Honorary and visiting academic appointments policy

Intent

The purpose of this policy is to define the titles, roles and practices for honorary and visiting academic appointments, including Emeritus Professors, Honorary University Fellows, Honorary, Senior Industry Fellows, Visiting, Adjunct and Associate academic positions offered by RMIT University.

Objectives

The objectives of this policy are to enable RMIT University to:

  • ensure application of appointments is fair and consistent throughout the University
  • provide a targeted response to the strategic directions of the University
  • broaden the research and teaching base of the University
  • maximise the academic and professional talent in the broader community to advance the University’s research, teaching and learning experience
  • build and establish its international, interstate and intra-state networks in teaching and research and scholarship
  • to engage industry practitioners that support practical education and training that is aligned to modern professional and industry needs and connects students and other staff to international industry and professional experience

Scope

This policy applies to individuals, not employed by the University on a fixed term or continuing basis, who may be considered for appointment to an honorary or visiting academic position at RMIT.

Exclusions

This policy does not cover:

  • Current employees on a fixed term or continuing contract or students of the University, including staff who receive an academic merit loading or equivalent, in recognition of outstanding academic excellence (including e.g.: Innovation Professors), endowed/ funded academic positions
  • Academic staff visiting from other national or international institutions who receive payment for their service and will be sponsored on a Business Sponsored (457) visa;
  • Academics associating with RMIT under Scholars at Risk policy
  • Recipients of other Honorary Awards conferred by RMIT Council including Honorary Degrees or University Medals
  • RMIT Foundation Fellowships.

Policy provisions

Employment relationship

Appointment to an honorary or visiting position does not constitute an employer/employee or independent contractor relationship between the individual and the University and does not carry any remuneration including honorarium, consultancy fee or other salary payment. The exception to this is Senior Industry Fellows that may be paid as a casual employee for agreed work.

Categories of appointment

The provision of the policy cover the following honorary and visiting academic appointments:

1. Emeritus Professor

2. Honorary University Fellow (HE and VE)

3. Honorary Professor / Honorary Associate Professor / Honorary Principal Research Fellow

4. Visiting Professor / Visiting Associate Professor / Visiting Principal Research Fellow / Visiting Research Fellow

5. Adjunct Professor / Adjunct Associate Professor / Adjunct Principal Research Fellow

6. Associate / Clinical Associate

7. Senior Industry Fellow

The table below provides a summary of the types of the appointment, purpose, eligibility, term of appointment and authority for approval.

University title

Purpose

Eligibility

Authority

Term of appointment

Paid

Emeritus Professor

May be conferred on a retired Professor of the University in recognition of significant distinguished service to the University.

Professors with significant distinguished service to the University.

The person is retiring from academic activity at RMIT.

Nominated by:

Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute

Endorsed by:

Three full Professors of the University.

Approved by:

Relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President

Ongoing

Normally without payment *

Honorary University

Fellow

May be conferred on a retired academic or teaching (HE or TAFE) staff member in recognition of significant outstanding service to the University.

Academic or teaching staff with a significant outstanding record of service to the University.

The person is not a full RMIT professor.

The person is retiring from academic or teaching activity at RMIT.

Nominated by:

Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute.

Endorsed by:

Professor of the University.

Approved by:

Relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President

Ongoing

Normally without payment *

Honorary Professor

Honorary Associate Professor / Honorary Principal Research Fellow

May be provided to experienced and research active Professor, Associate Professor or Honorary Principal Research Fellow who could continue their work to the benefit of their discipline and to RMIT.

The person must have held a similar rank at RMIT or another recognised University or is deemed to be of equivalent standing.

The person would continue academic research activity post leaving RMIT.

Nominated by:

Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute

Endorsed by :

Professor of the University.

Approved by:

Relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President

Initially a period not exceeding three (3) years

May be renewed for a further period not exceeding three (3) years

Normally without payment *

Visiting Professor

Visiting Associate Professor / Visiting Principal Research Fellow

Visiting Research Fellow

May be provided to visiting academic staff employed at other universities or institutions who are appointed to the University for a specified term for teaching, research or other purposes.

The person must hold a similar rank at another recognised university or institution or be deemed to be of equivalent standing.

The person is research active.


International visiting academics must satisfy Immigration requirements

Nominated by:

Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute

Approved by:

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President via Contracts Management Team

An appointment not exceeding 12 months in duration, for any one visit

Normally without payment.

Consult Central Recruitment Unit to discuss immigration requirements and visa costs

Adjunct Professor

Adjunct Associate Professor / Adjunct Principal Research Fellow

May be provided to academic staff employed in other institutions whose appointment will assist in developing and strengthening engagement with industry and the professions; and enhancing the levels of experience and expertise within the University.

The person must hold a similar rank or be of equivalent standing in an industry.

Nominated by:

Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute

Endorsed by:

Professor of the University.

Approved by:

Relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President

Initially a period not exceeding three (3) years

May be renewed for a further period not exceeding three (3) years

Normally without payment *

Associate / Clinical Associate

May be provided to suitably qualified and experienced persons who would contribute to the teaching, research or advancement of the University in an honorary capacity.

Clinical Associates must be qualified in a recognised clinical area.

Person must hold a similar rank or be of equivalent standing in an industry, and demonstrate professional achievement in relevant area.

Nominated by:

Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute

Endorsed by:

Professor of the University.

