Procedures for Faculty with Joint Appointments in Arts & Sciences

Effective July 1, 2010

Joint appointments play an important role at Washington University. They enable the institution to respond to dynamic changes within the contemporary academic landscape.

They help faculty members explore newly emerging areas of study, engage in research that draws on multiple fields of inquiry, and pursue collaborative work with those from multiple disciplines. For students, they make possible courses that bring together the contributions of diverse disciplines. As an adaptation to ongoing changes in today’s world of research and teaching, joint appointments take a variety of forms, including appointments made between programs and departments, between departments and between schools.

While joint appointments are important to the University, they generate unique institutional challenges. Unlike the more common academic appointment, where it is assumed that 100% of an appointment be within one department, and where that department assumes primary responsibility in the initial stages of hiring and assessment, joint appointments require attention to the roles played by each of the departments and programs involved in the hiring and assessment of a faculty member with a joint appointment. Because of the very special nature of joint appointments, procedures are necessary that take into account their distinct nature and respond to the challenges generated by them.

The following procedures are designed to deal with such challenges. They aim to ensure:

  • That all of the departments and programs involved in a joint appointment are fairly and adequately represented in the hiring and continuous assessment of the faculty member given such an appointment
  • That expectations regarding the quality and quantity of the work of faculty members appointed to more than one department or to a department and program(s) be similar to those of faculty members appointed to one department
  • That expectations expressed at the time of appointment be adhered to in further assessments

These procedures should be followed by all Arts & Sciences faculty members with joint appointments and by the department chairs and program directors in Arts & Sciences which house joint appointments. These procedures do not apply to courtesy appointments.

The following procedures are based on the principle that tenure at Washington University is not to any one department or program but to Washington University as a whole. However, for the sake of administrative stability, one department or program shall be recognized as the primary home for all faculty members holding joint appointments. The distinction between primary and secondary homes shall hold even when the appointment is evenly divided between departments and/or programs. This distinction between primary and secondary homes shall in no way undermine the importance of the need for a high level of input from each relevant department and/or program in the hiring and promotion decisions of faculty members with joint appointments.

  1. Hiring

    Search requests for jointly appointed faculty are to be made by department chairs or program directors to the Dean of Arts & Sciences. Those making the request should make explicit the likelihood of interdisciplinary connections and include the comments of the related program/department. Search committees for formal joint appointments should comprise faculty from all relevant departments and programs. Offers of employment imply the approval of all relevant departments and programs.

    Procedures

    1.1. The drafting of job descriptions and advertisements should involve the chairs and directors of all relevant departments and programs and the composition of the search committee should include faculty representing the interests of all relevant departments and programs.

    1.2. Letters of appointment should specify, in as much detail as possible, the allocation of teaching and other duties, and briefly explain the role of each department and program in the faculty member’s reviews and responsibilities.

    1.3. New faculty should be given a copy of these procedures to alert them to the role of all relevant departments and programs in their progress toward tenure and promotion.
     

  2. Tenure

    The contribution that faculty with joint appointments make needs to be reflected in the procedures for granting tenure and in evaluating progress towards tenure. This is particularly important in cases where the faculty member’s research is significantly interdisciplinary, as interdisciplinary research is often undervalued.

    Procedures

    2.1. At an early stage in the probationary period, a suitable written plan for research, teaching and service should be developed by the relevant chair(s) and program director(s) and submitted to the faculty member and the Dean of Arts & Sciences. This plan should be used (and refined) in the mentoring of tenure‐track faculty and in annual reviews of progress towards tenure.

    2.2. At this early stage, the relevant department chair(s) and program director(s) should also draft a memorandum of understanding about the specific roles of each unit in mentoring and evaluating the jointly appointed faculty member. This document shall be submitted to the Dean of Arts & Sciences for his or her approval. While departments and programs may develop a variety of procedures for working together, at minimum such procedures should include:

  • Meetings among chairs, directors, and where appropriate, senior faculty, from all relevant units, held annually to evaluate the progress towards tenure of the jointly appointed faculty member. This progress should be summarized in a jointly signed annual review letter to the candidate.
     
  • All relevant department chairs and program directors, and where appropriate, senior faculty, from all units, should be present at meetings deciding whether to solicit external letters and whether to forward the case to the Advisory Committee on Tenure, Promotion, and Personnel.
     
  • All relevant department chairs and program directors, and where appropriate, senior faculty, from all units, should be involved in the preparation of the tenure dossier from an early stage. In cases where the faculty member’s research is significantly interdisciplinary, this body should make sure that the list of external tenure referees includes individuals who can address the faculty member’s interdisciplinary research. In all cases, the faculty member’s contribution to the research, teaching and service missions of each relevant department and program should be fully reflected in the tenure dossier. Dossiers which do not provide strong evidence of the contributions of the jointly appointed faculty member to each unit shall raise questions about the hybrid nature of the appointment.
     
  • All relevant department chairs and program directors should be present and play an active role when the tenure case is presented to the Advisory Committee on Tenure, Promotion, and Personnel.

2.3. In those cases where departments and programs collectively do not have sufficient senior faculty to act as an evaluative body, the Dean of Arts & Sciences may appoint an ad hoc advisory committee to evaluate progress towards tenure of the jointly appointed faculty member.

  1. Promotion and Compensation

    A number of programs have administrative tasks and functions comparable to those of a similarly‐sized department and faculty members with joint appointments have obligations and commitments to their programs as well as to their departments. It is important that program participation for faculty with joint appointments be reflected in possibilities for compensation and advancement.

    Procedures

    3.1. Department chairs and program directors of all relevant units shall confer annually in decisions about compensation for the jointly appointed faculty member.

    3.2. The chairs and directors of all relevant departments and programs, and, where appropriate, senior faculty, should be involved from an early stage in applications by faculty members with joint appointments for promotion from Associate Professor to Professor. As is the case for tenure evaluations, the decision making process should involve substantial input from all units involved.

    3.3. In those cases where departments and programs collectively do not have sufficient senior faculty to act as an evaluative body, the Dean of Arts & Sciences may appoint an ad hoc advisory committee to evaluate progress towards promotion of the jointly appointed faculty member.
     

  2. Workload

    Programs depend on significant faculty labor to maintain their undergraduate and graduate programs. These demands include, but are not limited to: teaching, advising of majors, supervision of senior theses and undergraduate research, mentoring graduate students, study abroad advising and program management, curriculum planning, organizing faculty colloquia, workshops and conferences, and supporting student activities.

    Procedures

    4.1. The chairs and directors of all departments and programs which house joint appointments should together discuss on a yearly basis the expectations for program and department service for each jointly appointed faculty member. This is especially important for pre‐tenure faculty. In no case should the requirements for service from all of the relevant departments and programs exceed the normal expectations of a full load within a department.

    4.2. Teaching expectations should be discussed on a yearly basis. Jointly appointed faculty members should be protected against developing new courses or teaching particularly time‐intensive courses in both units at the same time.