Faculty Affairs

Secondary and Joint Appointments

Secondary and Joint Appointments

The administrative distinction between secondary and joint appointments is that secondary appointments do not involve any contribution to the faculty salary line; joint appointments do. This matter must be worked out between the chair and the Dean of Arts & Sciences prior to considering a joint appointment. However, even when a unit does not make a financial contribution to a secondary appointment, it may identify some appointments as joint in order to grant voting rights to secondary faculty on special issues, for example, bylaws and personnel matters. The agreement governing the appointment (sample below) should clearly identify any such privilege. Secondary faculty appointed to ad hoc personnel review committees may vote on the committee recommendation, even if they are not entitled by the unit's bylaws to vote in the subsequent general faculty meeting.

Academic units wishing to offer a secondary/joint appointment to a regular-rank faculty member holding a primary appointment in another unit at Duke must obtain the permission of the Provost. The unit reviews the credentials of the candidate, votes on the request in a meeting of the appropriate faculty, and sends a written request to the Arts & Sciences Dean who, in turn, forwards it to the Provost for a decision. Upon approval by the Provost, the Dean writes an appointment letter to the faculty member consistent with the terms of the request.

The unit's request to the Dean should state its reasons for requesting the appointment, the candidate's current primary title and term, the rank at which the appointment will be made, and the length of term requested. The request sent to the Dean must have appended an agreement (sample below) covering faculty responsibilities and privileges concluded between the chairs of the two units. It is the responsibility of the two units to address all the pertinent questions identified in the sample agreement and any others they deem necessary. Issues not addressed in the agreement will be governed by the rules of the primary unit.

A note on rank: Promotion or change of title in the primary department now may automatically trigger a change in rank in the secondary appointment, without approval paperwok.


The Department of _____________ has voted to offer a secondary appointment to Professor ________________ currently ____ Professor in _________. We request that Professor ____________ be offered a _______________ appointment as __________ Professor in ____________ for a __X__ year term beginning ___ and ending ______. We agree that Professor ________'s duties and responsibilities will be divided as described here; otherwise, the rules of Professor _________'s primary department will govern his/her activities, responsibilities, and privileges.


  • Faculty responsibilities:
    • Courses taught
    • Setting of teaching schedules
    • Committee participation
    • Undergraduate advising
    • Graduate advising and mentoring

    Faculty privileges and support:

    • Voting rights (if different from those outlined in each unit's bylaws)
    • TA assignment
    • Equipment support (e.g., computing, copying, laboratory, telephone)
    • Administrative support (e.g. typing, scheduling)
    • Research support

    Personnel evaluation:

    • Annual evaluations and salary recommendations to the Dean
    • Reappointment and promotion reviews.

Chair of Primary Program


Chair of Secondary/Joint Unit