Academic Personnel Regents Communication Manual

The Bylaws of the Regents of the University of Michigan and certain Regental policies require that the Regents approve many types of academic personnel transactions. Regental approval is obtained by submission of a letter or memo to the Regents, usually from the dean to the Provost or chancellor. These letters are referred to as “Regents Communications.” Communication about Regental items must occur only after the Regents approve the appointment or project.

This guide describes when Regental approval is needed for an academic personnel transaction and how to prepare and submit a Regents Communication. It will provide you with many different examples of the most frequently submitted types of Regents Communications.

Please refer questions or comments you have about this guide to Academic Human Resources or call (734) 763-8938.

Which Personnel Actions Need Regental Approval?

The Regents must approve the following academic personnel (and related) actions:

  • Hiring, appointing, promoting or transferring an individual into a position with one of the following titles* (including acting and interim appointments):

    • Dean
    • Associate Dean
    • Dean-Designate
    • Executive Associate Dean
    • Senior Associate Dean
    • President
    • President Designate
    • Vice President
    • Executive Vice President
    • Deputy to the President
    • Associate Vice President
    • Professor
    • Associate Professor
    • Provost
    • Associate Vice Provost
    • Vice Provost
    • Chair
    • Chancellor
    • Vice Chancellor
    • Associate Vice Chancellor
    • General Counsel
    • Chief of Clinical Affairs
    • Secretary of the University
    • Secretary to the Faculty
    • University Librarian and Dean of Libraries
    • Chief Investment Officer
    • Chief Health Officer
    • Chief Financial Officer, UMHS
    • Chief Executive Officer, UMHHC
  • Promotions to associate professor and professor (outside of the annual promotion process in May) or promotion of academic administrative staff.
  • Transfer of tenure and titles.
  • Establishing, changing, or appointing an individual to a professorship.
  • Creating a new academic administrative position.
  • Leaves of absence beyond one year and/or extension of a leave of absence beyond one year.
  • When an action is an exception to a by law or policy regarding instructional appointments and the by law or policy requires Regental approval.
  • Establishing or changing titles of academic departments, institutes, centers and divisions also significant operational procedure changes (e.g., reorganization without a change in name).
  • Appointments of executive directors, directors, and chairs of the following units or departments:
    • Admissions
    • Athletics
    • Bentley Historical Library
    • Biological Station
    • Business Admin., Div. of Res.
    • Cancer Center
    • Cardiovascular Center
    • Center for the Study of Complex Systems
    • Depression Center
    • Digital Studies Institute
    • Division of Public Safety & Security
    • Exhibit Museum
    • Geriatric Center
    • Health Services
    • Herbarium
    • Honors Program
    • Institute for Social Research
    • Institute for the Humanities
    • International Institute
    • Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies
    • Joel D. Tauber Institute for Global Operations
    • Kelsey Museum of Archeology
    • Life Sciences Institute
    • Mental Health Research Institute
    • Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research
    • Michigan Neuroscience Institute
    • Military Officer Education (Air Force, Navy, Army)
    • Museum of Anthropology
    • Museum of Art
    • Museum of Paleontology
    • Museum of Zoology
    • Program in Biophysics
    • Program in Linguistics
    • Program on Organizational Studies
    • Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences
    • Registration (Registrar)
    • Residential College
    • School of Kinesiology
    • Schools and Colleges
    • University Hospitals
    • University of Michigan Press
    • William Clements Library

What Format Should the Communication Have?

The communication should be free of spelling and typographical errors. Centered at the top of the page should be the heading "THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN" on the first line, and then "REGENTS COMMUNICATION" on the second line.

A one-inch margin should be used. The font should be Times New Roman, and the font size should be 12, or if necessary not below 11. 

Who Needs to Sign the Communication?

On the Ann Arbor campus, academic personnel actions are recommended by the Dean and are endorsed by the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

On the Dearborn campus, academic personnel actions are signed by the Chancellor.

On the Flint campus, academic personnel actions are recommended by the Dean and are endorsed by the Provost and the Chancellor.

When a faculty member is recommended for a joint appointment, courtesy signature(s) must also be obtained from the dean(s) of the school/college where the recommended faculty member holds a Regentally approved appointment. The courtesy signature line(s) should appear below the signature line of the Dean recommending the appointment.

Personnel communications recommended for administrative appointments in an office of an executive officer should be respectfully submitted by the appropriate Vice President.

When Does a Communication Need to Be Submitted?

The Regents only approve academic personnel transactions at their regular monthly meetings. The Regents meet once per month for a total of 8 times per year. 

The Regents are in recess during the months of January, April, August and November; however, the President and the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs request approval from the Regents to grant interim approval of personnel actions during the months they are in recess to complete staffing needs for the fall or winter terms.  Actions that receive interim approval during these months shall be reported to the Regent’s at their next formal meeting.

In order to obtain approval of an academic personnel transaction at the monthly Regents' meeting, the communication and accompanying documents must be submitted to Academic Human Resources for review and approval. It is recommended that you submit communications to Academic Human Resources via e-mail or fax before obtaining signatures, since changes may be necessary before the communication can be submitted for Regental approval. Due to the limited time involved each month, there are no exceptions to the meeting deadlines stated in this guide.

