2.15.4 Tenure- earning Period - Faculty Handbook   

 

 

Abstract: 
This section describes the length of the tenure-earning period and the policy for extending the tenure-earning period.

Effective Date: 08/15/2022

 

Review/Revised Date: 08/15/2022

 

Category: Faculty Affairs

 

Policy Owner: Faculty Senate

Policy Contact: Faculty Policy and Procedures Committee

 

   
 
 
TENURE-EARNING PERIOD

2.15.4 Length of Tenure-earning Period
2.15.4.1 Start and end date of all tenure-earning periods

2.15.4.2 Unit extension of tenure-earning (probationary) period
2.15.4.3 Maximum tenure-earning period for a full-time faculty member
2.15.4.4 Appointments less than full time
2.15.5 Extension of Tenure-earning Period
2.15.6 Changes in Tenure-earning Status
2.15.7 Review for Progress Toward Award of Tenure


2.15.4 Length of Tenure-earning Period

Any faculty member appointed to a tenure-earning faculty position shall have a maximum tenure-earning (probationary) period (2.15.4.3) of seven years to earn tenure except in a school, college, or UAB Libraries in which the maximum tenure-earning period has been extended, as detailed below (2.15.4.2). This period provides years to earn academic merit (years 1 through 5 of a 7-year period) during which early application for tenure may be possible if allowed by the academic unit, and a final submission year (year 6 of a 7-year period) when the tenure application must be submitted for mandatory review.  If tenure has not been awarded by the end of the final submission year, the appointment for the final year shall be a terminal appointment for one calendar year from the notification of the denial of tenure. A limited reconsideration of a denied tenure application may occur during the terminal year, as provided in Section 2.15.9.

Applications for tenure are to be submitted during the annual cycle for tenure submission in accordance with the procedures specific to the academic unit.  Failure to submit an application for tenure by the unit’s submission timeline in the final submission year without an approved extension (2.15.5) will result in a denial of tenure and commencement of the terminal year.

2.15.4.1 Start and end date of all tenure-earning periods

As noted in this Handbook, the date which defines the start, and therefore the completion, of the tenure-earning period shall be determined by the date of appointment if it is October 1. If the appointment date comes after October 1, the October 1 which next follows the initial date of appointment to a tenure-earning position shall determine the start of the tenure-earning period.

2.15.4.2 Unit extension of tenure-earning (probationary) period

A school may establish a longer tenure-earning period for faculty appointed in that school or library, but in no case shall such period exceed ten years. A change in the tenure-earning period for a school may be implemented only after discussion by the faculty; approval by a majority vote of the tenured and tenure-earning faculty; and approval by the dean, the Provost, and the President. The maximum length of the tenure-earning period shall be specified clearly in school or library policies and in the faculty member's initial letter of appointment. The maximum tenure-earning period of an individual faculty member may not be reduced from that specified by UAB or school policy at the time of his or her initial faculty appointment at UAB. Emphasis must be placed on the award of tenure based on the merit of the applicant's achievements, and not years in pursuit of tenure.

2.15.4.3 Maximum tenure-earning period for a full-time faculty member

The maximum total period for full-time tenure-earning is seven years (or ten years in schools with a ten year maximum period), unless an approved extension has been granted (2.15.5). The decision about tenure, if not made earlier, is made in the sixth year (or ninth year)of the probationary period appointment. If the tenure decision made in the sixth year (ninth year) is negative, a one-year terminal appointment will be offered.

2.15.4.4 Appointments less than full time

Tenure-earning faculty members may request a term, part-time appointment for reasons of balancing work and family or personal health issues. In such cases, the probationary period will be extended proportionately. For example, two years of service at 50% will count as one year of full-time service. The term appointment may be renewed. (An indefinite part-time appointment may only be requested and granted following award of tenure.)

In determining the mandatory year for tenure review for those with partial appointments in schools with a maximum seven year tenure period, general equivalency to full-time appointments is expected, so that approximately five years of full-time equivalent service is expected prior to the mandatory tenure earning review year (In summing partial years of service, a total resulting in a fraction equal to or less than 0.5 would be rounded down, and a fraction greater than 0.5 would be rounded up.) However, review for tenure must occur no later than the tenth year of service, resulting in somewhat less full-time equivalent service (4.5 years) for a faculty with 50% appointment throughout all nine pre-tenure years prior to review. (This example assumes renewal of several term appointments.) If denied tenure following a mandatory review, a one-year terminal appointment will be given. The terminal appointment will be for one calendar year from the notification for denial of tenure. The percent effort will be agreed upon by the chair and faculty member.

In determining the mandatory tenure review, for those with partial appointments in schools with a maximum ten-year tenure earning period, general equivalency to full-time appointments is expected, so that approximately eight years of full-time equivalent service is expected prior to the mandatory tenure review year (In summing partial years of service, a total resulting in a fraction equal to or less than 0.5 would be rounded down, and a fraction greater than 0.5 would be rounded up.) However, review for tenure must occur no later than the sixteenth year of service, resulting in somewhat less full-time equivalent service (7.5 years) for a faculty with 50% appointment throughout all fifteen probationary years prior to review. If denied tenure following a mandatory review, a one-year terminal appointment will be given. The terminal appointment will be for one calendar year from the notification for denial of tenure. The percent effort will be agreed upon by the chair and faculty member.

