Current version: October 22, 2009
Establishes Stanford policy for Academic Staff - Research (AS-R), including provisions for appointment and promotion, and Visiting AS-R. Clarification added in July 1996 regarding exception to search requirements in the case of recent Stanford doctorate or completed postdoctoral study. Appointment process for senior positions clarified in 2004, and cap on additional compensation increased in 2009. Selection and search procedures clarified in 2011.
Academic Staff - Research (AS-R) are Stanford employees hired to work on Stanford research activities as defined below. As Stanford employees, Academic Staff-Research are subject to all policies and procedures related to Stanford employment, and receive full staff benefits.
Working in a capacity which ordinarily requires a Ph.D. or its equivalent in research skill and subject knowledge, a Research Associate is involved directly in the execution, and frequently the design, of a Principal Investigator's research activities. His or her primary purpose is to assist the Principal Investigator (PI) in attaining the goals of the PI's sponsored research projects. A Research Associate may participate in the preparation of proposals, progress and final reports, and may be the coauthor or sole author of research results. Although not usually engaged in formal classroom teaching, a Research Associate frequently assists in the guidance of graduate students in the laboratory.
Individuals whose accomplishments reflect professional achievement and recognition considerably greater than that of a Research Associate may be appointed as Senior Research Scientist, Senior Research Engineer, or Senior Research Scholar, whichever is most appropriate to the nature of the individual's work.
Note: In Spring 1990, the Faculty Senate Committee on the Professoriate changed the designation of Senior Research Associate to Senior Research Scientist, Senior Research Engineer, or Senior Research Scholar. Individuals appointed to a senior position prior to Spring 1990 should have their position title changed accordingly.
Senior Research Scientists, Senior Research Engineers and Senior Research Scholars may serve as Co-investigators in association with a faculty Principal Investigator on those research projects (and on related applications for support) for which they carry a significant role. Designation of Co-investigator is not an entitlement; it requires the permission of the Principal Investigator.
As a general rule, an appointment to the AS-R requires a search. Searches are initiated with a written vacancy announcement, such as in relevant professional journals or other publications.All searches should engage actively in affirmative action in the search process; professional colleagues should be contacted to solicit names of female and minority candidates (as well as others who would bring diversity to the academic staff) and such candidates should be encouraged to apply. Contacts should be made with resources such as female and minority professional organizations and journals so that such groups are alerted to the search.
The text for the announcement should be sent to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research. Advertisements and letters announcing vacancies must include a statement such as:
Stanford University is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty and academic staff. It welcomes nominations of and applications from women and members of minority groups, as well as others who would bring additional dimensions to the University’s research, teaching and clinical missions
The responsibility for affirmative action aspects of the search process rests primarily with the Principal Investigator.
Exceptions to the search requirement may be permitted if the candidate: (1) has just completed his/her doctorate or program of postdoctoral study at Stanford and completion of all degree requirements is documented; (2) is uniquely qualified for the particular position; or (3) was previously identified by name on a written research proposal submitted by the Principal Investigator to an external funding agency.
After a candidate has been identified and selected for appointment, a Recommendation for Appointment form [downloadable Word file] should be completed by the Principal Investigator, and approved by the Department Chair (or Laboratory Director), the cognizant School Dean, and the Vice Provost and Dean of Research to insure that:
Recommendations along with a current Curriculum Vitae must be submitted to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research prior to the date of anticipated employment. The School Dean's or Laboratory Director's office will be notified by copy of the approved appointment form or will be contacted verbally if further information or clarification is required prior to approval. Depending on the preference of each School, the Department or School Dean will send written confirmation to the employee indicating the terms, length of employment, identity and duration of funding sources contributing to his or her salary. A copy of this confirmation is sent to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research.
After a candidate has been identified and selected for appointment to a senior Academic Staff-Research position, a Recommendation for Appointment [downloadable Word file] form should be completed by the Principal Investigator, and approved by the Department Chair (or Laboratory Director), the cognizant School Dean, and the Vice Provost and Dean of Research, following the same procedure as for Research Associates (described in II.B above).
