Academic Classification and Rank

Policy Number: 
II.02.05
Reason for Policy: 

This policy describes the classifications, categories, and ranks of faculty positions at the University of Oregon. 

Entities Affected by this Policy: 

Faculty members with appointment at the University.

Enactment & Revision History: 

Revisions approved by President Michael Schill on June 9, 2016 (revisions approved by the University Senate on May 11, 2016).

Technical revisions enacted by the University Secretary on September 2, 2015.

Became a University of Oregon Policy by operation of law on July 1, 2014 (former OAR 580.020.00050. 

Policy: 

(1) The University shall assign each faculty member the classification, category, and rank that most closely reflect the duties described in his or her contract and job description.

(2) The following are the classifications that apply to faculty positions. A classification identifies the type of position.

a. TENURE-TRACK AND TENURED: A paid position wherein an individual is designated by the University in writing as eligible for tenure or has been granted tenure in writing by the Provost.

b. ACTING: A tenure-track paid position for individuals intended by the University to become tenure-track assistant professors but who have yet to complete the terminal degree.

c. CAREER:  A non-tenure track paid position that is ongoing.

d. VISITING:  A non-tenure track paid temporary appointment of limited duration (up to two years) for (1) an individual who holds a like, similar, or relevant appointment at another institution or (2) pursuant to norms of the specific discipline, an individual who has recently obtained a terminal degree and is seeking further professional experience prior to seeking a professorship.

e. PRO TEMPORE: A non-tenure track paid appointment that is intermittent or of limited duration.

f. POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLAR: A non-tenure track paid, mentored research, instructional, librarian, or combined position that is of limited duration for individuals who have earned a doctoral degree.

g. RETIRED: A non-tenure track paid appointment post-retirement. A faculty member is considered to be retired if he or she resigns or is terminated without cause from employment with the university or enters into a tenure reduction or relinquishment agreement and is:

  1. Eligible for unreduced or reduced benefits under the Public Employees Retirement System (for participants in PERS) or the Oregon Public Service Retirement Program (for participants in OPSRP);
  2. Eligible under Internal Revenue Service rules to withdraw funds from an account established under Optional Retirement Plan and meets the requirements for unreduced or reduced benefits under, depending on date of hire, PERS Tier 1 or 2 or the OPSRP. This classification includes post- retired or emeritus faculty.

(3) The following are the categories that apply to faculty positions. A category describes a rank or group of ranks:

a. PROFESSOR: This category can only be used in the Tenure Track or Tenured, Acting, Visiting, or Retired classifications. This category requires a paid appointment with duties in all three areas of independent research, scholarship, and/or creative inquiry; instruction; and service.

b. CLINICAL PROFESSOR: This category can only be used in the Visiting, Career, Pro Tem or Retired classifications. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment for individuals with primary duties in the area of clinical instruction or research.

c. PROFESSOR OF PRACTICE: This category can only be used in the Visiting, Career, Pro Tem, or Retired classifications. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment with primary duties in the area of research or instruction. This category is to be held by eminently qualified professionals who have had a major impact on fields and disciplines important to University of Oregon programs. A Professor of Practice will:

  • have a substantial basis of experience equal to a tenured professor (normally a minimum of 12 years) and a national/international reputation for excellence reflected in a record of significant accomplishments;
  • have a profile of accumulated professional accomplishments fully congruent with the rank of professor;
  • have a rich and extensive background in a field and discipline relevant to the school, college, or unit of appointment at the University of Oregon; and
  • serve as a liaison between the professional field and the University of Oregon.

d. INSTRUCTOR: This category can only be used in the Visiting, Career, Pro Tem or Retired classifications. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment with primary duties in the area of undergraduate instruction. Instructor duties may include advising and mentoring responsibilities as well as possibility of involvement in design and development of courses and the curriculum.

e. LECTURER: This category can only be used in the Visiting, Career, Pro Tem or Retired classifications. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment with primary duties in the area of graduate instruction and education. The duties may also include some undergraduate instruction and mentoring and advising responsibilities, as well as the possibility of involvement in design and development of courses and the curriculum. Appointments in the Lecturer category require the terminal degree (or its professional equivalent) relevant to the appointment, but holding a terminal degree does not by itself entitle a faculty member to appointment in the Lecturer category.

f. LIBRARIAN: This category can only be used in the Visiting, Career, Pro Tem, or Retired classifications. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment with primary duties in the university libraries. Appointments in the Librarian category require a terminal professional degree, but holding a terminal degree does not by itself entitle a faculty member to appointment in the Librarian category. The university grandparents the use of the Professor rank and category for Librarians who hold that rank as of the date of this policy.

g. RESEARCH ASSISTANT: This category can only be used in the Visiting, Career, Pro Tem or Retired classifications. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment for individuals who have typically earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Primary duties are in the area of research. Research Assistants typically work as members of a research team under the direct supervision of other faculty researchers.

h. RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: This category can only be used in the Visiting, Career, Pro Tem or Retired classifications. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment for individuals who have the terminal degree relevant to the appointment. Primary duties are in the area of research, which are typically undertaken as part of a research team or lab. Appointments in the Research Associate category require a terminal degree (or its professional equivalent) in a relevant field, but holding a terminal degree does not by itself entitle a bargaining unit faculty member to appointment in the Research Associate category.

i. RESEARCH PROFESSOR: This category can only be used in the Visiting, Career, Pro Tem or Retired classifications. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment with duties primarily in the area of independent research, scholarship and/or creative inquiry. Appointments in the Research Professor category require a terminal degree relevant to the appointment. Primary duties are independent lines of inquiry, which can be related to the work of colleagues but not dependent on it. A Research Professor will have qualifications and research expectations equal to or exceeding those for a tenure-track/tenured professor at the same rank in related fields.

j. POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLAR: This category can only be used in the Postdoctoral Scholar classification. This category requires a non-tenure track paid appointment for a temporary and defined period of formally mentored research, instruction, librarianship, or scholarly training, for the purpose of allowing the Postdoctoral Scholar to acquire the professional skills needed to pursue a career path of his or her choosing. The appointment requires a doctoral degree. At the time of appointment, hiring documentation should include an articulated program of mentoring with an identified mentor.

(4) The following are the ranks within categories that apply to faculty members. Ranks define the level of promotion within a category.

a. PROFESSOR: Ranks in this category in ascending order are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor.

b. CLINICAL PROFESSOR: Ranks in this category in ascending order are assistant clinical professor, associate clinical professor, and clinical professor.

c. PROFESSOR OF PRACTICE: The only rank in this category is professor of practice.

d. INSTRUCTOR: Ranks in this category in ascending order are instructor, senior instructor I, senior instructor II.

e. LECTURER: Ranks in this category in ascending order are lecturer, senior lecturer I, senior lecturer II.

f. LIBRARIAN: Ranks in this category in ascending order are assistant librarian, associate librarian, and senior librarian.

g. RESEARCH ASSISTANT: Ranks in this category in ascending order are research assistant, senior research assistant I, senior research assistant II.

h. RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Ranks in this category in ascending order are research associate, senior research associate I, senior research associate II.

i. RESEARCH PROFESSOR: Ranks in this category in ascending order are assistant research professor, associate research professor, and research professor.

j. POSTDOCTORAL SCHOLAR: The only rank in this category is Postdoctoral Scholar.

(5) At the time of hire, the University shall assign each faculty member a rank within the classification and category described in the job posting. Nothing shall preclude a faculty member from being assigned and performing other duties not described in his or her specific classification, category, or rank as long as those duties are consistent with his or her job description. Academic title can be assigned to staff members in unclassified academic service, whether the type of service is teaching, research, extension, administration or other service. Deans, vice presidents, and the President may have the academic rank of professor as determined by the University’s criteria.

(6) If the University non-renews a position in the Career classification for economic or programmatic reasons, then the position cannot be refilled in the Visiting, Pro Tem or Postdoctoral Scholar classification within the subsequent two years unless approved by the Provost or his or her designee.

(7) The duration of a position in the Pro Tem classification shall be no more than three years. If the University decides to continue a position in the Pro Tem classification for longer than three years, the position must be converted to a Career position. In rare cases, a department or unit may petition the Provost to continue a position in the Pro Tem classification for longer than three years for legitimate pedagogical or legitimate programmatic reasons. Permission to continue a position in the Pro Tem classification for longer than three years must be granted by the Provost or designee in writing.

(8) The duration of a position in the Postdoctoral Scholar classification shall be no more than three years. Postdoctoral mentors, however, may petition the Provost or designee for an extension of no more than two years. Permission to continue a position in the Postdoctoral Scholar classification for longer than three years must be granted by the Provost or designee in writing.

(9) Faculty members in the Career classification shall have the right to petition the Provost or designee to have their position recategorized if they believe that their position was categorized incorrectly at the time of first hire or their position has evolved to more closely resemble a different category. If a petition for recategorization is denied, a faculty member may petition again after completion of at least one additional year of service in the position.

(10) Faculty members in the Pro Tem or Visiting or Postdoctoral Scholar classification who believe that their positions should be positions in the Career classification may petition for reclassification after the completion of two years of appointment. Because the defining characteristic of the Pro Tem and Visiting and Postdoctoral Scholar classifications is their limited duration, the decision of the Provost or designee should be guided by the current and anticipated duration of the position.

(11) When a position is reclassified from a non-tenure track classification into the Tenure Track and Tenured classification, a new national search is always required to fill the position. For other classifications, a national search is permissible, but not required when the original search was national in scope and when the incumbent has had successful reviews.

(12) A reclassification or recategorization shall take effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year, contract renewal, or academic year, or other date as approved by the Provost or designee.

(13) A change in rank within a category requires a promotion.

Chapter/Volume: 
  • Volume II: Academics, Instruction and Research
  • Chapter 2: Appointments, promotion and tenure
Responsible Office: 

For questions about this policy, please contact the Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs at 541-346-3081

Original Source: 
UO Policy (New)