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  Cornell University

The University Faculty

Office of the Dean

Academic Appointments: HR Guidelines

Academic appointment connects a qualified, selected, authorized individual to an academic title for a designated period and set of responsibilities or affiliation.

Assignment of an academic title is based on such criteria as academic responsibilities and professional achievement.

The Board of Trustees‟ Bylaws of the University set limits to the duration and renewability of appointment to a given academic title; the Trustees may approve unlimited duration (“indefinite tenure,” also called “tenure”) for certain professorial appointments.

Academic appointment may require Trustee action; if not, approval is under the purview of presidential authority, exercised by the provost and through administrative procedures.

Appointment requires both academic approval and fulfillment of administrative procedures.

Faculty-legislated and affirmative action/equal opportunity search requirements typically govern the processes for selection of individuals for appointment to academic titles.

For its duration, appointment invokes the responsibilities, terms and conditions, and privileges that accompany the title. The responsibilities of every academic appointment include compliance with the policies of the university, the major academic unit and the local unit to which the individual is appointed. In addition to appointment-related policy information in this document, policy information may be found in the Faculty Handbook, for example the policy on “Romantic and Sexual Relationships Between Students and Staff” and the University Policy Library, for example the policy “Standards of Ethical Conduct” .


 Faculty members do not have authority to make academic appointments, even if the supporting funds come from research grants supervised by the faculty member.

Specific final academic authority levels pertain for appointments to particular academic titles. These are listed in Appendix 4. Local academic authority and administrative approvals also pertain.

An academic appointment also requires approval through administrative authority; an appointment is not final until central university administrative processes have been fulfilled, as exercised through review by Human Resources during processing of the appointment package and transaction.


 New academic positions must be authorized. Procedures vary by college or school and by unit.


 When an academic role is envisioned, major considerations in determining the range of available academic titles include the expected responsibilities or the nature of the affiliation, an anticipated faculty role, and available resources. Further information is available in the “Academic Titles” section of this policy and in the Appendix.

Responsibilities or the nature of the academic affiliation should be articulated, refined and reviewed, as should the locus of the appointment, reporting relationship, and supervision to be exercised. This articulation will be used in identifying an appropriate academic title, obtaining approvals, conducting a search or discussing affiliation, and preparing offer and appointment letters. Financial and other resources should be identified and whether they are short-term or renewing.

Review of the proposed academic position should include assessment of whether the responsibilities are primarily academic. Many leadership positions are non-academic. A unit‟s Human Resource representative can inform this discussion.


The Bylaws of the University, in the Article on “Equal Educational and Employment Opportunity,” state:

“It is the policy of the University actively to support equality of educational and employment opportunity. Explicit policy statements to this effect, as approved by the Board of Trustees from time to time, shall be publicized widely for the information of present and future students, faculty, staff and other employees. They shall be binding on all University personnel.”

The current statement may be found at

A commitment to affirmative action and equal opportunity constitutes one of the highest priorities of the faculty, the administration and the trustees of the university. A position designated by the provost leads – in cooperation with the Vice President for Human Resources – on academic appointment issues relating to diversity and inclusion, affirmative action, and equal opportunity. The current designee is listed on the website of the Academic Personnel Policy Office The designated office establishes procedures for and monitors academic searches to ensure that they are consistent with the Trustees‟ policy and Cornell‟s leadership commitment, as well as employment law, and that there is a good faith effort to have significant diversity and depth in the applicant pools.

Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Search Requirements

 Please note: for professorial appointments, in addition to the search procedures described below, Cornell University Faculty legislation pertains, available in this policy‟s section “Faculty Legislation on Selection of New Professorial Faculty Members.”

Except in rare and special circumstances, or when an appointment is temporary (expected to terminate in one year or less), vacant academic positions must be filled by conducting a formal search. Academic titles for which open positions are subject to affirmative action search requirements are listed in Appendix 5.

Authority to initiate an academic search comes from a dean, the university librarian, or in the case of centers, from an executive officer. Provost‟s approval also will be necessary for a search involving high-profile, special procedure titles, such as senior scholar, senior scientist or university professor.

The approval‟s indication of the position‟s academic title sets the baseline for the qualifying educational degree – higher levels or different degrees (such as professional degrees) may be required by the dean as qualification if linked substantively to the requirements of the position; preference for additional degrees may be stated. Information about the qualifying educational degree is necessary for listing and advertising the opening. Information about the minimum qualifying degree for appointment to an academic title is available in its title description; please consult Appendix 2.

Before a search is begun, an affirmative action search plan must be submitted to the dean or executive officer for approval and also to the office designated by the provost for leadership in academic diversity and inclusion – this office assists the dean‟s office and the search committee with affirmative action aspects of the search. The formal affirmative action search process is outlined in this office‟s “Academic Search Protocols,” and may be facilitated by online systems known to a unit‟s human resource representative or business service center.

To ensure compliance with state and federal laws, regular positions must be posted.

Equal opportunity and affirmative action regulations require that Cornell University list positions with the local Department of Labor, Employment Services Office. Cornell complies with affirmative action requirements by requiring that vacancies be posted for at least five (5) working days via the Jobs at Cornell internet site. In addition, it may be important to advertise openings through print and electronic media, particularly to develop a deep and diverse pool of applicants. To ensure compliance with regulations, all recruitment advertising must be approved by the unit‟s human resource representative prior to placement.

Note: To allow for flexibility in the recruitment and appointment of individuals to fill tenure track positions, the determination on what rank and individual will be appointed at will be reserved until completion of the hiring process and will be dependent upon the qualifications of the applicant being considered. As a result, where this flexibility is requested, postings and listing may appear as “Assistant/Associate Professor.”

The Academic Search Protocols include requirements for maintaining a database of applicants (defined in the non-academic “Filling Vacancies” policy as “any person who applies in accordance with the stated directions for a specific and discrete open position” – this includes meeting stated qualifications, such as educational degree); sending an acknowledgement letter including reference to the applicant‟s entering information on the Data Flow website (legally seeking data about applicants‟ status in federally protected classes); and, during final hiring and appointment processes, reporting about the results of the search formally and auditably (consult the Protocols).

When a search for an academic position has been concluded with approval by the head of the academic unit, the recommendation that a candidate be appointed must be presented to the dean, librarian, executive officer or designee; subsequent academic approvals may be necessary (please consult “Authority to Make Appointments,” earlier in this appointment policy, and Appendix 4, “Academic Appointment Terms & Authority”; for administrative aspects of transacting an academic appointment please consult “Fulfillment of Central University Administrative Procedures of Appointment,” later in this policy.)

Responsibility and timeframes for retaining search records are specified in the university policy, “Retention of University Records,”, in the Procedures table on non- student records – in case of a compliance review it is incumbent on the offices designated in the Retention of University Records policy to produce these records.

Exemptions from Search Requirements

The affirmative action/equal employment opportunity search requirement pertains for all academic positions that involve appointment to a regular (unmodified) academic title, with some exceptions and exemptions.

Search Requirements Do Not Pertain

 Postdocs: Appointments to the titles postdoctoral associate and postdoctoral fellow are not subject to search requirements.

Individuals Paid from Outside Funds: When the salaries of individuals are paid through means unconnected with Cornell, affirmative action/equal employment opportunity search requirements do not apply – these cases include visiting fellows; appointments in which the title is modified formally by “courtesy”; and visiting appointees paid by other institutions or agencies.

Adjuncts: Search procedures do not apply where the appointment title is modified formally by “adjunct.”  A person whose title is modified by “adjunct” is one who, although his or her primary responsibility is outside the department (for instance, in another department or outside the university), is willing to contribute part-time to the academic program.

Short-term appointments: In the case of appointments envisioned and implemented to last no longer than one year (full-time equivalent), individuals may be appointed without a search; however, such individuals may not be reappointed to a continuing position without a search.

Search Considerations for Internal Appointees

 Internal academic appointees: In considering whether a search should be made when there would be a title change for an individual already appointed to an academic title at Cornell, one criterion is the availability of a new position. If a new position is available, a search or approval to waive the search is necessary. Accordingly, a college could change the responsibilities and title of a senior extension associate to senior research associate without an affirmative action/equal opportunity search being required if the senior extension associate position were not to be refilled. Promotions that occur in a normal, expected sequence do not require search procedures. A few examples that would not require a search are the normal promotion of an assistant professor to associate professor, or extension associate to senior extension associate. Normal promotion sequences are indentified in the title description for a particular title, available in this policy‟s Appendix 2.

Internal movement to the tenure track: Because of the significant opportunity, in order to change an individual‟s appointment from a title ineligible for tenure, or from a non-tenure-track professorial appointment, to a tenure-track or tenured appointment, obtaining an approved waiver of search or conducting the search is required.

Internal movement from non-academic to academic appointment: In order to appoint a member of the university‟s non-academic staff to an academic title, if the academic appointment otherwise would be subject to affirmative action/equal employment opportunity search procedures, obtaining an approved waiver of search or conducting the search is required.

Waiver of Academic Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Search Requirement

 If special circumstances characterize the position or candidate, it may be permissible to forego a search. If, for instance, a search committee for a new dean has been authorized to limit the selection to a member of the faculty of the college, a formal affirmative action/equal employment opportunity search would not be required (but someone from outside the university could not be appointed without a search).


