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L&S Policy on Volunteers

This document contains L&S Policy regarding volunteers.

From time to time, departments and programs of the College of Letters and Science may wish to engage unpaid volunteers in various aspects of their activities, including but not limited to formal instruction. University policy allows this.

It is important to clarify, however, that departments should not rely on volunteers to perform duties typically performed by permanent employees or short-term staffing. Volunteers should be supplementing the work done by employees rather than replacing paid staff. The contributions of volunteers should enhance existing programs. Concerns about program stability and continuity dictate that programs should not rely solely on volunteer efforts. In most cases, the College will not allow a volunteer to serve as the sole instructor of a course or courses on an on-going basis (more than one semester or summer session).

To request permission to appoint volunteers, departments should follow procedures akin to personnel transactions. As with any appointment, volunteer appointments require HR approval prior to appointment and may require a Criminal Background Check (CBC).


  1. Contact your Associate Dean. When a situation arises wherein a volunteer offers instructional services to the department or unit and the department seeks to pursue the offer, consult with your Associate Dean to discuss preliminary terms. If possible, please include your volunteer request as part of the annual short-term staffing planning process (see Request Short-term Staffing in L&S).

  2. Obtain approval from your Associate Dean. Once tentative terms have been agreed upon, submit a proposal to your Associate Dean (with a copy to Amanda Mahr). The proposal should include:

    - The terms of the relationship. Please describe the duties or services to be provided, begin date, end date, procedures for terminating the agreement prior to the designated end date, time commitment expected, etc. These terms should be approved by the departmental executive committee or its equivalent.

    - Information about the volunteer. Include a statement attesting to the volunteer's qualifications for providing these services. This may include, for example, a vita or resume, letters of support from colleagues or peers who would work with the volunteer, etc.

    - Justification for using a volunteer. Include a statement explaining why the use of the volunteer enhances the program or provides additional benefits to existing program features. Specify the title requested. Instructional volunteers will be appointed as zero-dollar academic staff (e.g., emeritus professor, lecturer, and instructor); doing so allows them to be entered into HRS so that they can obtain an instructor ID.

  3. When approved, please work with your STS/SA HR Rep to draft an offer letter and add the volunteer to HRS. Download the letter template from the following page: L&S Short-Term Staff Appointment Letters and include the Volunteer Fact Sheet with the offer letter.

  4. Welcome the Volunteer into your organization.


  1. Submit a request to your departmental HR Rep for review. The request must include:

    - Resume or CV for each volunteer.

    - L&S draft volunteer appointment letter which describes the duties or services to be provided, the begin date and end date, the hours to be worked per week.

    - If your volunteer needs a zero-dollar academic staff appointment, please specify the title. A zero-dollar academic staff appointment allows the employee to obtain a campus ID, email, etc.

  2. If the volunteer is in a position of trust with unsupervised access to vulnerable populations or is involved with a camp a CBC is required.

    - Fill out appropriate CBC spreadsheet (CAMP Volunteer Spreadsheet or Volunteer Spreadsheet) and submit to your departmental HR Rep along with draft letter.

    - CBC must be complete prior to volunteer appointment begin date (CBC’s generally take 1-5 days to process).

  3. The appointment must be approved by your departmental HR Rep before the letter is sent to the volunteer. Once approved, send the final appointment letter to the volunteer and include a copy of the Volunteer Fact Sheet with the letter.

  4. Send a final copy of the signed letter to your departmental HR Rep.

  5. Volunteer appointments are not entered into JEMS/HRS. However, if a zero dollar academic staff appointment was requested for your volunteer, you will need to enter the appointment into JEMS-Hire or submit the appropriate New Hire form (for centralized units).

  6. Welcome the volunteer to your organization.

For questions on volunteers, please contact your HR Rep.


Criminal Background Check (CBC) Policy

Updated 2.28.2020​​​

Keywords:volunteers, unpaid services, forms, $0, zero dollar, sts, volunteer   Doc ID:23622
Owner:Annie P.Group:L&S KB
Created:2012-04-04 11:27 CDTUpdated:2022-07-26 10:57 CDT
Sites:L&S KB
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