skip to content

2.0 Faculty and Other Academic Appointments

Print this page

2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments

In addition to faculty and research appointments at MIT, there are academic appointments of instructional staff to such positions as professor without tenure (retired), adjunct professor, professor of the practice, visiting professor, instructor, technical instructor, instructor/coach, lecturer, senior lecturer, visiting lecturer, and honorary lecturer. The aim of the procedures detailed here is to ensure that candidates for these positions receive a thorough and fair review of their qualifications and accomplishments.

Schools and departments have considerable latitude in developing complementary policies and procedures, as long as they are consistent in spirit with overall policies detailed in this section. Policies and procedures developed by Schools and departments should be distributed to all academic staff in the respective units and kept on file in the Provost's Office. Policies related to the Medical and Athletics Departments are developed in the respective department and approved by the appropriate senior officer.

Academic departments may appoint members to the instructional staff to provide supplementary teaching to meet unfilled or temporary needs, to incorporate teaching for professional practice courses, or to host visiting colleagues. Appointments are for a definite term and carry no expectation of tenure or promotion. Appointments are intended to be for a limited period, but may be renewed at the discretion of the department, on the basis of continuing need, fit with current mission, and availability of resources. Academic instructional staff who hold salaried appointments may be included in the Annual Salary Plan at the discretion of the department and the school.

Instructional staff appointments and reappointments are made and renewed at the discretion of department heads and deans, with the exception of adjunct professor, professor of the practice, visiting lecturer, and honorary lecturer appointments. See the sections on those categories for specific appointment procedures. Although an assessment of performance may be made according to procedures established by each department, neither the review nor the outcome of a review obligates a department to reappoint an incumbent.

The end date of instructional staff appointments is as specified in the appointment letter, unless it is necessary to terminate an employee sooner because of reduced funding, changes in the nature and scope of the work, or for other operational reasons. In such cases, notice of termination will be in accordance with the following standards:

  1. A three-month notice of nonrenewal shall be given to instructional staff with at least a 50-percent appointment and less than three years of continuous service.
  2. A six-month notice of nonrenewal shall be given to instructional staff with at least a 50-percent appointment and three or more years of continuous service.

If an instructional staff appointment is for less than 50-percent time and for less than three years, no notice is required. The presumption is that such appointments are temporary and terminate on the specified date unless renewed in writing.

Termination for cause may be made at any time.

Instructional staff appointments to MIT shall be made only after determining that noncitizen or nonpermanent resident candidates have appropriate immigration authorization that covers the full period of the proposed appointment. The candidate is obliged to provide this documentation before the appointment becomes effective. An offer of an appointment to an individual who is not a US citizen or permanent resident is made contingent upon receiving the appropriate immigration documentation.

With the exception of visiting professors, visiting lecturers, and honorary lecturers, academic instructional staff members with an appointment of more than three months who are paid by MIT and who are appointed for at least 50 percent of the normal, full-time schedule of their department are eligible for participation in the MIT Retirement Plan and some other staff benefits, except those benefits that are unique to the Faculty (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members). Instructional staff must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually. With the exception of instructors and senior lecturers, instructional staff do not normally receive consulting privileges.

2.3.1 Professor Emeritus and Professor Without Tenure (Retired)

A professor who retires becomes professor emeritus and may keep the name of his or her chair, emeritus. Appointments to the rank of professor emeritus are normally without salary.

With approval of the responsible dean, a professor who retires may be appointed as a professor without tenure (retired) by the appropriate department head if the individual performs compensated teaching, research or service in the department after retirement. The maximum paid effort of these appointments is 49%. Appointments to this rank are typically on the Annual Salary Plan. Normally, this appointment will be limited to a five-year term but may be renewed on an annual basis with the approval of the responsible dean. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

Professors without tenure (retired) are eligible for benefits as retirees rather than active employees. They do not have consulting privileges for the portion of their time paid for by MIT.

Professors without tenure (retired) must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Section 4.4 Conflict of Interest and Section 4.5 Outside Professional Activities. Professors emeritus who remain active at MIT may be asked to report their outside professional activities at the discretion of their department heads.

