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Open Positions



Updated October 2023


Consistent with University Policy and best practices, the University of Utah has an open and transparent process for selecting, compensating, and reviewing individuals who, while holding faculty appointments, are also appointed to serve as center, institute, or program directors (hereafter, “directors”); department chairs, division chairs, or school directors  (hereafter, “chairs”); assistant or associate deans (hereafter, “associate deans”); deans, library directors; and assistant or associate vice presidents (hereafter “AVPs”). To that end, this document provides general guidelines for the processes and considerations for these administrative appointments.

A. Search and selection process

Appointments of faculty to the administrative positions listed above will follow the typical search and hiring process—which includes either an internal or external search and posting and managing the search in PeopleAdmin—unless a search waiver is sought and approved.

An external search process will follow the typical faculty hiring process.

Internal search and selection activities might include some or all of the following:

  • Invitation for nominations (including self-nominations)
  • Consultation with faculty, staff, and/or students
  • Search committee that recruits, screens, interviews, and recommends final candidates
  • Public presentation
  • Meetings with relevant leadership, including the appointing official

Search waivers must be sought and approved through the Office for Faculty prior to any discussions with the candidate (see SVPAA Guideline for Search Waivers).

B. Hiring proposal

Once a candidate is selected, the appointing official shall seek the relevant approvals as required by University Policy, which includes submission of the following documents in the PeopleAdmin Hiring Proposal:

  • Description of the process used for search and selection
  • Curriculum vita
  • Draft offer letter with terms for the appointment.
    • See Sections C through G for details that should be addressed in the offer letter.

C. Length of Appointment

All administrative appointments are at the pleasure of the appointing official, which must be noted in the offer letter. In addition, these appointments have fixed durational terms, which are typically three years for directors, chairs, and associate deans; and five years for deans, library directors, and AVPs. As required by University Policy, if renewal is sought, the individual must undergo an appropriate review, as described below in Section I.

D. Faculty obligations during period of administrative service

The individual’s obligations as a faculty member must be clearly articulated in the offer letter, and those obligations must be in alignment with the percentage of effort assigned to their faculty position.

Similarly, the individual’s obligations as an administrator must be clearly articulated in the offer letter, and those obligations must be in alignment with the percentage of effort assigned to their administrative position.

E. Compensation and other terms of appointments

In negotiations for administrative appointments, there are generally five areas that might be considered: (1) base salary increases, (2) additional one, two, or three months of salary for faculty with less than 12-month contracts or additional FTE (if available) for faculty with 12-month contracts, (3) administrative increments, (4) course releases, and (5) research/professional development support.

General guidelines and principles for each area are as follows. It is understood, however, that responsibilities associated with different types of administrative positions vary and, further, that each situation is unique and should be treated as such.

  • Base Salary Increases: Increases to base salary as a part of any administrative appointment are discouraged because it can lead to disparities when the appointee returns to faculty responsibilities within a department/school. Increases of more than 5% to base salary must be identified, explained, and approved by the Senior Vice President.
  • Additional Summer or FTE Salary:
    • For faculty administrators with 9-month contracts, it is common to provide 1-2 months of salary to those serving as director, chair, or associate dean. Deans, library directors, and AVPs are typically provided 2-3 months of salary. These additional month(s) reflect the obligations and time commitments of the administrator during the summer.
    • For faculty with 10-month or 11-month contracts, the number of additional months of salary should be adjusted accordingly.
    • For faculty administrators with 12-month contracts at less than 1.0 FTE, it is common to provide FTE equivalent to the number of months as described in the previous bullet points.
  • Administrative Increments: In lieu of a base salary increase or additional month(s) of salary, the individual might be offered an administrative increment for their service. It is recommended that these ordinarily not exceed $10,000 or 10% of base salary (whichever is more). In some cases, typically reserved for high-level administrative positions (e.g., chairs/directors of large, complex units; associate deans with significant responsibilities; or deans and AVPs), it may be appropriate to provide an administrative increment in addition to additional month(s) of salary.
  • Course Releases: Directors, chairs, and associate deans typically have reduced formal teaching duties due to the assigned leadership responsibilities. The extent of teaching release will vary based on the complexity and time obligations of the leadership position. In many cases, directors, chairs, and associate deans have a release of one or two courses, equivalent to 50% of their typical teaching load. Higher-level administrative positions are typically relieved of all course responsibilities, although the individual may elect to teach and/or continue student mentoring responsibilities.
  • Research/Professional Development Support: It may be appropriate to provide support to enable continued research productivity and professional development. The nature and amount of this support will vary based on the field and current research activities of the individual and the time obligations and complexity of the administrative role.

