What is a teaching professor?
The teaching professor is a non-tenure track faculty position that requires the terminal academic degree in the specialist’s field of study (a doctorate in the disciplines represented within the College of Science). Teaching professors have a wide range of responsibilities that include teaching, advising, and service, and may include research with undergraduate students.  The specific breakdown of their responsibilities is determined at the department/program level by the chair of their department based on the unique instructional needs of the academic unit. A teaching professor’s primary responsibility, however, is to provide quality undergraduate education. Promotion is possible in the teaching professor track.  There are three ranks: assistant, associate, and teaching professor.  The position has the potential for multi-year appointments at the associate and teaching professor levels.

Assistant Teaching Professor is the entry rank for the teaching professor position. Appointments at this rank are for renewable 1-year terms. After completing a minimum of three 1-year terms as an assistant teaching professor, an assistant teaching professor is eligible for consideration of promotion to the rank of associate teaching professor. Associate teaching professors are appointed for renewable 3-year terms. After a minimum of three years at rank of associate teaching professor, an associate teaching professor is eligible for consideration of promotion to teaching professor, which represents the highest rank in the teaching professor faculty track. Teaching professors are appointed for renewable 3-year terms. New teaching professors at any rank are appointed for renewable 1-year terms for the first 3 years. After completing a minimum of three 1-year terms, the requirements for promotion for that rank will become applicable. The rights and responsibilities of teaching professors are outlined in the Faculty Handbook available on the Faculty Senate’s website.

How is the teaching professor position different from other faculty positions?

First, the teaching professor is a non-tenure track eligible position. It is different from the non-tenure track instructional faculty position called lecturer in that the teaching professor position includes advising and other types of service. Professional development is encouraged and expected from teaching professors. In some cases, this may involve the supervision of undergraduates involved in research if not in conflict with other department practices.

What is the evaluation procedure for a teaching professor?

Teaching professors are evaluated annually, as are all faculty, at the department/program level by the department and its chair following the process developed and approved by the department’s faculty. A written summary of the annual evaluation is provided to the teaching professor and is maintained in the teaching professor’s personnel file as this document is used in the dossier required for consideration of promotion.

What is the promotion process for this position?

At the recommendation of the chair, a teaching professor who has met the eligibility requirements may be brought forward for consideration of promotion. Those who are not recommended will be provided the opportunity to make an appeal to the dean. Working with the chair of their department, those teaching professors recommended for promotion will prepare a dossier. Promotion is based on meritorious performance, not time spent at the current rank. The preparation and format for the dossier must follow “Preparation and Format of Full-Time, Nontenure-Track Faculty Promotion Dossiers,” which is available on the website for the Office of the Provost, with adaptations appropriate to the teaching professor’s specific job responsibilities. Criteria used in the evaluation of teaching professors include quality teaching, service, which includes advising, and professional development and may include scholarship. Aspects of the promotion process specific to the College of Science are described in “Preparation and Format of the Promotion Dossier for Teaching Professors and Lecturers.”

Since teaching professors are non-tenure track, how secure are their jobs?

Teaching professors are valued members of Northeastern’s faculty whose continuing professional development is key to the success of our academic programs. Therefore, teaching professor appointments are renewable, contingent upon several factors in the sole discretion of the university, including satisfactory performance and unit and university need. Teaching professors may be reappointed consistent with the terms appropriate to their rank if they are meeting the expectations for their position, assuming that their department/program has a continuing need for the teaching professor’s services and that there is funding to support the appointment in the department by the college. Nonreappointment or dismissal of a teaching professor can occur when the teaching professor fails to perform his/her duties adequately or participates in academic or professional misconduct. More information on the rights and responsibilities of teaching professors can be found in the Faculty Handbook, which is available on the Faculty Senate’s website.

How does a negative decision on an application for consideration of promotion affect a teaching professor?

A negative decision has no repercussion beyond the fact that the teaching professor will not be promoted and consequently will remain at his/her current rank. A negative decision on an application for consideration of promotion neither precludes the teaching professor’s being considered for continued appointment at his/her current rank nor precludes a teaching professor from applying for promotion consideration at a future date.