I. Purpose and Scope
This policy provides for extending the probationary period of tenure-track faculty members under compelling circumstances that may interrupt the faculty member’s expected professional development during the probationary period. The policy applies to tenure-track faculty members in good standing, prior to one year before the scheduled beginning of their tenure consideration, which is typically in October at the start of the sixth year.
“Tenure clock” refers to the probationary period during which a tenure-track faculty member is appointed on one-year contracts prior to tenure consideration, which normally occurs not later than the sixth year of the probationary appointment. “Tenure consideration” begins after October 1st, after the department or equivalent local unit has received the external evaluations solicited for the candidate and begins its review of the candidate’s dossier.
The Provost will consider tenure clock extension requests that meet the following criteria:
A. Extension Requests to be Granted
Upon written request and submission of satisfactory documentation, a one-year extension of the tenure clock will be granted by the Office of the Provost to a faculty member for the following reasons:
1. Because of a birth, adoption, or foster child placement; or
2. Because the faculty member has taken an approved medical leave of 12 consecutive weeks or more. In this case, the faculty member should submit documentation from Human Resources (HR) that a medical leave has been approved. (No medical / health information should be included in the HR approval documentation.)
B. Extension Requests to be Considered
Upon written request and submission of satisfactory documentation, a one-year extension of the tenure clock may be granted after review by the Office of the Provost. A faculty member who takes a leave for a reason other than above (e.g., to care for a family member or other family-related responsibilities) may request an extension of the tenure clock. The faculty member should submit documentation from Human Resources (HR) that a leave has been approved. (No medical / health information should be included in the HR approval documentation.)
Additionally, a request for a tenure clock extension may be made for other reasons (e.g., substantial delay in lab set-up, extenuating circumstances not covered by the Family Medical Leave Act as laid out in the Policy on Paid Leave Program.
C. Procedures Applicable to All Requests
1. All written requests for tenure clock extension must first be submitted to the academic unit head by the faculty member. The unit head then submits the request to the dean who will forward the request to the Provost via the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs. The Office of the Provost will review all requests and make decisions on approval promptly.
2. With the exception of medical emergencies, all requests for tenure clock extension as described above in Sections 1 and 2 are subject to the following two conditions, both of which must be met: (1) the request for extension must be made in writing within one (1) year of the commencement of the situation that gives rise to the request; and (2) the request for extension must be submitted no later than one year before tenure evaluation begins on October 1st. Please see examples:
a. Faculty member has a baby on January 1, 2023 and seeks an extension of the tenure clock due to the birth of the child. Faculty member’s tenure review is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2024. Therefore, faculty member’s application for tenure clock extension must be submitted no later than October 1, 2023.
b. Faculty member takes a medical leave beginning on July 1, 2023 and seeks an extension of the tenure clock. Faculty member’s tenure review is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2024. Therefore, faculty member’s application for tenure clock extension must be submitted by October 1, 2023.
c. Faculty member seeks an extension of the tenure clock due to responsibilities for caring for an ill family member beginning on October 1, 2023. Faculty member’s tenure review is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2025. Therefore, faculty member’s application for tenure clock extension must be submitted by October 1, 2024.
3. Faculty members who receive an extension of the date of their tenure consideration will not be subject to any additional expectations of scholarly productivity due to the granting of that extension period. The scholarly productivity of a faculty member who is granted a tenure clock extension will be evaluated according to the same expectations as for a faculty member being considered for tenure during the sixth full-time year at Northeastern whose tenure consideration was not delayed.
IV. Additional Information
Leaves approved by Human Resources do not independently result in a tenure clock extension. A faculty member must still submit a written request for an extension, as described in this policy.
Births or adoptions of more than one child at a time will result in a single year of tenure clock extension under this policy. A faculty member who has more than one foster care placement in a year is eligible for one tenure clock extension per 12-month period.
Faculty members may receive no more than two extensions of the tenure clock during the probationary period. The Provost will consider other compelling circumstances such as military service.
Last Revision Date: August 10, 2023
Issued: December 20, 2013