An academic unit may apply for a waiver of the affirmative action/equal employment opportunity search requirement, to appoint a specific candidate in special cases. The process for seeking a waiver is outlined in the Academic Search Protocols. Any questions should be discussed with the unit‟s Diversity and Affirmative Action Representative (DAAR) and the office designated by the provost for leadership in academic diversity and inclusion – that office‟s approval of the waiver request must be obtained before the position may be offered to a candidate. Final approval of search waiver is at the discretion of the executive (typically a vice provost) in charge of that office.

In some circumstances, approval to waive search requirements would support the university‟s affirmative action program or would have little impact on others‟ equal employment opportunity.  These circumstances include:

Affirmative Action Status. Approval may be sought for a search waiver to appoint an individual who is qualified for the position and whose gender, race/ethnicity, veteran, and/or disability status would assist the university in the context of its affirmative action programs.

Unique Experience.  If an identified individual has unique qualifying experience, approval may be sought to waive the search requirement. For example, a professor might seek a waiver of search in the appointment of a new Cornell doctorate recipient as a research associate because of unique experience in a specific research project.

Distinguished Short List. A dean may authorize a department to strengthen its program through a distinguished appointment in a particular area. If consideration is limited to a short list of senior eligible individuals already known to the department, and if the position would not be filled if one of these individuals were not appointed, the department and dean would seek approval of a search waiver.

Target of Opportunity. When the opportunity to appoint a distinguished individual to the Cornell faculty arises, and when it would be highly unlikely for a search to result in a more qualified candidate, and when the delay created by a search might result in the loss of the opportunity, the department and dean would seek approval of a search waiver.

Dual Career. A pro-active and targeted recruitment or retention effort may support approval of a waiver of search for appointment of the spouse or partner to an academic title and position for which the individual is qualified.

Sponsored Funding Restoration. When an academic employee was involuntarily terminated from a sponsored program due solely to the lack of funds, and where the funding is restored within twelve (12) months, and where the employee would return to the same unit, titles and duties as held prior to termination, the unit and its leadership would seek approval of a waiver of search.

Postdoc Recommended for Appointment as Research Associate. In 1988, pursuant to an understanding with the federal Department of Labor‟s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a memo was issued by Associate Vice President for Human Relations Joycelyn Hart and the Director of the Academic Personnel Office Susan Hoy governing the circumstances under which a waiver of search may be approved for an individual‟s movement from appointment as Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell to Research Associate. It notes that this involves movement from a title exempt from affirmative action search procedures to a title that requires search.

“If an individual is appointed as a Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell, then he/she must serve a minimum of three years in that same postdoctoral position before being considered for promotion to Research Associate. When the three year minimum has been met, and upon approval of the department chair and the dean, the faculty sponsor may request review of the postdoctoral position for possible promotion to research associate. Such promotions should only be considered when the faculty sponsor is willing to commit to a long-term, career-track appointment for the incumbent. … This three-year minimum rule applies to Cornell‟s affirmative action program.   Therefore, it applies to Cornell appointment only; prior employment in a postdoctoral position at another university does not count. To hire an individual at the postdoctoral level and then request promotion to a research associate level in less than the three-year minimum will be viewed by federal auditors as an abuse of our affirmative action policy and, therefore, ordinarily cannot be allowed. If for any reason it becomes important to promote a postdoc in less than three years, such a promotion should be done in connection with an open search involving full affirmative action procedures.

The waiver for movement from postdoctoral title to research associate, in the context of a reclassification review, is exercised by the appropriate college or unit-level HR representative after training certification from the Academic Personnel Policy Office.


 Faculty Appointments

 The following motion was adopted by the University Faculty on December 9, 1959 (Records, p. 2919), language has been altered for gender neutrality:

“It is moved that the Faculty accept the following as an expression of policy with respect to the appointment of Faculty:

“1.  Preliminary Analysis of Candidates

“a. Preparing a list of possible candidates

“In assembling a list of possible candidates reliance on traditional and customary sources of information may neglect the effects of changing conditions and overlook new sources of information. Every effort should be made to have the list include all qualified persons, regardless of their location or status at that time.

“b. Selecting candidates for interview

“It is suggested that selection of from three to five candidates for personal interview be made with the assistance of the entire department, if possible. The choices should not depend upon travel costs. When necessary, funds should be made available, at the college level, to cover costs of interviews.

“It will normally be desirable to give preference to candidates who are not fresh from training at Cornell. As a general principle, recent Cornell Ph.D‟s should be considered only if the number of Cornell graduates teaching in the department is small. While the desirable number of Cornell graduates in a department will necessarily vary, it is suggested that whenever this number exceeds about twenty percent there is a serious risk of intellectual and professional parochialism. It seems desirable not to appoint new Cornell Ph.D‟s to the faculty unless it is clear that no equally well-qualified persons are available.

“2. Interviews

“a. Meetings with department members and with the Dean of the College

“During the candidate‟s visit, he or she should meet and talk privately with the Dean of the College and each member of the department. Each faculty member should have an opportunity to get a clear impression of the candidate‟s scholarly capacity and promise and of more personal factors such as maturity, self-assurance, drive, etc. In large departments, it may be necessary to limit the number of discussions with staff, but this number should never be less than eight, of which at least four should be with senior staff. Each member of the permanent staff should have the right to participate and a duty to insist on high standards for selection.

“b. Seminar

“Every candidate should be asked to speak to the faculty, graduate students and/or undergraduates on some appropriate topic, usually relative to the candidate‟s recent work.  The candidate must, of course, be forewarned.

Since a meeting of this sort is usually the only opportunity to evaluate a candidate‟s teaching ability, this valuable measure should be omitted only in exceptional cases. The department, either on its own initiative, or at the suggestion of the Dean, may wish to invite some staff members from other departments to the meeting.

“3. Selection

“The choice from among those candidates interviewed should be made by the department head with the concurrence of the faculty and of any outside staff members asked to participate in this process by the Dean. In cases where the new appointment will entail a substantial amount of supervision of graduate students, the Dean of the Graduate School should be invited to participate in the selection procedure in whatever way seems appropriate. After a review in the President‟s Office of the candidate‟s qualifications and of the fiscal arrangements proposed a tentative offer can be extended, with a request for a decision within a stated period of time.

“4. Supplementary Action

“Should the offer be declined, the following succession of alternatives may be employed:

“a.  an offer may be made to the second-choice candidate;

“b. additional interviews may be held and a new choice made;

“c.  a temporary appointment may be made, preferably of an eminent scholar, so that the process of securing a distinguished addition to the staff can be continued without pressure.

“It is, of course, desirable to start the hiring process sufficiently early to avoid compromise on less than satisfactory appointments.”

End of Faculty Legislation

A note about “recent Cornell Ph.D.‟s” (#1b in the legislation) being considered for professorial appointment at Cornell: no member of the University Faculty or voting member of a college or school faculty may be a candidate for a degree administered by Cornell University.

Please consult the section of this policy on “Appointment of Individuals Who Are Candidates for a Cornell Degree.”


Since new appointments of associate professors and professors in probationary tenure status are expected to result in tenure review after a shorter period, the selection evaluation should be rigorous.  Prior approval of the dean is required before such offers can be made, and the dean should consult with the provost. Letters of appointment should note carefully the tenure status of the position; the maximum length of the tenure clock at these ranks is five years, rather than six.


 Letters of appointment for professorial appointments and for non-professorial titles usually require approval from the office of the dean or vice president to whom the unit reports.

Appointments conferring tenure require the approval of the Board of Trustees, and the official letter notifying the professor of Board approval of tenure comes from the President. For new appointments with tenure, the timing of the Board meetings may preclude the appointment letter‟s stating that tenure has achieved final approval.  Procedures for such cases are discussed in this policy‟s “Tenure” section.

Letters of appointment may not be transmitted until the search requirements (including reporting and approval) have been fulfilled; please consult this policy section “Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Search Requirements.”

In the interests of both the appointee and the university, the information conveyed should include:

  1. The formal academic appointment title, plus appropriate working title or field designator.
  2. The start date and the end date of appointment.
  3. The period of responsibility, for example whether nine months or twelve months.
  4. The salary. If the salary for less than a full year is paid over a full year, the letter should mention the practice of prepayment and postpayment.
  5. Whether the appointment is terminal or renewable, and whether it is on the tenure track. A terminal appointment is not renewable (there may be a possibility that an individual on a terminal appointment will be reappointed particularly if circumstances change, for instance as the outcome of an appeal, but there is no commitment or expectation of reappointment). If the appointment is renewable, it implies that a decision will be made on reappointment appropriately in advance of the end of the stated term, and there may be a requirement to give notice of nonrenewal; please consult the “Appointment Termination” section of this policy. If an appointment of longer than a year is on nonappropriated funds, such as grants and contracts, it should be stated that the continuation of the appointment is contingent on the continued receipt of sufficient funds. Please consult the policy section on “Appointments on Grants and Contracts” for suggested wording to cover these situations.
  6. For professorial appointments, the general nature of the responsibilities, as noted in the title description in the Appendix and in the section below. [For initial appointments on the tenure track this is particularly important, since it is on fulfillment of these responsibilities that a candidate will be judged when a review is conducted for reappointment or promotion to tenure. Professorial duties normally include research and other scholarly work, teaching, advising undergraduate and graduate students, and service to the profession and to the department, the college, and the university.  Not all faculty members are assigned all of these responsibilities in equal measure. The emphasis given to each responsibility varies among the colleges and departments of the university, and even among the various positions within the department.  The responsibilities may be readjusted after the initial appointment, in response to changing departmental needs or interests of the faculty member; these changes are customarily made by joint agreement between the faculty member and the department chairperson or representative of the dean. In any case, the general expectations should be on record, and should include the normal teaching load and any expectations regarding the initial course ]
  7. Any special arrangements or agreements regarding such concerns as the length of the probationary tenure period, timing of sabbatical leave for tenured professors, or provision of moving allowance. Please consult the checklist in Appendix 6 for additional details that might be mentioned.

Legislation on Appointment Letters:  Professorial Duties

The following recommendation, prepared by the Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, was adopted by the Faculty Council of Representatives on September 11, 1974 (Records, pp. 4311-15C):

Definition of professorial duties through letters of appointment and methods of revising such letters.  We urge, as a matter of university-wide policy, that letters of appointment:

  1. Define with all reasonable precision the general nature of the responsibilities which the new professor will be expected to assume. (It will be desirable to allow much more latitude in some job descriptions than in others, and the degree of precision must rest ultimately with the department and the dean of the  college.)
  2. Be sufficiently general that the definition of duties can be reasonably expected to last for a period of at least several years.
  3. Explain that any reassignment of responsibilities is not to be undertaken unilaterally, but only through joint action of the faculty member and the appropriate representatives of his department and college.

Procedures for readjusting responsibilities in relation to changes in individual interest.  Grievance procedures established at the college level should permit the initiation of complaints by either faculty or administrators pertaining to the assignment of faculty responsibility, alleged failure of a professor to carry out the duties of his position, and related matters.  [Please consult the “Grievances” section of this policy for details].

Locus of ultimate responsibility, responsibility for teaching, extension, and research. In view of the enormous variation from one part of the university to another in faculty assignments and administrative expectations concerning teaching, extension and research, … a more specific statement by the FCR on the assignment and execution of responsibilities would have to be so abstract and general as to be meaningless.

Appointment Letters:  Actions Requiring Board Approval

 Actions requiring trustee approval should be so indicated in the appointment letter.

Examples include the award of tenure or election to a long-term endowed chair; also, if the base salary is more than an amount specified each year (available in a footnote on the Academic Personnel Policy Office‟s “Deans‟ Dossier Schedule,” posted on the office‟s website), approval of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees is required.

The effective date of an appointment submitted to the board for approval must be after the board action. In the case of an external appointment to tenure, a letter to the prospective faculty member cannot make a commitment to tenure unless the Board already has acted.

However, if the provost concurs, the letter can state that the provost will recommend that tenure be awarded at a specified meeting of the Board of Trustees. If the Board does not meet until after the appointment begins, a one-year tenure-track appointment may be made, with the provision that the tenure-track status will be changed to reflect the effective date of Board- approved tenure.

The deadlines for submission of materials for provost‟s approval for inclusion on the agendas of the current year‟s meetings of the Board of Trustees may be found on the website of the Academic Personnel Policy Office http:/

For tenure in urgent recruitment cases, even if the University Faculty FACTA review is waived, at the discretion of the provost for professors who have held tenure previously, a minimum of two to three weeks prior to the Board meeting will be necessary to obtain provost‟s approval, prepare an addition to the agenda, and mail the substantial agenda document to the Trustees, to be received at least ten days before their meeting.


 Academic appointment requires fulfillment of administrative procedures and does not become official until the appointment package and transaction have been reviewed by Records Administration in the Division of Human Resources and approved by Records Administration as having complied with administrative policies and procedures, with the appointment information entered through Records Administration into the university‟s central appointment systems.

Appointment transactions usually originate administratively at the department or other local level or the designated business service center office. Materials to accompany a new appointment‟s transaction include such items as the approved report on the search or a copy of the approved waiver of search, the I-9 form required by the federal government, the appointment letter and the “Invention and Related Property Rights Acknowledgement” form (successor to the “Patent Agreement”). The Division of Human Resources also requires items for payroll and tax purposes and to establish identifiers for use of the university‟s computer services.

New professors and other academic staff whose qualifying degrees have been awarded in the past year must provide proof of the degree (e.g., photocopy of the diploma, letter from the degree-granting institution).


 The Article of the Bylaws of the University on “Deans, Directors and Other Academic Officers” states:

“There shall be a dean, director or other head of each college, school or other separate academic unit of the University. The deans, directors or other heads of the principal academic units described in Article I … shall be elected by the Executive Committee, upon recommendation of the Provost or Provost for Medical Affairs, as appropriate, and the concurrence of the President, and shall hold office at the pleasure of the President in consultation with the Board. In recommending a candidate for such office, the Provost, or Provost for Medical Affairs, as appropriate, shall report to the Committee the opinion of the appropriate faculty or other professional group upon such recommendation – such opinion to be ascertained as that group may determine. …:”

Deans, associate deans, assistant deans, chairpersons, and directors do not necessarily have academic status (please consult the “Academic Titles” section of this policy).  By tradition at Cornell, however, deans, chairpersons, and directors of academic units have faculty status by virtue of their professorial appointments. Associate deans frequently have professorial appointments, and assistant deans sometimes do. If the individual has an academic title the appointment is handled as an administrative assignment within an academic appointment. If not, it is considered to be a nonacademic appointment.

Deans and Directors of Divisions

 In October 2002 Provost Martin issued the following policy statement:

Deans’ Searches, Reapointments, Mid-Term Reviews

 “Deans’ Searches

“1. The University Provost works with the Faculty Senate’s Nominations and Elections Committee to decide on search committee members. The search committee is chaired by the Provost or her/his designee, and typically includes six to eight faculty members from the college in question, a dean of another college, and a faculty member from outside the college. The Provost submits a list of possible search committee members to the Nominations and Elections committee, the members of which suggest revisions to the list or additional names. The Provost makes final decisions about the membership after determining individuals’ willingness or ability to serve.

“2. The search committee meets to discuss the search process, the college’s needs and future direction, and to decide on an appropriate ad.

“3. The search committee is responsible for seeking nominations from the faculty and for providing their own nominations for the position. Search committee members actively seek information about applicants and nominees and begin the process of conducting preliminary meetings with candidates.

“4. After the search committee has developed a short list of finalists, the names are made public and the finalists are invited for campus visits. The candidates’ visits include meetings with the chairs and directors of the college in question, with representatives of undergraduate and graduate students, and with other academic deans. They also involve presentations to the faculty in the college. Faculty are then invited to submit their assessments of the candidates to the search committee or directly to the Provost, should they wish to have their opinions kept confidential.

“5. The search committee actively seeks faculty opinion about the candidates and uses the feedback they receive to help establish an unranked list of three which they then submit to the President for his or her decision. The President takes his or her decision to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for approval.

“Deans’ Reappointments

“1. During the first semester of the fourth year of a dean’s five-year term, the Provost inquires about the dean’s interest in re-appointment, and actively seeks information about the dean’s performance directly from the faculty in the college, the deans’ colleagues in the administration, and alumni advisory council members.

“2. The Provost reports the results of the review to the President who makes the final decision about reappointment after meeting with the dean to discuss the views of the faculty, deans, and alumni. Decisions to reappoint are referred to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for approval.

“Deans’ Mid-Term Reviews

“1. At the end of the second year of the dean’s five-year appointment, the Provost’s Office provides the resources for a 360 review to be conducted by an outside consulting firm.

The reviewers will gather information from the dean’s supervisor, i.e., the Provost. The dean selects reviewers from among his/her colleagues on the Academic Deans’ Council, associates in the dean’s office, department chairs, and faculty members in the college. It is the dean’s responsibility to seek a wide variety of perspectives.

“2. The dean meets with the outside consultant who has administered the review for a two-hour discussion of the results.

“3. The dean will meet with the Provost to report the results of the study and discuss his or her responses to them. Any concerns that have arisen will be discussed and addressed.”

The provost is not bound by the vote of the faculty but must report the faculty‟s opinion in making a recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

An appointment to the deanship of a Contract College must be approved by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York.

The Dean of the Faculty is nominated by procedures that have been adopted by the University Faculty.

If a dean or division director has no current academic appointment, conferral of academic appointment is in the usual fashion.

Associate Deans

 Associate deans are selected by the dean; appointments as associate dean do not require approval by the Board of Trustees. If the appointee is not a member of the faculty, service may be without specified term. While the appointment is normally for five years and renewable, associate deans serve at the pleasure of the dean.

Assistant Deans

Assistant deans are selected by the dean; appointments as assistant dean do not require approval by the Board of Trustees.  The terms of appointment for assistant deans are variable, and if the appointee is not an academic, the appointment may be without specified term; assistant deans serve at the pleasure of the dean.

Chairpersons and Directors of Schools

 Chairpersons of departments and directors of schools (in the College of Engineering) are selected by the dean, normally after consultation with the faculty members of the department or the school. Appointments as department chair or school director do not require approval by the Board of Trustees. If the individual has no prior academic appointment in the college, an academic position must be conferred according to the usual procedures for academic appointments.

The appointment to chairperson or director of a faculty member who is in probationary tenure status is only rarely approved, because of the additional burden such an appointment would impose.

In recognition of the extra effort involved, including the uncompensated period of the summer, in the endowed divisions the chairperson or the director receives a salary supplement for the duration of the appointment. The amount of this supplement depends on the size of the department or the school and the administrative help available in the unit. If a chairperson goes on sabbatical or other leave, the supplement is not included as part of the leave salary but is used for the acting chairperson.

Trustee legislation adopted on October 6, 1966 (Records, p. 5366), addresses the appointment of chairpersons and directors of schools:

“Appointments of academic department chairmen will be for terms not to exceed five years. Appointment for a second term not to exceed five years is permitted and will commonly occur in departments with large research or professional training commitments. No appointments for a third term will be permitted except in highly unusual circumstances.”

Directors of Centers and Programs

 Directors of centers and programs are selected by the dean or the executive officer to whom the unit reports, after consultation with the steering committee or the membership, or  both, of the center or the program and the dean of the college in which the potential appointee has faculty membership. The term of the appointment is for up to five years, normally renewable only once. The appointment must be approved by the appropriate dean or deans. Such directors normally receive an appropriate percentage of their salary from funds available to the center or the program, either unrestricted or from grants and contracts. That portion of the college salary released by the appointment reverts to the college to compensate for the loss of the faculty member‟s effort. Upon completion of the term it is the responsibility of the college to fund the return of the faculty member to an appointment at full salary in the college.


 A faculty member with a joint appointment has academic duties in two or more units of the University. Joint appointments involve shared responsibility but not necessarily shared financial support. The appointment procedure in each unit follows the normal pattern for that unit. Joint titles, such as professor of chemistry, physics, and mathematics, may or may not be conferred. Faculty members with appointments in more than one college are members of the faculty of each college. Individuals may teach or direct research of students in other colleges without having joint appointments.

When the salary comes from only one of the units involved, the procedures and decisions on salary and promotion are those of that unit, although consultation with the other department is appropriate. When the financial responsibility is shared, the chairpersons or directors involved must agree on salary increments.  If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter is resolved by the appropriate deans, or, failing that, by the provost. A joint appointment with shared percent- effort is called a dual appointment.

A faculty member on the tenure track who is jointly appointed with a shared financial responsibility must understand the joint responsibilities. The two department chairpersons or directors must consult periodically about the progress of the faculty member. The appropriate deans, in consultation with the provost, determine the procedures to be followed in the tenure decision and inform the candidate. Even when a faculty member receives salary from more than one source, normally one of the units is primarily responsible for the tenure decision, and the appointee is so notified in writing.

A joint appointment involves academic duties in two or more units. While faculty members may have nonacademic responsibilities, such as those of the vice provost, for which they receive compensation, they are not considered to have joint appointments.

The terms and approval for joint appointments are the same as those for the nonjoint appointments, except that the approval of each department chairperson, dean, or director is required.

Joint appointments are possible for all academic titles, including those titles modified by acting, adjunct, courtesy, and visiting.

Please also consult the section on “Appointments in Centers and Programs.” Guidelines for joint appointments between the Ithaca campus and the Weill Cornell

Medical College may be found on the website of the Academic Personnel Policy Office.

Appointments in Centers and Programs

 Joint Appointments

 When a center or a program pays part of the salary of a faculty member on a joint appointment, the center or the program reimburses the college for that fraction of the professor‟s time devoted to center or program activities. Usually the payment is used to hire temporary personnel to compensate the department and the college for the loss of the professor‟s activities. The funds may also be used to provide research, clerical, or other help to the individual involved (anyone so employed should be made aware of the temporary nature of the position). In no case do the funds go directly to the faculty member, nor can they be used for long-term commitments. If such a joint appointment is terminated, the college is responsible for paying the full salary to the faculty member out of college funds.

Salary increments for professors jointly appointed in a center or a program should be established by the department chairperson and the center or program director. If these two parties cannot agree, the provost determines the increment after consulting with the chairperson and the director.

When an assistant professor starts work in a center or a program, the director, the faculty member, and the department chairperson should meet to discuss the proposed research program and its effect on the future tenure decision. Similar discussions should be held periodically to make all parties aware of the differences between the department‟s evaluation of the research program and the center‟s or program‟s evaluation. The department should seek the director‟s advice in making the tenure decision.

Appointments without Department Affiliation

 A center or a program may make a professorial term appointment only if the person (a) has teaching responsibilities, (b) is of professorial quality, and (c) is unable to obtain a joint appointment for reasons other than quality, such as the lack of an appropriate department to make any commitments in the special area of the appointment.

To make such an appointment, the center or program director must furnish the appropriate vice president with the complete credentials of the candidate, a statement of why departmental affiliation was impossible, and statements from the appropriate dean or deans. Centers and programs cannot grant tenure, and the letter of appointment must state that the appointment is for a specified term with no possibility for permanent tenure in the center or program.


 Part-time appointments are possible for all academic titles. Such appointments are made when the position requires less than full-time service, when there are funding limitations, or when the individual is not available full-time. Except in unusual situations or in cases of adjunct and courtesy appointments, the minimum amount of time that the staff member may commit to the University during the period of appointment is 25 percent. For membership in the University Faculty the appointment must be for at least half-time.

Joint appointments are not considered part-time appointments. However, an individual whose salary comes partly from a professorial appointment and partly from a nonprofessorial position is considered a part-time faculty member of the University Faculty. When an individual is awarded tenure on a part-time basis the financial commitment is limited to the portion of salary associated with the professorial appointment. According to faculty legislation, tenure or probationary tenure status is possible only for professors who are on at least half-time appointments (please consult faculty legislation below).

Adjunct professors are by definition on part-time appointments. Since the primary responsibilities of adjunct professors are external to the University, they are not eligible for tenure.

Due to the nature of an academic appointment, it is not possible to translate the terms part-time and full-time into numbers of hours. When part-time appointments are made, it is the responsibility of the appointee and the department chairperson or other cognizant individual to agree on the duties involved.

The Cornell University Conflicts Policy states:

“Faculty and staff members who hold part-time appointments commonly will have major obligations and commitments, not only to the University, but to one or more outside agencies. The potential for conflict may be significant. Accordingly, part-time employees are expected to exercise special care in disclosing and fulfilling their multiple obligations.”

Information about benefits eligibility is available from the Benefit Services in the Division of Human Resources

The following is the policy on part-time appointments adopted by the Faculty Council of Representatives on October 9, 1974 (Records, pp. 4331-34C), as amended by the Board of Trustees. January 17-18, 1975 (Proceedings, pages 8871, 8882-83, 8902), with the Faculty Handbook‟s non-substantive changes to phrase the policy in gender-neutral terms and ellipsis reflecting the discontinuance of the School of Nursing program:

“1.       Definition.  A part-time faculty appointment is an appointment involving academic responsibilities requiring not less than one-half of the responsibilities required of a full- time faculty member.

“2.       Rationale.  A part-time appointment is designed for faculty members who wish to maintain the continuity of their academic careers when professional and personal commitments restrict the time that they can devote to academic responsibilities. The availability of part-time appointments permits on an optional basis greater staffing flexibility for colleges and their departments than is now possible.

“3.       General Provisions.

“a. Colleges of the University may at their discretion appoint qualified men and women to part-time faculty positions.

“b. A faculty member may, under conditions set forth below, transfer from full-time appointment to part-time appointment and vice versa.

“c. A faculty member holding a part-time appointment will be eligible for all the rights, privileges, and benefits (including sabbatical leave) that are available to a full-time faculty member. Such rights, privileges, and benefits, however, will be made available on a pro-rata basis except when such pro-ration is not practically feasible. [Consult note at the end of this legislation relative to prorating sabbatical leave.]

“d. The standards of performance as well as the procedures governing initial appointment, promotion, and/or tenure appointment for a faculty member serving on a part-time basis will be identical to those applied to a faculty member serving on a full-time basis.  However, fulfillment of length of service requirements will be judged on the basis of equivalency to full-time service; e.g., two years of half-time service would be equivalent to one year of full-time service. Part-time faculty members would be considered for tenure not later than the equivalent of the sixth year of full-time employment in accordance with the Provost‟s memorandum of March, 1971.

“4.  Original Appointment.

“a. An original appointment to a part-time position shall be made in accordance with the provisions set forth above.

“b. A description of the responsibilities, expectations, and other relevant conditions of the part-time appointment shall be given in writing to the individual with copies distributed to the college dean and department chair.

“5.  Change of Appointment.

“a. Any faculty member holding a part-time appointment is eligible for transfer to a full- time appointment and any faculty member holding a full-time appointment is eligible for transfer to a part-time appointment. A change in status may be initiated by either the individual or (where applicable) his department chair or his dean. Changes in status may not be effected without the consent of the faculty member and shall be effected by the same procedure utilized in the College for new appointments.

