2,646: Essential Functions of the Position: Academic and Administrative Faculty
Revised: June 2016
The NSHE Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 3, Section 50 states that "NSHE is committed to providing a safe workplace. In order to provide a safe work environment, employees must be able to perform their job duties in a safe, secure, productive, and effective manner, and remain able to do so throughout the entire time they are working. Employees who are not fit for service may present a safety hazard to themselves, to other employees, to students, or to the public. All employees are required to report to work fit for service and able to perform their job duties in a safe, appropriate, and effective manner."
Faculty may seek reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act; see UAM 1,925.
Title 4, Chapter 3, Section 50 specifies that "‘Essential Functions of the Position' generally includes the required major duties and responsibilities of the position, specific tasks associated with the position, and physical, mental and environmental demands of the position, which may be set forth in writing such as a role statement, position description or similar document." UAM 2,644, Essential Functions, identifies policies in which definitions of essential functions apply.
A faculty member unable to perform essential functions of the position may, at the direction of the appointing authority or designee, after consultation with Human Resources and the Office of the General Counsel, be subject to the procedures of Title 4, Chapter 3, Section 50.
This section of the UAM defines the essential functions of academic faculty positions and administrative faculty positions. A supervisor who is concerned that a faculty member may be unable to perform the essential functions of the position shall consult with the appropriate dean/vice president regarding that concern before seeking to initiate any evaluation regarding fitness for service. A recommendation that a professional employee be evaluated regarding fitness for service shall be made only through the process specified in Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 3, Section 50.
The University of Nevada, Reno has identified the following as the essential functions of academic faculty positions at the University. All faculty positions include essential functions in each of the three areas identified below unless expressly stated in the annual faculty role statement. The role statement shall identify the primary responsibilities and weighting assigned to each of these three areas; the distribution of responsibilities in a role statement may vary from one year to the next (see UNR Bylaws 3.3.1 and UAM 2,660). In combination, this policy and the annual faculty role statement establish the essential functions for a specific academic position. More detailed written specification of the essential functions and related physical demands of specific positions may be developed as needed and instituted with the approval of the dean and the vice provost, faculty affairs. The physical demands of the essential functions range between a sedentary activity level and a medium activity level and may include driving requirements.
Academic faculty must have and maintain the physical and mental abilities, communicative skills, and stamina necessary to carry out the essential functions of their positions in teaching; research, scholarship, and creative activity; and service.
Faculty must be able to:
• Teach the standard teaching load for their position within the framework established by the Board of Regents and University of Nevada, Reno workload and employment policies; see UAM 2,660.
• Teach courses as assigned by the department chair in the faculty member's area of specialization, courses for majors/minors, general education or service courses, or some combination of these, with the standard enrollment for each course as set by the department.
• Teach a schedule made up of a combination of the standard class-meeting times, as determined by the department chair, to meet instructional need.
• Teach classes for the mandated number of contact hours per week over a full semester and meet university expectations for final exams (see UAM 6,081, 6,082, and 3,517).
• Maintain current knowledge of the discipline.
• Present course material in a clear, organized manner using methodologies appropriate to the discipline-e.g., lecture, demonstration, technology.
• Explain course expectations clearly to students. Adhere to the requirements of the
• Adhere to all university safety policies regarding classroom equipment and materials.
• Grade assigned papers, examinations, or projects in a timely manner so that students may benefit from the feedback.
• Provide students with individualized help and consultation in accord with UAM 2,665.
• Supervise teaching assistants and graders in a manner appropriate to the discipline.
• Meet administrative deadlines such as those for submitting course syllabi, student course evaluations, and final grades.
• Use technology as established and communicated by the University to carry out the administrative duties associated with teaching.
• Perform the physical requirements if the course requires laboratory or field work, studio work, or other activities outside typical classroom instruction.
Faculty responsible for educating graduate students must also be able to:
• Meet the expectations for and maintain graduate faculty status, as established by the Graduate School and the academic department or program.
• Participate in writing and evaluating graduate comprehensive examinations and in serving on
committees for master's projects and/or theses and doctoral dissertations in the manner expected by the department.
Faculty responsible for advising must also maintain current knowledge of the requirements for completing their department's degrees.
2. Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
Faculty must be able to:
• Conduct research and/or produce scholarly or creative work in accord with the norms in their discipline, which may include laboratory work, field work, or studio work.
• Share that work through professionally recognized publication in the form of books, journal articles, or other professionally recognized forms.
