Academic Policy  1435.50

Faculty Ranks and Titles, Qualified Faculty, and Research Assistant and Research Associate Positions

University of Arkansas Board of Trustees Policy 405.1 establishes the academic ranks/titles for faculty members at the system campuses. Consistent with Board policy, the specific and complete rank/title to which a faculty member is appointed should be entered on all appointment, employment, and personnel records and on all official correspondence. It is the responsibility of the employing college or school to ensure that the correct rank/title is used. It is particularly important that full title and rank be used, as omitting a modifier can cause the individual to be appointed to a tenure-track position rather than a non-tenure track position. Faculty titles may be used only for appointments to faculty positions.

Faculty appointments are for one year or less, and reappointment or termination must be made on an annual basis, consistent with performance review and other applicable deadlines and personnel policies.

The provisions of this policy apply to all faculty members, including adjunct faculty members who serve without pay.

Ranks/Titles in Use for the University of Arkansas

Tenure-track and tenured ranks include assistant professor, associate professor, professor, university professor, and distinguished professor as well as some of these titles followed by -Law, and some of these titles preceded by “Walton College of Business.”

Tenure-track and tenured non-teaching titles are director of libraries, librarian, associate librarian, assistant librarian, curator, associate curator, and assistant curator. Faculty with these titles will also have a tenure-track or tenured rank. Both the rank and the title must be stated in the appointment and on employment records.

Non-tenure-track rank/titles are instructor and lecturer and titles created by using one of the following title “modifiers” with one of the tenure-track ranks: teaching, research, clinical, visiting, professor of practice, and executive in residence.

Preferred uses for these ranks/titles are as follows. Lecturer is normally reserved for temporary or part-time teaching appointments, and instructor is typically used for full-time teaching appointments that may be renewed from year to year. Typically contingent is used as a modifier for individuals who are not paid and have positions outside the institution. The letter of offer must state the full adjunct title and department and school or college of appointment, state that the appointment is a courtesy appointment, without pay, but obligates the individual to comply with all applicable state and university policy, and state whether the individual is recommended or has graduate faculty status. Adjunct is used as a modifier in titles for individuals who have paid temporary or part-time appointments. Such individuals typically do not have successive appointments.

Qualified Faculty

Faculty Credentials

Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Assumed Practices B.2.a requires that qualified faculty members are identified primarily by credentials, but other factors, including, but not limited to, equivalent experience, may be considered by the institution in determining whether a faculty member is qualified. Thus, the university must demonstrate that faculty (tenured, tenure-track, non-tenured, adjunct, graduate students, etc.) have the credentials to teach what they are asked to teach.  More specifically, the HLC specifies the following:

  • Instructors (excluding, for this requirement, teaching assistants enrolled in a graduate program and supervised by faculty) possess an academic degree relevant to what they are teaching and at least one level above the level at which they teach, except in programs for terminal degrees or when equivalent experience is established. In terminal degree programs, faculty members possess the same level of degree.
  • Faculty teaching general education courses, or other non-occupational courses, hold a master’s degree or higher in the discipline or subfield. If a faculty member holds a master’s degree or higher in a discipline or subfield other than that in which he or she is teaching, that faculty member should have completed a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline or subfield in which they teach.
  • Instructors teaching in graduate programs should hold the terminal degree determined by the discipline and have a record of research, scholarship, or achievement appropriate for the graduate program.
  • Instructors teaching at the doctoral level have a record of recognized scholarship, creative endeavor, or achievement in practice commensurate with doctoral expectations.
  • When faculty members are employed based on equivalent experience, the institution defines a minimum threshold of experience and an evaluation process that is used in the appointment process.

Criteria and Process to Qualify Faculty Based on Experience

The faculty member qualified based on experience must, at a minimum, include the following experience.

  1. The experience should be equivalent to the degree it would otherwise require for a faculty position.
  2. The experience should include a breadth and depth of experience outside of the classroom in real-world situations relevant to the discipline in which the faculty member would be teaching.

The process to qualify faculty based on experience requires the department to fill out the Qualified Faculty Application and submit it for approval with a vita or resume.

Record of Faculty Status

The Registrar shall maintain a record of all faculty qualified to teach at various levels at the University of Arkansas.

Terminal Degree Definition

A terminal degree is the highest academic degree in a given field of study (normally a Doctoral level degree, but in some fields a master’s level degree).

The University of Arkansas defines the terminal degree as a doctorate-level degree, which includes the PhD, EdD, JD, MD, DNP, DVM, DDS, and PharmD.  In addition, the following masters-level degrees are considered terminal in their respective disciplines:

Master of Architecture (MArch)
Master of Design (MDes) (NASAD accredited terminal degrees)
Master of Graphic Design (MGD) (NASAD accredited terminal degree)
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Master of Landscape Architecture (MLArch, MLA)
Master of Library Science (MLS, MLIS, MSLS)
Master of Social Work (MSW) (clinical only)

Research Assistant and Research Associate Positions (Non-classified/Non-faculty Positions)

Research Assistant and Research Associate positions/titles are used only for individuals who are employed for full-time research duties, unless a waiver is approved by the Vice Provost for Research.

Reformatted for Web 10/02/2014