Extension of the Tenure-Clock Guidelines for Contract Extension and Renewal

Overview

Iowa State University recognizes the challenges that untenured faculty face as they strive to earn tenure through achievement in teaching, research, and outreach. While the standard probationary period normally provides enough time for the faculty member to demonstrate qualifications for tenure, special circumstances may arise that interfere with the faculty member's trajectory.

The extension of the tenure clock policy (ISU Faculty Handbook section 5.2.1.4) allows a faculty member to request an extension of the probationary period in a range of special circumstances.

Reasons:

A faculty member may seek an extension of the tenure clock for the arrival or adoption of a child; when the faculty member has a personal health issue; when the faculty member has significant responsibilities with respect to elder, spousal or partner, or dependent care obligations; and when a major shift in the departmental mission or the faculty member's position responsibilities, or difficulty in setting up a laboratory significantly impede progress of the faculty member toward achieving tenure. (For more details, see FH 5.2.1.4)

Process:

A faculty member seeking an extension of the probationary period should submit a completed extension request form to the department chair. Requests for extension due to the birth of a child, the adoption of a child, or the foster placements of a child are automatically approved. Requests based on other circumstances may need additional explanation and documentation. The request form is routed by the department chair to the dean and provost for approval. The provost makes the final determination and will inform the faculty member, department chair and dean. In the case that an extension is approved, a new Letter of Intent (LOI) must be generated by the department to indicate the new dates for the preliminary review and/or the end of the probationary appointment.

Timing:

A faculty member must submit his/her request for an extension of the probationary period before contract renewal review. In the case of a first probationary contract, the request for an extension must occur before the faculty member has submitted materials for the preliminary review to the department review committee. In the case of a second probationary contract, the extension request must be made by April 1 of the calendar year in which the department-level tenure review is scheduled to be conducted.

A faculty member may be granted no more than two years of extension during the probationary period.

Departments and colleges must remember that scholarship accomplished by a tenure-track faculty member during an extension period shall be counted as part of a candidate's record. Standards regarding what constitutes a record deserving of tenure shall not be raised to adjust for any granted extension.

Implementation Scenarios

The following scenarios illustrate a range of circumstances in which an extension of the probationary period may be requested and how the extension impacts the faculty member's Letter of Intent (LOI):

Scenario #1:

Professor A has a baby in year 1. She requests and is granted a one-year extension. Her LOI is revised to extend her first probationary contract by one year. Her preliminary review (and contract renewal) is now scheduled to occur in year 4. The new LOI also includes an extended date for the end of the probationary appointment.

Scenario #2:

Professor B loses his father in year 3. He needs to take some time off to attend the funeral and assist his mother, as well as to deal with his personal grief. He requests a one-year extension of the tenure clock. There are two possible scenarios.

  • If the preliminary review materials have not yet been turned in, a one-year extension may be granted and added to the first probationary contract. A new LOI is prepared to indicate that the preliminary review will now take place in year 4. It also includes an extended date for the end of the probationary appointment.
  • If the preliminary review materials have already been turned in, the chair will consult with the dean and provost to determine whether or not an extension may be considered or whether the review proceeds as originally scheduled.

Scenario #3:

Professor C becomes seriously ill in year 4 and needs to take some time off. He requests a one-year extension of the tenure clock. His LOI is revised to extend his second probationary contract by one year. His mandatory promotion and tenure review is now scheduled to occur in year 7.

Scenario #4:

Professor D has a baby in year 1. She requests and is granted a one-year extension on her first probationary contract. Her LOI is revised to extend her first probationary contract by one year. She successfully passes her preliminary review in year 4. She has a second child in year 5. She requests and is granted a second one-year extension of the tenure clock. This second extension adds one year to her second probationary contract so that she will undergo mandatory promotion and tenure review in year 8. Her LOI is revised to include the extended date for the second probationary contract.

Definitions

  • First probationary contract: This refers to a tenure-eligible faculty member's initial contract, typically covering a four year period. Renewal of this contract is determined by the result of a mandatory preliminary review.
  • Second probationary contract: If a tenure-eligible faculty member receives a positive preliminary review, s/he is given a second probationary contract, typically covering a three-year period.
  • Preliminary review: This is a mandatory review of a tenure-eligible faculty member's work in order to determine contract renewal. This review (formerly known as third year review) typically occurs in the third year on the tenure track.
  • Promotion and tenure review: This is a mandatory review of a tenure-eligible faculty member's work in order to determine whether or not tenure will be granted. This review typically occurs in the sixth year on the tenure track.

Updated February 2011