• Present that work through lecture, presentation, performance, or other professionally recognized forms in professionally recognized venues.
• Use technology for conducting research in a manner appropriate to the discipline.
• Apply for research grants and fellowships in a manner appropriate to the discipline.
• Understand and follow university policies regarding research, grant, and employee administration, workplace health and safety, and professional ethics.
• Use technology as directed by the University for grant submissions and related research procedures.
• Supervise undergraduate or graduate research, scholarship, or creative activity in a manner appropriate to the discipline.
3. Service and Related Responsibilities
Faculty must be able to:
• Participate actively in assignments necessary to advance the service and/or outreach missions of the department, college, and University, such as serving as a member of department, college, and/or university committees or councils.
• Participate actively in professional organizations and perform professional functions such as serving on committees and in leadership roles; as chair, panelist, and discussant at conferences; on editorial boards; refereeing manuscripts and grant applications; and serving on panels for funding agencies.
• Meet administrative deadlines set by the University for carrying out service responsibilities and submitting required employee materials.
• Use technology as directed by the University to carry out service responsibilities and receive and submit employee information.
The University of Nevada, Reno has identified that administrative faculty positions vary greatly in regard to the essential functions. Each administrative faculty position has a formal job description that describes the major job responsibilities, level of independent decision-making, and required competencies. In combination, this policy and the formal job description establish the essential functions for a specific administrative position. More detailed written specification of the essential functions and related physical demands specific to these positions, which may include driving requirements, may be developed and instituted with the approval of the applicable dean/vice president or the President.
Administrative faculty must have and maintain the physical and mental abilities, communicative skills, and stamina necessary to carry out the essential functions of their positions.
1. Physical Demands
Each administrative faculty position is assigned a physical demand level. General definitions of these physical demands are:
• Sedentary Work -Exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally and/or a negligible amount of force frequently to lift, carry, push, pull, or otherwise move objects, including the human body. Sedentary work involves sitting most of the time, but may involve walking or standing for brief periods of time.
• Light Work -Exerting up to 20 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 10 pounds of force frequently, and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects. Light work requires walking or standing to a significant degree and pushing and/or pulling.
• Medium Work -Exerting 20 to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or 10 to 25 pounds of force frequently, and/or greater than negligible up to 10 pounds of force constantly to move objects. Medium work requires walking or standing to a significant degree and pushing and/or pulling.
• Heavy Work -Exerting 50 to 100 pounds of force occasionally, and/or 25 to 50 pounds of force frequently, and/or 10 to 20 pounds of force constantly to move objects. Heavy work requires walking or standing to a significant degree and pushing and/or pulling.
• Very Heavy Work -Exerting in excess of 100 pounds of force occasionally, and/or in excess of 50 pounds of force frequently, and/or in excess of 20 pounds of force constantly to move objects. Very heavy work requires walking or standing to a significant degree and pushing and/or pulling.
2. Cognitive Functions
Cognitive essential functions involve the ability to perform varying cognitive elements of a job and include the following:
• Observation (may include various sensory modalities) - accurately observe close at hand and a distance to gather data and learn skills.
• Communication - talk and/or listen to convey or exchange information; communicate effectively and efficiently in written correspondence and technical correspondence; process and comprehend written material; exchange ideas, information, and opinions with others to formulate policies and programs and/or jointly arrive at conclusions, solutions, or dispute resolution.
• Computing, Comparing, Analyzing - measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, integrate, remember and apply information; comprehend relationships.
• Professional Discretion - exercise thoughtful judgment and meet deadlines; develop and maintain effective professional relationships with others; function effectively under stress; adapt to changing environments; display flexibility; and function in the face of uncertainties and ambiguities.
• Managing and Coordinating - Providing direction, monitoring performance and evaluating effectiveness of employees, including addressing conduct and performance issues in a timely manner and according to established procedures. Determining time, place, and sequence of operations or action to be taken on the basis or analysis of data. May include prioritizing multiple responsibilities and/or accomplishing them simultaneously.
• Instruction - teaching subject matter to others or training others through explanation, demonstration, and supervised practice: or making recommendations on the basis of technical disciplines. Assessing audience to determine best available methodologies for transfer of knowledge.
3. Duties in Teaching and/or Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
Some administrative faculty have job descriptions that include responsibilities in teaching and/or research. For such duties, the essential functions are those identified under Academic Faculty for Teaching and Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.