“b. Changes of status shall be accomplished without gain or loss regarding length of service requirements.

“c. Any change in rank (promotion and/or tenure) associated with such transfer shall be subject to the standards and appraisal procedures required for appointment to the new rank.

“d. A description of the responsibilities, expectations, and other relevant conditions of the appointment which the individual is assuming shall be given in writing to the individual with copies distributed to the college dean and relevant department chair.

“6. Application. This regulation shall apply to all academic divisions of the University except the Medical College, … and the Graduate School of Medical Sciences.”

End of Faculty Legislation

Part-time appointments for short and definite terms have always been possible. The above policies apply primarily to longer-term appointments.

For the academic staff of the Library, appointees at three quarters time or more are considered as full-time in computing time in rank. Please consult section II C of the Cornell University Library Procedure 13

In the prorating of sabbatical leave, consult the sabbatic section of Appendix 2 in the policy “Leaves for Professors and Academic Staff,” at

There are two types of part-time appointments. In some cases appointments are for less than full-time because of the limited availability of individuals. In other cases the appointments are for part-time because of limitations within departments. In the latter cases, individuals may accept other academic positions at Cornell. In such a circumstance, if an individual is on the tenure track an agreement should be reached relative to the degree that the responsibilities of the second position would be a consideration in the tenure decision.


 Individuals may not hold a combination of appointments which exceed 100% of full time. Internal consultation, intercollege compensation, and supplements for special duties are excluded from this policy.

For faculty, the “Cornell University Conflicts Policy”

“Faculty who accept full-time appointments have a primary commitment which includes meeting classes, being available to students and colleagues outside the classroom, serving departmental, college, and University committees, conducting research, publishing scholarly works, and otherwise meeting the changing needs of the University. Those holding Cooperative Extension appointments have specified obligations of service to the public.

“Although a specific work week is not defined for faculty members, it is expected that such membership constitutes a full-time obligation and that, with the exceptions explicitly permitted by University policies on consulting and other related professional activities … , they will not engage in other employment.”


 Endowed units.   Endowed academic staff on continuing nine-month appointments receive their salaries over a twelve-month period. Since such appointments are normally for the period from the beginning of July to the end of June, these individuals receive salary payments in July and August for responsibilities that are to be performed during the Fall Term. Thus, academics who receive salary checks in July and August and do not assume the responsibilities of the position in the Fall Term have received unearned income.  In such cases, the money must be returned to the University. Similarly, actions that terminate appointment prior to June 30 may merit calculation of post-pay due for work already performed.

New faculty members on nine-month appointments who begin their service at the start of the fall term are paid their salary over that period. In the endowed units, with written approval from the dean, a faculty member on a nine-month appointment who is on campus at the beginning of July for duty that begins in the Fall may begin receiving a salary in July; this salary in July and part of August is prepaid. If the appointment is continued beyond the first year, the individual is automatically converted to a twelve-month salary schedule beginning July 1.

New faculty members whose responsibilities begin in the Fall may be appointed beginning in July even though they are not on campus or will arrive during the summer. An appointment is useful to new individuals, even though they are not on the payroll, in arranging for parking privileges, library usage, etc.

Contract College units. Contract College units follow essentially the same procedures as the endowed units except that they cannot be prepaid for July and August if their appointment begins in the fall term.  New York State prohibits payment for income that is not yet earned.


 Some individuals on one-year appointments are continued on a year-to-year basis, depending on the availability of the position for the following year. If the appointment termination  transaction indicates reappointment for the following year, benefits may be continued through the summer months. Such benefits are billed through the Division of Human Resources.

Benefits information for all appointees is available from Benefit Services in the Division of Human Resources


 The Bylaws of the University, in the Article on “The Instructional and Research Staff” state:

“Appointments on Outside Funding: All appointments to the staff of instruction and research which are funded from non-University sources (e.g., federal or state appropriations, research or other service contracts or grants) shall be subject to modification or termination in the event that such funding shall cease to be available to the University for such purposes.”

Nonfaculty Appointments

 Even though funds from federal grants and contracts may be awarded for more than one year, there is usually a disclaimer limiting assurance of funding to one year. Research associates and senior research associates, whose support frequently comes from federal funds, can be appointed for up to three and five years, respectively. However, appointments to these positions are normally for one year because of the uncertainty of funding. To recruit the most promising candidates, it is sometimes necessary to discuss the possibility of reappointment. Letters of appointment in such cases should state as criteria for reappointment both satisfactory performance and the availability of funds. Problems arise in the definition of “availability of funds.” Professors frequently have federal funds from a variety of sources for different purposes and may receive new funds but at a reduced level.  A suggested statement, with two modifications to be used if appropriate, is as follows:

Reappointment is dependent on satisfactory performance [or, in the case of those already in service, “continued satisfactory performance”] and contingent on the level of funding I receive in support of my research project,                                 [or, in the case of larger projects, “continued support of the                                                                   project”].

When longer-term appointments are necessary, the college or the center must state in writing its willingness to back up the appointment with a stable source of funds in case federal money is not forthcoming, or qualify the appointment as follows:

This appointment may be terminated or modified before the end of the term of appointment if continued federal funding for my research in the area of                                                 [or “for the                                     project”] is withdrawn or reduced.

In the case of foundation and some other types of sponsored research, funds are committed for the entire period of the activity, making it possible to make unqualified appointments for the period of support, within the allowable term for such appointments.

Faculty Appointments

 Faculty may charge a portion of their academic year salaries directly to research grants and contracts. This situation in no way modifies the commitment of the university to tenured faculty members. The salary and fringe benefits charged to a research grant or contract during the period (nine or twelve months per year) of a faculty member‟s full-time appointment do not flow to the faculty member as extra compensation, since they represent remuneration for work done during the time of the faculty member‟s obligation to the university. These funds may be placed in university accounts under the jurisdiction of the faculty member and expenditures therefrom used for any legitimate university purpose.

If no vacant budgetary line exists, a college or a department cannot make a faculty appointment on external funds without prior approval from the dean and the provost. Such approval will be granted only for a short period and only if it can be demonstrated that unrestricted funds will soon be available.


 Faculty members on appointments requiring nine months of service may accept compensated summer employment elsewhere (e.g., in the university summer session or in connection with sponsored research projects under university auspices). No member of the faculty is required to teach in the summer session.

Faculty members on twelve-month appointments are normally required to perform year- round duties except for the planned vacation period (please consult the policy “Leaves for Professors and Academic Staff, Appendix A).

Faculty members who teach during the summer session and/or work on sponsored research may receive up to a maximum of three months‟ summer salary, if prior approval is given by the respective deans. The normal maximum period for charging summer salaries to sponsored research projects at Cornell is two and one-half months.  All compensation for summer employment at Cornell must be for time actually spent in connection with the project during the officially designated summer period; for research the sponsor and the project director or the principal investigator must agree. The salary rate cannot exceed the rate to be paid during the coming academic year. The summer salary rate for those who will not be employed at Cornell during the coming year cannot exceed the rate for the preceding year. The Office of Sponsored Programs can be contacted for details.


 The practice of paying extra compensation to faculty members employed regularly in one division of the University for temporary services in other divisions could, if unregulated, be abused and might easily undermine the salary structure of the university. When it is necessary, however, and under certain clearly defined conditions, the divisions of the university are permitted to pay qualified members of the faculty for specialized teaching, research, and consulting services.

Note: An honorarium is a token payment generally paid as a means of saying “thank you” for one-time participation in a class or event. Under tax law, such payments to Cornell faculty must be processed through payroll. Honoraria generally do not exceed $500 and these minor, token payments are not subject to the procedures defined below. Please consult the Cornell University Payment and Tax Services Office for further information.

University policy. Limited and temporary service – such as a single lecture to a scheduled class or a single meeting for consultation – rendered by a faculty member of one division to another division is part of the normal obligation of the faculty member to the University and should therefore be rendered without compensation. The work involved should either be of clear benefit to Cornell or render significant service to the community at large.

Intercollege consulting and services are subject to the normal college and University policies on outside consulting.

When an endowed college wants to engage a faculty member normally paid for full-time service in another endowed college for a formal research assignment or regular teaching assignment consisting of one or more courses in the resident teaching program for full-time students, arrangements should be made by the deans of the colleges after consulting with the faculty member. An exchange of funds or other appropriate arrangement between the colleges should be made to compensate for the services provided to one college and the loss of services to the other.  The payment is not made directly to the faculty member.

Services rendered by a faculty member in one state-supported unit of the University to another state-supported unit of the University are not compensated; such service is a normal part of the extension responsibility of the staff of the state-supported divisions.

When an endowed college or division wants to engage a faculty member who is normally paid for full-time service in a state-supported college, special arrangements must be made by the deans of the colleges involved, within the framework of policies established by the university controller, the vice president for financial affairs and chief financial officer, and the director of budget. Funds to compensate a state-supported college faculty member for instruction or consulting services should never be transferred directly from a departmental account in an endowed unit to a departmental account in a state-supported unit.

