Academic Rank Titles

Academic Rank Titles

Academic Rank Titles: Instructor... Assistant Professor... Associate Professor... Professor... (Descriptions for Librarian ranks that are also considered academic rank can be found from links under a separate Librarian family).

These titles are in the unclassified service and in the SUNY Professional Services Negotiating Unit. Appointments to these titles are made by the chief administrative officer of the campus upon the recommendations of the appropriate academic committees and officers of the campus. The academic rank offered to an appointee depends upon the type of campus, the appointee's qualifications, and the criteria established for each rank by the department and campus in accordance with SUNY policies. Within SUNY policies appointments to these titles may be on the basis of temporary, term, or continuing (tenure) appointments. All of these academic ranks are "tenure track" - appointees are eligible for consideration for continuing appointment. For continuing appointment there are rigid requirements based upon rank, length of service and candidate's qualifications, and such continuing appointments are made by the Chancellor of the State University of New York upon the recommendation of the chief administrative officer of the campus. [By default, part-time is considered "Qualified Academic Rank" and such service does not count towards tenure even if it is rendered in one of these titles.]

The parenthetic distinctions in these titles are primarily used to determine the particular salary table to which a title is assigned (a 10 month obligation or 12 month obligation title or a title assigned to a health science center or to a specialized salary schedule). GFT, HS, TCL and Leading suffixes are explained at the end of this description.

The levels of expertise and recognition in the areas of teaching, scholarship and service are factors in the determination of the rank/title to which candidates are recommended for appointment.

Preferred Qualifications:

Qualifications for the different academic ranks/titles are established at the local campus level and depend to some degree on the type of campus or program to which the appointment is being made. The best references for unique requirements are found either in vacancy announcements or in a department's or campus's guidelines for faculty promotion.

Within their own requirements, campus departments and campuses may apply the following SUNY recommended criteria in determining the rank/title for an academic rank appointment/promotion:

(a) Mastery of subject matter

(b) Effectiveness in teaching

(c) Scholarly ability

(d) Effectiveness of University service

(e) Continuing growth


GFT = Geographic full-time
As defined by the Policies of the Board of Trustees, a "geographic full-time" faculty member is a person serving on the faculty of a medical center who "is not employed on a full-time basis for the purpose of fixing compensation payable by the State, but all of whose professional services and activities are conducted at the medical center or its affiliated hospitals and are available to the State on a full-time basis for clinical and instructional purposes."

HS = Health Science 
A title suffix which identifies the academic-ranked position as being in the health sciences and therefore subject to a different maximum than a basic faculty position in the same rank.

TCL = Total Compensation limit
A special suffix for health sciences positions, principally at Upstate Medical, where state salary and practice income are delivered in one State check. "TCL" staff are not allowed to retain any private practice income or to have other professional earnings in addition to the State Salary.

Leading Professors
These titles were established as a way to provide a higher salary maximum for outstanding Professors. It's not a "Distinguished" title and does not require approval by the Board of Trustees. A campus President can use these titles as he/she deems appropriate.

Back to Professional Service Titles "Instruction" List

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