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B2: Faculty Ranks and Titles


(*Approved by Regents December 8, 1998) (**Approved by Faculty December 7, 1998)



Appointment or promotion to the junior ranks of instructor or assistant professor represents a judgment by the department, college/school, and University that the individual has the required qualifications and expertise and that the individual will function to sustain the mission of the University and enrich its academic environment. In a similar manner, appointment or promotion to the senior ranks of associate professor or professor represents an implicit prediction that the individual will continue to make sound contributions to the University. Deans and departmental chairs normally look to the senior ranks for advice and counsel regarding policy matters, including appointment and promotion of other faculty.


Faculty members with the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, professor, or distinguished professor may be awarded tenure (for an exception in the Health Sciences, see Sec. 2.3.1). Probationary appointments potentially leading to tenure ("tenure-track" appointments) are made at the ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor levels.

2.2.1 Assistant Professor

Individuals who are demonstrably competent in the subject matter of the courses to be taught and who have indicated a serious commitment to a faculty career may be considered for this faculty rank. This appointment is typical for most faculty who are beginning their probationary service. While it is not expected that persons appointed at this rank shall have acquired an extensive reputation in their field, it is expected that they will continue to increase their knowledge, to improve their teaching ability and to present the results of their scholarly work in ways appropriate to their field.

2.2.2 Associate Professor

(a) Individuals who have acquired significant experience beyond the terminal degree are appropriate for this faculty rank. They shall have demonstrated competence as teachers and have shown a conscientious interest in improving their teaching. They shall have demonstrated a basic general understanding of a substantial part of their discipline and have an established reputation within and outside the University in their fields of scholarly work. This implies scholarly work after the terminal degree sufficient to indicate continuing interest and growth in the candidate’s professional field.

(b) Appointment at, or promotion to, the rank of associate professor represents a judgment on the part of the department, college, and University that the individual has made and will continue to make sound contributions to teaching, scholarly work, and service. The appointment should be made only after careful investigation of the candidate's accomplishments and promise in teaching, scholarly work, and leadership.

2.2.3 Professor

(a) Individuals who have attained high standards in teaching and who have made significant contributions to their disciplines may be considered for this faculty rank. They shall also have developed expertise and interest in the general problems of university education and their social implications, and have shown the ability to make constructive judgments and decisions. It is expected that the professor will continue to develop and mature with regard to teaching, scholarly work, and the other qualities that contributed to earlier appointments.

(b) Appointment or promotion to Professor represents a judgment on the part of the department, college/school, and University that the individual has made significant, nationally recognized scholarly or creative contributions to his or her field and an expectation that the individual will continue to do so.

(c) Professors are the most enduring group of faculty, and it is they who give leadership and set the tone for the entire University. Thus, appointment or promotion should be made only after careful investigation of the candidate's accomplishments in teaching, scholarly work, and leadership.

2.2.4 Regents’ Professor and Regents’ Lecturer

Criteria for these honorific titles are established at the college level with nominations forwarded by the dean to the Provost/VPHS. The term of appointment is three years. Individuals may be named more than once for Regents’ appointments, although appointments may not be made for successive terms. The title "Regents’ Professor" may be retained during the balance of an awardee’s career. Awards may not be given to administrators, but will not be withdrawn from faculty members who become administrators.

2.2.5 Distinguished Professor

(a) Individuals who have demonstrated outstanding achievements and are nationally and internationally renowned as scholars may be considered for this faculty rank. This is the highest faculty title the University bestows and is used only for a few of its most prominent faculty members.

(b) The Nomination Procedure originates at the department level and must have the recommendation of the departmental and/or college faculty with which the candidate is now or would be affiliated. Upon receiving a recommendation, the Provost shall, in consultation with the Faculty Senate Operations Committee, appoint a University-wide committee of no fewer than five non-administrative senior faculty who shall review the nominee’s dossier and make appropriate recommendations to the Provost who makes the appointment. The position of Distinguished Professor is not proprietary with a department or college. Upon termination of employment of a distinguished professor, the title may not be passed on to another individual unless the procedure described herein has been followed.


2.3.1 Clinician-Educator Faculty

In the Health Sciences Center, faculty may be appointed to the position of clinician-educator. These appointments are for health professionals with appropriate professional degrees who are primarily engaged in patient care and teaching, and may have related scholarly responsibilities. While not eligible for tenure, clinician-educators may hold the rank of instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, or professor.

2.3.2 Lecturer

Faculty may be appointed to the position of Lecturer I, II, or III. These appointments are for professionals with appropriate academic qualifications, who are demonstrably competent in the relevant areas of their disciplines. While not eligible for tenure, lecturers in each numerical class may hold the rank of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, or Principal Lecturer.

(a) Lecturer I—The title used for individuals who have qualifications equivalent to teaching assistants or graduate students and who are not currently graduate students at the University in the same department as their academic appointment.

(b) Lecturer II—The title used for qualified professionals who have completed all requirements except the dissertation for the terminal degree (or equivalent) in their fields of study and who are not currently graduate students at the University in the same department as their academic appointment. It may also be used for professionals who have the terminal degree but only limited experience in teaching or scholarly work, or for professionals who do not have the terminal degree but have extensive experience.

(c) Lecturer III—The title used for qualified professionals who hold the terminal degree (or equivalent) in their fields of study and who have additional experience in teaching and scholarly work.

2.3.3 UNM-National Laboratory (NL) Professor

The title of UNM-NL professor is appropriate for distinguished scientists and engineers affiliated with Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories who assume positions as professors in academic departments at the University. They are chosen by academic departments, with the approval of the dean, and serve renewable terms of varying duration.

2.3.4 Instructor

This title is used for individuals who are hired as the result of a search to fill a tenure-track or clinician-educator position but who do not yet qualify for an Assistant Professor rank because they have not yet completed their academic programs or have not yet obtained the requisite professional certifications. It is the one non-tenure-track title that refers to a professorial rank (see the Faculty Constitution, Art. I, Sec.1(b) in the Faculty Handbook). Instructors may be appointed with an understanding that they will be advanced to a rank of Assistant Professor contingent upon fulfilling specified goals such as timely completion of the individual’s academic program.

2.3.5 Assistant Instructor

This title is given to individuals who assist tenure-track faculty, chiefly in laboratory areas, and who are not candidates for a degree.

2.3.6 Visiting Scholar

This title is used for scholars who are visiting the University and participating in some way in its teaching or research functions.

2.3.7 Other Visiting Titles

The titles of visiting lecturer, visiting instructor, visiting assistant professor, visiting associate professor, and visiting professor are appropriate for persons who are employed to teach on a non-permanent basis. Qualifications are the same as for the corresponding ranks and titles.

2.3.8 Research Titles

(a) The titles of research lecturer, research assistant professor, research associate professor, and research professor are appropriate for persons who are engaged primarily in research activities and have qualifications similar to those held by tenure-track faculty. They may occasionally teach or serve as members of thesis or dissertation committees. Teaching assignments on a regular basis require appointment in a tenure-track faculty rank. Research appointments are renewable annually for an unlimited time. The title of research scholar is used for visiting faculty whose primary function pertains to the exchange of specific laboratory or research skills with University researchers.

(b) Research professors generally have extramural funding in which they are the principal investigator or for which their contribution is crucial to the funding. Appointments are temporary in nature, and therefore, research faculty are not eligible to vote in the general faculty. Such appointments are renewable annually and are non-probationary. In the event that a person with a research title is appointed to a faculty rank that can lead to tenure, the time served with a research title shall not count toward tenure.

2.3.9 Artist-in-Residence

Individuals with non-teaching assignments in creative work are given the title of artist-in-residence.

2.3.10 Adjunct Titles

The titles of adjunct lecturer, adjunct instructor, adjunct assistant professor, adjunct associate professor, and adjunct professor are appropriate for persons whose primary professional responsibility is outside the University or for professional staff of the University who may teach on an occasional, limited, course-by-course basis. Qualifications are the same as for regular faculty ranks and titles.

2.3.11 Clinical Titles

The titles of clinical associate, clinical instructor, clinical assistant professor, clinical associate professor, and clinical professor are appropriate for practicing professionals who volunteer time or are non-University employees assigned to a particular department on a regular basis. These titles are also used for selected administrators from cooperating and collaborating agencies.

2.3.12 Postdoctoral Fellow

Individuals who are engaged in special study and research at the postdoctoral level and are paid from designated funds are given the title of postdoctoral fellow.

2.3.13 Associate

Individuals affiliated with an academic department, but with their primary appointment in another department, are given the title of associate.

2.3.14 Professor of Practice

This title may be used to appoint individuals who have achieved substantial national and/or international distinction in practice, who have had a major impact on fields important to the mission of the University, and who may benefit a program at the University by the integration of professional practice within its teaching and research missions. Appointment as Professor of Practice should only be made in exceptional circumstances to meet demonstrable need that cannot be met by regular faculty appointments. The Professor of Practice shall not be a substitute for regular faculty nor shall appointment as Professor of Practice be made as a matter of courtesy.

Specific titles will be granted with respect to the applicable program, "Professor of Practice in ___". Those holding these appointments will not have voting privileges except as described in Article II, Section 2 of the Faculty Constitution. Professors of Practice are not eligible for tenure.

Full and part-time appointments of those designated Professors of Practice shall not exceed 10% of the FTE tenure/tenure-track faculty of each department, or in the absence thereof, each School or College. For a department of less than 10 FTE tenure/tenure-track faculty, no more than one Professor of Practice shall be appointed.

2.3.15 Term Teaching Faculty

This title is used for part-time faculty greater than .25 FTE and who are employed to teach on a non-permanent basis.


(a) Graduate, teaching, research and project assistants, and teaching associates occupy a dual role in the University (i.e., they are students who also perform various faculty functions). Some students are given teaching assignments, while the work of others supports instruction indirectly. Because of their dual role, assistants and associates in these positions share in the rights and responsibilities of both students and faculty. They must adhere to established guidelines and to standards of ethical conduct; they must also be accorded the right to freedom from arbitrary or capricious suspension or dismissal from their assistantships.

(b) As students, assistants and associates have all the rights and responsibilities of students when acting in that capacity as defined by University regulations. As teachers, assistants, and associates have the responsibility of adhering to the standards of faculty professional ethics and following the policies and course guidelines of the department or supervisor for whom they act. When given discretion in the selection of instructional material and in the conduct of classes, they are responsible for exercising this discretion in a manner consistent with the guidelines provided for the courses in which they instruct.

*Approved by Regents: January 11, 1964; January 18, 1969; March 15, 1969; November 8, 1969; January 9, 1971; April 16, 1971; December 20, 1974; February 1, 1975; September 27, 1975; June 13, 1977; August 29, 1978; June 1, 1979; August 12, 1983, August 6, 1985; December 8, 1998.

**Approved by Faculty: February 11, 1964; December 10, 1968; March 11, 1969; September 23, 1969; December 8, 1970; April 20, 1971; December 10, 1974; September 9, 1975; May 11, 1977; May 11, 1978; May 9, 1979; October 14, 1980; March 8, 1983; January 18, 1985; December 7, 1998.