Role of Non-tenure-track Positions

Types of non-tenure track appointments

Orienting new faculty in non-tenure track positions

Place in the department

Evaluation

Types of non-tenure track appointments

Non-tenure track faculty contribute in important ways to Cornell, and your department may oversee several types of positions. Non-tenure track faculty may be short-term block visitors, lab instructors, or continuing, part-time faculty, among other possibilities. They may be graduate students who are looking for a temporary position on their way to a tenure-track job, or long-term members of the local community. The types of positions available at Cornell are outlined in the Faculty Handbook. Whatever the position, non-tenure track faculty should be integrated into the department where possible (without burdening faculty with inappropriate responsibilities) and should always be treated with professional regard and consideration.

Orienting new faculty in non-tenure track positions

New faculty in these positions need as much help at the outset as do tenure-track faculty; see the section of this Guide on "New Faculty Orientation." Visitors may not need to know quite as much as other faculty, but they are also in the least contact with faculty and staff who could help them out; do look over the whole list of orientation items to see what will be helpful to them. If you have a number of new people coming in, enlist help from other members of the department and/or the building secretary. First-time visitors may need particular help understanding the ways that teaching on the block plan can differ from teaching on the semester system.

Place in the department

Should non-tenure track faculty be included fully in departmental matters and meetings?  This may vary according to the type of position and specific situation, but it is a good idea to include them on the departmental mailing list so that they are informed of everything. Invite them to meetings and events, while also making clear which are professional obligations and which are extended as a matter of courtesy. If you are uncertain what level of obligation (e.g., advising, overseeing independent studies) are appropriate for a particular type of non-tenure track position, you should consult with the Dean. It is customary for the chair to introduce new department visitors at the first faculty meeting of the block. The Office of Academic Affairs will notify you in advance of the meeting if you are expected to make such an introduction, so that you can encourage the faculty member to accompany you.

Evaluation

Short-term visitors are not in the college review system, but you should keep a file on each person, including their teaching evaluations, syllabi, notes about student comments, etc. Take time to talk with them to ask how they're doing, and to give them feedback on what you have observed/heard. You, or someone in your department, may need to visit a class. Not only will this help you to assess where you can be helpful in ensuring a successful course, and whether you would wish to rehire that person if a future opportunity arises, but a visitor searching for a tenure-track position may be grateful for a letter of recommendation from someone who has observed their teaching. Continuing non-tenure track faculty are reviewed periodically, so the file you should keep and the discussions you should have with them are the same as for tenure-track faculty. Also see the Faculty Handbook on procedures related to part-time staffing, including "Support and Evaluation of Temporary and Regular Part-Time Faculty."