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Policy Title: Research Faculty Policies and Procedures

Boise State University Policy #: 5010
Effective Date: September 27, 2004
Revised: November, 2010

Purpose:
To establish policies and procedures for research faculty.

Scope:
Applies to research faculty.

Responsible Party:
Vice President for Research and Economic Development, 426-5732.

Responsible parties are outlined in the policy. Questions may be directed to the respective dean of each college.


Policy

  1. Position
    1. Position Establishment
      A research faculty position is established within a department or unit by following the procedures defined by BSU Policy 7110.
    2. Position Description
      The position description for a research faculty position must be consistent with the definition of research faculty given by BSU Policy 7000.
  2. Titles
    1. Titles for research faculty are selected from the research professor series:
      1. assistant research professor
      2. associate research professor
      3. research professor
    2. As is the case with academic rank for tenured and tenure-track faculty, titles within the research professor series imply a hierarchy of combined education, experience, achievement, and responsibility, with the title of research professor corresponding to the highest rank.
  3. Degree Requirements
    A terminal degree (e.g., Ph.D.) appropriate for the field is normally required for all titles within the research professor series but consideration is extended to individuals with an advanced degree (e.g., M.S., M.A.) supplemented by experience and achievement comparable to obtaining a terminal degree.
  4. General Administration
    1. Supervision
      The department chair or unit supervisor is responsible for supervision of a member of the research faculty. The chair or supervisor may delegate supervisory responsibility to an appropriate administrator in the department or unit.
    2. Benefits
      Members of the research faculty are benefit-eligible provided they meet state and university eligibility guidelines.
    3. Sources of Funding
      Any combination of funding sources can be used to support the salary and research program of a member of the research faculty, providing that all policies and regulations of the university and the funding sources are satisfied.
    4. Obligation of the University
      The university is under no obligation to provide salary or program support to a member of the research faculty except as expressed in the terms of employment. However, in the event that salary support is projected to drop below the level required for maintenance of benefits for a period of six months or less, a member of the research faculty, with the approval of the department chair or unit supervisor and the college dean, may apply to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development for supplementary salary support during the funding gap. The Vice President for Research and Economic Development evaluates the application and forwards a recommendation to the provost who is responsible for a final decision.
    5. Program Development Funds
      Each department or unit shall develop a policy to determine what portion of the department or unit share of program development funds shall be returned to research faculty for professional development purposes.
    6. Voting Privileges
      The voting privileges of a member of the research faculty are determined by policies of the appropriate college and department or unit but only if these policies are consistent with the policies of the university.
    7. Leave of Absence
      A leave of absence without pay may be permitted for up to six months upon recommendation of the department chair (or unit supervisor) and the college dean with approval by the provost. The leave must be in compliance with all appropriate university and SBOE policies.
  5. Initial Appointment
    1. Search Procedure
      The initial appointment to an established research faculty position is made as the result of a search by a department or unit using a search procedure that is defined by the department or unit and is carried out in compliance with university and SBOE policies.
    2. Initial Title
      The initial title of the appointment is determined by comparison with the following criteria:
      1. Assistant Research Professor is the usual entry-level rank for individuals with little or no experience beyond the degree requirements. The candidate’s resume and letters of reference should document independent capability for conducting reliable research, the capacity to generate significant external funding to support research, a potential for substantive professional growth, and a collegial approach to the academic research environment.
      2. Associate Research Professor is a rank marking an individual who has been instrumental in establishing a research program characterized by significant external funding, primary author peer-reviewed publications, and (in some disciplines) the potential for generation of marketable intellectual property. Steady growth in research skill is easily documented by examining proposals and papers. Colleagues recognize the individual’s capacity for future leadership in the relevant discipline.
      3. Research Professor is a rank of high distinction for an individual regarded as a national authority in the relevant discipline. A sustained record of regular contributions to the peer-reviewed literature, steady external funding to support a vigorous research program, leadership in program building and group research efforts, participation in professional service at the national level, and (in some disciplines) marketable intellectual property are some easily recognized hallmarks. External letters of evaluation from recognized leaders in the relevant discipline are used to document achievements commensurate with this rank.
    3. Initial Employment Procedure
      The procedure for employing the successful candidate is the same as the procedure for employing tenured and tenure-track faculty and is described in BSU Policy 4210. The following information should be attached to the normal paperwork:
      1. a recommended title and annual salary with a concise description of the source of funds for salary support;
      2. a statement of justification for the appointment and salary including the qualifications of the recommended individual (attach resume of candidate);
      3. expectations regarding participation in seminars and other course work, supervision of graduate students, and participation on service committees;
      4. agreements regarding the supporting resources and commitments required of the department or unit, the college, and the university, including office and lab space, secretarial and technical support, communications (mail, photocopy, phone, fax, internet), laboratory equipment and field equipment, disposable supplies, and computer usage;
      5. other agreements regarding conditions of employment.
  6. Other Appointments
    An appointee to the research professor series may be nominated for consideration by the Graduate Council for appointment to the graduate faculty.
  7. Performance Evaluation and Salary Adjustment
    1. Performance Evaluation
