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Information about the Specialist Position Description form

The Specialist Position Description form is used when an academic staff member is newly appointed to a specialist position, or when the duties of a position change.

NOTE: The "Unit Evaluation Procedures for Specialists" which is a required attachment for appointments of academic specialists is not a form. Each unit which hires a specialist is required to have written unit evaluation procedures for the review of specialists and it is a copy of those unit procedures to which the "Unit Evaluation Procedures for Specialists" refers.

(Current form = SPD1200)  

Percentage of time devoted to each duty: Percents should add to 100%. The percents on the TOTAL line must be consistent with the detail percents listed under numbers 1 through 5. Percents must match those on the Academic Position Request form, and Fixed Term Faculty/Academic Staff Appointment/Reappointment memo.

Guidelines for Specialist Placements

The following guidelines have been developed to describe the major types of specialist appointments and the duties they perform. These guidelines are to assist in making appropriate placements in the specialist system. However, since it is not possible to address every possible situation in the guidelines, each case will be evaluated on its individual merits.


Teaching specialists provide instruction for credit courses. Teaching and related class preparation, grading, student evaluation, etc., are substantial and continuing dimensions of ongoing responsibilities (i.e., occupying at least 30% of the time). These specialists are the instructors of record or teach portions of courses on a regular basis entailing the time commitment referenced above. Occasional teaching assignments cannot satisfy assignment to this specialist category.
Advising specialists devote the preponderance of their time (50%+) to advising students on course selection, degree requirements, majors, etc., and/or to other instructional activities, e.g., tutoring, interpreting for students with disabilities or bilingual students, advising on academic developmental needs, and developing instructional strategies to assist academic progress. Advising may include career counseling, but this is incidental to the major focus of course and curriculum advice.
Curriculum development specialists provide content-related support to course, curriculum and/or instructional development activities. At least 30% of time must be devoted to these activities to satisfy assignment to this specialist category.
Beyond the assignments referenced in a), b), and c), above, time may be spent on research, administration, outreach, or other activities.


Research specialists take a lead role on research projects, including developing grant proposals, and directing the research project with designation as principal investigator or performing position responsibilities which require a doctorate degree.

In order to hold the Specialist-Research title, one must either: 1) be designated as the PI on a research project, or alternatively, 2) take a lead role on research projects (not as PI, but performing duties which require a doctorate degree).


Outreach specialists are responsible for disseminating the knowledge resources of the University, to meet the knowledge needs of people outside the University.

Their work involves providing non-credit educational programs to off-campus students or client groups, including course development and presentation, and/or providing a linkage for those outside the University to identify and access faculty knowledge, resources, and research results. This can involve technology transfer which provides a linkage between external University, public and faculty research resources to help resolve complex technological issues and/or share technological or scientific knowledge. These duties must involve a time commitment of at least 30%.

In addition to these responsibilities, outreach specialists may be involved in proposal writing, resource identification, and data gathering. Outreach specialists also can be designated as principal investigators. They can be appointed through any college as part of the newly decentralized Lifelong Education Program or through a college which has technological/research resources to share with the outside public.


Typically, a specialist's education is at the master's level, or above.

Specialists are appointed in units reporting directly or indirectly to the Provost or the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies.

Routing: Follows the routing of the Academic Position Request form or Appointment/Reappointment form to which it is attached.

For more on Specialist duties and placement, or a mixed Specialist assignment, see the Academic Specialist Handbook Appendix B