Term Faculty FAQs

Term Faculty Ranks

What are the ranks for term faculty?

The most recent ranks for term faculty are outlined in the Faculty Handbook, section 2.1.3 Term Appointments. Ranks for term faculty without the terminal degree are Instructor, Senior Instructor, Master Instructor, and Professor of Practice. Ranks for term faculty with the terminal degree include  

  • Instructional Assistant Professor, Instructional Associate Professor, Instructional Professor, Professor of Practice  
  • Research Instructor, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, Research Professor 
  • Clinical Instructor, Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, Clinical Professor  

Compensation & Benefits

Are Term Faculty able to get raises based on merit?

All term faculty are eligible to be considered for merit raises, when available. 

How are term faculty on 9-month contracts compensated for summer teaching?

Compensation for summer teaching is addressed in section 3.3 of the Faculty Handbook, Summer Salary. Please review for specific information about summer compensation.  

Where can faculty learn more about the budget models of the University?

The Office of Strategic Budgeting and Planning maintains a great deal of information on their website, please see that resource for more information about the University budget.  

What is the Term Faculty Committee doing to address compensation issues related to term faculty?

The Term Faculty Committee continues to stay informed, discuss, and advocate for term faculty on matters related to compensation. The Assistant Vice President for HR Operations is a member of our committee. Moreover, we maintain an ongoing dialogue with both the Office of the Provost Personnel Group and HR/Payroll to make term faculty compensation issues visible. 


How do prior experiences (e.g., adjunct teaching, experience at other institutions) factor into consideration for reappointment and promotion?

As is the case with all faculty, while prior experiences may be part of a holistic review of a faculty member’s portfolio, the primary focus is on time spent at George Mason. In some instances, a faculty member may negotiate alternative timeframes as part of their hiring agreement. Please direct questions to your department chair/ Local Academic Unit head and/or your HR liaison. Additional information is available on the “Guidance for Term Faculty Promotion” section of the Term Faculty Information page on the Office of the Provost website.  

If a term faculty member fails to get promoted, would they still be eligible for renewal if qualified?

Yes. In addition, per section Procedures for Promotion of Term Faculty of the Faculty Handbook, term faculty who are denied promotion are eligible to be considered for promotion in subsequent promotion cycles. 

With a multi-year contract renewal, will the University consider issuing a 5-year contract, if approved by the LAU and the college-level?

Yes. Per Faculty Handbook section 2.1.3 Term Appointments, term faculty appointment contracts are issued for up to a maximum of 5 years. 

For Research Term Faculty going forward for promotion, are outside letters needed in addition to an evaluation by the committee in the department/ Local Academic Unit (LAU)?

For term faculty whose primary focus is research, the dossier should also include peer evaluations from outside the university, in the form of external letters of evaluation. Please check with your LAU for specific evaluation criteria for research term faculty promotion.  

Can Instructional Term Faculty without a terminal degree apply for promotion?

Yes. Please see the Faculty Handbook, section 2.4 Criteria for Evaluation of Tenured, Tenure-Track, and Term Faculty, for more information about the criteria for the promotion of term faculty without a terminal degree. 

If I have a question about promotion, who do I ask?

Please consult with your area/department chair or LAU head for specific information about reappointment and promotion in your unit. Many LAUs also have HR liaisons who can answer questions that you might have. In addition, the Office of the Provost hosts term faculty reappointment and promotion sessions each spring semester. 


Are term faculty eligible for professional development leave? If so, how do they go about applying for such leave?

According to the Faculty Handbook, section 3.6.2 Leave Program for Instructional Faculty, term faculty are eligible for professional development leave if they are on a multi-year contract, have six years of service at George Mason, and have completed six years of such service since a previous study leave. Please contact your area/department chair or LAU head, or your HR liaison, to inquire about procedures, criteria, and deadlines specific to your unit. 

Where can I get access to statistics about term faculty representation at Mason (e.g., number of term faculty at Mason, percentage of term faculty within each unit)?

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning (OIEP) has a Data Analytics and Research section on their website that includes interactive dashboards. Please see the Human Resources dashboard on their website for this information. 

How can I learn more and/or get involved with the work of the Term Faculty Committee?

Please reach out to any member of the Term Faculty Committee if you have questions about our work. You can find a full roster of committee members (with contact information) on the Term Faculty Information page of the Office of the Provost website. In addition, the committee holds Community Forums each semester to update the community on our work and obtain your input. Forum dates/times are announced in the Office of the Provost newsletter.