The Bylaws of the University, in the Article on the Instructional and Research Staff, describe use of the “courtesy” modifier as follows (note that “by the President” means “under presidential authority,” indicating that the appointment does not require Trustee approval):
“Courtesy Appointments: Persons having professional qualifications for regular faculty appointments who serve on the staff of an academic department although employed by an outside agency, may be appointed by the President to the teaching staff at the professorial, instructor or lecturer level with the modifier “courtesy” appended to the appropriate title. Such courtesy appointments may be approved for renewable terms of not to exceed five years each. Courtesy appointments, reappointments and promotions shall be subject to the same departmental and college reviews as regular professorial appointments. Such appointments shall be without salary or fringe benefits.”
People with courtesy appointments housed in an academic department receive neither salary nor salary-related plan benefits from the university and have a primary responsibility outside Cornell, although they are expected to perform at Cornell at least some of the functions associated with the title. The normal departmental and college-level decision process for appointments is followed. Courtesy appointments can be made for terms of up to five years and are renewable; there is no limit to the total time permissible in the titles with reappointments. It is customary for the length of a “courtesy” instructor or lecturer appointment not to exceed the limit that governs an appointment to the unmodified title, for instance three years for a courtesy lecturer, renewable.
Individuals holding courtesy professorial appointments are voting members of the University Faculty.
The modifier “courtesy” may be used with the following titles: professor, associate professor, assistant professor, professor of the practice, associate professor of the practice, assistant professor of the practice, research professor, associate research professor, assistant research professor, clinical professor, associate clinical professor, assistant clinical professor, instructor, senior lecturer and lecturer.