Secondary Appointments

Revised: 9/5/2023

Faculty who hold a primary appointment in one department, program, or school may hold a secondary (sometimes called “courtesy”) appointment in another. Faculty holding a secondary appointment may be eligible to teach, advise students, and supervise dissertations in the secondary department, program, or school, depending on its customs and policies. Please refer to the Faculty Handbook, section IV.F  for voting rights for secondary appointments.

Terms of Appointment

The secondary appointment term may only be up to the end date of the primary appointment, but no longer than 5 years (including tenured faculty). Under most conditions the secondary appointment may be initiated and renewed by vote of the faculty in the secondary department or school with approval of its dean.

Secondary teaching appointments are only granted to non-ladder faculty when the appointment is necessary to teach a course, generally when (1) the primary appointment is not in the FAS, (2) the candidate only holds a FAS research appointment, such as associate research scientist or a postdoctoral associate, or (3) the candidate holds a different teaching rank than what is required for the course (e.g., lector-track versus lecturer-track).

Note: The FAS Dean’s Office generally does not send separate offer letters for secondary ladder appointments and does so only in rare instances when a secondary appointment is attached to an initial primary appointment.

Secondary Appointment Request Submission

To request a secondary appointment or reappointment, the chair of the secondary department, supported by the chair’s assistant (or equivalent), prepares the following supporting documentation and submits a request to with a copy to the relevant Sr. Associate Dean, with the email subject line:

Secondary Appointment Request, [department], [candidate last name, first name]

Please submit the following attached to the email as one PDF:

  1. Secondary department chair letter of endorsement and rationale for the appointment
  2. Documentation of approval from primary department:
    • For ladder secondary appointments, use the Secondary Appointment Form.
    • For non-ladder secondary appointments, include either:
      • a note from the primary chair (if the primary appointment is a teaching rank) or ladder faculty PI (if the primary appointment is a research rank), or
      • an appointment letter from the primary unit (such a professional school or the MacMillan Center) referencing the secondary appointment
  3. Candidate CV
  4. If paid by secondary unit: Faculty Compensation Approval Form
  5. For all ladder appointments (with any term length) and multi-year non-ladder appointments: department faculty vote from secondary department

Secondary Appointment Approval and Appointment Procedures

  • If the secondary appointment or reappointment is approved:
    • For instructional faculty, the FAS Dean’s Office will typically send a secondary appointment letter. If this is an initial secondary appointment, the candidate will return a countersigned version. The FAS Dean’s Office will circulate the final version of the letter to the secondary department for processing.
    • For ladder faculty, the FAS Dean’s Office will return the Secondary Appointment Form (and, if applicable, the faculty compensation approval form) to the secondary department for processing.
  • The secondary department’s chair’s assistant (or equivalent) submits the supporting documents to according to the FAS Chart of Required Documents and processes the candidate appointment in Workday (referring to the Workday Training website).