Professional Track Faculty

Since 2012, the University of Maryland has been actively engaged in improving the work environment and career opportunities for faculty who are not eligible for tenure. In February 2012, the University Senate and the Provost jointly appointed the Task Force on Non-Tenure Track Faculty (NTTF) and charged members to investigate institutional policies and practices, and to survey the campus community, in order to make recommendations on how UMD could better engage faculty off the tenure track.

Timeline: Policy Changes

The NTTF Task Force report provided 21 such recommendations, and the Senate voted to accept the report, review the recommendations, and charge the relevant Senate committees with determining the most appropriate processes and procedures for enacting the recommendations. Download the Senate Report.
Senate Bill 12-13-41

Based on several recommendations in the NTTF Task Force report, the Senate’s Executive Committee charged the Faculty Affairs Committee with reviewing the system of titles used for NTTF appointments and to create a unified system to provide promotional ladders for all roles of NTTF appointments. The Senate approved the proposed changes to the policy that establishes faculty titles in April of 2014. The revised policy not only created promotional ladders where there had been none, but also regularized details related to appointment criteria and contract length across the set of NTTF titles. Read the Policy
Senate Bill 12-13-55

The Senate modified the campus Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure policy such that NTT faculty who achieve the highest rank are eligible for Emeritus status. Read the Amended Report
Senate Bill 12-13-42

The Senate approves the proposal to adopt the name “Professional Track Faculty” for all institutional references to faculty off the tenure track. Read the Policy
Senate Bill 12-13-56

The Senate passed revisions to the UMD Policy on the Employment of Adjunct Faculty in order to extend eligibility for certain benefits and provisions to part-time faculty who teach on appointments below 50% FTE. Read the Policy

Senate Bill 13-14-15

The Senate approved a revised Plan of Organization in which representation of full-time PTK faculty will be determined on an apportionment model rather than through single-member constituencies. This change increased PTK representation in the University Senate from 3 to over 30. Read the Report
Senate Bill 14-15-19

In addition to recommending changes to the system of faculty titles, the NTTF Task Force report also called for campus-wide guidelines for appointing, evaluating, and promoting PTK faculty. The campus-wide guidelines define the basic requirements for unit-level policies, including the requirement that PTK faculty are involved in creating and reviewing unit-level policies, and that committees reviewing PTK promotion cases include PTK faculty. Read the Guidelines
Senate Bill 14-15-09

In recognition of the significant role Professional Track (PTK) faculty play in achieving the institution’s mission, Provost Rankin instituted annual excellence awards for PTK faculty. Winners receive a letter of recognition from the Provost and a $1,000 award. More Information

As required by the campus-level guidelines for the Appointment, Evaluation, and Promotion (AEP) of Professional Track (PTK) faculty, all colleges submitted their PTK-AEP policies to the Senate's Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) for review and approval. To access college policies, click below.

Links to College AEP Policies

The University Senate passed, and the President approved, revisions to the Policy on Faculty Merit Pay Distribution in order to include PTK faculty in merit review processes, thereby regularizing how merit-based salary increases are determined for faculty both on and off the tenure track. Read the policy
Senate Bill 16-17-13

Adjunct Faculty Policy

Important Clarification

The term "Adjunct" has a very specific meaning within the University's Policy on Adjunct Faculty (II-1.07(A)), namely part-time instructional faculty who are paid by the course, or whose appointments are less than 50% FTE ("Full Time Equivalent"), or who are ineligible for benefits.

If you are part-time, non-tenure track faculty with an appointment at 50% FTE or greater, you are not Adjunct Faculty. Your rights and responsibilities regarding your appointment are defined in USM Policy Policy II-1.06. See Policies Governing Appointments of Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty for a comparison of the policies governing appointments above and below 50% FTE. See also the Teaching section of this website for policies that apply to all instructional faculty in their roles as teachers and their interactions with students.

UMD Policy on the Employment of Adjunct Faculty

Overlap with Other Policies

Much of the University of Maryland Policy on the Employment of Adjunct Faculty is substantively identical to the relevant sections of the Campus Policy on Full-time and Part-time, Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty (UM Policy II-1.00(F)) as well as the System Policy on the Employment of Salaried Part-time, Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty (USM II-1.06). For a summary of the overlap between the Adjunct Policy and other policies regarding part-time instructional faculty, please see Policies Governing Appointments of Non-Tenure Track Instructional Faculty, below on this page.

Details Specific to Adjunct Faculty

University of Maryland Policy II-1.07(A) establishes specific requirements regarding the appointment, professional development, and rights of Adjunct Faculty.

