10.10 Research Track Policy

(Regents enacted 6/12/08; amended 7/15; 12/15)

Preamble. Consistent with the University's need to retain the flexibility to adjust its programs to meet the changing needs of the modern research university, non-tenured research-track faculty may be appointed and promoted as provided below. This policy sets parameters within which individual colleges can develop policies and procedures that permit the hiring of research-track faculty. Operationally, collegiate policy would amplify this policy.

  1. Definitions. Research-track faculty hold positions through which they contribute primarily to the research mission of the University and hold faculty rank at assistant professor, associate professor, or professor. Research-track faculty are not eligible for tenure. Research-track faculty members can participate in internal college governance by the approval of the tenured/tenure-track faculty but cannot vote on the hiring of tenured/tenure-track or clinical-track faculty. With regard to Faculty Senate representation, no more than 10 percent of the senators from any college, or one senator, whichever is greater, may be research-track faculty from that college and may be appointed to any committees of the Senate or to University charter committees as a faculty representative. They can qualify for awards and can compete for internal research grants in the same manner as research scientists who are professional and scientific staff.
  2. Role of research-track faculty. Research-track faculty will devote almost all of their time to performing externally supported research and are expected to submit or assist in the submission of research grant applications. Teaching is an essential function of all faculty, but in the case of the research-track faculty it would occur predominantly in the form of service on doctoral committees (including serving as a co-chair with a tenure-track faculty member) with the approval of the Graduate College. Research-track faculty cannot be assigned to teach courses, but they could provide auxiliary lectures on areas of knowledge relevant to their research or to engage in other teaching as may be required by the terms of their research grant or contract. Research-track faculty cannot be assigned to perform administrative functions with little or no research obligations as that assignment would be inconsistent with this policy.
  3. Collegiate policies and changes; size of research faculty.
    1. Every college that plans to offer salaried, non-tenured research-track faculty appointments must develop its own written policy statement with respect to such appointments consistent with all the terms of this policy. Any policy must address each of the following:
      1. Participation of research-track faculty in collegiate faculty governance, including the appointment, reappointment, promotion, and peer review of other research faculty. Research-track faculty may not participate in any personnel decisions relating to the appointment, reappointment, promotion, and peer review of tenured/tenure-track or clinical-track faculty.
      2. Procedures for appointment, reappointment, and promotion of research-track faculty.
      3. Criteria for appointment, reappointment, and promotion for research-track faculty.
      4. Description of the role of salary support in the decision to renew or terminate appointments, including a statement regarding whether limited bridge funding may be available, but not guaranteed, from the department or college from funds other than general education funds.
      5. Research-track faculty members may apply for open positions in the tenure track, but they may be appointed to the tenure track only one time during their career at The University of Iowa. Colleges may further define their own policies related to track switching.
    2. Each college adopting a research-track policy shall fix the size of its total salaried faculty that may hold research-track appointments. The limit on the number of research faculty in any college shall be the greater of eight faculty members or ten percent of the tenured/tenure-track faculty (computed in FTEs) of that college.
    3. Support for research-track faculty, including all start-up costs, shall be funded exclusively by grants, contracts, clinical income, and private donations, and not with general education funds.
    4. The initial policy to create a research track in a college and any proposal made at any time to change that policy within a college must obtain both the approval of a majority of the tenured/tenure-track faculty within the college and the approval of a majority of the research-track faculty within the college by a vote supervised by the Associate Provost for Faculty. Any proposal to adopt or to change a college's research track policy must be approved by the University of Iowa Faculty Senate, the Executive Vice President and Provost, and the President. Any collegiate policy must be wholly consistent with this policy.
  4. Terms of Appointments. Research-track faculty are sought and appointed through recruitment processes used to appoint tenure-track faculty.

