Appointment, Retention, and Promotion and Faculty Titles
Appointment, Retention, and Promotion and Faculty Titles
Effective as of: 04.15.2024
American University of Armenia

Policy for Publication

Policy Number: ACAD20160020

General Considerations: Purpose

This document sets forth principles, procedures, criteria for appointment and promotion, and retention pertaining to faculty activities in the University.

Obligations of the University to its faculty members and of the faculty to the University

The obligations of the University to its faculty members are:

(a) To protect the right of each faculty member to academic freedom; that is, the right to pursue knowledge, to write, and to speak freely as responsible citizens without institutionally imposed restrictions. A faculty member must be judged as a scholar and a teacher on the basis of legitimate intellectual and professional criteria and not on his/her political views, religious beliefs, or other matters of personal preference.

(b) To provide the intellectual environment for scholarly growth and achievement.

(c) To provide opportunity for academic advancement according to prescribed criteria and procedures.

The obligations of faculty members of the University are:

(a) To carry out duly assigned academic duties.

(b) To teach with the highest levels of professional competence and with intellectual and ethical honesty.  See AUA Faculty Code of Conduct.

(c) To develop and improve their professional abilities and achievements in teaching, creative scholarship, and other aspects of their academic responsibilities.

 (d) To participate in advisory or committee assignments necessary to the development of academic programs, in advising students, and in governance of the University and to share in its more general responsibilities to the University, the local community, and Armenia at large.

Criteria for Appointment and Promotion

  • Excellence in teaching, whether in the lecture hall, at a seminar, at the laboratory bench, or in the field. Excellence in teaching connotes an objective, current, accurate, and balanced command of the field being taught, effectiveness in communicating its essence, and the willingness to interact and exchange views with students at the highest levels of intellectual integrity. Promotion committees may seek and evaluate the advice of students, graduates, and peers on the teaching ability of specific faculty members.
  • Creative scholarship is the substantive contribution of new knowledge or significant new applications of knowledge:  (1) scholarship of discovery, (2) scholarship of integration, (3) scholarship of application, and (4) scholarship of teaching.  This definition aims to value a broad spectrum of scholarship which allows for AUA to tailor recognition of faculty activities and efforts to match the unique qualities and strengths of the university and each academic program.  Scholarship of discovery means the traditional concept of scholarship vetted in peer reviewed journals and monographs.  Scholarship of integration values cross-disciplinary work which produces or presents new, creative and innovative perspectives, including textbooks and reference works.  Scholarship of application values the application of theory to practice in a specific or novel context which results in a new, creative and innovative understanding of universal knowledge.  Scholarship of teaching values creative and innovative pedagogical approaches to curriculum, instruction and assessment including curriculum design or other activities beyond routine teaching responsibilities.
  • University and Public Service: (1) active and effective participation in various administrative, advisory, and other responsibilities in the university and (2) excellence in discharging professional service responsibilities in the community, to professional and other organizations, and to the international community, as well as the faculty member’s national and international reputation as a professional and scholar.

The Faculty Senate will develop guidelines for such matters as peer review of faculty on these criteria including what evidence may be considered and how it may be weighed with due consideration to consistency and fairness across the academic programs.

Faculty Recruitment

(Note: These provisions do not apply to Visiting Faculty.)

The University’s most valuable resource is the faculty and their intellectual talent and productivity.  Each academic program forms a search committee appointed by the Dean for the recruitment of full-time faculty.  No search can begin without the approval of the Provost.  Overall responsibility for faculty recruitment  lies  with  the  search  committee,  with  the  recruitment  process  coordinated through the Human Resources department. The search committee makes its recommendation to the Dean and the faculty of the academic program. This recommendation includes a ranking of the top candidates.  The academic program decides on the top candidate in a formal meeting.

It is the responsibility of the Dean and the faculty of the academic program to conduct open and thorough searches to identify the best candidate for each faculty position.  An effective search is important for several reasons.  First, it casts the net as widely as possible to identify the best candidate for a position.  Second, it ensures that all persons, regardless of gender, race, age or other factors have equal opportunity to be considered fairly.  Finally, a search process establishes the chosen candidate as the best available person in the eyes of new colleagues.

A thorough search includes broad advertisement of the position by (1) advertisements in academic and professional journals, (2) web postings, and (3) personal contacts.

The search committee chair will provide evidence to the Dean of an open and thorough search for each faculty appointment or explanation of the circumstances that forced an abbreviated process.  

Titles for Faculty

This section on titles for faculty and for non-faculty teaching positions was drafted by the Faculty Council. It was submitted to the AUAC Board of Trustees and accepted in principle.

As described below, faculty of the University will be appointed utilizing a rank and descriptor appropriate to their professional training and experience and their level of commitment to the University.


Designates faculty who have a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree, an extensive record of teaching, research, publication, public service,  and scholarly stature at  the international level, or comparable attainments, as customary in that field in the United States.

Associate Professor

Designates faculty who have a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree, as well as a record of at least three years’ teaching experience, a significant research and publication record, and a commitment to public service.

Assistant Professor

Designates faculty who have attained their Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree, have teaching and research potential, and have a commitment to public service.

Senior Lecturer

Designates faculty engaged primarily in teaching (and teaching-related duties) and possessing exceptional qualifications or special skills meriting a special designation. Appointment at the Senior Lecturer rank is for those who have a graduate degree and at least two years’ teaching experience on the graduate and/or undergraduate level.


Designates faculty engaged primarily in teaching (and teaching-related duties). Appointment at the lecturer rank is generally for those who have completed a graduate degree and who are teaching graduate- and/or undergraduate-level courses.

Professor of the Practice

Designates distinguished practitioners who possess the expertise and achievements to provide professional instruction in a manner that advances the mission of the University in a significant or substantial way.


Designates those whose professional accomplishments qualify them for a ranked position on the faculty to teach or conduct research or project work in an area of special expertise and who have a recurring appointment or sustained commitment to AUA, but whose primary commitment is not to AUA.  The term is used to modify the above academic titles (for example, Adjunct Assistant Professor).


Designates those whose professional accomplishments quality them for a ranked position on the faculty and whose primary professional engagement with the University is in research. The term is used to modify the above academic titles (for example, Research Assistant Professor).


Designates temporary faculty whose appointment is for one or two quarters only. The term is used to modify the above academic titles (for example, Visiting Assistant Professor).


Conferred upon full-time faculty members following retirement from the University by a period of at least six months. Conferred by the Board of Trustees, upon the recommendation of the appropriate department, the status is an honor that is given for exceptional contributions to the University’s programs and to recognize scientific and academic excellence.  Emeriti faculty may be offered full-time or part-time employment with the University for a specified term, subject to the approval of the AUA President.

Titles for Non-faculty Teaching Positions

Instructor and Senior Instructor

Designates a person appointed to teach in a non-degree program. May be an entry-level position. Appointment at the instructor rank is generally for those who have not yet completed their terminal degree. May be requested to engage in University and public service. Appointment at the Senior Instructor rank is for those who have at least two years’ teaching experience.

Teaching Associate

Designates a person who assists in teaching, under the supervision of a faculty member. Typically reserved for an AUA graduate, experienced second year graduate student, or equally qualified individual.

Teaching Assistant

Designates a person who assists in teaching, under the supervision of a faculty member. Typically reserved for a first or second year AUA graduate student or other similarly qualified individual.

Initial Appointment to Faculty Positions

A recommendation for appointment to the rank of professor, associate professor, or assistant professor is made from the Dean to the Provost.  It is the responsibility of the Dean to inform candidates in writing when their applications have not been successful.

All professors are expected to have major responsibilities in their academic programs, in the University, and in the community.

All appointments are made by the Provost after review by the Dean to ensure that all procedures are followed and that all criteria are applied. Appointment is for one academic year; however, longer contracts may be given by approval of the Provost.


Faculty members who are eligible for reappointment shall demonstrate evidence of contributions to those enumerated in the criteria in the “Criteria for Appointment and Promotion” section of this policy.  The University’s faculty evaluation process, research and/or other scholarly work, and service to the University community shall be considered.  It is the responsibility of the Dean to evaluate and recommend to the Provost requests for renewal of contracts.

Promotion to Higher Faculty Rank

AUA does not currently have a tenure system.  Yet in order to recognize important academic and service accomplishments by its faculty, AUA has a clearly defined promotion process for advancement in the professorial ranks.  This process is initiated by the faculty member, reviewed by the appropriately ranked faculty, college dean, a confidential Ad Hoc Review Committee and by the Provost, who will oversee the review process. The AUA President will make the final promotion determination. The material for the review will include documentation of the faculty member's accomplishments, including Curriculum Vitae and documentation of teaching, scholarly and administrative accomplishments, in addition to letters of reference from outside of the AUA, and evaluations from students and other AUA faculty. Specific procedures to enact this policy have been developed by the University administration and faculty; the current procedures are appended to this policy document as Appendix A (Promotion Procedures) and may be altered, as needed, upon consultation with and approval by the Educational Policy Committee of the AUA Board of Trustees.

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