George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Term Faculty Information

Mason would be unable to thrive without our term faculty. Term faculty contribute to campus life and institutional success in a wide variety of ways, such as teaching, advising students, providing administrative leadership, university service, and more.

Mason’s strategic vision is ambitious, seeking to achieve what few institutions have accomplished. Our goals include both strengthening our reputation as a high-caliber research-intensive institution, while simultaneously expanding our access to excellence through continuing to serve a highly diverse student population. Meeting these seemingly contradictory goals requires bold thinking about how we recruit, retain, and support all of our faculty communities. 

Term faculty make up a significant portion of full-time instructional faculty at Mason, and it is critical to create and maintain an environment that values term faculty members’ work and contributions to Mason’s teaching and scholarly communities, and our national reputation. Mason strives to be an institution where term faculty are supported in reaching their professional and career goals. To that end, Mason seeks to:

► Promote the contributions and livelihood of term faculty through inclusive and sustainable policies and practices.  

► Pursue meaningful pathways for career progression and recognize the varied contributions that term faculty make to our institutional mission. 

► Foster an institutional culture in which term faculty positions are viewed as productive and rewarding career opportunities.

Term Faculty Committee

The Term Faculty Committee was convened in fall 2019 to oversee and facilitate the implementation of the recommendations put forward by the Term Faculty Task Force. The Task Force worked from spring 2017 through fall 2018 to explore the opportunities for career development for term faculty at Mason and to address their concerns and challenges. The Task Force presented its final report and recommendations to the Provost in December 2018. 

Mission and Core Values

The Term Faculty Committee seeks to improve the status and quality of term faculty experiences through informing inclusive and sustainable policies and practices that promote the contributions and livelihood of the term faculty. We will pursue meaningful pathways for career progression and recognize the varied contributions that term faculty make to our institutional mission. We aim to foster an institutional culture in which term faculty positions are viewed as productive and rewarding career opportunities.

  • Our work is driven by a sense of urgency in order to make meaningful progress
  • We believe that all faculty have the right to participate in governance decisions that affect them
  • We will operate with openness and transparency
  • Our actions are designed to support term faculty wellbeing
  • We embrace the “spirit of possibility”

Term Faculty Committee Roster
Name Department Title Email
Kim Eby (co-chair) Faculty Affairs and Development Associate Provost keby1
Cindy Parker* (co-chair) School of Business Associate Professor cparker8
Irene Bruno* Volgenau School of Engineering Professor ibruno
John Cantiello* College of Health and Human Services Associate Professor jcantiel
Brian Fitzpatrick* College of Humanities and Social Sciences Assistant Professor bfitzpa2
Karyn Kessler INTO Mason Academic Director kkessle3
Michelle Lim Human Resources and Payroll Director, Strategic HR Services and Faculty Consulting mlim1
Ellen Rodgers  College of Education and Human Development  Associate Dean erodger1
Solon Simmons Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution Associate Professor ssimmon5
Paul So College of Science Professor and Chair paso


* denotes term faculty member

Guidance for Term Faculty Appointments

George Mason University understands the importance of flexibility for academic units in the initial hiring of term faculty, who may be hired for initial appointment on single-year or multi-year contract. Appointments with term dates are defined below.

In accordance with section 2.3.3 of the Faculty Handbook, Term Faculty will be evaluated for a new appointment. Term faculty members are eligible for reappointment based on quality of performance and departmental resource needs and commitments, including enrollment trajectory considerations.

Single-year Appointments

Initial Appointment: Term Faculty on initial single-year appointment will be evaluated for a new appointment and receive notification from the Dean in writing of the new appointment/ nonappointment three (3) months prior to the end of the appointment.

New Appointment: After the initial single year appointment, Term Faculty will be evaluated for a new appointment and receive notification from the Dean in writing of the new appointment/ nonappointment five (5) months prior to the end of the appointment.

Term Faculty Single-Year Appointment Expectation: After three (3) single-year appointments, Term Faculty should be evaluated based on the portfolio of position responsibilities, primarily teaching, research, or clinical, with evidence provided for any additional responsibilities, whether leadership, administrative, or service. Term faculty with satisfactory performance should be placed on a multi-year appointment within the overall instructional needs and financial framework of the academic unit. The practice of issuing repeated one-year restricted contracts for an individual faculty member over many years is discouraged, as it can be exploitative over an extended time.

Multi-year Appointments

New Appointments: Term Faculty on current multi-year appointments will be evaluated for new appointment during the final year of their initial appointment. LAU leadership should make efforts to ensure that term faculty responsibilities are put in writing and that subsequent contract responsibilities are re-evaluated and negotiated in consultation with the term faculty member. 

