A cross-college and cross-discipline collaboration that pushes environmental science and education to new levels of understanding, interest, and funding.

Operational Objectives

This document sets out a base understanding of how cross-college joint appointments will be structured, given the tripartite responsibilities of faculty – teaching, research, and service – with specific attention to creation of a model that facilitates rather than retards such appointments through attention to an equitable division of effort, responsibility, resources, rewards, and recognition.

Premise statement:  When creating joint appointments negotiations should begin under the premise that all duties will be split between the units in proportion to the salary split, as that arrangement is most likely to result in the faculty member integrating themselves into the unit cultures most rapidly. Moderating this principle is a second premise – the total workload from the joint appointment should be the same as that of a traditional appointment in one unit. In general, appointment splits should reflect both classroom teaching duties and norms, as well as faculty contributions to graduate student mentoring, service, and faculty collaboration.  Finally, central to joint hires should be simple fractions and long term planning.  Evenly split appointments may require two year planning horizons (every other year) to accommodate split duties; 1/3-2/3 splits may require 3 year planning horizons.

Split of Appointment

The University of Washington requires that joint appointments have evenly split tenure between participating units to insure that in the case of a split tenure decision, no faculty member will ever have less than a 50% tenure appointment.  Split of salary, and of academic duties (research, teaching, outreach, technology translation) will not necessarily follow this split. In all cases in which the salary split and the tenure split are not the same, the responsibilities of the faculty member and the evaluation of the faculty member for tenure, promotion to full professor, and annual merit review, should follow the salary split not the tenure split.  Throughout this document, split will refer to the salary split, not the tenure split.

This policy will only pertain to faculty holding state-funded appointments equal to or exceeding six (6) months annually, and who are paid a minimum of 25% of a nine (9) month academic appointment in each of two different colleges.

In most cases, the appointment split will aggregate by quarter, thus faculty might have an even split (e.g. one quarter in each unit for a 6 month annual appointment), or more commonly an uneven split (e.g. two quarter in one unit and the remaining quarter in the second unit for a 9 month annual appointment).  The ratio of the split may resolve to both the disciplinary norms of the respective units, as well as to the accepted number of courses delivered within an academic (9 month) year.

In cases with an uneven split, the unit housing the majority of the appointment will be the home unit, and will also serve as the physical residence of the faculty, including office and laboratory space for the faculty and members of their laboratory.  In cases of an even split, the unit of physical residence will serve as the home unit.

In all cases, salary paid to the faculty should be dispersed from both units continuously in accordance with the appointment split.  Thus, for a 9-month appointment split 1/3-2/3, each pay period during the academic year should reflect this split of compensation from each unit.

Type of Appointment

Faculty members holding joint appointments will be granted graduate faculty status with endorsement to chair in all units in which they hold appointments.


Faculty members holding joint appointments will have full voting privileges in both units.


The majority unit is assumed to be the unit of residence, providing the faculty member with office, laboratory, and shared space in accordance with the norms of the unit and as agreed upon in the final offer letter.  The minority unit is strongly encouraged to allocate office space as well, given the understanding that a faculty member who has no space in a unit is less likely to interact with that unit than one who is able to maintain at least a shared office.

If the faculty member accepts graduate students through the minority unit, that unit is required to guarantee office space for the student(s), suitable for meetings between the student and the faculty advisor.  Alternatively, the majority unit may opt to provide office space for minority unit students, as a gesture towards ensuring that the laboratory of the faculty member is not fractured.  In the latter case, it is the responsibility of the faculty member to inform the minority unit that graduate office space is not required.

Moving Costs

Moving costs should be negotiated by the Chairs/Directors of both units, and should generally follow the appointment split, with the provision that both units should invest in bringing the faculty member to campus.

Start-up Funding, RCR, & Royalties

Start-up funding specifically incentivizes and assists new faculty in the development of strong and well-funded scholarly programs that help new faculty become fully invested members of the academic community, including the ability to do cutting edge research.

In general, start-up funding will result in more than the return of this initial investment over the employment lifetime of the faculty member, allowing all participating units to continue to invest in new faculty.  Such returns include RCR and other financial (e.g. gift and endowment funding) and nonfinancial (e.g. contribution to national ranking, attraction of superior students) benefits.  Cooperative investment in new faculty, regardless of physical home, sends a strong message that both units regard the person as a full member of their faculty and academic unit.  Cooperative disbursement of funds generated by the grant and contract activity of the faculty member sends a similar message, and will also result in continued investment on the part of both units and colleges.

However, it is also true that the unit of physical residence is most likely to assume greater financial burdens, including but not limited to: grant and contract services, administrative services, building coordinator and safety services, and other centralized services provided by the unit.

Therefore, an equitable split of start-up investment and RCR distribution should closely follow the salary split.

