Rice has a faculty of approximately 820 women and men -- currently 667 full-time and 153 part-time, as well as many unpaid adjunct faculty -- holding a variety of appointments. Appointments are of three general types: those within the professorial ranks are tenured or tenure track and usually full-time; those within the nonprofessorial ranks are untenured and include a diverse array of positions; and those within the research ranks are untenured term appointments. These three types of appointments are described below and are covered by Policy 201 "Faculty Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure."
An appointment to the rank of assistant professor normally requires the prerequisite of a doctoral degree or its equivalent in creative or scholarly achievement. The initial appointment of an assistant professor is for four years. Rice reviews all assistant professors in the third year of their first appointment and, if their performance is satisfactory, offers them a second four-year appointment. (For more information on this procedure, see Section VI.A below.) Although review for promotion and tenure can take place at any point during these two four-year appointments, review cannot occur later than the seventh year as an untenured assistant professor (see Section VI.B below.) This rule ensures that a candidate denied tenure will have one additional year in which to seek an alternative appointment. The only circumstances that can delay tenure review to a point beyond the seventh year involve leave(s) of absence. For example, a maternity leave can delay review by one year; a candidate may delay reviews no more than two times, however, due to a maternity leave (see Section VII.A below).
When the requirements for the doctoral degree are not completed before November 1st of the first year at Rice, the appointment is changed to an annually renewable appointment as an acting assistant professor, as described in Section V.B.4 below.
Promotion to the rank of associate professor includes the award of tenure. But individuals may enter Rice on an initial appointment as an untenured associate professor. Such an appointment cannot exceed three years, and such a faculty member must achieve tenure within seven or fewer years. See Policy 201 "Faculty Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure."
Promotion to full professor typically follows after promotion to associate professor. Promotion to full professor is not a requirement for continued service at Rice, however, and should not be viewed as an automatic advancement. Promotion to the rank of professor normally carries continuing tenure, but policy does provide for an initial three-year appointment as an untenured full professor. Untenured full professors must achieve tenure within seven or fewer years. See Policy 201 "Faculty Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure."
Part-time appointments within the professorial ranks are rare, and usually involve joint appointments at other institutions. The initial appointment term must be specified in the president's official offer letter. Such appointments can be renewed without limit to the length of service in this status.
Upon retirement from Rice, a faculty member may be granted the status of emerita/emeritus professor. This is an honorary appointment meant to recognize distinguished service to Rice and the scholarly community at large. It does not entitle the person to support such as clerical help, office space, or lab space. Sometimes the university, with the approval of the Board of Trustees, rehires an emeritus/emerita faculty member on a part-time, term appointment to teach a course, carry on research, or fill an administrative position. Without such a supplemental appointment, an emerita/emeritus faculty member is not an employee of the university and may not be entitled to hold federal grants and contracts. Emeritus/emerita status is retained during supplemental appointments.
With the few exceptions discussed in Section V.A.4 above, part-time appointments are within the nonprofessorial ranks. If subsequently a part-time member of the faculty gains a tenure-track appointment, her/his prior part-time service will not be included in the time limits associated with the tenure-track position. See Section V.A.1 above.
Rice frequently appoints faculty members to such administrative positions within the university as departmental chair or dean. Although such faculty members retain the tenure rights associated with their university ranks, they do not have tenure in their administrative appointments.
The position of instructor is untenured. An instructor's initial appointment may be for up to two years and may be extended for up to a total of eight years. Appointment as an instructor carries no eligibility for any other position.
There are several named instructorships within the Schools of Natural Sciences and Engineering. These instructorships are one- or two-year untenured appointments that are in some ways comparable to postdoctoral research fellowships but do carry a teaching requirement.
