Resolution 116: Proposal for Implementation of the Title of Professor of Practice – College of Arts & Sciences

Passed: February 10, 2016
Sponsor: College of Arts & Sciences
Senate Discussions:

The Resolution


The College of Arts and Sciences is proposing the addition of the title of Professor of the Practice to be held by a limited number of distinguished and highly experienced individuals in artistic or professional fields (e.g., creative writing, acting, music, public service, investigative journalism or media innovation, scientific or international or corporate or non-profit leadership, etc.) who are focused primarily on the teaching mission. The title of Professor of the Practice is well-established among many of Cornell’s peer institutions, including MIT, Harvard, and Carnegie Mellon. The title is potentially relevant in dual career hiring in order to be competitive with our peers in hiring the best faculty. Professors of the Practice would provide our students with a deeper understanding of the practical application of particular fields of study and help promote the integration of academic scholarship with practical experience. The appointment of these individuals would also provide opportunities for students and faculty to interact with and to benefit from the experiences of distinguished practitioners and professionals who now want to spend some time teaching, drawing upon their notable experience.

Description of Position:

The position Professor of the Practice would be available for a limited and defined group of short- to long-term, non-tenure-track positions. This is primarily a teaching position with a full-time teaching load corresponding to four to six courses per year. Individual teaching loads will be determined based on the type of courses taught and other responsibilities that might be assigned by the department, such as student advising, curriculum development and program oversight. While faculty of this rank may have additional research or service responsibilities, teaching will be their primary responsibility at Cornell. The title may not be used for positions whose responsibilities largely replicate those of tenure-track faculty. Similarly, the title is not meant for positions whose responsibilities and eligibility qualifications largely replicate those now employed as Lecturers and Senior Lecturers. While the primary responsibilities of both Lecturers and Professors of the Practice will be teaching, appointees to the latter title are expected to have distinguished themselves outside the academy.

Terms of Appointment

Use of the new title would be optional for departments and would only be used to address pedagogical or dual career needs if and when departments found it helpful. A national search is required; waiver of a search must follow current protocols for tenure-track positions. A terminal degree in the field or commensurate experience is required. The term of appointment is three years, and the term is renewable indefinitely. Appointment and re-appointments to this title must be approved by the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Professors of the Practice will be eligible for the annual salary improvement program for faculty. They may apply for advertised tenure-track positions, but may not move to an unadvertised tenure-track position that does not include a national/international search. Non-renewal of an appointment as a Professor of the Practice will require a one-year notice of nonrenewal. Faculty holding this title are not eligible for study leave or sabbatical leave. This group of faculty are required to submit an annual report per departmental and college guidelines, and they are required to complete the University’s Conflict of Interest reporting.

Percentage Limitations

The percentage of positions bearing this title may not exceed 10% of the college’s existing tenure-track faculty positions; and no more than 25% of a department’s faculty may hold such titles. Given that their use is optional, it is possible that these titles will never comprise percentages this high.

Voting and Other Rights

Professors of the Practice will be non-voting members of the department/college faculty except in matters that are directly related to their roles with the department/college – such as curriculum and pedagogy. The dean shall have the responsibility of identifying those issues that are related to their roles with the college and the department chair shall have that responsibility within the department. In the department, those appointed to this professorial title shall participate fully in hiring decisions of other of their rank or in lower rank in these titles. Professors of the Practice may serve on college committees as appropriate.

Impact Statement

No tenure-track lines will be eliminated or converted to hire faculty as Professors of the Practice. However, departments may opt to temporarily hire a Professor of the Practice on a budgeted tenuretrack line to address dual career considerations. In general, appointments to this title will be supported on endowment funds or “soft” money. Similarly, except by appointment of the holder to a new position bearing one of these titles, or by resignation of the holder, no non-tenure-track faculty position may be eliminated solely as a result of creating such a new position for a function comparable to that filled by the old position.

There is not a promotion sequence from other non-tenure-track academic titles to Professor of the Practice; however, current holders of non-tenure-track positions in the college may apply for positions advertised at this title when their professional accomplishments and recognition outside the academy make them eligible. Finally, as one would expect when a new title is introduced, the college will remain flexible in responding to departments who identify other instances in which the use of this title and the criteria to justify it would be appropriate. It is possible, for example, that distinguished records in pedagogy and related publications which have gained recognition outside the university would qualify some individuals for appointments as Professors of the Practice.


Term  2015-2016
Senate University Faculty Senate
Status Adopted 2/10/16
Abstract  Use of the Academic Title of Professor of Practice
Resolution File Professor Practice Proposal – College of Arts &Sciences
Title Proposal for College of Arts & Sciences to Implement Professor of Practice Title
Sponsors Arts & Sciences
Reviewing Committee Committee on Academic Programs & Policies (CAPP)

Resolution History

Date Action View Details
12/10/15 Received Proposal from College of Arts & Sciences
12/10/15 Referred Proposal to Committee on Academic Programs & Policies (CAPP) for review
12/22/15 Approved by CAPP
12/22/15 Posted for 60 days
2/10/16 Adopted by University Faculty Senate
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