The following is an overview of the different faculty appointment types at SF State. Please refer to the Faculty Manual handbook and Academic Senate website for detailed information on procedures and making different appointments. Please see below also for an overview of Retention, Tenure and Promotion (RTP) policies and resources.
Faculty employment is governed by University regulations as set forth in the policies of the Academic Senate, the Agreement between the Board of Trustees of the California State University (CSU) and the California Faculty Association (CFA). Faculty fall within Unit 3 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. For detailed information on collective bargaining, grievance arbitration and campus labor relations, please visit SF State’s Human Resources.
Faculty Career Tracks (Tenured/Tenure-Track)
Assistant Professor: The first of three ranks on the tenure-track.
Definition: Assistant Professors are probationary faculty, typically for a period no less than six years, during which they must demonstrate achievement and continued growth in teaching; service and leadership; and research, scholarship and creative activities in accordance with the provisions in Academic Senate Policy F22-241 on Retention, Tenure and Promotion; as well as criteria set forth by their department(s). Typically, a terminal degree or its equivalent is required for all tenure-track positions; Assistant Professors are tenure-track.
Other Info: At the end of the probationary period, Assistant Professors apply for tenure and for promotion to Associate Professor simultaneously.
Associate Professor: The second of three ranks on the tenure-track.
Definition: Associate Professors have achieved this rank after applying for promotion from Assistant Professor and often concurrently applying for tenure according to the guidelines set forth by their department(s) in the areas of teaching; service and leadership; and research, scholarship and creative activities. Typically, a terminal degree or its equivalent is required for all tenured/tenure-track positions; Associate Professors are tenured.
Other Info: Achievement of tenure is required to maintain employment at SF State. Some personnel-related service, including serving on retention, tenure and promotion committees for lower-ranked faculty, can only be fulfilled by Associate or Full Professors. Rarely, Associate Professors may serve as department chairs or as directors of schools.
*In some cases tenure-track faculty are hired as Associate Professor without being tenured; they will then go through the tenure process.
Professor: The third and highest of three ranks on the tenure-track.
Definition: Professors, also known as full Professors, achieve this rank by fulfilling the highest level of expectations in faculty achievement, growth and development as determined by their department(s) in the areas of teaching; service and leadership; and research, scholarship or creative activities. Typically, a terminal degree or its equivalent is required for all tenured positions; professors are tenured.
Other Info: Some personnel-related service, including serving on retention, tenure and promotion committees for lower ranked faculty, can only be fulfilled by Full Professors. Typically, only full Professors serve as department chairs or as directors of schools.
Definition: Tenured/Tenure-Track Librarians are subject to the same ranks and retention and promotion, or retention, tenure and promotion processes as all faculty.
Other Info: Tenured/Tenure-Track Librarians by rank: senior assistant librarian, associate librarian and librarian.
Lecturer Faculty Positions and Other Positions
Lecturer Faculty: The California State University (CSU) system classifies all of the following as "Lecturers": part-time faculty, temporary faculty, lecturers and adjunct faculty.
Lecturer Faculty are faculty who have term appointments that range from one quarter or semester to several years in length and that are usually conditional on budget and enrollment. Lecturer Faculty usually fulfill a primary appointment of teaching and are not expected to contribute to service or research, scholarship, or creative activities. Typically, an advanced, post-baccalaureate degree is required for lecturer faculty positions.
Temporary Faculty (Lecturer Faculty): Temporary faculty are designated as lecturers regardless of salary level.
- Lecturer appointments can be full-time or part-time.
- Appointments are made by an academic unit (department, program or equivalent unit) based on program need, for instance, to replace tenured/tenure-track faculty on leave; to fill a temporary need; to meet ongoing programmatic needs and so on. For more information, please visit the policy archives.
Adjunct Faculty (Lecturer Faculty): Adjunct faculty are typically engaged in research or other creative work.
Adjunct faculty may be designated as Adjunct Professor, Adjunct Associate Professor, or Adjunct Assistant Professor to reflect the level of accomplishment that, in the judgment of the Department and Dean at SF State, has been achieved by the individual under consideration.
Distinguished Faculty: Distinguished Faculty are visionary leaders who have demonstrated an exceptional sense of commitment or have made other exemplary contributions to a field, institution or broader community.
- Distinguished Professors should reflect attributes of the mission statement of the department and University.
- They may provide opportunities for SF State faculty and students to pursue research and scholarship at the University or other institutions and facilities.
Clinician Faculty: Clinician Faculty are licensed, professional practitioners. Clinician Faculty will generally have a terminal degree and be practicing physicians, nurses, educators, service providers or other professionals in clinical settings who provide opportunities at other institutions and facilities for SF State students and faculty.
Clinician faculty may be designated as Lecturer Faculty, Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor or Professor to reflect the level of accomplishment that, in the judgment of the Department and Dean at SF State, has been achieved by the individual under consideration.
Other Info: Clinicians, whether Lecturer Faculty or Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty, are subject to the same ranks and retention and promotion, or retention, tenure and promotion processes as all faculty.
Visiting Scholar: Visiting scholars are individuals who possess a Ph.D. or its equivalent, and whose primary purpose for residence on the SF State campus is to conduct independent research. The length for a visiting scholar is granted for maximum cumulative appointment time of one year.
Visiting Scholars may be designated to reflect the level of accomplishment that, in the judgment of the Department and Dean at SFSU, has been achieved by the individual under consideration.
In-Residence Faculty: In-Residence Faculty are individuals who have distinguished themselves in a field. Terminal degrees are generally not a requirement for such titles. Variants in this general title include Artist-in-Residence, Diplomat-in-Residence, Professor-in-Residence, and Teacher-in-Residence.
Definition: Lecturer Librarians are subject to the same ranks and retention and promotion, or retention, tenure and promotion processes as all faculty.
(At the time of full-service retirement and upon the authority of the President):
The title Emerita/Emeritus shall be conferred on every faculty member who has served the University for at least 10 years in full-time employment or the aggregated equivalent of at least 10 years of full-time service in part-time employment. For more information, please visit the emeritus section of this site.
Visiting Assistant Professor: Visiting Assistant Professor academicians and other individuals are typically engaged in research or other creative work that provides opportunities for SFSU faculty and students to pursue research and scholarship at SFSU or at other institutions and facilities.