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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of faculty appointments?


The University of Colorado recognizes four types of faculty appointments

  1. Tenured appointments continue until resignation or retirement, or until termination (pursuant to applicable Regent laws and policies).  Only faculty members who are employed by the University of Colorado in the regular ranks of Associate Professor or Professor are eligible for tenure.  According to the Rules of the School of Medicine, tenure is reserved for faculty members “who are widely recognized as outstanding and influential teachers and scholars … [and] whose presence on the faculty enhances the prestige of the University of Colorado School of Medicine.”  A faculty member at an affiliated institution who holds the rank of Associate Professor or Professor, and who has a record of outstanding accomplishments in teaching and scholarship, is eligible for consideration for the distinction of “tenure criteria.”
  2. Indeterminate appointments are made for an indefinite period of time.  However, as stated in the faculty member’s letter-of-offer, continuance of the appointment is dependent upon inclusion in the approved budget and availability of salary support from specified grants, contracts or other sources. If funding from those sources ends, the appointment converts to at-will, without the requirement for advance notice to the faculty member.  However, faculty members holding indeterminate appointments are entitled to notice (according to the schedule, below), if their appointment will not be continued for reasons other than available funding. 
  3. Limited (term) appointments are for specified periods of time (from less than one year to four years).  Limited appointments are the most common appointment types for School of Medicine faculty members, and they are especially appropriate for faculty members who have been promoted or who, in other ways, have demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, scholarship, clinical work or other appropriate areas.  Except in the case of “dismissal for cause,” faculty members who hold limited appointments are entitled to advance notice before a chair or other administrative supervisor can end their appointment.  One year's notice of non-reappointment is required for full-time faculty members after three or more years of service at the University. Three months' notice is required for faculty members in their first year of service at the University, and six months' notice is required for those in their second or third year of service.   
  4. At-will appointments are made for an indefinite period of time; however, their continuance is at-will.  By state law, non-tenure eligible faculty members (Instructors and Senior Instructors and faculty holding research associate or research professor titles) may only hold at-will appointments, with two important exceptions.  First, any faculty member whose duties are at least 50 percent devoted to direct patient care may hold a limited (term) or indeterminate appointment.  Second, due to a 2012 change in state law (HB 12-1144), Instructors and Senior Instructors holding .5 FTE or greater classroom teaching assignments, are eligible for term appointments not to exceed three years, with approval of the Dean and Chancellor.    

Learn more about appointment types: Rules of the School of Medicine.