Office of the Provost

Joint Appointments

Institutional policy encourages the appointment of individuals to the faculties of two or more schools or departments concurrently. Such appointments might be made in connection with interdisciplinary or interprofessional teaching and research programs involving several departments.

When a school determines the need for faculty expertise that is beyond the scope of its discipline or field, it should attempt to meet the need for services through existing faculty in another school or department of the University.

If, in unusual circumstances, shared services or a joint appointment cannot be arranged, special permission may be granted by the Provost to allow a primary appointment of an individual in a discipline not normally appropriate to a school.

The concurrent appointment of individuals to the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and the faculty of another institution of higher education is also possible. Such arrangements can benefit both the institutions and the faculty member in many ways, not the least of which is the mutual ability of the institutions to support a full-time appointment in an area so specialized that neither institution would be capable of such support alone. In such cases, specific approval by the Provost is required and full disclosure should be made in the case where the faculty member holds tenure at both institutions.

In making joint appointments, there is a need to clarify such matters as: primary administrative jurisdiction; division of responsibilities; and the criteria for promotion and salary increases, tenure, and budget allocations. In order to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts of interest, the following principles apply to joint appointments.

Joint appointments are of two primary categories:

  • Where each department or school carries a portion of the salary.
  • Where there is no sharing of salary.

1. The appointment documents shall state clearly: the primary department and/or school in which tenure is held; where primary responsibility rests for the individual's professional development, salary increases, promotion, research and teaching assignments; and the extent of responsibility, if any, of the other departments and schools in which he or she holds an appointment in regard to these same matters. Tenure may only be held in the department of the primary appointment.

2. The department or school having secondary interest in the individual shall be consulted on pertinent details of the original appointment. Such department or school, if it desires to make a secondary appointment, shall obtain the approval of the Provost or the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences before a secondary appointment is offered. Similarly, in such matters as faculty development, evaluation, reappointment, promotion, and distribution of time for teaching, research, or administrative duties, the department or school involved in the secondary appointment shall be consulted and actions taken in accordance with the responsibilities specified in the appointment documents.

If the secondary department or school provides a portion of the salary, the distribution of salary, time, and teaching responsibilities between the departments or schools must be determined at the time of the initial hire and any subsequent changes to that distribution must be agreed upon by both departments or schools. The secondary department or school must be consulted on salary recommendations. All parties to each recommendation should sign the Employee Record form, and any agreements incident thereto should be filed in the personnel folder. No group should presume to speak for another in the arrangement of these matters.

3. The primary assignment is indicated by the first title. For instance, an individual with tenure in the Department of Sociology might have an appointment as Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Professor of Social Work. Whenever possible, appointments in professional schools of persons whose field is primarily in one of the academic disciplines should be secondary appointments. Where the primary appointment is in the professional school, the primary title should include the name of the professional school, e.g., Professor of Business and Professor of Psychology.

When a faculty member is promoted in his or her primary appointment, the department or school providing the secondary appointment should be notified so that consideration for the promotion in the secondary appointment can be made concurrently.

4. Every effort should be made to ensure that an individual with a joint appointment holds the same rank in all faculties. When this is not feasible, the secondary rank should not be higher than the one in the primary department or where tenure is held. The secondary unit should give the same scrutiny and apply the same standards for its secondary appointments as it would in making a primary appointment.

5. Joint appointments should be terminated if their former appropriateness has been lost. Changing interest on the part of the individual, changing need in a department or in an interdisciplinary program, the gain or loss of a research contract, or some other factor may reduce the significance of a joint appointment.

To encourage the application of this policy, no joint appointment shall be made for longer than three full academic years. At least six months before the end of the appointment, the dean of a school or the department chair where a secondary appointment is held will initiate a reappointment action. If none is forthcoming, the joint appointment automatically lapses at the end of the appointment. If a recommendation for reappointment is made, all deans or department chairs and the faculty member involved shall be consulted before the joint appointment is renewed.

6. A teaching assignment outside a faculty member's primary department or school does not necessarily require a joint appointment, nor does the offering of a course in one department or school to which the students of another department or school are admitted require that the instructor hold a joint appointment in both departments or schools.

7. It is the spirit of these policies that only joint appointments that are joint in practice as well as in name are desired. A joint appointment should be made only when the individual plans to participate in each of the faculties in which he or she will have an appointment. Participation may involve teaching, research, attendance at faculty meetings, acceptance of administrative assignments, and other such functions. When a sharing of salary is involved, however, the extent of duties in each school or department must be clearly agreed upon in writing by all parties.

8. The bulletins of all departments or schools in which an individual holds an appointment shall list the joint appointee as a faculty member.

For additional information, refer to University Policy 02-02-11, Joint appointments.