Faculty On-Campus and Remote Work Guidelines


These guidelines apply to all Iowa State University faculty employees, inclusive of term, tenure eligible, and tenured faculty, both part-time and full-time.


During the pandemic, remote work of faculty and staff occurred as a matter of public health necessity. Additionally, faculty and staff became skillful with online learning and technologies for remote collaboration, and those factors created opportunities for efficiency, innovation, and new pedagogy. 

Iowa State University is a historic student-centric research university with missions in teaching, research, and extension and outreach. As a land-grant residential institution, Iowa State University has a commitment to serve the people of Iowa, and to prioritize in-person and experiential learning experiences for students.

Faculty have always had flexibility in their work schedules and locations, which serves the University well and promotes collaboration, external engagement, and the generation of new ideas. Faculty also have primary responsibility for building, supporting, and participating in an engaged community of scholars, which is the intellectual hallmark of any university. Whether advising graduate students, mentoring junior faculty, creating new academic programs, collaborating on research, and presenting and hosting seminars, community and personal interactions are a cornerstone of faculty life.

Looking to the future, the University seeks to strike an appropriate balance to ensure that remote work, when it occurs, benefits the academic mission in a tangible manner and is not just a matter of individual convenience. The University is committed to a vibrant academic climate, and to serving students and stakeholders, in-person and through new technology-facilitated means.


For the purpose of these Guidelines, “remote work” is defined in terms of place and time as substantially performing faculty position responsibilities or assigned duties remotely relative to the Iowa State University physical campus or other designated University workplace (such as a research farm, off-campus center, or Extension and Outreach facility) for longer than an incidental or short-term period. Such duties can include teaching, scholarship, office hours, meetings, and other activities conventionally and ordinarily completed in-person at a designated University workplace.

Remote work occurs if any of the following criteria are met:

  • Work is conducted outside the State of Iowa (including, outside the United States) for other than incidental or short-term projects or university-approved business-related travel. 
  • Work is conducted at a location other than Iowa State University’s physical campus or other designated University work site for a time period exceeding 10 business days consecutively during the academic year. This excludes temporary approved working assignments for business purposes or for other approved leaves of absence.

These guidelines do not apply to faculty travel and time away from campus for conventional University-related business such as academic research/scholarship, professional service, off-campus instructional activities, approved Faculty Professional Development Assignments (FPDAs), Independent Services Assignments (ISA), Fulbright Awards, or other external fellowships and residencies. Further clarification on what falls within the definition of remote work is available in the FAQ (PDF, 172KB) document supporting this guidance. 

Statement of Guidance

All Iowa State University faculty members are expected to participate in the conventional community life of campus and provide necessary services, support, and availability to students and stakeholders. It is an accepted practice for faculty to carry out their work with varied schedules on the Iowa State University campus, at other Iowa State University work sites, and at alternate locations. Normally, a formal remote work agreement is not required for faculty unless the normal work assignment is consistently at an alternate location.

Remote work agreements for full-time faculty at all classifications (term, tenure-track, and tenured) are not allowed. 

Remote work agreements for tenure-eligible or tenured faculty, whether full or part time, are not allowed.

At the discretion of the Senior Vice President and Provost, remote work as a condition of employment may be established only in the case of part-time (less than 50% effort level) term faculty contracts. Such requests must originate in an academic department, have the endorsement of the department chair/school director and dean, and be grounded in a business case that demonstrates tangible benefit to the University through such factors as: 

  • The proposed remote work supports the University’s mission to the extent that if it were carried out on-campus, it would be less impactful and would not extend the breadth of the University’s mission-facing programs;
  • The proposed remote work would not be realized if the work were done on-campus – either through the creation of cost savings for the University and enhances the University’s revenue generation or through outreach, research, or service that supports the ISU mission through work in another location outside of Iowa; or
  • The proposed remote work results in greater performance or efficiency than if the work were done on campus.

Remote work shall not be permitted based on the personal preference of an individual faculty member or the hiring unit. Rather, it must be based on the business needs of the University.

The hiring unit must submit for approval a remote work request through HR Delivery and receive approval from the Senior Vice President and Provost before an offer of employment can be made.

It is important to remember that faculty who are unable to work on campus due to personal circumstances (such as a medical condition or caregiving responsibilities) have other leave options, including leave without pay and FMLA, that may be utilized based on the parameters of those respective programs. Faculty should contact HR Delivery (hr_delivery@istate.edu)  directly to explore those options. Also imperative, even if faculty do not have to request permission for remote work, they still need to follow practices in their departments and college to inform their chair (and in some instances their dean) of their planned absence.

Financial Responsibility

If an employee works outside the State of Iowa, the University must comply with an extended set of laws and regulations, insurance and payroll requirements, and such factors as workers compensation liability insurance, unemployment requirements, payroll tax withholding/reporting, administrative costs, and reporting requirements to other states and jurisdictions.

In the absence of exceptional circumstances which require approval of the Senior Vice President and Provost, remote work outside the State of Iowa will be limited to situations where the University already has an established presence or program, or is registered to do business, or in situations where the University establishes a business presence or program. Where out-of-state employment is approved, the hiring unit will be financially responsible for all incremental costs incurred by the University.

Questions about faculty remote work may be directed to Kaela Black, Faculty Personnel and Policy Director, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, at kblack@iastate.edu.  

Updated September 2022