The following message was shared with faculty and staff on Thursday, Aug. 6.
Dear Faculty Colleagues:
A statewide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between SUNY and UUP was approved in May 2020, granting an automatic, one-year extension of a faculty member’s time to continuing appointment (tenure). The MOU also addresses adjustments to reappointment, tenure, and promotion materials in light of the COVID-19 emergency in spring 2020 and the disruption associated with it. The MOU can be accessed using this link.
This letter explains what the agreement entails for faculty who have not yet attained continuing appointment. As the agreement states, “Each employee who as of May 6, 2020 is currently serving in a position of academic rank who has not yet attained continuing appointment status, and who is not currently under review, shall have an automatic one-year extension of the time to continuing appointment without change in title, full-time equivalent or other employment status.”
This letter also explains considerations regarding spring 2020 evaluative materials in dossiers for future reviews, whether for reappointment, tenure, or promotion. The approaches outlined here parallel those at a number of other SUNY comprehensive campuses.
Tenure Clock Extension
The automatic one-year extension will be applied in the year of the faculty member’s scheduled application for review for continuing appointment. The expected review date for continuing appointment is automatically pushed back by one year, so long as faculty are meeting their professional obligation. For example, if your original eligibility to apply for continuing appointment falls in the 2020-2021 academic year, and you take no action, your eligibility will then fall in 2021-2022, etc.
However, if you wish to pursue continuing appointment without this extension, you can opt out of the one-year extension.
To opt out, you must complete the COVID-19 opt out form, which can be accessed using this link. Please submit the completed form, via email, to your Department Chair with copies to the Dean, Provost, and Office of Human Resources, Diversity, & Inclusion (HRDI).
Faculty in the December 2020 and June 2021 cohorts have already been or will be contacted separately.
In future years, this notice of your decision to opt out must be submitted no later than the following applicable date:
- March 15 for faculty in the following December cohort
- May 15 for faculty in the following March cohort
- July 15 for faculty in the following June cohort
This tenure clock extension does not impact expected dates for earlier reviews for reappointment. A faculty member’s reappointment schedule remains the same until the year of application for continuing appointment.
This automatic tenure clock extension is separate from any other permissible tenure clock stops, such as Qualified Rank. It does not impact or preclude other tenure clock stops that may be provided for in the UUP contract or that a faculty member may request from the College and that the College has the authority to grant.
Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion Review Materials
The MOU states that a faculty member “up for reappointment, promotion, or tenure review in the future will have the option of not including student evaluations of teaching, peer teaching observations, and/or curricular materials from the spring 2020 semester in their reappointment, promotion, or continuing appointment/permanent appointment review materials.” The MOU further states “exclusion of any of these materials shall not reflect negatively on the individual’s review.”
This means that in the future, whether one is being reviewed for reappointment, continuing appointment, or promotion, inclusion of the following is optional: spring 2020 student evaluations of instruction (SEIs), peer observations, and curricular materials as noted above. Faculty under review for renewal, tenure, or promotion may also discuss in the teaching narrative within the dossier, as applicable, the challenges of moving from seated to remote instruction and associated reasons for omitting spring 2020 SEI results.
The MOU further states that faculty who are completing review applications may list in appropriate portions of the dossier any planned research or creative activities for spring and summer 2020 that were cancelled, postponed, or materially disrupted due to the COVID-19 emergency, and include a note that the activity was cancelled, postponed, or otherwise disrupted as a result of COVID-19. Faculty may also choose to include a general statement in an appropriate part of the dossier about how the COVID-19 emergency impacted their research, scholarship, or creative activities.
Guidance for Faculty
Faculty are encouraged to weigh carefully the decision of whether to opt out of the tenure-clock extension provision of the MOU. Faculty may wish to consult the department chair and/or faculty mentors for guidance. Faculty are also encouraged to consider employing the provisions of the MOU with regard to review materials submission and statements of impact of COVID-19, as warranted, in any future reviews for reappointment, continuing appointment, or promotion.
Note: Various reappointment, tenure, and promotion documents can be accessed using this link.
Barbara G. Lyman
Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs