Please see below for more information regarding the processing of appointments and wasabi related questions. If you can’t find your question here, please refer back to our webpage or email the Office of Faculty Affairs general inbox at email@example.com for more assistance.
What documentation do I need for a new hire?
Please refer to our information page regarding documentation for first appointments or promotions. This packet can be attached to the wasabi upon submission.
We want to appoint someone without a PhD. Is this allowed?
OFA evaluates these on a case-by-case basis. We understand that sometimes there is a specific academic or teaching need that someone without a terminal degree may be uniquely qualified to fill. For example, visiting scientists ordinarily hold a doctoral degree, but extensive experience is occasionally understood to be an adequate substitute for a degree. In addition, classroom instructors are ordinarily expected to hold a doctoral degree, but may hold a relevant professional master’s degree.
I submitted a new hire in wasabi today and it’s not approved yet. It’s urgent. What do I do?
OFA asks that you wait at least three business days before emailing about a new hire. Please note, your hire may still be on hold with payroll after OFA has approved it. We also recommend you submit for an incoming employee HSR if they may need access before their appointment is active.
My appointee has already signed the Department’s offer letter. Do they need to sign OFA’s offer? Why?
Yes, all paid appointees must sign OFA’s offer letter. We are continuously updating our letters to reflect the School’s updated terms and policies, while the department’s offer letters are often less comprehensive and can become outdated. Please note, OFA’s offer letter supersedes the Department’s offer letter.
We want to pay someone significantly more than others in the Department. What is the process for this?
If the department would like to offer a significantly higher salary than other appointees with the same title, they should reach out to OFA with the candidate’s CV and an explanation of the unique skill set or experience that sets the appointee apart from other current employees. In an effort to offer competitive salaries, departments and PIs are encouraged to pay postdocs and other researchers as generously as they are able, while being mindful of equity within their groups and more broadly. Generally, we allow up to 10% over the minimum for an individual with more years since PhD and a specialized skill set.
The School reports annually on salaries, including on reasons for any high or low outliers, in order to demonstrate compliance with the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA). While there is some flexibility with regard to specialized skillsets, it’s important to know that MEPA requires evidence that the specialized skillset in question is a generally recognized exception for higher pay and that competing offers and/or informal market analysis are not valid reasons for an off-scale salary. In other words, ad hoc negotiations during a specific hire that result in a much higher salary request are unlikely to lead to a much higher salary being approved.
Who can serve as a supervisor for annual appointments?
Faculty and research scientists can serve as supervisors. An individual holding an annual appointment is not permitted to supervise another annual appointee.
What’s the difference between a Harvard Sponsored Role (research collaborator) and a formal academic appointment?
A Harvard Sponsored Role (research collaborator type) is best used for an individual who will only require access to systems, programs, or facilities over a temporary period. Individuals holding an HSR are expected to have paid employment outside of Harvard and must have a legitimate and documented research-related business purpose for accessing University space or resources, specifically in support of the research activities of their sponsor, who ordinarily will be a faculty member or other principal investigator.
A formal appointment should be given to an individual who will make meaningful and substantial contributions to the School and Department that only a formal appointment can facilitate. An individual’s need or desire for access to Harvard resources should not be a primary driver for an academic appointment. Rather, appointments ought to fill an identified gap at the Department level, one that requires a unique skill or expertise, and which would require a replacement, should the incumbent leave the position
A useful rule of thumb: If the role and duties the individual is performing are consistent with those performed by others in the school/unit with an appointment, the sponsor should pursue an affiliation through a formal appointment process rather than through an HSR.
Research Fellows (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)
When can departments appoint a research fellow (postdoctoral research fellow)?
You can hire a postdoc who has successfully defended their dissertation. This information should be reflected in their CV submitted to OFA (Office of Faculty Affairs). If they are a recent Harvard graduate, and still have a student record, we ask for a letter from the registrar’s office stating that they have met all the requirements and have earned their PhD. Please note, all newly hired research fellows should have an updated CV on file, reflecting their PhD status.
We want to appoint someone who is in the final stages of their doctoral degree. Can we do this?
If necessary, you may appoint them as visiting graduate student and transition them to a postdoc once they obtain their PhD. Please note, visiting graduate students are not eligible for benefits.
Can a postdoc work remotely?
No. In order to ensure research fellows have access to the full range of resources, networks, and professional development opportunities, research fellow appointments are full time, on-site positions.
When collecting packets for new hires, who should letters be addressed to?
For a new research scientist appointment three letters are required from mentors or supervisors/associates. These should be addressed to the Research Scientist Review Committee.
How are research scientists appointed/promoted/reappointed?
Research scientists are appointed by the Research Scientist Review Committee (RSRC), who meet five times per school year and vote on submitted packets. The research scientist career track, comprised of three-to-five-year terms, is often the next step for research associates but can also come from other roles (i.e., postdocs, outside scientists, adjunct faculty, etc.). Criteria for appointment are outlined on the “non-faculty research titles“, often referred to as “The Grid“. Further details on what is required in packets can be found on the research scientist web site at the appointment procedures page.