    Initial appointments for research-track faculty are one to three years in duration. After three years or prior to that if a promotion is contemplated, a full-scale, departmental-collegiate review will be made. This review should take into account the research-track faculty member's effectiveness in fulfilling the research mission and the ability of the research-track faculty member to obtain and sustain extramural salary support. It also should include an evaluation of the departmental, collegiate, and University research goals and the likely role of the research-track faculty member in the future in achieving those goals. To assure adherence to standard procedures, a full central administration review of the departmental-collegiate recommendation is necessary.

    After approval of the departmental-collegiate review, research-track faculty will receive terms of appointment consistent with established procedures for non-tenure track University employees; however, appointments cannot be for a period longer than current external support for that faculty member.

    Research-track faculty will be reviewed on a schedule commensurate with their appointments, according to written standards of competence and performance defined by their college and departments. Reappointments are to be made only if the research faculty member has a demonstrated record of successfully obtaining external support to fund the research-track faculty member's research.
  5. Qualifications for specific ranks. The ranks of research-track faculty shall be assigned as defined below, and in accordance with collegiate policies. Candidates for promotion shall be evaluated primarily upon the quality of their research (see paragraph g).
    1. Assistant professor.
      1. Terminal degree (or its equivalent) appropriate to the field.
      2. Evidence of productive scholarship.
      3. Evidence of ability to fulfill relevant responsibilities in the research enterprise.
    2. Associate professor.
      1. Terminal degree (or its equivalent) appropriate to the field.
      2. Record of productive scholarship in high-quality venues such as peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, or books appropriate to the discipline.
      3. Evidence of extramural research funding and sustained salary support from extramural grants and/or contracts on which the faculty member is listed as key personnel. 
      4. Fulfillment of important responsibilities in the research enterprise.
      5. Clear evidence of regional recognition by peers.
    3. Professor.
      1. Terminal degree (or its equivalent) appropriate to the field.
      2. Established record of productive scholarship in high-quality venues such as peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, or books appropriate to the discipline.
      3. Established record of sustained research funding with substantial salary support from extramural grants and/or contracts on which the faculty member is listed as key personnel.
      4. Sustained fulfillment of important responsibilities to the research enterprise.
      5. Clear evidence of national or international recognition by peers.
  6. Titles. All titles of research-track faculty shall contain the term "research" as a modifier. Exact titles must be stipulated in college procedures and approved by the Executive Vice President and Provost.
  7. Promotion. The question of promotion of research-track faculty may be brought up during any regular promotions cycle. Candidates for promotion shall be evaluated primarily upon the quality of their research. Incidental teaching and service activities may also be given some consideration as permitted by collegiate and department guidelines. Promotion of research-track faculty will follow University and collegiate Procedures for Research-Track Promotion Decision Making at The University of Iowa. All recommendations for promotion of research faculty are submitted to the Board of Regents for approval.
  8. Termination and non-renewal.
    1. Termination during the term of the appointment due to end of funding. In cases where a research track faculty member’s funding ends before the end of the appointment, the faculty member shall receive three months’ written notice prior to termination.
    2. Termination during the term of the appointment for reasons other than end of funding — i.e., for cause. Termination of a research track faculty member during the term of his or her appointment may also occur for failure to meet written standards of competence and performance established by the University or the unit.
    3. Non-renewal of appointment for reasons other than end of funding. Written notice of non-renewal or the intention not to renew an appointment shall be given according to the following standards:
      1. During an initial appointment on the research track, at least three months in advance of the last day of employment.
      2. During a second or subsequent appointment on the research track, at least six months in advance of the last day of employment.
    4. A decision for termination or non-renewal of research-track faculty is subject to the provisions of III-29 Faculty Dispute Procedures.
  9. This policy shall be reviewed not later than five years following its implementation by a committee of the Faculty Senate appointed by the President of the Faculty Senate after consultation with the Executive Vice President and Provost. The review shall be completed within one academic year. Immediately following such review, the University of Iowa Faculty Senate shall vote on whether to renew this policy. Subject to paragraph h above (relating to termination and non-renewal), if the policy is not renewed, the research track shall be abolished.