3.3.3 Probationary Period

A. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to specify the procedures for recommending tenure and/or promotion and for implementing policies as set forth in the Regents' Rules.

B. Persons Affected

Tenure track faculty.

C. Definitions

Not applicable.

D. Policy and Procedures

Probation of Tenure-track Appointees

  1. Probationary Period
    1. The purpose of a probationary period is to allow reasonable time for tenure track faculty members to establish their academic performance, for adequate peer and administrative evaluations, and for recommendations concerning reappointment, non-renewal, and tenure. Tenure status is granted only by the Board of Regents. The granting of tenure is not solely a reward for performance during the probationary period. It is a deliberate act taken after considered evaluation of the appointee's past performance and potential for future performance. Reappointment after the probationary period does not constitute the granting of tenure.
    2. For tenure-track faculty, the maximum probationary period before it is mandatory to review a faculty member for tenure is six (6) academic years. Decisions to grant or deny tenure must be made no later than August 31 of the sixth year of probationary service. Candidates not approved for tenure will be notified no later than August 31 of the sixth year that the subsequent, or seventh, year will constitute the terminal year of appointment. (Regents' Rules and Regulations, Series 31007, Section 5; Series 31002, Section 2.)
    3. If a faculty member is initially appointed after September 1 during an academic year, the period of service from the date of appointment until the following September 1 shall not be counted toward fulfillment of the probationary period. One year of probationary service is accrued by at least nine (9) months (September 1- May 31) of fulltime academic service during any academic year. Periods during which a faculty member is on leave of absence shall not be counted toward fulfillment of a required probationary period. (Regents' Rules and Regulations, Series 31007, Section 5.1 a.)
    4. Only full-time service in the academic rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor or any combination of the above shall be counted toward fulfillment of the required probationary period. Service in any non-tenure track faculty position may not be counted toward the probationary period. (Regents' Rules and Regulations, Series 31007, Number 2, Section 3)
    5. Although a candidate may apply for tenure at any time during the six (6)-year probationary period, it may not be in his or her best interest to do so. Faculty members who request consideration for an early tenure decision must do so by presenting a written request to the department chair.
    6. Consideration of an individual’s tenure application shall be made without prejudice to the number of years of probationary service as long as the record of teaching, research /scholarship/creative activity, and service meets the written criteria established for candidates who apply for tenure during their sixth year of service.
  2. Extension of Probationary Period
    1. No later than June 1 of the fifth year of tenure track service, a faculty member may request a one-year extension of the probationary period when personal circumstances may impede his or her progress toward tenure. Personal circumstances that may justify the extension include, but are not restricted to, disability or illness of the faculty member, status of the faculty member as a principal caregiver of a preschool child, or a disabled, elderly, or ill member of the family of the faculty member.
    2. A request for an additional academic year's extension will follow the established request process, with the maximum duration of extension, whether consecutive or non-consecutive, being two (2) academic years.
    3. The request for an extension must be submitted to the dean through the department chair.
    4. The final decision will be made by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. (Regents' Rules and Regulations, Series 31007, Section 5.1 b.)
  3. Notice of Non-Reappointment
    1. A tenure track faculty member may be given notice of nonrenewal of appointment at any time during his or her probationary period. In the event of a decision not to reappoint a non-tenured faculty member, written notice will be given to the faculty member no later than March 1st of the first academic year of probationary service if the appointment expires at the end of that academic year, or not later than December 15th of the second academic year of probationary service if the appointment expires at the end of the second academic year.
    2. After two or more academic years, written notice shall be given no later than August 31st that the subsequent year will be the terminal academic year of appointment. The notice required by this Section is not applicable where termination of employment is for good cause. (Regents' Rules and Regulations, Series 31002, Section 1)
  4. Pre-tenure Review
    1. In addition to the annual evaluation, a comprehensive review of tenure track faculty will be conducted no later than the end of the faculty member's third year of service. Although a faculty member may be given notice of nonrenewal of appointment at any time during the probationary period, the pretenure review does constitute a major assessment of the faculty member's record of achievement and progress toward tenure.
    2. Each college shall develop written guidelines and policies for conducting the third year review.
    3. Input of tenured faculty in the department is required. The timing of the review gives chairs and faculty a substantial period of performance on which to judge achievement and gives tenure track faculty enough time before the mandatory sixth year tenure review to address areas of deficiency. After the completion of the third year review, the dean will forward a memorandum to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs that the review has been conducted along with a summary of the recommendations by the Department.
    4. The result of the pre-tenure review is not a commitment to grant or to deny tenure in the future. A faculty member may receive notice of non-renewal at any time after the review regardless of the outcome of the review. Where the review concludes that progress toward tenure is unsatisfactory, non-reappointment may be warranted. In the case where non-renewal is warranted, the faculty member will be notified no later than August 31 of the third year that the appointment will not be renewed beyond the end of the fourth year. Tenure track faculty who are notified that the subsequent academic year will be the terminal year of appointment shall not be entitled to a statement of the reasons upon which the decision for such action is based. (Regents' Rules and Regulations, Series 31008, Section 6)

E. Responsibilities

Not applicable.

F. Review

Head for this policy is the Provost. This policy shall be reviewed every five years or sooner if necessary by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in consultation with the Faculty Senate.

LAST AMENDED: 04/22/2009