Can research scientists be part time?
The research scientist role is a full-time commitment requiring on-site employment. Funding should be secured for the entirety of their term.
What should I do if OFA or Payroll tell me there is no I-9 on file, but Equifax shows there is a valid, current I-9?
Sometimes there is an SSN mismatch or other reason an I9 is on file in Equifax but not in PeopleSoft. Administrators should send an email message to I9help@harvard.edu and ask for assistance. (In some cases, there can be issues if the appointee was previously a Harvard student or held an unpaid appointment.)
Why does a transaction look OK to me in Wasabi, but OFA or Payroll rejects it for an error (e.g., no new salary appearing on form, etc.)?
Before transmitting any Wasabi action, you should click on “View Form” to verify that the action you are processing is complete and correct. By viewing the form, the user will be able to easily spot mistakes. This form is what OFA and Payroll receive, review, and use to feed into PeopleSoft. These offices do not see the Wasabi screens that users use when processing a Wasabi action.
Which Wasabi action/reason should I use to process a change from one unpaid appointment to another unpaid appointment?
Changes from one unpaid appointment to another should be processed as a job data change using Transfer/Lateral as the action/reason.
How can I process a promotion for an unpaid person?
Promotions for unpaid appointees are processed in two steps. First, the department transmits a Wasabi job data change form with Promotion/Promotion as the action/reason. (Note that it is not possible to enter the new job code as part of this action.) When this has been uploaded into PeopleSoft, payroll will process a second transaction to correct the job code to the new job code.
What documentation do I need when changing an appointment type?
Scope of work, updated CV, and approval from DA/PI for any change in appointment type. For example, any appointment type transitioning to visiting scientist, or visiting scientist converting to instructor, or postdoc transferring to a different department.
What documentation is needed when converting an appointment to an unpaid appointment? For example, paid postdoc to unpaid postdoc
Confirmation of funding (for example, billing agreement, scholarship, etc.). OFA requires both the termination of the paid appointment and the additional job submitted at the same time for accurate processing. Please note, there is no “paid to unpaid” action/reason in wasabi.
Can I submit a temporary academic payment for a full-time appointee at the School?
No, employees are not allowed to exceed 1.00 FTE at the School. If a payment is required, departments have the option to submit an additional payment. Please note, academic appointees hold 35 hours as full-time employees at the School.
An appointee accidentally auto termed. What documentation do I need to attach to the rehire?
Departments can attach any documentation related to the accidental auto-term. Payroll asks that you include detailed notes in the comment section and include the exact verbiage “accidental auto-term” in the comment box for auditing purposes.
How can I determine whether a new appointment should be processed as Hire or Rehire?
Departments can check this using Wasabi, Qlikview or MIDAS. In Wasabi, click on “Lists”, “Personnel”, “P/R Employees” to see if the individual is listed. If listed, s/he already has an HUID and the new appointment can be processed as a Rehire. Please refer to “Determining Prior Harvard Service for Hires” for detailed instructions.
What’s the difference between an honorarium and temporary academic payment?
Honorarium payments are not promised, whereas if a faculty member is promised payment, it would be processed as another type of payment, such as temporary academic service.
What should I attach to a specific data action in wasabi?
Please refer to this grid for the required action/reason and documentation for wasabi data actions.
Why was my position number request rejected?
The most common reason for a position number request rejection is a mismatch in the effective dates (between the documentation attached and the form). Please note, the effective date must match the effective date of the new hire. Please attach the “New Position Form” for all new position numbers (except for junior and senior faculty positions).
An employee is changing appointment types. Do I need to create a new position number?
No, an academic appointee keeps their same position throughout their Harvard career. A new position does not need to be created when an appointee is promoted or has a change in appointment title (unless they’re being promoted from postdoc to research associate).
I’m hiring a new postdoc. Do I need to create a position number?
No, unpaid appointments, postdocs and temporary academics are not included in position management.
Who is eligible for an emeritus appointment?
Emeritus status may be conferred on an eligible faculty member who resigns on account of age (60 years) “after long and faithful service.”
Long is defined as a minimum of five years of continuous University service immediately preceding retirement.
“Eligible academic appointments” are tenured Professors and also those non-tenured Senior Non-Ladder Faculty who hold titles that a School’s Dean designates as an eligible academic appointment in that School for the purposes of these procedures.
“Faithful service” is based upon the Dean’s (or the Dean’s designee’s) review of: (a) the faculty member’s existing Harvard personnel files to determine whether it includes discipline, sanctions, findings of responsibility, or other personnel actions that call into question the individual’s faithful service; and (b) any other records, such as public records, (of which Harvard has notice), that call into question the individual’s faithful service by presenting compelling evidence of similarly severe infractions outside of Harvard.
What is the first step in appointing a faculty member emeritus?
A faculty member should meet with the Academic Dean to discuss retirement options.