Joint Appointments

Joint Appointments

Joint appointments are implemented in a secondary or tertiary department for instances of substantial and ongoing academic or clinical collaboration beyond routine collegial interactions. The primary or home department usually is responsible for the paperwork.

Joint appointments are extraordinary; they are not used for perfunctory title dissemination or routine recruitment enticements. They may be funded or unfunded (dry).

Joint appointments, without tenure, can be initially requested for up to three years, and can be administratively renewed for additional years at the request of the department.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) should be generated for all new joint appointments at the assistant/associate and full professor level for tenure track faculty (excluding dry (0%) appointments).

Review the U-M Provost's guidelines on Joint Appointments →

Primary Appointments

Faculty members with joint appointments in clinical departments will generally have their primary appointment in a department in which they hold their primary board certifications.

If the faculty member is board certified or eligible in two more specialties, he or she could hold a primary appointment in either department where he or she is board certified. A change in primary departmental appointment would require a revised MOU among the relevant chairs and the faculty member. This would have to be approved by the Dean.

In recognition of the increasingly multidisciplinary and collaborative approach within the Medical School, there may be instances where a faculty member's primary appointment may reside outside the department in which the faculty member's primary board certification is held. This may be based on hiring criteria where a joint appointment may not be appropriate. In this case, the chair of the department in which the faculty member's primary board certification is held will sign the MOU indicating knowledge and agreement.

Tenure Track:  While this primary appointment doesn't necessarily comprise a majority of the faculty members' total effort, for Tenure Track faculty, this primary appointment will constitute the faculty members' tenure home. The faculty member, once tenured, will have retreat rights to the department where their primary appointment is held. Tenure can be held in only one department.

MOU Requirements

Because of the complexity of joint appointments and appointments where the appointment is held outside the department in which the faculty has primary board certification, a detailed MOU will be required among the chairs of the participating departments, and signed by the participating chairs and the candidate.

Revenue & Research Grants

The general principle regarding financial faculty support will be based on where the faculty revenue is generated. Clinical revenue generated by faculty with dual appointments will be distributed to the department in which the revenue was earned. Similarly, credit and research grant direct and indirect revenue will be distributed to the primary department in which the work was done, or shared between departments when and if this is desired. Any sharing arrangement would need to be codified prior to grant submission.

For joint appointments between clinical and non-clinical departments or schools, these guidelines will be followed with the exception of credentialing issues and distribution of clinical revenue.

How To...

New Appointments 

If a Medical School faculty member will be jointly appointed in another Medical School department, the Office of Faculty Affairs requires only one appointment packet. The department staff working on this type of joint appointment should coordinate to produce a Form B and a Transmittal Letter that includes information for both departments. The Transmittal Letter for the packet should also be signed by both department chairs.

Adding Joint Appointment with Current Med School Appointment

  • Transmittal letter signed by both department chairs
    • Brief account of how the dry appointment is a good fit for the new department or school, and why the appointment makes sense.  This account might describe contributions the faculty member will make through research, collaborations, mentoring and advising, teaching, or other activities, as well as ways in which their work will advance specific aims of the unit. 
  • Current CV
  • Prior to assembling and submitting documents, please verify with the primary school/college if the faculty member is, or will be, in a current promotion cycle. If the faculty member is or will be, in a current promotion cycle, please reach out to the OFA track specialist to discuss options.
  • Submit to OFA utilizing the Customer Service Portal

Faculty Leaving the University 

For faculty leaving the University who currently have an appointment within the Medical School the following is required:

  • Letter from their department chair requesting the Adjunct title
  • Current CV

Submit to OFA utilizing the Customer Service Portal

  • Approval will be granted by the Assistant Dean of the appropriate track.

Upon approval, the department will:

  • Process the title change in MPathways through a PAR

Non-Reappointment of Joint Appointment

  • Notification will be given to faculty by the department.