A college may pay another college or a faculty member of another college for that faculty member‟s services as an instructor in extension courses or special adult education programs conducted either on campus or outside Ithaca under arrangements similar to those followed by the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions in engaging faulty. These arrangements require the permission of the chairperson and the dean.

Exceptions to these general rules may be necessary in special circumstances. In such instances the provost, the University controller, the vice president for financial affairs and chief financial officer, and the deans involved work out mutually satisfactory arrangements.

Federal policy. A unique problem arises when intrauniversity consulting fees are paid from federal funds. Federal agency approvals of the use of campus consultants are difficult to obtain and cannot be counted on. Federal policy in this area is stated in circular A-21 from the Office of Management and Budget (available at When this situation occurs, the Office of Sponsored Programs should be contacted for guidance prior to submitting a proposal to the sponsor.

“In no event will the [faculty] charge to research agreements, irrespective of the basis of computation, exceed the proportionate share of the base salary for that period, and any extra compensation above the base salary for work on government research during such period would be unallowable. This principle applies to all members of the faculty at an institution. Since intrauniversity consulting is assumed to be undertaken as a university obligation requiring no compensation in addition to full-time base salary, the principle also applies to those who function as consultants or otherwise contribute to a research agreement conducted by another faculty member of the same institution. However, in unusual cases where consultation is across departmental lines or involves a separate or remote operation, and the work performed by the consultant is in addition to his regular departmental load, any charges for such work representing extra compensation above the base salary are allowable provided such consulting arrangement is specifically provided for in the research agreement or approved in writing by the sponsoring agency.”

Procedures. All arrangements for paid intercollege services must have the prior written approval of the deans of the colleges concerned. Appointment forms with their signatures, stating the stipend and the expected extent of service must be forwarded at least one week in advance of the assignment to the University controller and the vice president for financial affairs and chief financial officer, who consults with the vice provost for research if funds from federal sources are involved.

Funds for extra compensation ordinarily come from other than normal University sources, such as research contracts or grants. If payment is to come from federal funds, permission for such payment must either be included in the contract or grant or be agreed to in writing by the sponsoring agency. Payment of extra compensation must be through the university‟s payroll system.


 The Trustees‟ Bylaws of Cornell University, in the Article on “Conflicts of Interest,” state:

“It is the policy of the University to disclose conflicts of interest which may adversely affect the performance of duty by its trustees, officers, faculty and other employees.

“Policies and procedures in implementation of this bylaw, as approved by the Board of Trustees from time to time, shall provide that all trustees, and officers of the corporation, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, and other personnel so designated, shall file disclosure statements with the Secretary of the Corporation on a regular basis.”

“Other personnel so designated” is defined by the University Committee on Conflicts, charged by the “Cornell University Conflicts Policy” to

“serve as a University resource with respect to matters involving the general subject of conflicts of interest and commitment, the oversight and implementation of the Cornell University Conflicts Policy, and the identification and resolution of specific conflicts of interest.”

The Committee‟s responsibility includes overseeing the process of annual disclosure for academic personnel.  The administrative procedures for the Annual Disclosure Form are available at and list the academic titles for which annual disclosure filing is required (most academic titles, including most “Visiting” titles) and those for which filing is at the discretion of the dean or department chair.

The Cornell University Conflicts Policy, covering conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment, was adopted by the Board of Trustees on May 31, 1986, with subsequent amendments and clarifying footnotes. The policy is available at

The policy addresses many members of the university community, including particular provisions for full-time faculty, part-time faculty, academic executives, and academic administrators, as well as staff, for whom they may have supervisory responsibility. The policy‟s Introduction discusses “The Primary Commitment to the University”:

“Trustees, executive officers, deans, directors, faculty and staff all serve the educational and public purposes to which the University is dedicated. Accordingly, all such members of the University community (hereafter “members”) have a clear obligation to conduct the affairs of the University in a manner consistent with those purposes and to make all decisions(1) solely on the basis of a desire to promote the best interests of the institution.

[“ (1) Refers to decisions made in conducting the affairs of the University.]

“This statement recognizes and affirms the settled tradition and expectation that members will conduct their relationships with each other and the University with candor and integrity.

“This statement confirms the University policy that faculty and other employees who accept full-time appointments have a primary commitment to the University and that they will be sensitive to the possible adverse effects of their external activities.  It is recognized, however, that the quality of teaching, research, extension service, and the administration of University programs may be enhanced when members participate in extramural activities which enhance their value to the University, so long as their primary commitments to the University are not adversely affected. (2)

[“ (2) The University similarly encourages participation in community and civic activities. As with  other external engagements, employees who consider serving in elected or appointed positions on local government councils, boards and commissions should disclose and discuss such part-time opportunities with their supervisors to ensure that there is no conflict with their primary commitment to the University. University employees elected or appointed to part-time public positions are generally free to consider and vote on any matter involving the University, unless the individual falls into one of the following three categories:

  • trustees and senior level officials, including officers of the corporation (the president, provosts, senior vice president and chief financial officer and the university counsel and secretary of the corporation), vice presidents and vice provosts, the deans of the schools and colleges, and the directors of the university libraries and of the division of nutritional sciences, should refrain from discussions and voting on any matter involving Cornell’s interests;
  • other employees with managerial responsibilities, including full-time faculty, academic department heads, and administrative directors, should similarly recuse themselves from participating in the municipal decisional process regarding specific matters that directly involve their particular Cornell unit (administrative division, school or college) or area of responsibility; and
  • all University employees should similarly recuse themselves from participating in the municipal decisional process regarding issues over which they have specific authority.

“This three-tiered analysis (i.e., to determine when recusal is required) should similarly be used to identify those circumstances in which the possible adverse effects of other extramural activities upon the University should be considered in evaluating the potential for conflict of interest. Thus, when pursuing extramural activities not specifically covered in the conflicts policy or limited by the three-tiered analysis, employees are not required by Cornell to take the interests of the University into account.

“These policies and procedures will permit members of the faculty, staff and administration to identify, evaluate and correct or remove real, apparent and potential conflicts of interest and commitment. The appearance that a conflict may be present may be as important as the reality. Accordingly, the first essential step in all of the procedures set forth … is disclosure and discussion.”

The policy identifies, and in Attachment A provides examples of, two categories of conflicts:

“A. Conflict of Interest

“Typically, a conflict of interest may arise when a member has the opportunity to influence the University’s business, administrative, academic or other decisions in ways that could lead to personal gain or advantage of any kind.”


“B. Conflict of Commitment

“A conflict of commitment arises when a member undertakes external commitments which burden or interfere with the member’s primary obligations and commitments to Cornell.”

The policy addresses conflict disclosure and avoidance, plus resolution of conflicts. It attaches the Consulting Policy (please consult section below) and makes it part of the Conflicts policy.


 The University seeks to provide equitable employment opportunities to all individuals. To achieve this objective and ensure that family ties not be permitted to influence judgments on the quality of work or decisions on hiring, promoting, or terminating, the University requires that a person not be a supervisor of another person related by blood or marriage without the written approval of the appropriate dean or vice president.

A person‟s parents, children, and siblings are considered “relatives” for this purpose.

In academic departments and other units, where the person appointed as chair will change periodically and may invoke a situation that could lead to nepotism, an alternative senior faculty member or one of the deans is designated to make these judgments and decisions.


 The Cornell University Conflicts Policy (please consult previous section of this policy) notes that the university “encourages participation in community and civic activities.”

The University Faculty‟s May 11, 1960, statement on “Principles of Academic Freedom and Responsibility includes these excerpts that relate to community and civic activities (please consult the Faculty Handbook and the “Tenure” section of this policy for further information):

“Academic Freedom for the Faculty of Cornell University means:

“Freedom: … to speak and write as a citizen without institutional censorship or discipline;


“Responsibility: … to make it clear that utterances made on one‟s own responsibility are not those of an institutional spokesman.”

With regard to political activities, the following excerpts are from the Trustees‟ Executive Committee September 15, 1970, legislation on “The University and the Political Process,” and the fuller version of the policy is available from the Office of the University Counsel. Words in italics indicate updates communicated to the university community in September 2008 by Vice President for University Communications Thomas W. Bruce and Vice President for Government and Community Relations Stephen Philip Johnson.

A Statement of Policy for Cornell University

“This statement sets forth the elements of an appropriate relationship between Cornell University and those political activities in which the University’s students, faculty and staff may become involved either on or off campus. Its purpose is to preserve the impartial status of the University as an educational institution (vis-à-vis particular political causes or candidates) while providing maximum freedom of thought and action to individuals. …

“It is appropriate that Cornell stoutly support freedom of thought and expression by individual citizens in matters of political advocacy. At the same time, Cornell must refrain from official institutional involvement in any particular political cause or on behalf of any particular political candidate. This impartial posture in a free and open atmosphere is essential to Cornell’s continued success as a center of learning. … The following points of policy are intended for the guidance and protection of all concerned persons …:

“l.        The name, seal or other insignia of the University or its components may not be used in connection with the solicitation of funds or endorsements for particular political platform or candidates or in support of particular legislation or policy proposal unrelated to its educational purposes and programs.

