellowships, housing allowances, travel allowances, and mortgage subsidies are, by law, forms of compensation from which the University must withhold taxes.
The University contributes to a full-time officer’s pension account on additional compensation earned during the summer for teaching and research. Other additional salary payments earn pension contributions only when they are for services performed over eight months or more and are for amounts of at least $1,000. All contributions on additional compensation are computed at the rate applied to the officer’s regular salary.
Getting on the University’s Payroll
Before they can be paid, new officers must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Form, which establishes their eligibility for employment in the United States. They must also provide their departmental administrators with several forms for submission to the Human Resources Processing Center (HRPC). These include federal and state tax exemption forms – the W-4 and IT-2104 – and the “Agreement to Assign to the University Inventions or Discoveries Conceived or Reduced to Practice in the Performance of Sponsored Projects” (see “Assignment of Rights,” in Chapter VI, for information about this document, known colloquially as “the Invention Agreement”). Depending on their nonimmigrant status, they also may need to present and complete additional forms and documentation. Further information may be obtained from the HRPC Help Desk.
The University cannot begin to pay an officer until it receives the proper tax and employment eligibility forms. Salary payments may also be delayed if the required paperwork is submitted after the monthly payroll deadline. To avoid delay, new officers should see their departmental administrators on or before the first day of their appointment.
Authorization to Work
Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, everyone must fill out an Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Form and present documents that establish both their identity and right to work before they can be paid for their services to the University. This process must be completed by the first day of providing those services. In the case of faculty, authorization to work must be obtained by the day of their first class. However, new full-time faculty who are appointed on July 1 for service in Faculties with eight- and nine-month calendars are encouraged to fill out the I-9 Form well before the start of the fall term in order to avoid delays with their July and August salary and with their benefits.
The documents that will satisfy the I-9 requirements are listed on the back of the form itself and are available at www.hr.columbia.edu/hr/misc-pages/newhire/i-9/index.html. These must be presented, in person, to an official with the authority to complete the form on behalf of the University and thereby certify the individual’s right to work. Most faculty and officers of research, regardless of citizenship, as well as student officers who are American citizens or permanent residents who hold appointments on the Morningside campus should go to 210 Kent to have their I-9 Forms completed. Human Resources in Room 101 Black Building has been designated the I-9 processing center for the Medical Center. However, certain departments have retained the responsibility for completing I-9 Forms. Faculty should contact their departmental administrators to determine where they should go to have their I-9 Forms completed. Faculty at the Harlem Hospital Center should go to the Hospital’s Human Resources Office for their I-9 Forms. Student officers who are foreign citizens must go to the International Students and Scholars Office, or, at the Medical Center, to the Office of Immigration Affairs.
The I-9 certification of faculty who are American citizens and permanent residents remains valid as long as they continuously hold an appointment at the University. If there is a break in service, they must fill out new I-9 Forms if they completed their original forms more than three years prior to resuming their appointments at the University. These rules also apply to noncitizens who are not permanent residents as long as the original authorization to work has not expired during the break in service.
Nonresident aliens may not hold appointments, work, or be paid beyond the date that their visas are scheduled to expire. Upon obtaining an extension of their visas, they must complete new I-9 Forms, which they should do as quickly as possible to avoid the loss of salary and benefits.
Faculty should consult with their departmental administrators about their responsibilities under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. On the Morningside campus, questions may also be addressed to a representative of the Office of Human Resources. Student officers who are nonresident aliens should contact the International Students and Scholars Office. At the Medical Center, officers who are nonresident aliens may contact the Business Office or the Office of Immigration Affairs.
Nonresident aliens may be paid salary only if they hold certain types of nonimmigrant status as defined by the Department of Homeland Security. Similarly, their right to reimbursement for expenses is contingent upon the type of their nonimmigrant status. Nonresident aliens may receive an honorarium or be paid a per diem in only limited circumstances (see www.columbia.edu/cu/isso/faculty/briefings/). Information regarding salary and payment eligibility by immigration classification is available at www.columbia.edu/cu/isso/faculty/paymentchart.html. Prior to making any financial commitments, departmental administrators should consult this chart or contact the Human Resources Processing Center (HRPC) to resolve any questions they may have about making payments to nonresident aliens.
