Academic Specialist Manual

Appendix C. Board of Trustees Summary

(Note: This section is an abstract of the complete document and will serve as the section to be included in the Faculty Handbook.)

Academic Specialist Appointment System

The Provost of Michigan State University, in recognition of the essential contributions of specialists to academic programs, appoints, upon recommendation of the appropriate department chairperson/school director and dean/separately reporting director, individuals at the rank of Academic Specialist or Senior Academic Specialist. Appointments may be made in any academic unit that reports to the Provost or to the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. The principal responsibilities of the academic specialist fall into one or more of three functional areas: academic advising/teaching/curriculum development, research and service/outreach. Academic specialists may be appointed on a temporary, probationary or continuing basis, full-time or part-time, with either an academic year (nine-month) or annual (twelve-month) duty assignment.

Continuing appointment status assures that the academic specialist will not be dismissed due to capricious action by the University nor will dismissal be used as a restraint of academic freedom or other civil rights. Continuing appointment status does not guarantee employment if positions are not funded, if gross misconduct occurs, if the academic specialist refuses to perform reasonable assigned duties or fails to fulfill contractual obligations, or if the academic specialist is no longer able to perform satisfactorily in his or her professional capacity at the University.

Continuing and Probationary Appointments

An academic specialist who has not served previously at Michigan State University is appointed initially for a probationary period of three years and may be reappointed for an additional probationary period of three years. If an academic specialist is appointed beyond the two probationary periods, continuing appointment status is granted. If at any time during these two probationary periods an academic specialist is promoted to the rank of senior academic specialist, continuing appointment status is granted.

A senior academic specialist who has not served previously at Michigan State University is normally appointed for a probationary period of two to four years. In unusual cases, upon recommendation of the unit administrator(s) and dean(s) and with the prior approval of the Provost, an academic specialist initially appointed at the rank of senior academic specialist may be granted continuing appointment status from the date of appointment. Individuals appointed at the rank of senior academic specialist without continuing appointment status have the option of requesting reappointment at any time prior to the conclusion of the stipulated probationary appointment period. [Such early reviews would occur on the normal review cycle as established by university, college, and department/school procedures.] A negative decision on such a request shall not preclude consideration for reappointment at the time specified upon appointment.


All academic specialists shall be evaluated by the appropriate unit administrator before the end of the applicable annual duty period for those on probationary or temporary appointment and at appropriate intervals for those with continuing appointment status. A unit review committee will be established to advise the unit administrator about the reappointment, award of continuing appointment status, or promotion of the academic specialist with a probationary or continuing appointment.

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