Faculty members on part-time appointments may request a tenure clock extension, Section 2.15.5. (Extensions are granted in one-year increments, not prorated by the part-time appointment percentage.) However, the extension will not be approved if it results in a mandatory review date beyond the tenth year, or sixteenth year, respectively, in seven-year and ten-year maximum tenure-earning periods.

2.15.4.5 Tenure-earning periods and leaves of absence

A faculty member on probationary appointment who wishes to request a leave of absence shall consult with his or her department chair and dean about the effect of the leave on the duration of the tenure-earning period, taking into account the professional development that the leave promises. The request for leave should address this matter and the provost's approval of the leave request will specify whether the leave will be included in the probationary period or if an extension of tenure-earning period should be requested (2.15.5).

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2.15.5 Extension of tenure-earning period

An extension of the tenure-earning period may be approved on a discretionary basis for extenuating nonprofessional circumstances that have had a significant impact on the faculty member's productivity such as, the arrival or care of a child, the care of a family member or member of the immediate household, or personal circumstances related to the health of the faculty member.

Faculty members who benefit from this policy are expected to fulfill their normal responsibilities during the tenure period extension, unless they have been also granted a period of modified duties, or unless other approved arrangements have been made.

Tenure period extensions are granted in one-year increments. A cumulative total of two years is normally the maximum probationary period extension for any combination of reasons. Requests should be made within a year of the qualifying event or extenuating circumstance and prior to the department deadline for submission of promotion/tenure application. Exceptions to these limitations may be approved by the provost.

Requests for a tenure period extension should be submitted in writing to the department chair. Documentation of childbirth/adoption and medical reasons will be required prior to the approval; documentation of other extenuating circumstance may also be required. Approval by the department chair, dean and provost are required for probationary period extensions. Under certain extenuating rare circumstances outside of the university's control (e.g., pandemic, natural disaster, etc.) which disrupt continuity of a tenure-earning period, the Provost, with presidential approval, may provide an option for a tenure period extension for an eligible group of faculty (which may be all faculty).

It is very important that all individuals and committees participating in tenure reviews understand that any individual who has received a tenure period extension must be held to the same standard - not a higher or more stringent one - to which other candidates without such an extension are held.

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2.15.6 Changes in Tenure-earning Status

Individuals appointed to faculty positions at UAB may be appointed to the tenure-earning faculty only once during a period of continuous employment at UAB. That is, with appropriate approval, individuals initially appointed to the tenure-earning faculty may later be appointed to the non-tenure-earning faculty, but they may not subsequently return to the tenure-earning faculty in that same position during a period of continuous employment. They may seek appointment to a different position at UAB, which may be tenure-earning, tenured, or non-tenure-earning, if selected through national-level recruitment (Section 2.12). Individuals initially appointed to the non-tenure-earning faculty may later be appointed to the tenure-earning faculty position provided that the search under which he or she is selected is for a tenure-earning faculty position. When appropriate, these individuals could then return to the non-tenure-earning faculty. Appointment change from a tenure-earning to a non-tenure-earning faculty position requires notification of the faculty member whose status is to change and the approval of his/her chair, dean, and Provost.

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2.15.7 Review for Progress Toward Award of Tenure

Tenure-track faculty shall be reviewed by the department chair for progress toward the award of tenure in conjunction with the review for reappointment. Faculty also shall be reviewed at least every two years (or two-year equivalent for those with part time appointments) for progress toward the award of tenure by an appropriate departmental or, in its absence, school-wide or library committee, according to the tenure and promotion guidelines for that school or library. These reviews are substantive and thorough. At a minimum, departmental/school promotion and tenure committees must review annual activity reports and/or department chair reviews (accompanied with any written feedback by the faculty member as described in Section 2.14.2), teaching evaluations, and authored materials or other scholarship/creative research, appropriate to the field. The pre-tenure reviews should analyze the faculty member's progress toward promotion and tenure and offer guidance regarding future activities and plans. All reviews must be in writing, with the faculty member acknowledging receipt by signing and returning a copy for his or her departmental file. In addition, the department chair (or division chair) will meet with the faculty member to discuss the departmental/school review and recommendations. Individual faculty members are also encouraged to seek guidance and mentoring from senior colleagues and the department chair (or division chair). Pre-tenure faculty members bear responsibility for understanding departmental expectations for promotion and tenure and for meeting those expectations.  The department chair shall take whatever action is required to initiate the review within the department or school. Upon initiation of any review, the faculty member shall be invited to provide any information not previously submitted to the departmental activity file. The faculty member, department chair, and dean will be advised, in writing, of the results of the departmental committee review, and the faculty member and dean will be advised, in writing, of the results of the chair's review. If the reviewer has been conflicted by the institution, see Section 2.22.

Faculty have access to a variety of resources to prepare for discussions in connection with review for progress toward award of tenure, including the UAB Ombuds, counseling provided through the employee relations unit of Human Resources, and other faculty development resources available on the Office of the Provost website.

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