Payments to nonresident aliens are subject to special rules with regard to withholding for income tax and FICA. Some are exempt from taxes and withholding as a result of tax treaties under which the United States has agreed to forego or limit its taxation of the income earned by citizens of certain foreign countries. There are considerable variations in the provisions of these treaties as to the types and amount of income that are exempt from taxes. To obtain an exemption under a tax treaty, noncitizens must complete one or more special forms and present them in person to the Human Resources Processing Center (HRPC), with supporting documentation. These forms should be completed upon arrival at the University.
The IRS has established special withholding requirements for nonresident aliens who are not covered by a tax treaty. Information on those requirements and on the tax treaties may be obtained from the Human Resources Processing Center (HRPC) Help Desk.
The University can electronically deposit paychecks in any bank that is a member of the National Automated Clearing House. Individuals who wish to take advantage of this service should contact their departmental administrator or go to the Office of the Controller web site at http://finance.columbia.edu/forms/pr_directdeposit1007.pdf for an application. Officers who sign up for direct deposit do not receive a paper copy of their pay statements. They may, instead, print out those statements by logging on to my.columbia.edu. Officers who do not participate in the direct deposit plan will receive their paychecks on the last working day of the month.
The University is required by law to withhold for federal, state, and local income taxes, and for Social Security (FICA) and Medicare, with certain exceptions. The amounts withheld are calculated on the basis of the information the individual provides on the W-4 and IT-2104 forms and, in the case of foreign citizens, other special tax forms. Officers may modify that information through the web site my.columbia.edu.
Under current tax law, the University is also obligated to report the tuition remission given to an officer’s spouse or children for graduate courses as imputed income and to withhold taxes on it. Officers should contact the Human Resources Processing Center (HRPC) Help Desk for information on how the withholding will affect their paycheck.
The University does not have to withhold in the following limited situations:
- Students may be exempt from the Social Security tax during the period when they are registered full-time at the University, including at Barnard and Teachers Colleges, provided that they are working 20 hours a week or less.
- Residents of New York State who work in New York City but do not reside in it are not subject to City income tax, nor are residents of other states. However, the University withholds for Yonkers taxes for those officers and support staff who live in that city.
- Foreign citizens may be exempt in whole or in part from withholding under the terms of a tax treaty. Even if they are not covered by a tax treaty, nonresident aliens on certain visas may be exempt from FICA.
For information on these exceptions and how to claim them, officers should consult with their departmental administrator or call the HRPC Help Desk.
Further deductions are made when a qualified officer participates in the University’s benefits plans. Questions regarding those deductions should be referred to a counselor in the Office of Human Resources. Officers may ask Payroll to make additional deductions for other purposes, such as to purchase United States Savings Bonds Series E or to contribute to the Columbia Community Service.
The University will make deductions from an officer’s salary on the order of a court or governmental agency for tax levies, garnishments, wage assignments, child support, and other legal judgments.
The web site my.columbia.edu permits officers to view and print out monthly pay statements showing their income and deductions.
Officers of instruction may request an advance equal to one month’s salary once a year prior to vacation by completing a vacation pay advance form which is available online through the Finance Division’s forms library at www.finance.columbia.edu/forms/index.html. Advances for reasons other than vacation are made only in extraordinary circumstances and with the written recommendation of the officer’s dean or vice president.
Full-time officers of instruction who teach in programs that have 12-month academic calendars earn vacation on an academic year basis. Those who are on less than a 12-month academic calendar do not accrue vacation.