New Adjunct Faculty Orientation and Training

Upon making a new adjunct faculty appointment, departments or units should provide, to the extent feasible, an orientation to the department/unit and the campus, an introduction to teaching resources, and training in electronic instructional and course administration tools.

Appointment Letters and Contracts

Appointment letters/contracts for Adjunct Faculty must provide, at a minimum, the following details:

  1. position title;
  2. contract term;
  3. per-course compensation, or salary rate and % FTE;
  4. description of the assignment;
  5. institutional benefits, if any;
  6. information regarding faculty policies and procedures, including performance evaluations;
  7. information about eligibility for and benefits associated with designation of Adjunct Faculty II status

In addition to the required information above, letters/contracts for adjunct faculty must also explain the implications of the cancellation of a course less than 30 days prior to the start date, namely:

If the University has a fall or spring semester class to which an adjunct faculty member has been assigned that is cancelled less than 30 days prior to the class start date, and has been unable to offer the adjunct faculty member re-assignment to a comparable class, the University shall compensate the adjunct faculty member 10% of the payment amount specified in the contract or appointment letter for that class.

Eligibility for, and Implications of, Adjunct II Status

At the University of Maryland, the requirements for Adjunct II Status are that the faculty member is currently teaching in the department; has taught a minimum of 30 credits at the University within the past 5 academic years (excluding summer and winter terms); and has a series of high-level performance evaluations. Adjunct II status is granted upon the recommendation of the department (or unit) chair and Dean, subject to approval by the Provost. Click here to download the Adjunct II status approval form.

Upon designation as Adjunct II, the faculty member should receive a letter from the Dean's Office explaining the benefits of the new rank, including an annual compensation increment, the minimum of which is set each year by the Provost in accordance with State and USM policies. For 2022-2023, the increment minimum is $450.

Additionally, Adjunct II faculty will be given priority consideration, to the extent operationally feasible, among adjunct faculty for future teaching assignments in the subjects for which the adjunct faculty member has had consistent instructional experience at the University, and Adjunct II faculty may be eligible for longer term appointments that assure the adjunct faculty member assignment to a fixed number of classes during the term of the appointment.

Beginning Spring 2012, departmental reviews of adjunct faculty for Adjunct II status will take place at least annually; status changes will be reflected in a faculty member's first renewed appointment after the change in status.

Grievance Procedures

If an Adjunct's appointment is to be terminated before the end of its term, the Adjunct can request a meeting with a representative of either the College or the School to discuss the decision. The Adjunct can be removed from the classroom while the Grievance is in process, but the University must continue to pay the Adjunct until the faculty member has had a reasonable opportunity to resolve the Grievance.

Participation in Shared Governance as well as Meet and Confer

The University shall provide opportunities for adjunct faculty to communicate their concerns to campus administration, provide advice in the development and implementation of policies and procedures related to adjunct faculty, and otherwise participate fully in shared governance through participation in existing shared governance bodies, with sufficient numbers of positions designated for adjunct faculty to ensure their significant representation. Most recently, a Meet and Confer meeting was held March 31. Click here to see a summary of the discussion.

In addition to any other meetings that Adjuncts and administrators might schedule, the institution will also convene, at least twice each year, Meet and Confer meetings at which the Provost and the Vice President for Administration and Finance will meet with an Adjunct Faculty Advisory Board to discuss issues and concerns of the Adjunct Faculty on campus. Additionally, the Advisory Board can elect to use union representation for the Meet and Confer process. Click here to download details about the Meet and Confer process, including the guidelines for electing to adopt union representation.

Policies Governing Instructional Faculty Appointments

Below is a summary of the three policies governing the appointment of non-tenure track instructional faculty. Policy applicability is determined by an appointment's percentage of Full-Time Equivalent, i.e. % FTE. Appointments of 50% or more are addressed by Policies II-1.05 and II-1.06. Appointments of less than 50% are covered by Policy II-1.07(A). There is additional information above in the Adjunct Faculty Policy section. Every effort has been made to summarize completely and accurately the intent of the policies; however, when resolving questions related to implementation, the policies themselves should be consulted.

Purpose of the Policy

≥50% Establish baseline standards for employing Professional Track (PTK) instructional faculty with the goal of assuring high quality instruction.
<50% In addition to establishing baseline standards for assuring high quality instruction, adds "and to facilitate a continuous improvement in the status of adjunct faculty at the University."

Policy applies to...

