Professors are responsible for teaching, conducting research and publishing its results, advising undergraduate and graduate students, and providing public, departmental, college, and university service. Assigned duties may vary among professors – the dean and the department chairperson or the director of the school, center, institute or program make the determination of academic responsibilities in consultation with the faculty member – but responsibilities must include significant effort in research (or creative achievement, in the arts) and either teaching or extension/outreach.

An individual usually attains the rank of professor by promotion from associate professor after a positive evaluation of performance and promise. In such a case, the person ordinarily has already been awarded indefinite tenure as an associate professor. The provost approves promotions in rank. A new appointment at the level of tenured professor is also possible with the approval of the Board of Trustees, following established procedures for tenure review. The tenure clock at the rank of professor may be for up to five years.

A new faculty member may be given a term appointment at the professor level for a fixed term of up to five years. A terminal, non–tenure-track appointment of a professor is also possible, for a fixed term of up to five years, but in such a case, the individual normally would be designated as a visiting professor.

Professors are voting members of the university and college faculties. The Dean of the Graduate School confers membership on the graduate faculty following nomination by the field’s graduate faculty representative and approval by the General Committee.

Administrative Notes

  • The unmodified title “professor” reflects a salaried position that is subject to affirmative action regulations.
  • Professors generally hold the highest graduate degree in the field. In the creative and performing arts, or in certain professional studies, the dean may accept a degree other than the Ph.D. or its foreign equivalent as the highest degree.
  • The professor title may be modified with “acting,” “adjunct,” “courtesy,” or “visiting.” More on modifiers.
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