Faculty and Instructors

Faculty Position Requests

Each summer (often in July), the dean solicits requests from chairs for new positions. Because all faculty lines are controlled by the dean, filling a vacancy left by the departure of a faculty member also requires such a request. These requests must make a persuasive argument to justify the position, noting such things as the courses that will be taught, the credit hour production that will be generated, and other departmental needs that will be met. Providing data that demonstrate trends and ongoing need is especially helpful for the College in making these decisions. The form for making such a position request is available in the eChairs Resources.

Because of the limited resources available, it is critical that we add new faculty positions in areas where they will provide the greatest impact on the institution’s teaching and research missions. To provide the new provost with sufficient information to make wise decisions on the allocation of new positions, we are asking that you provide a detailed justification for any new positions you are requesting.

This justification must include a description of how the position addresses the goals and needs of the department’s undergraduate and graduate programs. The request should also state how the position advances the department’s and university’s research efforts, particularly collaborative efforts. Required elements of the justification are outlined below.

The undergraduate component of the proposal should include the following:

  1. Relationship of the position to the undergraduate curriculum including: teaching load, courses taught, regularity of course offerings, and significance of courses covered by this position
  2. Enrollment in the program, impact of the position on serving and increasing the number of majors over the next three years, and impact on degrees awarded
  3. The impact of the position on the ability of the department to deal with increasing enrollments in service courses (if applicable).
  4. Potential impact of the position on diversity, student learning, use of technology , and opportunity for innovation in the curriculum

The graduate component of the proposal should include the following:

  1. Relationship of the position to the graduate curriculum including: teaching load, courses taught, regularity of course offerings, and significance of courses covered by this position
  2. Enrollment in the graduate program, impact of the position on serving and increasing the number of graduate students over the next three years, and impact on degrees awarded

The research component of the proposal should include this information:

  1. Potential fit of position into existing research/creative activities within the department
  2. Potential fit of position into existing research/creative activities within the university
  3. Potential to increase collaborative research activities
  4. Description of how the individual will enhance the University’s ability to retain its status as a Very High Research Activity institution

Undergraduate and graduate needs may not be equally balanced in a proposed position and some areas might have a restricted opportunity to impact the University’s research ranking. Unique opportunities and circumstances, or significant curriculum innovation, may arise that allow programs to petition for a new faculty position. However, it is expected that position requests for a “unique” position also will be justified using the criteria listed above. [rev. 4.14.2020]

Resignations and Retirements

A faculty member who wishes to resign or retire must send written notice of their retirement or resignation to the Dean’s Office (ideally, with a copy to the chair). No resignation or retirement will be official until the dean receives this notification. In the case of resignations and retirements, as in the case of all employees leaving their position, an exit PA needs to be completed by the department and signed by the chair to take the faculty member off payroll at the appropriate date.

Emeritus Status

The lifetime title of Emeritus is an honor designating a retired faculty member as having demonstrated a distinguished professional career and as having made significant contributions to The University of Alabama.

Emeritus status is one of distinction and is not to be given automatically. It must be conferred by The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees upon the recommendation of The University of Alabama.

More Information

For a list of criteria for emeritus status and the nomination procedure, read the UA emeritus policy (PDF).

An example of a draft of a retirement resolution is in the Resources section of eChairs.

Appointments (Faculty)

Appointments to the faculty of the College are made on the basis of available resources and the needs of the academic programs, according to the procedures detailed in the Faculty Handbook, Chapter 2, Section II. All appointment procedures are governed by both the spirit and the letter of the University’s policy on affirmative action.

Unless tenure is specifically awarded upon initial appointment (as written into the appointment letter), which is done only in exceptional cases, initial faculty appointments fall into one of four categories: probationary, renewable contract faculty (RCAP), full-time instructors, and part-time instructors. Temporary appointments, either full or part-time, are made for the period of employment specified in the letter of appointment. Time spent in a temporary position does not apply toward the earning of tenure.

Probationary faculty members are employed with the expectation that an appropriate level of performance during the probationary period will result in the awarding of tenure. Each probationary faculty member, however, will be formally reviewed at least annually by the Department’s Retention Committee and by the chair (as well as the College) for the purpose of assessing the individual’s progress toward tenure and to assist in making improvements in their performance. A recommendation to terminate the probationary appointment must be submitted to the dean. A probationary faculty member’s services may be terminated prior to a formal tenure decision if such a recommendation receives approval by the dean and the provost and vice President for Academic Affairs.

Appointment Letters (Faculty)

Appointment letters for faculty, RCAP Faculty, and Full-Time Temporary Instructors are written by the dean, after a period of negotiation with the successful candidate (chairs are closely involved in this process and should confer with the College prior to an appointment letter being drafted.) Appointment letters for Part-Time Temporary Instructors are to be written by the chair. Offer letters are to include pertinent terms of the employment agreement including salary, position title, and work-load expectations. A signed and dated copy of the letter of appointment must be returned by the successful candidate by a deadline specified in the letter of appointment and a copy of the letter must be included in a faculty member’s retention and/or tenure and promotion dossier. (Some chairs and applicants elect to black out any private data, such as salary [although this number is public knowledge inasmuch as it is on file in Gorgas Library] or start-up fund amounts.)

