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HRM-005: Appointment of Unpaid Faculty

Date: 01/31/2007 Status: Final
Last Revised: 07/20/2021
Policy Type: University
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To:

Academic Division and the College at Wise.

Reason for Policy:

This policy sets forth the requirements for appointing unpaid faculty members at the University.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Designated Hiring Official:An individual who is authorized to extend a conditional offer of employment to individuals on behalf of the University. The president, vice presidents, academic deans of the University’s schools, and the University librarian are designated hiring officials. Hiring authority may be delegated in writing by one of these individuals with the approval of the president or the appropriate vice president.
  • Unpaid Faculty Appointment:Appointments that do not involve payment of salary or other compensation but do provide an academic rank.
Policy Statement:

Unpaid faculty appointments may be granted only when a dean, a vice president or the president determines that such an appointment will advance the University’s mission. The appointment letter must be approved by the relevant dean, vice president or president and issued by a designated hiring official.

  1. Terms of the Appointment:
    Unpaid faculty appointments must be for a limited term and carry no expectation of renewal or ongoing employment. If a school or unit wishes to extend the rights and privileges that are within its authority to convey, such as office space, such rights and privileges must also be stipulated as part of the formal offer.

    Unpaid faculty will be covered by the Commonwealth’s legal liability self-insurance program to the same extent as salaried faculty with respect to authorized work for and on behalf of the University, subject to the prevailing terms and conditions of the program.

    The University may provide e-mail accounts or long-distance phone services to unpaid faculty employees. Such provision must be made with approval of the school or unit via request to Information Technology Services through their stated procedures.

    ID cards will not be issued to unpaid faculty without a written justification establishing need. (Wishing to use the library or athletic facilities does not constitute an adequate justification.)

  2. Qualifications:
    Individuals holding unpaid faculty appointments should be qualified for faculty employment at the University and possess the appropriate degrees, credentials and expertise that are required for a salaried faculty appointment at the University.

  3. Responsibilities:
    Unpaid faculty are required to adhere to all applicable University policies, rules and regulations governing performance for and on behalf of the University.

  4. Promotion in Academic Rank:
    Unpaid faculty are eligible for a promotion in academic rank. A school or unit considering an unpaid faculty member for a promotion in rank must follow the promotion provisions contained in PROV-004: Employment of Academic General Faculty Members, Sections II.D (for professorial ranks) or III.E (for lecturer or instructor ranks). Although a promotion must follow this process, unpaid faculty are not academic general faculty and no other provision of PROV-004 alters the terms and conditions of an unpaid faculty appointment as stated in this policy and the appointment letter.

  5. Compliance with Policy:
    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.


Schools or units wishing to appoint individuals to unpaid faculty appointments must extend a conditional offer to the individual in the form of a letter from a designated hiring official and require signed acceptance of the offer in writing.

The appointment letter will:

  1. Define the terms and conditions of the unpaid faculty appointment;
  2. Specify the duration and clarify that the appointment is terminable at will with or without cause upon prior written notice;
  3. Note that the appointment may not be extended or renewed without written approval of the dean, vice president or president; and
  4. Be conditional on the completion of a background check inquiry and verification that the candidate is eligible for employment in the position.

Letters should be maintained in the official personnel records of the department, school, or unit.

Unpaid appointments must be entered into the University’s human resource system in accordance with the same policies and procedures governing salaried appointments.

Policy Background:

This policy formalizes good practice regarding unpaid faculty appointments at the University.

Major Category:
Human Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 01/31/2007
Revision History:
Added Compliance section 7/20/21; Added Section 4/Updated Procedures 5/17/21; Updated 7/14/14.