Important update: Another year toward tenure has been added for those on tenure track.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created extraordinary circumstances that have significantly impacted productivity for faculty at Appalachian State University. While the University is working to mitigate this impact for all faculty, special attention must be given to our faculty working toward tenure and reappointment. Our pre-tenured faculty are on time-bound contracts that include mandatory years during which they must be considered for tenure or reappointment.
As you may recall, in May 2020, the University extended the tenure/reappointment clock by one year for all pre-tenured faculty who were employed during 2019-2020. Because the COVID-19 pandemic lingered into 2021, the University is extending the tenure/reappointment clock by one more year for all pre-tenured faculty employed during 2020-2021.
The policy, as passed by the Faculty Senate on April 27, 2020, states:
Due to disruption to faculty work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2019-2020 academic year, all tenure-track faculty will have one year added to their probationary term. By no later than June 1 of the calendar year of the faculty member's original mandatory year, the faculty member must notify in writing their chair of their intent to submit a request to be considered for tenure in that fall term. Should the faculty member decide prior to the department's portfolio submission deadline that they do not wish to be considered that fall, they may withdraw their letter of intent.
The most recent policy, as passed by the Faculty Senate on April 12, 2021, states:
Due to disruption to faculty work caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-2021 academic year, all tenure-track faculty will have one year added to their probationary term. By no later than June 1 of the calendar year of the faculty member's original mandatory year, the faculty member must notify in writing their chair of their intent to submit a request to be considered for tenure in that fall term. Should the faculty member decide prior to the department's portfolio submission deadline that they do not wish to be considered that fall, they may withdraw their letter of intent.
Who will receive this second extension?
All faculty who were in their probationary period during the Spring 2021 semester, and who were not on approved full-time leave during the 2020-21 academic year, will receive this extension. This includes all tenure-eligible, pre-tenured faculty, regardless of rank.
- A faculty member on approved leave during the Fall 2020 and/or the Spring of 2021 will receive an additional year on their contract due to the leave, per Section 18.104.22.168(g) of the Faculty Handbook. Such faculty will not receive a second additional year under this policy.
How does this work?
Faculty in their first probationary term during 2019-2020 and 2020-2021
For faculty in their first probationary term (i.e., those working toward reappointment) during 2019-2020, an additional two years will be added to the current contract. That is, faculty in their first probationary term during 2019-2020 will have two additional years to work toward reappointment should they wish to retain those additional years. Faculty in this situation can opt-out of one or both of the extra years.
Faculty who were hired in the 2020-21 academic year and are in their first probationary period (i.e., those working toward reappointment) will have one additional year to work toward reappointment should they wish to retain that additional year.
Faculty who were considered for reappointment in the 2020-21 academic year will have the additional years added to their second probationary term contract.
Faculty who are to be considered for reappointment in the 2021-22 academic year may opt for one of the following:
- Apply both years to the first probationary term
- Apply one year to the first probationary term and one to the second probationary term
- Apply one year to the first probationary term and opt out of the second year
- Apply both years to the second probationary term
Under any of these scenarios, it is imperative that pre-tenure faculty consult and inform applicable department chairs in writing of intentions related to the extra year(s) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faculty in their second probationary term
For faculty in their second probationary term (i.e., those working toward tenure), two additional years will be added to the current contract, such that the faculty member will have two additional years to work toward tenure should they wish to retain those additional years.
Tenure status letters for pre-tenured faculty will clearly indicate both the original mandatory year for reappointment or tenure and the extension year(s). Faculty members should let their chairs know by June 1 of their original mandatory year for reappointment or tenure if they wish to go up for reappointment/tenure in that original year.
This indication of intent is only to permit department chairs to plan for PTC meetings during that academic year. The June 1 deadline is NOT a hard deadline; chairs have flexibility and discretion to move that deadline to a later date, and faculty members have the ability to later withdraw their intent (up until the portfolio submission deadline established by the department). The policies as passed by the Faculty Senate were intended to provide maximum flexibility to faculty, and we ask that chairs keep this in mind as they work with their pre-tenured faculty on the timing of their reappointment and tenure votes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my PTC hold it against me that I accepted the additional year, or expect that my productivity exceeds departmental standards because I had one or two extra years?
No. There is a clear and definitive expectation that those who extend their tenure/reappointment clocks under this policy will not be prejudiced in the review process for having elected to retain one or both of these additional years.
If I decide to go up for tenure during my original mandatory year, am I actually going up "early" and would then be subject to the language in Section 22.214.171.124 of the Faculty Handbook, which states that I have to have demonstrated exceptional performance by exceeding departmental criteria?
No. A request by a faculty member to be considered for tenure during their original mandatory year is NOT a request for "early" tenure, per Section 126.96.36.199 of the Faculty Handbook. In this case, the faculty member is simply not accepting the extension years, and must only meet (not exceed) their departmental criteria.
Can I still go up for tenure one year early, per Section 188.8.131.52 of the Faculty Handbook?
Yes. Faculty retain the right, per Section 184.108.40.206 of the Faculty Handbook, to request review for promotion and tenure one year earlier than the original mandatory year. Per the Faculty Handbook, a faculty member who is unsuccessful in their early review may request review in the following, original mandatory year.
Can I go up for tenure or reappointment in my original mandatory year and, if I don't receive a positive recommendation, go up again the following year?
No. A faculty member who decides against the extension years and is considered for tenure or reappointment in their original mandatory year is bound to that decision. If, in such a case, the faculty member is denied tenure or reappointment, they cannot then opt to be reconsidered in the following year. Being considered during the original mandatory year is not the same as being considered a year "early" as discussed in Section 220.127.116.11 of the Faculty Handbook.
I'm currently in my first probationary term and am working toward reappointment. If I do not opt to take the extension years toward my first probationary term (reappointment), can I then apply the extension years to my second probationary term (tenure)?
Yes, but only if your mandatory year for reappointment is the 2020-21 or 2021-22 academic year. In this case, you may opt to have one or both of the additional years added to your second probationary term contract, instead of your current, or first, probationary term contract.
There is language in the Faculty Handbook that the total time not counted toward a faculty member's probationary period with respect to permanent tenure may not exceed two academic years. Do the extension years granted under this policy count as one or two of those two years?
No. These two extra years are being granted to all pre-tenured faculty due to the extraordinary circumstances created by the COVID-19 crisis in an attempt to hold pre-tenured faculty as harmless as possible. The extension years granted under this policy will not count as one or two of the two years, per Section 18.104.22.168 of the Faculty Handbook.