Adjunct Faculty

Adjunct faculty status may be accorded to individuals not otherwise employed by the University (i.e., although they may teach courses, current staff may not be appointed to adjunct status) who perform services to the educational and research programs of the University. Criteria used for establishing eligibility for appointment to an adjunct rank include substantial professional preparation or experience comparable to the requirements for appointment to a regular faculty appointment at the assigned the rank of adjunct. This appointment is non-tenure earning, carries no remuneration in and of itself, and is for a specified period up to a year. This appointment is subject to renewal upon mutual agreement.

Adjunct faculty will be expected to perform service for the University. This service may take the form of teaching of courses, directing fieldwork or students or consulting on research or instructional projects. No time spent in adjunct status may be applied to the removal of probationary status. Appointments may be made at the ranks of adjunct instructor, adjunct Assistant Professor, adjunct Associate Professor, or adjunct Professor. In medically related fields, the designation “clinical” may be used instead of “adjunct.”

Persons holding adjunctive rank are entitled to limited University benefits. Adjunct faculty members may use University Health Services for injuries incurred in the course of performing University responsibilities. Adjunct faculty have library and Supply Store privileges and access to University recreational facilities. Adjunct faculty members do not receive faculty priority for athletic tickets and are not entitled to University insurance and retirement benefits. Adjunct faculty members may be compensated for services provided. The amounts of compensation will vary depending on the kind of service rendered and the rank of appointment. To apply for this status, the chair sends a letter of request on department letterhead accompanied by the applicant’s curriculum vita. This letter should provide specific information regarding the appointee and the unit’s needs. A current curriculum vita for the potential adjunct faculty member must accompany the request. If it agrees, the Dean’s Office prepares a letter of appointment to the potential adjunct faculty member. Copies will be sent to the chair and provost.

Renewable Contract Faculty (RCAP)

RCAP are faculty appointed to full-time, 9- or 12-month, multi-year positions that are not on the tenure track. RCAP efforts are based primarily on clinical responsibilities or teaching or program administration, or service or combination thereof. RCAP do not have a primary responsibility in research or scholarship or creative activity outside teaching/clinical responsibility and thus have a much less or non-existent research-intensive focus. For more information on the RCAP appointment, see the RCAP Personnel Policy in eChairs Resources.

Full-Time Instructor

A 3-hour course is 20 percent of a full teaching load for a full-time instructor. Full-time instructors are hired with either 100 percent teaching or 80/20 teaching and service. The 20 percent service should be outlined in the appointment letter previous to the hiring of a full-time instructor. These instructors are not part of the tenure-earning system; they are typically hired through a search process and are hired for a 9-month contract, sometimes renewable (based on their performance) for up to three years with the possibility of renewal. [rev. 6.2.14]

Part-Time Instructor

Part-time instruction is used when only a small number of courses need to be staffed with instructors. Often this occurs during periods in which faculty positions are vacant (due to maternity leaves, sabbatical leaves, etc.). Also, part-time instructors can be used if a course is highly specialized and someone from outside the unit is most appropriate as an Instructor. Funding for a part-time instructor usually comes from the department. Some are approved in the soft-money request process.

Visiting Scholars

A visiting scholar at The University of Alabama is entitled to certain privileges and access to certain facilities for the duration of the visitor’s stay at the University. These privileges include an official ID (i.e., the ACT card, a campus identification card allowing use of the University libraries without charge), eligibility to purchase employee campus parking permits (if available) at the established rate, and eligibility to use campus recreational facilities on a space-available basis upon payment of any required fees.

A visiting scholar is not eligible to participate in the retirement and insurance benefit plans which are only available to permanent University employees, nor to make use of student services such as the University Health Service and group insurance plans for which students pay fees; nor to take University courses for credit without payment of appropriate tuition and fees.

Eligibility for visiting scholar status is limited to those who are not on the University payroll as employees in any capacity and those who are visiting the University under the sponsorship of an academic unit for the furtherance of scholarly interests. Visiting scholars may include faculty members on leaves of absence from another institution of higher learning, postdoctoral fellows or others who hold a terminal degree in their field and are invited to visit by a University department or division. If compensation is involved for a visiting scholar, a ”Waiver of Normal Posting and Recruiting Procedures” must be completed so that he/she will be compensated. The application for acquiring visiting scholar status can be obtained from the Dean’s Office.

Joint Appointments

Joint appointments greatly enhance the interdisciplinary offerings of the College. While for tenure and promotion purposes all faculty are appointed in one/a primary department, certain faculty, in essence, are members of two degree granting units (e.g., appointed 50 percent to each unit, or 75 percent to one and 25 percent to the other). Chairs in both units must work together and with the Dean’s Office to clarify the faculty member’s FTE assignments in the two units as well as any issues regarding evaluation (both department’s chairs have access to the faculty member’s Digital Measures), retention/tenure and promotion, and salary increases for faculty with joint appointments. Any untenured faculty member holding a joint appointment must have clear and explicit guidelines regarding each department’s expectations. Joint appointments are not to be confused with cross-appointments.


Unlike joint appointments, some faculty who hold a 100 percent appointment to one unit can also hold an appointment to another (often entailing that they teach periodically for the second unit). Such cross-appointments (sometimes known as affiliated faculty) enhance the interdisciplinarity of the College and assist units with few or no teaching staff of their own, but require chairs to carefully consider a faculty member’s FTE and duties in their home unit before entertaining a request for a cross-appointment. Cross-appointments to other units are possible only with the permission of the chair, and in consultation with the Dean’s Office.

