Stopping the Tenure Clock
It is the policy of Louisiana State University to recruit and employ highly qualified faculty. In accordance with this goal, the University strives to provide every opportunity for tenure-track faculty to attain a record worthy of tenure and promotion. In the course of a faculty member’s time in rank, the University may grant a temporary departure from the tenure-track, commonly called “Stopping the Tenure Clock.” The procedures below establish a formal method for implementation of this temporary departure from the tenure-track as authorized by Section VIII.D. of Policy Statement 36-T (Tenure-Track and Tenured Faculty: Appointments, Reappointments, Promotions, Tenure, Annual Reviews, and Enhancement of Job Performance). Nothing in these procedures shall supersede the provisions of PS-36-T.
Excerpt from PS-36-T, VIII.D. “Adjustments to Counting Service Toward Tenure”
A tenure-track faculty member who has not been given notice of nonreappointment, and for whom the year of the mandatory tenure review has not begun may request temporary departure from the tenure track under the following circumstances:
- While on approved leave without pay;
- During a temporary part-time assignment;
- During a time period in which, at the request of the faculty member, he/she has been assigned duties that do not contribute to a case for advancement to tenure; or
- During a period of time when the faculty member’s personal obligations or situation¹ can reasonably be anticipated to impede progress towards tenure.
If approved, the faculty member will enter into a written agreement which sets out the specific period of service which will not be counted towards tenure and which establishes the year of the faculty member’s mandatory tenure review. The term appointment will be automatically extended by the approved period in order for the faculty member to have equivalent time to build a case toward tenure and to be evaluated. Final approval of temporary departure from the tenure track is in the sole discretion of the LSU System president or his or her designee.
Guidelines for Requests
Requests for departure from tenure-track are normally for a period of one year. Requests for less than one year will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A faculty member may request an additional departure from the tenure-track by a separate written request. Each request will be considered separately. No more than two extensions of the tenure clock may be granted to a faculty member for any reason.
A request for departure from the tenure-track must be made by the faculty member prior to April 1st of the mandatory tenure year. Likewise, the reason for the request must have occurred prior to the mandatory tenure year. If the request for departure from tenure-track is made prior to April 1st of the year of the reappointment review, the agreement will delay by one year (or approved portion of a year) the reappointment review. Requests should be made on a prospective basis. Requests for temporary departure from the tenure-track will not negatively impact a faculty member’s Graduate Faculty Status.
- A faculty member desiring temporary departure from tenure-track should initiate the request in writing to the Department Chair². The request should include the reason for the request, the impact on the faculty member’s teaching and scholarly activities, the timeframe requested, and any modifications to duties while temporarily on the non-tenure-track. If the request is related to FMLA leave and the faculty member would prefer not to disclose the pertinent information to the Dean and/or Chair, the details may be provided directly to the Office of Human Resource Management (HRM). The Chair will forward the request with a recommendation to the Dean.
- The Dean will review the request and forward it with a recommendation to HRM.
- HRM will note how the request will impact the tenure-track period and then send the packet to the Provost for review/approval.
- If the Provost approves the request, the request will be sent to the Chancellor for review/approval.
- Once the Chancellor approves the request, HRM will send the faculty member a Stop the Tenure Clock Agreement form to sign.
- Once the Agreement is signed, HRM will send the entire packet, including the signed Agreement, to the LSU System President for final approval. The Agreement will not be effective until this approval is obtained.
The Stop the Tenure Clock Agreement will specifically state that the time period of temporary departure from the tenure-track will not be considered “service” within the meaning of the LSU Board of Supervisors Regulations, Chapter II §2-7 and/or will not be service for the purposes of attainment of tenure by the passage of time. The Agreement will also include a written acknowledgement by the faculty member that the effect of the Agreement on his/her tenure-track period is fully understood.
Revocation of Stop the Tenure Clock Agreement
If both the University and the faculty member concur, this Agreement may be revoked. The faculty member should initiate a request in writing to the Department Chair prior to April 1st of the original mandatory tenure year. This will be forwarded with recommendations through the Dean and Provost to the Chancellor. If the Chancellor approves in writing, the tenure review will take place in accordance with the original tenure timeline, subject to all applicable University policies and regulations, as if the Agreement had never been executed. Judgments on promotion and tenure will be based solely on the criteria articulated in PS-36-T. A separate Revocation Agreement outlining the original tenure review time line will be signed by both the faculty member and the Chancellor.
Each academic year, HRM will supply each college a list of faculty approaching the mandatory tenure year. Faculty members approaching their mandatory year who have an approved Stop the Tenure Clock Agreement will be identified on the list. Chair²/Dean will:
- Ensure that the standard letter to external reviewers of promotion and tenure candidates provide information about these procedures and how evaluators are to consider departures from the tenure-track. The following statement or equivalent MUST BE INCLUDED in the letter to external reviewers: “The candidate was granted a temporary departure from the tenure-track pursuant to University procedures and should be evaluated as if he/she were on the normal tenure-track timeframe. LSU’s procedures state that faculty members shall not be disadvantaged because they elected to “stop the tenure clock” and this should not reflect negatively on the candidate.”
- Ensure that departures from the tenure-track do not create or perpetuate prohibited discrimination or result in judgments about the candidate for promotion and tenure that are based on any criteria other than those articulated in PS-36-T.
- Orient promotion and tenure committees to the appropriate treatment of cases that fall within these procedures.
Revised September 12, 2012
¹ Personal obligations or situation might include serious personal health conditions; pregnancy, childbirth, or the adoption of a child; to care for a spouse, son or daughter, or parent, who has a serious health condition; death of a family member; significant delays in the provision of start-up funds or facilities; and effects of natural disasters. While this list is not designed to be exhaustive, it is designed to communicate the substantive nature of circumstances covered by these procedures.
² The term Chair means unit head, director, dean, or otherwise-titled chief officer of a department (PS-36-T).