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UNG Joint Academic Appointment Guidelines

I. Introduction

Critical to the mission of the University of North Georgia (UNG) are collaborative academic endeavors that provide opportunities for faculty to teach, conduct research, and provide professional service across colleges, departments and programs. These guidelines describe the process for establishing formal collaborative endeavors between units at UNG.

Joint academic appointments may be developed between:

  • Academic departments/units within a college.
  • Academic departments/units in different colleges.
  • Academic departments/units in one or more colleges and an institute.
  • Any of the above and an administrative unit.
A joint appointment in two or more organizational units may be initiated either upon request by the faculty member or the heads/directors of the units involved in the joint appointment. A formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the conditions of the joint appointment must be agreed upon by the faculty member and the head(s) and director(s) of every department involved in the appointment.

Once approved at the departmental level, the MOU will be forwarded to the appropriate dean(s) and/or associate vice president(s) for college/division approval and then to the provost and/or the senior vice president for university affairs for final approval.  All requests for joint appointments must; a) demonstrate that they help fulfill the missions of the academic programs and university, and b) clearly show how they allow the faculty involved to achieve successful performance evaluations

II. Definitions

Academic Unit:  an academic department, institute, or college.
Home Unit:  the unit most relevant to the discipline of the faculty member making the request for the joint appointment and with which the faculty member feels the closest identity.
Joint Appointment:  faculty members hold joint appointments if they have appointments in two or more UNG units (academic or administrative).
Sharing Unit:  an academic unit that has joined with a faculty member’s identified home unit in a collaborative manner to support a joint academic appointment.

III.    Guidelines

  1. Prior to the approval of the joint appointment, a Memorandum of Understanding between the sharing unit(s) and the home unit must be developed which addresses the specific critical elements listed below. The MOU must identify or state:
    1. Units involved in the joint appointment.
    2. Home unit of the of the jointly appointed faculty member. The home unit will have the lead responsibility in the management of personnel issues and coordination of annual performance evaluations, merit decisions, tenure, and promotions in rank reviews. For tenure-track or tenured faculty, the commitment of tenure and rank will be within the home unit. Often, but not always, the home unit will be the unit with the higher workload fraction. As a general guide, the designated home unit should be the unit that is most relevant to the faculty member or administrator's discipline, inclusive of the faculty member's area of intellectual / creative pursuits, and that which the individual faculty member feels the closest identity.
    3. Terms of the appointment, e.g., academic year, twelve months, etc. (Extended appointments may be negotiated.)
    4. Tenure status of the appointment, e.g., tenured, tenure track or non-tenure track.
    5. Rank or title of the applicant for the appointment.
    6. Workload distribution between the two units and whether this is for the duration of the joint appointment or up for review at designated times; if the latter, state the times.
    7. Eligibility criteria and expectations regarding membership on unit level committees.
    8. Location of joint appointee’s office, access to instructional support materials, secretarial support, and research support.
    9. Method in which the home unit will modify its evaluation and review processes for annual review, pre-tenure, tenure, promotion, and post-tenure review to be inclusive of the sharing unit’s input on faculty performance (see Evaluation of Appointee for additional information).
    10. Processes which will be formulated to conduct joint appointment faculty searches, interviewing, and hiring.
    11. Mechanisms by which applicable revenues are managed if generated by a joint appointee with an externally funded grant.
    12. Process for modifying or terminating the joint academic appointment.
    13. Positions may not be split-funded at this time. Exceptions may be granted in rare circumstances. Additional com pension for above-load work may be provided by the sharing department.
  2. In order for the joint appointment to be executed, the MOU must contain the following signatures in the following order:
    1. Heads and/or directors of departments/programs involved in the joint appointment.
    2. Deans and/or associate vice presidents of colleges/institutes involved in the joint appointment.
    3. Provost and/or senior vice president for university affairs.
    4. Faculty member who will receive joint appointment. The faculty member’s signature signifies his/her final review and acceptance of the conditions of MOU and the joint appointment.

