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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

Research Professor Titles

Research Professor
Associate Research Professor
Assistant Research Professor

The research professor titles are available only for long term, non-tenure-track faculty members who are distinguished and highly experienced individuals in a relevant field of research. Primary responsibilities include initiating new research activities; creating and managing research laboratories; seeking funding opportunities, submitting proposals, and fulfilling the terms of research grants and contracts; planning, conducting and reporting on original research; and representing their research groups externally. Persons appointed to these titles may serve routinely as principal investigators on grants and contracts.

The research professor titles may not be used for positions whose responsibilities substantially replicate those of tenure-track faculty. Accordingly, such individuals normally are not permitted to teach courses for credit. In the event that the appointing department requests some teaching of courses for credit, this teaching must be consistent with the terms of the individual’s funding and approved by the dean. When such teaching is assigned, care must be taken not to shift teaching expense inappropriately to research grants or contracts. In no case should such an individual teach for an extended consecutive period.

Terms of positions bearing these titles shall normally be up to five years. Unless otherwise specified, they shall be renewable indefinitely.

Promotions to the associate and full professor ranks, as well as reappointment at any rank at the end of a fixed term, should follow procedures used for tenure-track faculty.

Research Professors are not members of the University Faculty. They are nonvoting members of their college or school faculty unless given the right to vote by the particular faculty.

The titles “research professor,” “associate research professor,” and “assistant research professor” are available in a given college only upon satisfaction of a special approval process specified in the University Faculty’s enabling legislation.

Administrative Notes

  • The unmodified “research professor” titles reflect a salaried position that is subject to affirmative action regulations.
  • To qualify for the title, individuals are expected to have achieved significant stature in the scholarly discipline, to have demonstrated the quality of research accomplishment appropriate to initiating independent research programs, and to have demonstrated a trajectory that promises a continued high level of achievement.
  • A dossier-based review must be conducted for initial appointment. Through an exception approved by the department chair and the dean, the dossier-based review may be conducted during the first year, with continued appointment contingent on successful review. This dossier shall typically include letters from confidential external referees, letters from participants in current or recent research programs, a report of the faculty vote, and an analytical recommendation by the department chair to the dean, who makes the ultimate decision about appointment.
  • While there may be a transition period before research funding supports the position appointments normally are expected to be supported largely by such funds; other funding sources are permitted. The offer and appointment letters should include notification that the appointment may be terminated early or modified if funding is withdrawn or reduced.
  • College or school legislation, as approved in the process with the Faculty Senate authorizing the use of the title in that college or school, governs various terms and conditions, including percent limitations on the number of such appointments, voting rights, and access to grievance and appeals procedures.
  • This title, available for use at the assistant, associate and professor rank, may be modified with “acting,” “visiting,” or “courtesy.” More on modifiers.

Last Updated: August 20, 2017 at 6:53 am