Appendix L. Changes in Non-Tenure Track Instructor and Lecturer Appointments

Instructional-track faculty (ITF, see Faculty Handbook 1.5.1) provide essential instruction for thousands of Michigan Tech students each year. They not only provide devoted teaching and specialized expertise, but also may contribute to the University's mission through scholarship or artistic creation. Furthermore, in certain disciplines, the need for faculty who have significant professional experience is critical to the success of our programs and to the preparation of our students. Instructional- track faculty provide a vital service in bringing the "real-world" into our classrooms. Current practices with respect to ITF do not consistently convey the message that they are a valued part of our instructional staff and are not in line with other universities we have reviewed.


As of October 2006 there were approximately 45 Lecturer lines at Michigan Tech; however, there were 51 people who served in this rank (some lines are shared and some are fractional lines). Two of these lines were occupied by faculty who were hired for Tenure-track faculty  (TTF) positions but who had not yet completed their PhD degrees. By academic unit there were 16 Lecturer lines in the COE (nine in Engineering Fundamentals alone), 14 lines in the CSA, 7 lines in the SBE, ~3 lines in the SFRES, and 5 lines in the SOT. Some of the Lecturers had been serving the university long-term whereas others had been recently hired to meet teaching needs in units that experienced growth in enrollments or were unable to fill all of their open TTF lines. At that time and by seniority, six Lecturers had served the university for more that 20 years, six had served between 10 & 20 years, eighteen had served between 5 and 10 years, and the remainder had served less than five years.

Temporary Teaching Needs

There are many instances where a Department/College may need to hire someone on a temporary basis to fill unmet teaching needs when a regular faculty member is on sabbatical or family leave. These temporary needs will continue and sometimes occur on a semester-by-semester basis. The title of "Instructor" will be reserved for cases such as these. Instructors will have no expectations placed on them other than teaching (and associated duties such as office hours) and their appointment could be for full-time or part-time work with contracts of no more than one year. Minimum qualifications for an Instructor are a master's degree, or a bachelor's degree and professional qualifications.

Continuing Teaching Needs

There are many cases where ITF serve on a continuing basis and/or where ITF lines may be an established part of the general fund budget. For ITF in these positions, a career path should be established so their contributions are recognized and appropriately rewarded. The three titles for ITF in this category are 1) Assistant Teaching Professor, 2) Associate Teaching Professor, and 3) Teaching Professor. Teaching Professors at all ranks must be appointed for a minimum of 75% effort and will receive regular university benefits. Appointments of less than this will be made at the Instructor rank. Minimum qualifications include a master's degree or equivalent professional qualifications. Teaching Professors of all ranks may be expected to advise students, serve on committees, participate actively in professional societies, and conduct research. In each case, yearly teaching loads for ITFs will be negotiated with the Department Chair/College Dean (for colleges without departments), taking into account the non-teaching or scholarly activities.

Assistant Teaching Professors will be appointed for 2-year rolling terms, i.e., they will automatically receive a 2-year contract at the end of each year unless they are informed that their appointment is terminated. Effectively this means they will have a one-year notification period for non-reappointment.

Assistant Teaching Professors will be eligible for promotion to the rank of Associate Teaching Professor based on criteria established within the academic units and the recommendations of relevant committees and administrators at the university. Likewise, Associate Teaching Professors will be eligible for promotion to Teaching Professor. Both Associate Teaching Professors and Teaching Professors will serve in continuing appointments with a one-year notification of termination. A salary increment for promotion through the ranks will be awarded to the affected faculty.

Special Faculty Category

In certain cases, especially where an individual has significant industrial or professional experience, the ITF category will be Professor of Practice. Professors of Practice will be ITF and appointed on a continuing basis, similar to Associate Teaching Professor and Teaching Professor appointments. Faculty in the Teaching Professor ranks will generally not be eligible for promotion to this category, with the exception being Lecturers who were appointed during or prior to AY2006-07 and whose qualifications are in keeping with appointment to this rank and for special cases where a person has achieved significant professional experience while serving as a, then,Lecturer or, now Teaching Professor Rank. Minimum qualifications for Professors of Practice will be a BS degree with significant professional experience.