Ordinarily individuals are promoted to senior positions from the ranks of Research Associates. For both appointments and promotions to senior AS-R positions, the Principal Investigator is responsible for submitting the following four items of documentation to the Department Chair for use in review of the candidate:
Such appointments shall follow a formal review process by a departmental ad hoc appointment committee consisting of at least two Academic Council members in addition to the faculty Principal Investigator, and, if practicable, a senior member of the AS-R. The ad hoc committee should review the documentation and prepare a written report to the Department Chair regarding the qualifications of the candidate for appointment or promotion.
Candidates for the senior position will ordinarily have completed a minimum of five years at the Research Associate rank (or will have equivalent experience). Department Chairs must ensure that reviews of senior members of the AS-R on continuing terms of appointment be carried out by a departmental ad hoc committee no more frequently than every three years and no less frequently than every five years.
Some indicators which may help to evaluate the qualifications of a candidate for the rank of Senior Research Scientist, Senior Research Engineer or Senior Research Scholar are the following:
A member of the Academic Staff - Research is appointed for a fixed, renewable term of up to five years, contingent on continued programmatic need and funding. Senior Research Scientists, Senior Research Engineers or Senior Research Scholars may be appointed on either a fixed-term or a continuing basis.
Requests for reappointments of fixed-term appointments must be reviewed at the department level and approved by the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research. A written notice of either renewal or non-renewal must be given to the employee at least 90 days in advance of the term end date. The conclusion of a fixed term does not constitute layoff nor is it accompanied by layoff benefits (see discussion below).
Although not subject to salary ranges per se, salaries for Academic Staff-Research are subject to the approval of the cognizant Principal Investigator, Department Chair, School Dean and Vice Provost and Dean of Research for purposes of maintaining University-wide equity. Data indicating the distribution of Stanford salaries for each classification of AS-R are supplied to school deans and laboratory directors. This provides a framework from which to review University-wide salaries to insure parity. Payroll forms require signed approval of the deans or lab directors and of the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research.
Due to the relatively uncertain nature of financial support for sponsored projects which support Academic Staff-Research members' salaries (whether on fixed terms or continuing appointments), AS-R members shall be informed of the duration of all funding sources which materially contribute to their salaries. This information should be included in the employment confirmation letter and, subsequently, made available to the AS-R member by the PI upon request.
An AS-R member is entitled to 30 days written notice, but not to layoff benefits or reemployment preference, when terminated for unsatisfactory performance or other just cause. In extreme cases of termination for just cause, advance notice of termination may be waived with the approval of the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research.
A layoff (as opposed to end of fixed-term appointment or dismissal for just cause) occurs when a position is eliminated as a result of lack of funds or changing programmatic needs prior to the scheduled end of a fixed-term appointment or at any time during a continuing appointment. If a layoff is a result of lack of available financial support, the AS-R member must be given at least 30 days written notice. Selection of the individual(s) to be laid off is a judgment of the Principal Investigator. These individuals are eligible for layoff benefits and reemployment preference.
Occasionally, a Principal Investigator chooses to change the direction of his or her research activities in ways that are not commensurate with the skills or research interests of the AS-R member. When this occurs, layoff is considered on program-matic grounds, not due to lack of available financial support. In these cases, the AS-R member should always be given at least three months written notice of layoff. They are eligible for the same layoff benefits and reemployment preferences as are applicable for other exempt staff.
Because of the many activities required to keep the University functioning, full-time members of the academic staff may be called upon to perform a variety of services for the institution apart from those normally considered to be their own regular job duties. Academic staff members may be assigned these tasks either within their department or for another area within the University. Further, it is understood that academic staff may often be expected to work in excess of 40 hours a week. Because the foregoing situations are considered to fall within normal expectations for these staff, they would not constitute grounds for payment of additional compensation.