      The performance of a research faculty member must be evaluated at least annually by the department chair or unit supervisor using the timelines and procedures defined in BSU Policy 4290 and with emphasis on research activities. More frequent evaluations may be conducted at the discretion of the department chair or unit supervisor. The evaluation will include student learning (e.g., student evaluations) and service only to the extent that these activities are part of the current position description. The chair or supervisor needs to pay particular attention in the evaluation to the relationship of performance to promotion. As part of the evaluation process, the employee undergoing evaluation shall prepare an annual activity report in a format specified by the department chair or unit supervisor.
    2. Annual Salary Adjustment
      Salary adjustments for research faculty are considered on an annual basis according to procedures and guidelines established by the university for faculty.
  8. Promotion
    1. Maximum Time in Title
      A member of the research faculty cannot hold the title of assistant research professor for more than six years measured from the date of initial appointment and not including FMLA leave. An assistant research professor must therefore be approved for promotion before the end of the sixth year or seek a new position within the university or elsewhere. Maximum time in title does not apply to research faculty holding the titles of associate research professor or research professor.
    2. Experience Requirements
      Advancement within the research professor series must not occur before the acquisition of a required number of years of experience as a research faculty member. For promotion to associate research professor, five years of full-time experience as a research faculty member is required; for promotion to research professor, eight years of full-time experience as a research faculty member is required. At the time of initial appointment, the department chair or unit supervisor shall make a written recommendation to the college dean regarding the application of experience at another academic institution and application of professional (nonacademic) experience toward the years of experience required for promotion; the dean is responsible for making the final determination. Professional (nonacademic) experience of two years or more in the relevant discipline may be substituted for a maximum of two years of the required total experience. An application for promotion can be submitted no earlier than during the third full year of employment at Boise State University except under extraordinary circumstances. Experience requirements are necessary but not sufficient conditions for promotion.
    3. Promotion Criteria
      Criteria for promotion of research faculty are to be developed in advance of the need by the department or unit. The criteria for promotion must be approved by the department chair or unit supervisor and by the college dean, must be consistent with the general criteria given in section V.B, and must be followed by the Promotion Committee for Research Faculty defined in VIII.E.
    4. Promotion Folder
      The promotion folder must contain at least the following documents: a letter from the applicant requesting promotion, a comprehensive resume, a concise summary of activities that address the promotion criteria, all annual evaluations, a copy of the position description for the position held by the applicant, and letters of support from at least two colleagues holding research or tenure-track faculty appointments at the university.
    5. Promotion Committee for Research Faculty
      The Promotion Committee for Research Faculty is composed of the existing Tenure and Promotion Committee for the College/Department plus one research faculty of at least associate research faculty rank, and if possible, from the applicant’s College/Department, or a related field, when a research faculty is to be considered for promotion.Voting: Once the committee is fully composed, each member has one vote on all matters. In the event of a tie vote, the vote cast by the committee chair is the deciding vote.
    6. Procedure and Timelines
      The following procedure and timelines closely follow the promotion guidelines for tenured and tenure-track faculty described in BSU Policy 4340.
      1. The candidate for promotion submits to the department chair or unit supervisor a promotion folder by September 1.
      2. The chair or supervisor identifies at least two unbiased and highly qualified external reviewers from the relevant discipline and requests letters from them evaluating the candidate’s research record; the letters are to arrive by October 1.
      3. During the month of September, tenured, tenure-track, and research faculty of the department or unit review the promotion folder and provide written input to the chair or supervisor.
      4. The chair or supervisor forwards the promotion folder along with his/her recommendation, any clarification that may be required on the applicant’s specific responsibilities, the external letters of evaluation, the written input from the tenured, tenure-track, and research faculty of the department or unit, and a copy of the department or unit promotion criteria for research faculty, to the Promotion Committee for Research Faculty by October 15.
      5. The Promotion Committee for Research Faculty reviews all documents, decides on a recommendation, and notifies the applicant of that recommendation no later than December 1. In the case of a recommendation to deny promotion, the candidate may request a meeting with the committee. The request must be made within five working days of the notification of denial and the meeting must occur within five working days of the request for a meeting.
      6. The Promotion Committee for Research Faculty forwards all documents and its recommendation to the college dean by December 15.
      7. The college dean reviews all documents and recommendations and notifies the candidate of his/her recommendation by January 15. In the case of a recommendation to deny promotion, the candidate may request a meeting with the dean. The request must be made within five working days of the notification of denial and the meeting must occur within five working days of the request for a meeting. The dean forwards all documents and his/her recommendation to the provost by January 31.
      8. The provost reviews all documents and recommendations and brings them to the attention of the president. The president, in consultation with the provost, makes his/her decision to grant or deny promotion and notifies the candidate of the decision by March 1. In the case of a decision to deny promotion, the candidate may request a meeting with the president. The request must be made within five working days of the notification of denial and the meeting must occur within five working days of the request for a meeting.
      9. A candidate may withdraw from consideration for promotion at any time in the above process.
    7. Salary Enhancement
      The salary enhancement for promotion of a member of the research faculty is the same as for promotion of a member of the tenured and tenure-track faculty for comparable ranks.