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Princeton University
Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Rules and Procedures of the Professional Researchers and Professional Specialists of Princeton University and Other Provisions of Concern to These Personnel

Last printed Fall 1996; Revised January 2011

III. PROFESSIONAL RESEARCHERS

A. Ranks and Terms of Appointments

Depending upon their ranks, professional researchers may serve at the pleasure of the University or with continuing appointment. In case of termination or reduction in duty time, they are entitled to notice as specified in the termination policy below.

All professional researcher appointments that do not carry continuing appointment are reviewed for continuation during the annual merit review, normally each spring. While initial appointments are normally without specific end date (except for senior research (by discipline) who are appointed with continuing appointment) they may be made for specified periods of any length up to one year.

In certain instances (generally limited to appointments which are not expected to be renewed), appointments at ranks below senior research (by discipline) may be made for a minimum of one five-month academic term or the two-months summer period, or for terms corresponding with the expected duration of a project rather than for a full year.

Professional researchers whose appointments carry continuing appointment serve with the understanding of continued employment, with salary adjustments and promotions when appropriate, until retirement so long as (1) they are able to, and do in fact, perform satisfactory work, and (2) research within their departments or programs requiring their professional skills continues to receive external funding, and (3) the projects on which they are employed remain central to the interests of their departments or programs. In the event a professional researcher's appointment must be terminated or his/her duty time reduced, he/she is entitled to a notice period specified in the termination policy below. University funds are not ordinarily available to support professional researchers.

1. Senior (by discipline)
 

Individuals appointed to this rank have retired from distinguished scholarly/scientific careers in academia, in research institutions, in public service or in industry.  They pursue their own scholarly research either individually or in collaboration with Princeton University faculty members and researchers.  Facilities and resources may be provided for them by the sponsoring academic unit.

Emeritus Princeton faculty members may be appointed as Senior (by discipline) if they serve as principal investigators on sponsored research projects and/or maintain active research programs at the University.  Other distinguished retirees may be appointed to this rank on the recommendation of a department, center or institute and with the approval of the Committee on Appointments and Advancements for the Professional Researchers and Professional Specialists (C/7).

Senior (by discipline) normally have no specific responsibilities in teaching or research but are encouraged to participate in department, center and/or institute programs and to interact with faculty members, researchers, and students in informal settings. They ordinarily do not receive salaries from the University. However, on those occasions when a Senior (by discipline) is asked to provide a specific service to the University arrangements must be made in advance, through the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, to compensate him/her appropriately.  Such compensation will normally be provided through a research project grant (when the service involves participation in a sponsored research project) or a part-time teaching appointment (see Rules & Procedures of the Faculty of Princeton University). Senior (by discipline) are not eligible for stipend payments from the University.

During any semester when he/she is appointed to teach, normally a Senior (by discipline) will temporarily also hold the rank of Lecturer with Rank of Professor (if a an emeritus Princeton University faculty member) or Lecturer (otherwise).  The duty time for total compensated service is expected to be nominal and may not exceed 49%, with the exception of our emeritus faculty members who can support themselves on research project grants. Normally, those holding this rank are not eligible for Princeton University employee benefits, with the exception of those emeritus faculty members who can support themselves at 50% or greater duty time. Like other Dean of the Faculty appointees, those at the rank of Senior (by discipline) may not be compensated by Princeton University as consultants or short-term professionals.

Emeritus Princeton faculty members who hold the rank of Senior (by discipline) may serve as principal investigators on sponsored research projects.  Others at this rank may not do so without the prior approval of the University Research Board.

Institutional Payment: No institutional payment will be required for the appointment of emeritus Princeton University faculty.  For other appointments, the sponsoring department, center or institute will be required to provide an institutional payment (amount to be established each year by the Office of the Provost) that is consistent with the administrative costs of the appointment to the University.

Term of Appointment: Appointments/reappointments to the rank of Senior (by discipline) are normally for renewable one year terms. The appointments of emeritus Princeton University faculty may be renewed annually by the Dean of the Faculty on the recommendation of the sponsoring department. Other appointments may be renewed on evidence of continued scholarly productivity, if recommended by the sponsoring academic unit and approved by the C/7 at the time of the initial appointment and every third year thereafter.  Intervening reappointment requests may be approved by the Dean of the Faculty. However, these appointments/reappointments may be made for a term of three years on the request of the sponsoring academic unit and with the approval of the C/7. Requests for renewal that require C/7 approval should be submitted at least three months in advance of the termination date of the existing appointment..