2.3.2 Adjunct Professor, Professor of the Practice

Appointments to the rank of "Adjunct Professor of _____" and "Professor of the Practice of _____" are equivalent and made only to practitioners who have developed a high level of expertise in fields of particular importance to the MIT academic program and who also demonstrate a deep commitment to teaching and research. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, teaching and conducting and supervising research. Each appointee should teach at least the major part of one subject per academic year, may be the instructor in charge of subjects of instruction, may supervise theses with departmental permission, and may be principal investigator on research projects. Refer to Section 2.3.3 for a description of adjunct associate professor and associate professor of the practice.

Adjunct professor and professor of the practice are academic instructional staff positions and may be full or part time, paid or unpaid. In cases where departments wish to commit to multiple-year appointments such appointments may be for two or more years, but not more than ten years, and must be approved by the dean, the School council (or Personnel Committee in Sloan), and the Academic Council. These appointments, which may be renewed indefinitely, are subject to a five-year review by the School council (or the Personnel Committee in Sloan), and a ten-year review by both the School council and the Academic Council. This pattern of reviews by School council every five years and by Academic Council every ten years repeats for as long as the individual holds the appointment of adjunct professor or professor of the practice. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

Adjunct professors and professors of the practice with appointments of more than three months who are paid by MIT and who are appointed for at least 50 percent of the normal, full-time schedule of their department are eligible for participation in the MIT Retirement Plan and some other staff benefits, except those benefits that are unique to the Faculty (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members). An appointment as an adjunct professor or professor of the practice carries no implication of academic tenure or of membership on the Faculty.

The total number of appointments as adjunct professor, professor of the practice, adjunct associate professor, and associate professor of the practice will be limited to 10 percent of the full-time faculty in the School of Architecture and Planning and five percent of the full-time faculty in each of the other Schools. Exceptions require the approval of the school dean and the Provost.

Full-time adjunct professors and professors of the practice may undertake specific instances of consulting service, as defined in Section 4.3 Full-Time Service, with the prior written approval of their department heads. Also, full-time adjunct professors and professors of the practice may be granted consulting privileges on an ongoing basis with the approval of their department head and the School Dean. Part-time appointees to this rank do not normally have consulting privileges. All appointees to this rank must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

2.3.3 Adjunct Associate Professor, Associate Professor of the Practice

Appointments to the rank of "Adjunct Associate Professor of _____" and "Associate Professor of the Practice of _____" are equivalent and allow the Institute to recruit practitioners in fields of particular importance to the MIT academic program. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, teaching and conducting and supervising research. Each appointee should teach at least the major part of one subject per academic year, may be the instructor in charge of subjects of instruction, may supervise theses with departmental permission, and may be principal investigator on research projects.

Adjunct associate professor and associate professor of the practice appointments are academic instructional staff positions and may be full or part time, paid or unpaid. Appointments to this rank will normally be limited to a period of eight years and must be approved by the dean, the School council (or Personnel Committee in Sloan), and the Academic Council. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

Adjunct associate professors and associate professors of the practice with an appointment of more than three months who are paid by MIT and who are appointed for at least 50 percent of the normal, full-time schedule of their department are eligible for participation in the MIT Retirement Plan and some other staff benefits, except those benefits that are unique to the Faculty (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members). An appointment as an adjunct associate professor or associate professor of the practice carries no implication of academic tenure or of membership on the Faculty.

For numerical limitations on appointments to this rank, see Section 2.3.2 Adjunct Professor, Professor of the Practice.

Full-time adjunct associate professors and associate professors of the practice may undertake specific instances of consulting service, as defined in Section 4.3 Full-Time Service, with the prior written approval of their department heads. Also, full-time adjunct associate professors and associate professors of the practice may be granted consulting privileges on an ongoing basis with the approval of their department head and the School Dean. Appointees to this rank must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities. Part-time appointees to this rank do not normally have consulting privileges. They may be asked to report their outside professional activities at the discretion of their department heads.

2.3.4 Visiting Assistant Professor, Visiting Associate Professor, Visiting Professor

Departments may, with approval of the cognizant dean, appoint visiting professors at the ranks of visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor, and visiting professor. Persons appointed to these positions shall be individuals of distinction having professorial or equivalent rank at other institutions. A visiting professor appointment carries no commitment for reappointment or for appointment to the Faculty. These appointments shall be for no more than one year but may be renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean. They are subject to the affirmative action serious search procedures as outlined in Section 7.1.3.

