PROV-014: Professors of Practice

Date: 07/01/2010 Status: Final
Last Revised: 06/30/2014
Policy Type: Executive Vice President & Provost
Oversight Executive: Executive Vice President and Provost
Applies To: Academic Division and the College at Wise.
Reason for Policy:

The University recognizes the involvement of accomplished professionals in the education of its students where appropriate. The University has established guidelines governing the terms and conditions of employment for faculty members appointed to the non-tenure rank of professor of practice.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Terms:

    There are no terms that require definition.

Policy Statement:

Eminently qualified leaders who have made major impacts on fields and disciplines important to academic programs at the University of Virginia may be employed as non-tenure-track faculty members holding the rank of professor of practice. The rank of professor of practice recognizes individuals with a long and distinguished record of professional accomplishment. (The ranks of assistant and associate professor of practice do not exist at the University.) Professors of practice do not earn tenure and are not eligible for the Expectation of Continued Employment.

  1. Qualifications:
    Qualifications of candidates for the rank of professor of practice, while clearly demonstrating excellence in a particular field, are not required to conform to those of a member of the tenured faculty. They may or may not hold a terminal academic degree. Their accomplishments may or may not include a list of distinguished publications. Candidates should demonstrate the ability to transfer experience into instruction through a record of scholarship or previous teaching and/or mentoring.

    Professors of practice must have substantial experience and be recognized nationally or internationally for their significant contributions to their field. Their area of expertise must clearly benefit the programs of the school or department in which they hold their appointment.

    The dean must retain documentation justifying individual qualifications for professors of practice that do not hold a master’s degree or above.

  1. Appointments:
    A school of the University may appoint no more than five (5) professors of practice at any given time. This limit may be waived by the executive vice president and provost (provost).

Professors of Practice typically serve one-year appointments without the expectation of reappointment. In some cases, they may be reappointed annually for up to three (3) calendar or academic years with a possible fourth (4th) terminal year. Any total appointment in excess of four (4) years must be approved in advance for exceptional circumstances by the executive vice president and provost. Notice of re-appointment must be given in writing at least three (3) months prior to the expiration of the current appointment. Annual reviews will be conducted. A faculty member hired as a professor of practice may not be appointed to a different rank or type of faculty position without a search.

  1. Termination:
    Professors of Practice can be removed from their responsibilities for just cause. Stated causes for termination shall include, but not be limited to: professional incompetence, unacceptable performance after due notice, unethical or unlawful conduct, misconduct that interferes with the capacity of the employee to perform effectively the requirements of employment, and falsification of credentials or experience.

If a dispute cannot be resolved through the administrative responsibility and procedure of the respective school, the professor of practice may submit a grievance in one of two ways:

1) Submit the grievance to the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee per the Senate’s Grievance Procedure for Academic Faculty, or

2) Submit the grievance in writing to the provost within thirty (30) days of being made aware of the facts or other basis for the complaint. The provost may extend this deadline if he/she determines good cause exists for such an extension. The provost can, in addition to reviewing the complaint, delegate the power to investigate the complaint to an individual or a committee. The provost has thirty (30) days after receipt of the written grievance to determine if the grievance will be investigated, rejected, or returned to the complainant for further information. The determination made by the provost shall be final.


Schools wishing to appoint an individual as a professor of practice must submit a nomination packet to the Assistant Vice Provost for Administration. The packet must be approved in writing by the provost or her/his designee before an offer can be extended by the dean.

Schools may elect to conduct an open search for a professor of practice or nominate a particular individual without conducting an open search, subject to the approval of an exemption by the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights. In the event of a special nomination, documentation of EOCR exemption approval must be included in the nomination packet submitted to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

The nomination packet must include:

  1. A job description with expectations for the appointment.
  2. A letter from the dean articulating the candidate’s qualifications and the unique contribution the candidate will make to the University’s academic programs as a professor of practice;
  3. The candidate’s curriculum vitae or resume;
  4. Three to five letters from distinguished leaders outside the University, attesting to the candidate’s accomplishments in the field; and,
  5. In the case of a special appointment, verification of approval from the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights.
Related Information:

BOV-004, Professors of Practice

Major Category: Executive Vice President & Provost Policies
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Provost, 07/01/2010
Revision History: Updated 6/30/14.