Full-time academic staff may be eligible for additional compensation when, on a one-time or infrequent basis, they teach in established University programs or University-hosted conferences that: (a) clearly fall outside the boundaries of their regular responsibilities, (b) require a significant amount of time in excess of the normal work schedule and (c) normally provide additional payment to other participants. This exception does not cover appointments to teach regular University courses in degree-granting programs, in which cases salary offsets would be appropriate.
Examples for which additional compensation might be appropriate include:
An academic staff member who teaches in these programs must be appointed, where relevant, through the regular appointment process of the program. His/her compensation for the activity is limited by the established rates for the particular program, but in no case should compensation for such activities exceed five percent of the employee's full-time base salary or $5000, whichever is greater, during any one fiscal year.
For activities of the type described above, specific approval for additional compensation is required in advance of the service being performed. The cognizant Dean and the Vice Provost and Dean of Research must approve those involving academic staff. Failure to obtain such approval will in all likelihood result in forfeiture of payment.
Academic Staff - Research members appointed for terms of six months or longer (at 50% time or more) are entitled to staff benefits available to other regular exempt staff, including vacation and sick leave accrual, with some exceptions related to layoff as outlined above and grievance process (see Academic Staff Grievance Procedure, Research Policy Handbook document 9.2).
While the highly professional nature of these positions allows PIs to delegate considerable independence and authority to members of the AS-R in support of the PI's research objectives, there are also limitations inherent in these positions. Individuals in the AS-R ranks are not members of the Academic Council; they are not eligible to act as Principal Investigators on sponsored projects (Senior Research staff may act as Co-investigators with the permission of the faculty Principal Investigator, but may not serve as Co-Principal Investigator); they are not eligible for sabbatical leaves nor in any way are considered to be on a tenure track. Their positions are coterminous with externally-sponsored support and programmatic need. Appointments from the AS-R to the non-tenure line or tenure-line faculty ranks at Stanford may occur, but such promotions are rare and should not be expected as part of an AS-R member's typical path at the University.
Visiting Research Associate positions and Visiting Senior Research Associate positions differ from Academic Staff-Research (AS-R) ranks in that the visitor's primary purpose in coming to the University is to collaborate with the Stanford Principal Investigator on research projects of mutual interest, rather than to provide the ongoing staff assistance normally associated with regular AS-R positions. They also differ from Visiting Scholar positions, which are courtesy appointments without Stanford salary support.
Visiting Research Associate or Visiting Senior Research Associate appointments may be made for periods not to exceed twelve months for individuals who are permanently employed by another institution at a level at least equivalent to the AS-R at Stanford. If the individual ceases to hold a regular position elsewhere prior to or during the Stanford appointment, he or she is not eligible to continue as a Visiting Research Associate or Senior Research staff. Rather, the person may be recommended for a regular Academic Staff-Research appointment. Formal searches for the visiting appointments are not required as Stanford does not constitute the primary employment commitment to the individual.
A Recommendation for Appointment of Visiting Research Associate or Visiting Senior Research Associate [downloadable Word file] form should be completed by the hiring Stanford Principal Investigator and routed to the department Chair, School Dean, and Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research for approval, accompanied by a resume of the candidate and applicable visa information. The same routing procedures should be used for all payroll forms after the appointment has been approved.
Stanford salary support for Visiting Research Associates and Visiting Senior Research Associates normally is funded from sponsored research projects, typically at a level based on the individual's salary from his or her home institution. In any event, minimum full-time equivalent salaries for Visiting Research Associates and Senior Research staff are established annually by the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research.
Visiting Research Associates and Visiting Senior Research Associates are eligible for staff benefits, including vacation and sick leave, if employed at 50% time or more for an anticipated length of six months or more. Regular staff policies for fixed-term appointments apply except that the Academic Staff Grievance Procedures, rather than the staff procedures, are applicable for Visiting Research Associates. University courtesies and privileges commensurate with the visitors' rank at their home institutions may be granted by the Provost on an exception basis.