CALS DDO - Sr Assoc Dean Topics - Faculty Appointment Changes

This document provides guidance from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) for faculty appointment changes.

Faculty appointment changes can range from modest appointment shifts (e.g., 10-25%) to more substantive changes including those that move a faculty’s appointment completely from one department to another. Regardless of the size of the appointment shift, the process is relatively similar. 

Faculty appointment changes are covered under FPP7.19.B. Note the last sentence (underlined).

B. In the case of an appointment that is divided among several departments or units, the fraction of the continuing commitment assignable to each shall be specified. The department identified in 7.02. of these rules as the principal sponsor of the appointment shall be the administrative home regardless of appointment percentage. The administrative home and the total continuing commitment or its division among departments or units may be changed only by agreement among the individual, the departmental executive committees, and the deans involved.

While CALS faculty with Extension-funded appointments do not have a tenure home or faculty appointment in the Division of Extension, we do follow the spirit of FPP when considering changes in an Extension-funded appointment. This is reflected in the consultation and agreement by the Dean of the Division of the Extension. 

Modest fractional Shifts

A modest fractional shift (e.g., < 25%) might occur for a variety of reasons but don’t entail a fundamental shift in the faculty’s activities. There might be reasons related to teaching, physical location, or seeking community that precipitate such a shift. 

Significant fractional or complete shifts

A significant fractional or complete shift (e.g., ≥ 50%) usually reflects an evolution in a faculty member’s intellectual pursuits, natural shift in department focus, or substantive disagreements or conflict for which alternative solutions have failed or are unworkable. These shifts often require significant effort and upfront conversation to effectively enact. 


If the transfer crosses colleges we’d need to consult with their leadership on process as they may have some different expectations or ideas on how we do this consistent with FPP. A faculty member is not entitled to shift or move. They are entitled to the process. 

  1. The faculty member might initiate this process through a conversation with one of the department chairs or with the dean or senior associate dean. This exploratory process can take months and is dependent on the faculty member’s sense of urgency, concerns over confidentiality and risk, and overall environment and context.

    • It is often useful for the faculty member to meet with the senior associate dean as they are primarily responsible for faculty affairs and will work with the departments (if a shift solely within CALS) or with the appropriate associate dean(s) of other involved school/college(s). 

    • The accepting department’s chair is also a critical partner in that they will have the best read of the department and its willingness to consider.

  2. If the faculty member, after some exploratory work, wishes to continue the process, they prepare a written request to the executive committees of the two departments indicating the rationale for change. For partial shifts, this would include how research, teaching, and/or service will increase in one unit and, consequently, decrease in the other. A CV should be included as part of that request. 

  3. In nearly all cases, all but the smallest fractional shifts may include a quasi interview process that might entail a department seminar, one-on-one or group meetings with faculty and others in the department as appropriate.

  4. That document forms the basis of consideration and eventual vote by the respective executive committees with their recommendations/preferences. Any shift in appointment has a budgetary implication for all units involved and this should and will factor into department and college decisions.

    • For modest fractional shifts, an accepting department in CALS will be expected to identify how they will cover the fractional increase in appointment.

    • For significant fractional or complete shifts, all parties should understand the short and long term implications of a move on their respective staffing, programs, space, and budgets. 

    • Staffing and program impacts and budgetary and space limitations are a legitimate reason for a department or college to deny a request. 

  5. Dean’s review and approval follow. If the appointment is split across two (or more) schools and colleges, separate approvals would be needed the involved deans’ offices will review and approve.

  6. Any change will be memorialized in an MOU to include any financial commitments and a transitional plan (e.g., the faculty member will continue to teach a specific once per year until 202x.). 

    • In all cases, an MOU should seek to rely on current operating procedures, policies, and metrics of the university or college, and not create one-off expectations. It is simpler to provide consideration in cash or other in-kind support (e.g., space).

    • The college will not create, track, or adjudicate novel metrics or expectations, nor will it likely sign an agreement that includes these. The goal is always to normalize processes over the long-term.  


Ultimately, this process can expose a faculty member to risk and uncertainty when anyone sits in the judgment of their peers and colleagues. Colleagues with whom they might have close collaborations may choose not to support a shift for completely rational reasons (i.e., our department can’t afford this, or the research doesn’t fit the department’s future). At the time, the faculty member will need to explain why those who are their current colleagues might not be in the future. All these are bound to have emotional consequences that can express themselves in myriad ways. They may also have longer term consequences that are unpredictable and asymmetrical. Hence, grace is encouraged for all.

Keywords:college of agricultural and life sciences deans office deans admin agriculture senior associate faculty appointment guidance CALS extension tenure home change transfer split   Doc ID:117578
Owner:Tara D.Group:CALS Dean's Office
Created:2022-03-24 11:55 CSTUpdated:2022-03-29 12:37 CST
Sites:CALS Dean's Office
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