Faculty Appointment Types

Here you will find a quick guide to the different faculty appointment types and classifications available at Iowa State University. For more detail on these appointments, as well as procedures to follow for making an appointment within each classification, please consult the indicated section of the ISU Faculty Handbook.

Tenure-Eligible Faculty Appointment: This is a regularly budgeted faculty position appointed as either A-base (12-month) or B-base (9-month). Tenure-eligible faculty are appointed for a specified period of time (term appointment), and notice of non-renewal must be given according to the deadlines specified at the time of hire (see Faculty Handbook 3.4). A person on a tenure-eligible appointment is considered to be in a probationary period of service leading to tenure. The length of this period is specified at the time of initial appointment, but it may not exceed seven years, except in cases of part-time tenure-eligible appointments and in cases of the approved extension of the tenure-clock. Recruitment for tenured and tenure-eligible faculty must follow university procedures. (See FH 3.3.1)

Tenured Faculty Appointment: This is a regularly budgeted, continuous faculty appointment as either A-base (12-month) or B-base (9-month). Tenure accompanies appointment to the rank of associate professor or professor unless a probationary period for the new appointee is clearly specified in advance, or unless it is indicated that the appointment does not carry tenure. Additional information regarding qualifications for tenure are available in FH

Part-Time Appointments for Tenure-Eligible and Tenured Faculty: Conversion from a full-time to a part-time appointment may only be initiated by tenured or tenure-eligible faculty with either A-base or B-base full-time appointments. Tenured faculty may make this request for personal or professional issues, including work/life balance. Tenure-eligible faculty may make this request only for reasons of balancing work and family for the arrival of a child, the care of a child with special needs, elder care, the care of a partner, or for personal circumstances related to the health of the faculty member. (See FH

Term Faculty Appointments: Term faculty positions are defined as term appointments eligible for renewal based upon the quality of performance and the continuing need of the unit. (See FH 3.3.2) There are numerous types of term faculty appointments:

  • Lecturer, Clinician: a limited term, full- or part-time renewable appointment of one semester to three years.    
  • Senior Lecturer, Senior Clinician: A limited term, full- or part-time renewable appointment not to exceed five years, requiring a one year notice of non-renewal. To be eligible for appointment as Senior Lecturer or Senior Clinician, an individual must have served as a Lecturer or Clinician or its equivalent for a minimum of six years or completed 12 semester FTEs of employment.    
  • Term Research Faculty: Funding for these renewable term positions must be external to the university and is not a part of the university base budget. Term research professors hold the rank of research assistant professor, research associate professor, and research professor. Persons holding this title are not members of the General Faculty, may not hold senate positions, nor represent the faculty on collegiate or university committees. Consult the Guidelines for Term Research Faculty Appointments for detailed information on hiring, evaluating, and funding these appointments.
  • Adjunct Faculty: A limited-term, full- or part-time renewable appointment. The “adjunct” title signifies that the person, because of special personal or departmental circumstances of a clearly unusual nature or character, is neither tenured nor tenure-eligible. Adjunct appointments are not to exceed five years for each appointment, requiring a notice of one year of intent not to renew except when the appointment is for a year or less.  
  • Clinical Faculty: A limited term, full- or part-time renewable appointment that is neither tenured nor tenure-eligible. Clinical faculty hold positions through which they contribute to the service, teaching, and/or outreach missions of the university.  The “clinical” title signifies that a significant portion of the faculty member’s time provides or oversees the delivery of professional services to individual patients or clients. A term is from one to three years (Clinical Assistant Professor) or three to five years (Clinical Associate Professor or Clinical Professor). Consult the Guidelines for Term Clinical Faculty Appointments for detailed information on hiring, evaluating, and funding these appointments. 
  • Visiting Appointment: A faculty member with a visiting appointment ordinarily intends to provide special input into the teaching or research program of a department. A visitor is usually a member of the faculty of another institution and is appointed at the rank held at that institution. (See FH 3.3.4)    
  • Affiliate: Person appointed to the faculty, without financial obligation on the part of the university, to carry out scholarly activities from which the individual as well as the department and the university will benefit. Faculty rank will reflect scholarly qualifications equivalent to those of similar rank in the department. (See FH
  • Professional and Scientific (P&S) term appointment: A person employed in a Professional & Scientific (P&S) position may also be appointed to a term position by an academic department to carry out faculty responsibilities as specified in FH S/he may be appointed to a limited-term, renewable appointment of one to five years. A P&S employee may have no more than 30% of their total work responsibilities in teaching. 

Limits on Percentage of Term Faculty Teaching Efforts

Joint Academic Appointment: A faculty member who holds an appointment in more than one academic department. Initiation of such an appointment requires a Letter of Intent signed by the chairs of both departments, the dean(s) of the college(s) involved, and the provost. (See FH 3.3.5)

Emeritus Faculty Appointment: Designation used to recognize service to Iowa State University. A tenured faculty member who has attained the rank of professor and who retires immediately following ten or more continuous years of employment by ISU, will be given emeritus designation automatically upon retirement. Retired faculty who do not meet the above criteria, but who have distinguished themselves through meritorious service to the university and the profession, may be nominated for emeritus designation at the last rank held. Nominations must be initiated by the faculty of the individual's department(s) and approved by the college and the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost. (See FH 6.4) A current list of emeritus faculty is available online.

Administrative Appointments: Academic administrative appointments are those which include the titles dean, provost, department chair, as well as director when the unit is a part of the academic organizational structure. Consult the Guidelines for Academic Administrative Appointments for more detail.