Overview

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created “extraordinary circumstances” that may seriously impact productivity for faculty at the University of Washington (Executive Order 27). This problem is particularly critical for faculty working toward promotion and/or tenure in a mandatory and specified timeframe, as outlined in the Faculty Code. This probationary period is otherwise known as a faculty member’s “promotion and/or tenure clock”. As a result of the extraordinary circumstances associated with COVID-19, the University of Washington is offering automatic approval for all faculty who request a waiver for the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year to automatically extend their promotion and/or tenure clock by one year.

Who is eligible?
All faculty with mandatory promotion and/or tenure clocks, who are in the probationary period of their appointment term during the period of winter quarter 2020 to spring quarter 2021.
This includes:

  • Assistant professors (tenure eligible, without tenure by reason of funding (WOT), research, clinical dental-pathway)

How does this work?

  • Faculty may request to waive the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year from their mandatory promotion and/or tenure clock by submitting a waiver request through their department chair/school director/campus dean and dean/chancellor’s office to the Office of Academic Personnel.
  • Specifically, the faculty member should send a “memo” to their unit noting that they are requesting a COVID-19-associated clock waiver to their chair/director/campus dean/dean for processing in Workday. Administrators should upload the memo to Maintain Worker Documents and use the Workday “Waiver – other reason” code and record “COVID-19” in the notes section.

When do faculty have to decide whether or not to request a waiver?

  • For faculty whose mandatory promotion and/or tenure review is scheduled for academic year 2020-21, they were required to submit a waiver request by June 30, 2020.
  • For faculty whose mandatory promotion and/or tenure review is scheduled for academic year 2021-22, they will have until June 30, 2021 to request a waiver.
  • For all other faculty, requests for clock waivers may occur anytime up to June 30th of the year preceding the mandatory promotion year. This process is similar to clock waivers that are granted in the case of the birth or adoption of a child.

Who should faculty contact with questions?

  • Faculty who have questions about whether it is advisable to request a waiver are encouraged to consult with their department chair/school director/campus dean/dean.
  • Faculty who request a waiver associated with COVID-19, but who later decide that they do not need the additional year, may request a non-mandatory (early) review for promotion and/or tenure, following the procedures outlined in the UW Faculty Code Section 24-54.

FAQ

Does this apply to 2nd year or 3rd year renewals?

  • If a faculty member requests to have the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year waived prior to the reappointment decision, the appointment clock would be adjusted accordingly.
    • A faculty member initially appointed in the 2019-20 academic year would currently be in the second year of appointment. With an approved clock waiver, 2021-22 would become the second year of appointment and would also become the academic year in which the second year review would be conducted.
  • If, however, a faculty member requests to have the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year waived after a reappointment decision was made, the appointment clock would not require adjustment.
    • A faculty member initially appointed in 2019-20 academic year would currently be in the second year of appointment. If the reappointment decision was made before a clock waiver request was submitted, only the promotion clock would be adjusted with the waiver. A second reappointment decision in 2021-22 would not be required.
  • If a faculty member requesting a waiver has already had their second year reappointment decision postponed to their third year, the reappointment decision would not be further extended; however, the mandatory promotion clock will be extended.
    • A faculty member initially appointed in the 2018-19 academic year who had the 2019-20 reappointment decision postponed to 2020-21 would still need to be considered for reappointment in 2020-21. If there is a favorable reappointment decision, the mandatory promotion clock would be extended from 2023-24 to 2024-25.

Are all untenured assistant professors eligible to request this waiver, or does this only apply to those who are up for promotion/tenure in 2020-21 or 2021-22?

  • All assistant professors with a mandatory promotion clock (tenure track, WOT by reason of funding, research, clinical dental-pathway) are eligible to request a waiver of the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year; however, the request must be made prior to the mandatory promotion year.
    • In other words, a faculty member initially appointed in 2016-17 who requests a waiver of either the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year by June 30, 2021 would have their mandatory promotion review extended from 2021-22 to 2022-23.
    • Similarly, a faculty member initially appointed in 2017-18 who requests a waiver prior to the 2022-23 mandatory promotion year would have their mandatory promotion review extended from 2022-23 to 2023-24.

If a COVID-19 waiver was requested and approved for 2019-20 but the faculty member was also eligible for a birth or adoption of a child waiver in 2019-20, can the faculty member request that the 2019-20 waiver be converted to a birth or adoption of a child waiver and then request a 2020-21 COVID-19 waiver?

  • Yes, the faculty member should send a “memo” noting that they are requesting 1) modification of the reason for the 2019-20 clock waiver from COVID-19 to birth or adoption of a child with the dates of the birth or adoption and 2) an additional waiver for the 2020-21 academic year on the basis of COVID-19.
  • The unit will send a request to ischelp@uw.edu to rescind the previously approved Update Academic Appointment transaction. The unit will re-enter the Update Academic Appointment > Mandatory Promotion Clock Adjustments transaction and select the appropriate reason code. No update is required on the position.

If a faculty member would be eligible to have either the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year waived for the COVID-19 reason, does it matter which year is selected?

  • Factors that may be taken into consideration when determining the academic year that will be requested to be waived include:
    • Whether the selected year would provide benefit to the faculty member with regard to the timing of the second year reappointment decision.
    • A preference to select the year during which disruptions due to COVID-19 had the greatest impact on their teaching and/or research.
    • Selecting the year in which they are not also eligible for an automatic clock waiver (e.g., birth or adoption of a child).
  • Please note, however, faculty members who have already requested the waiver of the 2019-20 academic year on the basis of COVID-19, should not request to change the waived year to 2020-21 unless there was another qualifying reason for an automatic clock waiver in 2019-20 that was not used.

Does this provision apply to a faculty member who went through the entire promotion/tenure process last year, and the decision was to postpone for a year?

  • Assistant professors who have had their mandatory promotion review postponed (e.g., a promotion review was conducted and the outcome of the review was “postpone”) are not eligible for the clock waiver because they are considered to be in their mandatory review period.