An acting assistant professor is an untenured member of the faculty who was appointed to a four-year term as assistant professor contingent on receiving a Ph.D. but who did not complete the requirements for the Ph.D. by November 1 of the first year. This appointment is usually for one year and can be renewed. If an acting assistant professor is subsequently reappointed as an assistant professor, her/his time spent as an acting assistant professor will not count toward the eight-year limit on untenured service at Rice. Years of service as an acting assistant professor can count toward a sabbatical leave. Policy 201 "Faculty Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure" defines this appointment at Rice. See also Policy 203-97 "Faculty Appointments--Assistant Professor."
Lecturers are untenured members of the faculty whose primary roles are instructional with no obligations of research and service. Lecturers are appointed for up to two years initially and can be renewed in increments of up to three years indefinitely.
Rice sometimes makes appointments with distinctive titles indicative of specialized functions. Such appointments include artist in residence, composer in residence, critic, or clinical faculty. These appointments usually carry the same conditions as lecturer but without voting rights at faculty meetings.
Visiting appointments are sometimes extended to faculty members from other institutions. These untenured appointments are made at a rank appropriate to the individual's status at the home institution. The terms and conditions of these contracts are individually defined but usually must provide for the resumption of employment at the home institution upon termination of the appointment at Rice.
An adjunct professor is typically an individual from another institution whose scholarly or professional activities enrich and complement Rice programs and interests. All adjunct appointments may initially be for up to two years and may be renewed in increments of up to three years. They do not involve tenure or remuneration and carry no voting rights at faculty meetings.
The position of Professor in the Practice is designed to bring individuals with extensive experience outside of academia to educate Rice students in their field of expertise. The goal is to provide a unique educational experience that cannot be provided by tenure-track faculty. The president appoints such professors in the practice at the request of a school. The faculty practitioner is non tenure-track and non-tenure eligible. The appointment is for up to three years and is renewable for an unlimited number of terms. Individuals with practitioner rank may not serve as chair of thesis or dissertation committees and may not be principal investigator on research support.
Rice policy provides for research faculty positions that parallel those within the professorial ranks. Thus the positions of faculty fellow, senior faculty fellow, and distinguished faculty fellow are research appointments parallel to those of assistant, associate, and full professor within the tenure system. Policy 327 "Research Faculty" details fully the conditions that govern these research appointments and the procedures by which an individual may be appointed to such a position. The most important distinctions between these positions and routine faculty appointments are: (a) they do not carry tenure, (b) they are supported entirely from external research funds, and (c) they carry no requirement for classroom teaching. Research faculty may attend faculty meetings and vote on all matters except those pertaining to tenure or exclusively to undergraduate affairs. Typically Rice makes a research faculty appointment for no less than three and no more than five years. A faculty fellow must be considered for promotion to senior faculty fellow before the end of the sixth year in rank. An unfavorable review is followed by a one-year terminal appointment. However, all renewals and continuing service are contingent upon availability of external research funds.
Tenure and tenure-track faculty may on occasion be awarded additional honorary titles based on past performance and with the expectation of future performance. These endowed chairs are, according to policy 202-03, "awarded to, and withdrawn from, faculty at the pleasure of the president in consultation with the appropriate dean." According to that policy, the relevant dean should appoint an Honorary Title Committee selected from among tenured faculty holding honorary titles, who will assist the dean in deciding whom to recommend for the endowed chair.
Endowed chairs, as noted, may be withdrawn at the discretion of the president, if a chair holder is deemed "deficient in his or her level of performance." But the policy does not leave that discretionary judgment to the president alone. It requires the relevant dean to assemble an Honorary Title Committee to review the performance of the faculty member in question. Furthermore, the committee, if it does identify a deficiency, "should suggest a way for the honor holder to remover the deficiency" within a reasonable period.
A professor whose honorary title has been removed may, moreover, request the convener of the Appeals and Grievances Committee of Faculty Senate to form a review committee, if he or she "feels that this or her academic freedom has been infringed or has procedural objections" related to the way the title was removed. He or she must do so, however, within thirty days of the president's decision. A special committee named by Appeals and Grievances, and consisting of three tenured members of the faculty holding honorary titles, will investigate the case and submit its confidential recommendations to the grievant, the president, and the speaker of Faculty Senate.