Faculty Affiliate Guidelines

Professor speaks to his class in language lab, CAS
Professor Scott Hartley, wearing protective glasses, talks with students in the lab, CAS

Policy, Guidelines and Suggestions
Prepared by the Interdisciplinary Advisory Council, December 2014

Introduction & Rationale

Affiliate faculty members are Miami faculty members whose primary and compensated appointment resides in one department or program but who make important contributions to another department or program for a sustained period of time (one or more years).

It is important to note that affiliate faculty members are not the same as faculty with joint academic appointments. A joint faculty appointment is defined as one in which a faculty member has a compensated FTE appointment in two or more departments or programs.

Affiliate faculty make substantial contributions to departments other than their own, but in ways less formal and continuous than would justify a joint appointment. Moreover, in the case of affiliate faculty, the faculty member’s salary comes from one department or program (the home department), not the affiliating department or program.

Typically, the faculty member has no voting privileges in the affiliating department or program.

Affiliate faculty members benefit the university by:

  • Offering new insights into the work of a department or program.
  • Fostering collaboration and communication across different departments, programs, divisions, or campuses.
  • Promoting interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship.
  • Sharing resources and thereby contributing to greater cost efficiencies.
  • Building a sense of community across Miami University.


Miami's Policy Library offers a definition and set of guidelines for affiliate faculty.

Possible Contributions of Affiliate Faculty

Faculty Affiliates can contribute to a department or program in multiple ways, including but not limited to the following:

  • Teaching courses in the department/program or team-teaching with a faculty member in the department/program
  • Providing guest lectures in classes
  • Serving on a graduate student’s committee
  • Advising a student organization with a faculty member in the department/program
  • Serving as an investigator or collaborating on research grants or projects
  • Designing public programming or materials for the department/program
  • Mentoring probationary faculty
  • Conducting peer reviews of teaching or Small Group Instructional Diagnosis
  • Serving as a consultant on an initiative, curriculum reform, strategic planning, fundraising, or other projects
  • Serving on faculty search, evaluation, and/or promotion and tenure committees
  • Participating in departmental or program colloquia, meetings on relevant topics, or other events

Note: The above list is meant to be suggestive. Affiliate faculty are not required to complete any of the above activities.

Possible Affiliate Faculty Privileges & Forms of Support

To ensure a productive relationship with the Affiliate Faculty member, the department or program may offer any of the following forms of support or privileges:

  • Providing an annual letter (or a letter at the time of the faculty member’s promotion) from the chair to the chair of the Affiliate’s home department/program outlining his or her contributions (see below for sample annual letter).
  • Including the Affiliate Faculty in appropriate department/program meetings as well as, social and intellectual events.
  • Providing access to particular equipment or space to carry out the agreed upon contributions of the affiliate faculty member.

Sample Faculty Affiliate Evaluation Letter from Chair


Inside Address

Dear [Affiliate Faculty Member Name]:

As you know, you have been serving as an affiliate faculty member in the [Department/Program of [DEPT NAME] since [date of appointment]. In that letter of appointment, we agreed that your collaborative activities and associated expectations would include: [use list from appointment letter].

I am sending this letter in my capacity as chair/director of the Department/Program of [DEPT NAME], to describe and evaluate the contributions you have made to our department/program in AY20XX-20XX.

Teaching: In the area of teaching, you contributed to our department by teaching one section of the introductory course in the major (XXX 150) in the spring semester. Your overall rating for the course is 10% above the department mean, and the comments indicate that your knowledge of the course material as well as your willingness to consult with students were outstanding. It is clear that you know the material you are teaching very well and that you are dedicated to the learning of your students. Moreover, you conducted an SGID on this course, and comments indicate that you have a creative and useful approach to presenting subject matter that many undergraduates--particularly non-majors--find difficult. Your use of case studies as a means of advancing learning is frequently cited by students as particularly effective.

You have also served on the thesis committee for Mary Smith. Because I am also the chair of her committee, I have observed first-hand the insightful guidance you have given her in her work, particularly in relation to the theoretical framework of her argument.

Research: Over the past two semesters, you collaborated with several faculty members in our department to submit an NSF grant in December. The grant proposal, while not funded, was creative and well done; and colleagues in the department commented on the valuable insights you provided in the development of the grant proposal. I hope that you will continue working with these colleagues to develop this project.

Summary and Suggestions: Your contributions to the department this year have been excellent. Your strong teaching contributed to the learning of our students, and your knowledge and collegiality enhanced the work of our faculty.

Thank you for a fine year.


Professor and Chair


Cc: [Chair of faculty member’s home department; dean(s)]