Joint Faculty Appointments

Five College Joint Faculty Appointments help the institutions maintain or develop the curriculum by sharing appointments. Joint appointees are based at a single campus (the position's home campus), but teach at one or more other campuses on a rotating basis. The procedures of the position's home campus and department govern the review and promotion process, with input from the other campuses sharing in the position. Joint appointments are generally tenure track or continuing.

Faculty members holding Five College joint appointments have enriched scholarship and creative work and teaching at all five institutions for over 30 years. The commitment of Five College joint faculty members to working cooperatively across the campuses strengthens the intellectual communities and curricula at their home campuses and throughout the consortium.

More than 80 joint faculty members -- in at least 33 different fields -- have served in visiting, three-year, or tenure track appointments since 1973. Currently, 39 scholars hold joint appointments at the campuses. Of the 22 faculty members appointed to tenure-track positions (or equivalently long-term positions based at Hampshire College) 13 continue in tenure-track appointments and 9 are either tenured or in equivalently long-term continuing positions at Hampshire. Tenure rates for those appointed to joint tenure-track positions compare very favorably with the tenure rates for those appointed to tenure-track positions based fully at a single campus.

Exact arrangements for sharing support of a position and allocating teaching and other obligations among the participating institutions vary, depending on the needs of the institutions and the position; however, for each appointee, teaching and service obligations are clearly defined in Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), as are procedures for review for renewal and tenure. The MOU and other relevant procedural documents are shared with the appointee and attached to the Letter of Appointment. A core principle is that the total obligations of any joint appointee should never exceed what would be expected of a faculty member working full time in an equivalent tenure-track or term position at the appointee’s home campus; correspondingly, the total expectations for tenure of a joint appointee do not exceed what would be expected in total from a faculty member working full-time in a tenure-track appointment in the same department or program of the appointee’s home campus.

Five Colleges has developed structures for supporting joint appointees, including a consortial staff position, the Academic Programs Liaison. The Academic Programs Liaison works under the supervision of the Five College Director for Academic Programs to ensure joint appointees receive adequate support for their cross-campus work as outlined in the position MOU and in published guidelines for support of joint appointments. The Liaison does so by communicating regularly with each joint faculty member and with faculty members and support staff members at participating campuses. The Director for Academic Programs intervenes in cases requiring the attention of one or more Deans of Faculty or Provosts.

In addition, for each joint appointment, the Deans name a Support Committee composed of senior faculty members from the campuses participating in the position. The Support Committee is chaired by a member from the appointee’s home campus. The Support Committee meets with the joint appointee once or twice a year, assisted by the Academic Program Liaison and the Director for Academic Programs. Members are responsible for supporting the work of the joint appointee on their respective campuses. In addition, they work with the appointee to develop and publicize a plan for course rotation subject to the approval of the department chair on each campus. Finally, they work to ensure that the cumulative obligations of the appointee never exceed those of other faculty members working full time in equivalent positions at the appointee’s home campus.

Requests for joint appointments, which are normally developed over several months and in consultation with a Five College staff member, are reviewed and approved by the Five College Deans. The Deans also establish guidelines for searching and hiring in joint appointments, for reviewing joint appointees, and for supporting the work of joint appointees. View the guidelines on searches, reviews and revisions and the guidelines for participating institutions (PDF files). 

Currently, Five Colleges has a multi-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supporting new joint appointments. The grant's special purpose is to help the institutions plan collaboratively to meet curricular needs in the face of faculty retirements, which are likely to reach unprecedented levels in departments across the consortium over the next several years.

The number of appointments varies from year to year, according to the availability of funding. View a list of the current Five College Joint Faculty Appointees and the courses they'll be teaching this year.  You can also see a list of joint appointees with home and host campuses (click on the link below).  Joint faculty and others teaching on another campus might find the resource site for Joint Faculty Appointees useful.

For more information about Five College Joint Faculty Appointments, contact Nate Therien or Sue Dickman.

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