Hiring Faculty

The Dean’s Office has developed a hiring packet to help department search committees and departmental support staff navigate the faculty recruiting process. Included in the packet is a step-by-step list of the procedures, required forms, advertising procedures facilitated by the College (to increase the pool of candidates to include under-represented minorities and women; see Ensuring Diversity in Your Faculty Hiring Pool) and other information to promote a successful search. The packets are distributed to chairs very early in the Fall semester (often at the Chairs Retreat in early September each year); this distribution constitutes the chair’s notification that his or her unit has been granted a faculty search.

N.B.: The departure of a faculty member does not necessarily mean that the unit will retain the position. Because all faculty lines are, ultimately, the College’s, all vacancies as well as new positions are granted to a unit by the College and result only from a persuasive faculty position request by the chair. All faculty positions that are authorized for searches are managed through jobs.ua.edu

It is up to the chair to determine the role and function of the department’s search committee (i.e., is its job merely to narrow the list of possible interviewees or does this committee also do the interviewing and recommend a ranked list of applicants to the chair?). Once the unit has arrived at its top applicant (a process which has involved the divisional associate dean interviewing the applicants when making their campus visits), and with the agreement of the dean, the dean communicates verbally and informally through the divisional associate dean to the chair the terms of the offer (e.g., salary, whether start-up funds are being committed, etc.) The chair communicates the terms of the offer to the candidate with the understanding that all offers are coming from the dean. If the candidate would like to negotiate or discuss any terms of the offer the information goes back to the chair and communication continues to follow the same route within the Dean’s Office. All offers to incoming department chairs are communicated to the candidate directly from the dean.

Once verbal negotiations have concluded, the chair will forward specifics of the negotiations to the Dean’ Office and the dean mails an official offer to the candidate. The candidate is given a specified period to officially accept the offer in writing.

N.B.: At no time should members of the search committee be involved in hiring negotiations; chairs would be wise to discuss, well ahead of time, his or her expectations for how the unit communicates with all applicants, so as to ensure that only professional interactions that are representative of the unit take place with all applicants.

N.B.: Although Arts and Sciences usually supports the costs of bringing two finalists to campus for interviews, if the department brings members of an under-represented group to campus, the College will support the costs of up to two members of under-represented groups, in addition to any other two finalists that the College financially supports for on-campus interviews. Chairs interested in this option should speak with their divisional associate dean.

All faculty hires new to UA must include a background check. For a checklist of the procedure for mounting a search, including the on-campus interview, see Search and Interview Checklist in the eChairs Resources.

Background Checks (Faculty)

Background checks must be run for all new faculty hires. The general background check policy and the background check process for faculty hires can be found on the HR website in their HR Policy Manual. This will be done for tenure-track and tenured hires as well as GTA, part-time and full-time instructors, and RCAP appointments. This background check, the possibility of which will be announced to all applicants as part of the online application system, is offered/facilitated by the University (i.e., the HR Department’s specialists in this area, who handle all such issues for the University) and involves the Dean’s Office only (i.e., departments are not responsible to initiate the check, to contact the candidate to inform him or her, or to be involved in analyzing or discussing the results). In the search process, this will normally be done only for the finalist.

Creating a Fantastic Experience (CAFE) Breakfasts

CAFE is a program whereby Arts and Sciences faculty are invited to volunteer to join on-campus interview candidates for breakfast, to provide them with informal information about campus, living in Tuscaloosa, different interests the candidate might have (hobbies, outdoors, etc.). Participation in this program is recognized as important service to the College. A CAFE breakfast is required of all searches within Arts and Sciences; the College pays the bill for the meal. Chairs are responsible to invite the applicant/interviewee to register for the program (though candidates will, of course, determine whether they in fact register) and to retain a copy of the invitation letter in the search file, producing it for their Associate Dean if requested. These meetings are understood by the Dean to be “off the record,” i.e., not part of the usual assessment process that accompanies on-campus interviews. Those attending these breakfasts are therefore not expected to report to the search committee or hiring Department. Visit CAFE’s online site (where candidates and faculty register to participate in the program) for more information.

I-9 Form

To comply with the Immigration Act of 1990, all employers must verify the identity and employment eligibility of anyone who is employed by The University of Alabama. Form I-9, which is available in departmental offices, must be completed at the time of employment. A photocopy of Form I-9 may be used; however, the individual being hired must complete and sign the form personally. Usually, departments include the completed Form I-9 with other employment documents that are submitted to the payroll office (e.g., the PA). The University of Alabama Office of Human Resources must receive the completed Form I-9 within three days of employment beginning.

International Students and Faculty

If you are considering hiring an international candidate, you must consult with your HR representative and with Capstone International immediately. Capstone International offers guidance for department chairs in navigating immigration and Department of Labor laws and regulations. Capstone International is in 105 B.B. Comer (the north end of B.B. Comer Hall, immediately south of the Student Services building). Contact them at 348-5402 or visit the Capstone International website. Immigration laws change frequently enough that the eChairs website will no longer provide specific information on types of visas or on permanent residency. Contact your divisional associate dean or Capstone International if you have any questions.

