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The Tenure Process at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stopping the Tenure Clock (Extending the Probationary Period)

Circumstances in which an assistant professor may "stop the clock"

(Faculty Policies and Procedures 7.04.H-K. The Maximum Probationary Period)

An assistant professor may request a tenure clock "extension" - literally, excluding a semester or year from being counted in the probationary period, which by UW System regulation cannot last longer than seven years - when he or she experiences:

  • Childbirth or adoption
  • Significant elder or dependent care obligations;
  • Other circumstances beyond the faculty member's control that significantly impede progress toward tenure

Where a leave of absence or extension of the probationary period is granted, the individual's employment contract shall be extended by the same period as the leave or extension.

Extensions for childbirth or adoption

Method of application: The faculty member writes directly to the provost (sending a simple letter or e-mail message to requesting an extension and including the date of birth/adoption). It is advisable to inform the department chair and oversight committee, and to copy them when writing to the provost.

Extensions for childbirth or adoption are presumed approved.

  • must be requested within 12 months of the birth/adoption
  • automatic approval of a 12-month extension for a birth / adoption while an assistant professor
  • automatic approval of a 12-month extension for a birth / adoption occurring in the 6-month period before employment begins
  • automatic approval of a 6-month extension for a birth / adoption occurring 7 to 12 months before employment begins
  • available for each birth / adoption
  • available to both males and females
  • available without regard to the sexual orientation of the faculty parent(s)
  • for dual career couples, available to each faculty parent
  • standard of review based on the "tenure clock" not "calendar years." Annual evaluations "should be conducted in the context of the individual's progress toward a tenurable record given the time remaining on the adjusted clock" (FP&P 7.05.D.)

Deans, department chairs, and faculty members should inform assistant professors of the right to an extension for childbirth or adoption and should never discourage assistant professors from requesting an extension.

Extensions for significant elder or dependent care obligations, and
Extensions for other circumstances

Method of application: The faculty member writes to the department chair, who conveys the request to the departmental executive committee for consideration. Approved requests are reviewed, in turn, by the dean, University Committee, and provost for final approval.

  • may be requested more than once
  • total, aggregate length of time for all requests granted ordinarily is no more than one year
  • must be requested before the beginning of the 6th year unless an unforeseen circumstance occurs in that year
  • standard of review based on the "tenure clock" not "calendar years." Annual evaluations "should be conducted in the context of the individual's progress toward a tenurable record given the time remaining on the adjusted clock" (FP&P 7.05.D.)

 


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Office of the Secretary of the Faculty, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1380
(608) 262-3956

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