Eligible officers of instruction, with the exception of those who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, earn two days of vacation for each month of full-time service, up to a maximum of 23 days, during their first 20 years of full-time appointment and at the rate of two-and-one-third days for each month, up to a maximum of 28 days, thereafter. Faculty do not accrue vacation while they are on full or partial leaves. The rights to vacation of those who belong to a collective bargaining unit are governed by the terms of their contract.
Vacation time may not be accumulated beyond June 30 of the year following the one in which it was earned. An officer of instruction may not receive pay in lieu of unused vacation except upon termination of appointment.
Officers who are entitled to vacations are expected to plan them in consultation with their chair or dean to ensure that they do not interfere with the programs of their department or school. They may not take vacation days that have not yet been earned.
Last Revised November 2008
An appointment as an officer of instruction may end as a result of any of the following actions: a decision not to reappoint in a nontenured rank, resignation, the discontinuation of a unit of instruction, dismissal, or retirement.
Notice of Nonrenewal
A full-time nontenured officer of instruction whose appointment will not be renewed beyond its stated term is entitled to clear and unambiguous notice of nonrenewal in writing. Such notice may not be contingent upon any subsequent decision regarding the officer, such as the outcome of a tenure review or an evaluation for reappointment in a nontenured rank.
Full-time officers of instruction, with the exceptions noted below, must be given notice no later than March 1 of the first academic year; no later than December 15 of the second; and at least 12 months prior to the end of the stated term of appointment in all subsequent years, except in the case of those in their seventh year of counted service, who must receive notice by May 31.
Some full-time instructional officers are appointed for a single term. These appointments may be made, for example, to enrich the curriculum or as temporary replacements for other faculty who are on leave. Faculty with these appointments are informed in their offer letters of the date on which they will end. They are, therefore, not entitled to additional notice according to the schedule described above.
Full-time officers of instruction in the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health who hold clinical appointments or titles indicating appointments in an affiliated hospital or institute are entitled to six months’ notice after completing two years of full-time service, except when nonrenewal results from the termination or modification of an affiliation agreement between the University and another institution, the closing of an affiliated institution, or significant curtailment of its operations. The termination of their association with the affiliated hospital or institute for any other reason does not alter their right to six months of notice. Those with less than two years of full-time service normally receive at least three months of notice. Exceptions require the prior approval of the Provost.
With the exception of those faculty who are appointed for a single term, full-time officers of instruction are normally appointed through the end of the academic year. They may be given notice that their appointments will end on dates other than June 30 only in unusual circumstances and only with the special prior permission of the Provost.
Part-time officers of instruction are not given notice of nonrenewal. The duration of their appointments is specified in the offer letters they receive from their department chair or dean. The end of their period of service is also specified in the letter of appointment from the Secretary of the University.
Resignations are normally effective on June 30, the last day of the academic year. Resignations on another date will be accepted only if the individual’s instructional and other responsibilities can be fulfilled by other members of the faculty.
A full-time officer of instruction who wishes to resign should give notice in writing as early as possible but no later than three months before the resignation will be effective. In cases of hardship, situations in which a faculty member would otherwise lose an opportunity for professional advancement, or other special circumstances, the Provost may waive the requirement of notice on the recommendation of the dean or vice president. For faculty in the Faculties of Dental Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, the Provost has delegated this responsibility to the Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences.
Termination Due to the Discontinuation of a Unit of Instruction
Under Section §74 of the University Statutes, the appointment of a tenured member of the faculty may be terminated when serious financial need forces the University to discontinue his or her unit of instruction, provided that the unit is large enough to exclude the possibility that its closing is aimed at specific individuals and attrition over a period of time is not a reasonable alternative. The reorganization of two or more units into one does not, for these purposes, constitute a discontinuation if the new unit continues to provide instruction in the same subject areas as the old ones. The closing of a unit must be reviewed by the University Senate before any termination may be made on these grounds.
Every effort will be made to place a tenured member of the faculty in a suitable position elsewhere in the University when his or her unit is discontinued. In the extreme case where these efforts are not successful, the professor is given at least 12 months’ notice of termination or one year’s salary as severance. Before any tenured professor can be terminated in this manner, the University Senate’s Committee on Faculty Affairs, Academic Freedom, and Tenure will be informed of the reasons why reassignment is not feasible and given the opportunity to state its views.
The position of a tenured faculty member who is terminated due to the discontinuation of a unit of instruction will not be filled by a replacement for at least five years, unless he or she has first been offered reappointment and given a reasonable time in which to accept or decline.
Faculty members holding appointments with a stated term (i.e., without tenure or tenure of title) may not be terminated when their unit of instruction is discontinued unless they have been given proper notice, as described above under “Notice of Nonrenewal.”
An appointment with tenure or tenure of title may be terminated for cause only when a faculty member is found to be professionally unfit, as demonstrated, for example, by gross inefficiency, habitual and intentional neglect of duty, other serious breaches of academic conduct, or serious personal misconduct. The same grounds must exist in order to dismiss a nontenured officer before the end of his or her stated term of appointment.
Before the procedures for dismissal are initiated, every effort will be made to resolve the problems with the faculty member informally. If the department chair, dean or vice president, Provost, and President cannot find a solution, the University Senate’s Committee on Faculty Affairs, Academic Freedom, and Tenure will attempt to mediate. If all conciliatory efforts fail and the President decides to proceed with formal action against the faculty member, the procedures specified in the “Code of Academic Freedom and Tenure” (Section §75c of the University Statutes; see Appendix B) must be followed to determine if there is adequate cause, except when the faculty member is charged with a breach of the ‘‘Rules of University Conduct,’’ which deal with demonstrations, rallies, and picketing (see http://facets.columbia.edu/university-regulations/rules-university-conduct). In those cases, the faculty member may elect to be judged under the procedures described in either the Code or the Rules. Once made, that choice cannot be changed.
A faculty member whose dismissal is proposed may be suspended if the President, after consultation with the University Senate’s Committee on Faculty Affairs, Academic Freedom, and Tenure, finds that the continued performance of the individual’s normal duties poses an immediate threat to the individual or others. During a suspension of this type, the faculty member continues to receive full base salary. Faculty may also be suspended from service as a penalty after the procedures for dismissal, described above, have been followed. In those cases, salary is stopped for the period of the suspension.
Officers of instruction cannot be mandatorily retired. The decision on when a faculty member retires rests with the individual, subject to the following limitations. The minimum age of retirement for all officers of the University is 55. In addition, faculty are ordinarily expected to retire at the end of a term of instruction in order to avoid disrupting the curricular programs of their departments and schools, unless illness prevents them from performing their normal teaching. Retirement during a term of instruction requires the special permission of the Provost.
Faculty must inform their department chair or dean in writing of their decision to retire. They also should notify the Office of Human Resources at least 90 days before they want their pension payments to begin. Otherwise, they may not receive their first pension check in the month following retirement. Counselors in the Office of Human Resources will also assist them in converting the other benefits for which they quality to those of a retired officer of the University.
Retirement Incentive Program
In appropriate circumstances, the University negotiates retirement agreements with faculty on an individual basis in order to accommodate the needs and interests of the faculty member, within the budgetary constraints of the school that will fund them. Faculty interested in exploring the possibility of a retirement agreement should speak with their dean or vice president. They may also consult with the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Administration or, if they serve in the Arts and Sciences, with a member of the staff of the Vice President. The Provost signs all retirement agreements on behalf of the University, with the exception of those for faculty in the Arts and Sciences, which are signed by the Vice President.
An agreement always specifies the date on which the faculty member agrees to retire. In return, faculty may, subject to the approval of the dean or vice president and the Provost, consider a wide range of options. These include, but are not limited to:
- a phased transition for a specified number of years during which the individual teaches part-time, with full or partial salary, while retaining the privileges and benefits of a full-time member of the faculty;
- a final leave of absence with full or partial salary;
- a lump sum payment in return for the commitment to retire; and
- a series of annual payments after retirement, paid in a manner consistent with the legal requirement that the taxes due on the total amount must be withheld in the first year.
