Joint Appointments

Joint appointments are appointments shared between two departments, between a department and a program, or between a College department or program and another school in the University.  Since University policy stipulates that tenure-track and tenured faculty must be appointed in a tenure-bearing department, all regular faculty in programs (African-American and African Studies, Media Studies, American Studies, Jewish Studies, Studies in Women and Gender, etc.) have joint appointments.  The following does not pertain to courtesy appointments in departments or programs.

Issues impacting joint appointments should be negotiated and decided at the point of hire.  A department that is asked to house a faculty member jointly with a program should be included in the hiring process from the earliest stages of the search; the departmental home of the faculty member (regardless of the percentage of the individual’s appointment residing in the department) should be determined at the outset.  It is crucial that department chairs discuss with their faculty all joint appointments (prospective and actual) and that there is consensus in the department(s) concerning the appointment.  For joint appointments, a memo of understanding covering the following issues should be drafted and signed at the point of hire by representatives of both units as well as by the Dean.


Teaching responsibilities for faculty members with joint appointments should be determined jointly by department chairs and/or program director.  Teaching responsibilities should reflect the percentage of the faculty member’s appointment, i.e. a 25% appointment means one course per year, a 50% appointment means two courses per year.  This may be flexible in any given year if both units agree.  Courses may also be cross-listed by agreement.

A faculty member with a joint appointment should have the opportunity to mentor and direct graduate students in both units, if both units have graduate programs. 


Service responsibilities should be determined jointly by department chairs and/or program director in consultation with the faculty member.  Service here includes advising, committee work, graduate examinations, undergraduate theses, etc.  As a general rule, a faculty member’s service obligation to a department should reflect the percentage of his or her appointment in a department or program.  This should be negotiated at the point of hire.


A faculty member with a joint appointment should be invited to attend and participate in faculty meetings and deliberations appropriate to the individual’s rank in both units.  A faculty member with a joint appointment should attend faculty meetings in both units; this extra demand on the faculty member should be considered when service obligations are determined by unit heads.  A faculty member should have full voting rights in both departments or both the department and program in which he or she holds appointments. 

Faculty Development

Travel funds are administered by departments and the Dean’s Office allocates travel funding for a faculty member with a joint appointment to only one department.  This should be determined at the point of hire when an appointment is made between two departments.

A faculty member’s applications for Sesquis and other research funding should be made through only one department or unit.  This should be determined at the point of hire.

Annual reports should be submitted by a faculty member with a joint appointment in both units in which he or she holds appointments.  Junior faculty should receive feedback about annual reports from both department chairs or from both the department chair and program director.

Raise recommendations should be discussed by the heads of both units and a joint recommendation should be made to the Dean’s Office.

Third-year review should be done jointly, by a committee of representatives of both units (as well as representatives of other units if that is appropriate).  Review committees should be appointed by unit heads in consultation with the Dean’s Office.  A single third-year review report is written by this committee; this report is voted on in both units and becomes part of the faculty member’s tenure dossier.  It is very important that a faculty member receives constructive feedback from the third-year review from both departments or the department and the program. 

The promotion and tenure committee for a faculty member should also be formed jointly in consultation with the Dean’s Office and should include representatives of both units in which the faculty member holds appointments.  If a faculty member is appointed in two departments, both departments should vote on tenure and promotion.  If a faculty member holds a partial appointment in a program, the program director should be on the promotion and tenure committee or have direct input.  In the case of a split vote, the case should automatically come to the Dean’s P&T Committee.  Alternative arrangements for consideration of promotion and tenure may be negotiated through the Dean’s Office on an ad hoc basis.