Affiliate Faculty Review Guidelines & Senior Affiliate Faculty Promotion Procedures

Academic and Student Affairs Process and Procedures

Effective date:  February 2017; updated Fall 2020

About Affiliate Faculty:

The work of Affiliate Faculty is described in Board of Trustees Policy 4.3.0. The policy includes:

  • Categories of affiliate faculty (e.g. of instruction, clinical, of practice)
  • Roles (e.g., teaching a limited range of courses, being a clinical coordinator)
  • Normal number of teaching credit hours per year
  • Other expectations
  • Availability of promotion to Senior Affiliate

Reviews of most affiliate faculty should focus primarily on their teaching and specific teaching-related assignments, as clearly defined by their unit and/or college. Performance of duties other than teaching should also be evaluated, subject to a description of those duties that is provided in writing.

Affiliates are typically reviewed during the Winter semester. Affiliate faculty on one-year contracts should be reviewed no earlier than their second semester. Fall reviews are permitted in order to balance the workload in units with many affiliate faculty, or for some contract renewals done in tandem with promotion to Senior Affiliate (details below).

About Review Procedures:

A unit or college may follow the procedures described in this section, or an alternate procedure. In either case, affiliate faculty members should be provided with a written document that includes a listing of internal deadlines, expectations of documents to be submitted, and evaluation standards and procedures.

Recommended Review Procedures:

  • Each year, in each affected unit, one tenure-track faculty member will be responsible for serving on and coordinating the affiliate review team(s). Each affiliate under review will choose one other tenure-track faculty member as part of his or her review team. Depending on the number of affiliates to be evaluated, there may be one or more two-person review teams. 
  • The two-person team(s) will invite comments from faculty about the affiliate’s performance of assigned duties. The reviewers will make at least one class visit to each affiliate up for renewal. Reviewers will take notes using the unit’s classroom observation document.
  • If, based on their class visit or on faculty comments the reviewers have questions or concerns, they should conduct a second class visit and/or request more materials before completing the review.
  • As soon as practical, each review team will meet with the affiliate to discuss the class visit(s), the affiliate’s current syllabi, and the affiliate’s most recent course evaluations. Other teaching-related documents may be offered by the affiliate or requested by the review team. The review coordinator will use the classroom visit reports, student teaching evaluations, self-evaluations of teaching, syllabi, and any other teaching-related documents to prepare a brief draft report that summarizes the review team’s observations. The draft report will also include a recommendation for a three-year renewal, a one-year renewal, or no renewal. 
  • The reviewers will send a copy of the draft report and recommendation to the affiliate and then meet with the affiliate to discuss both. Each affiliate will have the opportunity to respond to any issues that may arise during the evaluation. If the affiliate believes the evaluation was incomplete or unfair, the affiliate may submit to the coordinator a one page brief stating the reasons for that belief.
  • Following the meeting, the coordinator will finalize the draft report, attach the affiliate’s brief, if there is one, and recommend a three-year renewal, a one-year renewal, or no renewal. The report and recommendation will be forwarded to the Unit Head.
  • The Unit Head will consider the coordinator’s recommendation and the affiliate’s brief, if there is one. If the affiliate’s brief is compelling, the Unit Head may request an interview with the affiliate before making a final recommendation to the dean for final decision. The Dean’s decision is not subject to appeal. The department will store copies of the documents in the affiliate’s file.

Promotion to Senior Affiliate Faculty:

After successfully completing seven successive years at Grand Valley State University as an affiliate, an affiliate faculty member is eligible to apply for appointment as a Senior Affiliate.

Only candidates that meet the university’s Faculty Qualifications Policy may be considered for promotion.

To apply, the candidate communicates to the appropriate Dean who notifies the Unit Head of the request. Documents that must be included in the review are classroom visit reports, student teaching evaluations, and the following provided by the candidate: self-evaluation of teaching, syllabi, and other teaching-related materials. Other documents (e.g. letters of recommendation) are also allowed, at the discretion of the Unit Head.

To consider applications for promotion, Colleges should define internal procedures that are consistent with the guidelines above and in harmony with current practices for Affiliate Faculty contract renewal. This includes setting internal deadlines, expectations of documents to be submitted, and evaluation standards and procedures. Deadlines should take into account that most affiliates begin service in August of an academic year, although there are also a few that begin service at other times. There are not University-wide forms or procedures for promotion to Senior Affiliate Faculty, beyond what is expressed in this document. Note that for promotion, the decision of the Dean is final and cannot be appealed.

The review for promotion may be done in tandem with a review for contract renewal, or separately. In either case, the department, or an appointed committee of the department (such as the review team described above), will review the candidate’s materials, focusing on evidence of successful teaching. By vote, the department or committee may recommend promotion to Senior Affiliate Faculty or recommend not promoting the candidate at this time. This recommendation is sent to the Unit Head, who transmits it to the Dean for final decision.

Promotions are effective with the beginning of the next academic year appointment, but not before the beginning of the ninth year, and include an additional $1,000 added to the Senior Affiliate Faculty member’s base pay. The promotion increment will be prorated for 9-month affiliates who are not 1.0 FTE and 12-month affiliates who are less than 0.75 FTE.

For budgetary planning, by the end of Fall semester the Dean should report to the Office of the Provost the promotions under consideration.

Promotions are reported to the Office of the Provost via the same Hiring Approval Form used when renewing a contract, and the promotion increment should be included on the salary spreadsheets that are completed in late Winter semester. Once a decision to promote is made, the Dean may provide a letter to the faculty member.

Important Note that Applies to Affiliates in their Seventh Year of Service: Many affiliate faculty are reviewed for a new three-year contract during their seventh year of service. In this case, if the affiliate faculty member is planning to apply for promotion during their eighth year (it is OK to ask), then there is no problem to start the review for promotion in conjunction with the review for contract renewal. As indicated in the Board of Trustees Policies, the decision on contract renewal will still need to occur by May 1, but the formal decision on promotion could not be done until the faculty member applies, which they cannot do until after May 1. Promotions in this situation would not take effect until the end of the eighth year of service.

Questions? Please contact Ed Aboufadel, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, in the Office of the Provost. (, (616) 331-2400)