Employment Issues

Individuals appointed to the Teaching Professor and Professor of Practice ranks are eligible for merit increases according to established university procedures. Regional searches (at a minimum) will be conducted for ITF in the Teaching Professor and Professor of Practice ranks; no search is required for Instructors since the expectation is that they will be serving on a limited, temporary basis. All policies in place for faculty searches, including EEO practices, will apply to Teaching Professor rank and Professor of Practice searches. In some cases, a search for a Teaching Professor rank could yield a candidate who is better qualified to serve as a Professor of Practice or vice versa. Adjustments to rank title are permitted in these cases without a new search.

Promotion Process for Lecturers

Each academic unit will establish provisions for the promotion process through the Teaching Professor ranks, including promotion criteria and unit-level review procedures. Provisions will include the establishment of a unit-level committee, with committee membership parameters determined by the unit. ITF faculty in the rank of Assistant or Associate Teaching Professor who wish to be considered for promotion will submit a Faculty Activity Report (FAR) – Tenure and Promotion and other documentation similar to TTF. The promotion process will be:

  1. The Department/College (those without departments) committee makes a written recommendation and forwards it with the documentation to the Chair/Dean.
  2. The Department Chair/College Dean (those without departments) makes a written recommendation and forwards it with the documentation to the College Dean or Provost as appropriate.
  3. The College Dean (as applicable) makes a written recommendation and forwards all documentation to the Provost.
  4. The Provost reviews the documentation and makes a recommendation to the President.
  5. The President makes the final promotion decision.

The Provost will oversee the implementation, including timing, of the promotion process. Issues in implementation will include: 1) unit level development of promotion provisions for ITF; 2) adjustment of rank definitions so that they are in compliance with this document; 3) establishment of the appropriate salary increments for promotions within the ITF ranks; and 4) review of cases of current faculty in the Teaching Professor ranks to make changes to appointments as necessary.


Termination policies currently in place for Michigan Tech contractual employees will be in effect for ITF in all categories described previously. The termination policy currently in effect is found in the following paragraphs.

Termination Policy for Contractual Employees

The Employee is employed at the will of the University and this Agreement can be terminated at any time with or without cause by the University.

  1. If the University terminates the employment other than for substantial failure as set forth below, or cause, it shall pay the Employee a post termination stipend in an amount equal to the Employee's salary for the remainder of the term of the agreement. The Employee shall not be entitled to any fringe or other employment benefits after notice of termination. As determined by the Dean of the College (those without departments)/Chair of the Department, the employee may or may not be required to continue to serve, with a continuation of benefits, in the same capacity as originally hired during the notice period.
  2. In the event that the University terminates this Agreement due to cause or the substantial failure on the part of the Employee to comply with the obligations which determination shall be made solely by the University in its good faith discretion, the University shall have no further obligation to the Employee hereunder. In such event the Employee will be immediately terminated and will not be entitled to any further compensation, wages, stipends, post termination payments, fringe benefits or damages of any nature with the exception of wages actually earned prior to the date of termination.

08/26/2022 - Updated to reflect new teaching professor ranks as instructional-track faculty; previously referred to as lecturers and non-tenure-track faculty.
12/08/2016 - Annual Review: No changes made to content.
04/09/2015 - Annual Review: To reflect current practice, the email address for questions is now No changes made to content.
03/13/2014 - Annual Review: Updated Michigan Tech and Handbook banners, no changes made to content.
04/05/2013 - Annual Review: "Proposal 04-07, Adopted by Senate: October 25, 2006, Approved by Administration: December 11, 2006 with NOTE: The Provost will be working with Academic Human Resources on implementation" now reads "Senate Policy 701.2"
07/28/2011 - Annual Review: To reflect current University titles and practice, MTU is now Michigan Tech, and the email address for questions is now hbwebmaster.
03/30/2007 - New web page.