These options are not mutually exclusive. With the consent of the dean or vice president and the Provost, more than one can be combined into a single agreement.
Faculty may also ask to have other financial clauses included in their retirement agreement:
- It may be possible to shelter from taxes some or all of the additional money received as part of an agreement prior to retirement if the faculty member is not already taking full advantage of the University’s salary reduction plan.
- Faculty may have the University instruct the company holding their pension funds to allow them to annuitize a portion of their pension accumulation up to three years prior to retirement.
- The agreement may include a provision that if a faculty member dies before the financial incentives it includes have been fully paid, the remainder will be paid into his or her estate.
All payments under a retirement agreement are subject to withholding for federal, state, and local taxes unless they are sheltered under the University’s salary reduction plan. The University also must withhold for FICA and Medicare.
Agreements include a description of the faculty member’s remaining responsibilities prior to retirement, as negotiated with the representative of the University.
Until the actual date of retirement, faculty continue to be entitled to all of the privileges and benefits of a full-time, active faculty member, unless otherwise specified in the agreement. Certain academic prerogatives also continue unless explicitly waived, including voting privileges in the faculty member’s department and Faculty, the right to participate in their internal governance, the ability to supervise graduate students and serve on dissertation defense committees, and the right to submit proposals for external funding.
Following retirement, faculty are eligible for benefits defined by the University’s benefit plans. (See “Retiree Benefits,” in Chapter V.) These may not be enhanced as part of an agreement. Faculty may also request the continuation of other rights and privileges that ordinarily end with retirement, including:
- a role in the governance of their Faculties, subject to the limitations specified in the Statutes of the University;
- continuing involvement with the graduate students they were supervising before retirement;
- the right to submit grant proposals through the University;
- and office and laboratory space, secretarial assistance, and commuter parking privileges.
Any such privileges are granted at the discretion of the University.
Rights and Privileges of Retired Faculty
Officers of instruction with the titles of professor, professor at (affiliated hospital or institute), professor of clinical (department), clinical professor of (department), professor of professional practice in (department), and adjunct professor may be given the distinction of emeritus by the Trustees after they retire. Faculty retiring with other titles are not eligible for the emeritus distinction.
Retired members of the Columbia faculty may be appointed special lecturers to offer instruction on a part-time basis. Such appointments are made on the nomination of the dean or vice president and with the recommendation of the Provost (see “Instructional Titles,” above). Retired faculty members ordinarily may not serve as advisers to graduate students, but they may be asked to serve on dissertation defenses and other examination committees. Retired tenured faculty may also be asked to help evaluate candidates for tenure by serving as members of ad hoc committees.
Retired faculty who are appointed a special lecturer and who served on a Faculty immediately prior to retirement may continue as members on that Faculty until the end of the appointment, if its stated rules so permit. They may also participate in the governance of a department of instruction according to the provisions of its by-laws.
A retired faculty member whose participation is essential to funded research projects may be appointed for part-time service as a special research scientist/scholar (see “Research Titles,” in Chapter IV). If they were the principal investigator or project director of a funded research program prior to retirement, they may, with the approval of the department chair, dean, vice president, or director and Provost, continue in that capacity until the first renewal of the grant or contract after retirement. In special circumstances, and with the prior permission of a representative of the Provost, they may serve as the principal investigator or director of an existing project for an additional period of time (see “Principal Investigators,” in Chapter VI). With the prior permission of the chair, dean, vice president, or director and the authorization of the Provost, they may also submit new grant proposals.