≥50% Faculty with appointments from 50% to 100% Full Time Equivalent (FTE)
<50% Faculty who are paid by the course, or whose appointments are less than 50% FTE and are ineligible for health benefits

Level of Effort

≥50% Percentage of FTE shall be calculated either on a semester or an academic-year basis, depending on the length of the appointment. For academic year appointments, % FTE is calculated over the academic year, not per semester.
<50% Defines two levels of adjunct status:


  • Adjunct I - faculty who are paid by the course, or whose appointments are less than 50% FTE and are ineligible for health benefits
  • Adjunct II - adjuncts who have taught 36 credits within the previous 5 years and have a record of strong evaluations are eligible for Adjunct II status

Search / Recruitment

  • The University has written standards defining minimum required credentials for different levels of ranks of PTK faculty.
  • The Provost oversees departmental procedures for selecting faculty, including verifying credentials, and reflecting the University's commitment to EOE and affirmative action.

Contracts and Letters of Appointment

≥50% Contracts and/or appointment letters should state approved faculty title, length of appointment, % FTE, salary, renewability, teaching assignment, benefits (if any) and performance evaluation procedures. In addition, contracts / letters should specify what happens if a course is cancelled prior to the start of class.
<50% Additionally, letters/contracts provide information about eligibility for and benefits of Adjunct II status, namely:
  • a once/year compensation increment, which is not added to base salary, the minimum of which is determined for all Adjunct IIs by the Provost;
  • priority consideration for future teaching assignments;
  • eligibility for longer term appointments.

Teaching Assignments

≥50% Departments should provide PTK faculty with reasonable and adequate notice of projected teaching assignments prior to the start of classes. Notice of 45 days is suggested.
<50% Additionally, if a fall or spring semester class is cancelled less than 30 days prior to the class start date, and no re-assignment to a comparable class is possible, the adjunct faculty member receives payment of 10% of what would have been the salary for that class had it not been cancelled.

Support for Teaching

Departments should provide PTK faculty:

  • information on the department's policies, requirements, and goals for each course, along with access to examples of past course syllabi (if available);
  • official schedule of classes, including academic calendar and time frames of class meetings;
  • assistance in ordering textbook(s) for the course(s), ancillaries for the text(s), and office supplies;
  • access to a photocopier for copying course materials;
  • appropriate temporary space for meeting with students during scheduled office hours, except if instruction is completely technology-mediated;
  • an institutional email account along with computer access; and
  • telephone access.

Professional Development

≥50% Professional development opportunities for PTK instructional faculty should be supported to the extent possible. This may include extending invitations to departmental, institutional, and external faculty development events. Full-time PTK faculty are eligible for financial support for attending professional conferences when funds permit.
<50% For new Adjunct faculty, departments should provide:
  • departmental orientation and overview
  • campus orientation
  • introduction to teaching policies and resources
  • training in using UMEG, TESTUDO, ELMS and/or other course administration and instructional information technology.

Performance Evaluation

  • Departments should have written procedures in place for evaluating PTK faculty on a regular schedule.
  • The standards used to evaluate the teaching of PTK faculty should be the same as those used to evaluate Tenure-Track faculty.
  • Evaluations should be kept on record in a personnel file and should be consulted when making decisions about promotion, salary and contract renewals.

Participation in Shared Governance

PTK faculty members shall be integrated into the scholarly, intellectual, academic, and social life of the department or unit, and institution. Institutional shared-governance procedures shall include PTK faculty.


≥50% Rights established by UM Policy II-1.00(F): Departments shall inform PTK instructional faculty members that they have full access to the faculty grievance procedure. Grievances may include the non-renewal of a contract.
<50% Prior to terminating an Adjunct faculty member's appointment before the end of its term, the faculty member shall be offered an opportunity to meet and discuss the matter at the level of the College or School. The University may remove the Adjunct faculty member from the classroom, provided, however, it shall continue to pay the Adjunct faculty member pending a reasonable opportunity to be heard.


Every effort should be made to make adjunct faculty compensation professionally appropriate and competitive to the extent allowed by available fiscal resources.


≥50% Eligibility for state-subsized health benefits, for enrollment in a retirement plan, and for other USM and Institutional Benefits according to USM and UM policy.
<50% Eligible to enroll in a health plan provided Adjunct pays both the employer and the employee contribution. For appointments longer than 6 months, Adjunct Faculty are eligible to enroll in a retirement plan.

Sabbatical or Terminal Leave

Not eligible for sabbatical or terminal leave.