This section of the website assumes that Career Research faculty are on funding contingent contracts. This is the case for 99% of Career Research appointments. If you have a Career Research appointment that is not funding contingent, then most of the in the information about appointments and renewals for Career Instructional faculty will apply to you. You can always contact the union office for more information about your unique situation.
The university administration is currently in the process of developing new processes for issuing Career Research appointments. Unlike instructional appointments, there is no "standard" Career Research appointment. Some research faculty have a single 1.0 FTE contract in one unit. Some faculty have a 1.0 FTE contract in one unit or lab, but the FTE is made up of different pieces of different grants. Some faculty work on multiple projects for different PIs. In the past, the university dealt with these variations, if not on an ad hoc basis, then on a decentralized basis with different processes governing different appointments.
One of the projects the union and the university have engaged on is coming up with a more uniform policy governing the variations within the research world. The CBA has guidelines, but both parties have tried to recognize and maintain the healthy variation in research appointments and have written guidelines with "flexibility" as a watch word.
If your experience does not line up with the policies as they are described, you should feel free to ask either VP Mike Stain or contact the union office so we can help you sort out what is going on and provide advice.
The initial appointment for a Career Research Non-Tenure Track Faculty member will vary due to the length of the grant and the availability of funding, but in most cases the initial appointment will be for no longer than a year.
Only the Provost or designee (dean, VP for Research, unit head) can offer an appointment (aka "contract") and only in writing. Oral promises from anyone at the university, including PIs, are not binding and cannot be relied upon.
New Career faculty are entitled to receive a notice of appointment as soon as practicable. In most cases, faculty should have their notices of appointment in hand well before their work starts. In some cases, faculty start working for the University of Oregon without being issued or having signed a letter of appointment. In those cases, any emails or letters regarding your appointment that you have from the university will be very important, so all documents should be saved.
If you find yourself working without a contract and you do not receive a timely paycheck (pay day is the last day of every month), you should contact the union office. We can help get the process moving.
Once received, the notice of appointment should include the following:
- Effective date of appointment
- Classification, category, and rank
- Department and title
- Duration of appointment and/or if appointment is contingent on funding
- Tenure status, including the nature of any restrictions on eligibility for tenure and any credit for prior service; or
- Career status, including the nature of any restrictions on eligibility for promotion and any credit for prior service
- Other requirements of employment
You should also receive written information concerning duties, responsibilities and institutional expectations.
Length of Appointment for Funding Contingent Contracts
Career Research faculty earn longer-term appointments the longer their employment lasts. Generally, Career Research faculty have one-year appointments in the first four years of employment in rank, two-year appointments after four years in rank, and three-year appointments if they achieve promotion. Unfortunately, funding contingent appointments can only be for as long as funding is known to be available.
Funding contingent appointments can always be terminated if there is a loss or lack of funding. Over the course of a grant, many factors can affect the use of grant dollars and how long they last. Research faculty can only expect to be employed when there is available funding to support their work, regardless of nominal contract length.
During bargaining, the university also made the case that PIs are responsible to outside agencies that expect deliverables in return for the grant. Because of this outside pressure, a funding contingent appointment can be terminated due to changing programmatic needs or poor performance by the bargaining unit faculty member holding the appointment.
Before terminating a funding contingent appointment for a faculty member’s poor performance, the university, usually the PI, must meet with the faculty member to discuss the poor performance and provide the faculty member with written instructions and a timeline to remedy the poor performance. If the faculty member does not remedy the performance, they can be terminated.
The ability to terminate an appointment for lack of funding, changing programmatic need, and poor performance recognizes the need for flexibility in the research world. While this ability gives a certain amount of power to the university, we agreed to this policy because we heard from many of our faculty that this flexibility is necessary. We also agreed to this policy because we recognized that the vast majority of PIs and university administrators work with faculty in good faith. However, if your appointment is being terminated for lack of funding, changing programmatic need, or poor performance and you have reason to suspect that there is no real lack of funding, changing programmatic need, or poor performance, please contact VP Mike Strain or the union office and we can help.
Career Research faculty are entitled to notice of renewal or non-renewal of their appointment as soon as practicable. The renewal notice must inform the fault member of the duration of the upcoming appointment, whether it is funding contingent, and the expected FTE of the upcoming year. It is not, however, the official appointment.
Just as above, the reappointment letter should include more information, including actual FTE and salary. Returning Career Research faculty are entitled to notice of reappointment no later than 30 days prior to the start date of the appointment, when feasible.