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Affiliate Faculty Appointments

  • Responsible Office: Faculty Affairs, Office of the Provost
  • Current Approved Version: 03/20/2018
  • Policy Type: Board of Visitors

Policy Statement and Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish a university policy for affiliate faculty appointments.

Affiliate faculty appointments may be considered for individuals who, by virtue of their expertise, are deemed capable of making a significant contribution to a university program. Such contribution may involve giving occasional lectures or acting as preceptor to students during field work, clinical rotations or residencies. Affiliate faculty appointments may be made available to persons outside the university, to faculty who hold primary appointments in other departments or schools of the university, or to persons who hold university and academic professional positions in the university. Affiliate faculty appointments formally recognize volunteer (unpaid) contributions to a program.

The university will consider affiliate faculty appointments for individuals who, based on the merits of the applicant, wish to contribute to the instruction of students in classroom or experiential settings, or make other significant contributions to the teaching and research missions of the university, its schools and departments.

Individual schools and departments may establish affiliate faculty appointment guidelines and procedures to augment the university Affiliate Faculty Appointments policy.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Who Should Know This Policy

  • Vice presidents
  • Vice provosts
  • Deans
  • Department heads
  • Administrators with management responsibilities
  • Faculty
  • University and academic professionals




The Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs officially interprets this policy and is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs.

Policy Specifics and Procedures

1. Types of Affiliate Faculty Appointments

There are two types of affiliate faculty appointments: Internal and External.

a. Internal Affiliate Faculty Appointments

Internal affiliate faculty appointments will be considered for VCU employees who establish a voluntary (unpaid) affiliation with another department or division. Examples include teaching and research faculty or university and academic professionals in one school or department establishing an affiliation with another school or department. Those holding internal affiliate status, with appropriate qualifications and with the consent of the affiliated department or unit, may be authorized to teach and/or to direct master’s and doctoral theses in the affiliated department, to be listed on the faculty of the affiliated department and to serve on its committees.

b. External Affiliate Faculty Appointments

External affiliate faculty appointments will be considered for professionals not already employed by VCU. Examples include professional practitioners who provide direct supervision/field instruction to students during practicum and clinical experiences in community-based agencies, clinics, and private offices. Those holding external affiliate status, with appropriate qualifications and with the consent of the affiliated department or unit, may be authorized to teach and/or to direct master’s and doctoral theses in the affiliated department, to be listed on the faculty of the affiliated department and serve on its committees. External affiliate faculty may not chair dissertation committees.

2. Process of Appointment

a. Existing university faculty may seek out candidates and invite their interest. The candidate must submit a formal application to the chair of the department requesting affiliation. The department chair shall exercise their best judgment in deciding what constitutes a “significant contribution” to the department and school.

b. Documentation constituting a formal application:

  • Current CV
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Copy of graduate transcripts (as required for appointed duties) sent directly from the candidate's institution(s) of higher education
  • Evidence of licenses and/or diplomas as required for appointed duties
  • Internal affiliate appointments require the consent of the VCU employee’s primary department chair and dean to avoid conflicts with performance expectations

c. Initial affiliate faculty appointments must be recommended and approved by the department chair and dean. If approved, the dean or department chair submits a letter to the candidate formalizing the affiliate appointment. Templates to be used for extending an affiliate appointment are available in the Office of Faculty Affairs.

3. Term of Appointment

Affiliate faculty appointments may be either for a fixed period of time or for a continuing period of time. Continuing appointments remain valid until terminated or rescinded.

a. Fixed-Term Appointment

Fixed-term affiliate faculty appointments have fixed beginning and ending dates.

Such appointments will expire at the end of the term without the need for advance notice and are not subject to renewal. A decision to issue new or additional fixed-term affiliate faculty appointments are typically made not later than June 1 of each year. Decisions to pursue or not to pursue additional fixed-term appointments are coordinated between the department chair and the dean.

b. Continuing Term Appointment

Continuing affiliate appointments have a fixed beginning and open ending dates. The appointment is made with the provision that it will continue, without specific term, until terminated by resignation, appropriate notice of non-renewal or non-continuation for cause, for the convenience of the department or unit, or by action of the university’s president and/or Board of Visitors.

Continuing appointments must be reviewed by the department chair annually but no later than June 1 for determination as to whether the appointment is or is not continued. If it is decided that the affiliate faculty appointment is not to be continued, then by June 30 of the same year, the department chair informs the dean in writing. The department chair also notifies the affiliate faculty member that their appointment is not being continued.

c. Termination of Affiliate Appointment

The university and the affiliate appointee both reserve the right to terminate the affiliate faculty appointment at any time. The department chair forwards their recommendation to the dean.

4. Faculty Rank

Affiliate faculty are assigned one of the following faculty ranks. When appropriate to the duties assigned, modifiers (for example, “clinical professor” or “research associate professor”) may be used.

  • Research assistant
  • Research associate
  • Instructor
  • Assistant professor
  • Associate professor
  • Professor

5. Basic Criteria for Affiliate Appointments

Subject to the requirements for affiliate faculty appointments articulated in the Policy Statement and Purpose section, each school and/or department may determine the criteria for affiliate appointments, as appropriate to teaching, scholarship, and service within the particular school and/or department.

6. Promotion Process

School and department promotion procedures define criteria and processes for promotion. Although affiliate faculty may receive a promotion in rank, because these are unpaid appointments, these promotions are title changes only. There are no associated salary increases.

7. University Privileges

An affiliate faculty member may be eligible for a university ID card and associated privileges, such as purchasing parking permits, email, using library services and joining recreational facilities. Clinical affiliate faculty members may be eligible for privileges at the VCU Health System, subject to the criteria for such privileges as established by the appropriate clinical department.

An affiliate faculty member may be a co-investigator on sponsored research activities with prior written permission from the department in which they are appointed as an external affiliate faculty and with the concurrence of the VCU director of sponsored programs administration. Successful completion of protection of research subjects training is required.

8. Database of Affiliate Faculty Appointments and Maintenance of Current Affiliate Information

Upon implementation of this policy and annually thereafter, each school/department will review and enter external affiliate faculty information into the HR Banner System in accordance with the established procedures found in the Affiliate User Guide.

In addition, each school should also maintain current data on both internal and external affiliate faculty which is not captured in Banner such as:

  • Type of affiliate appointment (internal or external)
  • Beginning and ending dates of affiliate appointment
  • Place and type of employment
  • Educational level attained
  • Certification and/or licensure
  • CV

For affiliate faculty who will teach, there is an additional requirement:

  • Seal-bearing transcript from higher education institution awarding degree

The transcript(s) must substantiate the affiliate faculty member’s qualification to teach the assigned course(s). In rare instances, such as with international institutions, it is not possible to obtain a seal-bearing transcript. In these cases, other official documentation that substantiates the award of the degree must be obtained.


There are no forms associated with this policy and procedures.

Related Documents

  1. Affiliate User Guide (for external faculty affiliates)
  2. VCU Policy: Faculty Promotion and Tenure Policies and Procedures
  3. VCU Policy: Faculty Roles and Rewards
  4. Academic Professionals Guidelines

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

Approved: May 19, 2006 – Affiliate Faculty Appointments Policy and Procedures

Revised: August 4, 2014 – Affiliate Faculty Appointments


There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.