Academic Specialist


Departments apply rigorous standards to reviews based on objective and relevant criteria. These criteria must be provided to all specialists at the time of appointment and in preparation for review. Criteria encompass department, CHM and MSU criteria.

Departments are responsible for initiating the reappointment and promotion processes and providing the specific timelines, procedures and criteria for their academic specialists.

Academic specialists are responsible for familiarizing themselves with their department timelines, procedures and criteria prior to submitting an application packet for continuing system reappointment, award of continuing status and promotion review.

The CHM criteria used for continuing system reappointment, award of continuing status, and promotion review are based on the Specialist Position Description and the specialist's primary area of focus. The primary area is generally in the area for which the majority of effort is allocated. A specialist must identify their primary area of focus, and use those specific criteria in one of the following areas:

  •  Teaching
  •  Advising
  •  Curriculum Development
  •  Research and Scholarly Activity
  •  External Service/Outreach
  •  Administrative Service


Specialists in the continuing appointment system with probationary appointments undergo the reappointment review process in the year prior to the final year of their appointment. Academic specialists in the continuing appointment system complete two probationary periods of three years each. Successful review during the first probationary period results in a second probationary period appointment.

Academic Specialist Continuing Status timeline graphic

Successful review during the second probationary period results in the award of continuing status.

Academic Specialist RPT timeline graphic


Specialists in the fixed term appointment system negotiate the conditions of reappointment with the administrative unit (department, school, institute, residential college, or other comparable academic unit). Appointment or reappointment on a fixed term basis does not involve any commitment to appointment in any of the continuing academic personnel appointment systems, which require separate and distinct procedures.

A recommendation for promotion to senior specialist should be based on several years (generally five to seven years) of excellence in the performance of assigned duties together with the recognition by peers and colleagues both within the University and regionally, nationally and internationally. Such recognition is to be based on external peer review involving evaluation of performance in one or more of the assigned functional areas, consistent with performance levels for similar roles expected at a premier, land-grant AAU University. Fixed term academic specialists applying for promotion to senior specialist are required to have sixty or more FTE service months. Fixed term specialists may request their current FTE service month balance directly from MSU Academic Human Resources at


Recommendations for reappointment, award of continuing status and promotion are made in the department and/or unit according to unit, college and university bylaws, policies, procedures, standards and criteria. Departments are responsible for initiating the process and providing guidance to their faculty. Faculty should be provided the criteria, process and timelines at time of appointment.

For continuing system reappointment, award of continuing status and promotion of academic specialists, a review committee of individuals knowledgeable about the position under review and the Academic Specialist Appointment System, including at least one academic specialist, provides advice to the academic unit administrator, as stated in the unit bylaws. The chairperson or director is responsible for making the final recommendation to the Dean.

Deans independently review each recommendation and approve or disapprove, taking into account unit recommendations. Deans forward recommendations to the Office of the Provost, where the final decision is made.


Departments submit annual academic specialist forms, including recommendations for continuing system reappointment, award of continuing status, and promotion to senior specialist, to the CHM Office of Faculty Affairs and Development by the first working day in March.


Fixed term academic specialists who meet eligibility requirements may apply for Designation B status. For faculty who are granted Designation B status, the next appointment shall be for at least three years subject to satisfactory completion of a major review. See Designation B for additional details.