Appointments to the Research Line, even if stated as for a term of years, are normally coterminous with continued salary and other research support from sponsored projects, or the continuation of contract support. Should such funding cease, the appointment normally would end at that same time – without the completion of the term or the requirement of a period of notice. Although University funding beyond the point at which the faculty member’s funding support terminates may be possible in certain instances, it is not an entitlement. Such situations are handled on a case-by-case basis, as are cases when a reduction (as opposed to a complete cessation) of the faculty member’s support will result in the immediate termination of the appointment.
In the School of Medicine, department chairs have discretion regarding the definition of the level and duration of insufficient support (so as to constitute the failure of coterminous support), with the consequential termination of an appointment of a faculty member. Their decisions should be guided by programmatic need and departmental resources. The decision to terminate should be made only with the advice and consent of the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.
The general School guidelines are as follows:
- A new faculty member will be expected to have eighty percent of salary and benefits supported from external sources by the end of the third year of appointment.
- Existing faculty members previously funded with salary and benefits support from external sources at eighty percent or more may be permitted (in the discretion of the department chair) to have up to two years to re-establish external support at the minimum level of eighty percent of salary and benefits.
- After such a period of interim departmental support (if any) as is granted by the department chair in his or her discretion, the position may be terminated without any period of notice.
- Insufficient support at any time should not be addressed by a reduction in effort; faculty members are generally expected to be full-time.
- To reiterate, all such matters relating to insufficient support are left to the discretion of the department and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Members of the Research Line in clinical departments may be included in a departmental bonus plan, with eligibility for a bonus based on their research or, if applicable, teaching (subject to budgetary considerations). They should not be eligible for a direct bonus based on clinical work alone, although a bonus determined under the discretion of the chair may be made for clinical or other work in combination with their primary duties.
- The department will be responsible for the base salary and benefits expense not supported by external sources.
Faculty in this line are also expected to engage in activities that are complementary or in addition to their primary focus of research. For example, some faculty may have a teaching role, serve on departmental committees or perform in an administrative role. Since grants and contracts provide salary support only for research-related activities, other sources must be identified to cover the small percentage of time and effort dedicated to other activities as described above. This is commonly known as the “five percent rule”: that is, a minimum of five percent effort is presumed to be dedicated to activities other than research and should be funded through a source or sources other than grants and contracts. In other words, at no time may 100% of salary and benefits be supported exclusively through grants and contracts.
Some leeway is allowed for departmental discretion in determining the percentage of salary support that may be covered from sources other than grants and contracts. As stated above, the minimum amount is five percent; the maximum is generally twenty percent, which aligns with the expectation that eighty percent of salary and benefits of Research Line faculty will be supported from external sources by the end of the third year of appointment.