F. Administrator leave at the conclusion of administrative service

At the discretion of the appointing official and upon approval of the senior vice president for academic affairs, the administrator may be provided with an administrator leave at 100% of their base salary immediately at the conclusion of their administrative service for research reinvigoration and renewal, skills development, or other activities supporting the mission of the unit or institution.

  • An administrator who has served for three years may be given up to one semester in leave.
  • An administrator who has served for five years or more, may be given up to one year in leave.
  • University Policy requires that, following a leave, the recipient must return to service at the university for a period of time at least equal to the length of the leave.

The relationship between administrator leave and sabbatical leave is as follows:

  • Administrator leave is in lieu of sabbatical leave; therefore, in no case does credit for sabbatical and administrator leave accrue simultaneously.
  • In recognition of the substantial contribution of administrators, individuals earn administrator leave more quickly than sabbatical leave and receive higher compensation during administrator leave.
  • University Policy does not allow faculty members to take more than one year of sabbatical leave at any one time, nor does it allow faculty members to “bank” credit for years of service such that they can take a sabbatical fewer than six years after a previous sabbatical. The same applies for administrator leave. Therefore, an individual who takes administrator leave is not eligible for a sabbatical until the individual has accumulated six years of Academic Service after the administrator leave, and in no case may eligibility for sabbatical and eligibility for administrator leave be combined to provide more than one year of leave.
  • In order not to disadvantage individuals who begin their administrative term with credit earned toward sabbatical, administrators who have served for three years and who, prior to beginning the administrative position had accumulated at least three years of Academic Service since hire or following a previous sabbatical or administrator leave, have two options.
    • They may request the regular one semester of administrator leave at full base salary.
    • They may request a full year of sabbatical leave, but at 95% of base salary rather than the typical 80% of base salary. This extra compensation is provided to recognize the three-year term as an administrator.

G. Associate professor administrators

The University of Utah values and supports its associate professors who serve in administrative roles and recognizes that these faculty members are highly skilled and contribute greatly to the success of their departments/colleges and the University. Nevertheless, it is also the case that associate professor administrators have responsibilities that make it more difficult to complete the research necessary for promotion to Professor. In addition, an analysis of the number of associate professors currently serving as administrators shows an over-representation of women and people of color in these roles (2020 analysis). In turn, this raises important questions about fairness and equal treatment of all faculty.

Guiding Principle: When the best choice is to appoint an associate professor in an administrative role, it is the responsibility of the appointing official to track and ensure appropriate support and career development resources throughout the term of the appointment, as well as during the immediate years following the appointment.

Offer Letter or MOU: Either in the offer letter or through a separate MOU, please include the following:

  • Candidate’s Research Plan: The candidate should briefly summarize research goals and the plan for achieving these goals to prepare for the promotion review. Please include a tentative timeline for the plan. If the candidate has teaching goals they plan to pursue prior to the promotion review, they should briefly summarize them as well.
  • Resources Plan: The appointing official should state the resources they will make available to the candidate to support the completion of their research goals (and teaching goals, if relevant) within the tentative timeline articulated by the candidate. Each case is unique and should be treated as such, but possible resources include (but are not limited to): course release(s) in the first 1-2 years following the term as administrator; and additional travel, professional development, and/or research funding.

H. Faculty status and faculty reviews during period of administrative service

An administrator with a tenure-line or career-line faculty appointment in a unit of the University at the time of appointment to an administrative position typically continues to hold that faculty appointment, although career-line faculty may require reappointment reviews, as described below.

During a period of administrative service, an administrator maintains the rank attained at the time the administrative service begins and is eligible for promotion to a higher rank per unit guidelines and University Regulations.

