Office of the Provost

Faculty Appointment Guidelines



The University recognizes the guidelines set forth by the AAU, the Big Ten Academic Alliance (formerly CIC), and the AAUP concerning recruitment of instructional faculty:

  • Firm offers of appointments for the Fall Term should not be made after April 30, or the fourth month preceding the beginning of any other academic term (August 30 for the Winter Term). The offer should be a "firm" offer and not subject to contingencies.

  • An exception may be considered provided the administrative head (usually the dean or designated representative) or the offering unit (school/college/institute) has determined that the date in which the appointment is to take effect is agreeable to the administrative head of the school/college/unit which the individual will be leaving.

    : The administrative head of the offering unit is expected to request the AAU waiver from the home institution and include a copy in the AEO request when it is forwarded to the Provost’s Office.



  1. The school/college/research unit/academic unit approves the appointment, and

  2. Submits the following information to the “Authorization to Extend Offer (AEO)” M-Box folder.
    (Instructions for uploading files to M-Box.)

    • Prior to forwarding to the Provost’s Office, Medical School appointments should be sent to the Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs (EVPMA) for approval. Note: for joint appointments where the primary appointment is outside the Medical School, the EVPMA’s approval is not required on the approval form.

    • For Research Professors and Research Associate Professors only, the appointment requires a review by the Vice President for Research. Please address the endorsement letter to both the Provost and the Vice President for Research.

    1. Endorsement letter from Dean/Director:

      • The endorsement letter should be written from an evaluative, not an advocacy, perspective and should present a balanced summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

      • Effective date of the appointment.

      • Candidate's current title(s) and whether tenured or not

      • Substantive description of candidate’s work and significant contributions to the field – more than a listing of titles.

      • Description of the appointment in the context of the field and the specific needs of the school, college, or department.

      • Description of the candidate’s experience and quality of teaching.

      • Please summarize the evaluative comments of the review committee and/or executive committee and include the final vote tally and number of positive votes, negative votes and abstained (such as 4-2 -- do not include names of committee members).

      • When quoting from an external reviewer, identify as Reviewer A, B, or C, etc. (see Item 2h below).

      • If the regular (not adjunct) Instructional, Research Professor, or Clinical appointment is offered in more than one unit, it should be handled simultaneously by all units. The endorsement letter requires the signatures of the Deans/Directors from all schools/colleges/research units/academic units where the individual will hold Instructional, Research Professor, or Clinical appointments, even if those are “dry” (0% fraction) appointments. Please indicate the fraction of effort for each title -- e.g., Associate Professor, without tenure (100%), and Research Associate Professor (0%).

      • For appointments of a candidate as a tenured associate or full professor include:

        • a description of the search process leading to the candidate’s selection (including the nature of the search – e.g. open or targeted; composition of pool; information about candidates at each stage of the search);

        • justification of the recommendation to appoint with tenure at the relevant rank.

    2. Evidence of experience and quality of teaching:

      • Provide an explanation of the teaching evaluation system and where the candidate ranks in the system (quantitative evaluations on teaching).

      • Teaching evaluations should be summarized in this section. Please do not include individual student feedback, though we reserve the right to request individual evaluations by students, if needed.

      • Include a teaching statement from the candidate.

      • For an appointment on the Research Professor track: if the candidate has not taught formal classes and teaching evaluations are unavailable, provide 3-5 letters from mentees not currently under the candidate’s supervision (e.g., former postdoctoral students) who can provide feedback on the candidate’s teaching and mentoring.

        (For Research Professor and Research Associate Professors, the criteria for these ranks is a record of substantial teaching and mentoring within the context of one or more research programs (e.g., laboratory bench science, social science, or other disciplinary setting) with postdoctoral fellows, junior research colleagues, or students at any level. See details at

    3. Include a research statement or statement about creative work from the candidate (if appropriate).

    4. Include a service statement (if appropriate).

    5. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to be created for all new inter-school and intra-school joint appointments at the assistant, associate, and full professor level for tenure-track/tenured instructional faculty, excluding 0% (“dry”) appointments.  The draft MOU should be submitted to the Faculty Affairs Office for review – ideally at the time of hire, but no later than six months from the start of the joint appointment. Please refer to "New Joint Appointments for Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty" on the Faculty Appointment Guidelines page posted by the Office of the Provost's Office.
      Note: MOUs are not required for joint appointments within the University of Michigan for either Research Professor or Clinical Instructional track hires.

    6. Candidate’s curriculum vitae.

    7. At least five evaluation letters from “arm’s-length” external reviewers are required, and more than five are highly desirable, except for faculty hired into the Clinical Instructional Track (see below).

      • All of the external review letters that were received by the appointing unit(s) must be included. These letters should be from reviewers at or above the rank of the appointment being considered. If the circumstances necessitate letters from out-of-rank reviewers, those should be explained.

      • In addition to the above rank requirement, the following track requirements apply:
        • External reviewers who are tenured faculty can review a candidate being appointed to the Instructional, Clinical Instructional, and Research Professor tracks.
        • External reviewers who are Clinical Instructional track faculty can only review a candidate being appointed to the Clinical Instructional track.
        • External reviewers who are Research Professor track faculty can only review a candidate being appointed to the Research Professor track.

        Note: If, for example, an external reviewer who is a Clinical Instructional track faculty were to review a candidate being appointed to the Instructional tenure-track, the letter from the reviewer would not be counted as one of the required five “arm's length” letters.

