Guidelines on Qualified Academic Rank

Introduction

The purpose of this document is to set forth the rights and responsibilities of faculty of qualified rank in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University at Buffalo. The basic University statement on qualified academic rank is the following:

Qualified ranks are used primarily to designate faculty members whose primary contributions will be in one area of academic activity. For example, the “Research” prefix is appropriate for faculty members whose activities are primarily in research; “Clinical” for those teaching in a clinical environment as part of an established academic program; “Adjunct” for those with appropriate professional qualifications who perform teaching or research in connection with an academic program. These positions may be full-time, part-time, or voluntary. The proper descriptive prefix should precede the rank, i.e., Clinical Assistant Professor, Adjunct Instructor, etc. Qualified titles such as Artist-in-Residence, Visiting Scholar, etc. may also be used as inhouse titles as appropriate, in conjunction with other qualified rank titles. Lecturer is also a qualified title used primarily for appointments restricted to teaching. These appointments do not lead to consideration for continuing appointment. Qualified titles should not be considered honorary but must be earned. Appointment to or promotion in qualified rank should be carried out with the same care, using the same criteria and the same standards applied to unqualified academic ranks in the applicable area of academic activity or service. Schools or Faculties are expected to develop procedures for the evaluation of candidates for appointment and promotion in qualified rank. [Faculty and Professional Staff Handbook, University at Buffalo, 1989, p. 30.]

The qualified ranks applicable in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are Lecturer, Research Instructor, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Professor, Adjunct Instructor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor and Adjunct Professor.

Voting rights are conferred on members of the UB Voting Faculty, and who maintain an active presence in a department housed within the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. According to the Bylaws of the Voting Faculty, State University of New York at Buffalo, as revised and approved on December 21, 1995, “The membership of the Voting Faculty shall consist of ... All full-time members of the academic staff having academic rank, and all full-time members of the academic staff having qualified academic rank and serving on appointments of more than one year” [Article III, Paragraph 1].

Beyond voting rights, the rights and responsibilities of faculty of qualified rank should be understood in relation to those of faculty of unqualified rank (Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor). Briefly, faculty of unqualified rank are responsible for the complete range of faculty activities: research, teaching, and service.

The SEAS Bylaws effective April 2007 state in ARTICLE II Membership “The voting faculty of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences consists of the Dean, all Associate Deans, and all faculty holding the unqualified academic ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor or Distinguished Professor, and qualified full-time Lecturers.” 

Lecturers

Lecturers are responsible for teaching and service, but not for research. Paid appointments as Lecturer are on the State payroll and, although they are not eligible for tenure, they may be rehired an arbitrary number of times, for 1 to 3 years at a time. The teaching load for full-time lecturers is three sections per semester. If a lecturer has a 12 month appointment, then their (full-time equivalent) teaching load over the summer is two courses. 

Research Faculty

The State payroll title of Research Instructor is currently used as a payroll title for a person who may be given responsibilities to perform research, teaching or service duties. So the titles Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor and Research Professor are considered the titles that give Research Faculty status in SEAS. These appointments may be paid or voluntary. Voluntary Research Faculty appointments are primarily responsible for research and graduate education. Paid Research Faculty appointments may have responsibilities in research, graduate education teaching and service. Paid appointments as Research Faculty are on the State payroll and although they are not eligible for tenure, they may be rehired an arbitrary number of times, for 1 to 3 years at a time. Research Faculty are eligible to be P.I.s on grant and contract proposals.

Departmental expectation is that Research Faculty will become eligible for Graduate Faculty status within a year of their first appointment. Nomination to the Graduate Faculty will be done the same way as for tenuretrack faculty. Once on the Graduate Faculty, Research Faculty are expected to offer graduate seminars on a regular basis, to participate in Qualifying Exam committees, graduate student reviews, and M.S. and Ph.D. committees. Appointment, reappointment, and promotion of paid Research Faculty is done following the same procedure as for tenure-track faculty, and using the same criteria and the same standards,.

Adjunct Faculty

The State payroll title of Adjunct Instructor is currently used by UB Human Resources as the standard payroll title for a person who is hired just to teach a course. So the titles Adjunct Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor and Adjunct Professor are considered the titles that give Adjunct Faculty status in SEAS. These appointments are expected to be voluntary and given to people with paid appointments in other departments of UB, in other universities, or in industry, who have a continuing teaching or research relationship with the department. If someone has an unqualified academic rank in UB or in another research university, it is the practice of the department to confer on them the same level adjunct rank. Adjunct rank for someone else is determined by the tenured faculty using the same criteria as for the same unqualified rank. 

Effective May 1, 2015