2. a. Senior Research (by discipline)
    b. Research (by discipline)
    c. Associate Research (by discipline)


The three professional researcher ranks reflect increasing attainment and distinction in research scholarship, independence of research activities, and ability to guide and direct others in programs of research. A doctoral degree or its equivalent in the appropriate field is a necessary qualification for membership in these ranks.

a. Senior Research (by discipline)

Staff members of this rank, whether promoted or appointed from outside the University, ordinarily serve with continuing appointment.

b. Research (by discipline)

Researchers promoted to this rank ordinarily serve with continuing appointment. When an initial appointment is made at this rank it may be either with or without continuing appointment.  If the latter, the appointment shall be reviewed by the department and/or program, and by the C/7 during the third year of appointment to consider continuation of the appointment, salary level, and promotion. A research (by discipline) continued (or promoted) at the review will ordinarily serve with continuing appointment.

c. Associate Research (by discipline)

Ordinarily, appointees to the rank of associate research (by discipline) serve at the pleasure of the University. While those advanced to this rank from the postdoctoral ranks ordinarily serve without specific end date, initial appointments may be made for specific periods of up to one year.

Associate research (by discipline) are reviewed annually to consider continuation and salary level. During the sixth year in the rank (or earlier in exceptional cases) they are reviewed by their departments or programs for promotion to research (by discipline) with the provision of continuing appointment. Recommendations for promotion with continuing appointment are reviewed by the C/7, which advises the dean of the faculty. Associate research (by discipline) not recommended for promotion at the time of this review may be appointed for a terminal year at the request of the appointing department/center/institute and with the approval of the C/7 and the dean of the faculty.

3. Visiting Senior Research (by discipline)
    Visiting Research (by discipline)
    Visiting Associate Research (by discipline)

Scholars who hold faculty or professional research positions at other institutions and who will be associated with a research project at the University, normally with salary, for a limited period of time may be appointed to a visiting rank equivalent to the regular rank for which they would be qualified.

Term of Appointment - Appointments to these visiting ranks, either with or without salary, are made for periods of up to one year. Such visitors may be reappointed for succeeding periods so long as the total term of appointment does not exceed three calendar years.

4. a. Senior Visiting Fellow
    b. Visiting Fellow

The University will extend its hospitality to visiting scholars who wish to spend a limited time at Princeton for the purpose of study, scholarship, and research. Depending on their stature, credentials, and reasons for visiting, they will be appointed as senior visiting fellows or visiting fellows.

a. Senior Visiting Fellow

Appointment with the title of senior visiting fellow is exceptional. Such appointments are reserved for visitors who are scholars of international distinction, or recognized international leaders in non-academic fields. Senior visiting fellows normally receive no stipends or salaries from the University and have no specific responsibilities.

Term of Appointment - Appointments of senior visiting fellows are normally for one full year. In some cases, appointments may be renewed for a second full year, but only when the case is made that such a renewal is in the best interests of the fellow and of the University. Reappointment beyond two full years is not ordinarily granted. Exceptions will be made rarely and then only in most unusual circumstances.

b. Visiting Fellow

The title of visiting fellow is appropriate for faculty members visiting from other academic institutions and for established, independent scholars. They are considered professional colleagues of the Princeton faculty. Facilities and resources may be provided for them by the sponsoring department.

Visiting fellows have no specific responsibilities in either teaching or research and do not receive stipends or salaries from the University.

On the recommendation of a department, an appointment as a visiting fellow is normally extended as a courtesy to a faculty member visiting from another academic institution as long as space is available for them, as it is assumed the same courtesy is extended to members of Princeton's faculty who visit other institutions.

Term of Appointment - Appointments of visiting fellows are normally for one semester or for one full academic year. Departments whose intellectual activities continue on campus through the summer may wish to appoint visiting fellows for a full calendar year. In some cases, appointments may be renewed for a second year, but only when the case is made that such a renewal is in the best interests of the fellow and of the University. Reappointment beyond two full years is not ordinarily granted. Exceptions will be made rarely and then only in most unusual circumstances.

5. Visiting Research Collaborator

When activity on a specific research enterprise requires frequent short-term visits to the campus by an outside scholar or researcher who is contributing to research on campus, the department may request an appointment to the rank of visiting research collaborator. This courtesy appointment is for individuals from other institutions who are directly associated with the research or scholarship of a center, consortium, or an individual research project and which is expected to result in joint publications or research proposals with University faculty members or researchers, when the anticipated stays on campus would normally be for less than one month on each occasion and when no remuneration is provided. Visiting research collaborators will have access to University facilities. Regular visitors whose activities are not expected to result in joint publications or research proposals may be considered for Departmental Guest status through the TigerCard Office (see Dean of the Faculty 2010-11 Memorandum Number 11 (October 14, 2010) for details).

Term of Appointment - Appointments at this rank are made for a period of one academic year or less, but are renewable by formal reappointment if the collaboration continues.

Policy Concerning Notice of Termination

Except in the event of dismissal for cause, researchers whose appointments include a specific termination date will, unless reappointed, terminate at the specified date without further notice or severance pay.

