Effective Date: 2/25/2019

Overview / Summary

Adjunct faculty play an important role in the Nicholas School and appointments are made within each Division of the School.


An adjunct faculty member is nominated for appointment within a Division of the School by a regular rank faculty member within that Division.

Adjunct faculty members are expected to contribute substantially to the School’s mission, in terms of research, teaching and advising, and/or service. In practice, contributions in two of these areas are required. Substantial contribution in research would involve active scholarly collaboration with faculty in the Division. Contribution to teaching might include teaching a regularly scheduled course, or regular guest lecturing in School classes. Advising might include servicing on doctoral dissertation committees, advising professional Masters students or supervising Master’s Projects (with a regular rank faculty member as co-advisor); or supervising undergraduate research projects with a regular rank faculty member as co-advisor. In general, MEM or MF students also have a regular Nicholas faculty member as MP co-advisor, to make sure that students meet academic and administrative benchmarks that might be unfamiliar to secondary or adjunct faculty. Adjuncts may not serve on review committees.

Adjunct faculty are welcome to participate in faculty meetings and activities but do not have voting rights in School-wide votes. Each Division specifies the voting privileges for adjunct faculty within their by-laws.

The School does not contribute to financial remuneration of adjunct faculty except by special arrangement (e.g., for contract teaching).

Adjunct faculty may not serve on ad hoc review committees for appointment, promotion and tenure cases.


The nomination letter describes the nature and extent of contributions by the nominee, as specified above. The nomination letter and the candidate’s CV are shared with Division faculty, and discussed and voted upon by eligible Division faculty; the Division Chair forwards the candidate’s materials, the outcome of the Division vote, and his/her recommendation to the Dean for approval. Each Division specifies in its bylaws the rights of adjunct faculty in terms of voting and other Divisional matters.

The term of appointment for adjunct faculty is at the discretion of the voting faculty, but is typically for three years. For adjunct faculty with faculty positions outside Duke, the appointment rank (Assistant, Associate, or full Adjunct Professor) is at the same level as that at their home institution; for others, the appointment rank is determined based on factors such as years of service in their primary positions.

If an adjunct faculty member is to serve on a dissertation committee, the student must nominate that member to the Graduate School. The DGSA facilitates this process.


Adjunct Faculty are non-regular rank faculty members who do not hold primary faculty appointments at Duke. These might include faculty at other universities, practicing professionals in government or the private sector, or individuals holding staff positions at Duke (e.g., at an Institute).

Policy owner
Dean's Office