Faculty Appointment Types

Here is a quick guide to the different faculty appointment types available at Iowa State University. For more details, as well as procedures to follow for making the different appointments, please refer to the Faculty Handbook

Tenured and Tenure-Eligible Appointments: Tenured and tenure-eligible appointments are regularly budgeted positions at any rank and account for most faculty appointments. Tenure-eligible faculty are appointed for a specified period of time, and notice of intent not to renew shall be given according to the deadlines specified in FH Section 3.5. A person on a tenure-eligible appointment for a specified term 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. (See FH Section 3.3.1) 

Part-Time Appointments for Tenure-Eligible and Tenured Faculty: Requests for conversion from full-time to part-time appointments may only be initiated by tenured or tenure-eligible faculty with either A-base or B-base full-time appointments. Tenured faculty may make such a request for personal or professional issues, including work/life balance. Tenure-eligible faculty may make such a 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 Section

Term Faculty Appointments: Term Faculty are those individuals employed by Iowa State University who hold limited term, full, or part-time renewable appointments that are not eligible for tenure and are subject to approval by the department, college, and provost. These appointments will normally be B-base (9 months).  Term Faculty hold positions which have roles involved with the university’s missions of instruction, clinical practice, research, extension, and/or outreach, and perform a range of professional duties at the university. (See FH Section 3.3.2)

  • Teaching Faculty Title and Ranks: Lecturer, Assistant Teaching Professor, Associate Teaching Professor, and Teaching Professor. Teaching faculty hold positions through which they generally contribute to the teaching mission of the university. All Teaching faculty must devote at least 75% of their time to instruction, advising, curriculum coordination and other responsibilities related to the teaching mission. In addition, such appointments may include scholarly achievement and institutional or professional service, or any other responsibilities as identified in the PRS. The title of Lecturer is used for early career teaching faculty with contracts of one year or less, while Assistant Teaching Professor is for teaching faculty on multi-year contracts who have not advanced in rank. (See FH Section
  • Practice Faculty Title and Ranks: Assistant Professor of Practice, Associate Professor of Practice, Professor of Practice. Professor of Practice faculty must have significant relevant professional experience outside of academia that qualify them to make a contribution to instruction and/or advising. All Professor of Practice faculty must devote at least 75% of their time to teaching in their area of expertise and related institutional and professional service. In addition, such appointments may include scholarly achievement and institutional or professional service, or any other responsibilities as identified in the PRS. (See FH Section
  • Clinical Faculty Title and Ranks: Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Professor. All Clinical faculty must devote at least 75% of their time to providing or overseeing the delivery of professional services to individual patients or clients, and to teaching students, residents, or fellows of the university at the undergraduate, graduate, professional, or postgraduate level. They are expected to integrate the delivery of their professional services with their teaching. While the use of Clinical faculty titles is most easily conceived in the context of the College of Veterinary Medicine, where faculty are involved in the delivery of professional services to patients and clients, there are other disciplines where the use of Clinical titles for similar purposes may be appropriate. (See FH Section
  • Research Faculty Title and Ranks: Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Professor. Research faculty must devote at least 80% of their effort to externally-funded research, and they must have opportunity to move toward research independence. At least 10%, but no more than 20% of research faculty salary shall be paid from the general fund. In order for research faculty to be eligible for re-appointment, they must demonstrate research and scholarly productivity commensurate with tenure-stream faculty of the same rank, and must demonstrate independence as appropriate for their rank in their field. Since research professors are expected to obtain the majority of their funding from external sources, the term appointments for research professors must be contingent upon the availability of external funding.  However, if a term faculty research professor needs to be terminated before the end of their contract due to insufficient funding, the term-faculty member will be given a 3-month notice of the termination.  During the 3 months, the faculty member’s college will be responsible for covering any portion of the faculty member’s salary not covered by external research grants or the faculty member’s incentive account. (See FH Section
  • Adjunct Faculty Title and Ranks: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor, Adjunct Professor. Adjunct faculty typically are not focused on one area of faculty responsibility such as teaching or clinical activities. Appointments under this category may be appropriate in facilitating the University's quest to hire and retain excellent faculty, including dual-career couples, as well as to carve out new areas of academic expertise, and attract experts on extramural grants and contracts. (See FH Section

Non-salaried Faculty Appointments 

  • Affiliates: An affiliate faculty member is not an employee of the university. Affiliate appointments are unpaid, usually part-time appointments granted to persons who are typically employed elsewhere and who provide academic service to the university in furtherance of the research or graduate education mission of the university. In some instances the affiliate appointment formally recognizes services provided to the university as per a cooperative agreement with another governmental agency (e.g., USDA). Faculty rank will reflect scholarly qualifications equivalent to those of similar rank in the department. (See FH Section  
  • Professional and Scientific (P&S) Term Faculty Appointments: A person employed in a Professional & Scientific (P&S) position may also be appointed to term faculty positions by an academic department to carry out faculty responsibilities for that department. Individuals holding a full or part-time P&S position may have no more than 30% of their total work responsibilities in teaching. (See FH Section
  • Visiting Appointments: A visiting appointment can be unpaid or paid. 
    • An unpaid, visiting faculty appointee is not an employee of the university. The visiting appointment is ordinarily made to allow an academic, while in residence at Iowa State, to provide special input into the teaching or research program of any Iowa State academic department. An unpaid, visiting appointee cannot be the instructor of record for a class. Normally the visitor is employed elsewhere, usually as a member of the faculty of another institution and is appointed at the rank held at that institution. (See FH Section 3.3.4)
    • A paid, visiting faculty appointee is an employee of the university. Generally the visitor is performing services such as teaching at Iowa State. If the visitor is employed as a member of the faculty of another institution then the rank offered at ISU should be similar to the rank held at the home institution. (See FH Section 3.3.4)

Limits on Percentage of Term Faculty Teaching Efforts

Joint Academic Appointments: A faculty member may hold an appointment in more than one academic department. Initiation of such an appointment - which may be made either coincidental with, or subsequent to, the individual's original appointment - requires a Letter of Intent signed by the chairs of both departments and the dean or deans of the college(s) involved and the senior vice president and provost. (See FH Section 3.3.5)

Emeritus Faculty Appointments: The emeritus/a designation is a recognition of meritorious service to Iowa State University. Tenured faculty who retire at the rank of professor with ten or more years of continuous employment at the university are automatically granted emeritus/a designation 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 Section 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 part of the academic organizational structure. Consult the Guidelines for Academic Administrative Appointments for more detail.