All personnel actions must be approved by the Regent's before the effective date of the appointment. For example: a faculty member who has been appointed as chair on September 1, must be approved before the effective date of the appointment. If this is not possible due to specific circumstances, a late memo addressed to the Provost (Ann Arbor campus only) from the Dean needs to be submitted with the communication explaining why the communication has been submitted to the Regents after the effective date of the appointment. However, units/preparers should make every effort to process communications in a timely fashion.

To Whom Should I Send My Communications?

After obtaining the necessary approvals, the school/college or office initiating the action needs to send the communication to Academic Human Resources for approval. After Academic Human Resources has approved the communication, you should obtain all required signatures (except for the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs [Ann Arbor campus]), and submit the communication in the appropriate Mbox Regents Communication folder for processing.

Academic Human Resources reviews all personnel action requests for all three campuses. They are responsible for preparing the personnel section of the Regent's monthly agenda, and submitting all to the office of the Secretary of the University for inclusion in the Regents' agenda.

How Do I Make a Correction to a Regents Communication?

If a previously submitted communication needs to be corrected due to an error, a new communication will need to be submitted to correct the error in all of the appropriate affected areas.

Regent Communication Examples

The following Regent communication examples are examples of the most frequently submitted communications for Regental approval. If you do not see an example that pertains to your situation please contact Academic Human Resources or call (734) 763-8938.

Regent Meetings and Deadlines

The attached memorandum from Academic Human Resources is mailed each year to all of the Chancellor’s, Dean’s, Directors, Department Head’s, and Regent Communication Preparers the first week of September. Please be sure to update your manual each time you receive this memorandum to be sure you have the most current Regent meetings’ schedule and deadlines.

Academic Personnel Regents Communications Frequently Asked Questions

How important is the wording of the Action Request portion of the communication? Do I need to use specific wording or may I merely state what I want to accomplish with this communication?
The wording is important. Each communication is categorized by the type of Action Request that is stated and noted in the Regents' meeting agenda. The wording used in the examples listed in Section M, Attachment II, should be used.
Where can I find the "Official Name" of a faculty member?
The "Official Name" is the name as noted in M-Pathways (which can be accessed through Wolverine Access). The name printed on the submittal form is the "Official Name" used by the university.
What titles should I list on the communication under "Current Title(s)"? Some faculty have many titles including clinical and research.
List only those titles that are Regentally approved. These are basically the instructional and academic administrative (professional) titles. Clinical and Research titles are not Regentally approved.
Can we request the establishment of a titled Professorship and approval of an appointment of a faculty member to that Professorship at the same Regent's meeting?
No. We cannot assume that the Regent's will approve the establishment of the Professorship. The Professorship should be approved before appointing a faculty member to the title.
Do I always need to get the signature of the other school/college's Dean when I make a change in the appointment of a faculty member with a joint appointment?
Yes, as a courtesy to the other School/College's Dean.
How do I place a faculty member into an "Endowed Professorship"?
A Regent communication appointing the faculty member to the Professorship will need to be submitted.
How do I change a named Professorship if it is part of a Promotion?
First the promotion would need to go through the normal course of action. If the Faculty member's promotion is approved at the May Regents meeting, a communication may be sent forward to the Regent's changing the name of the Professorship, with an effective date of September 1 (it cannot be changed before the faculty members new appointment effective date.)
How do I extend a "without salary" and tenure appointment? If the Faculty member also holds a "funded" and tenured appointment?
We do need a Regent Communication for extending a "without salary" and tenure appointment when the faculty member also holds a funded tenure appointment.
What is the difference between a "Professor of" and a "Professor in"?
"Professor of" is used for the discipline and "Professor in" is used for the department. For example: A professor of Obstetrics who teaches in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Retirement Memoirs can be confusing. Are there any written guidelines I can use?
Yes. Here is the information regarding Retirement Memoirs.
You can also see an example in the Examples section of this guide.
I have a communication that I need to submit but it is late. The appointment effective date has already passed, can I still submit the communication and what do I need to do to explain why it is being submitted late?
You can submit the communication, but a memo to the Provost is required to explain why the communication is being submitted to the Regents after the appointment is already in effect. Please note: Every effort should be made to submit all communications in a timely fashion before the effective date of the appointment. See an example in the Examples section of this guide.
We have a faculty member with a joint appointment in another School/College. They are coming up for a tenure review in our School/College, but their review in the other School/College is not scheduled until the next year. What can we do to make these reviews take place at the same time so the potential promotions could be congruent?
You should communicate with the other School/College as soon as possible to suggest/coordinate the reviews take place in the same year.
Can you explain the difference between all of the different Professorships?
There are several different kinds of Professorships, most are listed below.
Endowed - This has to have a dollar amount of $2 million or more, with at least half of the amount in hand prior to the approval of the Professorship. This comes with a stipend to the Faculty member who is given the Professorship.
Unendowed Collegiate Professorship - These can be used for retention purposes. These professorships are named after a faculty member who is no longer with the university. The Provost's Office has a number of these available and a Dean may request to have one transferred to their School/College, who name it and any money associated with the Professorship will come from School/College resources.
Collegiate - These are funded by donors and are in the sum of $500K. These professorships are named after a faculty member that is no longer with the university.
Visiting Professorship.
University Professorships - There is a committee in Rackham that receives nominations from Schools/Colleges. Once a year the committee nominates a Faculty member to receive one of these Professorships which they can then take with them into their retirement. These Professorships are given to Elite Faculty members of the university only.