Policy on Instructors and Lecturers

Policy Memorandum No. 131

Recommended by the Commission on Faculty Affairs
Approved by University Council: May 4, 1992
Approved by the President: May 4, 1992
Approved by the Board of Visitors: August 24, 1992
Effective: August 16, 1992

The University Council, on recommendation of the Commission on Faculty Affairs, unanimously approved a resolution concerning the conditions governing the employment of full-time instructors.

Following is the text of the resolution as adopted by University Council.

WHEREAS, current University policy does not permit full-time employment of instructors beyond the seven year probationary period; and

WHEREAS, many instructors are subsequently appointed part-time for many years without university-paid benefits; and

WHEREAS, these instructors provide an important and valuable service to the instructional program; and

WHEREAS, the rank of lecturer is currently reserved for administrative and professional faculty;

THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED THAT the rank titles of instructor and lecturer be redefined as follows in sections 2.3 and 2.4 of the Faculty Handbook, that section 2.7.4 of the Faculty Handbook be deleted, that President's Policy Memorandum No. 104, dated December 4, 1989, be voided (addition to section 2.7.2 of the Faculty Handbook), and that a new section on the appointment and employment of instructors be added as section 2.7 of the Faculty Handbook (with renumbering of subsequent sections).


The purpose of the following changes is to redefine the ranks of instructor and lecturer. The instructor rank included in the standard Faculty Appointment section will be renamed EXTRA-COLLEGIATE INSTRUCTOR and will be used for designated library and extension appointments on continued appointment track only. A non-tenure-track INSTRUCTOR rank will be defined and included as a Special Faculty Appointment for instructional faculty in collegiate departments with primary responsibility for undergraduate teaching. A new section concerning the appointment and employment of instructors is added.

The rank of LECTURER is redefined more narrowly, reflecting its current use for administrative and professional faculty.



The rank of extra-collegiate instructor is the usual rank of initial appointment for Library Faculty on the continued appointment track, or for non-college-based Extension or Public Service Faculty whose positions have been designated for continued appointment track and who have not completed the terminal degree. Annual appointments may be renewed within the limits of a probationary period. Ordinarily, continued appointment would not be awarded at the instructor rank, although time spent at this rank counts in the probationary period leading to continued appointment. A master's degree or significant professional experience is the minimum expectation for appointment at this rank.

Extra-collegiate Extension or Public Service instructors who complete their terminal degree may be recommended for promotion to assistant professor by the department head with the approval of the director, dean, University Provost, the President, and the Board of Visitors. Promotion of all extracollegiate faculty to the ranks of associate or full professor is conducted in accordance with procedures in section 2.7.7 (current reference) of the Faculty Handbook.


2.4.1 LECTURER (replace current definition with following)

The rank of Lecturer is generally reserved for administrative and professional faculty appointments. A master's degree or significant professional experience is the minimum expectation for appointment to the administrative and professional faculty. Tenure cannot be awarded at this rank. Promotion for the administrative and professional faculty is usually recognized by changes in functional title rather than promotion in rank. Appointments are renewable annually.

2.4.2 INSTRUCTOR (new section)

A person appointed to the special faculty rank of instructor in an academic department ordinarily assumes full responsibility for teaching undergraduate courses and generally has limited responsibility for other aspects of the standard faculty role, such as research or other scholarship, and service. Initial appointment is for one year. Subsequent appointments may be for one or two years (subject to availability of General Assembly funding) and are not subject to the limitations of the pre-tenure probationary period. Tenure will not be awarded at this rank. A master's degree or significant professional experience is the minimum expectation for appointment as instructor.

Section 2.7.4, PROMOTION FROM INSTRUCTOR TO ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, will be deleted. Collegiate faculty who had not completed their degrees at the time of initial appointment would be hired as assistant professors if degree completion were imminent or as non-tenure-track instructors if not. See Extra-Collegiate Instructor definition for treatment of promotion to assistant professor for Extension and Public Service faculty.

Furthermore, CURRENT HANDBOOK/PRESIDENT'S POLICY MEMORANDUM, NO. 104 (NEW SECOND PARAGRAPH FOR SECTION 2.7.2 FACULTY HANDBOOK) is deleted. Approval of the above definitions means that all service at the instructor rank is disregarded if the person is later appointed to a tenure-track position.

Proposed New Section to the Handbook on the Appointment and Employment of Non-Tenure-Track Instructors will become Section 2.7, with subsequent sections renumbered accordingly.


Full and part-time non-tenure-track instructors make important contributions to the undergraduate instructional mission of the university. Their valuable and often lengthy service to Virginia Tech should be recognized by fair and equitable treatment and inclusion in the life and decision-making of the department where appropriate. As teaching professionals, they should be involved in the determination of goals, techniques and schedules for the courses which they teach. The performance of instructors will be regularly evaluated and discussed with the individual faculty member by the department head or supervisor. Regular, salaried instructors (full or part-time) are eligible for merit increases at the same time as other faculty. Full and part-time instructors have access to the faculty grievance procedures outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

As with probationary faculty, non-reappointment of instructors may be for a number of reasons beyond non-meritorious service, such as modification of programmatic emphasis, enrollment trends, or simply the intention of seeking an appointee with superior qualifications. Every effort will be made to furnish notice of non-reappointment of at least three months in the first year of appointment (by February 1 for academic-year faculty or three months before the end of the employment year for calendar-year faculty), of at least six months in any subsequent one-year appointment (by November 15 for academic-year faculty), and one year for any two-year appointment (by May 15 for academic-year faculty). In the event that notice of non-reappointment is not furnished by the appropriate date, the instructor is automatically awarded an additional one-year appointment.

New faculty members hired for tenure-track positions but who arrive without their terminal degree completed will be appointed at the rank of assistant professor. Clear expectations for completion of the degree shall be included in the letter of appointment. Lack of progress and timely completion of the terminal degree will be considered in making subsequent reappointments. If the completion of the terminal degree is not expected within a year of the appointment date, the faculty member should be appointed as a non-tenure-track instructor.

All service at the instructor rank will be excluded from the probationary period should the faculty member later be appointed to a tenure-track position.

Under normal circumstances, probationary faculty who do not achieve tenure or who wish to resign from a tenure track position prior to review will not be considered for instructor appointments. Appointment of a tenure-track faculty member to a non-tenure-track instructor position will be approved only in unusual cases and only with appropriate adjustments in assignment and salary.

For many reasons, a department may determine that it will retain certain instructional positions as part-time. Faculty appointed to part-time positions are not eligible for university-paid benefits, as determined by state law. Part-time faculty should not be appointed routinely and repeatedly at the last minute. Salaried, part-time appointments are renewable annually and every effort should be made to provide the notice of non-reappointment described above.

Instructors appointed to fill positions temporarily vacated by permanent faculty on leave or in other similar circumstances where there is no presumption of renewal will be given RESTRICTED appointments (see section 2.12.2) with the specified term clearly indicated in the letter of appointment. In this case, the letter of appointment also serves as notice of termination (see section 2.9.3).


President's Policy Memorandum

URL: http://purl.vt.edu/vtdocs/policies/ppm131