IV. Evaluation of Appointee

The evaluation procedures of the home unit should be followed for joint academic appointments. The evaluation procedures of the home unit must recognize the jointly appointed faculty members’ multiple academic commitments and should base evaluations on their total performance, inclusive of interdisciplinary instruction, scholarly activities, and service.   The annual evaluative processes and forms typically used within the home unit should be modified as necessary to ensure that the sharing unit has notable input in the evaluation process. While the administrator of the home unit will be responsible for completing the evaluation, the administrator of the sharing unit must also provide a written performance evaluation pertaining to the faculty member’s performance of responsibilities within the sharing unit. This evaluation must be included in the overall evaluation documents. The final evaluation completed must be reflective of these two unit level administrators’ perspectives. Prior to commencement of the appointment, both sharing unit administrators should make sure that the jointly appointed faculty member understands the explicit evaluation criteria that will be applied to his/her work in each unit. The responsibility of conducting tenure and promotion review of jointly appointed faculty lies with the home unit. However, as in the annual evaluation process, the sharing academic unit must have equitable opportunity for input during the review.

In order to resolve personnel conflicts, the home and sharing units must identify the steps jointly appointed faculty should follow if they experience concerns about the terms of the joint academic appointment and/or the actions of the units involved. In general, it is recommended that an individual faculty member’s concerns be first expressed at the most appropriate lowest level of either the home or sharing unit. Appropriate upper levels of administration related to the academic units should become involved only if the units’ efforts to resolve the difficulty prove to be unsatisfactory. If problems persist, the relevant upper level administrators should undertake to resolve them. The home unit is responsible for addressing performance and conduct issues. The home unit should consult with the sharing unit supervisor, if appropriate. If the sharing unit has concerns that require substantive corrective feedback and/or disciplinary action, the sharing unit supervisor should notify the home unit supervisor and work collaboratively to address the problem.

V. Additional Information

Each unit should provide the jointly appointed faculty member with opportunities to participate broadly in the life of the academic community. Ideally, the joint appointments will afford the faculty member substantive opportunities for involvement in scholarly activities and organizational responsibilities in each of the sharing units.  A jointly appointed faculty member’s overall effort and access to resources must be comparable, in total, to faculty who hold an academic appointment in only one unit. Such resources may include mentoring, space, equipment, travel funds and other sources of funding.

The faculty member who holds a joint appointment is expected to play an active role in helping the sharing academic units effectively collaborate. The faculty member should make the effort to become familiar with each academic unit’s expectations and procedures. If these procedures conflict, the faculty member should speak up in a timely way. The faculty member should inform the relevant administrators of issues that arise as a result of the joint appointment.

VI. New Tenure Track Faculty Appointments

If the appointment is for a tenure track faculty member, the home unit should identify a mentor for the jointly appointed faculty member who, ideally, is familiar with his or her interdisciplinary work. The mentor should provide feedback and advice for the faculty member on a regular basis throughout the year. At least once a year, the mentor and faculty member should meet together to discuss the faculty member's performance and progress.  

VII. Changes in Appointment

Faculty members with joint appointments may wish to change the terms of the original agreement. Sharing units may also wish to change the terms of their arrangements with other units or with individual jointly appointed faculty members. Such changes may be made through the establishment of a new Memorandum of Understanding as per section III above.

VIII. Hiring Jointly Appointed Faculty

The responsibility of hiring faculty into newly created joint appointment lines, or replacing faculty in an existing joint appointment line lies with the home unit. However, the sharing academic unit must have opportunity for input during the search and selection process. Accommodations must be made in the home unit’s normal hiring processes, e.g. preparation of the position description and advertising procedures, committee structure, interview format, administrative recommendation, etc. that will provide appropriate representation of the sharing academic units’ collegial peer and administrative involvement. A recommendation to the provost and/or senior vice president for university affairs to make an offer must be approved by both administrators of the sharing units.

IX. Budget

Salary will be budgeted in the home department, with an agreed upon workload distribution as specified in the MOU. Work above load may be provided by the sharing department.

Approved: Academic Affairs Committee 2/27/13

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