Joint Appointments

Joint appointments are a formal arrangement for an individual to work at both Mines and an external organization. These arrangements actively help align both organizations with their missions and goals. Joint appointments foster greater collaboration, allow for wider access to equipment, facilities and resources and increase the spectrum of research and teaching activities for an individual.

Nexus is all-encompassing of all joint partnerships between the Colorado School of Mines and the National Renewable Energy Lab.

For information on specific appointments and to get involved, please contact the Mines/NREL Nexus Center Administrative Office at

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Colorado School of Mines

The Colorado School of Mines Faculty Handbook* discusses the process of requesting a joint appointment. The text is below:

Joint Appointees are a special category of Affiliate Faculty who have full or part-time positions elsewhere (e.g., NREL, NIST, or USGS) and who have strong collaborations with Mines and Mines faculty. At the request of a full-time academic faculty member at Mines and as approved by the Department Head or Division Director, joint appointees may serve on thesis committees and are permitted to serve as co-advisors to graduate students. To serve as primary advisor, Joint Appointees must become members of the Graduate Faculty (Section 4.3), however, they must identify a co-advisor who has Graduate Faculty status and is not an External Joint Appointee. Joint Appointees may serve as a principal investigator on Mines proposals with appropriate approvals from their employer and from Mines. The Joint Appointee may also engage in teaching with appropriate approvals of the Mines Department Head and their employer. Joint Appointees may hold their positions for up to two years with the possibility of renewal and may serve with or without remuneration. For joint appointees remunerated at Mines, the monthly level of effort should not exceed 49%.


4.3.1 Qualifications of Graduate Faculty

Members of the Graduate Faculty at Mines are those qualified to be primary advisor for students conducting research toward a graduate degree. Academic units may choose to further specify the privileges and responsibilities granted to Graduate Faculty in the areas of student supervision, teaching assignments, voting rights, etc. Such unit-level policies should be expressed in writing.

4.3.2 Criteria for Appointment to the Graduate Faculty

It is assumed that all Colorado School of Mines faculty in full-time, tenured or tenure-track positions who serve in academic departments or programs offering graduate degrees are fully qualified to be part of the Graduate Faculty. Hence, they will be appointed to the graduate faculty upon joining Mines. Teaching Faculty, Research Faculty, Professors of Practice, Emeritus Faculty, Joint Appointees, and tenure/tenure-track faculty in departments that do not offer graduate degree are eligible to become members of the Graduate Faculty subject to the following minimum requirements:

  • Graduate Faculty appointees must have the terminal degree appropriate to their academic field or discipline or must show a comparable level of expertise.
  • Appointment to the Graduate Faculty must be requested by the candidate and supported by a two-thirds majority of the Tenure/Tenure-Track Faculty, Professors of Practice, and Teaching Faculty with Graduate Faculty status in the academic department or program.
  • The proposed Graduate Faculty appointee must meet any other criteria established by their department or program, and must be endorsed by the department head or program director and the dean (see Section 4.3.3).

Reflecting the University’s interest in encouraging interdisciplinary research and scholarship, academic faculty of the whole who have requested and received Graduate Faculty status in one department may request permission to serve as primary advisor to graduate students in another department or interdisciplinary program. The Department Head or interdisciplinary Program Director may simply approve such requests and forward them to the appropriate Dean for approval. These faculty should be added to the list of faculty who have Graduate Faculty status that Department Heads maintain and submit annually (see Section 4.3.3).



4.3.3 Procedure for Appointment to Graduate Faculty

Appointments to the Graduate Faculty are made and approved by the academic department and Dean. Full-time faculty appointees in tenured or tenure-track positions will be appointed to the Graduate Faculty upon joining Mines. All other appointments to the Graduate Faculty must be initiated by an eligible faculty member or external joint appointee requesting such status. Faculty eligible to request Graduate Faculty status include Teaching Faculty, Research Faculty, Professors of Practice, and external Joint Appointees. No faculty, other than tenure/tenure-track faculty, may be assigned as a primary advisor to a graduate student unless Graduate Faculty status has been approved. Those without Graduate Faculty status can, however, serve as co-advisors or as members of a student’s thesis committee.

To request Graduate Faculty status, the eligible faculty member should complete the Graduate Faculty request form and submit it with appropriate documentation to the chair of their department’s Promotion and Tenure committee. The department’s Promotion and Tenure Committee Chair should then bring the case to the Graduate Faculty for a vote. A positive vote of at least two-thirds of the tenure/tenure- track Faculty, Professors of Practice, and Teaching Faculty with Graduate Faculty status is required. The Chair should then submit the results of the vote to the Department Head who should provide a letter of support that includes the results of the vote to the Dean. The Dean will then give final approval to the Registrar’s Office. Once a non-tenure/tenure track faculty member has been approved as Graduate Faculty, that member will retain graduate faculty status until such time as the Department Head, with the input and advice of the Graduate Faculty in the department, decides to terminate the status.

Please refer to the current handbook for more information. The 2021 handbook can be found here.

Department-Specific Processes

  1. A faculty members makes a case for a Joint Appointment to colleagues and shares the candidate’s CV
  2. Potential Joint Appointee presents seminar
  3. Faculty vote on Joint Appointment (must have 2/3 of tenure track faculty in favor)
  4. Department Head submits for Dean of College for approval.
  5. If approved, work with the Office of Research Administration to set-up appointment
  6. Once NREL and ORA agree, the department completes the processing for a 2-year appointment
  7. Renewals are decided upon by the Department Head at the end of the term.

Potential candidate has:

  • Doctoral degree;
  • Record of excellence in scholarship and service;
  • National or international professional recognition; and
  • Strong collaboration with Mines faculty.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Please see the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for more information regarding joint appointments.

nexus standard letterhead to download (WORD)