The names of retired faculty are included in the University Directory and may, at the discretion of the deans, be listed in the bulletins of the individual schools. Retired faculty are entitled to a University ID card, retain library borrowing and computing privileges, and continue to have access to the University’s recreational facilities. If they held full-time appointments at retirement, they are entitled to certain benefits provided that they meet the age and service requirements established for those plans. If they resided in University housing at the time of retirement, their rights to continue to live in their University apartments are determined by the policies described in Chapter V of this Handbook (see “Retiree Benefits”).
Retired faculty who do not hold an instructional or research appointment cannot be guaranteed office and laboratory space, owing to its limited availability. At the discretion of the University, they may continue to park their cars in a University garage or lot if they had 24-hour parking prior to retirement. Those who had commuting privileges ordinarily may park in a University facility only on the days they are teaching.
Last Revised November 2008
Faculty members should try to resolve grievances informally through discussions with their department chair, the appropriate dean or vice president, and the Provost. They may also go to the University Ombuds Officer for counseling on a confidential basis if they believe they have been a victim of either. With the consent of both parties, the Ombuds Officer will also seek to mediate an informal resolution to their disagreement. However, the Ombuds Officer is not authorized to conduct formal investigations.
While faculty are encouraged to try to resolve their complaints informally, they may elect instead to have them evaluated through a grievance hearing. They may also seek a grievance hearing when their complaints cannot be settled through informal means. The procedures faculty should follow will depend upon the nature of their complaints.
Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate
As provided in Section §73b of the University Statutes (see Appendix B), the Committee on Faculty Affairs, Academic Freedom, and Tenure of the University Senate investigates grievances from faculty members who have been denied tenure or are not being reappointed in a nontenured rank when they allege that discrimination or violation of academic freedom significantly contributed to the decision. For this purpose, discrimination includes decisions made on the basis of any of the criteria covered by the University’s nondiscrimination policy. (See “Equal Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policies,” in Chapter I.) In addition, the Committee will investigate allegations that the procedures followed in reaching a decision not to reappoint in a nontenured rank or to deny tenure were defective or did not take into account student opinion of the faculty member’s teaching abilities. These are the only grounds on which the Faculty Affairs Committee will recognize a challenge to such a decision. Upon completion of its investigation, the Committee will forward its recommendations to the Provost who makes the final decision on all faculty grievances.
When a grievance arises from a negative tenure decision at the University-wide ad hoc level, the faculty member must submit a complaint to the Faculty Affairs Committee within 90 working days after being informed of the decision. For the purpose of determining this and other periods of time in these grievance procedures, “working days” exclude Saturdays, Sundays, University holidays, and the period between Commencement and Labor Day.
The complaint should take the form of a written statement summarizing the reasons for the grievance. The faculty member may amend the complaint at any time prior to the completion of the grievance proceeding. When the Committee decides that a complaint is grievable, it conducts an investigation and submits a report to the Provost with its recommendations within 60 working days of receiving the initial written complaint. The Provost may grant extensions of that deadline in unusual circumstances.
Faculty who receive notice of nonrenewal after a negative ad hoc decision are not automatically entitled to any additional period of appointment beyond the date specified in the letter of nonrenewal by virtue of filing a grievance. However, when a grievant is in the final permissible year of counted service, the Provost may, at his or her discretion, authorize a one-year extension if it is necessary in order to permit the Faculty Affairs Committee to complete its investigation. Reappointment in this case does not result in tenure.
To facilitate the Committee’s evaluation of grievances regarding ad hoc decisions while minimizing the disclosure of confidential information about tenure reviews, the Committee and the Provost have agreed upon the following procedures:
- Upon accepting a grievance, the chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee provides the Provost with a copy of the faculty member’s written complaint.
- The chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, with the approval of its members, establishes an investigating subcommittee consisting exclusively of tenured faculty. Generally, the subcommittee is drawn from the members of the Committee itself.
- The investigating subcommittee provides the Provost with a list of questions outlining the information it requires. Within 15 working days of receiving the list, the Provost, and when appropriate, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Administration who administers the ad hoc system, meets with the subcommittee to answer those and any other questions it may have about the grievance. Exceptions to this deadline are made only when the Provost or Senior Vice Provost are not physically at the University for an extended period of time.