The College has retained a private practice law firm in Tuscaloosa to handle all faculty Permanent Residency immigration cases; contact your divisional associate dean for more information.

Personnel Action and New Faculty/Staff Set-Up forms

The Personnel Action form is the primary means of communicating to all central University administrative offices that an individual has been hired. In addition, as information about an employee changes (retirement, promotion, leaving the payroll for the summer months, taking a sabbatical, a new appointment within the University, stepping down as chair, etc.), a new PA must be completed. The New Faculty/Staff Set-Up form (sometimes called the “Zero PA” within the College of Arts and Sciences) can be completed at any time prior to an appointment beginning (e.g., earlier in the summer, when a new faculty member has moved to the city, prior to his/her August start date). It is used to give an incoming faculty or staff member a Campus Wide Identification number (CWID) and thus an email address. Instructions for the form are found on the HR website.

Start-Up Funds

The College and University (sometimes the department as well) can decide to provide start-up funding to new faculty members to ensure that they have the tools available to establish and perform research and/or creative activities essential to their new position. These funds are provided to the faculty member who, with assistance from departmental staff, is responsible for using the funds in accordance with the agreement made at the time of hiring. Incoming faculty may not begin to spend start-up funds until after their official start date. Start-up funding is allocated for a specific period of time (e.g., one or two years) and for specific purposes negotiated during the hiring process (e.g., to purchase specific equipment). The Dean’s Office, however, will work with new faculty to maximize the impact of the funding. Chairs are asked to assist new faculty to ensure that start-up funds are spent in a timely manner, that they are properly tracked by the department’s budget officer, and are used in accordance with University policies. All equipment or materials purchased with UA start-up funds remain the property of The University of Alabama, even if the faculty member leaves the employ of the university. Find the Guidelines for Faculty Start-up Funds in eChairs Resources.

New Faculty Orientation

Shortly after their appointment begins in mid-August each year, new faculty members are hosted at an all-day workshop sponsored by the staff of Rose Administration Building, at which point the faculty members are introduced to senior campus leadership and cross-campus resources and initiatives. Early each Fall semester, a reception, hosted by the president, is also held for new faculty members. Incoming faculty members are also invited to an orientation, just before or soon after their appointment begins and sponsored by the Benefits Office, at which point new faculty members are provided with information concerning their appointment and benefits. At this meeting new faculty can also complete and submit most of their paperwork for retirements benefits, medical and dental insurance, and life insurance. The Benefits Office should know the names of all faculty who should be invited to these orientations, but a chair would be wise to confirm that their incoming faculty are scheduled for this important orientation.

First-, Second-, and Third-Year Faculty Seminars

Arts and Sciences has sponsored numerous workshops, throughout the academic year, for new faculty members. These seminars are often held later in the day and introduce new faculty to resources, policies, personnel, and initiatives within the College and University. Chairs are requested to encourage their new faculty to attend these seminars regularly.

Evaluating Faculty

Faculty Activity Report (FAR)

Faculty Activity Reports (FAR) are completed annually by tenure-track faculty, tenured faculty, CLTF, and chairs. (Individual units may elect to have full-time and part-time instructors also complete the form, as a basis for making future decisions concerning possible reappointments). These reports document the annual workload, accomplishments, and goals of individual faculty. They also include comments, verification, and numerical ratings of faculty given by the chair. The FAR also has a Tenure and Promotion module for those faculty hired since Fall 2010 that takes the place of the physical dossier.

The FAR is an extremely important document and should be prepared by the faculty members, and checked/read by the chair, with care (e.g., data reported improperly or entered in the wrong section will lead to incorrect representations of the unit in the cumulative data that is automatically generated by the FAR). Campus-wide, regional, and national assessments regarding a faculty member’s productivity are made based on the data generated by this document. Decisions regarding a unit’s as well as the College’s resources and personnel are also made based on the FAR.

FARs cover accomplishment from April 1 to March 31 each year. This timing provides a faculty member an opportunity to complete the report, the chair to assess and comment on the faculty member’s progress, and for the two to have a conference to discuss the report before the end of each academic year (May 15). All FARs must be completed and available to the Dean’s Office no later than June 1 each year (though some departments elect to have faculty complete them well before this deadline). Current vitas for all faculty should accompany (i.e., be uploaded to) the FAR (other attachments can also be uploaded, such as PDF syllabi, articles, etc.).

Visit the Faculty Activity Report FAQ guide for more information.

N.B.: Faculty will not be eligible for merit raises in any given year if they have not completed the FAR.

Merit Raises

Apart from raises based on pay equity or particularly meritorious accomplishments, when the University sets asides funds for salary raises they are given based on personnel’s accomplishments (i.e., a merit-based system). The Dean’s Office relies heavily on a chair’s recommendations for faculty merit increases. Typically, a chair will have a pool of funds from which to make recommendations for salary increases to the Dean’s Office (being prepared to justify in writing the reasons for exceptionally high or low recommendations). A Dean’s Merit increase is additional funding that is reserved for the most meritorious faculty within the College. Department chairs are usually asked to recommend a limited percentage of their faculty for dean’s merit consideration. Chairs must be aware that their rationale for awarding raises (or for determining initial salaries for new hires) must stand up to scrutiny by other offices on campus and that the rationale is retained for future use (e.g., if a grievance is lodged at some point in the future). In writing their merit raise letters to faculty, chairs are encouraged to place into their letter the opportunity the faculty member has to make an appointment with the chair to discuss their raise.


The term is used in at least two major ways at The University of Alabama. First, to refer to the ability to retain a student from their first year to their second year. Thus, attempts to increase the University’s retention rate are directed toward increasing the likelihood that a first-year undergraduate student will enroll in their second year.

The second is to refer to the process of evaluating probationary faculty members by means of the annual retention dossier, and, in the cases of a positive evaluation, of reappointing a tenure track faculty member to his or her next academic year. See the Policies & Procedures document under Retention, Tenure & Promotion on the Resources page on the Arts and Sciences website.

The dossier, specific to Arts and Sciences, is a module within the Faculty Activity Report for all faculty hired after Fall 2010. For faculty who have not begun using the FAR module for T&P, the retention dossier is a binder (more binders are available as the documentation for a faculty member’s accomplishments build over time) which contains its documents in an order specified by the dean and provost (as identified in the A &S cover sheet/check list that must begin each candidate’s retention dossier).

The contents of the dossier (described in Chapter 2 Section VI of the Faculty Handbook) make a probationary faculty member’s annual case for being reappointed for the following year; the dossier therefore moves from the chair, to whom the candidate submits it at the start of October each year (the chair is responsible, at the outset of the process, to confirm that all documents are included in their proper order [e.g., Student Opinion of Instruction summaries, evidence of integrating the Learner-Centered Initiative, etc.]), to the Department’s Retention Committee, back to the chair with the committee’s recommendation letter now included, from the chair to the College (with the chair’s recommendation now included), and finally to the dean. This process repeats itself each year, except in the fourth year (i.e., two years prior to the application for tenure and/or promotion) when the dossier moves from the Dean’s Office to the provost, so that the Office of Academic Affairs can evaluate the dossier prior to the eventual application for tenure and/or promotion (which usually takes place in the candidate’s sixth year). At each stage of the process, candidates receive copies of each of these recommendation letters, as they are included in the dossier, and candidates retain the right to reply to each recommendation letter as it is added to the dossier. At the end of the tenure-track period, the dossier then is treated as the application for tenure and/or promotion. See the College of Arts and Sciences Policies and Procedures for Retention, Tenure, and Promotion document for more information, including a timeline of the promotion and retention process.

Retention and FAR Review Process for Faculty with Joint Appointments

Each faculty member who has a joint appointment has a primary appointment in one department of the College of Arts and Sciences, and a secondary appointment in another department. The faculty member should follow the Retention, Tenure and Promotion guidelines of the primary department. The chair of the secondary department in which they have their joint appointment will provide the department chair of the primary department an annual written evaluation of the faculty member’s progress toward retention, tenure and promotion. The faculty member’s T&P dossier will not be evaluated by the T&P committee in the secondary department.

Each year, the faculty member will complete the Faculty Activity Report, summarizing his or her accomplishments in teaching, scholarship, and service. The primary department chair will have primary responsibility for the faculty member’s annual evaluation. The secondary department chair will provide an annual written evaluation, which will be included in the faculty member’s FAR.

Tenure Clock Policy for Faculty Beginning Mid-Year

If a faculty member begins his or her appointment in the College of Arts and Sciences in January, he or she can elect to start the tenure clock either the August before or the August after beginning their appointment.

If the faculty member chooses to begin their tenure clock the August before beginning his or her appointment, she/he would waive their first-year review, normally conducted in the spring semester of the first year. These faculty members would submit the dossier the first October after their appointment begins for the second-year review. Evaluations of the faculty would reflect that the first year review had been waived.

If the faculty member elects to begin his or her tenure clock the August after their appointment begins, his or her first-year review would be conducted according to the normal schedule for first year faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences. The dossier would be due the following January, twelve months after beginning his or her appointment. It should be noted, however that any scholarly work published or grants received during the spring semester immediately following the faculty member’s appointment will not count toward tenure and promotion.

Faculty members beginning in January must decide within their first semester whether they will begin their tenure clock the August before or the August after appointment, and must notify their chair and the Dean in writing.

Student Opinion of Instruction (SOI)

The Student Opinion of Instruction (SOI) is an online evaluation system that allows students to confidentially rate their UA learning experience. The system is available toward the end of every semester. Students can complete their SOIs by logging into MyBama. A few days after grades are turned in, faculty can log into MyBama under the Faculty or Employee tab and click on the OIRA Resources channel. Select the link labeled “Student Opinions of Instruction” and then under Instructor Options, select “Your Included Courses.” Individuals being considered for retention and for tenure and/or promotion must include summaries of their evaluations as well as individual teacher course evaluations as one form of evidence of their teaching ability. For more information on the SOI, visit the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment’s website.

Faculty Workload

The official workload of the University is 12 semester hours of teaching, or equivalent service, during each term of the academic year. During a full academic year, a full-time faculty member should have activities that equate to 1.0 FTE. The chair’s duty is to assign that portion of the FTE that is dedicated to the various aspects of a faculty member’s assignment at the University of Alabama (generally, service, research and teaching). This often translates to 80 percent of an appointment, or 0.8 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) plus those duties normally associated with academic appointments filling 20 percent of an appointment or 0.2 FTE. Actual teaching assignments may be adjusted by the chair to accommodate professional research, creative activities, and significant service to the institution (whether at the level of the department, College, or University). Such assignments are agreed upon by the chair and the faculty member and are made for specified periods of time, with the expectation of specific results. There are no automatic reductions in teaching responsibilities. The dean reviews workload assignments annually (at the year-end meeting with the chair) and faculty who are not making suitable progress on research, creative activity, or service will be ineligible for further reductions in the standard teaching load. The Faculty Activity Report (FAR) is utilized to provide a summary of annual activities of all faculty members.

Any faculty member who is assigned less than 12 semester hours of credit for instructional assignments (i.e., 0.80 FTE) must have the remaining FTE accounted for in some other ways, such as:

  • Research/creative activity (i.e., effort over and above the minimum level and for which the institution expects more than minimum results)
  • Administrative duties (e.g., chair, director, associate or assistant dean, etc.)
  • Unusual internal service (i.e., department, College, or University committee work or service requiring extraordinary commitments of time and effort, e.g., undergraduate or graduate director within a department)
  • Unusual instructional effort (e.g., developing new courses or programs of study, supervising groups of instructors, teaching graduate courses, etc.)
  • Externally funded research or professional service (applicable when part of the 0.80 FTE is charged to an external grant or contract)
  • The non-teaching duties that are normally associated with academic appointments (i.e., the standard 0.20 FTE portion of a full-time faculty member’s workload) include, but are not limited to, a minimum level of research or creative activity.

Typically, a faculty member carrying out regular teaching, research, and service duties in their unit will have an FTE entered onto the Faculty Annual Report (FAR) of 40/40/20, respectively (i.e., since there is an assumption that an equal portion of their time is divided between research and teaching). The Chair would adjust this division of their time, however, in such cases where a faculty held a sabbatical, for example, in which case the FTE would be divided as 0/100/0, respectively (i.e., all the load was assigned to research for a semester or academic year, depending on the length of the sabbatical).

For the purposes of bringing someone onto payroll (i.e., information entered onto a PA), a full-time tenure track faculty member is considered a 1.0 FTE whereas a full-time instructor is considered 1.0 only if they teach 5 classes per semester or 4 classes with a defined service commitment; part-time instructors are considered 0.25 per class (making them a 0.75 FTE if teaching 3 classes in a semester).

Leaves of Absence

The chair sometimes has wide discretion when it comes to deciding how to address the absence of a faculty member who seeks a leave from their normal duties at the University. Apart from a faculty member applying for a sabbatical, faculty and staff can of course apply for long-term disability leave and family and medical leave.

If the chair can justify it, however, he or she may adjust a faculty member’s FTE to take into account an emphasis on one or more of the three areas of our career: research, teaching, and service (as is done by some chairs in cases of requests for faculty maternity/parental leaves).

This latitude does not exist when it comes to staff leaves of absence. For more information on staff leaves of absence, see the Staff page in eChairs, or the Staff Handbook, pp. 14-15.

On the various types of faculty leaves of absence that a chair might have to address, see the Faculty Handbook ([6]Chapter 4 III).


Tenured faculty members with the rank of assistant professor or above, who have taught for at least six years (i.e., 12 semesters) and administrative officers who meet certain conditions are eligible for periods of sabbatical leave. (Candidates who serve a full six years in the tenure track system, and who are tenured in their seventh year, often apply for their first sabbatical during the Fall of the seventh year, in hopes of holding a sabbatical in their eighth year.) Sabbaticals are generally granted for a semester at full pay or an academic year at half pay (each with the faculty member’s FTE transferred on the FAR to 100 percent to research). Applications for sabbatical leave are addressed to the chair and state in reasonable detail the proposed plan of study. Sabbatical leaves that involve projects or study away from campus are strongly encouraged. Chairs shall review the applications for sabbatical leave of faculty in their areas of responsibility and make their recommendations for approval or disapproval to the dean of the College, ensuring to describe arrangements made for program continuity in light of the sabbatical, a description of any budgetary adjustments that may be needed, and a priority order when more than one faculty member of the unit has requested a sabbatical.

Applications are due to the Dean’s Office near the end of October each year. The dean reviews all applications from the division in a similar manner and transmits them to the Office of Academic Affairs by the start of December each year. Upon recommendation of the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, the president will approve or deny sabbatical leave requests, providing appropriate notification to the dean. The dean will notify the individual applicant of the results. Individuals receiving sabbatical leaves should inform the dean and the department chair of any changes in their plans while on sabbatical and file a report one month after completion of the leave. The report should be submitted to the chair who in turn will forward it to the dean.

N.B.: typically, no funding is available to a department for replacing a faculty member on sabbatical (though exceptions can be made at the dean’s discretion). Also, chairs must be aware of faculty sabbatical eligibility and plan course offerings around proposed leave times. The Dean’s Office will issue to all departments a list of eligible faculty in early September each year. Finally, under normal circumstances, the College is prepared to entertain no more than two sabbatical applications per unit; should you anticipate supporting more than two applications in any given semester and/or year, please notify your divisional associate dean in advance of the application deadline to discuss your plans with him or her.

A strategic chair will recognize that the ability to cover absences due to sabbaticals, while working within the department’s budget, may be understood by some administrators to challenge a chair’s later request for new positions. A chair should therefore understand how new position requests and sabbatical requests can potentially impact each other. The Sabbatical Application form is available from the College’s Online Resources page here. Within in a month of returning to work after the completion of a sabbatical, a faculty member must submit a report.

Course Buy-Out

Faculty members, with the permission of their chair and the dean, can buy themselves out of a course by providing the College with 12.5 percent of their gross, full-time salary per course from which they wish to buy themselves out. Such buy-outs usually happen when a faculty member obtains external funding that allows them to dedicate themselves more to their research. In normal cases, no faculty member can buy themselves out of all their annual teaching duties.

It is up to a chair to determine how the unit will address such absences from the classroom and whether the unit needs to make a proposal to the College to request its possible assistance.

Reassigned Time

As stated in a faculty member’s letter of appointment, a faculty member’s teaching assignments are determined by the chair, who also determines what percentage of a faculty member’s time will be dedicated to the various aspects of the job (research/creative activity, teaching, service; see FTE). When the Chair sees it as advantageous to the unit and/or an individual faculty member’s career progress, the Chair may reassign a portion of a faculty member’s time (e.g., teaching one less course in return for serving as the Department’s Undergraduate or Graduate Director).

Chairs must be prepared to justify this reassignment to the Dean (for every reassignment away from teaching can undermine a unit’s ability to meet the needs of its students); when in doubt about the justification for such reassignments, a Chair is recommended to discuss the plan first with his or her Divisional Associate Dean.

ASPIRE: A&S Program for Intensive Research

Recognizing that assistant professors would benefit from adequate time to complete research projects crucial to their tenure and promotion, the College of Arts and Sciences is implementing a policy of work load adjustment called ASPIRE: A&S Program for Intensive Research. Untenured professors will be eligible for a one-semester assignment of 100 percent research in their third year at the University, contingent upon the following expectations.

The professor must have

  • Completed all workshops offered by the Active Learning Initiative and demonstrated evidence of developing and applying assessment matrices
  • Completed either the Publisher-in-Residence (three required meetings) or Grant Writing Program offered by A&S
  • Acquired satisfactory Student Opinions of Instruction
  • Established a respectable record of teaching

In addition, the Dean of A&S and the department Chair must concur that the professor is making good progress toward tenure in the areas of research and teaching.

In anticipation of this work load reassignment, department Chairs must have adequate time to plan the course schedule and must be able to cover their department’s teaching needs. Toward these ends, eligible faculty are expected to notify their Chair during their second year of employment about what semester they would like to participate in ASPIRE in the following year. The granting of this reassignment will be contingent upon continued progress in both research and teaching during the second year.

Please note that eligibility begins for those faculty with a hire date of August 2015.

Contracts and Grants

The College and the University strongly encourage the development of outside (i.e., external) funding to support faculty research and other academically related activities. The University Office for Sponsored Programs provides information and assistance in such efforts. Assistance in identifying possible sources of funding can also be obtained by contacting the Dean’s Office.

All formal proposals for external funding must be coordinated through and approved by the chair and the dean, who both must certify that the work proposed is compatible with the mission of the particular academic program, that the proposed project does not conflict with normal University faculty assignments, and that the proposed budgets are appropriate (e.g., that research overhead costs have been taken into account). In some cases, grant activity requires a faculty member to buy-out of teaching time and/or leave campus (such as holding a visiting position elsewhere); such proposals can only move forward with the approval of the chair and the dean inasmuch as they have implications for a faculty member’s appointment and teaching duties within a unit.

Principal investigators (PI) and project directors should make an appointment with the appropriate official in the Office of Sponsored Programs for assistance with budget preparation. Sufficient time should be allowed for the review of proposals by the faculty member’s chair and Dean’s Office. Visit the Office of Sponsored Programs website for more information.

Research Overhead

The College of Arts and Sciences currently receives an amount equivalent to 40 percent of the overhead (i.e., indirect costs) earned on contracts and grants generated by faculty members within the College. Of this amount, 25 percent will be returned to the faculty member’s home department and 25 percent to the individual researcher for use in supporting his or her research activities. Research overhead funds are used primarily to encourage research activities and to support faculty projects in progress (e.g., payment of page costs, purchase and repair of equipment, travel, and manuscript preparation, etc.). Requests for support from this fund should be made to the Dean’s Office with the approval of the chair. Learn about the research overhead incentive program.

Research Grants Committee (RGC)

Formerly known as the Research Advisory Committee (RAC), the University’s Research Grants Committee (RGC) annually awards grants to faculty to assist with their ongoing research. These awards can be in the form of a summer salary supplement or funds to cover expenses (e.g., equipment, travel and lodging to visit an archive, etc.). For more information about the Research Grants Committee, see their website.

Grant Writing Workshop

Arts and Sciences supports an annual grant writing workshop in which an external consultant comes to campus and works, over the course of a semester (in mandatory all-day workshops, spread across the semester), with faculty participating in the program (which entails developing an external grant application). A specific number of spots in the workshop are reserved for faculty from each division. Applications (which must be signed by the chair) take place in December each year and the workshop begins in January. For more information, contact the Dean’s Office.

