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Academic Leadership Toolkit

Assignment of Responsibilities (AOR)



Each spring (or between a new faculty member’s hiring and start dates), department chairs or heads of other units generate AORs for each faculty member. AORs form the basis for all faculty evaluations and promotions, and they have added importance for tenure-earning faculty members who have not yet earned tenure.



  • To delineate the duties each faculty member is expected to perform.
  • To provide each faculty member an equitable opportunity to meet criteria for promotion and tenure (as applicable).
  • To balance the teaching and service needs of the academic unit and the professional development needs of the faculty member.


Authority and Responsibility:

  • Department chairs (or equivalent) have the authority to make initial assignments of responsibility, providing faculty members the opportunity to discuss their assignment.
  • Deans (or equivalent) can modify initial assignments made by department chairs.
  • The VP for Faculty Development and Advancement can help manage issues regarding assignments and should be consulted if the dean (or equivalent) is unable to resolve a problem.


Common Pitfalls:

  • Assigning substantial service responsibilities to an untenured tenure-track faculty member.
  • Not having a clear understanding of the AOR’s role in the evaluation process.
  • Letting department culture prevent instituting differential teaching assignments in an academic unit (i.e., those with less-active research programs are given higher teaching loads).



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