- While the subcommittee is not given confidential documents, the Provost and Senior Vice Provost will confirm whether documents exist and describe their contents if either is necessary for the subcommittee to complete its investigation. They also will provide the subcommittee with other confidential information relevant to the grievance.
- If the subcommittee needs clarification or further information after its initial interview, it may ask for further meetings with the Provost and the Senior Vice Provost.
- The subcommittee only interviews the Provost and Senior Vice Provost. It does not speak with members of the ad hoc committee, the witnesses who testified before the committee, or any other individuals who attended the grievant’s tenure review.
Upon completing its investigation, the subcommittee submits a report to the tenured members of the Faculty Affairs Committee who meet in executive session to discuss the subcommittee’s findings, decide upon their recommendations to the Provost, and agree upon the contents of their report to the grievant.
The Faculty Affairs Committee’s review of a grievance over an ad hoc decision is conducted in accordance with the rules of confidentiality that govern the ad hoc process. The investigating subcommittee shares information it has acquired with other tenured members of the Committee only to the extent necessary to permit them to make an informed decision on the grievance and only after obtaining their commitment to maintain the confidentiality of the information. No one other than the tenured members of the Committee is given access to any of the confidential information obtained by the investigating subcommittee, including the grievant who is, however, informed of the Committee’s recommendations to the Provost.
The Faculty Affairs Committee will also follow these procedures in the case of grievances over tenure decisions in the School of Law, where the tenured faculty serve as the equivalent of the ad hoc committee. The investigating subcommittee may, at its discretion, interview the dean and the appropriate member of the dean’s staff. Those individuals will cooperate with the subcommittee in the same manner as the Provost and Senior Vice Provost in the case of grievances over ad hoc decisions.
Responsibility for investigating grievances concerning the denial of tenure, other than those arising from ad hoc reviews or their Law School equivalent, is also assigned to a subcommittee consisting of tenured faculty. On completing its investigation, the subcommittee presents its findings to the tenured members of the Faculty Affairs Committee, who review and modify them as they consider appropriate. Once they have adopted a report on such a grievance, their recommendations are forwarded to the Provost, and copies are sent to all of the involved parties. The Faculty Affairs Committee follows similar procedures in the case of grievances over the failure to reappoint in a nontenured rank, except that the investigating subcommittee may include nontenured faculty and its report is reviewed by the full membership of the Committee.
If a grievance concerning a decision not to reappoint in a nontenured rank or to promote to tenure cannot be resolved by the Faculty Affairs Committee and the Committee finds that there are substantial grounds for believing that a violation of academic freedom or discrimination has occurred, it may provide for a formal hearing under the procedures contained in Section §75 of the University Statutes (see Appendix B).
The Faculty Affairs Committee is the appropriate forum for hearing other types of faculty complaints, with the exceptions noted below, concerning their academic appointments. In these cases, it attempts to mediate the dispute if it receives the consent of all of the involved parties.
Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action
The Faculty Affairs Committee does not normally review disputes about salary. Faculty who believe that their compensation has been unfairly set due to discrimination or sexual harassment may ask the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action to conduct an investigation of their complaints. Upon completion of such an investigation, the Associate Provost will submit a report to the Provost, who will make the final decision on the grievance. Faculty with salary complaints that do not involve allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment may approach the Provost directly for a review of their compensation but only after they have sought a resolution to their complaints with their department chair and dean or vice president.
Faculty who feel they have been discriminated against or sexually harassed in ways that do not involve a decision on the renewal of a nontenured appointment or promotion to tenure may also file a formal complaint with the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action for review using the procedures described in Employment Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and HarassmentThat statement is reprinted as Appendix A.
Housing Policy Committee of the University Senate
The University Senate’s Housing Policy Committee is empowered to hear complaints about the annual rental increase in University apartments and related matters.
Last Revised February 2012