Tenure Track: Probationary Period ("Tenure Clock")

The Probationary Period is normally 8 years from the time of initial appointment, but may be extended under certain circumstances. The Tenure Decision Year, when the review of a faculty member for tenure occurs, is defined at the time of appointment. See below for more information on these topics:

Probationary Period

The normal probationary period of 8 years is an opportunity for the faculty member to demonstrate the qualifications for reappointment, promotion, and the award of tenure (Academic Personnel Policy, Section 7.7). Appointment to the tenure track without tenure does not carry any assurance of reappointment, promotion, or the eventual award of tenure. During the probationary period, appointments can be terminated with the same notice period provided to other non tenured faculty (see APP, Section 10.7). A faculty member who is denied tenure in his/her tenure decision year is entitled to a terminal contract (1 year for faculty employed by UMMS ) beyond the Tenure Decision Year (APP, Section 7.9).

Tenure Decision Year (TDY)

The Tenure Decision Year is defined in writing by agreement of the faculty member, the Department Chair (in schools with departments), Dean, and the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, prior to the fourth month after the initial appointment on the Tenure Track (Academic Personnel Policy, Section 11.1). Faculty may receive years of credit towards the probationary period, if they have held an equivalent position at another institution or have transferred from the non-tenure track. Faculty may also receive credit for periods of part-time status during the probationary period.

Extension of the Probationary Period ("Stopping the Clock")

The probationary period may be extended, by altering the Tenure Decision Year, upon written agreement of the faculty member, the Department Chair, the Dean, and the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (APP, Section 11.1), in the following circumstances:

  • When a faculty member is named to a full or part-time administrative position that would restrict scholarly and professional activities, the duration of the appointment is not included in the probationary period.
  • When faculty have been assigned substantial clinical duties or who have been absent on approved personal leave during the probationary period, the probationary period may be extended to a maximum of 12 years.
  • When faculty have been granted leave without pay, the time spent on leave is not included in the probationary period.
  • When a faculty member temporarily transfers from full time to two-thirds status, the tenure decision year may be adjusted.
  • In other compelling circumstances, faculty may request an extension of the probationary period to a maximum of 12 years . The policy does not define the circumstances but these may include childbirth or adoption (for either parent) and other serious life events.