  • Tenured Faculty: During administrative service, tenured faculty continue to hold tenure, subject to otherwise applicable conditions on tenure. For tenured faculty who spend at least half of their time serving in an administrative role, a Tenured Faculty Review (ordinarily required every five years) is not required until at least two years after service in the administrative position has ended and may be further delayed an appropriate period of time (but no more than five years) if the faculty member has had a lengthy period of administrative service.
  • Tenure-Track Faculty in the Pre-Tenure Probationary Period: During administrative service, tenure-track faculty continue to be eligible for achieving tenure, subject to otherwise applicable conditions on pre-tenure status, including the requirement of annual informal reviews. University Policy 6-311 provides the possibility for extending the otherwise applicable probationary period length and schedule of formal RPT reviews, based on administrative assignments.
  • Career-Line Faculty (Clinical, Lecturer, Research): Per University Policy, career-line appointments are limited to one-to-five years with possibility of reappointment. Therefore, there may be circumstances in which a career-line faculty member serving in an administrative position will need to be reviewed for reappointment to their faculty position prior to the conclusion of their administrative service. In light of the variety of roles units may have for career-line faculty and the possibility of an individual’s existing faculty appointment term or employment contract period ending before an administrative service period ends, it is especially important that the administrator’s faculty responsibilities during a term of administrative service be clearly articulated in the offer letter at the time of the administrative appointment, and then updated at the time of any subsequent faculty and/or administrator reappointment and/or employment contract renewal. For career-line faculty administrators who spend at least half of their time serving in the administrative role, it is within the discretion of the Senior Vice President to approve modifying the typical reappointment review process. Requests for such modification must be made through the Office for Faculty.
  • Named Positions (e.g., endowed chairs): For certain named positions such as endowed chairs, Policy requires special procedures for initial appointments and periodic reviews of the holders of such positions. Ordinarily, when a faculty administrator also holds a named position, those special procedures for review will be coordinated as closely as practicable with the procedures outlined in this document for administrative position reviews.

I. Review and reappointment

  • Annual Reviews and Annual Goal-Setting: Each appointing official will review the administrator annually. This review must include, at minimum, attention to (1) progress on meeting goals for the relevant unit and (2) future plans.
  • Mid-term Reviews: All faculty administrators in five-year appointments will undergo a review in their second or third year to identify progress on key issues and challenges. Feedback from this review gives the administrator an opportunity to make adjustments mid-term, as necessary. The intent of this review is developmental, not evaluative.

The review generally includes:

  • An anonymous survey sent to appropriate stakeholders, such as faculty, department/college leadership, staff, students, and peer administrators.
  • A meeting between the administrator and the appointing official to discuss the survey results.
  • Communication from the administrator to their unit regarding key things learned from the review, as well as future plans.
  • Reappointments: Administrators may be considered for reappointment at the conclusion of their term.
    • The administrator should indicate in writing their willingness to be reappointed.
    • Most administrators serve no more than two consecutive terms in the same administrative position.
  • Reappointment Reviews: If an incumbent administrator requests to be considered for reappointment, review procedures will align with the general principles of University Policy, implemented through specific methods determined by the appointing official in cooperation with the unit faculty and staff.

At a minimum, the reappointment review includes:

  • For directors, chairs, associate deans, and AVPs:
    • Opportunity for administrator to provide a short, confidential self-assessment regarding their administrative service, shared and discussed with the appointing official only. This self-assessment may include details from the Academic Enterprise Planning process.
      • Suggested Prompt: In a brief statement, please address your leadership style and guiding principles. What are your current goals in your position? How have you been developing and growing, and what do you hope to work on in the coming year?
    • Dean’s may also choose to share accomplishments with stakeholders, if desired (not required).
    • Opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback through an anonymous survey, as described
    • In-person conversation between the administrator and appointing official.
    • Communication from the appointing official to the relevant unit regarding the outcome of the review, including future plans.
  • For deans and library directors:
    • All of the above, plus:
    • Opportunity for faculty, staff, students, and college/library leadership to provide feedback through a town hall and/or interview process.
    • An anonymous survey sent to College Advisory Board and/or external stakeholders, as relevant
    • SVPAA interviews with principal (institutional) donors

At the conclusion of a review process, if the decision is to reappoint, the appointing official documents the decision and seeks approval of the reappointment following University Policy and procedures. In addition, the appointing official sends a letter to the unit’s faculty and staff with a brief summary of the information collected during the review process, the reasons for the reappointment, and an overview of the shared priorities and goals for the unit during the new term. The appointing official is also encouraged to have a further discussion with the unit’s faculty and staff to consider any follow up from the review.

At the conclusion of a review process, if the decision is not to reappoint, the appointing official announces that the position will be open and, as soon as practicable, begins the search procedures outlined above for appointment of an administrator. In appropriate cases with the same approval process as for regular appointments, the appointing official may request a search waiver to appoint an interim to serve until the search process is completed.