Resolution Approving the Academic Staff Title: Research Professor

As  approved by the Faculty Senate April 1, 2019

WHEREAS the Faculty Senate passed a resolution in December 2001 that the word “professor” shall not be used in a title without prior approval of the title by the Faculty Senate (Faculty Document 1596);

WHEREAS the Faculty Senate approved the honorific title of “Associate Research Professor” and “Research Professor” in May 2001 (Faculty Document 1571);

WHEREAS current UW-Madison titles for academic staff directing research programs, Senior Scientist or Associate Scientist, do not reflect the qualifications and duties of these researchers, can connote lack of permanence, often lead to the perception that researchers are not qualified, and do not align with professional titles at peer institutions;

WHEREAS these disadvantages hinder UW-Madison’s ability to recruit and retain the most qualified individuals and hamper professional advancement;

WHEREAS a recent study found that the title “Research Professor” has much wider use today than in 2001 and is in common usage at the majority of our peer research institutions; thus creating the title should help UW-Madison remain competitive with peer institutions;

WHEREAS creating the title “Research Professor” will increase the ability of academic staff to secure competitive grants, increasing the overall extramural grand funding secured by UW-Madison; and

WHEREAS creating the title “Research Professor” will fill a need to formally recognize academic staff with independent research programs at UW-Madison;

WHEREAS the current description for Scientist title series would change and include the following responsibilities:

  • Organizes and conducts research projects and studies
  • Writes grant proposals to procure external research funding (may serve as PI, co-PI or co-I)
  • Publishes in scholarly publications, attends and presents professional conferences, etc.
  • Possesses a Ph.D. or other terminal degree

WHEREAS the Research Professor title would be granted to individuals with a PhD or other terminal degree and would include the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Primary responsibility for a research program including leadership of the scientific and technical aspects and compliance with all financial, ethical, and administrative aspects of the research including supervision of staff, students, and postdoctoral fellows;
  • Formulates long-range research projects and programs;
  • Publishes in peer-reviewed journals, book or chapter publications, presents at conferences, participates as an editor for a publication, and/or participates on panels;
  • Participates in the peer-review process by reviewing journal manuscripts and grant proposals;
  • Pursues funding through grants as PI to support salary for themselves and others working under their direction and to support other aspects of their independent research program;
  • Has established, based on extramural funding and/or documented intramural mechanism(s), the financial resources necessary to maintain a research program including salary (Associate Research Professor and Research Professor only);

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate approves the creation of the payrolled titles “Assistant Research Professor,” “Associate Research Professor,” and “Research Professor” in this context;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate strongly opposes the use of the “Research Professor” titles as a substitute for tenure-track faculty appointments and asks that policies and procedures be developed, with meaningful faculty and academic staff input, that define the distinctions in responsibilities, rights, and opportunities for research professors, tenure-track faculty, and academic staff scientists, in order to prevent competition between this new title and tenure-track faculty, especially at the “assistant level”;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that these titles should hold Permanent PI status and otherwise include the same level of rights available to all academic staff under Academic Staff Policies and Procedures.