Deadlines for submitting these materials to the Office of the Provost are found on the Office of the Provost website. The Provost will act on the recommendation and the Term Faculty member will be notified in writing of the decision.

Term faculty must present credentials consistent with University Policy 3005: Faculty Credential Evaluation and Documentation and expectations of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and also have experience appropriate to the level of the course they are teaching. It is the responsibility of the local academic unit to verify documentation of appropriate credentials for all faculty members prior to appointment.

Required Documentation for New Appointment to Multi-Year Contracts

In the case of Term Faculty who are being appointed or reappointed for multi-year contracts, documentation should focus on the portfolio of responsibilities, primarily teaching, research, or clinical, with evidence provided for any additional responsibilities, whether leadership, administrative, or service.

A reminder that due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, there were no student teaching evaluations for spring 2020, although faculty may choose to include evidence of efforts made to address student needs. Candidates are encouraged to include any professional development activities they completed in order to better serve students during the pandemic. For candidates undergoing evaluation of performance in research, abstracts and conference/scholarly presentations that were canceled due to COVID-19 are to be included.

Required Documentation (Download the complete .pdf)

1. Candidate’s employment chronology, particularly at GMU

2. Candidate’s vita

3a. Evidentiary materials for candidates undergoing evaluation of performance in teaching must include evidence of effective teaching. The range of the candidate’s teaching, learning, and mentoring should be highlighted.

3b. Evidentiary materials for candidates undergoing evaluation of performance in research must include documentation of all research and scholarly activity.

4. In the case of term faculty with significant administrative and/or leadership responsibilities, evidence of administrative service and accomplishments should be included.

5. Valid Certificate of Completion for all required Compliance, Diversity and Ethics trainings.

For additional information, please visit Supporting Efforts to Document and Assess Teaching and Learning.

Guidance for Term Faculty Promotion

In accordance with section 2.3.3 of the Faculty Handbook, Term Faculty may be considered for a promotion with a new multi-year appointment, normally after five years of service. Promotion may occur within the period of a multi-year contract.

Processes and deadlines for submitting promotion materials to the Office of the Provost are found on the Office of the Provost website. The Provost will act on the recommendation for promotion. The Term Faculty member will be notified in writing of the decision. Term faculty who are promoted will be announced to the Board of Visitors.

Candidates for promotion to associate professor must demonstrate at least high competence in the focus area (instructional, research, or clinical) by the standards developed by the local academic unit and approved by the Provost. Candidates for promotion to full professor must demonstrate genuine excellence in the focus area (instructional, research, or clinical) by the standards developed by the local academic unit and approved by the Provost.

For additional information, please visit Supporting Efforts to Document and Assess Teaching and Learning

Casebook Template for Term Faculty

In the case of Term Faculty, evaluations are to focus on the portfolio of position responsibilities, primarily teaching, research, or clinical, with evidence provided for any additional responsibilities, whether leadership, administrative, or service. 

A reminder that due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, there were no student teaching evaluations for spring 2020, although faculty may choose to include evidence of efforts made to address student needs. Candidates are encouraged to include any professional development activities they completed in order to better serve students during the pandemic. For candidates undergoing evaluation of performance in research, abstracts and conference/scholarly presentations that were canceled due to COVID-19 are to be included.

Casebook Materials (Download the complete .pdf)

1. Letter of recommendation from the Dean

2. Letters of recommendation from committee(s) evaluating the case

3. Candidate’s employment chronology, particularly at GMU

4. Candidate’s vita

5. Candidate’s professional statement, including future plans. The candidate’s statement should reflect the primary area of focus (i.e., teaching, research, or clinical), as well as commentary on additional leadership, administrative, and service activities.

6a. Evidentiary materials for candidates undergoing evaluation of performance in teaching must include evidence of highly competent classroom teaching. The range of the candidate’s teaching, learning, and mentoring should be highlighted.

6b. Evidentiary materials for candidates undergoing evaluation of performance in research should include evidence of research, including comprehensive lists of all research and scholarly activity.

7. In the case of term faculty with significant administrative and/or leadership responsibilities, evidence of administrative service and accomplishments should be included.

8. Valid Certificate of Completion for all required Compliance, Diversity and Ethics trainings

Promotion Guidelines
Promotion from Term Assistant Professor to Term Associate Professor

Term faculty whose primary area of focus is teaching should be evaluated in relation to their contracted position responsibilities. Candidates for from term assistant to term associate professor must demonstrate at least high competence in teaching. Applications for a candidate’s promotion are evaluated by the local academic unit (LAU), the Dean, and the Provost. Colleges and schools may elect to include a second level review. LAUs are responsible for developing and communicating standards for high competence in teaching to their faculty and those involved in each level of review.

All full-time term faculty members are expected to be engaged at the LAU and/or school/college level. Expected participation and service includes, but is not limited to, such activity as attendance at faculty meetings and participation in committees or activities relevant to their negotiated roles and responsibilities.