For those whose appointments do not include a specific termination date, the University's policy is to provide notice and not severance pay for terminated employees. In the unusual instances where it is not possible to provide the required notice, pay equal to the number of months of required notice less the number of months of actual notice times the monthly salary rate will be provided in lieu of notice. Time spent on temporary disability (or such benefits received) may count towards satisfaction of this obligation.

Except in the event of dismissal for cause, professional researchers whose appointment does not include a specific termination date will be entitled to notices of termination of appointment of at least the following duration:

Rank Years of Service Notice Period
Senior Research (by discipline) n/a One year
Research (by discipline) n/a Six months
Associate Research (by discipline)

Less than one:
One or two:
Three or four:
Five or six:
Seven or eight:
Nine or more:
One month
Two months
Three months
Four months
Five months
Six months

The same notice period will apply for reductions in duty time or other changes that substantially affect the conditions of employment.  Researchers dismissed for cause are entitled to neither notice nor severance pay.

B. Responsibilities

(1) Professional researchers are primarily involved in adding to knowledge by participation in one or more of the research programs of the University.

(2)Although the majority of professional researchers are engaged in basic research programs conceived and directed by members of the faculty, they have the opportunity to lead research programs that are of interest to the University community as described in the 2005 resolution of the University Research Board (see Appendix F).

(3) Professional researchers may also from time to time be invited to teach in one of the academic departments of the University and take on the additional title of lecturer under conditions described in Section C (below).

C. Procedures for Appointments, Promotions, Terminations, and Changes in Salary

All appointments, promotions, terminations, and changes in salary for professional researchers will be recommended by the chair of the departments (or directors of designated programs) concerned in accordance with procedures approved by the dean of the faculty.

Such recommendations are submitted to the dean of the faculty for approval. Recommendations relating to the ranks of senior research (by discipline) and research (by discipline) will be submitted by the dean of the faculty to the C/7 for advice.

Except in rare and unusual circumstances, all recommendations for promotions and changes in salary are submitted during the spring as part of the annual review of rank and salary levels for all professional researchers. Topics of review include responsibilities, performance, and research contributions. The fair and frank assessment of an appropriate supervisor should be formulated and transmitted to each researcher. The method by which this communication takes place may vary with supervisors and departments. Each researcher is entitled to an appraisal statement that reflects what is submitted to the Office of the Dean of the Faculty as part of the official merit review. The review provides a natural occasion for considering continuation of appointment for researchers serving without continuing appointment and to ensure that salary levels and ranks are appropriate. Associate research (by discipline) who are entering the final years of eligibility for this rank should be given a realistic assessment of the probability of promotion to the rank of research (by discipline) with continuing appointment.

Appointment or promotion to the research (by discipline) and senior research (by discipline) ranks is based primarily on excellence in original and creative research as demonstrated by the individual's publications, by letters of recommendation from authorities in his/her area of competence outside the University, and by the vote of the tenured faculty members of the department according to procedures approved by the dean of the faculty.

Appointment or advancement (from the postdoctoral ranks) to the rank of Associate research (by discipline) is similarly based primarily on demonstrated research skills as demonstrated and on the recommendation of the department head or center/institute director.

Skill in the administration/coordination of research programs or in the design, maintenance, and operation of instrumentation and equipment does not constitute a basis for appointment to any researcher rank. The predominance of such skills is more appropriately recognized by appointment or advancement (from the postdoctoral ranks) to a professional specialist rank.

Although recognized as important to the successful operation of a department, center, or institute, demonstrated ability in teaching, whether in a laboratory or classroom, does not constitute a basis for appointment or promotion to any researcher rank. Competence in teaching is more appropriately recognized by appointment to the teaching faculty. Members of the researcher ranks are also occasionally invited to teach in one of the academic departments of the University.

In accordance with the University's commitment to equal opportunity and affirmative action, all initial appointment recommendations must be accompanied by documentary evidence that a thorough search has been made to locate the most qualified applicant for the position. Departments, projects, and programs are also urged to review their promotion decisions in the light of the University's commitment to equal opportunity/affirmative action principles.

Researchers who combine teaching with their research duties are given the additional title of Lecturer during the semester when they are assigned to teach and upon recommendation of the department chair and approval of the dean of the faculty.

D. Grounds for Termination and Other Disciplinary Action

Any professional researcher may be terminated prior to expiration of his/her term of appointment or subjected to other disciplinary action for cause, which consists of (a) continuing unsatisfactory performance after due notice; or (b) conduct which is shown to violate the University rules and procedures applicable to researchers, or substantially to impair the individual's performance of his/her responsibilities as a researcher.

E. Retirement

Retirement of professional researchers at age 70 is no longer mandatory. Retirement from the University is a voluntary termination. A researcher who wishes to discuss retirement should consult with his/her supervisor, the chair of the department or director of the center/institute, and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty. The individual should also consult with the Office of Human Resources for information on the status of his/her benefits upon retirement.