      • The external letters should be truly evaluative and at “arm’s length.” For candidates on the Instructional tenure track or the Research Professor track, the “arm’s length” letters should be from persons who are outside the present institution of the candidate and who did not work or train with the candidate at other institutions. Teachers, advisors, mentors, and current faculty colleagues are not “arm’s length.” Co-authors and major research collaborators, or former faculty colleagues are also not “arm’s length” unless the most recent association occurred over 10 years prior to the appointment. We do not consider letters from persons who have served on a candidate’s thesis or dissertation committee to be “arm’s length”. While these kinds of letters can be especially helpful (because the letter writers generally have a good sense of both the candidate and their work), it is also true that their own reputations are involved in the work being evaluated. If such letters are included, they must be in addition to the minimum requirement of five “arm’s length” letters. Letters from persons who may be unknown to the candidate, but who may have a clear sense of the significance of the candidate’s qualifications, are of greater value.

      • Please note that when both an outside reviewer and the candidate are members of the same large cooperative/research group that publishes abstracts and manuscripts with an expanded number of co-authors, the outside reviewer can be considered an “arm's length” reviewer if he/she and the candidate have not personally interacted in the research effort. In these cases, we ask that the dean provide a statement noting the absence of a direct collaboration.

      • It is important that the Clinical Instructional track parallel the Instructional tenure track and Research Professor track in that it is the regional/national impact on one's field that should justify a senior academic rank. However, “arm's length” letters from persons who may not be known to the candidate, but who have a clear sense of the significance of the candidate's qualifications, are unlikely to tell the story insofar as teaching and clinical work are concerned. Therefore, it is allowable, for Clinical Instructional track faculty only, to have up to two of the five “arm's length” evaluative letters from local sources. The two letters from local sources can be from the candidate's current institution as long as the local sources are outside of the candidate's department and have seen the clinical work and actual teaching but are not mentors or scholarly collaborators. At least three of the remaining letters would need to be “arm's length” as ordinarily defined for the Instructional tenure track and the Research Professor track.

      • Non-academic reviewers (e.g., employed at the NIH or a major research institute) may be included in the required five "arm's length" letters but only if it is stated that, for those individuals who do not typically hold an academic title, their rank is equivalent or higher to the academic rank for which the candidate is being considered.

      • An external letter from an emeritus/ta faculty member could be considered one of the five required “arm’s length” letters if it meets “arm’s length” criteria and if the faculty member is still academically active (e.g., still publishing) and is relatively recently retired.

      • Internal review letters (University of Michigan) are not required; if letters were solicited, they must be included but will not be considered “arm’s length.”

    8. Brief description of the credentials of each external reviewer and relationship to the candidate. Please list external reviewers alphabetically by last name, identifying each in sequence as Reviewer A, B, or C, etc. Note: List separately any internal (University of Michigan) reviewers.

      • Designate each external reviewer as either "arm's length" or "not arm's length," and note whether the reviewer was suggested by the candidate or by the department. Our goal is to achieve a balance of evaluative letters from external reviewers who have been suggested by the candidate and from reviewers who have been suggested only by the department. For the Instructional tenure track and the Research Professor track, the five required "arm's length" letters must include at least two reviewers suggested only by the department. This requirement is not applicable to Clinical track appointments.

      • An abridged version (one short paragraph) on each reviewer should indicate the reviewer’s position, fields of expertise, important contributions and standing in the discipline, appropriateness of the reviewer to provide input, as well as any close professional associations with the candidate. Additionally, please insert the short paragraph of the reviewer’s biography in front of each external review letter, including designation of “arm’s length” or “not arm’s length” and whether the reviewer was suggested by the candidate or by the department.

      • Please also provide a copy of the letter template (solicitation letter) to the external reviewers asking for their evaluations. See the templates provided for the Instructional Tenure Track, Clinical Instructional Track, and Research Professor Track. The text in these templates at a minimum must be used. Schools and colleges may add text to the language of the template; however, for legal reasons, they cannot delete any existing language. It’s the responsibility of the Dean/Director to ensure that department chairs, or the appropriate equivalent, follow the templates provided. Also include, as an attachment with each solicitation letter, a description of the particular track(s) on which the faculty member is being hired.

    9. If the new appointment is to be at the rank of Associate Professor, without tenure, or Professor, without tenure, please include a copy of the draft offer letter to the candidate.

    10. Statement of Understanding Regarding Responsibility for Bridging Support. (Only required for Research Professors and Research Associate Professors)

    11. A copy of the Appointment Activity Record (AAR) or a waiver from Human Resource Records and Information Services (HRRIS). To request a waiver contact

    ** The AEO request cannot be processed without each of the above items. **

  3. Once approved by the Provost, the Provost’s Office submits the entire AEO request to the President for approval. (For Research Professors and Research Associate Professors only, the Provost's Office also obtains a review by the Vice President for Research.)

  4. The appropriate school/college/research unit/academic unit is notified when all evaluations are completed.

  5. A PDF of the signed approval form is emailed to the school/college/research unit/academic unit.

  6. For Professors and Associate Professors Only (both with and without tenure): The school/college then notifies the candidate and makes the offer. Once the offer has been accepted, the school/college prepares a Regents Communication, sends it to Academic Human Resources for their review, and then uploads the final signed communication to the school’s assigned “Regents Communication” M-Box folder.

    For Research Professors, Research Associate Professors, Clinical Professors, and Clinical Associate Professors Only: Once the AEO is approved, the school/college/research unit/academic units may proceed with the HR appointment process.

  7. When there is a completed and accepted appointment offer for a new tenure-track faculty member at the assistant, associate, or professor rank, please ask your staff to upload a PDF file of the accepted letter to your school’s “Offer Letter” M-Box folder. Once uploaded, please notify Tina Sedgeman at


Updated September 2019


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