“2.       No University office nor the office of a faculty or staff member should be used for solicitation of political funds or endorsements. Recognized campus political clubs or organizations should clearly indicate their separateness from the University in making such solicitations.

Cornell does not condone the use of university resources, including professional affiliations and titles, to advance personal views of any nature, and directs individuals to use distinct private, non-Cornell e-mail accounts (i.e. gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc.) for such purposes.

“3.       Members of the faculty or staff who have expertise in a given field and who wish to make their views known, or whose expert opinions are sought, are free to do so. While  it is appropriate in these cases to point out in the body of a letter or electronic communications one’s professional affiliation, such members of the faculty or staff who so identify themselves shall clearly state that they are speaking individually and not on behalf of the university. When engaged in political statements or correspondence, any member of the faculty or staff who so identifies himself, should clearly state that he is speaking individually and not in behalf of the University.

“4.       Administrative facilities, equipment and services of the University (e.g., campus mail, telephones, computers, duplicating and addressograph machines) may not be used for political or other non-University purposes nor may any University employee be asked to perform politically related activity while on duty.

“5.       University space and facilities may continue to be available on an impartial basis, as in the past, for meetings, speeches, rallies and other appropriate political activities. All such uses must be processed through regular established University channels and be primarily for the benefit of members of the University community. Appropriate service charges will be imposed to compensate the University for its expenses to insure that such political use of University facilities is not subsidized from University funds.

The Vice President for University Communications, as the university’s spokesperson, is the executive staff officer designated with the principal responsibility in such matters, and questions … in this regard should be addressed to his attention.

 The university refrains from taking position on public policy issues, except where its interest is directly or substantially affected. When the university does take a position on matters of public policy, it is done principally through the Office of Government and Community Relations.


 The policy on private consulting has been made part of the Cornell University Conflicts Policy (please consult the section of this policy on “Conflicts of Interest and Conflicts of Commitment”).

“Principles. Consulting privileges are limited to the professorial staff and there are many reasons why faculty members should engage in outside consulting work. It is desirable that they remain in close communication with the world outside the institution and especially with that part of the world concerned with their area of specialization.  Consulting is a means of maintaining this liaison as well as of offering solutions to practical problems and thereby testing the soundness of theories taught in the classroom and laboratories. While consulting activities often enhance a faculty member‟s value to Cornell, it can result in conflicts of interest and conflicts of commitment which compromise the faculty member and the institution.

“In private consulting it must be kept clear that the faculty member does not represent the university. Private consulting activities of faculty members must be viewed in relation to their overall responsibilities to Cornell and should not become so extensive that they interfere with those responsibilities.


“Full-time faculty members must inform their department chairpersons of all plans to do private consulting for which they are compensated. Unless the regular duties include consulting services to the public, each full-time professor may engage in private consulting work, provided such work, in the judgment of the department chairperson and in accordance with the principles stated above, enhances the value of the individual to the University and does not interfere with regular University duties. Consulting work of an unusual nature may be undertaken only when approved by the dean of the faculty member‟s college.

“The law establishing the contract colleges requires faculty members in these colleges to perform teaching, research, and extension duties. Faculty members in contract units should therefore check with their department chairpersons before consulting for a fee with New York State corporations or organizations that may be entitled to extension help without cost.

“In general, faculty members in the endowed colleges may undertake paid consulting for the equivalent of one day a week during the period for which they are paid for service.

Faculty members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Human Ecology and the College of Veterinary Medicine may consult for the equivalent of two days a month; those in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations may consult for the equivalent of one day a week. The time that a faculty member is allowed to consult does not accumulate from year to year. Consulting involving time beyond that allowed, or necessitating an absence from the campus for longer than seven consecutive days, may be undertaken only when approved by the dean of the faculty member‟s school or college.

“Note: Individual schools, colleges or divisions may have promulgated additional consulting rules consistent with the Cornell University Conflicts Policy. Such supplemental rules may be obtained from the individual schools, colleges or divisions.”



 Cornell University‟s policy on “Inventions and Related Property Rights” in January 2008 implemented the following provision (replacing what had been known as the Patent Agreement):

“Each individual receiving a university appointment to an academic position, including clinical and affiliation appointments and those with modified titles (visiting, adjunct, courtesy, etc.) … must execute the „Invention and Related Property Rights Acknowledgement‟ form, acknowledging awareness of the terms of this policy. … Initiation of the university appointment is conditioned on completion and submission of this form.”

This procedure applies also to graduate students appointed on research assistantships, graduate research assistantships, fellowships, and training grants, and certain nonacademic positions designated by the Vice Provost for Research.

Further information is available at .


 The 1970 Intergovernmental Personnel Act was established for the mutual benefit of educational institutions and the federal agencies. The Act allows individuals who are employed by Cornell to be appointed to positions in a variety of federal agencies on a temporary basis, usually one or two years. These individuals continue to be Cornell employees but the federal government compensates the university for any salary and benefits expended. Cornell must agree to return such individuals to their previous status at the end of the agreement. In turn, employees of federal agencies may come to Cornell under the same program. Those on leave gain valuable experience which they bring back to their home institutions, while the agencies have the benefit of new insights into their problems.

Information about placing Cornell academic appointees on Intergovernmental Personnel Act Leave may be found in Appendix B of the policy “Leaves for Professors and Academic Staff” at .

For employees of federal agencies who come to Cornell under the program, normal appointment procedures apply. Circumstances may support approval of a waiver of affirmative action search requirements.


 The Bylaws of the University impose limitations on the types of appointments that can be held by those who are candidates for a degree administered by Cornell University.

The Bylaws Article on “The University Faculty” includes the following:

“No member of the University Faculty may be a candidate for a degree administered by Cornell University.”

This prohibition pertains whether the University Faculty membership status is voting or non-voting. It should be noted that all professorial titles, including those modified by “acting,” “adjunct,” “courtesy” or “visiting,” confer membership in the University Faculty (even though not all such titles confer voting privileges.)

Since the policy is expressed in the Bylaws, the president and provost are not authorized to make exceptions.

Individuals who are working toward a Cornell degree are considered to be candidates even though they may not be registered in, for instance, the Graduate School. This includes students who are on approved leave and would not have to apply for readmission to register to resume studies.  It does not apply to students who have withdrawn.

In March 1979, the Committee on Policies and Procedures of the University Faculty recommended that individuals cease to be candidates for an advanced degree only after the degree list containing their names has been approved by the Graduate Faculty. The Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty provides this information:

“The graduate faculty meets to vote on degrees in August, January, and May, immediately following the degree deadlines.”

There is a further limitation contained in the Bylaws Article on “College and School Faculties” which reads:

“No voting member of a college or school faculty may be a candidate for a degree administered by Cornell University.”

According to this Bylaw, a candidate for a Cornell degree may not be appointed to a position that confers voting membership in a college or school faculty. Since appointments of degree candidates to professorial ranks is precluded by “The University Faculty” Article, as previously noted, the “College and School Faculties” Article applies to appointments to academic positions other than those at the professorial level. It is possible for members of the College or School Faculty who are not members of the University Faculty and who become candidates for a Cornell degree to be removed from the list of voting members for the duration of their degree candidacy.

The Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty notes the above constraints and adds in a footnote:

“… members of the University Faculty may apply for non-degree student status but must pay tuition. Those who pursue this option may not, under any circumstances, receive registration units for any time during which they were registered as non-degree students.”

Because there are circumstances under which a candidate for a degree administered by Cornell could be appointed to a non-professorial academic title (or modified title), such as instructor or lecturer, the Code of Legislation of the Graduate Faculty governs the extent to which employment will affect opportunities for accumulation of registration units, and thus both progress toward the degree and full-time status. Students who wish to earn registration units while employed for 21 to 40 hours must obtain the prior approval of their special committee chair and their Director of Graduate Studies; written approval must be provided for appointment to an academic title to be authorized and processed. Further limitations apply to students who hold fellowships or graduate research assistantships. A student on an official leave from a Cornell-administered degree program must provide the official, approved leave form for authorization and processing of the appointment (to non-professorial title) unless the individual provides proof of having passed the thesis defense examination. Please consult the Code‟s section on “Registration Units” for further information. Special provisions for particular academic titles follow:

 Instructor. If after conducting an affirmative action search for a tenure-track assistant professor, a department selects a candidate who has not completed all requirements for the highest academic degree, then the initial appointment may made at the level of instructor. For candidates for degrees administered by Cornell, the ensuing title change to assistant professor can occur only after the Graduate Faculty or other relevant faculty body has voted on the degree list. Candidates for degrees administered by Cornell University cannot be voting members of their college faculty.

   Lecturer. An advanced student enrolled in an advanced degree program administered by Cornell, with the consent of the student‟s special committee (or equivalent), can be appointed to a lecturer position only for one semester at a time. Appointment for more than 50-percent time during a semester requires specific prior approval of the student‟s special committee chair and their Director of Graduate Studies; written approval must be provided for appointment to be authorized and processed. Candidates for degrees administered by Cornell University cannot be voting members of their college faculty.

