Terms of Employment
Awards & Honors
Benefits and Retirement
Faculty appointments are first offered by individual departments with the approval of the dean, and, if the offer is accepted, the arrangement is made official through a letter of appointment that will be sent from the provost. A new faculty member's appointment is governed by the terms outlined in the letter of appointment.
New faculty members are sometimes surprised to learn that their official term of appointment runs from the first day of September to the last day of May. One consequence of this practice is that a new faculty member's first paycheck will be distributed on October 1, even though the person will have been on duty since mid-August. Faculty on nine-month appointments can elect to have their pay distributed over twelve months with full insurance and benefits extended over the summer.
Faculty are expected to be present and available during the terms in which they teach, including the "faculty on duty" week that precedes the beginning of a semester, and are expected to adhere to the arrangements specified in their initial appointment letters and as modified in any subsequent letters governing their employment .
All faculty members are required to complete an annual review reporting on their teaching, research or creative activity, and service. The university policy about annual reports can be found in O.P. 32.32, and individual departments and schools within the college may have more specific instructions for faculty within their units about the annual review process. Teaching evaluations by students as well as chairpersons' evaluations are part of the annual review process. Faculty members' annual reports, teaching evaluations, and chairpersons' evaluations are all reviewed in the college office, and these materials also become part of the dossiers for tenure review, promotion review, or comprehensive performance evaluation.
A number of university award programs provide recognition and tangible rewards for outstanding faculty members. A list of the various university awards can be found in O.P. 32.24, which also provides an explanation of what kind of nomination procedure should be followed for each award, what kind of documentation is required for each award, and what campus office processes which award. Each year, the Visual and Performing Arts Office sends to chairs and directors calls for nominations for those awards reviewed by the college.
Various O.P.s provide information about allowable travel and about the procedures for travel reimbursement. The underlying process involves completing an official application for official travel before the travel commences and then filing an official travel voucher, with documentation of expenses, after any approved travel has been completed. Well in advance of any official travel, new faculty members should consult with staff members in their unit offices who are experienced in dealing with university travel.
Faculty accrue sick leave, and the proper reporting and accounting for sick leave is mandated by the Texas legislature. University leave forms must be completed to claim time for sick leave and for jury duty, funeral leave, and other kinds of time away from work.
The Employee Retirement System Employee Retirement System of Texas is the agency that administers and oversees retirement, insurance, deferred compensation, and flexible benefits programs for the State of Texas. The home page of the Personnel Office contains useful links to obtain information about insurance and other benefits available to faculty, including links to providers of optional retirement programs.
In accordance with university policy, all departing faculty members are offered an opportunity to have an exit interview. Written exit questionnaires are distributed to departing faculty members, and departing faculty can also elect to have an exit interview in person with the college's Exit Interview Committee, a subcommittee of the Personnel Actions Committee. Information gathered from these questionnaires and interviews is used by the Dean to make assessments of and plans for the college as well as the departments and schools within the college. A summary of information conveyed in each year's exit interviews is also sent to the Provost's Office.
All of the departments and schools that comprise the College of Visual and Performing Arts have specific written descriptions of their policies and procedures, and faculty members are responsible for obtaining and following the policies and procedures of their individual units.
Each faculty member should have a copy of the latest Faculty Handbook; this, together with the Student Affairs Handbook, is available on-line from Official Publications.