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Understanding the Faculty Ranks and Tracks System

Academic Track System

KU's three professional schools include Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing with faculty members serving on campuses in Kansas City, Wichita and Salina. Applicable and available in all three schools is an academic rank (or "academic title") and track system as defined with full definitive definitions in the Handbook for Faculty and Other Unclassified Staff (pages 19-23).  (Additional "working titles" held by a faculty member include some examples such as director, dean, department chair.)  

When new faculty members are hired their appointment is approved and given a "rank," and then they are placed on a career path or academic "track" which then defines requirements for promotion.  Faculty have personal and professional goals and without a clear understanding of the Academic Track System, the new faculty member may or may not be aimed down the right path to reach his or her goals and achieve a promotion in the time anticipated. More details are available on the Academic Affair's Promotion and Tenure website, which provides links to each school's guidelines as well.

NOTE: The information on this webpage was last updated July 1, 2014 following approval by The Regents and is available for use  in all three schools: Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions. Questions should be directed to Robert M. Klein, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs & Graduate Studies.

Faculty Ranks

Academic titles, or ranks, either "modified" or "unmodified" include instructor, assistant professor, associate professor and professor. The title of teaching associate is given to faculty members who do not hold terminal degrees yet and who participate in teaching under supervision. 

  • Modified titles are those in which a descriptor precedes the faculty title. The modifier might be clinical or research -- Clinical Assistant Professor or Research Assistant Professor.
  • An unmodified title means there is no descriptor, therefore, Assistant Professor. The decision regarding track (tenure or non-tenure) and rank (modified or unmodified title) is made by the Chair and requires the approval of the Executive Dean and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Academic Ranks approved 7-1-2016

Academic Tracks

Every faculty member in the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions are appointed to a specific academic track. Each of the academic track describe not only the faculty member's job responsibilities but also the criteria for advancement, and in some instances, tenure, that reflect the professional and academic achievements expected of faculty in various roles. There are two tracks -- tenure track and non-tenure track -- and each has unique, specific professional and academic expectations.

Academic Tracks approved 7-1-2016

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Last modified: Jul 26, 2018