For example, for 9 month faculty with a 2/3 – 1/3 appointment split and physical residence in the majority (home) unit, 2/3 of the initial start-up costs not covered by the Office of the Provost will be borne by the home unit and/or associated college, and the remaining 1/3 will be borne by the minority unit and/or associated college.  This same distribution can apply to RCR apportioned to the respective colleges; however, a greater portion returned to the unit of residence to account for the costs of administrative services provided by that unit should be considered.  Distributions from the respective Dean’s offices to the units, or from the units to the faculty member, are the purview of the individual colleges/units.

Distributions of Royalty and Licensing revenue will be disbursed according to the appointment split.


Teaching, including undergraduate and graduate courses, undergraduate independent research mentoring, and graduate student mentoring, is a central responsibility of state-funded faculty.

Classroom Instruction:

Norms of teaching, including the number, enrollment, and intensity (generally estimated by credits) of courses required on an annual basis (assuming a baseline of a 9 month appointment) differ among units.  To mitigate negative effects on joint appointments (e.g. having to teach significantly more than single appointment faculty), the Chairs/Directors of the relevant units must reconcile any differences in expectations in advance of the appointment, and a clear statement about specific teaching duties must be included in the final offer letter.  When changes in classroom instruction are made, the unit making the change should inform the other unit, and both Chairs/Directors should ensure that the change does not negatively impact the overall teaching requirement of the faculty member.

In general, both units should specify the teaching load assigned to incoming faculty at the relevant appointment level (i.e., assistant, associate, full), including the number and type of courses delivered annually.  For instance, a course load within the natural sciences might be:

  • one lower-level (100 or 200 level) 5 credit undergraduate class delivered by two faculty in block form (i.e. 5 weeks on, 5 weeks off for each) to a large enrollment (>250) where the faculty member is responsible for lectures only.
  • one upper-level (300 or 400 level) 3-4 credit undergraduate class delivered singly to moderate enrollment (40-60) where the faculty member is responsible for all aspects of the course with the assistance of a graduate TA.
  • one upper-level (400 or 500 level) 2-3 credit undergraduate or graduate class delivered singly to small enrollment (12-25) where the faculty member is solely responsible for the course.

For each unit, assignment of teaching load should follow the appointment split.  Thus, a one quarter appointment should teach approximately 1/3 as much as the norm over the entire academic year rather than be assigned a particular course to be taught each year for one quarter (e.g., in the above example, not one large enrollment lower-level course annually for a one quarter appointment, but more likely one such course every two years with a third year off).  Because division of instructional responsibility for joint appointments is likely to require teaching gaps (e.g. every other year, every two years with a year off), long-range planning horizons of teaching duties (2-3 years) is essential.

Because a faculty position split between two teaching units may be faced with developing multiple courses for both units, attention should be paid to making sure that the total number of new courses developed within the first few years of the appointment does not exceed that of a traditional faculty member.

For entry-level faculty, any dispensation in teaching as a standard condition of new hire, such as a quarter free of teaching, should be negotiated between the units, specified as to which unit (or both) are contributing this benefit, and be included in the final offer letter.

In some cases, the faculty member may wish to temporarily increase the amount of scholarly work performed during the academic year, and would seek to buy-out of teaching responsibilities by shifting salary to grants or contracts.  Teaching buy-outs should be negotiated within the relevant unit, following the norms of that unit, but must be approved by both units.  In cases where teaching buy-out policies are different between the two sponsoring units, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) must be written and signed by both unit heads and the faculty member, to insure all parties are knowledgeable about the action and the outcome.

Graduate Mentoring: Teaching duties of faculty include mentorship, significantly including mentorship of graduate students.  Because the mentoring relationships formed between faculty and graduate students are central to role of faculty, and the mentoring of graduate students contributes significantly to the breadth and depth of departmental culture and academic rigor, joint appointment faculty are encouraged to mentor students through both academic units, and associated units are strongly encouraged to support this practice.  To facilitate the maintenance of cohesive joint-appointment laboratory groups that include graduate students from multiple departments, minority units are encouraged to include joint-appointment faculty in their graduate recruiting process, and majority units are encouraged to house students from both units.  Such arrangements should be agreed upon in advance, and should be outlined in the final offer letter.  Furthermore, minority units are encouraged to allow joint appointments to teach at the graduate level on some regular basis, or at minimum, to jointly list all graduate courses the faculty member teaches.

Evaluation of classroom teaching is required of all faculty members.  Because joint appointment faculty may teach courses for both academic units in which they hold appointments, evaluation should involve senior colleagues from both units, ideally the mentor team (see Promotion and Tenure, below).  If teaching evaluation within units involves a particular form/format, the majority unit should take the lead in establishing format to use.  Regardless of format, both units should receive a copy of the evaluation.


For the purposes of this policy, service refers specifically to those duties performed within the University of Washington, at the unit, college, campus, or university level, and may include (without limitation): appointment to a standing or ad hoc committee, appointment as a committee chair, appointment as an academic or research unit associate chair/director, or chair/director, or appointment to a higher position within a college or campus.

In general, academic service should be split according to the appointment, and should follow the norms of each unit.  Because within-unit committee service is concentrated, and less than average attendance is not productive (i.e., a one quarter appointment only attending 1/3 of the meetings annually), committee appointments should be accounted for on longer than annual schedules.

A component of service is the degree to which faculty interact with their colleagues, including attendance at faculty meetings, departmental seminars, departmental social functions, and annual symposia and other celebrations of graduate and undergraduate student work.  Because full participation in both units requires significantly more time than is practically possible, the expectation should be that joint appointments will be present less than the full amount of time, and are likely to spend more time involved in functions of their home unit/unit of residence.  At the same time, the majority unit should acknowledge that a significant aspect of service for joint appointment faculty is as a liaison between the units.  As this requires time in both units, the majority unit is discouraged from applying the same service “rules” to joint faculty as it applies to single unit faculty.

In such cases where service appointments require significant time and effort, and compensation is required, all parties including the faculty member, the Chairs/Directors of all relevant units, and the appointing authority if not same, must agree in writing to the degree and type of work load reduction, and to the flow of compensation.  Compensation may take the form of workload reduction (e.g. a one quarter reduction in teaching – with specification of which unit absorbs the teaching reduction), additional salary (e.g. a month of summer salary), buy-out (e.g. some number of months of academic year salary), and administrative supplement (ADS).

Annual Activity Reporting

All faculty are required to report their scholarly, teaching, and services activities on an annual basis.  Joint faculty should be required to report their activities to all academic units in which they hold more than a zero-time appointment; however, they should not be required to write multiple reports of differing content and due at different times.  In general, reporting requirements of a joint faculty member should not exceed those of a faculty member with a single unit appointment.

Accordingly, the home unit shall dictate the content and schedule of annual activity reporting according to its norms.  Should the minority unit desire, it can request additional information in line with its own norms be provided as an addendum, with the concurrence of the majority unit.

The final list of annual deliverables to the Annual Activity Report together with a time table of delivery will be attached to the final offer letter to the candidate, and will also be made available to the Chair/Director of the majority and minority units, and to their respective Promotion and Tenure Committees.

The Annual Activity Report will be delivered to both units simultaneously.

Because all faculty must meet with their Chair or Director to review the activity of the faculty member on a regular schedule set by level of appointment, joint appointment faculty must meet with the head of each academic unit in which they hold more than a zero-time appointment.  Joint review, in which the Chair or Director for each unit are present at a single review session, is strongly encouraged, as such open dialog will help both units understand the full responsibilities and accomplishments of jointly appointed faculty, and will facilitate rapid decision making regarding changes in contracts.

Following the annual meeting(s), the Chair/Directors of the relevant units must meet to come to agreement on the progress of the joint faculty member and on any salary dispensation (see below).  The Chairs/Directors will then craft a joint letter to the faculty member outlining their accomplishments and/or areas of deficiency, and any change in salary or other compensation thereof.  A copy of this letter must be kept by both units.

Merit Review & Salary Increases

Merit review follows the norms of individual units, following from the completion of Annual Activity Reports.  To minimize duplication of effort, the annual timing of merit review and the process by which a decision is made must be agreed upon by the Chairs/Directors of the relevant units at the time of the faculty appointment, and must be included in the final offer letter.  If the academic units within which the faculty member holds appointments desire to change the terms of merit review subsequent to the appointment, all parties including the faculty member and the Chairs/Directors of all relevant units must agree in writing to any changes.  In general, review procedures should flow from the majority unit to the minority unit.

Salary scales are different across units and colleges, and joint faculty should not be subject to inadvertent salary discrimination due to pay scale differences or to the physical absence of faculty members holding a minority appointment, as long as that faculty member has proved meritorious according to the agreed upon norms.

Promotion & Tenure

Although joint appointments may have disciplinary pursuits that fit neatly within each unit, it is the expectation that joint faculty members will stretch the disciplinary boundaries of one or both units, and should be rewarded for doing so.  It is certainly the case that a joint appointment faculty member will be “less present” in both units than colleagues holding a single (9 month) appointment.  Neither of these issues should impact the promotion and tenure processes, and annual steps should be taken to insure that all faculty in both units in positions of decision and authority (e.g., promotion and tenure committee, executive committee, etc.) are reminded of the nature of the appointment and any specific conditions associated with it well in advance of any type of assessment, formal discussion, or decision.

To insure that joint appointment faculty can succeed in both units, the Chairs/Directors should appoint a mentor team composed of one senior faculty from each unit who are willing to work together to meet with and advise the faculty member on issues of scholarship, production of scholarly work, teaching performance, graduate mentorship, and service.  Where possible, it is preferable if one of the mentors themselves holds a joint appointment.  In addition to adhering to the norms of production of each unit, it is essential that the mentor team work cooperatively to insure that the work load of advised joint appointment faculty does not exceed that of a single (9 month) appointment within each unit.  In cases where differences in unit norms are significant, the mentor team should discuss these differences with their mentee, and all should arrive at a workable solution.  This must be communicated to the faculty member in writing.

The majority unit will work with the minority unit to agree on a promotion process that fits the norms of both units, and includes members of both units on a promotion or tenure review committee (in units where such committees are the norm).  An outline of the process must be provided to the faculty member one year in advance of a potential promotion action, so that the faculty member has time to review all of the criteria and process.  Promotion files should follow the norms of the majority unit, with concurrence by the minority unit.  In cases where the minority unit requires additional or different materials, these differences should be worked out prior to the faculty member receiving a promotion file checklist.

Attention should be paid to the process of soliciting outside letters, the number of letters required, the elements that letter writers are asked to comment upon, and the standard the letter writers are asked to measure the candidate against.  In the case of joint appointments, slightly more than the standard number of letters is encouraged, to fully reflect the interdisciplinary expertise.

In all cases, a single promotion file, and a single set of letters, will be generated.  Each unit will use these materials as the basis for their own discussion and voting procedure, and each Chair/Director will write a letter summarizing the same.

In the rare instance when units disagree on whether a candidate should be promoted, and specifically in the case of awarding tenure, unit heads must immediately conference to resolve the difference in advance of the promotion package moving from the units to their respective Dean’s offices and College Councils.  Depending on the nature of the disagreement, there are several potential courses of action, including but not limited to:

  1. Denial of tenure (or promotion).  This would require a revote of the faculty in the unit originally supporting tenure after receiving information from the opposing unit; and would require letters from both unit heads to their respective Deans detailing this irregularity.
  2. Reversal of the vote of the opposing unit.  This would require a revote of the faculty in the unit originally denying tenure (or promotion) after receiving information from the opposing unit; and would require letters from both unit heads to their respective Deans detailing this irregularity.
  3. In the case of a tenure award only:
  • Movement of the faculty position entirely into the unit voting to award tenure, with responsibility to provide the additional months of salary (in the case of state-line faculty) after an agreed upon interval not to exceed one year.
  • Movement of the faculty position entirely into the unit voting to award tenure, with a concomitant reduction in the annual appointment FTE to match that funded by the unit (in the case of state-line faculty).
  • Movement of the faculty position entirely into the unit voting to award tenure, with no change in salary structure (in the case of research faculty).

Because the tenure decision is the single most important vote taken regarding the career of a faculty member, the outcome pathway (i.e., bullets above) should majority and minority units disagree must be decided in advance and spelled out in the MOU covering that faculty member.

Availability of Unit Resources

Resources available to stateline faculty holding full (9 month) appointments will also be available to those faculty holding joint appointments, unless the unit has an a priori pro-rating resource policy that is publicly known prior to the specific appointment, and is enforced evenly across all unit faculty.  In general, the expectation is that resources available to 9 month faculty will be equally available to faculty holding less than 9 month appointments.

Availability of College Resources

Resources available to stateline faculty holding full (9 month) appointments will also be available to those faculty holding joint appointments, unless the college has an a priori pro-rating resource policy that is publicly known prior to the specific appointment, and is enforced evenly across all college faculty. In general, the expectation is that resources available to 9 month faculty will be equally available to faculty holding less than 9 month appointments.

Sabbatical and Leave without Pay

To ensure that units have an appropriate amount of time to plan and coordinate sabbatical requests, it is the responsibility of the faculty member to inform both units at least 1 year in advance of the intention to apply for sabbatical.  In situations that may merit a medical leave or family leave, or career opportunities arising from technology translation, the faculty member should provide leave request information as early as possible. Upon receiving a request, unit heads must coordinate decision-making and requests to respective Deans.

In the case of less than full sabbatical, or of leave without pay, both costs and benefits to be shared according to salary split by the units.

Special Conditions

Any joint appointment will involve special conditions following from the individual units, as well as from the nature of the appointment – both discipline(s) and type (e.g. 6 month, 9 month).  This document is meant to provide a basis for creation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between units, with the proviso that it must be adapted according to the needs of each individual appointment.

Memorandum of Understanding

All joint new hires will proceed with the creation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the relevant units that outlines the specific arrangements for all categories considered above, as well as any other specifics arising from the nature of the appointment and/or the discipline or person.  The MOU will be signed by the relevant Chairs/Directors and Deans at the time of hiring.


Effective Date:                  June 15, 2012

Last Review Date:            June 15, 2012



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