Office of the Provost

The University of Michigan Faculty Handbook


5.B Criteria for Appointment and Promotion of Instructional Faculty

Specific appointment procedures as well as promotion schedules and standards vary from unit to unit, and many academic units have prepared statements about professional responsibilities, qualifications, and the criteria for appointment and promotion of instructional faculty. It is essential that all faculty members familiarize themselves with their unit-level statements. For the most part, however, these statements reflect and amplify the following general principles adopted by the Board of Regents:

Qualifications for Appointment and Promotion in the Several Faculties of the University of Michigan

Since the University of Michigan is responsible for maintaining high standards of teaching, research, and service to the people of the state in a wide variety of fields, it is essential that its faculties be composed of men and women with superior personal and professional qualifications. The following statement is issued for the guidance of administrative officers and of other members of the staff who are responsible for ensuring that all persons appointed or promoted in the several faculties are thoroughly qualified to discharge the duties of their respective positions.

1. Teaching. Essential qualifications for appointment or promotion are character and the ability to teach, whether at the undergraduate or the graduate level. Some of the elements to be evaluated are experience, knowledge of subject matter, skill in presentation, interest in students, ability to stimulate youthful minds, capacity for cooperation, and enthusiastic devotion to teaching. The responsibility of the teacher as a guide and friend properly extends beyond the walls of the classroom into other phases of the life of the student as a member of the University community. It also involves the duty of initiating and improving educational methods both within and outside the departments.

2. Research. All members of the faculties must be persons of scholarly ability and attainments. Their qualifications are to be evaluated on the quality of their published and other creative work, the range and variety of their intellectual interests, their success in training graduate and professional students in scholarly methods, and their participation and leadership in professional associations and in the editing of professional journals. Attainment may be in the realm of scientific investigation, in the realm of constructive contributions, or in the realm of the creative arts.

3. Service. The scope of the University’s activities makes it appropriate for members of the [instructional faculty] to engage in many activities outside of the fields of teaching and research. These may include participation in committee work and other administrative tasks, counseling, clinical duties, and special training programs. The University also expects many of its [instructional faculty] to render extramural services to schools, to industry, to local, state, and national agencies, and to the public at large.

Appointment and Promotion

In making their recommendation for either appointment or promotion, the responsible departments and colleges will study the whole record of each candidate. To warrant recommendation for initial appointment, candidates must have given evidence either here or elsewhere of their ability to handle satisfactorily the duties of the positions in question. To warrant recommendation for promotions, candidates must have shown superior ability in at least one phase of their activities and substantial contribution in other phases. Naturally, persons who make a distinguished contribution in all aspects of their work may expect more rapid promotion than persons of more limited achievement.

Promotion is not automatic nor does it simply depend on length of service. All promotions are recommended and made on the basis of demonstrated merit. The University endeavors to recognize distinguished performance by adequate increases in salary and early promotion. For this reason a call to another position is not by itself considered a sufficient reason for promotion but may be one of the factors to be taken into consideration in the timing of a promotion.

It is assumed that, as members of the [instructional faculty] mature in experience, they will become more effective teachers and scholars. To that extent the qualifications for appointment and promotion will be progressively more exacting at each successive rank. In particular, promotion to the rank of associate professor, which entails indeterminate tenure, will be approved only when a person has given such clear evidence of ability that they may be expected, in due season, to attain a professorship.

Adopted by the Board of Regents April 1935

Revised April 1954

For more information about promotions for instructional faculty, see Chapter 6 "Tenure."

Faculty Handbook: Appointments: