Chapter 6: Tenure

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6.H Joint Appointments

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One of the University of Michigan’s great strengths is its commitment to help faculty move across disciplinary boundaries to undertake innovative intellectual, scientific, and artistic endeavors and to create new knowledge. When a faculty member’s sense of academic “home” crosses disciplinary boundaries, he or she may establish and maintain two or more academic bases.

A joint appointment occurs when a faculty member holds appointments in more than one unit (for example: in two academic units; in an academic unit and a research unit; or in an academic unit and an administrative unit) (see, e.g., SPG 201.10 (“Administrative Department”).

The Office of the Provost has developed a set of guidelines for joint academic appointments, with contributions from associate deans and deans. The purpose of the guidelines is to assist deans, directors, and department chairs in helping faculty members who hold joint appointments to succeed and thrive as scholars at the University of Michigan.

Unless otherwise mutually agreed upon by all parties (the faculty member and all deans and chairs or directors of the appointing units), a primary unit should be identified for each faculty member. SPG 202.10 – “Administrative Department.” The policies and practices of that primary unit will usually govern any subsequent review process and decision regarding the awarding of tenure to that faculty member. In such cases, the tenure granted may be associated with only one of the appointments. In instances where tenure could be awarded in more than one unit, the policies and practices of each unit will usually govern the review processes and decisions regarding the awarding of tenure in each particular appointing unit. See SPG 201.13.

Year-to-year fluctuations in actual assignments across different appointing units do not change a unit’s responsibility for the faculty member’s tenured appointment fraction. That is, the fraction of the appointment that is formally tenured in any given unit is the portion of the appointment that is afforded the protections of tenure. See SPG 201.13. If tenure in a unit is associated with a partial appointment, the University is not obligated to increase the percentage of the individual’s tenure-track appointment.