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Definition of Faculty :

Policy/Guideline Area

Personnel Policies

Applicable Divisions

TCATs, Community Colleges


The purpose of this statement is to provide a definition of the term "faculty" for Tennessee Board of Regents policies which do not otherwise define that term, and to relate faculty status and academic rank. Campuses may further develop this definition as needed for decisions on matters not covered by nor in conflict with Board policies, such as faculty meeting attendance, voting on recommendations of campus policies and procedures, and representation on campus committees.


Definitions are contained in the body of the policy.


  1. Faculty Definitions
    1. The term "faculty" shall be limited to regular, full-time personnel at institutions whose regular assignments include instruction, research, and/or public service as a principle activity, and who hold academic rank as professor, associate professor, assistant professor or instructor, senior instructor, or master instructor, and as senior vocational teacher, intermediate vocational teacher, vocational teacher. Institutions may limit, but may not expand the scope of the definition of faculty for the purposes of this policy.
      1. The term "regular, full-time personnel" as used in the definition of "faculty" is limited to those persons whose appointments are for a complete academic or fiscal year.
      2. The term "principal activity" as used in the above definition shall mean that the person's regular assignment in the areas of instruction, research and/or public service must be at least fifty percent (50%) of the total assigned duties.
      3. The terms "instruction," "research," and "public service" shall be limited to those academic activities properly assignable to the institution's current funds expenditures accounts designated as "Instruction," "Research," "Public Service," and "Academic Support." The terms exclude those activities properly assigned to accounts for "Student Services" (with the exception of remedial instruction which, at the discretion of the institution, may be treated as regular "instruction"), "Institutional Support," "Operation and Maintenance of Plan," etc.*
      4. The term "faculty" shall not, for the purposes of this statement include members of an institution's instructional personnel defined as "adjunct faculty," part-time teachers, post-doctoral fellows, visiting lecturers, and graduate assistants. "Adjunct faculty" is defined as professional staff members of businesses, industries and other agencies and organizations who are appointed by institutions on a part-time basis to carry out instructional, research or public service functions.
    2. If not otherwise included within the above definition of "faculty," the term "faculty" may include, provided they hold academic rank, academic department or division chairpersons or directors, academic deans, academic vice presidents, presidents, who have direct line authority over faculty as herein above described, and associates or assistants for the above positions. In addition, the term "faculty" may include persons previously designated as members of the faculty who are assigned to other positions at the institution.
    3. Academic rank is an element of faculty status, and shall be limited to "faculty within the above definition. Academic rank may only be assigned to faculty who meet the minimum rank criteria under Board Policy No. and, and those policies shall control any promotion in rank.
    4. Exceptions to this policy can be made upon recommendation by a president or director of an institution and approval by the Chancellor.

*Reference: College and University Business Administration, Chapters 5:2 and 5:6 (NACUBO, 1974) 



T.C.A. § 49-8-203


TBR Meetings, March 3, 1978; September 30, 1983; Board Meeting June 20, 2014.

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