Many term faculty members take on significant administrative responsibilities as part of their assigned duties. In these cases, these should be defined in a contract. In cases where term faculty members have administrative responsibilities, this should be taken into account in promotion decisions. LAUs should be transparent in their criteria for successful performance of leadership and administrative responsibilities.

Promotion from Term Associate Professor to Term Full Professor

Term faculty whose primary area of focus is teaching should be evaluated in relation to their contracted position responsibilities. Candidates for promotion from term associate to term full professor must demonstrate genuine excellence in teaching. Applications for a candidate’s promotion are evaluated by the LAU, the Dean, and the Provost. Colleges and schools may elect to include a second level review. LAUs are responsible for developing and communicating standards for genuine excellence in the focus area to their faculty and those involved in each level of review.

All full-time term faculty members are expected to be engaged at the LAU and/or school/college level. Expected participation and service includes, but is not limited to, attendance at faculty meetings and participation in committees or activities relevant to their negotiated roles and responsibilities. For promotion to term full professor, candidates are expected to demonstrate some leadership for teaching and learning, whether within Mason or in the context of their professional organizations or communities.

Many term faculty members take on significant administrative responsibilities as part of their assigned duties. In these cases, these should be defined in a contract. In cases where term faculty members have administrative responsibilities, this must be taken into account in promotion decisions and units should be transparent in their criteria for successful performance of leadership and administrative responsibilities.

Demonstration of Teaching

Effective teaching is demonstrated through a combination of course and curricular materials, learning outcomes, assignments, and assessments designed to promote student learning; through review of those materials, outcomes, assignments, and assessments by knowledgeable peers and colleagues; through student evaluations of their learning experiences; and through engaging in professional/teaching development activities.

Examples of contributions to teaching include:

  • Development and implementation of new courses, curricula, and programs (face-to-face, online, or hybrid)
  • Use of evidence-based, innovative, inclusive, and/or high-impact teaching and assessment practices
  • Development of instructional materials, including appropriate use of emerging and digital technologies
  • Training and supervision of teaching (graduate) and/or learning (undergraduate) assistants
  • Course coordination for courses with multiple sections
  • Mentoring students, both undergraduate and graduate
  • Clinical and field supervision of students
  • Student academic advising
  • Mentoring faculty colleagues
  • Participating in educational development activities to strengthen knowledge, skills, and/or abilities
Demonstration of Institutional and Professional Engagement

Engagement at all levels of the institution and in the professional discipline will be given positive weight in personnel decisions. This engagement might take the form of service and leadership and/or engagement in professional development to enhance the student learning experience or other benefits to students and the LAU. Each LAU will make known in a timely manner its expectations for institutional and professional engagement, within the context of the promotion framework outlined above.

Examples of service and leadership contributions include:

  • Advising and supporting co-curricular experiences for students
  • Participating in and/or chairing committees within the LAU, college/school, or university
  • Contributions to and/or leadership of relevant professional organizations, communities, and/or conferences
  • Community engagement, service, and/or leadership related in some way to expertise

Examples of professional development include:

  • Participating in workshops/opportunities to improve teaching and learning practices and approaches
  • Participating in workshops/opportunities to enhance knowledge around a specific content domain related to professional expertise (e.g., new research methods and analyses)
  • Participating in workshops/opportunities to develop leadership capacity that would enhance their Mason work
Demonstration of Research and Scholarship

The area of focus for some term faculty members is research and scholarship. Scholarly achievement can be demonstrated by original publications and peer reviewed contributions to the advancement of the discipline/field of study or of interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary questions. It can also be demonstrated by original research, artistic work, software and media, exhibitions, and performance; and by the application of discipline- or field-based knowledge to the practice of a profession.

Examples of scholarly contributions include:

  • Publications (peer and non-peer reviewed), including journal articles, books, book chapters, monographs, etc. These may be within the professional discipline(s) and/or represent contributions in the form of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) 
  • Sponsored or supported research, creative activity, and professional practice; grant and contract awards
  • Conference and other scholarly presentations (peer reviewed and invited)
  • Artistic and professional performances and exhibits
  • Intellectual property, patents, and evidence of relevant entrepreneurial activities may also be provided for consideration towards promotion
  • Engagement of undergraduate and graduate students in research production and dissemination
Demonstration of Leadership/Administrative Responsibilities (if applicable)

Leadership and administrative responsibilities include the agreed-upon performance goals, as well as any new initiatives, opportunities, or projects that emerged that were not part of the original agreed-upon performance goals during the contract period(s). Term faculty should provide documentation to demonstrate that their contributions in this area fully meet the standards specified by the LAU and make a positive contribution.