Supplemental Compensation

Because a faculty member’s primary work-related responsibility is to fulfill the obligations of their appointment (in most cases, a 9-month appointment) to the University of Alabama, the UA policy on earning supplemental compensation for work not directly related to or required by their appointment should be reviewed prior to a faculty member submitting a request to the chair for supplemental compensation. This policy is detailed in the UA Faculty Handbook, Chapter 3, Section IX.

Find internal and external supplemental pay forms in the eChairs Forms & Policies section.

Teaching Overloads

Although faculty can teach extra courses within their own unit, there are a variety of ways faculty can teach overloads beyond increasing teaching within a department. Some of these include teaching for another unit, such as the Blount Scholars Program, New College LifeTrack (formerly the External Degree program), the McCollough Institute for Pre-Medical Scholars, Parker-Adams, or the College of Continuing Studies.

Faculty can also receive supplemental compensation for developing online courses with the College of Continuing Studies. These development funds are only available for core courses that CCS believes may be valuable to their distance learning students. Please contact the Arts and Sciences liaison to CCS if you have additional questions about online courses.

Chairs must approve all faculty teaching overloads (whether or not it earns supplemental compensation). Providing guidance to junior faculty regarding the manner in which such overloads can impair one’s progress toward tenure or promotion is important — in fact, chairs might uniformly decline a junior faculty member’s request to teach a paid or unpaid overload.

If in doubt and questions arise about teaching loads, then seek advice from your divisional associate dean.

Blount Scholars Program (BUI)

The Blount Scholars Program is a selective, four-year, living and learning community for highly motivated students featuring small, seminar-style classes, intensive interaction with faculty, and an integrated, interdisciplinary curriculum leading to a minor in liberal arts. The overall enrollment is approximately 400 students.

Faculty for the Blount Program are drawn from departments across the University (with their chairs’ permission). Courses can be taught either in-load or as overloads depending on the arrangement faculty have made with their chairs. Faculty teaching in-load receive no additional compensation and their departments receive the part-time instructor course rate for their division. Faculty teaching an overload receive $4000 per Blount course, and no payment goes to the department (though the chair’s permission to teach for Blount is still required).

Capstone International

International programs at the University of Alabama, such as interim, summer, or semester-long study-abroad courses as well as on-campus programs for overseas students visiting for a semester or more, are coordinated through Capstone International. It also has a budget to support international faculty travel; requests must be sent to the Associate Provost for International Education and Global Outreach, usually accompanied by a budget and disclosure of any other funding being sought to support the travel costs.

Capstone International also provides resources to assist international students and faculty with immigration issues. Chairs are advised to make themselves familiar with these resources if they are hiring or have hired international faculty members for whom the unit may have to file paperwork with the U.S. federal government.

If your unit has an interest in developing international connections (e.g., a peer institution, a study abroad program), begin first by contacting the Associate Dean for International Programs to see whether Arts and Sciences can be of assistance.

Consultant Work

Faculty wishing to consult outside the University, and thereby earn supplemental pay, are expected to conform to policies included in the Faculty Handbook (Chapter 3, Section IX). Permission to consult must be obtained from the unit’s chair and then also the dean, on the University’s form.

While the University encourages its faculty to use their professional skills for the wider public’s good, all academic duties/duties associated with a faculty member’s appointment to the University of Alabama take precedence over extracurricular activities. Faculty considering consulting assignments should be fully aware of the conditions governing such activities and should talk to the chair in advance of making such commitments.

Employee Assistance Program

The University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides employees with counseling services, crisis intervention resources, and workshops on basic items of workplace professionalism (e.g., stress and anger management). Chairs who have documented workplace behavioral problems in the employees they supervise may wish to consult their divisional associate dean to learn more about the resources EAP can offer to them in trying to address these issues.

Grievances (Faculty)

Grievances by a faculty member against another faculty member, a staff member, a student, and perhaps the chair or other administrators involve a variety of issues, including but not limited to allegations that academic freedom has been undermined. See the Faculty Handbook (Appendix B) for information on the University’s Mediation and Grievance system. The Dean’s Office should be contacted for advice if a chair believes a grievance may be filed against him or herself or anyone else in the unit.

Research/Travel Funds

Although the College provides a small annual travel budget for each department (apart from the annual operating budget), because chairs control their own budgets they can decide to budget funds for faculty travel and research expenses. In addition, the divisional associate deans control small travel budgets and are responsive to requests for funding from faculty. Also, minority faculty members can obtain additional resources through Arts and Sciences to assist their career development (currently administered through direct contact with the Associate Dean for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs). Other sources of funding also exist on campus, such as Capstone International, for international professional travel. The College also solicits proposals for small travel grants from graduate and undergraduate students several times a year.

Forms for faculty and student travel can be found on the Faculty Resources page of the College’s website. For international travel approval please refer to the CIC website. For the development of international MOUs, please refer to the CIC website.

Liability Insurance

The University maintains comprehensive general liability insurance for faculty members who are engaged anywhere in the world in the performance of their duties as employees of the University. Specific information concerning this insurance plan can be obtained from the Office of Risk Management.

The Office of Risk Management has also created a summary of the insurance policies available to faculty traveling abroad. Ask your associate dean for more information.