Faculty Handbook

Extending the Reappointment/Promotion/Tenure Review Timeline (Extending the Tenure Clock)

Last updated: 6/29/2022


The following statement was endorsed by the University Committee on Faculty Tenure; it was issued by the Office of the Provost on June 1, 1990 and revised on April 24, 1996, March 24, 1999, January 10, 2001, April 13, 2005, November 28, 2012, January 16, 2013, December 9, 2015, and April 16, 2020.

Automatic Extensions

The tenure system probationary appointment for the next reappointment/promotion/tenure review is extended automatically (i.e., no faculty request or UCFT review needed) for one year for the following reasons:

  1. Leaves of absence with or without pay that are one semester to twelve months.
  2. Changes in appointment to 50% time or less for one year.
  3. Immigration/visa status that does not permit the award of tenure for candidates who have been recommended for tenure.
  4. An extension recommended as an outcome of a hearing and/or appeal conducted pursuant to the Faculty Grievance Policy.
  5. The impact of COVID-19 for any probationary faculty member who: a) was in the tenure system at MSU as of Spring 2020 scheduled for a reappointment or tenure review, or b) has an employment start date in the tenure system from Summer 2020 through August 15, 2023.

Extensions Granted Automatically Upon Faculty Request

In addition to the automatic extensions (1-5) described above, faculty can request an extension of the reappointment/promotion/tenure review for the birth or adoption of a child.  Extensions for this reason are limited to two separate one-year extensions during the entire probationary period.  The request for an automatic one-year extension for the birth or adoption of a child must be submitted within two years of the birth/adoption, but no later than the due date for the submission to the department/school of the dossier for the next reappointment/promotion/tenure review.

Note:  Receipt of an automatic extension for any of the reasons above does not preclude consideration for reappointment or promotion with tenure at the normal time.  However, if the extension for the first probationary appointment is waived by the faculty member, the extension does not carry over to the second probationary appointment (except in the case of the impact of the COVID-19 one-year automatic extension).  In addition, a faculty member is bound to the outcome of the reappointment review if unsuccessful.

Extensions Reviewed by the University Committee on Faculty Tenure

Additional extensions of the probationary appointment may be requested from the University Committee on Faculty Tenure (UCFT)  for reasons related to childbirth, adoption, the care of an ill and/or disabled child, spouse, or parent;  personal illness; to receive prestigious awards, fellowships, and/or special assignment opportunities; or other such serious constraints. 

In such cases, UCFT considers evidence bearing on the question of whether the circumstances justify exceptions to the standard procedures governing the tenure system. UCFT's role is not to evaluate the substantive issues recommended at the departmental or unit level, but to determine whether, given the circumstances of each case, the proposed decisions are consistent with the general interest of preserving the integrity of the tenure system.

To request an extension of the probationary appointment, the department chair or unit administrator must submit a memorandum to the Associate Provost and Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs that includes the following information:

  1. the specific reason delineated in this policy that justifies an exception to the standard procedures governing the tenure system;
  2. clear explanation of the impact of the specified condition on the normal activities of the faculty member;
  3. what is expected to be achieved at the end of the requested extension, including the prospects for success, and a description of the resources and/or proposed changes that will be made to facilitate success;
  4. a current curriculum vitae and a one-page summary of prior assignments in teaching, research, outreach, and administrative duties during the previous three years for the faculty member seeking the extension;
  5. endorsement and signatures of the faculty member, department chair or unit administrator, and dean.

Additionally, the department chair or unit administrator must provide written documentation from the department or school peer review committee that they reviewed the extension request and had an opportunity to render advice as appropriate. The committee's approval is not necessary.

Requests endorsed by the Office of the Provost will be considered by UCFT according to the standards specified herein.

Tenure Clock Extension FAQs related to COVID-19

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