Visiting professor appointments may be full or part time, paid or unpaid. Since appointments to this rank are by definition temporary, visiting professors are not eligible for staff benefits, except that those with salaried appointments of 50 percent or more time and of at least three months' duration are eligible for any of the health insurance plans, the Tax-Deferred Annuity Plan, the Flexible Reimbursement Account Plan (FRAP), and before-tax premium payments (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members).

Consulting privileges as defined in Section 4.3 Full-Time Service are available to visiting faculty with full time, paid appointments. Part-time and/or unsalaried appointees to this rank do not normally have consulting privileges. All appointees to this rank must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

2.3.5 Instructor

Individuals appointed to the rank of instructor should have either a doctorate or equivalent professional degree or be working toward one, with the expectation of success within a reasonable period of time. The instructor appointment is sometimes the first step toward the professorial and tenure ladder and can provide an opportunity for evaluating an individual's qualifications for promotion to the Faculty.

The duties and obligations of instructors are, in general, those described for the Faculty in Sections 4.1 Teaching and Research and 4.1.1. Academic Activities.

The primary duty of junior persons entering the teaching ranks is to become capable and inspiring teachers. No less than senior members of the Faculty, they should consider it a duty to become personally acquainted with their students and to keep themselves informed regarding both the academic progress and general welfare of their students. In addition, they should aim to exert a helpful influence on student life by taking an interest in extracurricular activities as well as by counseling individual students regarding their studies.

Instructors not possessing the doctorate are encouraged to continue their studies and proceed to a higher degree. If admitted to an MIT graduate degree program, they should follow the policies and procedures set forth in the Graduate Education Manual. Any instructor who has the ability and desire to carry on creative research work will be encouraged to do so, and those efforts will be supported to the extent that available funds permit.

Appointments may be full or part time and are typically for one year, but may be renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean. Reappointment should depend on satisfactory progress toward an advanced degree and a demonstrated interest in and capacity for an academic career. Appointments to this rank are subject to the affirmative action serious search procedures outlined in Section 7.1.3. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

Instructors with an appointment of more than three months who are paid by MIT and who are appointed for at least 50 percent of the normal, full-time schedule of their department are eligible for participation in the MIT Retirement Plan and some other staff benefits, except those benefits that are unique to the Faculty (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members).

Full-time Instructors do not normally have consulting privileges as defined in Section 4.3, Full-Time Service. However, specific instances of consulting service may be undertaken with the department head's prior written approval, if the department head is satisfied that the activity can enhance the instructor's professional development or contribute to the effectiveness of his or her service to the Institute. They must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

The guidelines in this section do not apply to instructor-g appointments. See Section 8.2 Graduate Student Appointment Categories for information on instructor-g appointments.

2.3.6 Technical Instructor

The classification of technical instructor is given to technically trained personnel, usually of long experience, who assist in laboratory instruction. Members of the armed services on duty with resident ROTC detachments are appointed to this rank if their duties warrant.

Appointments may be full or part time and are typically for one year, but may be renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean. An appointment as a technical instructor is subject to the affirmative action serious search procedures outlined in Section 7.1.3. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

Technical instructors with an appointment of more than three months who are paid by MIT and who are appointed for at least 50 percent of the normal, full-time schedule of their department are eligible for participation in the MIT Retirement Plan and some other staff benefits, except those benefits that are unique to the Faculty (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members). Technical Instructors with 12-month appointments accrue 15 days of vacation for the first year of employment and 20 days of vacation thereafter.

Technical instructors do not normally have consulting privileges. They must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

2.3.7 Instructor/Coach

Instructor/coach positions in the Athletics Department may or may not be the first step in the professorial promotion ladder. Appointments are made at the discretion of the Director of Athletics, who should be consulted about the criteria for appointment to and promotion beyond this rank and the approval process that is followed.

Instructor/coach positions are one-year, renewable appointments and may be full or part time. Appointments to this rank are subject to the affirmative action serious search procedures outlined in Section 7.1.3. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

An instructor/coach with an appointment of more than three months paid by MIT and appointed for at least 50-percent time is eligible for participation in the MIT Retirement Plan and some other staff benefits, except those benefits that are unique to the Faculty (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members).