Approved by:

Relevant Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President

Initially a period not exceeding three (3) years

May be renewed for a further period not exceeding three (3) years

Normally without payment *

Senior Industry Fellow

May be provided to suitably qualified and experienced persons who would contribute to the teaching, research or advancement of the University. The person may use their expertise to teach and be involved in course design.

Person must have a significant record of service with a relevant industry and demonstrate professional achievement in relevant area.

Nominated by:

Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute

Approved by:

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President

Casual basis

Negotiated Casual rates

*Reimbursement and employment for specific assignment

An appointee may receive reimbursement for reasonable travel and living expenses while performing relevant activities for the University by prior agreement with the Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute. Reimbursement arrangements must be stipulated in the proposal recommending appointment and if required be consistent with any immigration requirements.

In exceptional circumstances, approval may be granted for an honorary or visiting appointee to undertake paid work for a specific assignment on a fixed term or continuing basis. Where paid work is accepted with RMIT for undertaking a specific assignment, an employment contract will be required.

With the exemption of Senior Industry Fellows, during the period of paid employment, the use of the honorary or visiting title will be suspended in preference for RMIT staff title. Upon cessation of paid employment, the holder of an honorary or visiting title may use the honorary or visiting title for the remainder the original appointment period. Engagement in paid work does not constitute a break in honorary or visiting service.

International visiting academics on visiting visas may not undertake any form of paid work, without prior application and approval to vary their visa. The central Contracts Management team may provide additional information on visas.

Visa Requirements for international visiting academics

RMIT is required to support the sponsorship of the visa for international visiting academics that do not have Australian residence rights. This visa will be required to be obtained before they enter Australia.

The central Contracts Management team will provide up to date information on visas, and any costs RMIT may be expected to pay.

It is a requirement of visa holders, to demonstrate to the Department of Immigration at the point of visa application that they have purchased comprehensive health insurance prior to their visa application being submitted.

Eligibility for appointment

An appointee will be expected to meet eligibility requirements, as outlined in the table above and detailed in procedure, before being considered for an academic honorary or visiting appointment and title.

Use of title

The level of academic title is dependent on the nature of the contribution to the University and the criteria applicable to the level of appointment of academic staff by the University.

Title will normally be awarded for the period of the association or visit. An appointee will use the relevant honorary or visiting prefix before the appropriate academic title in any correspondence or documents during the term of the appointment (e.g: Visiting Associate Professor of RMIT University)

All academic titles at RMIT are named without field.

The use of any title covered by this policy is not to be used for private gain or for private purposes not associated with or for the benefit of the University.

Contribution and duties

An appointee may make contributions across Colleges or Portfolios. More than one honorary or visiting position may be attached to a School, College or Portfolio.

The precise nature of the duties of each appointment will be the subject of negotiation between the individual and the Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute. The Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute will be responsible for managing the performance of duties of appointees.

These duties should be clearly outlined in the proposal recommending appointment, and would normally involve contribution to one or more of the following academic areas:

1. learning and teaching;

2. research and scholarship;

3. leadership;

An appointee will not be a member of any University body nor eligible for election to University bodies, unless the membership of the body includes co-opted members.

Subject to normal approval processes an appointee to an Emeritus Professor, Honorary and Adjunct professorial position may be eligible to serve as a joint supervisor of research postgraduate students (including Honorary Associate Professors and Adjunct Associate Professors). An appointee to an associate or clinical associate position may also be eligible to serve as a supervisor of postgraduate research students, subject to normal approval processes.

For all purposes of courtesy and on ceremonial occasions Emeritus Professors, Honorary Professors, Honorary Associate Professors / Principal Research Fellows, Visiting Professors, Visiting Associate Professors / Principal Research Fellows, Adjunct Professor and Adjunct Associate Professors / Principal Research Fellows shall be regarded as a professor of the University but shall not be a member of any University body nor eligible for election to University bodies, unless the membership of the body includes co-opted members.

Obligations

An appointee is bound to abide by University statutes, legislation, codes, policies and procedures whilst undertaking activities relating to their appointment.

Any breach or suspected breach of policy or any conduct which, in the opinion of the University, is likely to bring the University or any of its related entities into disrepute may result in withdrawal of the title and/or relationship.

Access to University facilities

It is the responsibility of the relevant Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute to provide appropriate physical accommodation, equipment and resources.

An appointee is eligible to access full academic staff privileges at RMIT University Libraries.

Induction

It is the responsibility of the relevant Head of School/ Dean or Director of Centre/Institute to ensure all appointees have completed the RMIT University induction modules.

Insurance

As this type of appointment does not constitute an employment arrangement, appointees are not covered by the University's workers' compensation insurance (except for Senior Industry Fellows employed on a casual basis).

An appointee is covered by RMIT’s personal accident, public liability and professional indemnity insurance policies whilst engaged in RMIT approved activities. Any accident or incident involving an appointee should be reported to the relevant Head of School / Dean or Director of Centre/Institute and Financial Services.

Intellectual property

Any intellectual property rights in materials created by the appointee whilst working on any University project during the term of appointment will be owned by the University or in accordance with the University’s agreement with an external funding body.

Conflict of interest

An appointee must disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest to the University, which may arise at any point during the appointment period.

Termination of appointment

An appointee may have their appointment terminated by the Pro Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President if it is considered that continuation is not in the best interests of the University.

Termination of appointment prior to their formal end date will be assessed on a case by case basis and will be in accordance with the conditions outlined in the letter of appointment.

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