   Research Associate. Cornell doctoral candidates who have passed the thesis defense but who have yet to submit the dissertation to the Graduate School may be appointed as a research associate for a period not to exceed six months; when the thesis is accepted by the Graduate School, the original appointment can be extended up to three years.

Candidates for degrees administered by Cornell University cannot be voting members of their college faculty.

   Postdoctoral Associate or Postdoctoral Fellow. Cornell doctoral candidates who submit proof of having passed the thesis defense but who have yet to submit their dissertation to the Graduate School may be appointed as postdoctoral associate or postdoctoral fellow for a period not to exceed six months. When the thesis is accepted by the Graduate School, the original appointment may be extended to one year. Candidates for degrees administered by Cornell University cannot be voting members of their college faculty.


 Minimum qualifying degree for appointment to an academic title may be specified in the title description (please consult the Appendix to this policy for title descriptions); higher degrees may be required by the dean or vice president of the governing academic unit. Higher degree requirements may be specified in advertisements for particular positions if there is a necessity related to the responsibilities of the position. Appointment to a research title requires a research Ph.D., except that in a professional program the dean may approve that the requirement be for the highest professional degree with evidence that the program trained for research.

  •    Assistant Professor. If, after conducting an affirmative action search for a tenure-track assistant professor, a department selects a candidate for a degree not administered by Cornell who has not completed all requirements for the highest academic degree, then the initial appointment may be made at the level of “instructor” or “acting assistant professor” for a one-year term.  The appointment may be renewed for a second year, but if the degree remains uncompleted at the end of the second year, the appointment cannot be renewed and the offer of an assistant professorship becomes void. (Please consult this policy‟s “Tenure” section and the title descriptions in this policy‟s Appendix). For non- Cornell degree candidates, the ensuing title change to assistant professor may be made retroactively to the beginning of the semester if the granting institution certifies that all degree requirements are met and that the conferral of the degree is imminent.
  •    Research Associate. External Ph.D. candidates both from foreign and American institutions of higher education can be given up to three-year initial appointments, provided the institution certifies in writing that all degree requirements have been satisfied and the degree soon will be conferred.
  •    Postdoctoral Associate and Postdoctoral Fellow. External Ph.D. candidates both from foreign and American institutions of higher education must provide documentation from the institution certifying that all degree requirements have been satisfied and the degree soon will be conferred.


 The International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) describes its mission as, in part, to “assist individual international students and foreign academic staff and their families by advising them concerning federal immigration, tax and labor regulations … and to serve as an information resource” for Cornell, including academic departments and units. Their “Information for Departments Hosting International Staff notes their role in assisting departments “in the multi-faceted tasks of bringing international professors and researchers to the United States for appointments or lectures.”

ISSO‟s “Hiring International Scholars: A Resource Guide” states, “U.S. Immigration law prohibits employers from making payments to visitors without work authorization, … even if the visitor is only on campus for a brief lecture or appearance. It is imperative that the University be in full compliance with all federal regulations regarding payments to temporary visa holders.

Failure to abide by these regulations may result in significant hardship such as an inability to fulfill financial commitments to the invited guest, penalties and fines to the university, or immigration penalties for the visitor. Academic departments should not assume that international visitors who already hold work authorization in the United States may be paid by Cornell.  Most employment visa classifications are job and employer specific. …”

The Resource Guide includes a range of information, from visa categories and tax compliance to whether ISSO or the appointing department fills out the I-9 form for a scholar.

ISSO should be involved at the earliest possible stage when appointment, change of position, or payment of a foreign national may be contemplated.

Immigration law restricts payments to foreign visitors. Guidance about whether Cornell can make a payment to a foreign visitor may be found at . For further information, including general information about tax withholding on payments, visit the Cornell University Payment and Tax Services website .

Foreign academic staff members must be in valid visa status and valid employment authorization before their appointments can be approved. All letters offering positions to nonimmigrant foreign nationals must include the phrase “this offer is contingent upon valid immigration status and employment authorization approved by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.” Newly appointed staff members must present their immigration documents to the International Students and Scholars Office soon after their arrival at Cornell. All foreign academic staff members must have adequate health insurance for themselves and their dependents during their stay at Cornell. Upon arrival, foreign nationals who will have academic appointments must obtain a U.S. social security number.

Even if ISSO instead of the department fills out the I-9 form, it is the responsibility of the department making the appointment or reappointment to verify the visa status of the individual and the expiration of authorization to work: appointments cannot be made for a period which would go beyond this date and are contingent on the retention of valid visa status and authorization for continued appointment.  Appointments with indefinite tenure (meaning “tenure” has been approved by Cornell‟s Board of Trustees) do not have an end-date.

Departments, however, must continue to file updated I-9 forms until proof of the award of permanent residency status has been provided and filed with Records Administration in the Division of Human Resources through another I-9 form. I-9 information is available on the website of the Division of Human Resources at and  .

Permanent Resident or Immigrant Status

 This group of non-citizens has the same rights and privileges of employment which are accorded citizens. Permanent residents are issued proof of their status. There are no special provisions or requirements for the appointment of permanent residents.


 Reappointment of a person on a term appointment is not a right and is not automatic.

Reappointment depends on the quality of performance in the position, the availability of funds and space, and the continuation of the sponsoring program. Approval from the department chairperson and the dean or director of the academic unit is required for reappointment.

The Bylaws of the University, in the Article on “The Instructional and Research Staff” state:

“Holdover: Members of the academic staff appointed for definite periods shall not hold over, and their connection with the University shall cease at the expiration of said periods unless they are reappointed.”

The connection with the University of academic staff members appointed for definite periods ceases at the expiration of the term of appointment unless they are reappointed. The periods of notice the University requires for an individual who will not be reappointed are given in the “Appointment Termination” section of this policy, “Nonrenewal or Early Termination of Term Appointments.”

A special and important case of reappointment involves faculty who are on the tenure track. The policies and procedures for these reappointments can be found in the “Tenure” section of this policy.


 The following guidelines on procedures for review of academic reappointments and promotions were approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees on January 29, 1976 (Records, p. 9198):

“Each college and school shall set forth in writing its internal procedures for making recommendations on the reappointment, promotion, and/or tenure of faculty and academic professional staff members. *

“* Included within the ranks of faculty and academic professional staff members are those men and women holding appointments as Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Instructor, Senior Lecturer, Lecturer, Senior Research Associate, Research Associate, Senior Extension Associate, Extension Associate, or Postdoctoral Associate, the academic staff of the University Libraries consisting of Associate Director, Assistant Directors, Librarians, Associate Librarians, Senior Assistant Librarians, Assistant Librarians, Archivists, Associate Archivists, Senior Assistant Archivists, and Assistant Archivists. Not included are degree candidates having appointments such as Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant, or Graduate Research Assistant.”

“College and school procedures should include the following as a minimum set of requirements on the review of decisions:

“1.      Notification:  Faculty and academic professional staff members will be informed in writing if an adverse decision is made with respect to their future status. If the faculty or academic professional staff member so desires an explanation of the principal reasons for the decision it will be provided in writing.

“2.       Informal Review:  A faculty or academic professional staff member shall be afforded an opportunity to discuss an adverse decision and the explanation for it with his or her department chairman or Dean, as appropriate.

“3.       Request for Reconsideration:  If, after informal discussion, a faculty or academic professional staff member so desires he or she may request formal reconsideration as follows:

“a.        When a decision has been communicated by a department or division chairman in a school or college, a request for reconsideration should be directed to the Dean of the school or college within 30 days of notification in writing of the initial decision.

“b.       When the adverse decision has been communicated by a dean initially or after review of a departmental decision or by a director of an independent center or unit, a request for reconsideration should be directed to the President of the University within 30 days of notification in writing of the initial decision.

“c. In requesting reconsideration, a faculty or academic professional staff member should set forth in detail the reasons why reconsideration is believed appropriate and why the initial decision is deemed inappropriate or unfair.

“4.       Review Procedures:

“a.        The President or dean shall review the decision to determine whether appropriate procedures have been followed and/or whether the initial decision or the concurrence with or denial of reconsideration was arbitrary or capricious.

“b.       The President or dean shall respond to the request for reconsideration in writing within a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 60 days.

“c.        The decision of the President is final in all cases.  In accordance with University Bylaws, significant weight will be accorded the initial decision of the appropriate academic body or officer. The President may seek the advice of the Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility in his review.

“5.       Confidentiality:  All records, communications, reports, and correspondence shall be held in confidence throughout the initial decision and review process.”

End of Trustee Legislation

On May 30, 1981, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees voted to modify these Guidelines on College Procedures for Review of Academic Reappointments and Promotions, adopted by the Trustees on January 29, 1976, by the addition of the legend,

“These procedures shall apply except for those situations covered by the Trustee Legislation on appeal procedures of May 30, 1981.” These refer to the procedures related to appeal of tenure decisions and decisions about promotion from associate professor to professor (please consult the “Tenure” section of this policy and the Faculty Handbook).

A request for reconsideration, even if the decision is reopened, does not extend a term of appointment nor does external litigation. If an individual is reinstated as a result of a review or litigation, the responsibility lies with the University. However, the financial responsibility will be expected to be borne by the college or division.

Last Updated: June 29, 2017 at 7:50 pm