Consulting privileges may be available, but must be approved in advance by the Director of Athletics. Individuals holding this rank of appointment must report their outside professional activities to the Director of Athletics annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

2.3.8 Lecturer

The term lecturer is intended to be used for individuals whose primary responsibility is to teach and advise students. Appointments to this rank may also be granted to members of the research staff who teach occasionally.

A lecturer appointment may be full or part time for a period not to exceed three years, but may be renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean. Appointments to this rank are subject to the affirmative action serious search procedures as outlined in Section 7.1.3. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

Lecturers with an appointment of more than three months who are paid by MIT and who are appointed for at least 50 percent of the normal, full-time schedule of their department are eligible for participation in the MIT Retirement Plan and some other staff benefits, except those benefits that are unique to the Faculty (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members). A visitor not otherwise connected with MIT who comes to the Institute for the purpose of presenting a series of lectures, regardless of length, should be appointed a visiting lecturer (see Section 2.3.10).

Lecturers do not normally have consulting privileges. They must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

2.3.9 Senior Lecturer

Senior lecturer is the title used for teachers who complement the Faculty and whose professional experience and distinguished teaching accomplishments are equivalent to those of a member of the faculty.

Senior lecturer appointments may be full or part time and are made for a period of not more than five years; however, appointments may be renewed at the discretion of the department head and dean. Appointments to this rank are subject to the affirmative action serious search procedures as outlined in Section 7.1.3. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

Senior lecturers with an appointment of more than three months who are paid by MIT and who are appointed for at least 50 percent of the normal, full-time schedule of their department are eligible for participation in the MIT Retirement Plan and some other staff benefits, except those benefits that are unique to the Faculty (see Section 7.4 Benefits for Faculty and Staff Members).

Full-time Senior Lecturers may undertake specific instances of consulting service, as defined in Section 4.3 Full-Time Service, with the prior written approval of their department heads. Also, full-time Senior Lecturers may be granted consulting privileges on an ongoing basis with the approval of their department head and the School Dean. Part-time appointees to this rank do not normally have consulting privileges. All appointees to this rank must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

2.3.10 Visiting Lecturer

A visiting lecturer comes to the Institute for the express purpose of presenting a series of lectures. Visiting lecturers are academic instructional staff positions and may be full or part time, salaried or unsalaried. Appointments are made to academic departments with approval of the department head. If an appointee receives a salary paid by MIT, funding responsibility resides with the department that is the locus of the appointment. See Section 2.3 Academic Instructional Staff Appointments for standards of notice of termination.

Since appointments to this rank are by definition temporary — for a specified period, typically from one week to one year — visitors are not eligible for staff benefits, except that those with salaried appointments of 50 percent or more time and of at least three months' duration are eligible for any of health insurance plans, the Tax-Deferred Annuity Plan, the Flexible Reimbursement Account Plan (FRAP), and before-tax premium payments. Consult the International Scholars Office for more information on international visitors.

Consulting privileges are not normally available to visiting lecturers. They must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Sections 4.4 Conflict of Interest and 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

2.3.11 Honorary Lecturer

The appointment of honorary lecturer is reserved for those distinguished persons holding no other Institute academic appointment whom the President and the Corporation have chosen to honor for a singular record of achievement and public service. The holder of the title of honorary lecturer is afforded all the privileges of the Institute and, from time to time, will share his or her knowledge and experience with members of the Faculty and student body in informal seminars or formal lectures. The appointment may be on an Institute-wide or a departmental basis.

2.3.12 Affiliated Faculty

Affiliated Faculty is a title reserved for junior and senior faculty at other institutions, who collaborate in teaching and/or research on an on-going basis at MIT as part of a major program established by formal agreement at the Institute level. This title may not be used for an individual who is an MIT employee. Appointments to this rank are without salary. Affiliated faculty are not employees of the Institute and do not participate in staff benefits programs. These appointments are typically reviewed by a departmental committee, approved by the department head, and accompanied by a CV and supporting documentation in the form of a paragraph describing the individual's involvement in teaching, research, and service (where applicable). Appointees to this rank must report their outside professional activities to their department heads annually, as described in Section 4.4 Conflict of Interest and Section 4.5 Outside Professional Activities.

Print this page