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Extending  the Reappointment/Promotion/Tenure Review Timeline

The following frequently asked questions provide information about the tenure clock extension related to COVID-19. Review the full Extending the Reappointment/Promotion/Tenure Review Timeline (Extending the Tenure Clock) policy here.

Tenure Clock Extension Frequently Asked Questions Related to COVID-19:

Any faculty member currently in the tenure system (as of Spring 2020) and scheduled for a reappointment or tenure review beginning in academic year 2020-2021 or beyond receives the automatic one-year extension.

The one-year automatic extension does not apply to the current probationary period of those who were reviewed in the 2019-2020 academic year. However, assuming a successful reappointment, the automatic extension will be automatically applied to this cohort’s second probationary period.

If you were in a tenure system appointment at MSU during spring 2020, a one-year extension will be applied automatically to your probationary end date.

You can be reviewed for reappointment as you were previously scheduled (the pre-COVID-19 extension timeline). However, a faculty member is bound by the outcome of the reappointment review if unsuccessful.

Example: Prior to spring 2020, I was scheduled for my first reappointment review in 2020-2021 (i.e. my appointment ends in 2022).  I received the one-year COVID-19 tenure clock extension, so I am now scheduled for review in 2021-2022. I want to still be reviewed in 2020-2021. If I am unsuccessful, can I be reviewed again in 2021-2022?

No. The policy states “… a faculty member is bound to the outcome of the reappointment review if unsuccessful.”

You can be reviewed at your original scheduled time (i.e. the pre-COVID-19 extension timeline) without losing the one-year automatic extension. The standard for research, teaching and service for a successful review is not changed, as determined by the department, college and the university.

If you are unsuccessful, you will be reviewed again at the new review time (post-COVID-19 extension timeline). The recalculated mandatory review timeline includes the COVID-19 automatic extension. If you are unsuccessful, you are provided the standard final terminal year of your appointment.

Example: Prior to spring 2020, I was scheduled to be reviewed for promotion to associate professor with tenure in 2020-2021. I was given the one-year COVID-19 tenure clock extension, so I would now be scheduled to be reviewed for promotion in 2021-2022. I still want to be reviewed for promotion in 2020-2021. If I am not successful, will I be reviewed for promotion in 2021-2022 again?

Yes.

Yes. The one-year COVID-19 extension can be used in your second probationary period if the extension is needed due to COVID-19 impact on your performance. You must notify your chair/school director that you will use the one-year COVID-19 extension no later than the due date for the submission of your dossier for review for promotion to associate professor with tenure to your department/school.

  1. Faculty member informs chair/school director and dean that they would like to be reviewed at the pre-COVID-19 extension scheduled time no later than the due date for the submission to the department/school of the dossier for the next reappointment/promotion/tenure review.
  2. The dean’s office provides a formal notice back to faculty member notifying them of their request and documenting the request.
  3. The request gets signed and sent to HR Academic Operations

No. At the time that the policy was revised to include the automatic one-year extension to the tenure clock because of COVID-19, the 2019-2020 review cycle was nearing its completion and the record of faculty members as indicated in those dossiers was not affected by the pandemic. 

Yes. The automatic COVID-19 extension is in addition to any other approved extensions to the tenure clock.

Yes. The automatic COVID-19 extension is in addition to any other approved extensions to the tenure clock. The other automatic extensions which do not require a faculty member to notify their chairperson, school director or dean are:

  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.

If situations caused by the coronavirus necessitate an extension of longer than one year, the regular process for having adjustments made to the tenure clock for pre-tenure faculty must be utilized. It includes review at the unit, college, and Provost Office level, and required approval by the University Committee on Faculty Tenure (UCFT).

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 Academic Human Resources 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 and the Executive Vice President for Health Science, as appropriate, will be considered by UCFT according to the standards specified herein.

In 2020, Michigan State University granted all pre-tenure faculty an automatic one-year extension in the tenure clock because of the impact on scholarly productivity caused by adjustments to COVID-19.  The extra time provided by this extension should not in any way be viewed harmful to the faculty candidate.  As with other extensions granted under this policy, it should not lead to an expectation that “more should have been accomplished” by the faculty member given the extra year in the probationary appointment.

No. The automatic extension only applies to faculty currently in the tenure system at MSU as of spring, 2020. At this time, there are no plans to provide an automatic extension for new hires who start in the fall. However, if situations caused by the coronavirus necessitate an extension of longer than one year, the regular process for extending the tenure clock for pre-tenure faculty must be utilized. It includes review at the unit, college, and Provost Office level, and required approval by the UCFT.

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